Freedom of faith, conscience and speech

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Bioethicists Say Doctors Should be Forced to Do Abortions and If They Quit, "So Be It"

LifeSite News

September 22, 2016

Abortion and euthanasia should not be matters of choice for doctors, two leading Canadian and British bioethicists argued in a new article in the journal "Bioethics." Professors Udo Schuklenk and Julian Savulescu believe that their governments should stop protecting doctors' conscious rights and force them to perform or at least refer patients for abortions, euthanasia and other practices that doctors object to on moral grounds, the National Post reports. The radical proposal has sparked some outrage in the medical community. Larry Worthen, of the Christian Medical and Dental Society of Canada, pointed out how the proposal would be an extreme violation of doctors' rights. "In every jurisdiction in the world, conscientious objection is recognized in some form," Worthen told the National Post. "The only governments in the history of humanity that have stripped away the conscience rights in this way are totalitarian governments."

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Filed under: AbortionHealthcareEnd of life

Critics on Civil Rights Report: It's 'Dangerous' -- Important to 'Push Back Against This Nonsense'

CNS News

September 16, 2016

Faith leaders and religious liberty advocates are weighing in on the recently released U.S. Commission on Civil Rights report that concluded terms such as "religious liberty" and "religious freedom" were code words for discrimination and even "Christian supremacy." "The phrases ‘religious liberty' and ‘religious freedom' will stand for nothing except hypocrisy so long as they remain code words for discrimination, intolerance, racism, sexism, homophobia, Islamophobia, Christian supremacy or any form of intolerance," Martin Castro, chairman of the commission, said in a statement included in the 296-page report. "Perhaps most troubling is the attempt to discredit sincere religious believers as being motivated by hate instead of faith and the implied recommendation that religious groups should change their beliefs on sexual morality to conform with liberal norms for the good of the country," said Roger Severino, , director of the DeVos Center for Religion and Civil Society at The Heritage Foundation who also worked with the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty and for the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice.

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Filed under: Religious freedomHeritage FoundationFree speech

Acts of Faith Study: Religion contributes more to the U.S. economy than Facebook, Google and Apple combined

Washington Post

September 15, 2016

The article in the Interdisciplinary Journal of Research on Religion said that the annual revenues of faith-based enterprises - not just churches but hospitals, schools, charities and even gospel musicians and halal food makers - is more than $378 billion a year. And that's not counting the annual shopping bonanza motivated by Christmas. Georgetown University's Brian Grim and the Newseum's Melissa Grim - in a study sponsored by an organization called Faith Counts, which promotes the value of religion - produced a 31-page breakdown of all the ways religion contributes to the U.S. economy. The largest chunk of that $378 billion tally comes from faith-based health-care systems. Religious groups run many of the hospitals in the United States; Catholic health systems alone reportedly account for 1 in 6 hospital beds in the country.

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Filed under: CharitiesHealthcare

Churches are 'more free to speak' about elections than they think

LifeSite News by Claire Chretien

September 14, 2016

Churches are "much more free to speak and teach about elections than they tend to think that they are" and there are numerous resources to help them do so legally, Priests for Life National Director Father Frank Pavone told LifeSiteNews. Pavone, whose new book Proclaiming the Message of Life provides suggestions for priests to bring out pro-life themes in each Sunday's lectionary readings, said when it comes to churches and elections, "the basic distinction is between issue advocacy and candidate advocacy." Registering people to vote, driving people to the polls, and helping parishioners obtain absentee ballots if necessary are all safe for churches to do, Pavone said.

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Filed under: Priests for LifeElections

Setting the Record Straight on RFRA (Again)

Family Research Council blog by Trtavis Weber

September 8, 2016

The federal RFRA and almost all state RFRAs contain no such amendment. They’ve operated well for years, protecting individuals like the Muslim inmate highlighted in this article, and others. The article also implies that RFRA without the “fix” could not help the inmate: “After Pence’s “fix” the law became largely disarmed from doing what many critics said was its original discriminatory intent. In fact, the opposite happened, the law has since become an extra tool to fight against religious discrimination, [Professor] Katz said.” Yet a Muslim inmate bringing a claim under RFRA with the “fix” is not the “opposite” of what he could have done before the “fix.” The provision of RFRA he is using to bring his claim (the same provision which has been around since 1993 with little controversy) was not changed at all.

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Filed under: CommentariesReligious freedomFamily Research Council

Trampling on health care providers' consciences

Religion News Service commentary by Charles Camosy

September 6, 2016

A. Imagine you are a Christian physician in late first-century, pagan Rome when a patient comes to you with his just-born child who, because she is a girl, he wants you to kill by giving her hemlock. B. Imagine you are a Catholic physician living in Nazi Germany working in the psych ward of a Catholic hospital when a patient who initially asked you to admit his mentally ill daughter now asks you to kill her so she is no longer a drain on the Reich's resources. You cannot participate in either act, of course, without violating a fundamental part of who you are. But signatories of the Geneva statement would insist you either assist the patient in killing his child or refer your patient "to another practitioner who is willing" to help kill his child.

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Filed under: CommentariesConscience freedomHealthcare

Why a Nurse and a Pastor Object to Being Forced to Help Abort Babies

Daily Signal by Leah Jessen

September 4, 2016

A pastor and a nurse want Congress to pass legislation that would allow Americans the freedom to opt out of the abortion process. Chris Lewis, lead pastor of Foothill Church in Glendora, California, says his congregation doesn't want to be coerced into covering abortions on employee health insurance plans. Lewis spoke on Capitol Hill at a House forum in July on conscience rights, urging Congress to pass the Conscience Protection Act. Among about eight others who spoke was a nurse of 26 years, Fe Esperanza Racpan Vinoya. "I became a nurse to help people, but not to do harm," Vinoya said. In 2014, the state of California issued an order requiring all health insurance plans to cover abortion, without a religious exemption.

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Filed under: Conscience freedomLegislationHealthcare

ADF files lawsuit against Iowa Civil Rights Commission over church teaching on sex

ADF video

September 2, 2016

Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys representing an Iowa church filed a federal lawsuit against members of the Iowa Civil Rights Commission, among others, to stop the government from censoring the church's teaching on biblical sexuality and from forcing the church to open its restrooms and showers to members of the opposite sex.

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Filed under: VideosReligious freedomAlliance Defending Freedom

Protect Your Military Chaplains from a Bully

FRC blog by Chris Gacek

September 2, 2016

In attendance were several uniformed military chaplains. They included the Chief of Chaplains of the Air Force, Maj. Gen. (Chaplain) Dondi Costin, who delivered a benediction while in uniform. Several members of the House and one United States Senator were also in attendance. This allowed anti-Christian activist "Mikey" Weinstein an opportunity to attack Maj. Gen Costin and two other chaplains for their participation in the event by filing a complaint with the Inspector General of the Department of Defense, Glenn Fine. With typically histrionic and excessive rhetoric, Weinstein asked that all three be formally disciplined. Weinstein presents a pretext for attacking Rep. Forbes and the event based on the Congressman's opposition to the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," and his orthodox Christian beliefs about sexuality and marriage. Given Weinstein's longstanding track record of anti-Christian animus, his raising of LGBT issues is mere window-dressing.

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Filed under: Religious freedomCongressMilitary

Why Burkinis Should Matter To Christians Who Care About Religious Freedom

Christianity Today commentary by Ed Stetzer

August 31, 2016

If we don't speak out, Muslims in France will not be the only ones stripped of their religious liberty. We can't stand idly by today because it is not "our" religious liberty that is being trampled upon. Next time, as secularism continues its march across the West, it very well might be us. Religious liberty for some soon means religious liberty for none. I don't want Muslim women forced to strip off some of their clothes on the beaches of France under the watchful eye of the police. Or Catholic adoption agencies stripped of their participation in Massachusetts' adoption system because of their views of marriage. Or a baker stripped of her business because she did not want to participate in a wedding with which she disagrees.

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Filed under: CommentariesReligious freedom

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