Freedom of faith, conscience and speech

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Press coverage and commentaries: Freedom2Care In the News

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Churches are 'more free to speak' about elections than they think

LifeSite News by Claire Chretien

September 14, 2016

Churches are "much more free to speak and teach about elections than they tend to think that they are" and there are numerous resources to help them do so legally, Priests for Life National Director Father Frank Pavone told LifeSiteNews. Pavone, whose new book Proclaiming the Message of Life provides suggestions for priests to bring out pro-life themes in each Sunday's lectionary readings, said when it comes to churches and elections, "the basic distinction is between issue advocacy and candidate advocacy." Registering people to vote, driving people to the polls, and helping parishioners obtain absentee ballots if necessary are all safe for churches to do, Pavone said.

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Filed under: Priests for LifeElections

Setting the Record Straight on RFRA (Again)

Family Research Council blog by Trtavis Weber

September 8, 2016

The federal RFRA and almost all state RFRAs contain no such amendment. They’ve operated well for years, protecting individuals like the Muslim inmate highlighted in this article, and others. The article also implies that RFRA without the “fix” could not help the inmate: “After Pence’s “fix” the law became largely disarmed from doing what many critics said was its original discriminatory intent. In fact, the opposite happened, the law has since become an extra tool to fight against religious discrimination, [Professor] Katz said.” Yet a Muslim inmate bringing a claim under RFRA with the “fix” is not the “opposite” of what he could have done before the “fix.” The provision of RFRA he is using to bring his claim (the same provision which has been around since 1993 with little controversy) was not changed at all.

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Filed under: CommentariesReligious freedomFamily Research Council

Trampling on health care providers' consciences

Religion News Service commentary by Charles Camosy

September 6, 2016

A. Imagine you are a Christian physician in late first-century, pagan Rome when a patient comes to you with his just-born child who, because she is a girl, he wants you to kill by giving her hemlock. B. Imagine you are a Catholic physician living in Nazi Germany working in the psych ward of a Catholic hospital when a patient who initially asked you to admit his mentally ill daughter now asks you to kill her so she is no longer a drain on the Reich's resources. You cannot participate in either act, of course, without violating a fundamental part of who you are. But signatories of the Geneva statement would insist you either assist the patient in killing his child or refer your patient "to another practitioner who is willing" to help kill his child.

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Filed under: CommentariesConscience freedomHealthcare

Why a Nurse and a Pastor Object to Being Forced to Help Abort Babies

Daily Signal by Leah Jessen

September 4, 2016

A pastor and a nurse want Congress to pass legislation that would allow Americans the freedom to opt out of the abortion process. Chris Lewis, lead pastor of Foothill Church in Glendora, California, says his congregation doesn't want to be coerced into covering abortions on employee health insurance plans. Lewis spoke on Capitol Hill at a House forum in July on conscience rights, urging Congress to pass the Conscience Protection Act. Among about eight others who spoke was a nurse of 26 years, Fe Esperanza Racpan Vinoya. "I became a nurse to help people, but not to do harm," Vinoya said. In 2014, the state of California issued an order requiring all health insurance plans to cover abortion, without a religious exemption.

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Filed under: Conscience freedomLegislationHealthcare

ADF files lawsuit against Iowa Civil Rights Commission over church teaching on sex

ADF video

September 2, 2016

Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys representing an Iowa church filed a federal lawsuit against members of the Iowa Civil Rights Commission, among others, to stop the government from censoring the church's teaching on biblical sexuality and from forcing the church to open its restrooms and showers to members of the opposite sex.

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Filed under: VideosReligious freedomAlliance Defending Freedom

Protect Your Military Chaplains from a Bully

FRC blog by Chris Gacek

September 2, 2016

In attendance were several uniformed military chaplains. They included the Chief of Chaplains of the Air Force, Maj. Gen. (Chaplain) Dondi Costin, who delivered a benediction while in uniform. Several members of the House and one United States Senator were also in attendance. This allowed anti-Christian activist "Mikey" Weinstein an opportunity to attack Maj. Gen Costin and two other chaplains for their participation in the event by filing a complaint with the Inspector General of the Department of Defense, Glenn Fine. With typically histrionic and excessive rhetoric, Weinstein asked that all three be formally disciplined. Weinstein presents a pretext for attacking Rep. Forbes and the event based on the Congressman's opposition to the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," and his orthodox Christian beliefs about sexuality and marriage. Given Weinstein's longstanding track record of anti-Christian animus, his raising of LGBT issues is mere window-dressing.

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Filed under: Religious freedomCongressMilitary

Why Burkinis Should Matter To Christians Who Care About Religious Freedom

Christianity Today commentary by Ed Stetzer

August 31, 2016

If we don't speak out, Muslims in France will not be the only ones stripped of their religious liberty. We can't stand idly by today because it is not "our" religious liberty that is being trampled upon. Next time, as secularism continues its march across the West, it very well might be us. Religious liberty for some soon means religious liberty for none. I don't want Muslim women forced to strip off some of their clothes on the beaches of France under the watchful eye of the police. Or Catholic adoption agencies stripped of their participation in Massachusetts' adoption system because of their views of marriage. Or a baker stripped of her business because she did not want to participate in a wedding with which she disagrees.

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Filed under: CommentariesReligious freedom

Doctors Sue Obama Administration for Forcing Them to Perform Gender Transition Procedures

Daily Signal commentary by Kelsey Harkness

August 24, 2016

Five states and a group of religiously-affiliated hospitals and physicians are suing the Obama administration over a federal mandate that forces doctors to perform gender transition procedures on adults and children against their medical judgment. The lawsuit, filed Tuesday in a Texas federal court, attempts to roll back a rule imposed by the Department of Health and Human Services in May that expanded the interpretation of "sex" under the Affordable Care Act to include "gender identity." "It's a very rare moment in history when the government would force doctors to go against their conscience and their medical judgment and perform procedures that may be deeply harmful to patients," said Luke Goodrich, a lawyer at the Becket Fund, which is representing Franciscan Alliance, a religious hospital network, and the Christian Medical and Dental Associations, two of the parties involved the lawsuit.

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Filed under: CourtsChristian Medical AssociationBecket Fund

Texas and four other states file another lawsuit over Obama transgender rules

Dallas Morning News

August 23, 2016

Texas and four other Republican-led states filed another lawsuit Tuesday seeking to roll back the Obama administration's efforts to strengthen transgender rights, saying new federal nondiscrimination health rules could force doctors to act contrary to their medical judgment or religious beliefs. Joining Texas in the lawsuit are Wisconsin, Kentucky, Nebraska and Kansas, along with the Christian Medical and Dental Association and Franciscan Alliance, an Indiana-based network of religious hospitals. "It discards independent medical judgment and a physician's duty to his or her patient's permanent well-being and replaces them with rigid commands," the lawsuit states.

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Filed under: Becket FundGenderHealthcare

Happy Birthday, Charitable Choice - 20 years of success

IRFA commentary by Carl Esbeck & Stanley Carlson-Thies

August 22, 2016

Charitable Choice anticipated by five years this revised understanding of when and how government may resource faith-based service providers. The provision was added by Senator John Ashcroft, R-MO, to the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act-comprehensive welfare reform-signed into law by President Clinton exactly 20 years ago. Charitable Choice instructed regulators not to eliminate grant applicants simply because they were intensely religious in character, but rather to ask, "Can you do the job?" In turn, Charitable Choice guaranteed faith-based providers that they would not have to forfeit their religious nature to obtain the funding. That said, explicitly religious activities by faith-based charities would have to take place outside the government-funded program. The law also guaranteed that beneficiaries of the assistance would not have to be served by a religious provider. If they objected, they would be reassigned: the "choice" in Charitable Choice.

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Filed under: Religious freedomInstitutional Religious Freedom Alliance

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