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Press coverage and commentaries: Freedom2Care In the News

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Freedom Denied in Minnesota: Court Upholds Law That Forces Filmmakers to Violate Their Faith

Alliance Defending Freedom

September 22, 2017

"Yesterday, a district court in Minnesota ruled against our clients Carl and Angel Larsen, dismissing their lawsuit challenging a state law that would force them to create films that portray a message that contradicts their faith. While this ruling is disappointing, it is not the end. We will appeal. Carl and Angel Larsen own Telescope Media Group, a film production company that seeks to “magnify Christ like a telescope.” While they have done many films for Christian organizations, they are looking to expand the type of work they do. Because Carl and Angel are passionate about marriage, they feel called to film stories that show the beauty and meaning behind marriage as God designed it – a lifelong union between one man and one woman. However, a Minnesota law requires that, if the Larsens film these types of wedding stories, they must also film same-sex weddings." " 'Tolerance is a two-way street. Creative professionals who engage in the expression of ideas shouldn’t be threatened with fines and jail simply for having a particular point of view about marriage that the government may not favor,' said ADF Senior Counsel Jeremy Tedesco. 'Public officials can’t censor filmmakers or demand that they tell stories in film that violate their deepest convictions.' "

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Filed under: Religious freedomAlliance Defending FreedomConscience freedomFree speech

ACLU Sues Michigan Over Allowing Religious Adoption Organizations to Turn Away Same-Sex Couples

Townhall

September 21, 2017

"The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed a lawsuit against the state of Michigan Wednesday over a 2015 law that allows private adoption agencies which receive state contracts and taxpayer funds to 'use religious criteria to screen prospective foster and adoptive parents for children in the foster care system and to turn away qualified families on the basis of sexual orientation.' "  " 'Focus on the Family strongly supports the religious freedom rights of all businesses and organizations, including faith-based adoption agencies," Jim Daly, president of the Christian organization, Focus on the Family commented Wednesday. 'Not only have the U.S. Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby and Trinity Lutheran decisions reaffirmed long-standing principles by which government should respect the free exercise rights of organizations that seek to operate according to their deeply held beliefs, but such respect enables entities like faith-based adoption agencies to fill a critical need in society,' he said. "

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Filed under: Religious freedomConscience freedomAdoption

In Masterpiece Cakeshop Case, Two Sets of First Amendment Precedent Collide

The Federalist commentary by Margot Cleveland

September 20, 2017

"Sunday’s New York Times print edition ran a piece by Adam Liptak, exploring the people and perspectives behind the soon-to-be argued Supreme Court case of Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission. The piece is titled, “Cake Is His ‘Art.’ So Can He Deny One to a Gay Couple?” On one side of the dispute stands Jack Phillips—a Christian baker in Colorado who five years ago refused to craft a wedding cake to celebrate a same-sex marriage. “I’m being forced to use my creativity, my talent and my art for an event—a significant religious event—that violates my religious faith,” Mr. Phillips said, according to the Times. To Philips, this is 'more than just a cake.' "

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Filed under: Religious freedomFree speech

A chilling study shows how hostile college students are toward free speech

The Washington Post

September 19, 2017

"Here’s the problem with suggesting that upsetting speech warrants “safe spaces,” or otherwise conflating mere words with physical assault: If speech is violence, then violence becomes a justifiable response to speech. Just ask college students. A fifth of undergrads now say it’s acceptable to use physical force to silence a speaker who makes “offensive and hurtful statements.” That’s one finding from a disturbing new survey of students conducted by John Villasenor, a Brookings Institution senior fellow and University of California at Los Angeles professor."

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Filed under: Free speech

Cider and Religious Freedom

National Review commentary by Margot Cleveland

September 19, 2017

"Can a Catholic couple live their faith and still sell apples at a farmer’s market? On Friday, the Tennes family of Charlotte, Mich., and their family-run orchard won a temporary reprieve. The city of East Lansing, Mich., had banned them from the city’s farmer’s market because they refuse to host same-sex marriage ceremonies at their farm. In a decision granting the Tenneses’ motion for a preliminary injunction, federal district-court judge Paul Maloney ordered East Lansing to 'allow the Plaintiffs to participate in the East Lansing Farmer’s Market for the remainder of the 2017 season.' "

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Filed under: Religious freedomAlliance Defending FreedomFree speech

Judge Suspends City's Ban of Farmers Over Their Marriage Views

The Daily Signal

September 18, 2017

"A federal judge ruled Friday that the Michigan farmers who were banned from selling their produce at a farmers market on public property because of their religious beliefs about marriage may resume selling their goods there as early as Sunday while their case proceeds. The decision provides much-needed relief to Steve and Bridget Tennes, owners of Country Mill Farms in Charlotte, Michigan. East Lansing city officials had banned the Tennes family from selling at the East Lansing Farmer’s Market over a Facebook post addressing the farm’s policy on hosting same-sex weddings. 'As the court found, East Lansing officials changed their market policy to shut out Steve because they don’t like his Catholic beliefs regarding marriage,' Kate Anderson, a lawyer for Alliance Defending Freedom who is representing the Tenneses, told The Daily Signal in an email. 'The court was right to issue this order, which will allow Steve to return to the 2017 farmers market while his case moves forward,' Anderson wrote."

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Filed under: Religious freedomAlliance Defending Freedom

The Art of Tolerance in a Time of Tension and Distrust

The Daily Signal commentary by Sen. Mike Lee

September 14, 2017

"In July 2012, two men entered the Masterpiece Cakeshop in Lakewood, Colorado. They asked the owner of the bakery, Jack Phillips, to custom-design a wedding cake for the pair’s same-sex wedding. Phillips offered to sell the couple anything else in his store, even a pre-made cake. But, citing his Christian faith, he declined to design a special cake for the couple’s wedding. The two men filed a complaint with Colorado Civil Rights Commission, which found that Phillips had violated the Colorado Anti-Discrimination Act. It ordered Phillips to bake the couple a wedding cake."

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Filed under: Religious freedomFree speech

The Quantum Leap in Hostility to Religious Rights: No Bible for 9-Year-Old, Just 1 of 1,400 Cases

CBN News

September 14, 2017

"The number of attacks on religious liberty is growing in the United States. That's the finding from researchers at the First Liberty Institute, a Texas-based, non-profit legal group fighting for religious rights in America. Every year, the institute publishes a survey compiling all the cases it's found on religious liberty attacks. 'This year's survey represents a 15 percent increase in just the past year. And an alarming 133 percent increase in the last five years,' General Counsel Jeremy Dys said. Dys cited a 418-page publication entitled, "Undeniable: The Survey of Hostility to Religion in America," which documents 1,400 attacks on religious liberty this year. He called it the most comprehensive compilation of its kind. First Liberty Institute CEO Kelly Shackelford told reporters about the kinds of cases that come across the institute's doorstep. Giovanni Rubeo, a nine-year-old Floridian was told, along with his classmates, they could bring any book to school for free reading time. But when he brought his Bible, he got in trouble with his Ft. Lauderdale school. First Liberty took up the case and won."

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Filed under: Religious freedomFirst Liberty

Congress, don't tax giving: Charity helps people while saving government costs

Philanthropy Daily commentary by Jonathan Imbody

September 7, 2017

Congress is currently contemplating a plan that would trigger a drop in charitable giving of $13.1 billion annually, according to research analysis. The cuts would come from decreasing current incentives for charitable gifts through tax deductions. Unfortunately for Congressional leaders focused on trimming government spending, charity losses will simply trigger corresponding increases in spending on government social programs, to pick up the slack left by hobbled charities no longer able to provide social services. That potential transfer of responsibility and expense from charities to government should remind lawmakers why historically Congress has not taxed citizens when we give our money away to help others.

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Filed under: Christian Medical AssociationCharitiesTax

Senate Democrats Attack Judicial Nominee's Catholic Faith

Townhall commentary by Todd Starnes

September 7, 2017

"Senate Democrats came dangerously close to crossing a constitutional line regarding religious faith during an inquisition of one of President Trump's nominees for the federal court. Senators grilled federal judicial nominee Amy Barrett -- demanding to know how her faith would influence her decisions from the bench. "

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Filed under: CourtsReligious freedom

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