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A Line Has Been Crossed; It's Time to Sound the Alarm on Religious Liberty

Breakpoint Commentary

October 21, 2014

Last week I told you that Houston’s Mayor, Annise Parker, demanded to see the sermons of a group of five pastors and threatened them with a subpoena. Why? Because the pastors had objected to a new so-called “equal rights” ordinance that would allow self-identified “transgendered” men to use women’s restrooms. That’s an issue all its own. But as bad as that is, the Houston mayor’s shocking and outrageous trampling on the religious liberty of these pastors is far, far more disturbing.  In fact, for someone in government to demand that pastors turn over their sermons is almost beyond belief. I confess I almost thought I was reading something out of my own book on Dietrich Bonhoeffer, where I describe how the Gestapo tried to harass and intimidate Martin Niemoller and other German pastors speaking the truth from their pulpits.

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Filed under: CommentariesReligious freedomFree speech

Homosexual Marriage: A Watershed Issue for Evangelicals

The Christian Post commentary by Rob Schwarzwalder

October 20, 2014

Even as Evangelicals gently but firmly speak the truth about God's teaching regarding human sexual conduct, they need to extend the mercy of Christ to the homosexual men and women God brings into their lives. If Evangelicals have homosexual neighbors, they need to treat them with the same warmth and respect they should treat anyone else. If their kids become friends with children raised by same-sex couples, those little ones should be welcomed as eagerly as any other child. If one's homosexual colleague is in the hospital, visit him, do his yard work, drive him home, and so on. Yet law and public policy are different matters. Just as water does not collect atop an apex - it flows down one side or the other - so there are only two sides to the debate over legal recognition of same-sex marriage.

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Filed under: CommentariesFamily Research CouncilHomosexuality

A Collective Hope for Persecuted Christians in November

The Christian Post commentary by David Curry

October 16, 2014

Today we cannot overlook the fact that approximately 100 million Christians still live under oppression and persecution for expressing their faith in Jesus. Christians living under oppressive regimes cannot walk down the road holding a Bible, read it in freedom, choose for themselves the faith they wish to follow, or express their faith in an open marketplace of ideas without fear of persecution or death. In places like North Korea, ranked highest on Open Doors' World Watch List of countries that persecute Christians, is where more than 70,000 Christians live and work in labor camps for the crime of trying to practice their faith. Or in places like Iraq and Syria, where Jihadist rebels from the Islamic State have pushed Christ-followers from their homes, tried to force conversion to Islam, and tortured and killed people for their faith. But Christians in the West can do something to help. We can let those living under persecution know that they are not forgotten.

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Filed under: CommentariesReligious freedomPersecution

Why not just hand the sermons over?

Moore to the Point

October 16, 2014

In our system of government, the ultimate "king" is the people. As citizens, we bear responsibility for electing officials, for speaking to laws that are made in our name, and for setting precedents by our actions. Shrugging this off is not the equivalent of Jesus standing silently before Pilate. It's the equivalent of Pilate washing his hands, so as not to bear accountability for our own decisions and precedents set. When the government acts, legal precedents are set. By complying with this unjust decree, Christians would be binding future people and institutions, including those who are the most powerless to stand against such things. If the government can scrutinize the preaching of Christian churches on sexual matters in Houston, the same government could do the reverse in, say, Amarillo.

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Filed under: CommentariesFree speechSouthern Baptist Convention

Pulpit Freedom participation exceeds 1,800 pastors, continues through Election Day

Alliance Defending Freedom

October 15, 2014

More than 1,800 pastors in all 50 states plus Puerto Rico have participated so far in the Alliance Defending Freedom seventh annual Pulpit Freedom Sunday event, which began this year on Oct. 5. Of those participating, 1,517 preached sermons presenting biblical perspectives on the positions of electoral candidates and signed a statement agreeing that the IRS should not control the content of a pastor’s sermon. “The tax-collecting IRS shouldn’t be playing speech cop and threatening a church’s tax-exempt status simply because its pastor exercises his constitutionally protected freedom of speech,” said ADF Senior Legal Counsel Erik Stanley, who heads the Pulpit Freedom Sunday event.

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Filed under: Religious freedomAlliance Defending FreedomFree speech

Churches forced to cover abortion file federal complaint against Calif. agency

Alliance Defending Freedom

October 9, 2014

Life Legal Defense Foundation and Alliance Defending Freedom filed a formal complaint Thursday with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services over the California Department of Managed Health Care's decision to force all employers, including churches, to pay for elective abortions in their health insurance plans. LLDF and ADF represent seven California churches that object to offering their employees insurance plans covering elective abortions and allege that DMHC's coercion of abortion coverage violates federal law. LLDF Legal Director Catherine Short noted,"DMHC would have us believe that, while the Legislature exempted these churches from the state's contraceptive coverage mandate, it nonetheless intended to force them to cover all abortions under the rubric of 'basic health care.'"

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Filed under: AbortionAlliance Defending FreedomLife Legal Defense Foundation

The Defense of Marriage Isn’t Over

Daily Signal commentary by Ryan T. Anderson

October 7, 2014

Marriage is too important to allow unelected judges to redefine it without a fight. Even if the umpires are colluding with the other team, that's no reason to allow them an unopposed victory. Even if many of the courts of law are biased, we can still win in some of them-indeed many who favor redefining marriage think the 6th Circuit Court will uphold Ohio and Michigan's marriage laws, and the battle continues in other circuits, including the 5th Circuit which will review Texas and Louisiana's law (a federal judge recently upheld Louisiana's law). And the composition of the Supreme Court might well change for the better before the Court ends up actually deciding the marriage question.

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Filed under: CourtsHeritage FoundationMarriage

Meet the Lawyers Fighting for Religious Freedom Today Before the Supreme Court

Time Magazine

October 7, 2014

A small, non-profit public interest law firm, with just eleven litigating attorneys and a $5 million annual budget, the Fund is a rising star in Washington. Its lawyers are most famous for arguing the often politically incorrect view that the constitution’s protection of the free exercise of religion has been eclipsed in recent years by government deference to other parts of the constitution. That’s no easy task, since arguments over religious liberty can be some of the thorniest, and most heated, in America. But the Becket lawyers are shaking up Washington for a simple reason: they win. Over 20 years, Becket has won 85% of its cases–from 1920-2000, the ACLU averaged a little over 65% in religion cases at the Supreme Court.

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Filed under: CourtsReligious freedomBecket Fund

Following evangelicals, traditional Catholics create a health insurance alternative

Religion News Service

October 6, 2014

Taking a cue from evangelicals, a group of traditionalist Catholics on Thursday (Oct. 2) unveiled a cost-sharing network that they say honors their values and ensures that they are not even indirectly supporting health care services such as abortion that contradict their beliefs. Christ Medicus Foundation CURO, as the group is called, will be financially integrated with Samaritan Ministries International, which was launched in 1991 by an evangelical home-schooling dad. The SMI network now serves 125,000 people and is exempt from the Affordable Care Act. "Think about the Gospels and how the Apostles lived," said CMF CURO director Louis A. Brown Jr. at the program's Washington, D.C., debut. "They very much shared and cared for each other.

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Filed under: Religious freedomContraceptionConscience freedom

Conscience & Abortion in California

National Catholic Reporter

October 3, 2014

A new requirement from the state of California's Department of Managed Health Care (DMHC) demands that all health insurance plans in the state, except self-insured plans and those covered by ERISA, cover elective abortions, including late term abortions, labeling such procedures a "basic health service." "The ACA is very clear on this, recognizing the divisiveness of this issue and it respected pluralism of opinions about abortion," said Bill Cox, President of the Alliance of Catholic Health Care, in a phone interview yesterday.

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Filed under: AbortionReligious freedomConscience freedom

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