LGBTQ students sue Department of Education over religious colleges and universities
The suit aims to “put an end to the U.S. Department of Education’s complicity in the abuses and unsafe conditions thousands of LGBTQ+ students endure at hundreds of taxpayer-funded, religious colleges and universities.” At issue is the religious exemption to Title IX, a federal law that prohibits institutions from discriminating against students on the basis of sex in its programs.
Kristi Noem Has No Good Explanations For Vetoing The Girls’ Sports Bill
The Federalist by Joy Pullman
To truly fight them, Noem should have signed the bill and demanded her state legislature pass more, such banning the transgender mutilation of minors. South Dakota passed such a bill that the previous governor vetoed in 2016, and Arkansas’s legislature just became the first in the nation to send such a bill to a friendly governor. Every state should do this.
The opening paragraph of the verdict states what should be obvious but now is apparently somewhat challenging to many in higher education: "Traditionally, American universities have been beacons of intellectual diversity and academic freedom. They have prided themselves on being forums where controversial ideas are discussed and debated. And they have tried not to stifle debate by picking sides. But Shawnee State chose a different route: It punished a professor for his speech on a hotly contested issue. And it did so despite the constitutional protections afforded by the First Amendment."
Lawsuit claims Virginia's policies on transgender students violate religious freedom
The policies state that “access to facilities such as restrooms and locker rooms that correspond to a student’s gender identity shall be available to all students.” They also say transgender students may use pronouns reflective of their gender identity, and that failure to speak a student's preferred pronouns could be considered harassment and discrimination. “We maintain our concerns that these guidelines erase basic parental rights and protection of bodily privacy and safety rights for even our youngest students,” said Victoria Cobb, president of The Family Foundation and the Founding Freedoms Law Center, the foundation’s legal arm.
Blinken announces plans to roll back Trump-era human rights initiatives
Blinken said, "Human rights are also co-equal; there is no hierarchy that makes some rights more important than others. Past unbalanced statements that suggest such a hierarchy, including those offered by a recently disbanded State Department advisory committee, do not represent a guiding document for this administration." "Human-rights advocacy has lost its bearings and become more of an industry than a moral compass," Pompeo wrote at the time. "And ‘rights talk’ has become a constant element of our domestic political discourse, without any serious effort to distinguish what rights mean and where they come from." Blinken on Tuesday also said that the human rights report, which was centered on 2020 and largely shaped before the new administration, would include addendums added later in the year that have information about maternal mortality, discrimination against women in accessing sexual and reproductive health care, and government policies about access to contraception and healthcare during pregnancy and childbirth.
What goes unnoticed—or at least unsaid—in the current debates invoking religious freedom is that the “beliefs” in question are not beliefs at all. The Equality Act doesn’t concern such invisible mysteries as the Holy Trinity, for example. That is a matter of belief in the strict sense, though it isn’t irrational or private. Rather, the Equality Act concerns things everyone can see and understand. Infants don’t need instruction to know that their mothers are the ones who are nursing them, and their fathers are the ones who are not. Sexual difference is obvious to anyone with eyes to see.
The Equality Act would trample on doctors' religious freedom
Washington Examiner by Jonathan Imbody
Trapped in the untenable choice of submitting to the government's coercion or violating all that you believe, you hang up your lab coat and walk out of the healing career to which you devoted your life. As the new law quickly spreads its intolerant tentacles throughout the country, discrimination charges and lawsuits squeeze out of medicine tens of thousands of your colleagues who share life-affirming moral and ethical commitments. As the Equality Act forces these conscientious physicians who serve the needy out of medicine, millions of marginalized patients lose their access to healthcare.
A Harvard CAPS–Harris Poll released on March 1 revealed that 64 percent of Americans—including 48 percent of Democrats—believe cancel culture poses a threat to U.S. freedom. Amazon.com’s recent decision to deplatform Ryan T. Anderson’s 2018 bestseller When Harry Became Sally: Responding to the Transgender Moment (Encounter Books) is the sort of news likely contributing to those fears.
How The Equality Act Would Legalize Religious Bigotry
The Federalist by Yaakov Menken
This piece of legislation mandates the “desegregation of public facilities [by] sex (including sexual orientation and gender identity).” This directly forbids traditional Jewish practice in any such location. Lest you imagine that such a Jewish event would be protected by its religious nature, the act goes out of its way — for the first time in history — to prohibit recourse to the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA). That law was specifically to shield religious practice from “laws ‘neutral’ toward religion [which] may burden religious exercise as surely as laws intended to interfere with religious exercise.”
A Federal Judge Has Hidden 200 Hours Of Undercover Footage About Abortion Atrocities For 5 Years
The Federalist by Madeline Osburn
During February’s Zoom hearing, Peter Breen, Daleiden’s defense attorney, vice president, and senior counsel at the Thomas More Society, argued that the videos should be made available to police or lawmakers investigating Planned Parenthood, and on top of that, are a matter of “public interest.” “There’s nothing inconsistent with the court saying ‘I don’t see it but others do’ and certainly the court would not want to stand in the posture of a censor over something that has First Amendment value and public interest value,” Breen said.
Kristi Noem Running The Mike Pence Play To Help Leftists Control The Culture
The Federalist by Joy Pullman
South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem has rightly made a national name for herself courageously standing, almost alone, for science, sanity, and constitutional rights during the COVID panic. Yet it appears she’s hoping to use the goodwill she earned through this courage to hide her cowardly and deceptive choices about transgender politics. Like the governors who should have learned from her example on lockdowns and have instead doubled down on their leadership failures, Noem could decide to come clean, change course, and pursue common-sense policies about sex. Or she could continue to eviscerate her credibility and earned goodwill by selling out her own constituents on behalf of sexually debauched corporatists, as Mike Pence did when governor of Indiana.
Americans who care about free speech, the rights of conscience, religious freedom, freedom of association, the integrity of women’s sports, private spaces for women and girls, the independence of charities, open professional career paths, and quality health care for people suffering from gender dysphoria—the belief that one is trapped in the wrong body—should bend every effort to ensure that Mr. Schumer never gets those votes. The Equality Act amends the landmark 1964 Civil Rights Act to include sexual orientation and gender identity as protected categories. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, claiming that the bill was needed “because there is discrimination against people in the LGBTQ community,” said that “it breaks my heart that it is necessary.” Well, Madame Speaker, discrimination and bullying break my heart, too. But it breaks my head to think that you don’t seem to understand what you’re doing here.
U.S. Bishop Chairmen Reaffirm Protections for Faith-Based Foster Care and Adoption Providers
Three committee chairmen of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) are affirming their strong support for the Child Welfare Provider Inclusion Act of 2021. The Act would prevent the federal government and any state receiving federal funds for child welfare services from taking adverse action against a provider that declines to conduct its services in a manner that would violate its religious or moral principles. “Child welfare providers, who serve the needs and rights of children regardless of background, enjoy the cherished freedom of religious liberty like all Americans,” wrote the bishops in a letter of support to Representative Mike Kelly (R-PA) and Senator Tim Scott (R-SC), who introduced identical bills in their respective chambers.
Biden instructs HHS to undo Trump Administration’s Title X ‘Protect Life Rule’
Live Action News
This week, Biden issued a “Memorandum on Protecting Women’s Health at Home and Abroad,” directing the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to consider “as soon as practicable, whether to suspend, revise, or rescind, or publish for notice and comment proposed rules suspending, revising, or rescinding, those regulations, consistent with applicable law, including the Administrative Procedure Act,” the Office of Population Affairs (OPA) noted in a press release. A 2015 report from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimated that Planned Parenthood and its affiliates receive approximately $60 million annually through the Title X program. Money is fungible, and taxpayer dollars sent to abortion organizations like Planned Parenthood free up other dollars which would normally be used for salaries, facility rent, and general overhead. Live Action’s video below previously explained this process.
Abortion Absolutist Xavier Becerra Confirmed as Secretary of HHS
Americans United for Life
Catherine Glenn Foster, President & CEO of Americans United for Life, issued the following statement regarding the confirmation of Xavier Becerra for the position of Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: "America expected more from President Biden because he promised us more. The confirmation of Becerra to lead the Department of Health and Human Services is the latest sign that the Biden-Harris administration is not interested in compromise or unity, but instead is intent on pushing the most aggressive and extreme abortion agenda our nation has ever seen."
Keep the Filibuster; There Are Better Ways to Reform a Broken System
TIME by David French
This would be a serious mistake that would enhance partisan polarization and increase political instability. The problem is clear—substantial government reforms in the face of impotent majority opposition can destabilize a democracy. The Democratic Party is seeking to pass laws that would introduce dramatic changes in American elections, transform free speech doctrine, and potentially limit religious liberty. Yes, the Supreme Court can act as a check against unconstitutional legislation, but if court-packing is a simple majority vote away, as some liberals want, then majorities will exercise unacceptable influence over constitutional doctrine itself. The notion that core civil liberties could hinge on congressional majorities is just as destabilizing as minoritarian control.
By excising the Religious Freedom Restoration Act from the legislation equation altogether, the Equality Act gives government free rein to restrict, compromise, or even eliminate the fundamental right to practice religion in pursuit of the Equality Act’s political agenda. It says that what Obama called an “essential part of human dignity” must always give way to the Equality Act’s political agenda. This would be the first time that Congress not only provided inadequate protection for religious freedom, but deliberately and publicly repudiated it altogether.
Becket attorney Luke Goodrich, author of Free to Believe: The Battle Over Religious Liberty in America, one of WORLD’s 2019 books of the year, said MacArthur was trying to make a valid point: The church can advance even in the face of adversity. But saying Christians should be indifferent to violations of religious freedom would be wrong, Goodrich said, noting that Paul in the Bible asserted his rights as a Roman citizen and Daniel negotiated with governmental officials to follow his conscience.
Religious Persecution Abroad Reminds Us Why Religious Liberty Matters
National Review by Cameron Hilditch
The torch lit by Roger Williams is still being carried by the United States and its citizens, but the current administration gives us cause to worry. The career of Xavier Becerra, newly confirmed to head the Department of Health and Human Services, suggests that very little respect will be accorded to groups like the Little Sisters of the Poor. As the administration pursues an agenda hostile to conscience rights, many religious Americans may wonder what’s become of our bedrock commitment to religious freedom.
Critics of New HHS Head Raise Concerns Over Abortion, Religious Liberty
Among other actions as a House member, Becerra, a Catholic, voted against the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act, the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act and the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, which would prevent abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy when, the bill said, “extensive evidence shows an unborn child is capable of feeling great pain.” He also voted against the Conscience Protection Act of 2016, which would have prevented the federal government from denying federal funds to Catholic hospitals and other facilities that refuse to perform abortions.
Lankford, Paul Pen Letter to President Biden on Abrupt Firing of EEOC General Counsel
Sen. James Lankford
In Gustafson’s letter, when refusing to resign, she questioned if she was being fired because of her efforts to combat religious discrimination in the workplace. “We truly hope that Ms. Gustafson’s termination was not motivated by opposition to her work fighting religious discrimination, but in the absence of any explanation, all we can do is hope,” the Senators wrote. “Whatever the reason, this termination does more than set a dangerous precedent; it exceeds presidential authority. The EEOC is a quasi-judicial agency designed by Congress to be bipartisan and free from coercive political interference.”
Democrats exclude mother of female athletes from testifying against Equality Act
Christiana Holcomb, the attorney defending the student-athletes, told the Washington Examiner that their exclusion from testifying on Wednesday underscored the way in which the Equality Act will harm the rights of women in the public square. "Our clients have lost out on state championships, podium spots, and opportunities to advance in competition because they were forced to compete against biological males," said Holcomb, who is a legal counsel at the Alliance Defending Freedom, a legal nonprofit organization.
The Equality Act expands the definition of sex in the eyes of the law to include gender identity, defined as “the gender-related identity, appearance, mannerisms, or other gender-related characteristics of an individual” regardless of the person’s sex at birth. What this means in practice is doctors would be forced by law to perform sex-change operations regardless of personal or religious objections, and employers would be required to offer healthcare coverage for these elective procedures. Most alarming are the consequences this bill will have for children. Schools would be forced to allow biologically male students to compete against girls in sports, entirely destroying the idea of women’s sports and robbing young women of athletic scholarships. Barring a biologically male student from entering a girls locker room or bathroom would become discrimination on the basis of gender identity.
Highlights From Senate Hearing on Liberals’ Equality Act
Daily Signal by Virginia Allen
The Equality Act is “misnamed because although this act supports the prevention of discrimination, it actually causes it by undermining hard-fought protections for women,” Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith, R-Miss., said. By expanding the definition of sex under federal law to include gender identity and sexual orientation, the Equality Act stands to eliminate women-only spaces such as locker rooms, restrooms, sororities, and sports teams, Hyde-Smith said. Gender ideology is at the heart of the bill and is “misogyny in progressive clothing,” said Abigail Shrier, an independent journalist and author of the book “Irreversible Damage: The Transgender Craze Seducing Our Daughters.”
Democratic Witness Falsely Claims the Equality Act Doesn’t Affect Religious Institutions
“The Equality Act does not affect how religious institutions function,” Alphonso David, president of the Human Rights Campaign, a powerful and well-funded LGBT-rights group, said during questioning by Democratic senator Dick Durbin (D., Ill.) on Wednesday. But, as University of Virginia law professor Douglas Laycock has pointed out, the Equality Act “goes very far to stamp out religious exemptions. . . . It regulates religious non-profits. And then it says that [the Religious Freedom Restoration Act] does not apply to any claim under the Equality Act. This would be the first time Congress has limited the reach of RFRA. This is not a good-faith attempt to reconcile competing interests. It is an attempt by one side to grab all the disputed territory and to crush the other side.”
The Censorship of Lawrence Ferlinghetti and the Unbooking of Ryan T. Anderson
Public Discourse by Francis Beckwith
What they have in common, however, is the courage of their convictions, a willingness to challenge the conventional pieties of their respective ages, and to do so in ways that conformist critics are quick to label offensive, obscene, unsafe, or misframed. Ferlinghetti did so with his art. Anderson does it with his scholarship. Each has something important to say, and to criticize. This is exactly what we should expect and welcome in a free society.
Stand Against Unjust Discrimination: Oppose the Equality Act
Public Discourse by Cardinal Timothy Dolan
The Equality Act seems to go out of its way to target religion. It exempts itself from the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), a bill that was passed nearly unanimously by Congress and signed into law by President Bill Clinton in 1993. RFRA basically says that if the government is going to burden religion, it needs to have a very good reason, and it needs to show that it did everything possible to avoid over-burdening the religion. Most reasonable people would say that the law should not force a church to host an event that it considers to be immoral. But under the Equality Act, if the church is open to the public, then disallowing the celebration of a same-sex civil marriage would be discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.
LGBTQ rights bill ignites debate over religious liberty
A sweeping bill that would extend federal civil rights protections to LGBTQ people is a top priority of President Joe Biden and Democrats in Congress. Yet as the Equality Act heads to the Senate after winning House approval, its prospects seem bleak — to a large extent because of opposition from conservative religious leaders. The public policy arm of the Southern Baptist Convention, the nation’s largest Protestant denomination, calls the act “the most significant threat to religious liberty ever considered in the United States Congress.” The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has assailed it as discriminating against people of faith. “It will be very difficult for Christian schools, Christian colleges, even in some cases for the ministries of Christian churches to proceed,” the Rev. Albert Mohler, president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, said in a recent radio broadcast. “This will change not just a few things, it will fundamentally change almost everything on the nation’s landscape.”
Progressive Church Lobbies Push Radical LGBTQ “Equality Act”
Juicy Ecumenism by James Diddams
A significant expansion of the 1964 Civil Rights Act that would legally enshrine special protections for persons who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or queer (LGBTQ) is drawing support from several mainline Protestant church agencies. The Equality Act (H.R. 5), passed the U.S. House of Representatives on February 18 and is expected to receive a vote in the Senate, where it’s outcome is not yet clear. Despite its innocuous title, the bill would place LGBTQ identifying persons within the same specially protected categories as racial minorities. It has the support of the Episcopal Church, United Church of Christ, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and United Methodist public policy offices. Roman Catholic and Baptist officials have expressed concern that the legislation would single out behavior for special protection, rather than persons with innate traits such as race, biological sex or disability.
Still Think the 'Equality Act' Is A-OK? Check Out These 3 Disturbing Transgender Cases
CNS News by Nicole Russell
Even before the Senate considers the so-called Equality Act passed by the House, it’s important to realize just how pervasive (and harmful) transgender ideology already has become in society. It will only become more so if the bill becomes law. Christiana Holcomb, one of the lawyers on her case [Selina Soule's case against competing against biological males in track], said in an email, "Laws must respect freedom and promote justice for every citizen, no matter who they are. Title IX was created to ensure equal opportunities for women in education. The 'Equality Act' could destroy many of those opportunities."
ACLU wants to destroy parental notification rather than provide support to troubled teens
Live Action News
Illinois, a state with abortion laws so liberal it is considered an “abortion destination,” may soon have one of its only remaining abortion restrictions lifted if the ACLU has its way. The ACLU, together with Human Rights Watch and some lawmakers, want the Parental Notice of Abortion Act to be overturned. This would allow minors to undergo abortions without their parents’ knowledge. Traffickers are known to use abortion facilities like Planned Parenthood when their victims get abortions, because, as one survivor explained, they know Planned Parenthood “[doesn’t] ask any questions.”
David Daleiden, the First Amendment, and Federal Jurisdiction
Americans United for Life
Americans United for Life recently filed a friend-of-the-court brief in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals on behalf of citizen journalist and First Amendment champion David Daleiden. After Daleiden had engaged in undercover journalism to investigate Planned Parenthood’s alleged trafficking in aborted fetal tissue, Planned Parenthood sued Daleiden and his organization, the Center for Medical Progress (CMP), for civil racketeering, federal wiretapping, and various state law claims of fraud, trespassing, and unauthorized eavesdropping. In the end, courts need to use a “precision of regulation” when determining civil liability for activity protected by the First Amendment. Here, the district court failed to recognize and accord due regard to the public and constitutional interests when determining jurisdiction and liability for David Daleiden’s undercover journalism.
President Biden Signs Huge Expansion of Taxpayer Funded Abortion Into Law
Americans United for Life
Katie Glenn, Government Affairs Counsel at Americans United for Life, released the following comment regarding President Biden signing the $1.9 trillion Covid-19 economic relief package. "This bill adds $50 million to the Title X family planning program, which funneled millions to Planned Parenthood during the Obama administration. The Trump administration’s enforcement of Congressional intent to keep abortion businesses out of the program is very likely to be rescinded by the Biden administration, meaning that Planned Parenthood could once again access those funds. Democrats also refused to apply the Hyde Amendment, which protects taxpayers from directly funding elective abortions, to a program called the “Provider Relief Fund,” leaving $8.5 billion that abortionists may benefit from. This bill makes it clear that Democrats think all Americans, through their tax dollars, should be forced to pay for elective abortions at home and abroad."
Lankford Expresses Deep Disappointment in Democrats’ Move to Force Americans to Fund Abortions
Sen. James Lankford
Some people believe that a child is a child no matter how small they are. And some people believe a child is only a child after they’re born. I disagree with that position, but we have as a nation for the last four decades said we’re not going fund it—until this week. This week, what the House is voting on today, what the Senate passed on Saturday morning, will be the first time in 44 years we as a country have used federal tax dollars to pay for abortion—for the first time in four decades. This is no longer a theoretical conversation. It just happened in the Senate, and it’s happening today in the House.
New Colorado Senate Bill Establishes Government Ministry Of Truth
The Federalist by Tristan Justice
A new Democratic-sponsored Colorado Senate bill is raising eyebrows with the proposed establishment of a state-run ministry of truth to regulate online speech. The bill, titled “Digital Communications Regulation,” seeks the creation of a digital communications division under the state department of regulatory agencies to regulate online content available in the state. The division will be run by a new commission to serve as government-blessed arbiters of truth.
Researchers: CDC Misrepresented Scientific Research To Keep Schools Closed At Kids’ Expense
The Federalist by Tristan Justice
The research authors are professors of medicine and epidemiologists. They went on to outline the science showing it’s not only safe to re-open schools, but essential for public health. “Keeping schools closed or even partially closed, based on what we know now is unwarranted, is harming children, and has become a human rights issue,” they wrote. CDC guidelines currently stipulate schools should re-open only in areas of low and moderate viral transmission, provided institutions follow its standards of social distancing and mask compliance. CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said in February the new guidelines were based in part on pressure from Democrats and teachers’ unions, which have resisted a return to in-person instruction across the country.
Vaccines Should Signal A Return To Normal, But Blue States And Bureaucrats Are Ensuring That Doesn’t Happen
The Federalist by Kylee Zempel
Our ruling class has no desire to resume normal life. Our personal decisions are now perpetually decided for us, according to the fears and desires of the most risk-averse among us, sometimes for nothing more than political capital. If the vaccine is effective and we should all get it, as our political leaders insist, there is no reason not to pursue normalcy as shots are increasingly administered and cases plummet. The ruling class can keep pretending as they have for a year that there are no costs associated with social distance, lockdowns, and masking in perpetuity, but that doesn’t make those costs go away.
Sen. Marsha Blackburn Fears What Women Stand to Lose If Equality Act Becomes Law
Daily Signal by Virginia Allen
The Equality Act would make “gender identity” and “sexual orientation” protected classes under federal civil rights law. This means, for example, that the law would require institutions and individuals to treat transgender women not as biological men who identify as women, but as biological females, giving them access to women’s sports and women’s-only spaces. Blackburn joins the “Problematic Women” podcast to discuss the implications of the legislation becoming the law of the land.
U.S. Bishop Chairmen for Doctrine and for Pro-Life Address the Use of the Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 Vaccine
"Pfizer and Moderna’s vaccines raised concerns because an abortion-derived cell line was used for testing them, but not in their production. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine, however, was developed, tested and is produced with abortion-derived cell lines raising additional moral concerns. The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has judged that ‘when ethically irreproachable Covid-19 vaccines are not available … it is morally acceptable to receive Covid-19 vaccines that have used cell lines from aborted fetuses in their research and production process.’ "However, if one can choose among equally safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines, the vaccine with the least connection to abortion-derived cell lines should be chosen. Therefore, if one has the ability to choose a vaccine, Pfizer or Moderna’s vaccines should be chosen over Johnson & Johnson’s. "
U.S. Bishop Chairmen Join Statement on Abortion Funding in American Rescue Plan
"However, we are deeply concerned that this important legislation, as written, risks creating new divisions by abandoning a longstanding bipartisan compromise that respects the consciences of millions of Americans. For 45 years, the United States Congress – whether controlled by Democrats or Republicans – has maintained that taxpayers should not be forced against their conscience to pay for abortions. Abandoning this compromise in a time of national emergency only serves to divide people in the very moment we should be united. Please, let us instead focus on delivering the COVID relief so desperately needed."
The "Equality Act" will erase religious freedom and medical judgment
Freedom2Care blog by Jonathan Imbody
This radical legislation, a top priority of the Biden administration and the Democrat party that controls Congress, would literally remove religious freedom protections on gender issues and replace medical judgment with governmental coercion regarding treatment of children and adult patients experiencing gender dysphoria. Although the Equality Act text asserts that its goal is to 'prohibit discrimination on the basis of sex, gender identity, and sexual orientation,' in fact it would severely discriminate against millions of Americans who hold a viewpoint that differs from the ideology of the bill's sponsors.
AUL Files Brief in Support of 1st Amendment Champion David Daleiden
Americans United for Life
Steven H. Aden, Chief Legal Officer & General Counsel at Americans United for Life, added that Mr. Daleiden stands on strong legal ground: “The journalistic investigations of David Daleiden were a highly sophisticated fact-gathering operation modeled on a reputable news operation and propelled by years of controversy over the role of elective abortion in the fetal tissue procurement industry, and specifically Planned Parenthood’s leading part in it. The Center for Medical Progress videos directly resulted in de-funding efforts against Planned Parenthood by the House of Representatives and over a half dozen states, and numerous federal and state criminal and regulatory investigations into Planned Parenthood affiliates. I am confident that the Court will side with Mr. Daleiden and stop Planned Parenthood’s effort to silence critical but truthful speech.”
According to USA Today, the Council will seek to “advance gender equality in domestic and foreign policy . . . [and] combat systemic bias and discrimination, including sexual harassment.” Until recently, we could assume that by “gender equality,” the president planned to deal with discrimination against women. But times have changed. The new council “will also focus on transgender rights,” which means it’s likely the council will find new ways to apply the Supreme Court’s ruling in Bostock, a case that redefines “sex” to include “gender identity” in Title VII. So this new Council will likely ignore the lived experiences and needs of biological females in federal law, instead creating ways for biological males to claim the rights of being a woman. I cannot imagine this is what the organizers of International Women’s Day had in mind.
Clarence Thomas Delivers Decisive Ruling in Religious-Free-Speech Case
Student Chike Uzuegbunam, an Evangelical Christian, was told that if he wanted to evangelize his faith to his fellow students, he would have to apply three days in advance for a permit, and then confine his activities to one of the two free-speech zones. After receiving the permit, he was told by campus cops that he could not share his faith even in one of the speech zones, because doing so violated a campus ban on “disturb[ing] the peace and/or comfort of person(s).” (Of course, these days, almost any opinion, especially on matters of faith, will make someone on campus uncomfortable.) So he sued, represented by the Alliance Defending Freedom and supported by Jeff Sessions and the Trump Justice Department.
BreakPoint Podcast with Ryan T. Anderson and Emilie Kao
Ryan T. Anderson and Emilie Kao joined John Stonestreet to reveal the victims of the Equality Act. Ryan T. Anderson is an American political philosopher who is best known for his opposition to same-sex marriage. He is currently president of the Ethics and Public Policy Center. Emilie Kao is an attorney who has defended religious freedom for the last 14 years. She has worked on behalf of victims of religious freedom violations in East Asia, the Middle East, Europe and South Asia at the State Department’s Office of International Religious Freedom and Becket Law.
Biden’s Memo on LGBTQI Policies Abroad Is Ideological Colonialism
Heritage by Grace Melton
When we talk about human rights, it’s important to remember that every individual is entitled to his or her rights to life, freedom of belief, speech, and conscience. These are unalienable human rights. These rights are universal, precisely because they stem from our inherent human dignity, and are not a result of one’s membership in any particular group. Setting these rights on any foundation other than our shared humanity weakens the exercise of those rights rather than strengthens them. In fact, that is what Biden’s new memorandum threats to do. The administration’s directive for eradicating violence and discrimination is fraught with peril for the free exercise of religious belief, conscience, and speech. It illustrates the left’s prejudice against faith and tradition.
Bethany Changes Policy to Allow LGBT Parents to Foster and Adopt
“This illustrates what Catholic Social Services has said from the beginning: that there are many options available for LGBTQ families, and there is no need to take options away from children and families by shutting down agencies with different religious beliefs,” said Lori Windham, senior counsel at religious liberty nonprofit Becket Fund. Bethany Christian no longer includes in its policies a line about upholding God’s design for marriage as between one man and one woman, the Times reported, but it doesn’t come out and affirm same-sex marriage either. Protestant and Catholic organizations, motivated by their faith’s teachings caring for children and orphans, play a significant role in state-run foster care systems and increasingly have increasingly found themselves in conflict with anti-discrimination regulations over the past few years. The future of Christian-run adoption and foster agencies is also a core concern in the debate around the proposed Equality Act.
Women, Children, and Religious Americans Are New Targets Under the Resurrected Equality Act
Heritage by Sarah Parshall Perry
But while the dispatches from President Biden’s left-bent Washington have been disconcerting in these past few weeks, the Equality Act—and Biden’s ardent promise to get it enacted it in his first 100 days—would surpass them all. The Senate did not take up the bill after it passed in the House in May 2019. But with Democrats in control of both chambers and the White House, the bill is more likely than ever to become law. Just how ambitious is the Equality Act? It makes a stunning fifty-nine substantive changes to longstanding federal laws, including the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Government Employee Rights Act of 1991, the Congressional Accountability Act of 1995, the Civil Service Reform Act of 1978, the Fair Housing Act, the Civil Rights Act of 1968, the Equal Credit Opportunity Act, and even the Jury Selection & Services Act. These are laws addressing public education, public accommodations, public facilities, housing, employment, federal grants and loans, how juries are selected, and transactions involving credit.
Sen. James Lankford: Our American experiment of religious liberty – you can have your faith and live it, too
FOX News by Sen. James Lankford
It is remarkable we still have to discuss this question, but we do. Can a person believe the faith of their choice or can they only believe the faith of the "in" group? The First Amendment reads: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."
Yesterday, the U.S. House of Representatives passed HR5, the so-called “Equality Act,” to amend various provisions of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. If it passes the Senate and is signed into law by the president, the bill will cause incalculable damage to our society—with a particular assault on women and religious believers. The bill is expressly designed to impose a controversial sexual-ideological scheme on the American public, and to forbid any religiously-based objections to that agenda. The prologue to the bill says its purpose is to “prohibit discrimination on the basis of sex, gender identity, and sexual orientation, and for other purposes.” But as the rest of the bill makes clear, this means prohibiting all disagreement and outlawing biological distinctions.
Now, three years after publication, in the same week that the House of Representatives plans to ram through the Equality Act—a radical transgender bill amending the Civil Rights Act of 1964—Amazon has erased my book opposing gender ideology from its cyber shelves. The people who did read the book discovered that it is an accurate and accessible presentation of the scientific, medical, philosophical, and legal debates surrounding the trans phenomenon. Yes, it advances an argument against transgender ideology from a viewpoint. But it doesn’t get any facts wrong, and it doesn’t engage in heated rhetoric. Moreover, it was praised by experts: the former psychiatrist-in-chief at Johns Hopkins Hospital, a longtime psychology professor at NYU, a professor of medical ethics at Columbia Medical School, a professor of psychological and brain sciences at Boston University, a professor of neurobiology at the University of Utah, a distinguished professor at Harvard Law School, an eminent legal philosopher at Oxford, and a professor of jurisprudence at Princeton.
Biden’s Executive Order on Gender Discrimination Has Muddied Waters on Title IX. Challenges Could Clear That Up
Daily Signal by Sarah Parshall Perry
While Gorsuch rather cavalierly dismissed the far-ranging implication of the Bostock decision, thereby inviting future litigation on the issue, it remains the case that the court had the opportunity to swing for the fences on sex discrimination as “gender identity” discrimination in other federal laws—but demurred. In a timely effort to bypass an anticipated flurry of individual complaints, protracted investigations, and associated litigation on the issue of Title IX, the feminist Women’s Liberation Front issued a petition for rule-making to the Department of Education on Feb. 8, in accordance with the Office of General Counsel’s procedures for requesting such rule-making and guidance. Such rule-making would force the Department of Education to correct the administration’s overly broad executive order, one that’s poised to sweep Title IX into a burgeoning body of bad law on gender identity without the benefit of judicial consideration.
Appointment of Xavier Becerra Threatens Lifesaving Pregnancy Centers Nationwide
Daily Signal by Thomas Glessner
One would think that the work of these faith-based, charitable organizations would be supported by all who care about human life, regardless of political views. Not so for Becerra and the Biden administration. If Becerra had his way at the Supreme Court, these centers would have been forced to promote abortion. Even worse, the government could have fined them out of existence. Where would that leave the hundreds of thousands of mothers, fathers, families, and babies that depend on the essential resources pregnancy centers provide?
Senate Republicans Challenge HHS Nominee Xavier Becerra on Abortion Record
Daily Signal by Margaret Olohan
Pro-life advocates and lawmakers called on the Senate Monday to reject Becerra as the president’s choice for secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, warning that he is “an enemy to every pro-life policy and law.” The Biden nominee repeatedly said he would follow the law in response to questions from Republican senators about abortion policy. “You voted against a ban on partial-birth abortion. Why?” Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, asked the Biden nominee.
How ‘Equality Act’ Would Impose Transgender Ideology on Everyone
Daily Signal by Jarrett Stepman
“[The Equality Act would create a destructive gender ideology in education, and it would establish a government-favored viewpoint on marriage that would stigmatize children and their parents,” said Emilie Kao, director of the DeVos Center for Religion and Civil Society at The Heritage Foundation. Rep. Vicky Hartzler, R-Mo., who led off the webinar on Tuesday, said that the Equality Act would have a wide array of negative consequences. “It is going to lead to potentially harming many of America’s children’s bodies. It’s going to impact what’s taught at the schools. It’s going to discriminate against them,” Hartzler said, adding, "They call it the Equality Act, but really, I call it the Inequality Act, because it’s going to put children on a different-level playing field than others and will jeopardize their future. It drives backward the rights women and children have gained over the years."
U.S. Bishop Chairmen Say Equality Act Would Discriminate Against People of Faith and Threaten Unborn Life
The bishop chairmen asserted, “The [Equality Act] represents the imposition by Congress of novel and divisive viewpoints regarding ‘gender’ on individuals and organizations. This includes dismissing sexual difference and falsely presenting ‘gender’ as only a social construct. As Pope Francis has reflected, however, ‘“biological sex and the socio-cultural role of sex (gender) can be distinguished but not separated.” … It is one thing to be understanding of human weakness and the complexities of life, and another to accept ideologies that attempt to sunder what are inseparable aspects of reality.’ Tragically, this Act can also be construed to include an abortion mandate, a violation of precious rights to life and conscience. Rather than affirm human dignity in ways that meaningfully exceed existing practical protections, the Equality Act would discriminate against people of faith,” they concluded.
On Jan. 28, President Joe Biden issued a memorandum that rescinded the Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance (PLGHA) policy, directed the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to consider rescinding the Protect Life (Title X) Rule, channeled money to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), directed the United States to withdraw from the Geneva Consensus Declaration, and emphasized federal foreign assistance for “sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights.”
Supreme Court To Hear Case on Abortion and Title X
Americans United for Life
At issue are regulations promulgated during the Trump administration which clarified Congress’ intent that the Title X family planning program excludes abortion, and that there must be physical and financial separation between Title X-funded family planning clinics and abortion businesses. AUL President and CEO Catherine Glenn Foster, who testified before Congress in support of the Title X rules, said: "Title X is intended for family planning, not abortion. Abortion is not family planning. Abortion is always a violent act that ends the life of a distinct and valuable human person. The former administration made the right decision by clarifying the congressional intent of Title X that organizations that profit from abortion cannot receive taxpayer money. We hope that the Supreme Court leaves these protections in place, to ensure that women’s healthcare comes before the interest of the abortion industry."
Amazon Blocks Sale of Book Exposing Transgender Ideology
Several months ago, Amazon began blocking the sale of books they deemed “dangerous” to LGBTQ people. Some of these books, to be frank, were hateful and demeaning. Others were deemed hateful for simply questioning the dominant narratives about homosexuality, gay marriage, or gender dysphoria. The most recent book banned by Amazon is among the most scholarly and thoroughly researched on the issue of transgenderism. When Harry Became Sally: Responding to the Transgender Moment was written by Ryan Anderson, recently named president of the Ethics and Public Policy Center. Anderson’s book, along with Abigail Shrier’s Irreversible Damage: The Transgender Craze Seducing Our Daughters (which surprisingly hasn’t been blocked by Amazon…yet) are the two essential reads on the topic. You can still buy both from our online bookstore at BreakPoint.org, even if you can’t on Amazon.
You should only care about the Equality Act if you are a Christian, or a person of faith, or a woman, or own a business, or run a non-profit, or go to school, or teach at a school, or are a medical or mental-health professional, or (especially) are a female athlete, or under the age of 18, or ever use a public restroom. That’s not an exaggeration. In fact, here is the exact wording from the Equality Act: “An individual shall not be denied access to a shared facility, including a restroom, a locker room and a dressing room, that is in accordance with the individual’s gender identity.” This applies to… “any establishment that provides a good, service, or program, including a store, shopping center, online retailer or service provider, salon, bank, gas station, food bank, service or care center, shelter, travel agency or funeral parlor, or establishment that provides health care, accounting or legal services,” along with any organization that receives any federal funding.
Facing threat of the Equality Act, a national coalition launches "Promise to America's Children"
Promise to America's Children
Kay C. James, President, The Heritage Foundation: "Protecting children also means protecting their parents’ rights to raise them without being unjustly threatened by intrusive government or malign cultural influences. That is why I am signing the Promise to America’s Children on behalf of the Heritage Foundation. I urge everyone who believes that America’s tomorrow depends on what our children experience today to join me in signing the Promise.” Michael P. Farris, President and CEO, Alliance Defending Freedom: “Policies that undermine the vital role of parents in their children’s lives or ignore biological reality in order to advance an ideology ultimately harm children. Unfortunately, we’ve seen a growing number of these policies being pushed in states and localities, in Congress with the introduction of the Equality Act, and now with actions taken by the Biden administration."
Schumer and Pelosi Would Deny Americans Freedom of Conscience
CNS News by Terence P. Jeffrey
In the Senate, Schumer co-sponsored the Protect Women's Health from Corporate Interference Act, seeking to reverse the court's decision. He essentially argued that a family cannot be allowed to operate its business in keeping with its religious principles. "The Hobby Lobby case has now opened the door to the vast majority of companies and bosses to start denying their employees contraceptive coverage if the owners have a religious objection," Schumer said. "We must slam the door shut."
Liberals hope, and conservatives fear, that the Biden Administration will transform the nation’s values and public policies into those of “California.” As a recent story in the Los Angeles Times put it, “California is emerging as the de facto policy think tank of the Biden-Harris administration.” If that’s right, the next four years bode ill for the free exercise of religion. California’s hostility to religious freedom has resulted in concerted efforts in the Golden State to sacrifice this first liberty on the altar of secular cultural imperatives. * The first bill seeks to undermine the financial viability of Catholic hospitals. * Another bill seeks to destroy medical conscience rights regarding assisted suicide. * Xavier Becerra, Harris’s replacement as California attorney general and now President Biden’s nominee for Secretary of Health and Human Services, may be even more antithetical to religious freedom in the social context.
Barrett Flashes Independence as Supreme Court Backs Religious Rights
The newest U.S. Supreme Court justice joined three liberal colleagues late Thursday in an opinion that said Alabama can’t execute a convicted murderer unless he can have his pastor by his side. Barrett was the only conservative to join Kagan’s concurring opinion, which said death-row inmates have broad rights under a federal law that protects prisoners’ religious liberty. “The law guarantees Smith the right to practice his faith free from unnecessary interference, including at the moment the state puts him to death,” Kagan wrote.
These Biden Priorities Target Religious Liberty: 'It Treats Our Beliefs as the Equivalent of Racist Bigotry'
In his first 100 hundred days, President Biden has vowed to pass the Equality Act which elevates the rights of gay, lesbian, and transgendered people over those of Christians and other faiths. "It treats the people who believe that marriage is between a man and a woman and that we're created male and female – it treats our beliefs as the equivalent of racist bigotry," says Emilie Kao, director of the DeVos Center for Religion and Civil Society at The Heritage Foundation. The Equality Act goes further, removing conscience protections that allow doctors and nurses to refuse to perform abortions, and gutting the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), which passed Congress nearly unanimously in 1993. That part would leave people of faith without legal recourse when their freedoms are trampled.
New York drops push for limits on religious gatherings
An embattled Gov. Andrew Cuomo has completely backed off efforts to impose tight capacity restrictions on houses of worship. The move ends some of the tightest pandemic-related worship limits in the country. U.S. District Judge Kiyo A. Matsumoto permanently blocked enforcement of the executive order that put houses of worship in zones that limited them to 25 percent capacity with a maximum of 10 people or 33 percent capacity with a maximum of 25 people. Matsumoto made clear that his ruling in favor of the Orthodox Jewish group Agudath Israel of America would apply to all places of worship in the state. Cuomo told the court he didn’t object to the ruling.
Religious Liberty Clinic Brief Argues Universities Can’t Discriminate Against Faith-Based Student Groups
U. of St. Thomas
The University of St. Thomas School of Law Religious Liberty Appellate Clinic has filed an amicus curiae brief in federal court InterVarsity Christian Fellowship v. Board of Governors of Wayne State University. The brief argues that faith-based college and university student groups cannot be penalized for requiring that their leaders sign a statement of agreement with the group’s religious beliefs. It points out that Wayne State and other universities allow large-scale discrimination in leadership by sex-segregated fraternities and sororities, among other groups, while penalizing religious groups alone for requiring that their leaders adhere to the groups’ beliefs.
During the Trump administration we also finalized a common sense rule in 2019 requiring abortion to be separate from family planning and that providers not refer for abortion as family planning. All but one Planned Parenthood affiliate refused and gave up about $60 million annually in federal Title X funding, proving that abortion — not helping poor women with family planning — is their top priority. Instead of giving priority to meet the family planning needs of low-income families, as we did and as the Title X legislation requires, this executive action sets in motion the unlawful subsidization of the abortion industry, likely leaving poor women to suffer.
Biden administration may roll back ‘conscience protections’
FOX News video
Roger Severino, director of the HHS Office for Civil Rights, joins Shannon Bream on 'Fox News @ Night.' "We're headed in the wrong direction," says Severino. "All the signs are negative. I worked for four years to make sure that conscience and individual freedom would be institutionalized, so that the federal government would never hound the Little Sisters of the Poor ever again."
President Biden’s Transgender Agenda Poses Religious Freedom and Privacy Problems
National Catholic Register
Ryan Anderson, president of the Ethics and Public Policy Center in Washington, told the Register that Biden’s executive order “is instructing his agencies to now treat sex as gender identity”; and when it comes to health care, “no one’s being denied treatment for COVID because they’re male or female, or for that matter, because they identify as male or female. So, what he’s really getting at here is health-care plans are going to have to cover sex-reassignment procedures. Hospitals are going to have to offer sex-reassignment procedures.”
Task force releases report on Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission
A Southern Baptist task force studying the effectiveness of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC) issued its report, Feb. 1. Commissioned in February 2020 by the Southern Baptist Convention’s Executive Committee, the task force was charged with reviewing the activities of the ERLC, which is tasked with helping churches understand the moral demands of the gospel and public policy, as well as promoting religious liberty on behalf of Southern Baptists.
Carson, a former neurosurgeon who served as the Trump administration's only HUD chief, said his think tank, the American Cornerstone Institute, will provide “common-sense solutions to some of our nation’s biggest problems” and be centered around the “cornerstones” of faith, liberty, community and life. “The American Cornerstone Institute will be dedicated to creating dialogue and smart discourse. ACI will focus on promoting and preserving individual and religious liberty, helping our country’s most vulnerable find new hope, and developing methods to maximize government’s efficiency and effectiveness to best serve all our nation’s citizens,” Carson wrote in RealClearPolitics.
Supreme Court Rules Against Calif., Doubles Down On Religious Rights Amid Pandemic
The chief justice's opinion marked a middle ground of sorts among the court's conservatives. Justices Neil Gorsuch and Clarence Thomas said they would have lifted California's restrictions in full. While acknowledging that the state has a "compelling interest" in reducing the spread of COVID-19, they said California had effectively given preferential treatment to "lucrative industries" such as the film industry, adding that the state had "openly imposed more stringent regulations on religious institutions than on many businesses." In November, with Barrett on the court, the justices ruled 5-4 to block New York from enforcing strict limits on attendance limits on places of worship in coronavirus hot spots.
When President Biden was sworn in, he called for unity. As it turns out, his administration instead came bearing a sword (and a pen) instead. From school bathrooms to school sports, the Biden administration seems bent on a radical transgender agenda that ignores reason, science, and basic common sense. And sadly, women and children will be hardest hit.
Where's the Shame in Protecting Religious Liberty?
FRC by Katherine Johnson
The Trump administration's excellent DOJ personnel choices led to unprecedented religious liberty protections. They fought for Christians to not be forced to provide cakes for gay weddings, and they fought to protect religious schools against government meddling in hiring and firing decisions. When the pandemic hit, and some state and local governments treated secular interests more favorably than houses of worship, Trump's DOJ fought to make sure religious adherents were not forgotten. In contrast, President Biden has plans to roll back major protections for religious adherents, and he has made that clear with his appointment of Kristen Clarke as Eric Dreiband's replacement.
Joe Biden Sued by Trump Appointee Roger Severino, Asked to Resign Before End of 3-Year Term
"President Biden's attempt to remove me contrary to law exposes his lofty promises of healing and uniting all Americans as nothing more than cynical manipulation," Severino said in a Wednesday email to Newsweek. "Because I am not one to be bullied, not even by the President himself, I will not resign my duly commissioned post and look forward to seeing how President Biden tries to justify his vindictive actions in court," Severino added.
Beloved Football Coach who was Fired for Brief, Private Prayer Makes Case Before Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals
Today, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit again heard oral argument in the case of Coach Joe Kennedy, the longtime Bremerton (WA) football coach who was fired after the 2015 season because he took a knee in brief, personal prayer after football games. First Liberty Institute, Kirkland & Ellis LLP, Jeff Helsdon, and A.J. Ferate collectively represent Kennedy. “Coach Kennedy spent more than 20 years defending our freedoms in the U.S. Marine Corps. Sadly, the school district forced him to choose between his faith and the job he loves. Now, the rights of millions of Americans—the very rights Coach fought for as a Marine—could be wiped away,” said Mike Berry, First Liberty Institute’s General Counsel. “We hope the Ninth Circuit will end this blatant religious discrimination and protect religious freedom.”
A federal appeals court on Friday refused to set aside California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s near total ban on indoor worship. And on Monday, the Supreme Court declined to review a further challenge to Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak’s restrictions on indoor worship. A three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously ruled against San Diego-area South Bay United Pentecostal Church. The decision means churches in nearly all California counties, barring a few rural ones, will remain shuttered for now.
Chike Uzuegbunam, a college student at the Supreme Court, should also win his. Campus police at Georgia Gwinnett College threatened him with arrest if he didn’t stop talking to his classmates about Jesus in public, even when he was standing in the school’s tiny “free speech zone” (just 0.0015% of campus). After the school shut down his efforts to resolve the situation, Uzuegbunam sued. At first, school officials vigorously defended themselves in court, but when they learned Uzuegbunam had graduated, they abruptly changed their ludicrous policy and told the court to throw out the case – a move that would not only leave Uzuegbunam without compensation, but would also let the college go back to its old, bad policy.
Biden DOJ pick Kristen Clarke railed against task force protecting religious liberty
Kristen Clarke, President Biden's choice to run the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division, has previously taken issue with the Justice Department's Religious Liberty Task Force, launched in 2018. "DOJ should be working to fight discrimination and protect the rights of vulnerable communities," Clarke wrote on Twitter in 2018. "Instead, Jeff Sessions is launching a Religious Liberty Task Force to make it easier for people to use religion to mask their discriminatory goals. Shameful."
The Framers made religion the first freedom in the Bill of Rights for a reason. They recognized that from ancient times, autocratic rulers have used religion to oppress not just individuals’ actions, but their very thoughts and beliefs. When Thomas Jefferson wrote to Benjamin Rush that “I have sworn upon the altar of God eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man,” he referred specifically to the freedom of religion established in the First Amendment. It’s unlikely Mr. Biden will approach the issue with the same fervor. A recent Politico article called Mr. Trump’s religious-freedom agenda a “political landmine” for his successor. Activists, Politico reports, “are urging him to reduce, or ‘right-size,’ ” discussion of religious liberty.
Likewise, although Christians believe all people are made in God’s image, it requires no faith to see that an unborn child is a child. Even atheists post ultrasound images of their kids. When they shoot off pink confetti for the gender reveal, they reveal that they know biological sex isn’t “assigned at birth.” It’s time to make the left follow the science. Conservatives shouldn’t frame these as sectarian religious issues, litigating them purely in terms of religious liberty.
Federal Court Upholds Conscience Protections for Doctors
Daily Signal by Nicole Russell
The legal organization Becket represented the plaintiffs and successfully argued, according to its press release, “that sensitive medical decisions should be kept between patients and their doctors without government interference, and that no one should be required by law to disregard their conscience or their professional medical judgment.” In a statement, Luke Goodrich, senior counsel at Becket, underscored the importance of religious freedom within the medical community: “The court’s decision recognizes our medical heroes’ right to practice medicine in line with their conscience and without politically motivated interference from government bureaucrats.”
Limited Waiver Under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act Regarding Access to Certain Vaccines from Japan
HHS Office of Civil Rights (OCR)
OCR determines that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) requires a limited waiver of the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act’s bar on importing certain non-FDA-licensed vaccines for measles, rubella, and hepatitis A that are not derived from aborted fetal cells.
She quit the testosterone, resumed living as a woman and sued the national clinic, petitioning for judicial review of the "affirmative" medical process that she claims provides no real safeguard for confused adolescents. The court seems to have agreed. Its decision was narrow: Minors under 16 do not have capacity to give "informed consent" to highly experimental and risky hormonal treatments that put their future fertility and sexual function at risk. The court's careful review of the clinic's "affirmation model," which directs therapists and doctors to agree with the patient's self-diagnosis of "gender dysphoria"—revealed a system recklessly unmoored from the cautious, evidence-based approach that characterizes other areas of medicine.
Rule Proposed to Protect Infants Born Alive from Discrimination on the Basis of Disability
U.S. Dept. HHS
• Protect patients, including infants born alive whose parents or guardians consent to treatment, from disability discrimination under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act (Section 504), which OCR enforces in Federally funded programs and activities; • Prohibit disability discrimination in the provision or withdrawal of life-saving or life-sustaining care; • Prohibit covered providers from basing certain life and death medical decisions on evaluations of the relative worth of the life of a patient with a disability, or on stereotypes or bias with respect to disability; • Prohibit covered providers from exerting undue influence or steering patients toward the withdrawal of life-saving or life-sustaining care, or toward the provision of life-ending services such as assisted suicide, mercy killing, or euthanasia, on the basis of disability....
Becket attorney Luke Goodrich elaborates on Twitter: The plaintiffs are religious doctors, hospitals, and clinics who joyfully serve ALL patients regardless of sex or gender identity. They routinely provide top-notch care to transgender patients for everything from cancer to the common cold. The judge observes that there are various ways for the government to assist in the provision of such services without forcing doctors to violate their consciences and notes: ... compliance with the challenged laws would violate the Catholic Plaintiffs’ religious beliefs as they sincerely understand them. The RFRA broadly defines “exercise of religion” as “any exercise of religion, whether or not compelled by, or central to, a system of religious belief.” ... “[T]he ‘exercise of religion’ involves ‘not only belief and profession but the performance of (or abstention from) physical acts.’” All the president needs to do is simply affirm the wisdom of the vote he cast in 1993 for the Religious Freedom Restoration Act....
The “abortion as health care” campaign advanced by the Equality Act effectively defines the unborn child out of existence. It treats the child as merely a “physical condition” of the mother that health professionals are called on to address through corrective treatment. In a sense the Act also defines Americans who object to such taking of innocent human life out of existence as well, treating them as bigots who must be forced to comply with anti-discrimination policies accepted by all fair-minded citizens. The Act does not promote equality, as it further demeans vulnerable human beings who already have few rights -- and denies the right of pro-life Americans, who make up about half the U.S. population, to live by their fundamental convictions.
Equality Act’s Attack on Religious Liberty, Medical Conscience
National Review by Wesley J. Smith
President Biden said during the campaign that he supported the Equality Act, which is being sold as a means of guaranteeing equality for LGBT people. But it does more than that. It would destroy medical conscience by removing existing protections that permit doctors and nurses to refuse participation in abortion, and it would gut the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
Following are excerpts from this Executive Order (EO) and potential applications that fall within the fairly wide bounds of authority covered by the EO: EO: "People should be able to access healthcare … without being subjected to sex discrimination." Potential application: The words sound innocuous, but as demonstrated by the Obama administration's transgender mandate, this policy can translate into forcing physicians and health practices to participate in transgender surgeries and transitioning measures, regardless of conscience or medical concerns. Medical concerns include depression, anxiety, suicidal ideation, substance abuse, risky sexual behaviors, high blood pressure, blood clots, stroke, and some types of cancer.
After Inaugural Rhetoric on Unity, Biden Signs Divisive Transgender Executive Order
Daily Signal by Ryan T. Anderson
Through litigation and legislation, we need to make it clear that it’s lawful to act on the convictions that we are created male and female, and that male and female are created for each other, that no institution has to let males compete against females in sports, that no institution has to allow males into women-only locker rooms and shelters, that no physician has to engage in so-called gender-affirming care.
The number of religious discrimination charges filed with EEOC has increased significantly from fiscal years 1997 to 2019, although the total number of such charges remains relatively small compared to charges filed on other bases. Many employers seek legal guidance in managing equal employment opportunity (“EEO”) issues that arise from religious diversity as well as the demands of the modern American workplace. This document is designed to be a practical resource for employers, employees, practitioners, and EEOC enforcement staff on Title VII’s prohibition against religious discrimination. It explains the variety of issues considered in workplace-related religious discrimination claims, discusses typical scenarios that may arise, and provides guidance to employers on how to balance the rights of individuals in an environment that includes people of varying religious faiths, or no faith.
A federal court in North Dakota just blocked a requirement known as the Transgender Mandate that would force medical professionals and religious hospitals to perform gender transition procedures on their patients—including children—even when the procedures are potentially harmful. In 2016, the federal government issued a mandate, applicable to nearly every doctor in the country, interpreting the Affordable Care Act to require them to perform gender transition procedures on any patient, including children, even if the doctor believed the procedure could harm the patient. “Now more than ever, Americans are grateful for the sacrifices of our medical professionals who serve on the front lines and use their training and expertise to serve the vulnerable,” said Luke Goodrich, senior counsel at Becket. “The court’s decision recognizes our medical heroes’ right to practice medicine in line with their conscience and without politically motivated interference from government bureaucrats.”
This Dog Won’t Hunt: Texas’s Wrong-headed Argument against Clergy for the Condemned
National Review by Eric Rassbach and Chris Pagliarella
But Texas’s otherwise stellar religious-liberty record suffers from one black mark: prisons. Over the years, our firm, The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, has been opposed to Texas in prisoner religious-liberty cases involving access to communion for a Greek Orthodox prisoner, access to kosher food for observant Jewish prisoners, and, most recently, access to clergy for prisoners condemned to death. That last issue is back before the Supreme Court this week in Gutierrez v. Saenz.
Bishops applaud HHS rule change that aids adoption, foster care providers
The chairmen noted how Catholic and other faith-based agencies annually serve thousands of families through adoption and foster care. "Many of these agencies have been doing this work long before the government became involved," their statement said. "It is a sad reality that state and local government agencies in multiple jurisdictions have already succeeded in shutting down Catholic adoption and foster care providers who operated in accordance with the teachings of the Catholic Church," the chairmen said. "With over 400,000 children in foster care, we need to work together to take steps to increase -- not decrease -- opportunities for children to be placed with safe and loving families." "We appreciate the finalization of these rule modifications," they added.
Panel Urged to Grant Iowa University Officials Immunity in Religious Freedom Case
Courthouse News Service
U.S. District Judge Stephanie Rose, a Barack Obama appointee, ruled that the university did not consistently enforce that policy against all student groups. For example, it allows one group, Love Works, to bar from its leadership students who do not subscribe to its religious beliefs that support gay rights while saying InterVarsity may not enforce its traditional biblical views on sexuality. Rose also held that three University of Iowa administrators directly involved in the decision to revoke InterVarsity’s campus privileges are individually liable for damages. The university appealed Rose’s decision on that issue to the Eighth Circuit, arguing the administrators should be granted qualified immunity from personal liability. Kobes questioned Daniel Blomberg, senior counsel for the religious liberty law firm Becket which represented InterVarsity in Wednesday’s argument, about qualified immunity granted to BLiNC but not to InterVarsity. In response, Blomberg said, “That’s not our argument.” Rather, he said, InterVarsity is arguing that the university cannot say that one student group may not discriminate on the basis of its religious beliefs while saying other groups may do so.
Supreme Court hears campus religious freedom, free speech case
College officials first silenced Chike by limiting when and where he could speak, telling him to reserve one of the two tiny campus “speech zones.” Yet, when Chike followed their directions, campus police approached, telling him to stop because someone had complained. The officers demanded his ID card and ordered him to stop speaking, threatening him with discipline, even expulsion, if he continued to share his faith. Joseph Bradford was also a student at the time, and also wanted to share his faith with other students, but was “chilled” from speaking by the knowledge of the college policy and the threat of discipline. Alliance Defending Freedom challenged the college’s unconstitutional policies in federal trial court. Eventually, in response to the lawsuit, the college made some changes to its speech policies and argued that it should be able to avoid any penalties for violating Chike and Joseph’s First Amendment rights.
Cardinal Dolan: Right to religious freedom rooted in human dignity
According to Cardinal Dolan, religious freedom opens up space for this dialogue “by allowing communities to live in accordance with their convictions and thus contribute to the larger society”. “When that space for dialogue is constricted, the broader society suffers”, the prelate emphasized, expressing hope that American Catholics and all people of good will commit themselves to nurturing the country’s "great legacy of religious liberty for all".
Small Business Admin. calls for faith-based organizations to be eligible for assistance
The United States Small Business Administration (SBA) has proposed a rule which would allow faith-based organizations to be eligible for some SBA business loans and disaster assistance. Currently, some organizations cannot take part in relief programs due to their religious status. SBA wants to remove the provisions, stating they "exclude a class of potential participants based solely on their religious status" which violate the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment.
Martin Luther King Jr.: religious freedom champion
King equated the freedom to choose between competing options as essential to humanity in a 1963 address titled “A Challenge to Churches and Synagogues.” After a litany of questions a truly free person is allowed to decide for himself or herself (vocation, political party, religious tradition), King declared that without the ability to make such decisions freely a person is “reduced to an animal.” In the same address he asserted that faith communities “are called to be the thermostats that transform and regulate the temperature of society, not thermometers that merely record or register the temperature of the majority opinion.”
HHS Issues Final Rule to Align Grants Regulation with Nondiscrimination Statutes Including Those Protecting Religious Liberty
U.S. Dept. Health and Human Services
"The HHS grants regulation furthers the Department's commitment to deregulation, protects the free exercise of religion, and relieves burdens on faith-based organizations seeking HHS support for their important work, especially as we seek to maximize opportunities for children to be adopted by loving families," said HHS Chief of Staff Brian Harrison. This final rule requires grantees to comply only with applicable nondiscrimination provisions passed by Congress and signed into law, instead of also requiring compliance with nonstatutory nondiscrimination provisions.