Commentary: Biden’s Problems Are the Real Threats

Joe Biden

Democratic analysts don’t seem to understand why the all-out legal assault on President Donald Trump isn’t working. It’s because they keep talking among themselves and not with the American people.

The American people don’t live and work in the New York-Washington political-media-government bubble. If reporters and analysts listened to Americans, as we do at America’s New Majority Project, they would learn how decisive the choice between President Joe Biden or President Trump is. They would also see how difficult, if not impossible, it will be for President Biden to get easily re-elected.

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Arizona Representative Bill Aims to Help Protect Synagogues

David Schweikert

Arizona Congressman David Schweikert is introducing legislation on Friday that would loosen regulations on the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Nonprofit Security Grant Program to allow for places of worship to get more protection.

The House bill dubbed the “Warranting of Religious Spaces to Handle Increased Protection (WORSHIP) Act” would allow an increase from 50% to 75% to use the grant funds for personnel-related expenses and allow the hiring of “public safety personnel” to be permitted under the grant as part of “covered expenses.” 

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Democrats Versus Muslims: Liberal States Back School District’s Ban on Opt-Outs for LGBTQ Lessons

A wealthy suburb of Washington, D.C., doesn’t inherently object to shielding even older students from sexually mature material. It just doesn’t want to give the choice to parents.

Maryland’s Montgomery County Public Schools pulled a novel that celebrates a promiscuous gay teen sex columnist from high school libraries even as the district was arguing in court that parents cannot opt out their pre-kindergarten children from LGBTQ “storybooks” that portray sex workers, kink, drag, elementary-age romance and gender-identity transitions.

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Christian Organizations Celebrate Supreme Court’s Ruling Against Forcing Web Designer to Work for Same-Sex Weddings

Christian groups applauded the Supreme Court’s ruling Friday that held “The First Amendment prohibits Colorado from forcing a website designer to create expressive designs speaking messages with which the designer disagrees.”

Organizations, including the Catholic League, Family Research Council, and the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, submitted friend of the court (amici) briefs in support of 303 Creative, the custom website design business owned by Lorie Smith.

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Biden Administration Backs Down from Forcing Religious Hospitals to Perform Gender Transition Procedures

The Biden administration declined to appeal a federal court ruling that blocks the government from forcing religious doctors and faith-based hospitals to perform gender-transition procedures against their conscience and professional medical judgment.

The administration’s decision not to appeal the federal court ruling in Sisters of Mercy v. Becerra to the U.S. Supreme Court by a June 20 deadline means its mandate will be laid to rest.

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Satanic Temple to Host ‘Let Us Burn’ Events at State Capitols to Promote ‘Religious Liberty’

The Satanic Temple (TST) announced last week that it is raising money to host a “Let Us Burn” music tour at state capitols.

TST is looking to bring Satanic Planet, described as an “experimental avant industrial band,” to different states in the name of “religious liberty” and “pluralism,” according to the announcement. The tour is designed to specifically respond to Christian musician Sean Feucht’s “Let Us Worship” concert tour, which has performed in several state capitols.

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Pennsylvania Ranks Low on Religious Freedom Index

A new report from a D.C.-based nonprofit suggests that Pennsylvania lags behind most states regarding religious freedom. 

Last week, Napa Legal Institute published its first annual Faith & Freedom Index on which the Keystone State ranked 40th among all 50 states. The report rated each state in terms of its legal protections for faith-based institutions as well as regulatory regimes governing those entities. The commonwealth scored 30 percent for religious freedom and 55 percent for regulatory freedom for an averaged score of 55 percent.

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Religious Organizations Celebrate Settlement in Discrimination Case Between Arizona School District and University

Two months after facing heat for cutting ties with Arizona Christian University (ACU) in an apparent case of religious discrimination, the Washington Elementary School District (WESD) has gone back on its actions. In response, the Arizona-based Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), which sued the district, said it was the right move.

“At a time when a critical shortage of qualified, caring teachers exists, the Washington Elementary School District board did the right thing by prioritizing the needs of elementary school children and agreeing to partner once again with ACU’s student-teachers,” said ADF Senior Counsel David Cortman.

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Hillsdale College Professor: Man’s Divine Nature Not Just a Christian Principle, But a ‘Rational’ One as Well

Hillsdale College’s associate dean for its graduate school of government in Washington, DC, told attendees at an event Friday evening in Connecticut that while the enemies of religious liberty reject that which is divine in man, that concept is not “a Christian principle, per se,” but, in fact, “a rational principle.”

“In a certain sense, that can be summed up very simply, that we are actually children of God,” Dr. Matthew Mehan said at the College’s Blake Center for Faith and Freedom in Somers. “That is not a Christian principle, per se, although clearly it is one of the Christian principles. It’s actually a rational principle. And it’s actually a teaching of the philosophers and the poets both in ancient Greece and Rome.”

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Arizona State Sen. Anthony Kern Calls for Resignation of Tamillia Valenzuela from Valley School Board Following Anti-Christian Comments

Arizona State Sen. Anthony Kern (R-Glendale) released a statement Friday calling for Tamillia Valenzuela to resign from the Washington Elementary School District (WESD) Governing Board after making anti-Christian remarks during a recent meeting.

“While we’re facing a shortage of teachers, Valenzuela is impugning the motives of teachers with certain religious beliefs. This is NOT what our country was founded on,” said Kern.

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Commentary: The U.S. Postal Service’s Religious Liberty Fiasco

The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) has been hauled into court plenty of times, having experienced its fair share of administrative and election law cases. But now, America’s mail carrier faces fundamental questions over religious tolerance at the post office.

USA Today Supreme Court correspondent John Fritze reports: “Gerald Groff, a former mail carrier in Pennsylvania, sued the U.S. Postal Service after it required him to work Sunday shifts delivering packages. Groff, who resigned in 2019, is a Christian and believes Sundays should be dedicated to worship, court records show.” The Supreme Court has chosen to take up the case, and the holding could expand employees’ rights to obtain religious accommodations.

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Court Demands Southwest Airlines Reinstate Flight Attendant Fired over Religious Beliefs

A federal judge has awarded a former Southwest Airlines flight attendant the maximum amount in damages allowed under federal law and issued an injunction against the airline and its union from discriminating against flight attendants because of their religious beliefs.

Judge Brantley Starr, ruling for the U.S. District Court Northern District of Texas, last week ordered Southwest to pay Carter back pay and other forms of relief that the jury awarded when she won her lawsuit in July.

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Virginia Restaurant Cancels Christian Group’s Reservation Due to Its Pro-Life and Traditional Marriage Views

A Virginia restaurant owner denied service to a Christian organization about 90 minutes prior to its private party because the group is pro-life and embraces one man-one woman marriage.

Victoria Cobb, president of the Family Foundation of Virginia, which holds pro-life and traditional marriage values, told The Daily Signal that, following her group’s participation in activities outside the Supreme Court Monday morning, while the justices heard oral arguments in a case to decide if a public accommodation law compelling a creative person’s speech or silence violates the First Amendment, she was informed the Metzger Bar and Butchery was “unwilling to serve” the organization.

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Sen. Mike Lee’s Amendment to Safeguard Religious Liberty for Americans Who Hold to Traditional Marriage Fails By One Vote

Senator Mike Lee’s (R-UT) religious liberty amendment to the Democrats’ same-sex marriage bill failed by just one vote, 48-49, an outcome that, if the legislation is signed into law, could give a green light to the federal government’s retaliation against nonprofit faith organizations, such as schools and businesses, whose religious beliefs are incompatible with gay marriage.

Senate Democrats voted Tuesday, 61-36, to codify same-sex marriage into federal law with the help of 12 Republicans, as the Senate Press Gallery noted.

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Senate Passes Respect for Marriage Act

The Senate on Tuesday evening passed the Respect for Marriage Act to require that states recognize lawful marriages from other states while providing protections for religious liberty.

The bill passed with crossover support from Republicans, allowing it to clear the Senate’s 60-vote filibuster threshold. It will now move to the House of Representatives, which previously passed a similar package. The final count was 61-36.

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Senator Sounds Alarm for Same-Sex Marriage Bill as It Clears Another Hurdle with GOP Support, ‘Without Sufficient Protections for Religious Liberty’

A bill that would enshrine same-sex marriage in federal law progressed further in the Senate Monday evening with significant Republican support, but without sufficient religious liberty protections, and is now headed to a vote on Tuesday.

The Senate voted, 61-35, with four senators not voting, to end debate on the House-passed bill, dubbed the Respect for Marriage Act (RFMA), that would repeal the Defense of Marriage Act which defined marriage in federal law as between one man and one woman.

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Poll: Voters in Five Key States Oppose Same-Sex Marriage Bill over Religious Liberty Concerns

Voters in five Republican-leaning states oppose a same-sex marriage bill under consideration by the U.S. Senate on the grounds that it undermines religious liberty and punishes people of faith.

The survey of 2,000 likely voters in Indiana, Iowa, Utah, West Virginia, and Wyoming puts support for the deceptively named Respect for Marriage Act at just 41% compared to 47% who oppose the bill. The opposition is even higher among Republicans (70%) and conservatives (73%).

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Commentary: Religious Liberty Beyond Red and Blue Divides

Many American voters head into midterm elections wearied by political polarization. Subjects that might have merely led to an uncomfortable dinner table conversation yesterday are more likely to be relationship-ending today. 

It’s often assumed that political positions come with a Democrat or Republican party label. But beneath many of the most divisive issues of our time – think the COVID-19 pandemic response, the 2020 election, and the overturning of Roe v. Wade – lies an issue that is neither red nor blue. Would you believe me if I said religious liberty is not actually a partisan issue? 

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Mark Brnovich Joins Effort Supporting Religious Liberty of Navy SEALs to Refuse Vaccine Mandate

Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich (R) recently joined a coalition of 22 states in support of the religious liberty of Navy SEALs seeking exemption from universal COVID vaccination.

“It is absolute hypocrisy for an administration that purports to embrace diversity and inclusion to categorically dismiss the religious liberty and sincerely held beliefs of our most heroic service members,” Brnovich said in a press release. “Our Constitution and the brave men and women of our military are far more time proven than any COVID-19 vaccination.”

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First Liberty Institute Appeals Postman’s Religious Rights Case to Supreme Court

After years of a lengthy legal battle, the case of a postman who says the United States Postal Service (USPS) must provide him with a religious accommodation is taking his case to the Supreme Court. 

“Today, First Liberty Institute, Baker Botts LLP, the Church State Council, and the Independence Law Center filed a petition for writ of certiorari with the Supreme Court of the United States on behalf of former mailman Gerald Groff,” the First Liberty Institute said earlier this week. “The petition asks the Court to reverse a Third Circuit Court of Appeals decision finding that the United States Postal Service (“USPS”) is not required to provide religious accommodation allowing Groff to observe the Sunday Sabbath.”

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Teachers’ Unions Condemn Supreme Court Decision Upholding Religious Freedom and School Choice

National and state teachers’ unions condemned the Supreme Court’s decision Tuesday that held a Maine tuition assistance program that bars families from using the taxpayer funds for religious schools is in violation of the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment.

Union officials denounced the ruling as one that “attacks public schools,” “erodes democracy,” “harms students,” and undermines “the separation of church and state.”

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Supreme Court Rules Maine Law Excluding Religious Schools from Tuition Assistance Is Unconstitutional

In a major decision for religious freedom and school choice, the Supreme Court on Tuesday struck down a Maine law that barred taxpayer tuition assistance funds from families choosing religious schools.

The Court ruled, 6-3, in Carson v. Makin, the Maine law that governs its tuition program’s exclusion of religious schools, while accepting other private schools, is a violation of the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment and is, therefore, unconstitutional.

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Hillsdale College Connecticut Campus Hosts First Major Event: ‘Religious Liberty and the American Founding’

SOMERS, Connecticut – Hillsdale College’s campus in Somers, Connecticut hosted its first major event over the weekend with a seminar titled “Religious Liberty and the American Founding.”

Dr. Matthew Spalding, Hillsdale’s vice president for Washington operations and dean of the college’s Van Andel Graduate School of Government, spoke Friday evening on the topic of civil and religious liberty.

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15th Annual Easter Sunrise Celebration on Government Property at Chicago’s Daley Plaza

Sunday will mark the 15th annual celebration of Easter on Chicago’s Daley Plaza – government property – including a sunrise service on Easter Sunday itself, to honor the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

This sacred observance of Easter begins at Daley Plaza on Holy Thursday, 7:30 p.m. CDT, when a giant 19-foot-high cross is erected at 50 West Washington Street.

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Programming at Hillsdale’s Blake Center for Faith and Freedom in Somers, Connecticut to Begin This Spring

Programming at Hillsdale College’s new Blake Center for Faith and Freedom in Somers, Connecticut is scheduled to start this spring. 

In 2019, the late Friendly’s Ice Cream co-founder S. Prestley “Pres” Blake and his wife Helen offered their property at 732 Hall Hill Rd., along with $25 million, to the Michigan-based Christian college to establish an educational center consistent with the values of the school. Their now-repurposed home is modeled after Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello and sits on about 100 verdant acres.

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New York Can Force Photographer to Take Pictures for Same-Sex Weddings, Court Rules

A federal district court ruled that the state of New York can force a photographer to take pictures depicting same-sex weddings.

In the decision issued Monday, U.S. District Judge Frank P. Geraci, Jr. dismissed the First Amendment claims of Emilee Carpenter, represented by the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF). Geraci was appointed to the federal bench in 2012 by former President Barack Obama.

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Catholic School in Michigan Argues Mask Mandates Hide ‘God’s Image,’ Violate Religious Liberty

Resurrection School Mask Lawsuit

A court of appeals in Michigan will hear a case from a Catholic school arguing mask mandates violate religious liberty because they cover “God’s image and likeness.”

“Unfortunately, a mask shields our humanity and because God created us in His image, we are masking that image,” the institution – the Resurrection School, in Lansing – told The Washington Post.

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DeSantis Signs Bills Requiring Moment of Silence for Schools, Prioritizes ‘Religious Freedom’

Gov. DeSantis signing bill

Earlier this week, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed a bill requiring Florida’s public schools to allow for one to two minutes of silence at the beginning of each day, before instruction begins.

DeSantis signed the legislation while at the The Shul of Bal Harbour, a Jewish community center in Surfside, FL. Principals in all public schools will be directed to set aside the moment of silence and teachers will be prohibited from making suggestions regarding the nature of the suggested prayer or reflection during the allotted time.

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Churches Sue Governor Walz, State Attorney General and County Attorneys for Violating Religious Liberties

Three churches are suing the governor and his constituents for executive orders that violate their religious liberties. Defendants in the case are Governor Tim Walz, State Attorney General Keith Ellison, and county attorneys Chad Larson, Tom Kelly, and Donald Ryan. The Thomas More Society filed on behalf of the churches.

The lawsuit cites Article I, Section 16 of Minnesota’s Constitution as state precedent protecting the right to worship: “the right of every man to worship God according to the dictates of his own conscience shall never be infringed.” The lawsuit also cites Christian adherence to the Bible’s commandment for believers to worship together.

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Commentary: Washington State May Have Triggered the Next Major Religious Liberty Case

by John Bursch   One year ago last week, in a major religious liberty case, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of Christian cake artist Jack Phillips. Yet just one year later, a floral artist in Washington state now finds herself in similar circumstances to Jack. Her case could prompt the U.S. Supreme Court to revisit the matter. In the Supreme Court’s 7-2 ruling in Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, the court rebuked the state of Colorado for its hostility toward Masterpiece Cakeshop owner Jack Phillips and his religious beliefs. Though the court’s decision spelled a needed victory for Jack, it stopped short of addressing a broader constitutional question: Are creative professionals like Jack, who gladly serve everyone but simply decline to express certain messages or celebrate certain events, free to live according to their faith without fear of government coercion? Rather than wading into that question, the high court ruled in Jack’s favor because of the hostility Colorado had shown throughout a six-year ordeal that left Jack no option but the highest court in the land. The state’s unelected civil rights commission openly compared Jack’s attempts to protect his religious freedom to the actions of slaveholders and…

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Todd Starnes Commentary: Eight Republicans Join Democrats to Pass All-Out Assault on Faith

by Todd Starnes   If Democrats get their way religious hospitals would be forced to perform abortions, Christian churches would be forced to host events that are contrary to the Bible’s teachings and Christian schools would be required to accommodate the preferences of transgender students regarding athletic teams and bathrooms. The House voted 236-173 to approve the “Equality Act,” legislation that would expand the 1964 Civil Rights Act to include sexual orientation and gender identity. It would also protect on the basis of pregnancy, childbirth or a related medical condition. But it would also completely obliterate the 1993 Religious Freedom Restoration Act, a law that stops the government from encroaching on a person’s religious liberty. In other words, the Equality effectively puts a bullseye on every person of faith in the nation. Eight Republicans broke ranks and voted with the Democrats to attack religious liberty. The renegade Republicans include: Rep. Brooks (IN), Rep. Diaz-Balart (FL), Rep. Fitzpatrick (PA), Rep. Hurd (TX), Rep. Katko (NY), Rep. Reed (NY), Rep. Stefanik (NY) and Rep. Walden (OR). I wrote extensively about this issue in my upcoming book, “Culture Jihad: How to Stop the Left From Killing a Nation.” Rep. Jody Hice (R-GA) told…

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A Little-Noticed Opinion Portends Big Changes for Religious Liberty at the Supreme Court

by Kevin Daley   The Supreme Court’s conservative bloc released a short, little-noticed statement on Jan. 22 that portends far-reaching changes for religious liberty. The statement — which Justice Samuel Alito authored and Justices Clarence Thomas, Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh joined — criticized the 1990 Employment Division v. Smith decision, a landmark ruling that held laws interfering with religious exercise are constitutional provided that they apply to everyone and are neutrally enforced. “In Employment Division v. Smith the Court drastically cut back on the protection provided by the free exercise clause,” Alito wrote. “In this case, however, we have not been asked to revisit that decision.” In the understated parlance of the Supreme Court, it was a clarion call for litigants to bring cases challenging Smith. It was all the more remarkable in that four justices signed onto the statement, an uncommon occurrence for opinions of this nature. The late Justice Antonin Scalia authored the 5-4 Smith ruling. Outrage at the decision prompted passage of the 1993 Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), which requires courts to subject federal action that infringes on religious practice to the highest degree of scrutiny. More recently, something approaching an anti-Smith consensus has developed on the right. Most…

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Promoting Religious Liberty Affirms ‘Human Dignity,’ Pompeo Tells Values Voter Summit

by Fred Lucas   Secretary of State Mike Pompeo reaffirmed Friday that the Trump administration is committed to religious liberty, both at home and abroad. Speaking at the conservative Values Voter Summit in Washington, Pompeo said that more than 80 percent of the world’s population lives in countries that place significant limitations on religious freedom. He singled out Iran and China. “We are assuring human dignity by advancing one of our most cherished, indispensable liberties, enshrined in the First Amendment. It is our religious liberty,” said Pompeo, a former member of the House from Kansas and CIA director before becoming the nation’s chief diplomat in April. “Religious freedom is a universal, God-given right, to which all people are entitled,” Pompeo said. “Religious freedom is also a building block for free societies. Our Founders knew this.” Pompeo talked about the success of getting American detainees released from captivity in North Korea in May. “Far and away, the greatest highlight to date of my job as secretary of state has been bringing three Americans home from captivity in North Korea,” Pompeo said. He said the State Department now is focused heavily on securing the release and repatriation of Andrew Brunson, an American pastor who has been…

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Trump Initiative Protects Religious Rights, Faith Groups’ Equal Access to Federal Dollars

by Fred Lucas   President Donald Trump signed an executive order Thursday focusing on protecting freedom of religion and exploring new ways faith-based agencies can partner with government to effectively provide services. “We condemn all crimes against people of faith, and today we are launching another historic action to promote religious freedom,” Trump said at a National Day of Prayer ceremony in the Rose Garden before signing the executive order to create a White House Faith and Opportunity Initiative. “The faith initiative will help design new policies that recognize the vital role of faith in our families, our communities, and our great country,” the president said. “This office will also help ensure that faith-based organizations have equal access to government funding and the equal right to exercise their deeply held beliefs. [ The liberal Left continue to push their radical agenda against American values. The good news is there is a solution. Find out more ] “We take this step because we know that, in solving the many, many problems and our great challenges, faith is more powerful than government, and nothing is more powerful than God,” Trump continued. The White House initiative will be made up of faith leaders and experts…

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Pennsylvania’s Atty Gen Josh Shapiro Sues Little Sisters of the Poor to Remove the HHS Exemption from Paying for Abortion Meds

by Joe Carter   Once again, the Little Sisters of the Poor are having to go to court to defend their religious freedoms against government intrusion. The Little Sisters is an international Roman Catholic Congregation of Religious Sisters that serves more than 13,000 elderly poor in 31 countries around the world. The first home opened in America in 1868, and now there are nearly 30 homes in the United States where the elderly and dying are cared for. A few years ago, the Obama administration’s Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) attempted to force the Little Sisters and other groups groups into providing insurance coverage for contraceptives, sterilization, and abortifacients. The Little Sisters objected on the ground that the requirement violates their religious liberty as protected by the First Amendment and the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA). In early October, HHS issued a new rule that protects religious non-profits like the Little Sisters, ending their four-year legal ordeal. But shortly after, according to Becket Law, the state of Pennsylvania sued to take away the Little Sisters’ religious exemption. Represented by Becket, the Little Sisters went back to court to ensure that they can continue their vital ministry of caring for the elderly poor without violating their…

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Gubernatorial Candidate Bill Lee Launches New Website Dedicated to Reinstating Faith in the Public Square

Bill Lee Faith in the Public Square

Franklin-based businessman Bill Lee launched a new website Tuesday that discusses the gubernatorial hopeful’s views on Faith in the public square, along with a list of events with faith-based community organizations, and a video introducing the effort called, “Faith in Tennessee.” (embedded below) “Too often, our leaders in government work to create government-first solutions to address some of the challenges we face,” Lee said in a statement. “This comes at the expense of many fantastic organizations that are already doing the work and are looking for willing partners, not a government-sponsored competitor.” The website’s singular purpose is to lay out Lee’s thoughts on how to better engage leaders in the faith and nonprofit groups and also lists more than a dozen events scheduled across the state with nonprofits and faith-based organizations.  The tour, which the campaign says will continue through the end of March, highlights groups Lee sees as some of Tennessee’s most effective organizations. “People of faith have been called to serve,” Lee said. “Faith and community leaders are consistently at the forefront because they are often the ones on the front lines battling addiction and improving education.  As I continue to travel across this state, I know that engaging them even more will lead to better results. Also,…

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North Carolina Judge Throws Mom In Jail For Baptizing Her Daughter

A North Carolina judge threw a mother in jail for seven days for having her daughter baptized without the father’s presence and consent. Kendra Stocks of Charlotte, N.C. will report to jail Friday to begin her seven-day sentence after District Court Judge Sean Smith ruled in March 2017 that she acted in “bad-faith disregard” and was therefore in contempt of court for having her daughter baptized without consulting Paul Schaaf, the child’s father, according to Fox8. Stocks’ sentence is based on a previous custody battle between her and Schaaf, to whom the court gave final authority on all legal decisions regarding the child, including decisions about religion, according to WSOC.

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FACT’S David Fowler: Religious Liberty Executive Order “A Good First Step”

The Family Action Council of Tennessee is calling President Trump’s signing of a religious liberty executive order on Thursday “a good first step.” But more is needed to shore up protections for people of faith, said FACT President David Fowler in a statement. Fowler said the executive order “addresses in a limited way the Johnson Amendment that has been used by the IRS to intimidate conservative ministers, but we call on the president to provide the leadership Congress needs to repeal it.” “We also join others in calling on the president to now take those additional steps necessary to fulfill the promise made during his campaign to fully protect religious liberty, particularly the liberty of those who believe in the sanctity of life and marriage,” Fowler said. Trump received widespread support from evangelicals in the November 2016 election and many have followed this issue closely to make sure he follows through on his campaign promise. In February, FACT joined with the Family Policy Alliance and its network of 40 state-based family policy councils in sending a letter to Trump asking him to reverse the tone set by the Obama administration. “We write to request that you firmly reject the systemic bullying…

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Alliance Defending Freedom Video: Wisconsin Students Favor Rights of Muslims Over Rights of Christians

Alliance Defending Freedom filed a lawsuit in Wisconsin last week challenging a local ordinance in Madison and a state law that force creative professionals to promote messages that violate their beliefs. “Every American, and especially creative professionals, shouldn’t be threatened with punishment for disagreeing with the government,” said ADF Senior Counsel Jonathan Scruggs in a news release. The lawsuit was filed on behalf of Amy Lynn Photography Studio. According to ADF, the laws require Amy Lawson, a Christian and the owner of the business, to create photos and blog posts promoting pro-abortion groups and same-sex marriages if she creates content that promotes pro-life causes or celebrates the marriage of one man and one woman. The lawsuit is a pre-enforcement challenge. “Such lawsuits enable citizens to challenge a law that threatens their rights before the government enforces it against them,” the ADF news release said. “Pre-enforcement cases are the ‘bread and butter’ of civil rights litigation, with organizations like the American Civil Liberties Union and Planned Parenthood routinely filing them to attack laws they oppose, sometimes even before those laws take effect.” To illustrate the progressive impulse to want to punish those who refuse to promote a liberal message but extend…

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Family Action Council of Tennessee’s David Fowler: Religious Liberty Defeat Result of Changing Moral Code

David Fowler, president of the Family Action Council of Tennessee, is making a unique comparison between the recent defeat for religious liberty in an LGBT case in Washington state and a case more than 100 years ago in which the U.S. Supreme Court upheld a law punishing polygamy. In both cases, courts upheld an underlying moral code, Fowler says. The difference between then and now is that the moral code has changed “What has changed – and it explains why polygamy could be banned in 1879 and why it will not be able to be banned in the coming years – is the religious beliefs that informed our laws back then. We no longer believe that God has imposed any laws on the social order that all must recognize, including those who make our civil laws,” Fowler wrote in his blog. In 1879 in Reynolds v. United States, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled against George Reynolds, a Mormon and resident of Utah territory who argued that marrying more than one woman was integral to his religious faith. The high court said that allowing it would make an individual’s religious belief superior to the law of the land. Last month, the…

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Baptist Pastor Resigns From Board Over Mosque Dispute

The pastor of a large church near Knoxville has resigned from the board of a Southern Baptist missionary agency because of the board’s support for the construction of a New Jersey mosque involved in a legal dispute. Dean Haun, senior pastor of First Baptist Church in Morristown resigned in November from the International Mission Board (IMB), on which he had served as a trustee. Haun objected to the IMB joining a friend of the court brief last May supporting the Islamic Society of Basking Ridge, N.J., in a religious discrimination lawsuit. Haun told the Baptist Press that Southern Baptists and Muslims advocate different doctrines and that Scripture forbids “unholy alliances.” “I understand the religious liberty aspect of the entire argument. But I do not understand why the International Mission Board, with our mission to reach the world for Christ, would have to jump into the fray of a mosque being built in New Jersey,” Haun said. In December, a judge ruled that a local planning board violated federal law by requiring the mosque to include more parking than is required for churches and synagogues. The township, which is considering an appeal, maintained that more parking was needed because of the mosque’s unique…

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