Advancing Religious Liberty

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Posted 1/26/12 at 4:56 PM | Alliance Defending Freedom

The Obama Administration’s Attack on Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton

Author: ADF Senior Counsel Casey Mattox

Thirty-nine years ago, the United States Supreme Court recognized that medical professionals, let alone others, have a right not to assist in abortions in violation of their conscience. What’s that? Yes, I do have the date right. I’m talking about Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton. While those cases held, wrongly, that women and their doctors have a fundamental constitutional right to kill an unborn child, they also recognized as important predicates to those decisions the right NOT to participate in abortion in violation of one’s conscience. Friday’s announcement that the Obama Administration would force employers – including nonprofit religious employers – to pay for their employees’ contraception and abortifacients is just the latest example of how the abortion industry and its friends in the Obama Administration are attacking these well established rights of conscience in ways even the authors of Roe and Doe did not envision. FULL POST

Posted 1/26/12 at 1:00 PM | Alliance Defending Freedom

In Arizona, Another Move to Mute Free Speech on College Campuses

Author: ADF President, CEO, and General Counsel Alan Sears

Ray Arneson finds his mission fields close to home. For two years, for instance, he made regular visits to the campus of South Mountain Community College, in his home town of Mesa, Arizona, to peacefully share the Good News with any students and other passers-by who showed an interest in hearing more about Jesus.

Last year, he graciously alerted a campus official to his intention to visit the campus again – but this time, the official threw a flag on the play. He told Arneson he would have to abide by the school’s solicitation policy, which is not exactly a Constitutional model for encouraging free speech. The policy requires individuals to pay at least a $50 fee, buy insurance, and submit a request form with proof of that insurance 14 days before visiting campus.

All of which flies in the face of some pretty fundamental constitutional protections… so Arneson has enlisted the help of the Alliance Defense Fund, which has been able to remind the Maricopa County community colleges – the largest community college district in the United States – of the contents of the First Amendment. FULL POST

Posted 1/23/12 at 4:43 PM | Alliance Defending Freedom

NY Post Op-Ed: Let the Churches Stay in the Schools

Author: ADF Senior Counsel Jordan Lorence

The New York Post published an opinions piece I wrote, urging Mayor Bloomberg to allow the churches to remain in the New York City public schools after Feb. 12, and to repeal the policy banning private worship services. Here is an excerpt: 

Empty buildings don’t offer communities the hope, help, guidance and fellowship that churches and other religious groups provide to needy people and hurting families. Every service provided by churches is one less government service the taxpayer must fund.

Pastors continue to rally and to contact Mayor Bloomberg, urging him to relent and change the policy. 

This post originally appeared here.

Posted 1/23/12 at 4:40 PM | Alliance Defending Freedom

Feds Force Insurance Coverage of Contraceptives and Abortifacients

Author: ADF Senior Counsel Gregory S. Baylor

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is forcing virtually all employers to include contraceptives – including some that cause abortion – in their group health insurance plans. The HHS “Preventive Services Mandate” applies to many religious employers who believe that the use of some or all of these drugs and devices is immoral. As a result, the federal government is violating rights of conscience on a massive scale.

In 2010, Congress passed and President Obama signed the Affordable Care Act, commonly known as “Obamacare.” The Act requires group health plans to include certain preventive health services. The law gave HHS’s Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) the power to determine what “preventive services” had to be covered. HRSA decided that plans would have to include “[a]ll Food and Drug Administration approved contraceptive methods, sterilization procedures, and patient education and counseling for all women with reproductive capacity.” The FDA has approved the sale and marketing of Plan B and ella as contraceptives, even though both can function as abortifacients. FULL POST

Posted 1/20/12 at 3:00 PM | Alliance Defending Freedom

Every Major U.S. School District Allows Churches To Rent Schools, Except New York City

Author: ADF Senior Counsel Jordan Lorence

No other major school district in the U.S. prohibits religious groups from renting school buildings for worship services, except New York City. That is the conclusion of a memo that ADF wrote, after attorneys for the New York City Council asked for research showing the facilities use policies for the 50 largest school districts in the nation (in terms of number of students). New York City, of course, is number 1, but the next 49 largest school districts permit what NYC prohibits. A church or synagogue or Buddhist temple can rent a school building in Los Angeles, Chicago, Dade County Florida or Clark County, Nevada (those are the #2-#5 largest school buildings in the nation).

What this means is that school officials in every other major school district in the country have rejected the arguments NYC uses to exclude churches – arguments like, “students will be confused if they see a church meeting in their school on a Sunday morning,” or, “this is a government subsidy for religion.” If students are confused, then their parents and teachers should explain that in America, we support freedom of speech, and accommodate community groups by allowing them to meet in empty school buildings to advocate their ideas. FULL POST

Posted 1/17/12 at 5:53 PM | Alliance Defending Freedom

Are Conservative/Pro-Life Professors a Threat to Higher Education?

Author: ADF Senior Counsel Jordan Lorence

Katherine Kersten has written a provocative essay about the intense bias against hiring conservative and pro-life professors as college and university professors. She focuses on the case against the University of Iowa Law School involved Teresa Wagner, a qualified individual who sought to teach at the school that had a lopsided ratio of only one registered Republican among the 50 faculty members. The law school refused to hire Ms. Wagner, in spite of her obvious qualification for the job. Why would the law school reject a qualified candidate? Because she was conservative and pro-life. Kersten writes, ”Wagner had committed one unforgivable sin: She is pro-life, and actually once worked for the National Right to Life Committee in Washington, D.C.” The University of Iowa instead chose a candidate right out of law school rather than add another conservative to its faculty. FULL POST

Posted 1/17/12 at 5:44 PM | Alliance Defending Freedom

VIDEO: A Right to Worship

From Odyssey Networks: Nearly 200 politicians, pastors, and church members protested a recent court ruling that allows the City of New York to deny churches and other religious organizations after hours access to public school facilities.

Mayor Bloomberg plans to evict the church groups on February 12.

There will be more rallies between now and February 12. Please continue to pray for the churches in New York City. And contact Mayor Bloomberg, urging him to repeal this policy.

Without Religious Freedom There Is No Other Liberty

Rest assured that we at ADF are not going to stand idly by and accept this serious attack on the religious freedom of churches.

This post originally appeared here.

Posted 1/17/12 at 5:37 PM | Alliance Defending Freedom

Jim Garlow Says: Don’t Worry About Being ‘Too Political’ in the Pulpit

Jim Garlow has an article on MinistryToday.com entitled Preach It! His article is well worth the read.

Jim talks about how for “57 years, people have believed a cultural myth that “pastors cannot speak out about politics.” Such is the nature of the 1954 Johnson Amendment, which suddenly stripped way from American pulpits what they had enjoyed for more than 160 years—no governmental intrusion in the pulpit. Not only is this “pastors-can’t-talk-about-politics” myth unconstitutional—check out the First Amendment—but it flies in the face of biblical authority.”

He rightly makes the observation that “If I would have said 40 years ago that tearing up a baby in a womb was wrong, everyone would have said, “Of course.” Say it today, and you are too political. What has happened? Caesar demanded that which is God’s. Tragically, some pastors have retreated as the line was moved.” FULL POST

Posted 1/17/12 at 5:33 PM | Alliance Defending Freedom

In South Dakota, Strengthened Legal Efforts to Protect Preborn Children

Author: ADF President, CEO, and General Counsel Alan Sears

A federal court has granted the motion of an Alliance Defense Fund allied attorney permitting two South Dakota pregnancy centers to intervene in defense of a new state law – already under attack from Planned Parenthood – that would ensure crucial protections for mothers and their preborn children.

Under that law, no woman could schedule an abortion without obtaining first a screening for coercion by a physician, then an assessment of that coercion and free counseling from a local pregnancy help center. To ensure that each mother has time to think through her decision with all the facts clearly presented, the law further requires a minimum 72-hour waiting period between a doctor’s assessment and the actual abortion procedure. FULL POST

Posted 1/17/12 at 5:27 PM | Alliance Defending Freedom

Students for Life Convention Next Sunday: RSVP to watch the nation’s largest pro-life conference LIVE!

Author: ADF Senior Counsel Jordan Lorence

The 2012 Students for Life National Pro-Life Conference is little more than a week away, and ADF is excited to once again partner with Students for Life to hold the biggest pro-life student conference anywhere. I went for the first time last year, and I was blown away by the quality of the speakers and their presentations. Those attending will learn from many experienced experts about many aspects of the pro-life movement. Dr. John Bruchalski is one I am looking forward to hearing from. Former Governor Mike Huckabee will speak and introduce a new movie, called ”The Gift of Life.” FULL POST

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