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Religious Liberty

Concerned Women Through History: Religious Liberty — Miriam, Anne Hutchinson, and Tanya Ditty

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Freedom.  It’s something for which every human heart longs.  That opportunity to connect with God and seek Him.  Women throughout history have taught the world something about the need for freedom.

Miriam, from the book of Exodus, helped her brother Moses lead their nation out of slavery into freedom.  Retellings of this epic story often leave out that Israel’s freedom was fundamentally tied to the Israelites need to freely worship God which they were not allowed to do in Egypt: “Then say to [Pharoah], ‘The LORD, the God of the Hebrews, has sent me to say to you: Let My people go, so that they may worship Me in the wilderness. But until now you have not listened,’” (Exodus 7:16).  Israel’s Exodus reminds us that the freedom of nations is tied to the freedom of religion; one begets the other.

And God’s people, once free from Egypt’s grasp, had to make a conscious, willful decision to follow God.  Their religious freedom allowed them to choose rightly or wrongly: “But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD,” (Joshua 24:15).

Likewise in America, people must choose whether to follow God, and be free and unhindered to do so according to their conscience.  In the early days of the colonies, Anne Hutchinson fought for our nation to be one founded on the principle of religious freedom, not one particular sect or denomination against others. In what would become the nation of “E Pluribus Unum (Out of Many, One),” Ann was ahead of her time in respecting conscience.  After her own specific religious beliefs lead her to part with the majority religion, she moved to Rhode Island and helped establish freedom of religion there.  She was laying the groundwork for what would become a great American value outlined in the eloquent words of the Bill of Rights: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”

And today it’s Concerned Women for America of Georgia State Director Tanya Ditty who carries on this American legacy of religious freedom. She has stood up for our fundamental right to freedom of conscience — the right to think and believe what we want without fear of punishment.  She has fought tirelessly for religious freedom legislation in Georgia that ensures broad-based religious protections for all its citizens. She had this to say about the importance of religious freedom: “It is the bedrock of all liberty, and it must be protected now for the sake of the generations that come behind us.”

Blessings for future generations are such an important concept to America.  Ask God how you can be a part of ensuring a legacy of religious freedom in America.

 

Conservative Women Praise Trump’s Supreme Court Pick

By | Defense of Family, Education, LBB, Legal, News and Events, Press Releases, Religious Liberty, Sanctity of Life | No Comments

Washington, D.C. – Moments ago, President Donald J. Trump announced Judge Neil Gorsuch of the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals as his choice to replace the late, great Justice Antonin Scalia at the U.S. Supreme Court. Penny Nance, President and CEO of Concerned Women for America (CWA), praised the nomination:

“Judge Neil Gorsuch is a superb choice. President Trump has kept his word and nominated someone who, by all indications, is “in the mold of Justice Scalia,” something the president repeated over and over during his campaign.

“This was a major issue that drove conservative women to the polls to overwhelmingly support him, and we are pleased to see him follow through on his commitment to the American people.

“The hundreds of thousands of members of Concerned Women for America now call on the Senate for a swift confirmation process.

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The Deafening Silence of the Mainstream Media

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The press is of vital importance to Western civilization. It is a powerful tool because of its ability to bring attention to any situation.  Thomas Jefferson said, “The only security of all is in a free press. The force of public opinion cannot be resisted when permitted freely to be expressed. The agitation it produces must be submitted to. It is necessary, to keep the waters pure.” Read More

Rise of the Totalitarian Atheistic State

By | Georgia, Legal, News and Events, Religious Liberty | No Comments

walshThere is a bonus scene at the end of the movie “God’s Not Dead 2,” that seemed comical to many because it is so far-fetched. A pastor is, very peacefully and matter-of-factly, arrested for refusing to hand over his sermons to the state.

Two police officers hand cuff him and read him his Miranda rights. “Sorry about this pastor,” one of the officers says, as they put him in the backseat of their patrol car and drive the willing law breaker away.

His two Christian friends Mark and Rev. Jude are left behind. Mark says, “What do we do now?” To which the Rev. Jude responds: “Same as always Mark. We pray … in faith.”

But the scene is not at all far-fetched.

The state of Georgia recently tried to compel, under the threat of law, Dr. Eric Walsh, a Seventh-day Adventist lay minister, to “produce a copy of [his] sermon notes and/or transcripts.”
Read the rest of this column as featured on Barbwire.com.

Georgia “Gestapo” Combing Through Pastor’s Sermons

By | Georgia, News and Events, Religious Liberty | No Comments

CWALAC_MediaStatementAtlanta, GA – The State of Georgia has served a “Request for Production of Documents” to pastor and former Georgia District Health Director Dr. Eric Walsh, requiring him to surrender copies of his sermons under threat of law. First Liberty Institute is representing him against this violation of his First Amendment rights.

Penny Nance, CEO & President of Concerned Women for America (CWA), the largest public policy organization for women in the country, issued this warning:

The words of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., that, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere,” still reverberate today – especially as we witness the “Gestapo-like” tactics of his native state. The state of Georgia’s blatant attack on religious freedom, as they discriminate against another pastor, Dr. Eric Walsh, is indeed a threat to every American, whatever our religious beliefs.

Can there be a clearer violation of our First Amendment right to religious freedom than for the state to monitor, examine, and retaliate against a person because of the sermons they share?

Let it be clear that the hundreds of thousands of members of Concerned Women for America are committed to stand squarely against this invidious discrimination and will do everything in our power to fight this injustice and intolerance with all the resources at our disposal.

CWA of Georgia State Director Tanya Ditty had this to say:

The time to speak up is now. The state’s actions in this case do not happen in a vacuum; they are, unfortunately, part of a troubling pattern that is very dangerous.

Georgia is better than this. Here is an issue that is beyond political affiliation. We all know that no one should be fired from their job over their religious beliefs or over something they said in their church.

Can anyone seriously defend the state’s intrusion into sermon writing?

The state’s actions in this case are reminiscent of the sort of “monitoring” the great German pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer experienced in his time. CWA of Georgia demands an immediate end to this type of anti-religious bigotry on the part of state authorities.

 

For an interview with Penny Nance contact Janae Stracke at [email protected] or 712-269-1724.

Conscience Rights are Women’s Rights: Stop the Bullying of Nuns and Other Religious Groups

By | News and Events, Press Releases, Religious Liberty | No Comments

Washington, D.C. -Statement by Janae Stracke, Communications Coordinator of Concerned Women for America, at the United States Supreme Court on the day of oral arguments in Zubik v. Burwell in favor of Religious Liberty

CWALAC_MediaStatement

“I want to thank you all for being here on this important day to ask the United States Supreme Court to stop the government’s bullying of religious groups.

“I am here representing the half-a-million members of Concerned Women for America (CWA) from all over the country. These are women who stand squarely against the government’s assault of conscience in this case.

“One of the most insidious things about the government’s argument today is that it purports to act on behalf of “women.” Well, they do not act on my behalf and certainly not on behalf of the women of the Little Sisters of the Poor!

“You see, we women are not a monolithic group of people placing similar values in all areas of life; this includes faith and reproductive rights. But regardless, we should all be treated equally, with respect and dignity.

“The government’s ridiculous and unnecessary insistence that the nuns of the Little Sisters of the Poor and other similarly situated groups give their approval through the government’s accommodation scheme to use the Little Sisters of the Poor’s health plan to provide abortifacients, which is in direct violation of their conscience, is most definitely not treating them with respect.

“The government knows this because it has already exempted churches without requiring their consent. But apparently taking vows of poverty, chastity, obedience, and hospitality, in order to serve the Lord and their neighbors is not religious enough to warrant a similar exemption. It wasn’t enough for the Little Sisters of the Poor.

“It is simply ridiculous. And so unnecessary.

“The most important thing for the Justices to remember today (and I hope they hear it over and over in oral arguments) is that there are numerous least restrictive means to accomplish the government’s objectives here.

“Their petty insistence on forcing the Little Sisters of the Poor and other religious groups to conform to their idea of what is acceptable under the tenants of their faith is preposterous. Especially today when the government has set up these exchanges where they can easily provide for the drugs themselves.

“But no, it seems the government wants to flex its regulatory muscles against religious groups, as it has done in many other areas that I won’t mention here (the IRS…).

“The Justices should tell the government to stop the bullying and go use less restrictive means to accomplish its goals.

“Our constitutional rights should not bow down to government convenience. The Justices should tell the government to stop bullying poor nuns and other devout groups.

“Standing for women’s rights should include the right of women to live and work according to their conscience without fear of punishment or harassment from governmental authorities.

“Conscience rights are women’s rights.

“Thank you.”

For an interview please contact Janae Stracke at [email protected] or 712-269-1724.

Obama’s State of the Union: Little Has Changed

By | News and Events, Religious Liberty, Sanctity of Life, Support for Israel | No Comments

weatheredpressealObama has given his very last State of the Union address in his last year as president.  Despite a few moments of bipartisan approval, it revealed the same kind of biased rhetoric, emphatic tone, and distorted policies that we have come to expect of the president.

Regarding the economy, Obama claimed recovery and ignored that the benefits he expanded increased dependency, resulting in crippling debt down the line.  Speaker Ryan is appropriately cynical, explaining that wages aren’t increasing and that the poverty rate is near a generational high — signs of a weak economy, not a recovering one.  The Wall Street Journal reported this week that 93% of U.S. counties haven’t fully recovered from the recession.  Yet Obama says, “All the talk of America’s economic decline is political hot air. Well, so is all the rhetoric you hear about our enemies getting stronger and America getting weaker.”

By the time he gave the speech, developing events of the previous day had thrown into question his scheduled talking points.  Ten sailors were in the custody of Iran (later released); ISIS killed ten tourists.  The idea that the president has kept America safe is laughable.

Americans feel threatened by the looming possibility of a terrorist attack any day.  Obama is dismissing our concern, saying we are World War III extremists, but his unwillingness to face reality is increasing fears.  He simultaneously admitted this is a “dangerous time” but also claimed that this is not because of “diminished American strength,” refusing to take any responsibility for it.  He took several passes at associating ISIS with Islam in any way, saying we should simply call them what they are “killers and fanatics.” This is an implication of some exaggerated assumption that those who call ISIS radical Islam are somehow against all Muslims.  ISIS continues to commit terrorist attacks and humans rights atrocities around the world.  We cannot think America is somehow immune to them; in fact, we are a target.  Obama praised his efforts with Iran, but his Iran deal funds terrorist groups, endangers our ally Israel, and leaves American hostages behind.  Obama believes he can make a deal with those who are our enemies and cannot be trusted.

Also interesting is the social policy on which Obama didn’t dwell.  He only briefly mentioned “gay marriage.”  In addition to hurting our children, the new cultural and legislative shift has put our fundamental religious liberty in jeopardy by trying to push us beyond toleration into celebration.  He also ignored the Little Sisters of the Poor, who were featured GOP guests.  All they want is for their religious liberty to be left alone by Obama’s healthcare policies.  And Obama also neglected the issue of scandal-ridden Planned Parenthood, probably because the efforts against it are working, stalled now by his veto.  He dared to talk about how terrorists don’t “value human life” when he himself is pro-abortion.

A major theme was that Obama wanted a new politics, more civility. More “basic bonds of trust” and believing our opponents have good motivations:  “Our public life withers when only the most extreme voices get all the attention.”  Much of that is true! But is Obama willing to live by this himself?  Why is he the one constantly shutting down debate, refusing to work with Republicans, and being that extreme voice?  Why did he critique a pandering to special interests and divisions when he constantly panders to and illuminates them?

But conservatives are not intimidated by Obama’s sweet-talking, self-aggrandizement.  Speaking directly after Obama, South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley (R) expressed her well-founded concern over the economy, healthcare, civil unrest, and dangerous terrorism, but also laid out hope for an alternative: an economy that truly soars while controlling debt, and a foreign policy that celebrates Israel, not Iran.

Obama says his goal, like ours, is to help America’s future, to keep it prosperous and respected.  But his solutions only make America poorer and weaker by the day.  The fact is he ignored the important social issues of marriage, abortion, and religious freedom.  But as Nikki Haley explained, we have a chance to erase liberal policies and recover the heritage of our nation.  Our true hope in these times rests in God, in praying, in actively doing His will, and in earnestly beseeching Him to still bless America.

Chaney Mullins serves as Special Projects Writer for Concerned Women for America.