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Government to Farmers: Host Same-Sex Wedding or Pay a $13,000 Fine

Daily Signal commentary by Leslie Ford and Ryan Anderson

August 19, 2014

But the New York State Division of Human Rights doesn't see things this way. On August 8, it fined Cynthia and Robert Gifford $13,000 for acting on their belief that marriage is the union of a man and woman and thus declining to rent out their family farm for a same-sex wedding celebration. The Human Rights Commission ruled that "the nature and circumstances of the [Giffords's] violation of the Human Rights Law also warrants a penalty." This is coercive big government run amok.

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Filed under: CommentariesHeritage FoundationMarriage

Clashing visions threaten the mission of U.S. religious liberty panel

Deseret News

August 15, 2014

Thomas F. Farr, director of the Religious Freedom Project at Georgetown University's Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs, blasted the Durbin bill as one that "betrays an unfortunate ignorance of U.S. policy. The commission, even at its most effective, is not the central institution mandated to 'promote international religious freedom.' That is the State Department's job. And the senior official responsible for leading that policy does not (yet) exist, a sign of the remarkable indifference of this administration to the issue of religious persecution and its antidote, religious freedom."

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Filed under: Religious freedomFree speech

Federal Judge Strikes Down HHS Mandate for Baptist College

Citizen Link

August 14, 2014

"All Americans should oppose unjust laws that force people - under threat of punishment - to give up their freedom to live and work according to their beliefs," said ADF Senior Counsel Kevin Theriot. "Louisiana College is a Christian college that simply wants to continue to operate as a Christian college as it has since its founding in 1906. The court - in the first final ruling finding against the mandate that we are aware of - did the right thing in striking down the Obamacare abortion-pill mandate as it applies to Louisiana College's health insurance coverage."

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Filed under: LawsuitsContraceptionAlliance Defending Freedom

Judge Upholds State's Authority to Define Marriage as Union of Man and Woman

Daily Signal commentary by Ryan Anderson

August 12, 2014

The fundamental legal question is who gets to define marriage. Simmons ruled it "should be the prerogative of each State." The judge continued: "neither the Federal Government nor another state should be allowed to dictate to Tennessee what has traditionally been a state's responsibility, which is to provide a framework of laws to govern the safety and wellbeing of its citizens."

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Filed under: LawsuitsHeritage FoundationMarriage

U.S. Navy Removes Bibles from Hotel Guest Rooms

Citizen Link

August 12, 2014

"It's tiresome to see senior military leaders needlessly cave in to activist groups offended by anything Christian," said Chaplain Ron Crews, executive director of the group. "A Bible in a hotel room is no more illegal than a chaplain in the military. They are there for those who want them."

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Filed under: Religious freedomMilitary

Engaging Culture on All Fronts

Canon and Culture commentary by Rob Schwarzwalder

August 11, 2014

In other words, in addition to showing Christ's love in practical, hands-on ways through our churches, para-church and other ministries, and through individual acts of mercy for our Lord's sake, not to seek legal protection for the unborn and sound medical care for their mothers ... not to use the law to fight the commodification of women through sex trafficking and pornography ... not to use legal means to protect marriage as God designed it and to strengthen the family unit, which is the fundamental means by which we become healthy, functional, productive persons ... and not to work through legislation and the courts to sustain and defend the practice of religious conviction as well as the right of private conscience, recognizing that "freedom of religion" is the foundation of all of our other freedoms ... is to abandon a massive sphere of human experience to evil.

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Filed under: CommentariesReligious freedomFamily Research Council

Who gets to define marriage? Utah's marriage amendment and the Supreme Court

ERLC commentary by Andrew Walker

August 6, 2014

What's at stake in this debate-and what needs to be answered-is whether marriage is malleable or fixed; whether marriage is something subject to electoral opinion, or whether-like water-marriage has a definite composition. Or, to use Anderson, Gergis and George's terminology, whether marriage is conjugal or subject to revision. For if marriage is something; that is, whether it is intelligible and has a definite shape to it, then the question of whether same-sex attracted persons can enter into something that they're not apt to enter, becomes irrelevant.

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Filed under: CommentariesMarriageSouthern Baptist Convention

Legal Group Asks IRS to Release Docs in Atheist Settlement to Investigate Churches

Christian News

August 3, 2014

But the Christian legal organization Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) says that the public deserves to know what procedures the IRS has set in place as to who will be investigated and how. "Secrecy breeds mistrust, and the IRS should know this in light of its recent scandals involving the investigation of conservative groups," said ADF Litigation Counsel Christiana Holcomb. "We are asking the IRS to disclose the new protocols and procedures it apparently adopted for determining whether to investigate churches. What it intends to do to churches must be brought into the light of day."

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Filed under: Religious freedomAlliance Defending FreedomTax

Government Should Stop Discriminating Against Religious Adoption Agencies

Daily Signal commentary by Sarah Torre and Ryan Anderson

August 1, 2014

On Wednesday,, Rep. Mike Kelly, R-Pa., and Sen. Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., introduced the Child Welfare Provider Inclusion Act, which would protect the right of child welfare providers, including private and faith-based adoption and foster care agencies, to continue providing valuable services to families and children. The federal government and states receiving certain federal child welfare funds would be prohibited from discriminating against a child welfare provider simply because the provider declines to provide a service that conflicts with their religious or moral convictions.

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Filed under: CommentariesReligious freedom

State Department Releases Report on International Religious Freedom

Acton Institute commentary by Joe Carter

August 1, 2014

Once again, North Korea stands out as the worst offender for "its absolute prohibition of religious organizations and harsh punishments for any unauthorized religious activities." Other countries of note were Saudi Arabia, Iran and Sudan - each of which put severe restrictions on members of religious groups that did not conform to the state-approved religion - as well as China, Cuba, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan, countries where religious activity was only lawful if explicitly authorized by the state. Reports on each of the countries can be found here.

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Filed under: CommentariesReligious freedomPersecution

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