Advancing Religious Liberty

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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 |


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

Posted 6/6/14 at 6:01 PM | Alliance Defending Freedom

An Open Letter to Cecile Richards

AUTHOR: Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Counsel Casey Mattox

Dear Ms. Richards:

I recently learned that Planned Parenthood has published a “Pastoral Letter” which tells women:

“The truth is that abortion is not even mentioned in the Scriptures—Jewish or Christian—and there are clergy and people of faith from all denominations who support women making this complex decision.

It appears that this letter is no longer available on your website, but an archived version can be found here for your reference (page 3). While I disagree with Planned Parenthood’s exegesis of Scripture, I am not writing to debate that point. Instead, I write to express my agreement with Planned Parenthood, reflected in the publication of this pastoral letter, that for many women their religious beliefs will be very relevant to their decision about whether to have an abortion. FULL POST

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

Have We Lost What It Means to Be Human?

In the fictional world of The Giver, twelve year old Jonas lives in a highly controlled futuristic society. His is life and future is ruled by the ideology of Sameness, a social construct designed to eliminate the unpredictable aspects of the human experience. Spousal love, grief, sensory pleasures, parental care, and the experience of pain have mostly been eradicated.

To his horror, Jonas unearths a truth about his seemingly well-ordered world: newborn children are clinically discarded if deemed unfit or inconvenient to society.

As he ages, Jonas also learns of another way; a past experience of humanity that once cherished family, parents, children and love. In taking care of an unwanted baby, he is haunted by what once was and filled with the hope of what could be.

Though a work a fiction, the parallels of The Giver with our culture’s abortion industry are striking and sobering. This seems particularly true in what’s revealed in several Texas abortion clinics.

According to a video released by Life Dynamics, three former employees of Houston-based abortionist Douglas Karpen share the details of unspeakable practices that have occurred in his facilities. They discuss abortions taking place “way over 26 weeks” and living babies being killed. FULL POST

Posted 6/6/14 at 11:26 AM | Alliance Defending Freedom |


In Colorado, a Case of Unjust Desserts

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

It’s a fable, but one that’s stuck, that on the eve of the French revolution, a French aristocrat, told that many of her countrymen were too poor to afford bread, helpfully suggested, “Let them eat cake.” It never seems to have occurred to her that a well-iced piece of angel food might cost more than a bite of pumpernickel.

A similar attitude is gaining ground these days with certain government officials in Colorado. Confronted with the fact that some of their citizens are being deprived of their most fundamental liberties, the officials’ solution is: let them bake cakes – at stiff cost to their souls – for the very people determined to rob them of their freedom.

No matter how you slice it, that’s the essential ruling issued by an administrative law judge last December in the case of Jack Phillips, owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop in Lakewood, Colorado. Phillips was approached in his shop a while back by two men who wanted him to help celebrate their coming same-sex ceremony by making a special wedding cake. Phillips politely declined, saying he would gladly make them any other type of baked item they wanted, but that he could not make such a cake. FULL POST

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