Friends, The new Alliance Alert Daily Digest is finally here! You can subscribe to the daily e-mail here: Subscribe to our mailing list * indicates required Email Address * First Name * Last Name *
First Things: As the dust from the recent explosion over Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act begins to settle, one thing is clear: Republicans and Christians lost, Democrats and gay activists won.
First Things: As the dust from the recent explosion over Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act begins to settle, one thing is clear: Republicans and Christians lost, Democrats and gay activists won. Republican leaders initially supported the legislation for what was likely a combination of strategic political reasons and the belief that religious freedom is a positive good.
One News Now: “… Basically [we are seeking] the right to put up our pro-life display in a bus advertising setting because many other groups have been allowed to put up various advertisements supporting their groups,” Alliance Defending Freedom attorney Jonathan Scruggs tells OneNewsNow.
The Global Dispatch: “The First Amendment protects freedom of speech for all people, regardless of their political or religious beliefs,” said Scruggs. “City officials cannot censor speech simply because it does not agree with it. Government has a responsibility to ensure that all organizations benefit from community advertising, and that includes Women’s Health Link.”
ADF Media: Alliance Defending Freedom Legal Counsel Jonathan Scruggs will be available for media interviews Monday following a federal court hearing regarding the Fort Wayne bus system’s refusal to accept an ad from Women’s Health Link, a life-affirming health care referral service for women in need.
The Guardian: The Hitching Post’s owners filed suit and are represented by the Alliance Defending Freedom, a conservative legal group that has been involved with many recent religious freedom cases and opposed Idaho’s Add the Words bill. “We’re receiving more calls and litigating more than ever before,” said Greg Scott, an ADF spokesman. Scott said ADF believes that there “is never a bad time to provide more religious freedom”. The group pushes for more of those freedoms by representing people like the Hitching Post owners and working with legislators pushing religious freedom bills.
Alliance Defending Freedom: After the uproar over religious freedom laws in Indiana and Arkansas, some states may be wondering whether Religious Freedom Restoration Acts (RFRA) are such a good idea.
The Daily Signal: Recent nationwide polling shows that 81 percent of Americans agree that the government should leave people free to live and work in accordance with their belief that marriage is between a man and a woman.
Acton Institute: The recent pushback against state-level Religious Freedom Restoration Acts has sent a signal that, as Utah legislator Stuart Adams say, “the landscape of protecting religious liberty has changed. Permanently.” Many Christians are drawing similar conclusions about the cause of religious liberty being all but lost. I think this view is premature and that, to paraphrase John Paul Jones, we have not yet begun to fight.
Breitbart: Last year a photographer hired by Alliance Defending Freedom to take employee pictures refused the job when he discovered the group opposed same-sex marriage.
Investors: Hysteria over Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act has drowned out one critical question: Who are the florist and baker that ABC’s George Stephanopoulos hounded Gov. Mike Pence about?
Tammy Bruce: Hannity has a short interview with the owners of Memories Pizza and then a discussion with Tammy and Kirsten Powers on the event.
The Sun: What does court precedent in New York state say about the notion that opposition to same-sex marriage is simply about prejudice? That charge, after all, is being widely made by opponents of Indiana’s religious-freedom law.
Juicy Ecumenism: The O’Conner family expressed their wish to share the $842,387 funds with disabled children, abused women, public safety officer foundations, local churches and a battered grandmother struggling to operate a floral shop and live by her faith. Can you believe it?
Alliance Defending Freedom: Two big stories emerged last week. The first is that the Indiana Legislature announced a “fix” to the state’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act (“RFRA”), one which explicitly protects sexual orientation and gender identity from “discrimination.” The second is that Arkansas has passed its own RFRA.
The New York Times: AFTER watching the debate about religious freedom unfold over the past week, I decided to subject myself to an interview by an imaginary — but representative — member of the press.
Mere Orthodoxy: Now that our “insane national freak-out” about Indiana’s religious liberty bill has subsided a little, it’s worth stepping back to reflect on what happened and what the drama might mean for religious conservatives. Ross Douthat said nearly everything that needs to be said in his two posts; I note up front that I agree with his substantive analysis of the law completely, and am inclined to agree with him on the question of making cakes.
Time: Is it necessary for the new majority, which has won the culture war, to drive religious dissenters out of the public square as pariahs?
Conservatives to Apple, Inc.: Stand up for LGBT community, cease operations in Iran, Saudi Arabia, Nigeria
National Review: If Apple CEO Tim Cook thinks Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act is troubling, perhaps he should consider a few of the foreign locales where his own company does business.
Albert Mohler: The vast high-velocity moral revolution that is reshaping modern cultures at warp speed is leaving almost no aspect of the culture untouched and untransformed.
Seattle Pi: Gov. Jay Inslee has rescinded a ban on publicly funded, non-essential travel to Indiana by state employees, after Hoosier State legislators hastily amended a controversial “religious freedom law.
The Week: It’s been an eventful couple of weeks for the American experiment in self-government — with gay activists, many prominent Democrats, and numerous socially liberal business leaders from both parties squared off against millions of culturally conservative Christians over issues of homosexual equality and religious freedom.
USA Today: It’s hard for the people who call themselves liberals (while acting like anything but) to top their past bullying and intolerance of those who won’t fall in line with their worldview. Yet, with the Indiana religious freedom bill, they pulled it off. After Memories Pizza owner Crystal O’Connor told an Indiana reporter that she would not cater a gay wedding because it would conflict with her religious beliefs, the world exploded.
Surprise! Two major newspaper stories that seek to understand the religious freedom side in Indiana, Arkansas
Get Religion: “Cooking a rack of lamb and putting it on a table in front of somebody is not endorsing anything that you may find in violation of your beliefs” and therefore not something that ought to be protected behavior, said Greg Scott, a spokesman for the Alliance Defending Freedom, a legal nonprofit group that advised Indiana lawmakers.
DFW Catholic (CNA/EWTN News): The change drew criticism from Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Counsel Kristen Waggoner, who said the change “unjustly deprives citizens their day in court, denies freedom a fair hearing, and rigs the system in advance.”
Patheos: There is much to be said about this argument, but I must admit to being a bit stunned by the popularity of this post. In the fallout over Indiana’s RFRA law Kantrowitz, a free-lance editor and part-time nanny, penned a blog that went viral, competing with the reach of those of us who do religious liberty for a living.
Wish TV: Three members of the Christian conservative movement were the primary supporters of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act that prompted a boycott of Indiana.
The Washington Post: A national firestorm has erupted over an Indiana law that, in all essentials, mirrors the legal standard protecting religious liberty in all federal courts and 31 state courts. Why? The answer, unfortunately, is “the culture war” — and, contrary to media portrayals, conservatives aren’t the aggressors here.
The Atlantic: The question I’d ask those who want to use non-state means to punish mom-and-pop businesses that decline to cater gay weddings is what, exactly, their notion of a fair punishment is.
Public Discourse: It’s fine for people to express disagreement with the Indiana RFRA—if they know what’s in it. We must not allow ourselves to be manipulated by political propagandists into mob hysteria.
NBC News: An online fundraising effort has raised more than $840,000 for an Indiana pizza shop hounded by critics after one of its owners said she would decline to cater a gay wedding because of her religious beliefs.
National Review: And we also worry about a host of real-life instances highlighted by the Alliance Defending Freedom, the Becket Fund, and others, such as the eighty-something couple whose faith-based signage was restricted to less than a fifth the size of political signs in their neighborhood, the fire chief fired for self-publishing a book about living as a Christian, the pastors subpoenaed for daring to speak out against a citywide ordinance opening all public restrooms to people of both genders, and the American Indian not allowed legal avenues to prevent the bulldozing of his tribe’s sacred grounds.
Life Site News: I’m a designer. I love the shiny silver products created by Apple. But when those products become philosophical pontifications in Op-Eds and news media campaigns of misinformation, I want to dump my Apple tech in the trash can where Tim Cook’s “dangerous” religious freedom propaganda belongs.
The Washington Post: Kristen Waggoner, senior counsel for the Alliance Defending Freedom, a conservative legal aid group, said in a statement that the proposed amendment “unjustly deprives citizens of their day in court, denies freedom a fair hearing, and rigs the system.”
Centrail Maine (Chicago Tribune): Social conservatives aren’t all in agreement on the issue. Lawyers for the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty and the Arizona-based Alliance Defending Freedom criticized Indiana’s “fix” as unnecessary.
SF Gate: “Cooking a rack of lamb and putting it on a table in front of somebody is not endorsing anything that you may find in violation of your beliefs” and is therefore not something that ought to be protected behavior, said Greg Scott, a spokesman for the Alliance Defending Freedom, a legal nonprofit that advised Indiana lawmakers. “But if you’re a wedding singer and somebody says, ‘I want you to lead all the ceremonies for my wedding,’ that’s really a different story because you are expressing yourself in support and coerced into the celebration of something you don’t believe in it.”
Central Maine: As Greg Scott of the Alliance Defending Freedom, which assists defendants in such cases, said recently, “A government that has the power to tell you what you can’t say is bad enough. A government that tells you what you must say in order to avoid ruin is terrifying.”
Alaska Dispatch News: “The religious freedom law is a good law,” Kristen Waggoner, senior counselor of the group, said. “It does not pick winners or losers, but allows courts to weigh the government’s and people’s interests fairly and directs judges to count the cost carefully when freedom is stake. The new proposal unjustly deprives citizens their day in court, denies freedom a fair hearing, and rigs the system in advance. ”
Penn Jillette clashes with conservative attorney over religious freedom laws: They’re ‘not being asked to engage in gay sex’
The Blaze: He made these comments after Waggoner, an attorney with Alliance Defending Freedom, decried many of the “absurd hypotheticals” emerging in the debate over religious freedom laws “mere conjecture,” and said that these measures “actually benefit all Americans.”
Baptist Press: Kristen Waggoner, senior counsel with the Alliance Defending Freedom, said the Indiana measure is “a good law…. Surrendering to deception and economic blackmail never results in good policy.”
Northwest Arkansas Democrat Gazette: Jordan Lorence is a veteran attorney who in 2006 represented a female photographer in one of the cases widely cited in the “religious freedom” law debate last week.
The Christian Post: Although Santorum’s comparison of Westboro Baptist Church might seem original, a similar analogy to Westboro Baptist Church was used by Alliance Defending Freedom legal counsel Joe La Rue in an interview with The Christian Post in February, 2014. In the interview, La Rue provided a hypothetical scenario where Westboro protestors have just finished up protesting at a soldier’s funeral and want to order a cake that has the words “God Hates Fags,” written in icing to celebrate. La Rue asserted that business owners should have the ability to use discretion when dealing with situations like that.
The Federalist: Indiana’s ‘fix’ to its religious-freedom law will actively force private business owners to violate their consciences.
The Federalist: Not a single person who identifies as homosexual has been harmed by the federal or dozens of state religious freedom acts.
The Washington Examiner: Amid the current controversy over Indiana’s religious freedom law, it is important to understand just how important religious freedom has been in America’s legal history. By protecting religious beliefs and the free exercise of religion by its citizens, America has become a diverse society where people function successfully among others with whom we may not agree.
CNS News: Unfortunately, amidst many of today’s debates about the efficacy of religious freedom, such as the debate over Indiana’s religious freedom law, a pernicious underlying assumption exists that religious freedom is only for the religious. Such a belief is as dangerous as it is false. Religious freedom benefits all of us, though many unfortunately do not recognize it.
YouTube (ADF): Kristen Waggoner discusses Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act on CNN.
Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Counsel Kristen Waggoner “The religious freedom law is a good law. It does not pick winners or losers, but allows courts to weigh the government’s and people’s interests fairly and directs judges to count the cost carefully when freedom is stake. The new proposal unjustly deprives citizens their day in court, denies freedom a fair hearing, and rigs the system in advance. It gives the government a new weapon against individual citizens who are merely exercising freedoms that Americans were guaranteed from the founding of this country. Surrendering to deception and economic blackmail never results in good policy.”
Three surprising revelations about Indiana’s religious freedom law and why Apple’s Tim Cook is wrong
The Christian Post: Despite what Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, writes, despite what anti-religious people say, and despite what the liberal movement would have us believe, Indiana’s Religious Freedom Law is perfectly appropriate – and actually necessary – for a civilized nation. Here’s why.
Alliance Defending Freedom: Two major legal actions last week illustrate with startling clarity not only what’s at stake in the current struggle for religious freedom in America, but how much courage is required to put forward even the most modest protections for that freedom.
Alliance Defending Freedom: The first time something happens it is certainly OK to speculate about the outcome and the consequences. This is pretty normal, and is actually quite wise. The second time something happens the question is always: Was the first time a fluke? Will the second time result in a different outcome? By the third time something happens you have enough data to start to prove a point.
Commonweal: Are there still liberals willing to speak up for religious freedom? I don’t know whether the religious freedom bill passed and signed in Indiana last week—and now reportedly up for revision—is a good measure. I do know that, however one precisely balances out the pros and cons of the bill, it does involve religious freedom.
The Wall Street Journal (access via Google): But so far, legal experts say they are unaware of any high-profile cases in which business owners have successfully used so-called Religious Freedom Restoration Acts as a defense to discrimination claims.
The Washington Times: Instead, the federal law allowed Abdul Muhammad, a Muslim prisoner in Arkansas, to grow a half-inch beard. Thanks to the Texas RFRA, Adriel Arocha, a Lipan Apache kindergartner, was permitted to wear his hair long. Kawal Tagore won her case against the Internal Revenue Service after being fired for carrying a kirpan, a small knife worn to remind Sikhs of their commitment to justice.
The Washington Times: The row over Indiana’s religious liberty law breaks new ground in the war between religious liberty and the liberal political agenda. If there’s no conflict, you have to make one up. This contretemps blew up out of nowhere, and inquiring minds want to know how and why it happened.
Washington Examiner: In the real world, Pence signed a religious freedom law that is similar to those of 19 other states, some of which also ban discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. That should have been the first clue. The second is that the law Pence signed is not very different from the one in Illinois that Barack Obama voted for as a state senator.
The Washington Examiner: On one side is the CEO of the world’s largest company, the president of the United States and a growing chunk of the Fortune 500. On the other side is a solo wedding photographer in New Mexico, a 70-year-old grandma florist in Washington and a few bakers.
The Christian Post: To affirm these sacred rights, a national law virtually identical to Indiana’s new law was passed by a near unanimous Congress and signed into law by President Bill Clinton in 1993. Thirty-three states have adopted similar religious liberty protections. Indiana’s law makes it the thirty-fourth state to do so.
The Daily Signal: Does the Indiana Religious Freedom Restoration Act allow business owners to put their beliefs above the rights of their employees or customers? No.
Catholic Conference of Kentucky: This past week Indiana adopted a state-level version of the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA). This law imposes a higher standard of review when the state or a local government passes laws that interfere with the free exercise of religion. However, the law has unfairly been characterized as legislation that would authorize, or even encourage, unjust discrimination against homosexuals.
WUKY: The bill was referenced, however, in the recent Lexington Human Rights Commission case against t-shirt maker Hands On Originals. An appeal filed by Jim Campbell with Alliance Defending Freedom argued the commission’s ruling against Hands On placed an undue burden on the owner’s religious beliefs.
Time: The Republican contenders who weighed in sided with Pence, who party strategists say could still emerge as a White House contender himself. The cascade of support was a clear sign of the importance of the issue for the party’s social conservatives, who have increasingly rallied behind the cause as voters and the courts moved to legalize same-sex marriage in states around the country.
D. James Kennedy Ministries: This past weekend, the mainstream media was aflame as a result of Indiana’s “discriminatory” Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), which Governor Mike Pence signed into law.
First Things: In the wake of Indiana passing a Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), nationwide momentum has swelled for a #BoycottIndiana movement among the left. This hashtag activism seeks to punish the state for enacting legislation similar to laws already passed in nineteen other states that mirror a federal bill that received widespread bipartisan support in 1993.
The Daily Signal: The Heritage Foundation’s Ryan T. Anderson defended the Indiana religious liberty law on MSNBC last night.
WTVM: Religious Freedom bills are popping up in states like Georgia. SB129 is up in the air as the Georgia House canceled Monday’s meeting to review the bill. Even though the issue is heating up, Senator Joshua McKoon of Columbus, a major proponent of the bill, says he will keep fighting to get it signed into law.
Patheos: Last week, the Indiana legislature passed and Gov. Mike Pence signed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, joining a long list of states that have passed a version of the federal RFRA law passed with near-unanimous support from Congress in 1993 and signed by President Clinton. The purpose of the law is straightforward: RFRA requires that laws that inhibit a citizen’s constitutional right to religious free exercise 1) further a compelling government interest; and 2) do so in the least-restrictive means possible.
Red State: I’ve been watching over this controversy over the Indiana RFRA with no small amount of genuine amazement. I legitimately cannot relate to the arguments that the opponents of the law are making. The reasons for that are simple: I believe that I have inherent worth and that my spending dollars, earned with my labor, should not be voluntarily given to people who disrespect my sense of self-worth. Let me explain.
Townhall: There’s a secret underneath Boycott Indiana’s false rhetoric about that state’s new religious freedom law: some of those involved also want to force you to help purchase and perform abortions.
The New York Times: I know that I should say something about the backlash and debate over Indiana’s version of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, but it’s been hard to come up with something that I didn’t already say in my column when it was Arizona’s variation on the same law, vetoed under pressure, that was in the news. That column made the case that the only remaining question in the same-sex marriage “debate” was what kind of space, if any, an ascendant cultural liberalism would leave to Americans with traditional views on what constitutes a marriage; that the correlation of forces (corporate now as well as cultural and legal) was such that the choice of exactly how far to push and how much pluralism to permit would be almost entirely in the hands of liberals and supporters of same-sex marriage.
The Wall Street Journal (Access via Google): Last week I signed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, known as RFRA, which ensures that Indiana law will respect religious freedom and apply the highest level of scrutiny to any state or local governmental action that infringes on people’s religious liberty. Unfortunately, the law has stirred a controversy and in recent days has been grossly misconstrued as a “license to discriminate.”