Freedom of faith, conscience and speech

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Lawsuit Challenges Federal Regulation Forcing Doctors to Provide Gender Transition Treatment for Children

CNS News

November 14, 2016

The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty has filed a lawsuit on behalf of the state of North Dakota and health providers challenging a federal regulation that would force doctors and others to perform gender transition procedures on children even if it's believed these procedures could harm a child. "No doctor should be forced to perform a procedure that he or she believes will harm a child," said Lori Windham, senior counsel of the fund. "Decisions on a child's medical treatment should be between families and their doctors, not dictated by politicians and government bureaucrats."

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Filed under: Becket FundGenderHealthcare

Donald Trump Provides Details of Health Care Policies

US News & World Report

November 11, 2016

The transition team of President-elect Donald Trump has released an outline of his health care proposals with details of his intention to repeal President Barack Obama's health care law. The proposals on the website have been previously articulated by Republicans, and the posts included other conservative policies on issues like abortion. The post said new administration will "protect individual conscience in health care" and "protect innocent human life from conception to natural death, including the most defenseless and those Americans with disabilities." Andrew Bremberg, who worked at the Department of Health and Human Services under former President George W. Bush, will be leading the transition effort for the agency under Trump's administration. (HHS job seekers: Three steps to landing a job in the new administration)

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Filed under: Conscience freedomHealthcare

Make Religious Freedom Great Again

Public Discourse commentary by Ryan T. Anderson

November 11, 2016

The reduction of religious liberty to mere freedom of worship is a hallmark of the Obama years. Houses of worship, for example, were exempted from the HHS Obamacare contraception and abortifacient mandate. But religious schools, like Wheaton College, and religious charities and communities, such as the Little Sisters of the Poor, were merely "accommodated"-offered a different way to comply with the mandate while still violating their beliefs. A Trump administration can fix this right away. President-Elect Trump can instruct his Secretary of Health and Human Services to provide robust religious liberty protections to the HHS mandate. And Congress can pass legislation, which Trump can sign, to repeal and replace Obamacare. Likewise, the Obama administration has engaged in a series of executive actions-some of which were likely unlawful-to advance a radical transgender agenda. This, too, Trump can end.


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Filed under: Religious freedomHeritage FoundationGender

State-Sanctioned Discrimination in Georgia

Family Research Council commentary by Mandi Ancalle

November 4, 2016

Two African-American Christian men have been fired from their roles serving the state and its municipalities for holding religious views about human sexuality. People with sincere religious views are now being marginalized in Georgia, where just last year, Governor Nathan Deal vetoed a religious liberty bill saying, "I find it ironic that today some in the religious community feel it necessary to ask the government to confer upon them certain rights and protections." The legislature can easily address the concerns of Dr. Walsh, Fire Chief Cochran, and Georgians across the state, particularly as it relates to their religious views about human sexuality by passing the Government Non-Discrimination Act.

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Filed under: Family Research CouncilLegislationHomosexuality

Defending conscience rights at Hacksaw Ridge and in the HHS cases

First Things commentary by Matthew Kacsmaryk

November 4, 2016

On May 18, 2016, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued its Final Rule implementing Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Like previous federal laws, Section 1557 forbids healthcare providers from discriminating against individuals due to their race, color, national origin, sex, age, or disability. Unlike previous federal laws, however, the new Section 1557 rule redefines the protected class "sex" to include three new categories not listed in the original non-discrimination statutes: (1) "gender identity," (2) "sex stereotyping," and (3) "termination of pregnancy"-with no express religious exemption or accommodation for conscience rights. In the three months since Section 1557 took effect, the ACLU has filed lawsuits against Catholic healthcare providers Dignity Health (California) and Ascension Health (Michigan). 

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Filed under: Religious freedomFirst LibertyGender

The War On Wedding Vendors Is Ultimately A War On Free Thought

The Federalist commentary by James Gottry

November 3, 2016

Our First Amendment freedom is functionally meaningless when it is reduced to the "right" to express government-approved views. Throw in a simultaneous prohibition on all expression that hasn't received the government's stamp of approval, and you have the makings of George Orwell's "1984," where even beliefs are controlled. Indeed, to forbid people from articulating beliefs and peacefully acting consistently with those beliefs is, at its core, an attempt to forbid the beliefs themselves. As the Supreme Court has held, "First Amendment freedoms are most in danger when the government seeks to control thought...The right to think is the beginning of freedom, and speech must be protected from the government because speech is the beginning of thought."

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Filed under: Religious freedomMarriageFree speech

Therapists Addressing Same-Sex Attractions are Joining the SAFE-T Patrol

FRC blog by Peter Sprigg

November 1, 2016

If you follow news about the LGBT movement, you may have heard that there are major efforts underway to ban "conversion therapy." There are a number of serious problems with this effort-one of which is that no one who engages in the process of helping people overcome unwanted same-sex attractions refers to it as "conversion therapy." The new term is Sexual Attraction Fluidity Exploration in Therapy-or "SAFE-T" for short. By stressing therapeutic exploration, the new term accurately conveys that the therapist is not being coercive but merely assisting individuals in a client-centered examination of their sexual attractions. Scientifically, the fluidity of sexual orientation (and, for our purposes, especially same-sex attractions) for many men and women is now beyond question. The language of SAFE-T highlights this reality and points to human experience that cannot be denied.

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Filed under: Family Research CouncilFree speechHomosexuality

Returning Power to the Patient: A 10-Point Prescription

Freedom2Care blog post by Jonathan Imbody

November 1, 2016

The following ten steps outline in broad strokes an approach that a new administration and Congress can take to begin to build a healthcare system driven by proven medical and economic principles.... 7. Enforce the bipartisan conscience laws that protect some of our best doctors from discrimination and job loss simply because they follow the Hippocratic oath and won't participate in abortions, or because they base their decisions about controversial treatments on medical evidence and not government social policy.

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Filed under: Christian Medical AssociationConscience freedomHealthcare

Obama Threatens to Veto Military Bill Because It Protects Religious Groups

Daily Signal commentary by Roger Severino and Melanie Israel

October 27, 2016

Included in the House version of the National Defense Authorization Act is an amendment offered by Rep. Steve Russell, R-Okla., that applies decades-old religious exemptions from Title VII of the Civil Rights Act (1964) and the Americans with Disabilities Act (1990) to federal grants and contracts. The Russell Amendment is sound policy that will prevent the administration from stripping contracts and grants from faith-based social service providers whose internal staffing policies reflect their faith. Jewish day schools and Catholic adoption centers, for example, are not liable under Title VII for being authentically Jewish or Catholic, and their staffing policies shouldn't disqualify them from federal grants and contracts either. But Obama's veto threat is actually the strongest proof of why the Russell Amendment is needed.

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Filed under: Religious freedomLegislationMilitary

Challenging transgender quackery

The Washington Times editorial

October 27, 2016

Rule-makers in Washington, however, want to require doctors to perform "gender-reassignment" procedures even when their professional judgment says no. Political fashion shouldn't trump sound medicine. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) rule, which took effect in July, was challenged last week in a U.S. District Court in Texas by a wide-ranging coalition of church-affiliated hospitals and doctors, and eight states. "With a single stroke of the pen, HHS has created massive new liability for thousands of doctors unless they cast aside their professional judgment, convictions and common sense to perform procedures that can be deeply harmful to their patients," wrote the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, representing plaintiffs from Texas, Wisconsin, Nebraska, Kentucky, Kansas, Louisiana, Arizona, and Mississippi.

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Filed under: Christian Medical AssociationBecket FundGender

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