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religious liberty Archives – Concerned Women for America

Victory for Religious Liberty

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Victory for All Americans

Washington, D.C. –  The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office for Civil Rights (OCR) has issued a final rule to protect the “conscience” rights of our nation’s health care professionals. This new rule will allow health care workers to follow their moral and religious convictions about the services they provide without discrimination. President Trump made the announcement at a National Day of Prayer event Thursday.

Penny Nance, CEO and President of Concerned Women for America (CWA) applauded the administration’s move and made the following statement:

“Religious liberty lies at the foundations of American values. President Donald J. Trump’s Administration honors and respects the very essence of liberty by ensuring these principles are protected. The hundreds of thousands of Concerned Women for America supporters around the country stand with him in this endeavor and applaud his unwavering commitment to the protection of liberties for all Americans and not just a privileged few.

“We count this as another promise kept by President Trump who is simply living up to the vision he unveiled on the campaign trail. These regulations fully implement longstanding protections that had been shamefully neglected under previous administrations. We are grateful for these much-needed developments.”

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Thought Crimes Bills Filed in Georgia Legislature

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Three state-level “hate crimes” bills have been filed in the Georgia legislature. HB 660 has been introduced by Rep. Megan Hanson (R-Brookhaven). HB 663 and SB 316 have been introduced by Rep. Karen Bennett (D-Stone Mountain) and Sen. Lester Jackson (D-Savannah) respectively.  All three bills would add additional punishments for crimes committed against protected classes of people based on race, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, mental disability, and physical disability.

Georgia is one of five states in the country that does not have some sort of state-level “hate crimes” law, and it needs to stay that way. “Hate crime” laws violate the Constitution’s 14th Amendment guarantee of equal protection under the law, and they threaten freedom of speech, assembly, and religion.

Click here to read talking points.

Should HB 660, HB 663 or SB 316 pass, individuals in Georgia could claim, and courts interpret, that merely expressing one’s sincerely held beliefs is “intimidating” or represents a “threat” of force. “Hate crime” laws are already being used to intimidate and punish people who honor natural sexuality and value marriage as the union of a man and a woman. If a person speaks out against various sexual behaviors, they may be accused of “hate speech” and promoting “hate crimes.”

Would you make four phone calls today to stop these very dangerous bills?

Contact Lt. Governor Casey Cagle (Republican) and Sen. Jesse Stone (R-Waynesboro), chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and respectfully urge them not to allow SB 316 to have a hearing.
#1 – Lt. Governor Casey Cagle
Complete the contact page and/or call his office at (404) 656-5030.

#2 – Sen. Jesse Stone
E-mail him and/or call his office at (404) 463-1314.

#3- Contact the Speaker of the House, David Ralston (R-Blue Ridge), and respectfully urge him not to allow HB 660 or HB 663 to have a hearing:
E-mail him and/or call his office at (404) 656-5020.

#4- Contact Rep. Rich Golick, chairman of the House Judiciary Non-Civil Committee, and respectfully urge him not to allow HB 660 or HB 663 to have a hearing:
E-mail him and/or call his office at (404) 656-5943.

Be sure to let them know that you are a member of Concerned Women for America of Georgia.

Please pray specifically for Lt. Governor Cagle, Speaker Ralston, Sen. Stone and Rep. Golick. Ask the Lord to move in their hearts and not allow the bills to be heard in committee.

Once again, thank you for both your prayers and action.

Tanya Ditty
State Director
CWA of Georgia
[email protected]

Urgent! Extend Religious Freedom Protections in Georgia With Just Four Calls

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Sen. Marty Harbin (R-Tryone) is seeking to amend HB 257 to include a narrow, modest protection of our religious liberty. The amendment is a local Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA). This RFRA applies to all Georgia municipalities, and would merely require municipal governments to give Georgia citizens the same Constitutional protections they enjoy when dealing with the federal government.

The Harbin amendment directly references the federal RFRA, which Gov. Deal voted for in Congress.  And though the amendment is narrower than a statewide RFRA, it is a step in the right direction. It does not guarantee a win in court for a claimant or defendant, but requires the municipal government to honor your exercise of religious freedom unless it has a   compelling interest to the contrary, and uses the least restrictive means necessary to accomplish that interest.

Tomorrow (Thursday, March 30) is the last day of the Georgia legislative session so it is critical that calls be made today to the following four legislators.  Your message: “Support the Harbin amendment to HB 257.” If are reading this alert after 5:00 p.m. on Wednesday, March 29, please call and leave a message. Be sure to let them know that you are a member of Concerned Women for America of Georgia.

Your calls and emails will make a difference.  Your prayers can change the heart of the legislators.

  1. Lt. Governor Casey Cagle – (404) 656-5030 |Contact form
  2. Senate Pro Tempore David Shafer (R-Duluth) – (404) 656-0048 |E-mail
  3. Senate Majority Leader Bill Cowsert (R-Athens) – (404) 463-1366 | E-mail
  4. Contact your state senator. Click here to locate your state senator.

Sen. Marty Harbin Files Religious Freedom Bill

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Resource Page for Georgia’s Religious Freedom Legislation

Religious Freedom Alert!
Sen. Marty Harbin (R-Tyrone) filed Senate Bill 233, a state-level religious freedom bill that mirrors the 1993 Federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act that was signed into law by President Bill Clinton.  CWA of Georgia supported a similar bill in 2015. SB 233 provides religious liberty protections for people of all faiths living in Georgia.

Action item: Contact your state senator and urge him or her to support SB 233 when brought to the floor for a vote. Click here to find your state senator.

Educate yourself on the need for a state Religious Freedom Restoration Action in Georgia. Read through the resources provided by below.

Pray that our state legislators, Speaker, Lt. Governor, Speaker of the House and Governor will stand on the side of religious liberty and not buckle to the pressure of corporations who do not see the need to pass a religious liberty bill.

Online Resources

CWA of Georgia Talking Points: Why Georgia need a religious freedom bill.

State Religious Freedom Restoration Act Resources:
This document contains the following:

  • View Historical Timeline of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (As a result of 1997 U.S. Supreme Court ruling, Georgians have been left vulnerable to state religious discrimination lawsuits.)
  • Read Remarks by President Bill Clinton (Remarks by President Bill Clinton on signing the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993.)
  • What a Religious Freedom Restoration Act Does and Does Not Do
  • Recent Examples in Georgia of Religious Discrimination (Read actual examples of religious discrimination in Georgia.)

Federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act Resources:
The Hobby Lobby/Conestoga Woods Decision

Others:

Religious Liberty is one of CWA’s Seven Core Issues on which we focus our efforts. CWA is concerned about the trend of government to diminish and disregard the God-given inalienable rights of individuals, and are working to see our government strengthen and renew its commitment to respect and protect each individual’s exercise of his God-given inalienable rights. Click to read more.

Wake Up Now America!

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Featured speakers: Kris “Tonto” Paronto, Army Ranger and Benghazi survivor; State Senators Josh McKoon, Mike Crane and Marty Harbin; Republican nominee for State Senate Mike Brass; Jane Robbins, American Principles Project; Kevin Shipp, retired CIA agent; Phil Williams, radio talk show host.

Georgia’s 2016 Legislative Wrap-Up

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Concerned Women for America of Georgia Legislative Action Committee
2016 Legislative Session Wrap Up

 The fast-paced 2016 state legislative session came to a close at midnight on March 24. The 40-day session opened on January 11, and State Director Tanya Ditty represented your interests as a volunteer lobbyist at the State Capitol throughout the entire legislative session.

Concerned Women for America’s seven core issues are: Sanctity of Life, Defense of Family, Education, Religious Liberty, National Sovereignty, Sexual Exploitation, and Support for Israel. Legislation this session encompassed several of these core issues. On-the-ground lobbying efforts combined with grassroots prayer and action gets results! Without calls and e-mails from CWA members and friends, successes would have been more difficult to achieve.

CWA of Georgia had an aggressive list of legislative priorities for the 2016 legislative session.  Many of the legislative priorities were not addresses by the General Assembly this year. We did want to highlight for you a few of the bills that we fought hard to support or oppose.

Religious Freedom
VETO-stampAfter a three-year battle to pass a religious freedom bill in Georgia, a compromise was reached between the House and Senate, and HB 757, the Free Exercise Protection Act was passed. Less than two weeks later, Gov. Nathan Deal caved and vetoed the bill. Was HB 757 perfect?  No.  Was the compromise bill worth supporting? Yes. Georgians saw nothing unreasonable in this legislation, yet Gov. Deal chose to turn his back on people of faith. Read CWA of Georgia press release.

In a poll taken by national pollster Clout Research after the passage of HB 757, this question was posed:  Should Gov. Nathan Deal sign the [religious freedom] legislation?  Sixty-six percent agreed that Gov. Deal should sign the legislation. There was majority support for the bill across political parties, in all fourteen congressional districts and across all demographic groups.  The poll also showed that 80 percent said the tide of political correctness has run amuck in this state, endangering our fundamental right to freedom of conscience – the right to think and believe what we want without fear of punishment.

At a press conference following the veto announcement, CWA of Georgia State Director Tanya Ditty made this statement, “Clearly Gov. Deal is out of touch with the people of our state. This is why people are angry with the politicians in our nation. They are elected to represent the will of the people – not Hollywood values, not Wall Street values. They are elected to represent the voters of Georgia, and that does not preclude the people of faith.”

Sadly, Gov. Deal sold our religious freedom protections for thirty pieces of silver. Instead of signing a bill that provided broad-based religious freedom protections for all Georgians, Deal buckled to the pressure of the LBGT community, the film industry, the NFL, Atlanta’s hometown teams the Falcons, Braves and Hawks, and large corporate interests, such as the Georgia Chamber of Commerce, Home Depot, Delta, Coca Cola, SunTrust, UPS, Disney, and Salesforce.

Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle and Speaker David Ralston have vowed to work on religious freedom legislation next year. There is a strong appetite for religious liberty in this state, and CWA of Georgia will continue to work tirelessly until a broad-based religious protections bill is passed and signed by the governor.

lobby 1Defense of Family
STOPPED sign“Georgia Civil Rights in Public Accommodations Act”
Introduced by Rep. Rich Golick (R-Smyrna), HB 849 would have placed in state code the federal code that prohibits public accommodations discrimination. Taken at face value, this bill posed no dangers to Georgians. However, CWA of Georgia opposed HB 849 for several reasons. First, HB 849 was not necessary – public accommodation protections are already codified in 42 U.S.C. Section 2000a.

Second, HB 849 could have easily been amended to include “sexual orientation”. Data shows that of the 45 states that have embodied the federal code in their respective state code, 22 states now prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and 18 prohibit discrimination based on gender identity.

Third, HB 849 was amended in committee to include “sex.” Here was the danger in the amendment: the Obama administration has deemed “sex” an elastic term, and regards “gender” (how one feels) synonymous with “sex” (biology), and is aggressively embedding “gender” as a part of federal policy, including Title IX funding.  As recent as December 2015, a Chicago suburb high school must now allow a transgendered male to female student full access to female restrooms and locker rooms or risk losing Title IX funding.  Passing the bill could have had grave consequences for our public school students.

Lastly, CWA of Georgia opposes any real or potential Sexual Orientation Gender Identity nondiscrimination legislation, i.e., “bathroom bills”, which would allow transgendered men and women to utilize the bathrooms, showers and locker rooms of their choice.

Stopping HB 849 was a victory for the privacy and safety of women and children.

Gambling: Casinos and horse racing
STOPPED signThe efforts to expand predatory gambling via casinos and pari-mutuel wagering on horse racing were stopped for this year! The following bills were passed out of their respective committees but were not voted on by either the House or Senate.

  • HR 807, the proposed constitutional amendment for casino gambling and HB 677, the enabling legislation for HR 807.  Bill sponsor: Rep. Ron Stephens (R-Savannah).
  • SR 135, the proposed constitutional amendment to allow pari-mutuel wagering on horse racing and SB 264, the enabling legislation for SR 135. Bill sponsor: Sen. Brandon Beach (R-Alpharetta).

Stopping the gambling bills was a major victory, because any form of gambling is destructive and causes irreversible harm on individuals and families.

Marijuana:  In-state cultivation of marijuana
STOPPED signIntroduced by Rep. Allen Peake (R-Macon), HB 722 sought to permit in-state cultivation of marijuana for the purpose of extracting cannabis oil for medicinal purposes. The bill would have also expanded the medical conditions eligible for medical marijuana (cannabis oil). HB 722 passed the House but died in the Senate.

CWA of Georgia opposed HB 722 because it would have brought Georgia one step closer to the outright legalization of recreational marijuana.

Education
Textbook transparency

Introduced by Rep. Kevin Tanner (R-Dawsonville), HB 739  provides for an open and transparent approval process for state and local instructional materials and content. The bill also requires school districts to post online the textbooks that are currently be used in their schools. HB 739 passed the legislature and is awaiting the governor’s signature. CWA of Georgia supported this bill.

Digital Learning Platform transparency bill
Sponsored by Sen. William Ligon (R-Brunswick), SB 281 would require schools to notify parents prior to using any digital learning platform. The bill was tabled in the Senate Education and Youth Committee. CWA of Georgia supported this bill.

You can review all the bills that CWA of Georgia tracked this year by clicking here.

Encourage-A-Legislator Prayer Project
This was CWA of Georgia’s thirteenth year to pray for and send note cards of encouragement to state legislators. Scripture commands us in I Timothy 2:2 to pray for “kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness,” and over 60 volunteers did just that!  These volunteers prayed and encouraged 100 state legislators during the 40-day session. 

So what lies ahead in 2016?
One doesn’t need to look far to see that powerful forces are at work to destroy not only our state and nation, but our culture, our families and our way of life. But even in these unsettling times, God had promised restoration to that nation whose people will humble themselves and pray.

In the midst of attacks on our faith, it is easy for people of faith to retreat and to simply close their hearts and minds to the madness happening all around them.

But we can do the opposite! Instead of retreating and closing off the world, CWA of Georgia is boldly moving forward in strength and confidence, seeking God’s face and calling on Him to reset our state…as we work to restore our foundational stones. CWA CEO and President Penny Nance said this, “During this time in our country’s history – with the cultural battle raging around us – it’s never been more important that the voice of conservative women be heard – loud and clear.”

Get involved with CWA of Georgia
Psalm 11:3 says “When the foundations are being destroyed what can the righteous do?” If you are interested in becoming a leader who thinks big and would like to be where the action is, we have a place for you!  Click here for exciting CWA opportunities.

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Religious Liberty Bill Heads to Governor Who May Not Sign It

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Calls and/or e-mails needed immediately!

HB 757, the “Free Exercise Protection Act” passed both the House and Senate on Wednesday, March 16, 2016, and is now on the way to Gov. Nathan Deal for his signature. HB 757 was a compromise bill between the House and Senate that provides broad-based religious protections for all Georgians. We are not assured that Gov. Deal will sign the bill so it critical that calls are made to him immediately.
Contact Gov. Deal and urge him to sign HB 757.

Phone: 404-656-1776 | E-mail

Pray that Gov. Deal will be God fearing and recognize that he is accountable to Him for each decision and act. “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding.”
Proverbs 9:10.

Urgent! Gov. Nathan Deal sides with global corporate giants and against religious liberty.

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Malachi 3:6 “For I, the LORD, do not change…”

Gov. Nathan Deal has aligned himself with global corporate giants, such as Coca Cola, Home Depot, Delta Airlines and against people of faith in Georgia. Just last week Gov. Deal went public on how he feels about the religious freedom bill pending in the Georgia legislature. Here is one of the Governor’s comments, “I hope that we can all just take a deep breath, recognize that the world is changing around us, and recognize that it is important that we protect fundamental religious beliefs,” he said. “But we don’t have to discriminate against other people in order to do that. And that’s the compromise that I’m looking for.”

What Gov. Deal fails to understand is that the Word of God does not change no matter what the culture declares as “truth.” Jesus said this of marriage, “And He answered and said to them, ‘Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning “made them male and female,” and said, “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh”? So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.'” Matthew 19:4-6

Scripture tells us in Hebrews 13:8, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” Isaiah 40:8 testifies to the unchanging word of God, “The grass withers, the flower fades, But the word of our God stands forever.”

Mike Griffin, Public Affairs Representative with the Georgia Baptist Mission Board said this in response to Gov. Deal’s comments, “Christians and other people of faith love and serve any and all customers without discrimination, but should not be forced to promote or participate in behavior that conflicts with their religious faith.”

CWA of Georgia continues to support HB 757 (First Amendment Defense Act) as passed in the Senate, and calls on the Governor and Speaker to put their support behind the bill as well. Individuals, non-profits and businesses need First Amendment Defense Act (FADA) protections and should not be targeted or penalized for speaking and acting on the foundational religious belief that marriage is solely for one man and one woman.

Time is running out. With the legislative session ending on March 24, it is imperative that calls and e-mails be made NOW to Gov. Nathan Deal, Speaker David Ralston and your state representative.  Urge them to support HB 757 (First Amendment Defense Act) as passed in the Senate. If you have already contacted their offices, please contact them again. They are obviously not listening.

Gov. Nathan Deal
Phone: 404-656-1776 | E-mail

Speaker David Ralston
Phone: 404-656-5020 |E-mail

Click here to find your state representative.

Georgia Religious Freedom Bills – Calls Needed!

By | Georgia | No Comments

2016 has turned into the year of religious freedom legislation. To date, a total of nine bills dealing with religious freedom have been filed.  While other religious freedom bills have merit, CWA of Georgia is supporting two bills we feel provide the most broad-based religious protections this year. We will not compromise. We want to see religious protections for all Georgians.

HB 837 “Religious Freedom Restoration Act” (RFRA) This bill replaces SB 129.
Rep. Ed Seztler (R-Acworth) is the bill sponsor of HB 837. Rep. Setzler says this of his bill, “HB-837 takes a balanced, time-tested approach to protecting the right of religious expression.  By simply referencing federal law (42 USC 2000, Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993), HB-837 ensures that Georgians have the same level of protection of their religious rights as do citizens of Washington, D.C., federal military bases, and inmates in our federal and state prisons.” 

Status
HB 837 has been assigned to the House Judiciary Committee but has not been given a date for a hearing.

Take Action
Contact both Speaker David Ralston (404-656-5020) and Chairman Wendell Willard (404-656-5125404-656-5125) today and urge them to allow HB 837 to be placed on the committee calendar today.

SB 284 “First Amendment Defense Act” (FADA)
Why we need to pass SB 284
The number one, immediate priority is to protect the religious freedom of those who will continue to regard marriage as only the union between one man and one woman, according to the Word of God. The state-level First Amendment Defense Act (FADA) has been introduced to clarify and strengthen religious liberty protections in state law and to safeguard from government retaliation against those individuals and institutions that promote traditional marriage.

FADA would prevent the state government from denying a tax exemption, grant, contract, license, or certification to an individual, organization, or business just because of their beliefs on traditional marriage.

Take Action
Contact Gov. Nathan Deal (404-656-1776404-656-1776) and Lt. Governor Casey Cagle (404-656-5030404-656-5030) and urge them to bring SB 284 to a floor vote.