Advancing Religious Liberty

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Posted 7/31/14 at 11:23 AM | Alliance Defending Freedom

CBN News: Jack Philips and Crumbling Freedom

Photo: Flickr/Brian Turner - Creative Commons
Free Speech: Use it or lose it!!

AUTHOR: Alliance Defending Freedom Social Content Editor Emily Conley

“Jack’s First Amendment rights, Jack’s freedom to express himself or more importantly, not express himself, must bow to the complainants’ message. And all I can say is what that looks like to me is something very frightening, and that’s nothing more than diversity through conformity, and that’s not diversity at all.” – Nicole Martin, ADF Allied Attorney

CBN news covered the story of our client, baker Jack Philips. Jack respectfully declined to use his creative talents to promote and endorse a same-sex ceremony. His stance on biblical marriage got him in trouble with the law, but it’s also inspiring people around the world.

Is the First Amendment crumbling? Watch Jack’s story above, and read the entire CBN article here.

If Jack’s story moved you, share it with your friends and family!

This post originally appeared here.

Posted 7/29/14 at 12:43 PM | Alliance Defending Freedom |

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Executive Order: Conform Your Theology, or Stop Helping People

This week, President Obama made an executive order demanding that only organizations who agree with the administration’s view of sexuality are eligible to receive government contracts, refusing the requests from Christian and other religious faith leaders for an exemption for religious non-profits.

What Changed?

This order amends an order from 1965 prohibiting contractors from discriminating “against any employee or applicant for employment because of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.” The President’s revision added “sexual orientation” and “gender identity.”

Because they can’t “discriminate,” religious organizations with federal contracts won’t be able to require their employees to hold to the tenets of their faith. For example, a Catholic organization wouldn’t be able to refuse to hire someone who doesn’t hold to the Catholic beliefs about marriage and sexuality.

But there is a sort of “patchwork of protections” in place, because this order doesn’t do away with a 2002 order from George W. Bush that allows religious groups to “consult their beliefs” when hiring or firing. FULL POST

Posted 7/29/14 at 12:37 PM | Alliance Defending Freedom

Three Acres is the Space You’ll Need?

Rockdale County courthouse
Photo: Flickr/John Trainor - Creative Commons

Three-acre minimum – that was what New Generation Christian Church in Rockdale County, Georgia was told it must buy if it wanted access to property for its worship services.

Yes. Three acres…Minimum.

Apparently officials in Rockdale County haven’t read Matthew 18:20, “For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.” Odd … Jesus didn’t say anything about a minimum amount of land. I mean, could you imagine three people needing three acres of land to worship the Lord? That may be a little too much.

So you can imagine the dilemma for New Generation Christian Church, a small, startup church that could not afford three acres of land. After being denied permission to use several different properties for its worship services, the church was forced to meet in the inadequate basement of a jewelry store.

That’s right. The church was forced underground right here in the United States. And, during this time, sports facilities, daycare centers, libraries, performing arts centers, recreational clubs, and educational institutions did not face the same restriction. Does that sound like religious freedom to you? FULL POST

Posted 7/18/14 at 11:35 AM | Alliance Defending Freedom

High Court Decision Gives Pro-Life Advocates Breathing Room

In the understandable excitement so many of us felt two weeks ago over the wonderfully welcome and important U.S. Supreme Court decision regarding the Conestoga / Hobby Lobby case, I have delayed celebrating another high court decision in another Alliance Defending Freedom supported-case – one with its own enormous implications for your family’s First Amendment-protected freedom of speech. And, even more importantly, for the defense of life in the womb.

On June 26, the nation’s highest court unanimously struck down a Massachusetts law creating a 35-foot Gospel-free “buffer zone” around abortion facilities. These zones’ express purpose was to block advocates for life from speaking with women on their way into these buildings to have an abortion. (The law imposed up to two-and-a-half years in jail for its violation.) The court ruled that those who would gracefully make the case for life face-to-face are legally entitled to do so, up until the moment a woman enters the abortion facility’s property.

“It is no accident that public streets and sidewalks have developed as venues for the exchange of ideas,” the court wrote in its opinion. “Even today, they remain one of the few places where a speaker can be confident that he is not simply preaching to the choir…. In light of the First Amendment’s purpose ‘to preserve an uninhibited marketplace of ideas in which truth will ultimately prevail…,’ this aspect of traditional public fora is a virtue, not a vice.” FULL POST

Posted 7/11/14 at 6:17 PM | Alliance Defending Freedom |

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And the Award for Worst Award Goes to...Planned Parenthood

Photo: Fibonacci Blue - Creative Commons
Planned Parenthood clinic in St. Paul, Minnesota

AUTHOR: Alliance Defending Freedom Director of Digital Marketing Eric Porteous

I’ve received a few awards in my lifetime, most of them being trophies that collected dust on my bedroom bookcase. And while I’ve never been a huge fan of movie, music, or sports awards shows, I certainly know the basic idea behind them.

Awards are for greatness.

Awards are for excellence.

Awards recognize people who make our society a better place.

So, it struck me as odd to find out that Planned Parenthood, of all places,  actually gives out awards. In fact, they give them out to clinics that exceed their abortion quotas! Could you imagine what that award show would look like?

“Welcome to the 2014 Abortion Awards.”

“And now…the award for excellence in destroying human life. The nominees are…”

“I’d like to thank all of the fetuses who made this possible…”

It is classless, and frankly gross, to hand out awards for something that deliberately ends the life of a human being. And yet, Planned Parenthood thinks it’s perfectly normal and good,  despite claiming that abortion makes up only 3% of its services. But if abortion only makes up 3% of its services, then why have quotas and why bother awarding clinics that exceed those quotas? Wouldn’t it make more sense to focus on the other 97% of its services? FULL POST

Posted 7/3/14 at 7:03 PM | Alliance Defending Freedom

In Appreciation For Our “Day of Deliverance”

AUTHOR: Alliance Defending Freedom President, CEO, and General Counsel Alan Sears

“The second day of July, 1776 will be the most memorable [day] in the history of America,” John Adams wrote his wife, Abigail, on July 3 of that year – the day after the Second Continental Congress finally voted “yes” to declaring the 13 colonies independent from Great Britain.

“It will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival,” he predicted. “It ought to be commemorated as the Day of Deliverance by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty … to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires and illuminations from one end of this continent to the other from this time forward forever more.”

He was mostly right … though, sad to say, Americans through the years have been increasingly less inclined to incorporate “solemn acts of devotion to God,” into their holiday celebrations. Only Adams’ timing was off. It was July 4 – the day the actual Declaration document was ratified – that future generations opted to honor with their national celebrations. FULL POST

Posted 7/3/14 at 4:29 PM | Alliance Defending Freedom

Conestoga and Hobby Lobby Won! So What Do We Do Now?

Monday was a huge day for religious freedom and the sanctity of life. In case you missed it, the  U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of Conestoga Wood Specialties and Hobby Lobby against the abortion pill mandate.

In the aftermath of this decision, a trip over to Facebook, Twitter, or any other social media platform makes one thing clear: there is a lot of misinformation about this ruling. Some abortion advocates, including the White House, claim that the decision  jeopardizes women’s health. Others think the decision will allow companies to do whatever they want in the name of religion. And Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg didn’t hold back in her dissent, declaring, “The Court, I fear, has ventured into a minefield.”

As Christians,  we must share the truth. FULL POST

Posted 6/30/14 at 10:54 AM | Alliance Defending Freedom

A Banner Month for Pregnancy Centers Beleaguered by Pro Abortion Sign Language

AUTHOR: Alliance Defending Freedom President, CEO, and General Counsel Alan Sears

Signs of hope abound in the ongoing fight to preserve the sanctity of life in America – and one of the best signs in recent weeks has been the removal of … some signs.

In Montgomery County, Maryland, Alliance Defending Freedom staff and allied attorneys have been fighting a law that required pro-life “limited-service pregnancy centers” to post signs essentially advising women against using their services. The signs were required to say that a) the centers don’t have a medical professional on staff, and b) the county health department advises any potential clients to speak with a licensed medical professional.

Interestingly, the county deliberately crafted the law so that it doesn’t apply to pro-abortion centers, such as Planned Parenthood, even if counseling at those centers is offered by non-medical persons.

In March, a federal court issued a ruling striking down the Montgomery County law, and on June 18, the county paid $375,000 in attorneys’ fees, costs, and nominal damages. The court’s ruling cited “the lack of any evidence that the practices of [the pregnancy care centers] are causing pregnant women to be misinformed [or] negatively affecting their health.” FULL POST

Posted 6/20/14 at 12:07 PM | Alliance Defending Freedom

At the U.S. Supreme Court, a Key Victory for Free Speech

free speech
Photo: Flickr/John Morton - Creative Commons

AUTHOR: Alliance Defending Freedom President, CEO, and General Counsel Alan Sears

It was especially heartening this week to learn that the U.S. Supreme Court still believes our Constitution protects the right of Americans to know the truth when they see it. And, in some cases … when they don’t.

During federal elections four years ago, pro-life advocacy group, the Susan B. Anthony List (SBA List), revealed the fact that an Ohio Congressman, U.S. Rep. Steve Driehaus, had voted for Obamacare – and so cast his support for taxpayer-funded abortion, which Obamacare ensures. The group also intended to post that message on billboards throughout Driehaus’ district, but the congressman filed a complaint against them, blocking the effort.

Under Ohio law, the state’s Elections Commission can forbid publication of any political speech it deems to be false. In the wake of Driehaus’ complaint, the commission ordered SBA List to cease its statements about him. Additional threats from Driehaus prompted the cancellation of the billboards. FULL POST

Posted 6/11/14 at 2:00 PM | Alliance Defending Freedom

You Heard, You Responded – And a Church Is Saved

AUTHOR: Alliance Defending Freedom President, CEO, and General Counsel Alan Sears

It taxes the imagination of any reasonable person to understand what the property assessor of La Paz County, Arizona, has against one little desert church near the California border.

For the last seven years, Church of the Isaiah 58 Project of Arizona has been providing showers, clothing, job counseling, transportation, and approximately 13,000 meals every winter season to the hundreds of homeless who pass through Quartzsite, seeking relief from the cold and direction for their lives.

Taking inspiration from its theme verses, Isaiah 58:7,10, the church survives on a shoestring budget of about $50,000 a year, brought in mostly from members’ gifts and community donations. Local officials praise the church and its work, citing it as a key partner in their efforts to respond to the needs of impoverished people at this busy Southwest crossroads. Those efforts are strengthened by the fact that, as a church, the Isaiah 58 Project doesn’t have to pay taxes – a fact affirmed by both state law and the Arizona Department of Revenue. FULL POST

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