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Tax Exemption for Churches: An American Value, a Social Imperative

Family Research Council commentary by Rob Schwarzwalder

August 13, 2015

Tax exemption for churches protects religious entities from the state. Giving government authority to tax religious entities not only breaches the protective wall of separation that guards the church from the state, but effectively knocks that wall down. Religious values have long infused American public life and law, yet as institutions, church and state are distinct institutionally. Giving any government, whether federal, state, or local, the legal authority to tax property belonging to religious entities is only a first step toward making churches institutionally subservient to that government.

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Filed under: Religious freedomFamily Research CouncilTax

And Here We Thought We'd Lost the War

National Review commentary by David French

August 13, 2015

If there is one thing that I thought I'd learned over the past few weeks, it's that history has a "side," and I don't happen to be on it. Imagine my confusion when I discovered that since the Supreme Court's Obergefell decision, three separate polls showed that support for same-sex marriage had declined. Not only that, but almost six in ten Americans now support the right of religious business owners to decline to participate in same-sex weddings - a sharp increase.

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Filed under: Religious freedomPollingMarriage

4 Reasons We Must Protect Freedom for Everyone After Supreme Court's Marriage Ruling

Daily Signal commentary by Ryan T. Anderson

August 6, 2015

Religious freedom isn't just for non-profits. Again, the pro-life movement's example is instructive. It protected pro-life conscience across the board, not just for non-profits, because opening a business (even as an ob-gyn doctor) shouldn't require leaving your principles behind. Thanks to its efforts, people of deep religious or secular conviction concerning the moral worth of unborn children can serve as doctors, nurses and medical workers without being forced to perform abortions.

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Filed under: Religious freedomHeritage FoundationMarriage

The Decline--and Fall?--of Religious Freedom in America

Mosaic commentary by Bruce Abramson

August 3, 2015

In fact, the First Amendment makes no mention of either "deeply held religious beliefs" or "institutions of faith." Those terms relate to the freedom of worship: the unfettered right to pray in whatever way one chooses to pray. But the First Amendment does not guarantee the freedom of worship; it guarantees the free exercise of religion-a much broader concept that explicitly includes the right to lead a faith-based life and to behave in a manner that faith dictates and eschew choices that faith prohibits. The distinction between the two concepts is profound, and it comes into sharp focus whenever contemporary mores and religious doctrines point in opposite directions. If contemporary society can define morality, and the state promulgates a law embodying that definition, to what extent should the law also tolerate the behavior of those who follow contradictory religious codes?

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Filed under: CommentariesReligious freedomLegislation

How the Supreme Court's Redefinition of Marriage Affects Religious Schools

Family Research Council webcast

August 1, 2015

The recent ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court which redefines marriage for legal purposes is a landmark decision that has wide-ranging implications for religious liberty. Hear from legal experts, education leaders, and a member of Congress as they equip you for the road ahead for religious education in light of Obergefell v. Hodges. Maureen Van Den Berg, American Association of Christian Schools: "Of grave concern to us is the recent Supreme Court decision and the effects it will have on the religious liberty of our schools to continue." (orig. air date 7/23/15)

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Gay Rights May Come at the Cost of Religious Freedom

The Atlantic commentary by Emma Green

August 1, 2015

The Supreme Court's ruling in favor of same-sex marriage at the end of June has set the country up for two new waves of discrimination claims: those made by same-sex couples and LGBT workers, and those made by religious Americans who oppose same-sex marriage. The two may seem distinct or even opposed, but they're actually intertwined: In certain cases, extending new rights to LBGT workers will necessarily lead to religious-freedom objections, and vice versa. One arena to keep an eye on is that of religious colleges and universities. Some leaders at Christian schools, including many that identify as evangelical, fear they may be stripped of their tax-exempt status, lose their access to federal funding, or face other problems because of their policies on homosexuality. (orig. pub. 7/27/15)

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Filed under: Religious freedomMarriageEducation

You Are Free to Believe, but Are You Free to Act?

Alliance Defending Freedom

July 31, 2015

Religious freedom is more than allowing diverse religions to coexist and the opportunity to attend church. It's the ability to act on the convictions of your faith. But today, people of faith are being censored and facing demands to violate their conscience. You should never be forced by the government to act in a way that is morally wrong, and Alliance Defending Freedom is fighting to ensure that you are free to live according to your faith. These are the stories of the men and women who, regardless of the consequences, chose to follow their conscience.

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IRS chief outlines process of revoking tax-exemption of faith-based schools

Video - Senate Judiciary subcommittee hearing

July 29, 2015

IRS Commissioner John Koskinen, under questioning by Sen. Mike Lee: "We would issue a regulation...for public comment. There would be no surprises. In other words, we're not sneaking up on anybody. Down the road, if the IRS ever moves in that would first issue a draft regulation. And that's not going to happen in the next two-and-a-half years."

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Filed under: TaxMarriageEducation

Wheaton College Refuses to Bow to Caesar's Demands

Acton Institute commentary by Joe Carter

July 29, 2015

During an information session for students last week that was streamed live online, Paul Chelsen, Wheaton's vice president of student development, said he regretted the last-minute decision and the hardship it brings. "What has brought us here is about student health insurance, but it's bigger than student health insurance," Chelsen said. "What really breaks my heart is that there are real people that are affected by our decision. But if we don't win this case, the implications down the road in terms of what the government will tell us what we can and cannot do will be potentially more significant.

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Filed under: CourtsObamacareContraception

Why Is Religious Freedom At Risk?

First Things commentary by Ryan T. Anderson

July 28, 2015

As recently as 1993, the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act was passed by a nearly unanimous Congress and signed by a Democratic president. Today, the same value is a political liability. Bakers, photographers, and florists are being ruined, adoption agencies shuttered, schools threatened with loss of accreditation and nonprofit status. So what happened? Why is religious liberty now losing so much ground? As I explain in my just-released book, Truth Overruled: The Future of Marriage and Religious Freedom, three historical developments explain our current predicament: a change in the scope of our government, a change in our sexual values, and a change in our political leaders’ vision of religious liberty. An adequate response will need to address each of these changes.

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Filed under: Religious freedomHeritage FoundationMarriage

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