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Journal Star: Nebraskans should know that the right to “exercise” their religion is vulnerable in this state. And our legislators should be discouraged from passing laws in the name of nondiscrimination that, simultaneously, work a discrimination against an emerging religious minority. We must establish a more appropriate balance.
Christian News Network: “The Reproductive Health Non-Discrimination Amendment Act of 2014 prevents religious institutions, other faith-based employers, and pro-life advocacy organizations from making employment decisions consistent with their sincerely held religious beliefs or their moral and ethical views about the sanctity of human life,” the ADF letter stated.
Life News: With Republicans supporting the pro-life bill and Democrats voting against it 3-2 the Senate Judiciary Committee passed SB 268, the Offenses Against Unborn Children Act. Colorado Citizens for Life, along with Colorado Family Action, Alliance Defending Freedom and other local and national pro-life groups, stood in support of the legislation.
Rhino Times: A poem, a Christmas tree and a T-shirt: three innocuous, seemingly unrelated items that nonetheless share a common bond. All three were censored by North Carolina educators who made bad decisions that could have been prevented if the state had a religious freedom law like the one North Carolina legislators are currently considering.
The News & Observer: As consideration of North Carolina’s religious freedom bill ramps up, North Carolinians should call on the many CEOs who have come out against such laws around the country to put their money where their mouths are.
Biz Journals: We clearly haven’t heard the last of the religious freedom bill in the General Assembly.
The Hill: The Senate on Wednesday passed legislation aimed at curbing human trafficking, ending a monthlong fight over abortion that bitterly divided the parties and held up attorney general nominee Loretta Lynch.
Las Vegas Review Journal: The Nevada Student Physical Privacy Act maintains the longstanding practice of ensuring single-sex use of school restrooms and other intimate settings while providing accommodations for students struggling with sexual identity. What should be an uncontroversial bill has garnered significant national attention and has been the source of much misinformation.
Life Site News: Americans United for Life (AUL) is leading the national opposition to the change, along with Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF). An Illinois-based coalition of pregnancy help organizations is currently forming an informational website on the bill.
The Washington Post: Casey Mattox, senior counsel at the Alliance Defending Freedom, which opposed the law, said it was drafted in a way that could also require religious organizations to pay for abortions and other reproductive services that employers object to on moral grounds.
Christian News Network: Last Tuesday, approximately 80 people testified in opposition to the bill, while 24 supporters spoke in favor of its passage. Representatives from Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), California Coalition of Pregnancy Clinics and Centers, and Real Options Pregnancy Medical Clinics were among those who spoke against the proposal, as well as 13 nurses and four post-abortive women.
Alliance Defending Freedom: North Carolina’s Constitution seemingly provides strong protection for religion and faith. And, we have a Federal RFRA. Why is the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) needed in North Carolina?
The Washington Post: The Reproductive Health Non-Discrimination Amendment Act makes it illegal for an employer to engage in what the act deems “discrimination” when it comes to “compensation, terms, conditions or privileges of employment” on the basis of an individual’s “reproductive health decision making” — including the “termination of a pregnancy.” In plain English, the bill could force employers in the nation’s capital to cover elective, surgical abortions in their health plans and require pro-life organizations to hire individuals who advocate for abortion.
Watchdog (Arena): The Supreme Court of the United States could legalize same-sex marriage nationwide later this year. The fight that just took place in Indiana over religious freedom is far from over, and it could be coming to your state next.
The Washington Post: Last month, Pope Francis announced that the Catholic Church would celebrate a Holy Year of Divine Mercy. God’s mercy has been a theme of his pontificate.
Christian Today: A senator for the state of Georgia promised to revive a religious freedom bill he previously sponsored once the state legislative body reconvenes in January 2016.
Christian Today: Lawmakers in Louisiana continue to debate a religious freedom bill despite the controversies faced by legislators in other states over similar laws.
NOLA: “It was only ever envisioned as an attempt to protect our citizens and their rights of conscience — and not to harm anyone. … If it were otherwise, I would not be involved in it,” said Johnson, a constitutional lawyer who has worked for anti-abortion and anti-same-sex marriage causes.
TribTalk: Based on the furor and hysteria that followed the recent passage of Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act, you’d think this is a radical concept that spells the end of civilization as we know it.
The News & Observer: Once again state legislators have proposed a Religious Restoration Freedom Act to protect persons whose religious practice is burdened by state action. The recent furor over RFRAs in Indiana and Arkansas could come to North Carolina.
Pregnancy Help News: Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) is set to lead the bill’s opposition at a national level, with attorney Heather Gebelin Hacker lined up to testify as an expert witness, along with Mary Sterner Sosa M.D., an OB/GYN board member at Sacramento Life Center selected by the California Coalition of Pregnancy Clinics and Centers.
Alliance Defending Freedom: The people of Idaho, Wyoming, and North Dakota have spoken. And they have made it clear this legislative season that they do not need a sexual orientation, gender identity (SOGI) nondiscrimination ordinance in their states.
The Christian Science Monitor: The recent backlash against “religious accommodation” laws in Indiana and Arkansas is evidence of an increasingly bitter confrontation that is dividing the country and threatens to diminish the scope of religious liberty in America.
The Federalist: In Colorado this week, Republicans introduced a fetal homicide bill that would enable prosecutors to file murder charges when an unborn baby is killed against the mother’s wishes.
Mother Jones: Here’s how quickly the prospect of expanding abortion rights can kill a piece of legislation: In February, a group of state lawmakers introduced a bill that would require insurers to cover the full spectrum of women’s reproductive services at an affordable price. Just two months later, the same lawmakers have killed the bill. The section calling for abortion coverage proved just too controversial.
RH Reality Check: An Oregon bill that would have codified the right to affordable, full-spectrum reproductive health care was killed by the state’s Democratic leadership last week because of a provision that would have increased access to abortion.
World Magazine (Subscription Required): California lawmakers are moving forward with a bill that would require pregnancy care centers to tell clients they can get abortions from state-funded facilities.
One News Now: “The law that Arkansas passed is a very strong religious freedom law that’s similar to what Congress and 20 other states have already enacted,” Kellie Fiedorek of Alliance Defending Freedom explains. “And it essentially ensures that the courts balance government interests when they come into conflict with the religious convictions of Arkansans.”
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.
Yahoo News (AP): Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson said Thursday he doesn’t see an urgent need to expand workplace anti-discrimination protections for gay and lesbian state employees after lawmakers reworked a religious objections measure to address concerns it was discriminatory.
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?
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.
Catholic News Agency: Kansas became on Tuesday the first state to ban abortions by a procedure known as “dilation and evacuation,” which is common during second-trimester abortions and is called “dismemberment abortion” in the law.
The Denver Post: A Colorado Senate committee killed a bill Wednesday that the state’s gay rights organizations and mental health groups had high hopes for: a ban on gay conversion therapy for minors.
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.
The New York Times: Kansas on Tuesday became the first state to sharply restrict or alter the most common technique used for second-trimester abortions, opening a new, emotionally charged line of attack by anti-abortion forces who hope to take it swiftly to other states.
AP: Texas’ Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1999 allows a Texas resident to sue state and local governments if he or she feels that a government entity is burdening their religious beliefs or practices. Lauded as “carefully crafted” by gay rights advocates, the act explicitly states it cannot be used to undermine federal or state civil rights or take precedence over local ordinances.
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.
Red State: A man tells you he wants you to be part of his religious service. You will participate in prayers, listen to sermons, and either join in or stand reverently as hymns are sung and religious rites are performed. But the service worships a different god from your own. In fact, the service blasphemes your God. The man offers to pay you, but you nevertheless respectfully decline to be involved in or participate in this religious service. So he goes to the authorities and demands that the government punish you for your resistance. If this religious service is a same-sex wedding don’t go to the ACLU looking for help.
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.
Life News: A pro-life bill in the Nevada legislature that would help parents know if their minor daughter is considering an abortion may die without a hearing. Surprisingly, the state Assembly is controlled by Republicans but a leading pro-life group is worried the measure may not see the light of day.
First Things: There was grace in his refusal. Had he granted me the words I craved, he would, in conscience, have violated the grandeur of them. Ruth’s commitment was not simply to another person but to a covenanted community bound together since the call of Abraham. Her words were his inheritance; he was not free to extend them to us.
National Right to Life: This morning, pro-life Kansas Governor Sam Brownback (R) signed into law the groundbreaking Unborn Child Protection from Dismemberment Abortion Act. The bill received overwhelming support in the state legislature earlier this year. In signing the bill, Governor Brownback makes Kansas the first state in the nation to enact the National Right to Life model legislation that will prohibit the use of dismemberment abortions. The law will go into effect on July 1.
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.
Christian NewsWire: Co-Executive Director Genevieve Wilson today expressed disappointment in the failure of the Georgia General Assembly to pass SB129, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), a bill designed to prevent state and local laws from infringing on the exercise of religion in Georgia. The bill passed the Georgia Senate and was tabled in committee in the Georgia House.
Christian NewsWire: This morning, Gov. Sam Brownback signed into law the historic “Unborn Child Protection from Dismemberment Abortion Act,” SB 95. It will go into effect July 1.
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.”
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.
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.
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.”
Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Legal Counsel Jim Campbell: “Government should protect people’s freedom to follow their beliefs in their lives and work. We commend the governor’s decision to support a law that does this. Government shouldn’t be able to punish Americans for exercising basic civil rights. Religious freedom laws ensure that freedom gets a fair hearing, and they limit the government’s power to intrude on our liberties. We hope other states join Arkansas and many others in adopting similar laws.”