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A New Defense for Religious Liberty: Going on Offense against Bad Laws

American Thinker commentary by David Rosenthal

November 18, 2016

The Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment is designed to ensure that all Americans may freely live out their faith. This is not limited to freedom of worship, but includes the heart, mind, and soul of religious people, thereby guiding how people act in the public square. When a law restricts that first freedom, the American conscience is put on trial. One way to preserve the American conscience is for individuals to preemptively put unjust laws on trial by way of pre-enforcement challenges. This ensures that the owner is not at risk of criminal or civil penalties for violating an ironically titled anti-discrimination law when faced with the challenge of being asked to participate in any practice that violates his conscience.

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Filed under: CourtsReligious freedomHeritage Foundation

Corporations Can Push Back Against Anti-Religious Freedom Activists

FRC blog commentary by Travis Weber

November 18, 2016

One important bit of recent religious liberty news which hasn't gotten much attention is the pushback by Proctor & Gamble shareholders against anti-religious freedom activists seeking to eliminate corporate neutrality and enlist large firms in their culture war exploits. This is a promising development, and shows that large corporations abandoning their neutrality and enlisting in the battle against religious freedom is not inevitable. When it was recently proposed that the "company should join Apple, PayPal, Disney, and others in the political fight against religious freedom laws in Mississippi and Tennessee and should take a stand against North Carolina's transgender restroom policy," 94% of shareholders rejected the idea. Such a rejection shows there is sanity in the corporate world, after all.

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Filed under: Family Research CouncilGender

Religious Liberty Protections Stripped From NDAA

Daily Signal commentary by Melanie Israel

November 18, 2016

Reports have surfaced that House and Senate members of the conference committee negotiating the final version of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) have caved to the Obama administration's veto threat and stripped the Russell Amendment, which would prevent the government from revoking contracts and grants from faith-based social service providers whose internal staffing policies reflect their faith, from the final version of the bill. The amendment, offered by Rep. Steve Russell, R-Okla., was originally included in the House-passed version of the NDAA and 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. In other words, it shouldn't have been controversial.

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Filed under: CommentariesReligious freedomLegislation

VIDEO: Religious Freedom and the Common Good: A Symposium

Sen. Ben Sasse et al at Religious Freedom Project in Georgetown

November 15, 2016

Our symposium explored the following: To what extent is religious liberty critical for human flourishing? When and how does it contribute to economic prosperity, democratization, and peace? What challenges face religious communities living under repressive governments or hostile social forces? How is the persecution of religion related to other infringements of basic human rights? What is the relationship between religious freedom and violent religious extremism, and is there a role for religious freedom in efforts to undermine radicalization and counter violent religious extremism and terrorism over the long term? Senator Ben Sasse (R-NE) delivered a keynote address on the promotion of international religious freedom as an urgent global imperative.

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Filed under: AudiovisualsReligious freedomPersecution

Trump Voters Impacted by "Religious Liberty" and "Unborn Human Life" Concerns

CNS News

November 14, 2016

The survey asked, "As you may know, the Republican party platform includes strong positions on unborn human life and religious liberty. How did this impact your presidential vote?" A majority - 51 percent - of total registered voters surveyed said these issues in the Republican platform impacted their presidential vote, and 59 percent of Trump voters said that this impacted their presidential vote, compared to 48 percent of Clinton voters. "The Republican Party's platform positions on unborn human life and religious liberty was the bridge between Donald Trump and Christian conservatives," FRC President Tony Perkins.

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Filed under: Religious freedomFamily Research CouncilElections

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

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