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2015 Saw A Decrease In Religious Freedom Around The World, Says Annual Report

NPR

May 2, 2016

The global refugee crisis, political strife and economic dislocation all contributed to a worldwide deterioration of religious freedom in 2015 and an increase in "societal intolerance," according to the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom. "At best, in most of the countries we cover, religious freedom conditions have failed to improve," says Princeton professor Robert George, the USCIRF chairman. "At worst, they've spiraled downward." In its annual report, the commission identified 17 countries as "Tier One" concerns, meaning they have "particularly severe religious violations of religious freedom that are systematic, ongoing, and egregious."

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Filed under: Religious freedomPersecution

Attempt to Send Religious Liberty Bill Straight to the People Fails in Missouri

Daily Signal commentary by Kelsey Harkness

April 27, 2016

The idea behind the measure, Johnson, president of Missouri Alliance for Freedom, told The Daily Signal in an earlier interview, was to give people the opportunity to vote on the "religious freedom vs. gay marriage contest" for the first time since the Supreme Court ruled on the issue last June. Supporters say if SJR 39 were to take effect, it would ban government discrimination against people of faith because of their beliefs about marriage. Schools and charities, for example, would be protected from losing access to government programs because of their beliefs about marriage.

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Filed under: Religious freedomHeritage FoundationLegislation

US Commission on Civil Rights Fails to Understand Religious Liberty Laws

Daily Signal commentary by Jane Clark Scharl

April 27, 2016

The commission says Tennessee's H.B. 1840, which was passed by the legislature and is awaiting the governor's decision, "will permit mental health professionals to deny counseling services to LGBT people based upon ‘sincerely held religious beliefs."' The dissent more accurately describes the bill, which allows counselors or therapists whose beliefs "conflict with a potential client's ‘goals, outcomes or behaviors' to decline to offer counseling/therapy to that potential client, provided that he or she refers the potential client to someone who will." Far from denying service, the bill actually "decreases the likelihood" that someone seeking counseling or therapy will be "saddled with a counselor or therapist" whose beliefs don't align with the potential client's counseling goals.

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Filed under: Religious freedomAlliance Defending FreedomHomosexuality

Tennessee Governor Signs Religious Counseling Bill Into Law

ABC News

April 27, 2016

Tennessee's Republican governor said Wednesday that he signed a bill into law that allows mental health counselors to refuse to treat patients based on the therapist's religious or personal beliefs. "As a professional I should have the right to decide if my clients end goals don't match with my beliefs - I should have the right to say somebody else can better serve them," Gov. Bill Haslam said in a phone interview with The Associated Press. "Lawyers can do that, doctors can do that. Why would we take this one class of professionals and say you can't do that?"

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Filed under: Religious freedomLegislation

Seven Questions About Transgender People, Answered

The Federalist

April 26, 2016

Dr. Paul McHugh’s conclusion corresponds with a strong body of research, two examples here and here. These studies show that from 2 to 27 percent of children with gender dysphoria (feeling their gender does not match their biology) retain that perspective by the time they reach puberty (meaning 73 to 98 percent of these children revert to a desire to match their birth sex). This is the primary reason the major clinicians who work with such children in the Americas and Europe do not recommend that parents facilitate their children’s desire to transition to the other gender before puberty. It would require a troubling and traumatic “second transition” back to their natural gender when they do desist.

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Filed under: Gender

Christian baker loses appeal in same-sex wedding cake case

World magazine

April 26, 2016

"We asked the Colorado Supreme Court to take this case to ensure that government understands that its duty is to protect the people's freedom to follow their beliefs personally and professionally, not force them to violate those beliefs as the price of earning a living," Jeremy Tedesco, senior counsel for Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), the legal group representing Philips, said in a statement released Monday. In 2012, Charlie Craig and David Mullins requested Philips bake them a custom wedding cake to celebrate their Massachusetts marriage. Philips declined, citing his religious convictions, but recommended another bakery nearby. Craig and Mullins filed a complaint with the Colorado Civil Rights Commission, which eventually ruled against Philips in 2014.

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Filed under: Religious freedomAlliance Defending FreedomHomosexuality

Is Religious Liberty Biblical?

Institute for Faith, Work, and Economics commentary by Hugh Whelchel

April 25, 2016

Sir William Blackstone, an English law expert, argued that English common law had its roots in God's law. Blackstone's views influenced many of America's Founders; Jefferson's appeal to the "law of nature and of nature's God" in the Declaration of Independence is a reference to Blackstone's thought. Recognizing the importance of both natural law and the Bible, Blackstone noted in one of his writings that, "Upon these two foundations, the law of nature and the law of revelation, depend all human laws; that is to say, no human laws should be suffered to contradict these."

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Filed under: CommentariesReligious freedom

Stand with the Persecuted Sunday

Family Research Council

April 14, 2016

We are calling on churches across America to observe April 17, 2016 as Stand with the Persecuted Sunday.  Please make time during your weekend services to view a brief, 2-minute video, distribute a special bulletin insert, and spend time in prayer for our persecuted brothers and sisters internationally.  While believers face growing hostility in America, we have experienced nothing like the mistreatment, displacement, violence, rape, crucifixions, and beheadings experienced by followers of Jesus in Iraq, Syria, Libya, other parts of the Middle East and beyond.  We are honored to partner with ministries like Open Doors USAThe Voice of the MartyrsInstitute on Religion and DemocracyIn Defense of ChristiansChristian Solidarity Worldwide-USAInternational Christian Concern21st Century Wilberforce, and others who are highlighting the plight of the persecuted.  Please urge your pastor and church to join us on Sunday, April 17 and Stand with the Persecuted.

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Filed under: Religious freedomPersecution

DeMint: America needs more governors like Phil Bryant

USA Today commentary by Jim DeMint

April 12, 2016

In the face of corporate bullying and vitriolic, misleading opposition from progressive groups, Gov. Bryant and the Mississippi state legislature courageously protected the religious liberty of their fellow citizens-liberties that have been under assault all around the country. In a sensible world, the Protecting Freedom of Conscience from Government Discrimination Act shouldn't have taken much bravery to sign. All it does is reaffirm First Amendment rights that religious orders, schools, and businesses have enjoyed for 227 years. It doesn't give anyone a license to discriminate, and it doesn't victimize anybody. But this is not a sensible world.

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Filed under: CommentariesReligious freedomHeritage Foundation

ADF intervenors on victory over ACLU:"No American should be forced to commit an abortion"

Freedom2Care blog / ADF news release

April 12, 2016

The Alliance Defending Freedom news release below highlights an important case that illustrates just how far some will go to force abortion ideology on those who would protect the unborn. Thanks to colleagues Matt Bowman and Kevin Theriot for their typically excellent work in this case. "Those who doubt that anyone would ever try to force someone to commit an abortion need only look at this case," explained ADF Senior Counsel Matt Bowman. "This is precisely what the ACLU sought to do. The court came to the right conclusion in putting an end to their quest. The ruling relies on important case law that our pro-life medical group clients cited showing that the ACLU's case was based on pure speculation."

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Filed under: CourtsAbortionAlliance Defending Freedom

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