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Religious Liberty

Letters to the Church – Number Two

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

Dear Church,

As you well know, humanity has a sin problem. We all do. This is the nature and essence of all the issues we face as a Church and as a country. Anyone talking about racism and justice must begin there. Be wary of those, whether inside or outside the Church, purporting to be fighting for “justice” while disregarding and even advocating sin.

It is impossible to address these problems efficiently while brushing aside the eternal principles of nature, as given to us by the Creator. We would be missing the problem entirely, and in fact, aggravating it further.

This is not just within the confines of the Church. We are talking about reality here. Social change must be sought in this manner. It is the way Martin Luther King, Jr. accomplished so much in such a short life. Remember his Letter from a Birmingham Jail? In it, Rev. King explained how we could determine whether a law is just or unjust. He wrote:

“A just law is a man-made code that squares with the moral law or the law of God. An unjust law is a code that is out of harmony with the moral law. To put it in the terms of St. Thomas Aquinas: An unjust law is a human law that is not rooted in eternal law and natural law.”

Justice demands a standard. And aside from God’s standard, there are only personal preferences— human preferences, to be precise. The same humanity plagued with the sin problem.

That is why so many today are committing such heinous, unjust acts of racial violence against their neighbors. They are committing such actions because they believe similar acts were committed against them or their communities. They are acting according to their evil nature and imposing their sinful preferences over another’s. Sin for sin – an atrocious exchange.

Warning: Graphic Content

Unjust, racist violence is wrong no matter who the victims and the perpetrators are; you can swap them around, and the same crime would persist. As Christians, we must fight against it in all cases.

We, as the Church of Jesus Christ, simply cannot support those whose whole strategy is to commit sinful acts against another in the name of “justice.” We do not repay evil with evil (1 Peter 3:9). We are not frustrated when some are “getting away” with this or that. This is not what we believe.

No one gets away with anything. We trust in the Lord Almighty (Romans 12:19), so we do not lose hope and fall into despair as the unbeliever does. And we reject the worldly, devilish dichotomy by the scornful telling us that not to join them in their wicked ways is to allow injustice to flourish.

No. There is a better way.  The way. It was the way of Dr. King and most abolitionists throughout history. They fought injustice, even as they remember the admonitions of Proverbs 3:29, “Do not plan evil against your neighbor, who dwells trustingly beside you.” There were plenty of instigators among their ranks, too, with promises of quicker resolutions. Evildoers claim victory at every chance they get.

Do not fall for their lies. Continue to heed the Proverbs (3:31, 32), “Do not envy a man of violence and do not choose any of his ways, for the devious person is an abomination to the Lord, but the upright are in his confidence.”

Standing in the confidence of God, we can speak truth that is more powerful than an entire army. We extend the hands of grace and help, empathy, and longsuffering that bring healing and reconciliation. We stand up to tyrants and, yes, perhaps even give our lives for freedom.

It is “[f]or freedom Christ has set us free,” and we, therefore, “stand firm … and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.” That was our previous life. We were slaves to sin. But now, we do not walk in our former ways. We do not join the sinful mob for whatever reason. We walk in the light.

We will fight injustice. You can rest assured of that. We will just not fight it the world’s way (Romans 12:21).

May the God of all hope and peace fill you with the courage and love you need for this moment, that the power of the Holy Spirit may shine in your community now as never before.

In Christ,
M


Letter: one, two.


Letters to the Church – Number One

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Dear Church,

We are at war. Everyone paying attention knows it. Some may be uncertain of the battle lines, and even of their position in relation to them, but they can certainly feel our current situation is not good. Despair has settled in on the hearts of many, even within the Church, and the streets are flooded with the consequences of our reality.

Convinced that the only way out of this state is for us, the Church, to be salt and light (Matthew 5:13-16), I set out to write a series of letters to my beloved brethren to try to bring some clarity to this moment.

The conflict you are witnessing is a struggle for truth. Not the watered down, infantile caricature of truth that is fed to us by the Pulitzer Prize-winning puppeteers producing the tragicomedies we see on our screens daily. Nor is it the naive wishes of attention-seeking freshmen dreaming of “world peace.” The warfare we are called to engage in is a battle to protect the basic arithmetic of life.

The spirit of this age tells us all numbers are equal. Sure, two plus two equals four. But it could also equal five and six or eight. That way, more people are right, and no one feels judged for not giving you the answer you want to hear.

“To each his own,” a young Christian told me recently as we discussed biological males breaking women’s track records in college athletics. And so, it is. The man kicking another man unconscious in a recent protest is fighting for justice. The violent protests are peaceful.

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In some ways, we are witnessing the same deception the serpent has perpetrated on us since the beginning. “Did God really say,” he still whispers (Genesis 3:1). “You will not die … you will be like God” (Genesis 3:4-5).

The serpent was lying, as was his nature (John 8:44). There is no truth in him. Remember then, the snake is still at work in our world today, presenting himself as a benevolent figure. “[W]e wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places” (Ephesians 6:12).

Should it be surprising then to discover that behind the forces at work today flows a steady stream of anti-Christian sentiment? Should we find it strange that a movement supposedly crying out for justice acts most unjustly? No. Nor should we find it odd that it considers the Christian faith repugnant. The puzzling thing is how many Christian leaders are unable to discern the spirit of the moment.

According to one of the founding voices of the Black Lives Matter movement, rioters should tear down statues of Jesus as they are a “gross form of white supremacy.” The “Black Lives Matter” organization, for its part, says on its website that they are working to “disrupt the Western-prescribed nuclear family structure” and to free themselves “from the tight grip of heteronormative thinking.”

I know this is difficult to confront. We, as the Church, will always fight injustice wherever we find it. In those instances where police abuse their power, we will speak out against it. We will cry out for justice.

But darkness cannot stamp out darkness. Only light can do that. It gains us no advantage to swap out one oppressor for another—to fight injustice with injustice. The serpent has no loyalty. He will grab you and use you for evil in your quest for justice. Indeed, he’ll grab you and use you in your pursuit of God if you allow him. Isn’t this what the Pharisees did?

Both the secularist social justice warrior and the hypocritical religious zealot fall for the enemy’s lies and stand against God’s purposes. They fall for different kinds of lies, but they are lies, nonetheless. They both believe it is their actions that can save the world. They have supplanted God with a new idol, namely themselves.

Truth, on the other hand, has a way of sitting you up straight, humbling you. It brings clarity. Wakes you up from your worthless, self-aggrandizing dreams and demands to be confronted. It puts you face to face with your own sin. It is light. We, as children of light (1 John 1:7), must walk in it. Those who live in darkness hate it.

We cannot be surprised that the spirit of this age hates us (1 John 3:13). Christian leader, for the love of God, stop trying to get the world to like you! Stand for truth. Be faithful to God and His Word. Trust in Him. Consider it an honor to suffer for His name (Philippians 1:29).

Be salt. For if we lose our saltiness, what are we good for anyway?

In Christ,

M


Letter: one, two.


prison

International Community Condemns China’s Violations of Uyghur Human Rights

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By Jaelyn Morgan, Intern for the Department of International Affairs, Concerned Women for America

In the face of China’s gross violations against the Uyghur people and other minorities, the United States is speaking out. So is Concerned Women for America.

The U.S. State Department has accumulated mounting evidence on China’s systemic human rights violations against over one million Uyghur and other ethnic and religious minorities, particularly in the Xinjiang province. Violations include “forced disappearance, political indoctrination, torture, psychological and physical and psychological abuse, including forced sterilization and sexual abuse, forced labor, and prolonged detention without trial.” Most victims are Muslim. A significant number are Christian.

On June 17, 2020, U.S. President Donald Trump signed into law the Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act of 2020 to hold the individuals and entities responsible for the “gross violations of human rights” against the Uyghurs and other ethnic minorities in Xinjiang. On July 1, 2020, Concerned Women for America (CWA) released a statement in support of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s stance, stating, “A program of mass sterilization and forced abortion in ethnic and religious minority communities is particularly dehumanizing, and the global community cannot stay silent.”

China first denied, but has since acknowledged, the existence of “re-education” camps in Xinjiang which they claim are necessary for combatting “extremism” and “terrorism.” In 2013 and 2014, Chinese authorities labeled the Uyghurs as responsible for terrorist attacks in Tiananmen Square and Kunming, respectively. Currently, China severely restricts religious expression and interferes in the daily habits, education, weddings, funerals, and “family planning” of any person deemed a “religious extremist.”  Women undergo forced sterilizations and abortions. Individuals “disappear.” Families are arrested for having “too many children.” Parents are coerced into confessing that their personal choices show they are “lawless” and “uncivilized.”

By 2017, reports of the issue became public knowledge. On July 8, 2019, 22 Western nations formally requested for the UN Human Rights Council (HRC) to address the matter. By the UN’s own guidelines, China’s actions to prevent births within the Uyghur group constitutes “genocide.” Ironically, China was on the HRC at that time and holds itself up as a leader in human rights while being a human rights violator. As Dr. Shea Garrison, CWA’s Vice President of International Affairs, stated in The Washington Times, “as in the case of China, confusion about fundamental rights offers cover to authoritarian and totalitarian governments that provide benefits to citizens as a demonstration of ‘human rights,’ all the while censoring the press, oppressing religious freedom or imprisoning political dissidents.” Indeed, only four days later, 37 countries sent a letter of refutation to the HRC, defending China’s actions in Xinjiang and praising them for “remarkable achievements in the field of human rights.”

Currently, more progress is being made toward holding China accountable for its unjust actions. Following the release of the U.S. Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act, 50 independent UN experts sent a letter urging the HRC “to act collectively and decisively to ensure China respects human rights and abides by its international obligations.” On June 29, 2020, the Interparliamentary Alliance in China (IPAC), composed of parliaments from 15 nations, sent a statement to the UN General Assembly, calling on them to swiftly investigate the matter and determine whether  genocide is taking place.

The international community must uphold its own standards. What is taking place in China against certain minority groups is discriminatory, abusive, and wrong. Nations, including the U.S., must continue to put pressure on China and international human rights courts to bring accountability to those responsible for these horrific violations of human rights.

Little Sisters of the Poor Win, Again, at the High Court

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Washington, D.C.The U.S. Supreme Court released its opinion in Little Sisters of the Poor Saints Peter and Paul Home v. Pennsylvania. Once again, the Court sides (7-2) with protecting their religious liberties from government intrusion. Penny Nance, CEO and President of Concerned Women for America had this to say:

“The hundreds of thousands of women I represent at Concerned Women for America (CWA) are thrilled to see the United States Supreme Court upholding the religious liberty rights of the Little Sisters of the Poor. We have been standing with them from the beginning and will continue to fight against government intrusion into matters of faith and conscience.

 “It is truly unbelievable that they continue to have to go to court to defend their constitutional rights and that the possibility still exists that they may be dragged into court once again. The Court says today that the Trump Administration has the authority under the Affordable Care Act to promulgate this religious liberty exception, leaving the door open for another more hostile administration to undo it.

“This is why Americans must continue to be fully engaged in the political process. It is why CWA is investing considerable resources urging Christians to pray and work to get out the vote this November. Our religious liberties are at risk. We must elect those who exhibit a clear track record of upholding religious liberty.

 “Today, CWA supporters celebrate this decision. Tomorrow, we are back at work to protect our freedoms.”

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Concerned Women for America Legislative Action Committee (CWALAC) is the legislation and advocacy arm of Concerned Women for America. Concerned Women for America is the nation’s largest public policy women’s organization with a rich 40-year history of helping our members across the country bring Biblical principles into all levels of public policy.

 

SCOTUS Rally

The Bostock/Harris Debacle

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One of the most disappointing things about the recent Supreme Court decision on the definition of “sex” in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was the majority’s poor reasoning. The majority included Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Neil Gorsuch, along with the four liberal justices (Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan).

Justice Neil Gorsuch, writing for the majority, does not dispute that the word “sex” in federal law means male and female. He indeed says, “The parties concede that the term ‘sex’ in 1964 referred to the biological distinctions between male and female.” Still, the majority argues that because homosexuality and transgenderism relate to “sex,” employment discrimination based on transgenderism or homosexuality is prohibited under the law.

The Court ignored the fact that Congress has considered and rejected protections explicitly based on those categories.

Simply put, the majority did what it wanted to do, not what the law demanded. Justice Samuel Alito, joined by Justice Clarence Thomas, filed a forceful dissent making the point. “There is only one word for what the Court has done today: legislation,” he wrote. Indeed.

This is extremely disappointing, especially in the case of Justice Gorsuch, because he had been up until now, a strong proponent of originalism or textualism, a legal philosophy that emphasizes sticking to the text of a statute. Unfortunately, he has shown now that he will deviate from that philosophy depending on the topic.

Justice Alito calls him out on it:

The Court attempts to pass off its decision as the inevitable product of the textualist school of statutory interpretation championed by our late colleague Justice Scalia, but no one should be fooled. The Court’s opinion is like a pirate ship. It sails under a textualist flag, but what it actually represents is a theory of statutory interpretation that Justice Scalia excoriated––the theory that courts should “update” old statutes so that they better reflect the current values of society.

Justice Brett Kavanaugh also saw the fallacy, writing in his own dissenting opinion, “Our role is not to make or amend the law. As written, Title VII does not prohibit employment discrimination because of sexual orientation.” It was a simple interpretive exercise unless a judge brings personal emotions into the mix.

One of the signs of the weakness of the majority’s argument was its dismissive attitude towards the opponents’ arguments. Despite the glaring problems with its interpretation, the majority simply declared that it was obvious that sexual orientation and gender identity were included. It was easy to see.  Justice Kavanaugh, again, showed how unserious the argument was: “Because judges interpret the law as written, not as they might wish it were written, the first 10 U. S. Courts of Appeals to consider whether Title VII prohibits sexual orientation discrimination all said no. Some 30 federal judges considered the question. All 30 judges said no, based on the text of the statute. 30 out of 30.”

They were all merely stupid, according to the majority. Same for Congress. No one intended to include sexual orientation or gender identity in the law. They debated whether to include it or not and rejected it. But the majority says they were just too naïve to know they were actually including it in the language.

File this decision among the worse in our history, right along with Obergefell v. Hodges, Roe v. Wade, and Dred Scott v. Sandford. The consequences will be devastating for our country. It will most certainly be used as a weapon against Christian conservatives. But this does not mean we allow it to be used in this way.

We must fight to limit its impact. The Court, indeed, as it always does when it knows it is doing wrong, tells us its impact is limited. Justice Gorsuch swears it will not affect religious liberty and that it does not involve other statues (like Title IX, in the women’s sports context). We must fight to make sure that is the case.

Right now, Concerned Women for America is in the middle of a big fight in regards to Title IX. We have two complaints with the Department of Education and are working on legislative fixes that could help mitigate the damage.

This case is thrusting us into a much bigger fight that is just beginning. A battle for reality. A struggle for truth. And as you know, Truth is on our side. Do not be discouraged. In the end, we will win.

This is not a time for timidity. It is time to redouble our efforts. Strengthen our resolve and stand on the Word of God. Join us in prayer for this fight and be part of the remnant of God in our country. There is power in the unity of the body of Christ (John 17:20-23).

Religious Bigotry Law Rejected by Supreme Court, Despite Liberal Justices Objections

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Washington, D.C.— In a 5-4 decision in Espinoza v. Montana Dept. of Revenue, the United States Supreme Court invalidated a Montana law that targeted religious institutions for discrimination. Penny Nance, CEO and President of Concerned Women for America (CWA), the largest public policy organization for women in the nation, had this to say:

“We applaud the Supreme Court’s majority today for recognizing that Montana’s exclusion of religious schools from the state scholarship program violates the U.S. Constitution. Tax dollars should not be used in such a blatant discriminatory way. The First Amendment’s Free Exercise Clause is clear, no law should aim to punish Americans for the free exercise of their faith.

“What is concerning is that all four of the liberal justices of the Court are fully on board with that type of religious discrimination. Shame on them. This should have been a unanimous decision. It is as simple as they come.

“Americans should beware of how close we are to losing our religious liberties in our country. Come election time, CWA member from around the country will make sure people know what is at stake when it comes to the courts.

“We have made progress, but there is much more work to be done.”

Bostock – Harris Supreme Court Update

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The United States Supreme Court has released its decision in the Title VII cases Harris v. EEOC, Bostock v. Clayton County, and Altitude Express v. Zarda rewriting federal law in a raw act of judicial overreach.

We have seen this movie before. The Supreme Court rewriting federal law to appease political correctness is one of the most destructive developments in American jurisprudence. It always disappoints and brings more, not less, pain to our country. We can expect a similar type of legacy for today’s decision.

As Justice Alito plainly puts it in dissent: “There is only one word for what the Court has done today: legislation.” Which of course is a fundamental violation of the separation of powers set by our Constitution.

The majority betrays the Constitution and, Justice Gorsuch and Chief Justice Roberts betray the textualism they purport to support with this nonsensical decision that hurts women most of all. The protections based on “sex” in federal law were specifically enacted to protect women and strengthen justice, not threaten it because of the beautiful differences between males and females. But today, the Court erases that and envisions a world where fundamental truths can be twisted to mean whatever the “woke” culture of the times dictates.

CWA General Counsel Mario Diaz, Esq. and Doreen Denny, VP of Government Relations, have more on the potential dangers of this disastrous decision.

Supreme Court Rewrites Law to Appease PC Police, Again

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Washington, D.C. — The United States Supreme Court has released its decision in the Title VII cases Harris v. EEOCBostock v. Clayton County, and Altitude Express v. ZardaPenny Nance, CEO and President of Concerned Women for America Legislative Action Committee (CWALAC) made the following comments:

“The majority of the Court has effectively destabilized protections for women in federal law with this ruling. Today they invite federal lawsuits in every other area of federal law where the word ‘sex’ appears. Women will need to redouble their efforts to retain the protections that have cost us so much throughout the years. And that is exactly what we will do.

“The protections based on ‘sex’ in federal law were specifically enacted to protect women and strengthen justice, not threaten it because of the beautiful differences between males and females. But today, the Court erases that and envisions a world where fundamental truths can be twisted to mean whatever the ‘woke’ culture of the times dictates.

“Worse, the Court majority diminishes what it means to be a woman and the status and dignity of being female. This is not a left or right issue. Concerned Women for America rallied in front of the Supreme Court alongside radical feminists who boldly stood to ask the Court to stand strong for women and not deviate from the truthful application of the word ‘sex’ in federal law.”

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Concerned Women for America Rallies (Virtually!) in Support of the Little Sisters of the Poor

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Believe it or not, the Little Sisters of the Poor are back at the U.S. Supreme Court still trying to defend their religious liberty from the burdens that states continue to impose on them following the enactment of the Affordable Care Act (commonly known as Obamacare). Today, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments in their case, Little Sisters of the Poor v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The Supreme Court is broadcasting the arguments live, via conference during the Covid-19 lockdown period. Click here to listen to oral arguments that will be transmitted by C-Span starting at 10 AM today.

Concerned Women for America will be joining Becket, who represents the Sisters, and other pro-religious liberty organizations in a virtual rally, starting at 8:45 AM. The theme is a simple one that has carried us throughout the years fighting for these poor sisters, “Let Them Serve.” Click here to join in!

To refresh your memory, the Sisters run 30 health care facilities for the elderly poor in the United States — from nursing homes to intermediate care to residential or assisted living and other independent-living facilities. All members of their order disregarded worldly comforts, taking vows of poverty, chastity, obedience, and hospitality, in order to serve the Lord and their neighbors. The Little Sisters of the Poor actually maintain a tradition of begging, demonstrating a life of true dependence on faith.

That is why it has been so infuriating from the beginning that the Obama Administration insisted that these sisters violate their religious beliefs and provide health insurance covering contraception and abortifacients. The Sisters won their case at the Supreme Court, which required the federal government to accommodate the Sisters.

The Trump Administration also broadened the scope of religious liberty protections, hoping to put an end to the issue finally. But several states, including Pennsylvania and New Jersey, sued the Federal government, saying the protections were too broad.

The Sisters were then forced to intervene in the lawsuit once again, asking the courts to let the Trump Administration implement the religious protections that will finally protect their religious liberties.

It is a simple ask that we are hoping the Supreme Court will quickly uphold, telling states to stop harassing people of faith.

Easter and the Promise of Redemption

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In this Easter season, I have been thinking about the importance of redemption. Over the years, by virtue of circulation in political circles, I have known personally some people involved in public scandals. The world watches as the media follows them relentlessly for days, weeks, or even months and then evaporates, leaving behind a scene of complete and utter self-inflicted personal destruction. Some of these folks are often distraught to the point of suicide.

What the cameras don’t show is what happens after the hoopla dies down. Sometimes these folks turn inward and become bitter and permanently broken, but not always. The untold stories are the others, the ones who are open to healing and saving grace.

I had the privilege of reflecting on redemption not long ago through the eyes of a woman whose husband was recently the object of a very public humiliation. She spoke about the many, many acts of love and compassion that have been shown to their family.

Members of a local church congregation have come forward to help in tangible ways, but also by sharing their own stories of brokenness and the healing of Christ’s forgiveness and restoration. One woman texted my friend, “Call me, I can help you: signed a survivor of an international sex scandal.”

No one likes to remember their past mistakes, but when they are viewed in the context of sins atoned for by Christ’s sacrifice on the cross then they become only a chapter of a story of victory and healing, not the last chapter. In most cases, the final story is much more important than the earlier narrative.

I was shocked recently when my daughter confessed distaste at the fact that my dear friend and mentor, Chuck Colson, served time in prison.

My husband and I both laughed as she stared at us in confusion.

Taking advantage of a teachable moment, we were then able to point out to her that Colson’s disgrace led him to the foot of the Cross, and from there he has become one of the greatest Christian heroes of our time.

Without the public brokenness, Colson would have never become the man that God has used to minister to literally millions of people, many of whom are or were in prison.

That’s called Grace, and it is at the crux of the Easter story.

As Christians, we believe that Christ, the Son of God, died specifically not for “the righteous, but sinners.” Who is a sinner? Well, all of us. Every single one of us who has ever been unkind, lied, or been disobedient. Yes, all of it counts. He was the only sinless man ever born, and yet, He stepped in to take our punishment and, in the process, conquered sin and ultimately death. He rose to new life and indeed, through his atonement, offers a clean slate before a Holy God. That’s what Easter is all about.

I know it’s interesting to read and watch bad people “get theirs” or to even feel a sense of self-righteousness perhaps watching the lives of Hollywood elites and political figures come crashing down because of bad choices and dishonesty. But we need to remember that, “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”

I stand with countless other broken humans over the millennia who claim Christ’s sacrifice for our sins. He is risen for all the people caught in scandals, and for those who were never caught, and for those who are just plain broken. I, like the Apostle Paul, stand with the sinners “of whom I am the chief.”

Jesus on the Cross took the punishment I deserve for my sins and now because of His resurrection I stand forgiven by His grace. He will do the same for you as He has done for other sinners just like us. He is risen indeed!

 

Trump Nominates For OMB Director A Man Bernie Sanders Savaged For Being A Christian

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You might remember that Vought was viciously attacked for his Christian faith at his previous nomination hearings. Indeed, this reminds us the radical, anti-Christian left is now the mainstream of the Democratic Party, as it was Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-Vt.), a front-runner for his party’s presidential nomination, who led the attack.

President Trump fights a more significant battle than just this nomination by appointing him. He fights for the liberties of all Americans, regardless of faith.

Click here to read the entire article, as featured on The Federalist.

Act Now to Protect First Amendment Rights for College Students

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Act Now to Protect First Amendment Rights for College Students. 

Religious freedom is under attack on college campuses. Imagine being falsely told your First Amendment Rights don’t apply at a public university. That is the reality for many college students involved in faith-based clubs on campuses across the country.

The U.S. Department of Education has proposed a new rule on the Eligibility of Faith-Based Entities to provide religious freedom protections in higher education. The rule protects faith-based clubs on public campuses from discrimination and makes other improvements to ensure First Amendment rights in education.

There is a short turn around to comment with your support and help the President protect the rights of religious groups on campus before the deadline Tuesday.

This proposed rule is the regulatory form of the Equal Campus Access Act. Like the bill, this rule ensures students in faith-based groups receive equal access to public university resources and funds as other non-religious groups.

Join us to protect the students and campus ministries in your lives.

Great News on this Religious Freedom Day

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January 16 is Religious Freedom Day. It marks the anniversary of the passage of Thomas Jefferson’s Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom, the precursor language of our First Amendment guarantee of religious freedom. This American ideal was born on Biblical soil. Freedom is impossible without faith. This is as true today as in the times of our founding. John Adams, the principal author of our Bill of Rights said:

The general principles on which the fathers achieved independence, were … the general principles of Christianity … Now I will avow, that I then believed, and now believe that those general principles of Christianity are as eternal and immutable as the existence and attributes of God; and that those principles of liberty are as unalterable as human nature and our terrestrial, mundane system …

Questions of faith are the questions of life. That is why religious freedom is known as our first freedom, listed first as the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. If we lose our religious freedom, we lose our freedoms.

President Donald J. Trump understands this, and he has been a champion of religious freedom since his first day in office. Just today the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is proposing rules to further implement President Trump’s 2018 Executive Order removing regulatory burdens on religious organizations and ensuring they are treated equally under the law within the agency’s programs.

This is important work that will never get much attention in the mainstream media, but which protects people of faith from being forced to do the government’s bidding when it comes to things that violate their conscience, like abortion — a favorite area where the left wants to force pro-life people to actively engage in supporting.

Yesterday, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) issued a memo aimed at protecting religious freedom in government grants at all levels. OMB Acting Director Russ Vought (himself a victim of religious discrimination) said, “No longer will faith-based organizations be bullied by the government, which has not done enough to ensure that religious groups are not discriminated against when receiving federal resources.”

The Department of Education is also taking serious steps to protect religious freedom and clarify the First Amendment’s protection of prayer in public schools. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos said in a statement:

Our actions today will protect the constitutional rights of students, teachers, and faith-based institutions. The Department’s efforts will level the playing field between religious and non-religious organizations competing for federal grants, as well as protect First Amendment freedoms on campus and the religious liberty of faith-based institutions. I proudly share President Trump’s commitment to religious freedom and the First Amendment.

And that is just what the president has done recently. The president has also stood strong against the Johnson Amendment which has been used for decades to try to silence pastors’ political and cultural engagement. He has stood strong against anti-Semitism. He has also promoted religious freedom abroad.

The president issued a proclamation today saying:

[W]e reaffirm our commitment to protecting the precious and fundamental right of religious freedom, both at home and abroad.  Our Founders entrusted the American people with a responsibility to protect religious liberty so that our Nation may stand as a bright beacon for the rest of the world.  Today, we remain committed to that sacred endeavor and strive to support those around the world who still struggle under oppressive regimes that impose restrictions on freedom of religion.

Let us continue to pray for the President as he stands for religious freedom and let us support these efforts that are to the benefit of all freedom-loving peoples around the world, not just Christian or religious people.

 

Garrison and Traficant: Anti-Semitism is on the Rise

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Concerned Women for America’s International Affairs team consisting of Dr. Shea Garrison and Ashley Traficant, published an article in The Hill showcasing how Anti-semitism is on the rise throughout the world.

Jeremy Corbyn, the soon-to-be former leader of the U.K.’s Labour Party, was defeated in a landslide election last week.

But while Corbyn announced his resignation and Labour lost dozens of seats, the anti-Semitism of his party remains endemic throughout the United Kingdom and Europe. Seventy-five years after the Holocaust, anti-Semitism is on the rise.

Tel Aviv University cites a 13 percent increase in anti-Semitic attacks worldwide in 2018, with the U.S., U.K., France and Germany having the highest number of incidents.

According to a CNN survey, memories of the Holocaust are fading while anti-Semitic stereotypes flourish. Forty-four percent of Europeans think anti-Semitism is a growing problem. But 28 percent say it is a response to the actions of Israel, while 18 percent feel it is “a response to the everyday behavior of Jewish people,” meaning a sizeable portion of Europeans blame the victims of anti-Semitism for its increase.

German anti-Semitism commissioner Felix Klein has even warned that it may not be safe to wear a kippah (Jewish skullcap) in public in Germany. Germany has seen a 70 percent increase in violent acts against Jews since 2017, but not all instances of anti-Semitism are violent. Unaddressed resentment and hateful stereotypes can be precursors of violence.”

Read the Entire Piece in The Hill Here:

America Stands with Hong Kong

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

Last Sunday, 800,000 protestors took to the streets of Hong Kong, the largest pro-democracy demonstration yet. The number of demonstrators has steadily increased since the start of the protests six months ago with no sign of slowing down. This movement is so significant that despite ongoing trade negotiations with China, the Trump administration entered the fray to ensure China respects Hong Kong’s autonomy and fundamental right to protest.

Protests began in June in response to a new Beijing-backed extradition law that would have allowed people arrested in Hong Kong to be imprisoned in China. The first couple months of protests were peaceful and extraordinarily respectful, as demonstrators apologized to those inconvenienced by facilities closed due to the protests, even moving out of the way to allow emergency vehicles to maneuver through the massive crowds. They sang “Sing Hallelujah to the Lord” as their anthem.

Momentum swelled as a record number of people came out to vote in Hong Kong’s local elections in November despite the increase in police force and violence, including the shooting of two protestors. An astonishing 452 local seats flipped from pro-Beijing to pro-democracy officials, a significant and peaceful victory. Chinese President Xi dismissed this as “window dressing,” but it is impossible to ignore. The election could very well be a bellwether of changing times.

As Hong Kong protests and China waits, the United States is acting. President Trump signed into law Sen. Rubio’s (R-Florida) bill supporting the protestors and creating a U.S. congressional oversight mechanism to ensure China does not violate its agreement for Hong Kong to have autonomy at least until 2047.

Predictably, China was not thrilled. In response, the Chinese foreign minister Hua Chunying said China would no longer review requests for U.S. ships and aircraft to stop in Hong Kong.

To be clear, China generally does deny these requests; they are just announcing they won’t even look at the requests. This is more bark than bite.

Hong Kong is a Chinese territory that is supposed to have its own autonomous government. In 1997 the U.K. handed Hong Kong, its then colony, over to China under the agreement of “one country, two-systems” for the first 50 years. It is unknown what will happen after the year 2047.

The watching world exposes and puts a check on China. Between Beijing-backed police increasing violence towards protestors in Hong Kong and the concentration camps of around 1 million Uyghur Muslims, China’s violations of human rights are egregious and in the limelight.

Secretary Pompeo’s formation of the Commission on Unalienable Rights provides another mechanism by which China can be held to account. The commission’s purpose is to ground U.S. foreign policy on human rights in American’s founding principles of individual liberty. While the Commission is advisory, it will also help create a standard by which to measure the nations, exposing those, like China, who provide pseudo rights to veil their egregious violations of human rights.

Though the extradition law has been withdrawn, Hong Kong’s hunger for liberty has only grown. The world watches to see what action, if any, China might take. In the chaos one thing is clear, the United States stands with the people of Hong Kong as they fight for freedom.

child and mother

Trump Administration to Reverse Obama-era Regs that Sidelined Faith-Based Adoption and Foster Care Agencies

By | Blog, Legislative Updates, News and Events, Religious Liberty | No Comments

UPDATE:

President Trump just issued the new proposed rule that would reverse an Obama-era regulation that harmed faith-based adoption and foster care providers. This Obama “nondiscrimination” mandate, imposed just days before President Trump was inaugurated, jeopardized the status of faith-based adoption and foster care providers who work with adoptive and foster families who shared their beliefs. President Obama added categories to HHS nondiscrimination laws that require grant recipients to accept unorthodox, ideological views on gender and sexuality. The result has become government discrimination against faith-based providers used as a weapon for lawsuits and disqualifying them from serving families and children.

In the new rule, the Keep Kids First Rule, the Trump Administration has reversed this activist policy and clarified that discrimination laws enacted by Congress, not imposed by unelected bureaucrats, apply to adoption and foster care providers. The Administration’s effort to restore religious freedom and include all child welfare providers on the playing field is especially important as the need for loving families is on the rise.

The Trump Administration needs your help to make the Keep Kids First Rule a reality.  Public comments supporting the rule are the key to guaranteeing the religious freedom of all providers and ending government discrimination against them. Your positive comment supporting the Keep Kids First rule must be submitted by December 19 at 11:59 p.m. 

Click Here to learn more.  

 

Last Friday the Trump Administration announced its intention to reverse Obama-era regulations that have sidelined faith-based adoption and foster care agencies. CWA has been working with Congress and the Administration on this change for nearly two years!

President Obama added categories to nondiscrimination laws that require grant recipients to accept ideological views on gender and sexuality. Such government discrimination has been weaponized against faith-based providers – several are facing lawsuits; others have discontinued operations. The Administration’s effort to restore religious freedom and enable all qualified child welfare providers to be eligible for placing children in loving homes is especially important as the need for loving families is on the rise.

As with other proposed rules that represent major changes, like the Protect Life rule and the Conscience Care Rule, supportive comments of the new rules will be crucial! The timeline to comment will only be 30 days. We will need your help to get the word out. We are awaiting publication in the Federal Register this week before we are able to submit comments, and we will alert you as soon as the comment period begins!

Penny Nance on Religious Liberty Case

By | Blog, News and Events, Religious Liberty, Social / Cultural Issues | No Comments

Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tennessee) and over 40 members of Congress filed an amicus brief to support Barronelle Stutzman, owner of Arlene’s Flowers in Richland, Washington. CWA’s CEO and President Penny Nance made the following statement in support:

“Conservative women understand the fundamental principles of liberty enshrined in the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. We are thankful for Members of Congress who are unwavering in their commitment to protect them from recurring threats. To compel someone, as the Washington Supreme Court did in the case of Barronelle Stutzman, to use her artistic expression to support something that violates her conscience and tenets of her faith is an anathema to the Founders intent and to our Constitutional principles. It simply must not stand.”

Read the Entire Press Release from Sen. Marsha Blackburn Here: