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High School: Students May Not Pray or Mention Jesus

Todd Starnes

June 13, 2017

Moriah Bridges wanted to thank God for His immeasurable blessings on Beaver High School's graduating class. But she could not, because she was told it was against the law. "The selected students may still address their class and indicate the things that they wish/hope for their class, but they may not do it in the style of a prayer and most certainly may not recite a prayer that excludes other religions (by ending ‘in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ" or "in the matchless name of Jesus,'" principal Steven Wellendorf wrote to Moriah in a letter. "The last lesson this school district taught its students is that they should hide their religious beliefs from public view," First Liberty Institute attorney Jeremy Dys told me. "That fails the test of the First Amendment. School officials - in violation of the First Amendment - forced Moriah to censor her personal remarks during the closing exercise of her commencement ceremony merely because of the religious viewpoint of her remarks," the attorney said.

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Filed under: Free speechEducationFirst Liberty

Trump's Rule on the HHS Contraceptive Mandate Ensures Religious Freedom for All

Inside Sources commentary by Travis Weber

June 12, 2017

A recently leaked draft rule indicating President Trump's response to President Barack Obama's oppressive contraceptive mandate made the rounds. In short, if it becomes the final rule, it is a big win for religious freedom. For nearly seven years, numerous for-profit and non-profit entities, religious institutions and others with conscientious objections to being forced to provide contraceptives and drugs and devices that can destroy human embryos have asked the federal government for a way out of providing them. They only asked to not be put in a position where they have to choose, as a price of following their conscience, between paying crippling fines that could shut them down or dropping the health care for all their employees. The draft rule simply tries to address all concerns. Organizations that want to provide contraceptives can, and the very few organizations that do not want to do not have to - in which case, the objectionable drugs and devices will still be provided, but from another source, such as a third-party administrator.

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Filed under: ContraceptionFamily Research CouncilConscience freedom

Bernie Sanders testing the boundaries of a religious test

Fox News

June 9, 2017

Bernie Sanders blasted nominee Russell Vought over his writings concerning Islam, calling them Islamophobia.
Vought, President Trump's pick for Deputy Director of the Office of Management and Budget, sparred with the former Democratic presidential candidate over an online article he wrote defending the Christian School Wheaton College for firing political science professor Larycia Hawkins in 2015. Sanders said. "But this country is made up of people who are not just... I understand Christianity is a majority religion but there are people of other religions in this country and around the world in your judgement do you think that people who are not Christians are going to be condemned?" Vought responded, "Thank you for probing on that point. As a Christian, I believe that all individuals are made in the image of God and are worthy of dignity and respect regardless of their religious beliefs." Muslim groups, along with the American Civil Liberties Union, have sided with Sanders. But critics have held up Article VI of the United States Constitution which says there should be no religious test to hold political office. And they accused Sanders of doing just that.

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Remarks by President Trump at the Faith and Freedom Coalition

White House Transcript

June 8, 2017

We're here today to celebrate two values that have always been linked together, and where Ralph [Reed], frankly, has done such a great job in linking them: faith and freedom. Our religious liberty is enshrined in the very First Amendment in the Bill of Rights. The American Founders invoked our Creator four times in the Declaration of Independence. Don't worry, we're not going to let them change it. (Laughter and applause.) You see what goes on nowadays, right? Benjamin Franklin reminded his colleagues at the Constitutional Convention to begin by bowing their heads in prayer. Inscribed on our currency are the words: "In God We Trust." And we proudly proclaim that we are "One Nation Under God," every time we say the Pledge of Allegiance. You just heard a brave six-year-old patriot named Christian Jacobs beautifully recite that Pledge of Allegiance. I first met Christian last week, after the Memorial Day ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery, where we honor and remember the American patriots who made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom.

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Filed under: Religious freedomPersecution

The Man Behind Trump's Religious-Freedom Agenda for Health Care

The Atlantic

June 7, 2017

Roger Severino, the newly appointed head of its Office for Civil Rights, leads the office that could shape the future of two of the most high-stakes aspects of the health-care debate: abortion and contraception access and LGBT rights. OCR, as it's known, is responsible for investigating civil-rights violations in health-care settings, including discrimination on the basis of race, sex, religion, and national origin. Under Barack Obama, HHS faced religious objections to the Affordable Care Act's requirement that most employers cover birth control in their insurance plans, and OCR has dealt with the fall-out of those fights. It developed strict requirements for the language services hospitals have to provide to non-English speakers. Most controversially, it was responsible for interpreting Section 1557, the part of the health-care law that prohibits discrimination.

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Filed under: Religious freedomContraceptionGender

Draft HHS Rule a Win for Religious Freedom

Members of Congress news release

June 7, 2017

Today, Congressman Diane Black (R-TN-06) joined with Reps. Jackie Walorski (R-IN-02), Martha Roby (R-AL-02), Virginia Foxx (R-NC-05) and Vicky Hartzler (R-MO-04) praising the leaked Health and Human Services (HHS) regulation that would exempt employers from providing contraceptive coverage for employees on the basis of moral or religious objection. Black, Walorski, Roby, Foxx and Hartzler released the following statements: "Obamacare has devastated religious organizations, schools, and businesses, forcing them to cover abortion-related services that violate their religious beliefs. Protecting religious liberty is a foundational principle of this country, and this draft rule is a victory against President Obama's assault on people of faith nationwide. Americans will no longer have to seek a burdensome exemption from the heavy hand of government, they will be left alone to practice their religion as they choose," said Congressman Black. "This leaked draft provides important exemptions for organizations with religious or moral objections to the HHS mandate," said Congresswoman Hartzler, who chairs the House Values Action Team. "In other words, religious charities like the Little Sisters of the Poor, faith-based universities, family-owned businesses, and individuals with moral objections will now be able to provide employees with health care policies consistent with their conscience and the organizations' mission.

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Filed under: Religious freedomCongressContraception

CMA Doctors Laud Administration's Common Sense Approach to Contraceptives and the First Amendment

Christian Medical Association news release

June 1, 2017

The nation's largest faith-based association of doctors, the Christian Medical Association (www.cmda.org), today urged the Trump administration to follow through on a promised common sense contraceptives policy, outlined in a document leaked yesterday, that accommodates First Amendment freedom of religious exercise. Referring to the new policy draft, CMA CEO Dr. David Stevens noted, "The new common-sense policy makes clear that the federal government can and must pursue programs and establish policies in the context of respecting our First Amendment freedoms. Freedom2Care Director Jonathan Imbody noted, "If we let the government box in the faith community with unconstitutional restrictions on First Amendment freedom of religion like the Obama administration did, other administrations likewise can water down our freedom of speech, our freedom of the press and our freedom of assembly and petition. A threat to the First Amendment freedoms of one group is a threat to the First Amendment freedoms of every American."

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Filed under: Religious freedomContraceptionChristian Medical Association

More people are getting 'sex change' surgeries than ever before ... but it's not what you think

LifeSiteNews

May 25, 2017

The Christian Medical Association, a national organization of Christian healthcare professionals, currently has a case before the circuit court in Texas concerning the HHS transgender mandate, which essentially coerces medical professionals to provide services that they deem to be not in their patients' best interest. Dr. David Stevens, the association's CEO, is concerned about the trend toward increased medical interventions for gender dysphoric youth. Stevens told LifeSiteNews that kids "lack the cognitive ability to give informed consent to procedures like this." Whether they be hormone treatments or surgical procedures, these interventions have lifelong ramifications. "Among individuals who identify as transgender, use cross-sex hormones, and undergo sex reassignment surgery, there is well-documented increased incidence of depression, anxiety, suicidal ideation, substance abuse, and risky sexual behaviors. Eighty to 85 percent of the time, these kids revert to their biological sex after they go through puberty."

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Filed under: Christian Medical AssociationGenderHealthcare

Victory for Vermont health professionals after pro-suicide group drops appeal

Alliance Defending Freedom

May 23, 2017

A pro-suicide group has dropped its appeal of a federal court's decision which affirmed that a Vermont law can't be interpreted to require pro-life health professionals to counsel or refer patients for assisted suicide. As a result, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit officially dismissed the appeal Monday, thus ending the case. The withdrawal of the appeal by Compassion & Choices leaves in place a consent agreement between physician groups and the Vermont Attorney General's office, which agreed that the court was correct in deciding that the state's Act 39 does not force conscientious professionals to ensure all "terminal" patients are informed about the availability of doctor-prescribed death. Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys and ADF-allied attorney Michael Tierney represent the Vermont Alliance for Ethical Healthcare and the Christian Medical Association, groups of medical professionals who wish to abide by their oath to "do no harm." “Vermont health care workers just want to act consistently with their reasonable and time-honored convictions without fear of government punishment,” said ADF Senior Counsel Steven H. Aden.

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Filed under: Christian Medical AssociationAlliance Defending FreedomAsst. suicide/Euthanasia

At seminary graduation, high court's Alito warns of waning respect for religious liberty

newsworks

May 17, 2017

Efforts nationally to erode "traditional moral values" vilify Catholics as bigots and threaten religious liberty for all Americans, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Anthony Alito Jr. said Wednesday during a graduation ceremony at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Wynnewood. Quoting his dissent in Obergefell vs. Hodges, the landmark case legalizing same-sex marriage, he said: "I assume that those who cling to old beliefs will be able to whisper their thoughts in the recesses of their homes, but if they repeat those views in public, they will risk being labeled as bigots and treated as such by governments, employers, and schools." Alito spoke of Christian persecution and prejudice through the centuries, saying: "History never repeats itself exactly, but it provides insight." But history is not finished with religious persecution, he added, citing an Italian study that found 90,000 Christians were killed for their faith around the world in 2016.

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Filed under: CourtsReligious freedomMarriage

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