Freedom of faith, conscience and speech

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Administration: Single-Payer System Stops Religious Freedom Challenges to Abortifacient Mandate

CNS News commentary by Terence Jeffrey

July 27, 2016

In their argument to the court, the Justice Department lawyers had suggested another vision for stopping cases challenging government health insurance mandates on religious grounds. "It also follows that there would be no viable RFRA challenge if Congress had adopted a single-payer system in which the government provided health coverage including preventive services to all Americans and required all Americans to pay premiums to pay for that coverage," the Justice Department lawyers told the court. "The fact that Congress chose to accomplish the same goal through the less-intrusive means of regulating the existing system of private health insurance provides no sound basis for reaching a different conclusion: The interests in universal participation in a comprehensive system are the same." In other words: When government takes complete control of the health care system, there will be no room for religious liberty.

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Filed under: CommentariesReligious freedomHealthcare

Medical Groups Sue Over Vermont Requirement to Counsel Patients on Assisted Suicide

Christian News

July 23, 2016

wo medical groups have filed a federal lawsuit to challenge language in the Vermont's assisted suicide law that they believe requires physicians to counsel patients about ending their lives. The Vermont Alliance for Ethical Healthcare and Tennessee-based Christian Medical Association were represented in the suit on Tuesday, along with several doctors in the state who are concerned about how the government interprets the "Patient Choice and Control at End of Life Act," also known as Act 39. "The government shouldn't be telling health care professionals that they must violate their medical ethics in order to practice medicine," Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) Senior Counsel Steven Aden said in a statement announcing the suit. "These doctors and other health care workers deeply believe that suffering patients need understanding and sound medical treatment, not encouragement to kill themselves. The state has no authority to order them to act contrary to that sincere and time-honored conviction."

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Filed under: Alliance Defending FreedomHealthcareEnd of life

The First Amendment Defense Act Should Not Protect Multiple Views of Marriage

Family Research Council

July 22, 2016

Unfortunately, the latest revisions to FADA have forced FRC to withdraw its support of the bill. The new FADA language says: (a) IN GENERAL.-Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the Federal Government shall not take any discriminatory action against a person, wholly or partially on the basis that such person believes, speaks, or acts in accordance with a sincerely held religious belief or moral conviction that-(1) marriage is or should be recognized as the union of- (A) two individuals of the opposite sex; or (B) two individuals of the same sex; or (2) extramarital relations are improper. Principled Objections to the new language: The new language of FADA would force Congress to affirm, for the first time, the construct that marriage can be between two people of the same sex. A vast majority of conscience bills based on the life issue, including the recently-passed Conscience Protection Act, protect against government discrimination for one view of abortion-the pro-life view. There is not a constitutional problem with these pro-life laws, and there should be no problem with a pro-marriage law that does not also provide protections for same-sex marriage views.

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Filed under: Family Research CouncilMarriageLegislation

Religious, pro-life conscience unwelcome in healthcare

First Things commentary by Wesley J. Smith

July 22, 2016

Healthcare is quickly becoming about much more than the provision and reception of medical treatment. To a disturbing degree, healthcare public policy is becoming a means of imposing a secularist, anti-sanctity-of-life ideology on all of society. The ACLU is suing to prevent Catholic hospitals that follow Church teaching from receiving federal funds. Most recently, in Vermont, Alliance Defending Freedom has filed a lawsuit to try to prevent state authorities from forcing doctors to counsel their terminally ill patients about assisted suicide (which is legal in the state) even if they consider it a profound moral wrong to participate in doctor-prescribed death. This is the message being sent by the secularist attempt to stifle medical conscience: Sanctity of life has no place in healthcare.

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Filed under: Conscience freedomHealthcareEnd of life

Religious liberty trouble in California: Interview with Biola University president

ERLC interview by Laura Gurskey with Barey H. Corey

July 22, 2016

Q: How does SB 1146 threaten the future of Biola University and other religious institutions of higher education? A: SB 1146 represents an unprecedented narrowing of religious freedom in America. By removing protections for religious colleges that allow for free exercise of faith (per the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution), SB 1146, in effect, communicates that the government, not individual religious communities, determines which beliefs are acceptable and how faith can and cannot be lived out. For example, if passed, SB 1146 would likely mean that schools like Biola would no longer be able to maintain certain conduct, housing, admissions, employment and other policies according to their Christian convictions about sexuality and gender. What's at stake for religious institutions of higher education is nothing short of their ability to exist as alternative communities; communities whose alternative ways of thinking and living allow for distinct educational practice and meaningful missional impact.

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Filed under: Religious freedomFree speechEducation

Christian Mingle settlement: Using laws to reduce marketplace choices

IRFA commentary by Stanley Carlson-Theiss

July 22, 2016

A group of religious dating sites has agreed to stop restricting users to opposite-sex matches after being charged under California's Unruh Act that prohibits sexual-orientation discrimination in public accommodations.,, and are now required to facilitate searches for same-sex partners, whatever the business model of the parent company or the convictions of its owners concerning intimate relationships. And yet the outcome of the court settlement is a less diverse marketplace.

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Filed under: CourtsHomosexualityGender

Patients, health care providers support conscience protections

The Hill commentary by Dr. Grazie Pozo Christie

July 21, 2016

Physicians, nurses, and other health care workers throughout the US are glad to know that the erosion of their rights is being taken seriously with the passage of the Conscience Protection Act.  Their patients are also glad, as seen in a new Marist poll that shows a strong majority of Americans support conscience protections for their doctors and providers. A recent declaration by the HHS that California’s department of Managed Health Care can continue forcing all health plans under its jurisdiction to cover elective abortion, including late-term abortions, gave new impetus for passage of the law. This is a flagrant violation of the Weldon Amendment which was designed to protect medical workers, hospitals, and insurers who object to abortion from discrimination and coercion.  In a recent forum on Capitol Hill, nurses described being forced to assist in gruesome late-term abortions or risk losing their jobs, and pastors from churches in California expressed their fear of having to purchase health insurance for their employees that pays for abortion.

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Filed under: AbortionLegislationHealthcare

Congress, we must protect Americans who disagree with abortion

FOX News commentary by Rep. Vicky Hartzler

July 14, 2016

Currently, the only recourse against this discrimination is to file a complaint with OCR. In light of its extremely slow response to straightforward complaints or its outright refusal to execute the law, something had to be done. The House this week passed the Conscience Protection Act, a bill I proudly co-sponsored. This bill stops the federal government, and any state or local government that receives Federal funds from penalizing, retaliating against, or otherwise discriminating against a health care provider on the basis that the provider does not participate in abortion. Further, this bill provides a civil right to action for those discriminated against, including physicians, health professionals, hospitals, health systems, insurance issuers, insurance plans, and administrators of health plans, among others. They deserve a choice. They deserve their day in court.

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Filed under: Religious freedomCongressLegislation

Pentagon issues sex change manual, allows extended time off for process

Washington Times

July 14, 2016

n announcing his intention to remove the ban on transgender personnel, Defense Secretary Ashton Carter last year said the rules were "outdated and are causing uncertainty that distracts commanders from our core missions." Robert Maginnis, a retired Army officer who has opposed President Obama's policy of gays in the military and women in land combat, said Mr. Carter is "delusional if he believes our military needs transgenders/transsexuals to remain the ‘finest fighting force in the world.' Transsexuals suffer from more psychiatric pathologies than the general population, and active suicide ideation and major depression episodes occur more frequently within this group," Mr. Maginnis said. "Creating a bureaucracy to sort out transgender issues will go down in the history of our armed forces as the worst waste of defense dollars ever.

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Filed under: Family Research CouncilMilitaryGender

Evangelicals increasingly say it's becoming harder for them in America

Pew Research

July 14, 2016

Some of this feeling may stem from the fact that the country is becoming more secular: A rising share of Americans do not identify with any religion, while a shrinking portion of the population is Christian. Another factor may be the spread of legal same-sex marriage nationwide and increasing social acceptance of homosexuality, developments with which many conservative Christians disagree. And other clashes with the values many conservative Christians hold continue to play out across the country, whether it be over the teaching of evolution in public schools, the presence of religious displays on public property for Christmas or whether public school cheerleaders can put Bible verses on their banners.

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Filed under: Religious freedomPollingHomosexuality

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