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religious liberty Archives – Concerned Women for America

Defining Reality

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

Who defines what is? It’s a strange question. Most people would struggle to even grasp the question at first. The point is reality. Who defines it? The Founding Fathers had a beautiful way of describing things that are “self-evident.” All men are created equal. Says who?

 

Reality says—truth. But the truth is under assault in our day and age. The Founders embraced a Judeo-Christian worldview precisely because it best describes (helps explain) the reality of the human heart and experience. It is self-evident that babies are born male or female. We can observe it and know that it is true. When we look at Scripture, we get insight into that observable reality. “So God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.” (Genesis 1:27)

 

Science, of course, confirms it, as science is based on scientific observations. Our biological makeup, physical, chemical, and psychological, bears witness to that reality. As scientific advancement gives us more information about DNA and XY chromosomes, we only gain more evidence of what is a well-established fact.

 

But from the beginning, the garden’s serpent came to question what was. “Did God actually say?” was its attack then. It still is today. We must realize that this is the battle, in politics, the culture, the church, within your very soul! We either hold on to reality or succumb to the enemy’s manipulations.

 

Redefining reality does not change it. A man is not a woman because he believes he is a woman. He does not become a woman if everyone else around him goes along with it. He and those going along with it are living a lie and lies will always conflict with reality. You may believe you are the man of steel, but you step in front of a bullet at your peril…

Click here to read the rest of Mario’s exclusive Substack column. And be sure to subscribe below to never miss one of his posts again!

 

No Freedom Without Prayer

By | Case Vault, Legal, News and Events, SCOTUS | No Comments

We are a nation born of the radical idea that “all men are created equal” and “endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights.” That is why liberty and freedom flourished in our nation against all odds. That fundamental appeal to the authority of our Creator, above and beyond earthly governments, levels the playing field among selfish human interests.

 

It is a plea to a higher authority above raw human power, and it necessarily affirms every person’s intrinsic, equal value. It stands squarely against the inevitable attempts of our broken nature to establish one class of individuals above another. These attempts have existed throughout time. They were undoubtedly palpable at the nation’s founding. We still have them today. And they will continue.

 

Eternal vigilance is a prerequisite for sustained freedom in this world.

 

The recent religious liberty win in Kennedy v. Bremerton School District is an excellent example of the efforts needed to preserve liberty in America in the coming years. Increased hostility toward Christ and His teachings is leading our culture to some bizarre conclusions that will devastate our future if they are allowed to take root.

 

At the same time that our culture insists on promoting the early sexualization of our children in schools, with drag queens promoted as the best role models, here, in this case, a Christian coach had to fight all the way to the Supreme Court to defend his unalienable right to pray silently after school football games. He is apparently not the type of role model our kids need.

 

Drag queens, fantastic role models; humble, praying, Christian coaches, horrible-no-good-intolerable role models, according to today’s woke school officials.

 

Like Justice Neil Gorsuch, writing for the majority to uphold Coach Kennedy’s First Amendment rights, pointed out, in the system’s view, “the only acceptable government role models for students are those who eschew any visible religious expression.”

 

Thankfully, the United States Supreme Court has stopped the targeting of our Christian faith for now. However, the attitude that persisted in this injustice for almost seven years against Coach Kennedy still dominates our public educational institutions. And our federal courts, let’s not forget that. The targeting of Coach Kennedy was approved by both the district and the appellate courts.

 

We have so distorted the Constitution throughout the years that public officials actually believed, and again, the lower courts went right along, “not only that it may prohibit teachers from engaging in any demonstrative religious activity, but that it must do so in order to conform to the Constitution.”

 

This is, of course, absurd given our nation’s founding, but anti-Christian forces have used the so-called “separation of church and state” extra-constitutional mantra so often for so long that this misconception of the First Amendment in schools is widespread. Here the Court helps clarify that this misunderstanding of law cannot shield school officials from their intolerant practices. “[T]he only meaningful justification the government offered for its reprisal rested on a mistaken view that it had a duty to ferret out and suppress religious observances even as it allows comparable secular speech,” the Court wrote. “The Constitution neither mandates nor tolerates that kind of discrimination.”

 

Religious speech is speech. It should be afforded all the constitutional protections traditionally applied to any other speech. Instead, for years, it has been particularly targeted because it is religious. This boggles the mind when one considers that, if anything, religious expressions were singled out in the Constitution as perhaps worthy of heightened protection. As the Court wrote:

 

In the name of protecting religious liberty, the District would have us suppress it. Rather than respect the First Amendment’s double protection for religious expression, it would have us preference secular activity. Not only could schools fire teachers for praying quietly over their lunch, for wearing a yarmulke to school, or for offering a midday prayer during a break before practice. Under the District’s rule, a school would be required to do so.

 

That double protection the Court references was also a crucial part of the opinion because, for years, some have tried to pit the free exercise and the establishment clause against each other, but instead, “the Clauses have ‘complimentary’ purposes, not warring ones where one Clause is always sure to prevail over the others.”

 

The school district here thought it needed to choose between the two. The Court explained: “[T]the District effectively created its own ‘vise between the Establishment Clause on one side and the Free Speech and Free Exercise Clauses on the other,’ placed itself in the middle, and then chose its preferred way out of its self-imposed trap.”

 

The school officials were simply mistaken, as they are so often. “And in no world may a government entity’s concerns about phantom constitutional violations justify actual violations of an individual’s First Amendment rights.” This should have been apparent, especially for the judges reviewing the cases. “We are aware of no historically sound understanding of the Establishment Clause that begins to ‘mak[e] it necessary for government to be hostile to religion’ in this way,” the Court wrote. There is none. The courts below did not cite one either.

 

Instead, they relied on the infamous Lemon test, which “called for an examination of a law’s purposes, effects, and potential for entanglement with religion.” The test has long been criticized for fundamentally distorting the original meaning of the First Amendment.

 

Concerned Women for America (CWA) has long joined that chorus of criticism, asking the Court to abandon it. As the Court held, “the ‘shortcomings’ associated with this ‘ambitiou[s],’ abstract, and ahistorical approach to the Establishment Clause became so ‘apparent’ that this Court long ago abandoned Lemon and its endorsement test offshoot.”

 

Lemon is dead. Justice Gorsuch’s straightforward treatment leaves no doubt for lower courts. “In place of Lemon and the endorsement test, this Court has instructed that the Establishment Clause must be interpreted by ‘reference to historical practices and understandings.'”

 

Under that standard, it is clear that “in this case Mr. Kennedy’s private religious exercise did not come close to crossing any line one might imagine separating protected private expression from impermissible government coercion.”

 

Of course, some will still find offense at any public expression of faith—especially the Christian faith. But “[o]ffense. . . does not equate to coercion,” and the Court puts that “hecklers veto” to rest masterfully.

 

Naturally, Mr. Kennedy’s proposal to pray quietly by himself on the field would have meant some people would have seen his religious exercise. Those close at hand might have heard him too. But learning how to tolerate speech or prayer of all kinds is “part of learning how to live in a pluralistic society,” a trait of character essential to “a tolerant citizenry.”

 

Ordinarily, the Court would spend some time describing the different standards of review, but this case was so clear that the Court said, “it does not matter which standard we apply. The District cannot sustain its burden under any of them.”

 

This is a strong opinion that we hope can help lower courts and even school officials better understand the constitutional burdens they bear when dealing with sincere religious exercises going forward. They would be wise to train their instincts towards accommodation.

 

As the Court concluded, “Respect for religious expressions is indispensable to life in a free and diverse Republic—whether those expressions take place in a sanctuary or on a field, and whether they manifest through the spoken word or a bowed head.” Well said.

First Amendment Wins Again

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 27, 2022
Contact: Katie Everett, Press Secretary
keverett@cwfa.org
571-420-2488

 

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today’s U.S. Supreme Court’s 6-3 ruling in Kennedy v. Bremerton School District, which found Coach Joe Kennedy’s constitutional rights had been violated by the school district when he was fired for praying with students after football games, was a victory for the First Amendment of the Constitution.

 

“Americans of faith who believe in the country’s founding principles of liberty are rejoicing once again that the highest court in the land has reinforced the First Amendment that grants freedom of religion and freedom of speech,” said Penny Nance, CEO and President of Concerned Women for America, the nation’s largest grassroots women’s organization in the country. “Both of these were at risk in this case.

“Government-run schools have tried to shut down people of faith for decades. This is one step back in the right direction to understand that Americans with deeply held religious beliefs cannot be banned from the public square.”

Faith Month Initiative Launched in the Nation’s Capital

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For Immediate Release
April 5, 2022
Contact: Katie Everett, Press Secretary
keverett@cwfa.org
571-420-2488

Sen. Hyde-Smith and Rep. Miller Submit Proclamation into the Record

Washington, D.C. –  Concerned Women for America Legislative Action Committee (CWALAC) launched a nationwide initiative to declare April as “Faith Month” and an opportunity to honor the religious heritage of millions of Americans. Joining in this effort are Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Mississippi) and Rep. Mary Miller (R-Illinois), who entered a proclamation into the official congressional record (here and here) to declare April as “Faith Month.” Rep. Miller also gave a floor speech in support of CWALAC’s initiative.

More than 70% of Americans consider themselves religiously affiliated, according to Pew Research, and the overwhelming majority are of the Christian faith. Many months are set aside to honor the heritage and important contributions of other groups. With so many Americans identified as religious, setting aside a month to honor them is an important movement. 

Along with calling on lawmakers at the federal and state level to recognize April as Faith Month, CWALAC is encouraging all Americans of faith across the country to fly or display the Christian flag during the month.

“We are proud of our faith, of our Judeo-Christian heritage, and are calling on Americans to show their support,” said Penny Nance, President and CEO of Concerned Women for America.  “April is the month when millions will be celebrating the holiest time of the year through Holy Week, Easter, and Passover, and it is an opportune time to show how important our faith is to our daily lives.

“We especially thank Sen. Hyde-Smith and Rep. Miller for being the first to stand with us!”

Numerous groups are recognized for a month to celebrate their heritage. For instance, June is designated Gay Pride Month, which results in the rainbow flag being flown in many places, including over U.S. embassies and on our government buildings.

The country’s founding documents and laws are based on moral principles that came from the Bible. All U.S. presidents, from George Washington to Joe Biden, have acknowledged America’s faith and our many blessings from God.

In Matthew 5:16, Jesus encouraged his followers to “[L]et your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.”  By making our faith known to others, flying the flag of our faith, we are committed to following those words. 

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Concerned Women for America is the Nation’s largest public policy organization for women; we are dedicated to promoting Biblical values and Constitutional principles. More information is available at ConcernedWomen.org

The State of Religious Liberty Across Our Nation

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Concerned Women for America (CWA) Vice President of International Affairs Neydy Casillas will be featured on an important discussion of religious liberty, alongside a distinguished group of panelists including, CWA favorite, Ambassador Sam Brownback, who served as U.S. Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom from February 2018 to January 2021.

The panel will discuss the current state of religious liberty across our nation, the challenges, and the opportunities to ensure the constitutional right of every citizen to live their faith in the public square.

Click here to register. Details below:

 

CWA Stands for Religious Freedom and the Christian Flag at the Supreme Court

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Today, Concerned Women for America (CWA) was proud to stand for the Christian principles of our founding in an important First Amendment case before the United States Supreme Court. Annabelle Rutledge, National Director of CWA’s Young Women for America program, delivered an impassioned speech (below) in front of the Court as they heard oral arguments in Shurtleff v. Boston.

 

Statement by Annabelle Rutledge
National Director
Concerned Women for America’s Young Women for America
Delivered January 13, 2022, at the United States Supreme Court
Shurtleff v. Boston Oral Arguments Rally

Good morning everyone

My name is Annabelle Rutledge from Concerned Women for America, the largest public policy organization for women in the nation. I serve as the national director of CWA’s Young Women for America project, which is training the next generation of young women on the Christian and constitutional principles that are the foundation of our liberties and freedoms.

I stand here on behalf of hundreds of thousands of women who want to see an end to the pernicious hostility towards religion that has become all too common in our day and age. If we are being honest, the hostility we see in many cases is directed specifically at Christians.

Many Americans fail to realize that the very foundations of the liberties they enjoy sprout out of Biblical soil. Therefore, in attacking religion as a whole, and Christianity more specifically, they work against their own interests, against their own liberty.

This case is a prime example that sometimes the loudest voices crying for diversity and tolerance are the most intolerant of diversity when that diversity is also inclusive of people of faith with whom they disagree.

The City of Boston has a worthy goal for its flagpole policy in its city hall plaza. The city explained that it wants “to create an environment in the City where everyone feels included and is treated with respect.” Except that “everyone,” according to the City of Boston, does not include Christians—we are apparently the right kind of people to exclude.

The city’s website further explains their policy this way, “We also want to raise awareness in Greater Boston and beyond about the many countries and cultures around the world. Our goal is to foster diversity and build and strengthen connections among Boston’s many communities.”

Accordingly, LGBTQ+ communities are loudly celebrated, their flag displayed with pride, no pun intended. Likewise, flags with Muslim themes from countries other than our own are welcomed with open arms. “Yay, diversity!”

But the flag that represents the faith of the very people who founded the City of Boston (the Puritans) that flag is just not welcomed. For Boston, diversity stops at Christianity’s doorsteps.

Needless to say, this nonsensical policy stands in clear violation of the First Amendment to our Constitution, which states plainly, as applied to the states, that the city “shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof….” In targeting religious speech and somehow saying it is unworthy of the same protections afforded other types of speech, the city violates the most basic principles of justice and fairness, not to mention the essence of our First Amendment.

As we pointed out in our brief before the Court, the city’s attempt to differentiate between religious organizations and civic organizations fails to recognize the nature of our faith. By their very nature, religious organizations are civic organizations. Our concern for the poor and needy, for the weak and oppressed, and for justice and righteousness cannot be contained to the four walls of a building. Call that building a church or call it what you want.

Our faith is a living faith. We are called to go and love our neighbors. We cannot do otherwise.

That faith gave birth to many of the freedoms we enjoy. The faith that is at the root of the City of Boston, whose very city flag contains its motto in Latin words that read, “God be with us as he was with our fathers.”

Fitting, since from the founding of our country, churches have been the most important civic institution, bringing incredible progress. It is why the Northwest Ordinance of 1787 declared that “religion, morality, and knowledge [were] necessary to good government.”

The words of John Adams also stand as a similar reminder when he said that “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”

Religion and faith are not only compatible with our Constitution; they are indispensable to its proper understanding.

We are confident the Supreme Court understands this, and we expect a unanimous Court to send a clear message by striking down this unconstitutional policy.

Thank you.

Click here for a PDF version of the statement.

Penny Nance Speaks to 15,000 College Students at Liberty University

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Concerned Women for America’s CEO and President, Penny Nance, spoke at Liberty University’s convocation last Friday to over 15,000 college students in-person with even more watching online.

Nance led a panel entitled Women of Faith in Leadership that featured herself, Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler (R-Missouri), Carrie Sheffield, and Young Women for America National Director Annabelle Rutledge. The focus was to encourage students to vote their values, lean in on national issues, and to become informed citizens.

You can watch the full panel below and read more from Liberty University here.

 

Liberty University Convocation featuring Penny Nance and Women of Faith in Leadership Panel from Concerned Women for America on Vimeo.

SCOTUS Strikes Down Philadelphia’s Anti-Christian Policy

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Catholic Social Services (CSS) has been serving the underprivileged children of Philadelphia for over two centuries. The organization serves children through adoption and foster care services as an outpouring of the love embodied in the tenets of the Christian faith.

This is a problem for the Left.

Today’s secular humanist Left is adamant about crushing dissenting views. All people and organizations that refuse to publicly affirm support for LGBTQIA+ desires must be “canceled”—ostracized, isolated, punished, re-educated. Christians, in particular, are a nuisance. They continue to believe in Creation as told in Scripture. They believe every person has intrinsic value as created in the image of God (Genesis 1:27). That’s why they just will not shut up about the injustice of abortion.

Christians insist that God created us male and female (Genesis 1:27, Matthew 19:4) and that God instituted marriage and the family as a foundational institution (Genesis 2:24) that reflects the most sacred relationship between Christ and His Bride, the Church (Ephesians 5:31,32). They dare to promote that children honor both their mother and father (Exodus 20:12, Ephesians 6:2). They insist on loving God above all and neighbors as themselves (Mark 12:30,31). They even believe their help of the poor is akin to serving Christ himself (Matthew 25:40).

This is intolerable. Well, it’s been tolerable for 200 years, but no more. When the Liberal Elites got wind (through a newspaper report) that CSS would not certify same-sex couples to be foster parents due to its religious convictions, they decided to kick them off the state’s programs designed to help needy children. …

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Celebrating at the Supreme Court

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A historic win for religious liberty at the United States Supreme Court today in Fulton v. Philadelphia! And you know who was the only group present at the Supreme Court to celebrate this landmark decision? That’s right, Concerned Women for America (CWA) was there to be your voice and provide some much-needed context for the media. Which is why you will see CWA pictures featured in news accounts across the wires. 

Check out our Facebook Live here. 

Check out our video below celebrating the decision at the Supreme Court.

 

 

 

For America (Day 122)

By | News and Events, Prayer | No Comments

Precious God, we cry to You all day long,
In the morning we praise Your name,
Giving thanks for Your works,
For Your mercies, which are new every day.

Midday we look to You to be our strength, Lord,
Our refuge, shelter, comfort and wonderful counselor.
That You may increase, and we decrease, we pray,
That we may not be wise in our own understanding, but trust in You.

At night, we meditate on Your Word and rest in You,
Praying, once again, Your glory over our lives and our country.
We are unto our enemy, disguised as he may be,
He will not have a foothold among us.

For You are present amongst Your people, Your body, Your church,
And we stand in awe of Your protection over us.
Therefore, we will not fear, though darkness may seem to increase around us,
We will move in faith, confident of Your wisdom, goodness and Sovereignty over all.

Help us to endure in the time of trouble,
Give us courage to withstand the world’s ridicule, harassment,
Even persecution, Lord; be not far from us,
Permit us to keep a proper perspective.

We pray for those in authority,
Many in very difficult settings,
Surrounded by wolves, seeking to
Kill, steal, and destroy.

Let Your Word be close to them,
Be their strength from day to day,
Hasten to help them and save them.
Answer their prayers and comfort them.

But help us to be helpful and engaged,
Increase our determination and endurance.
Increase our faith and our trust in Your plans,
Even when it is difficult to see.

Let our praise be forever on our lips,
Let our charity be forever increasing,
Help us to spread the hope and joy of Your salvation,
Throughout the four corners of the world.

In Jesus name, we pray,
Amen.

Penny on CBN: Church is Essential

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Penny Nance, CEO and President of Concerned Women for America, discussed on CBN’s Faith Nation the CDC guidelines on churches. Penny had this to say: “We recognize that there is a First Amendment right for us to practice our faith. And beyond that, church is essential. It’s essential to our spiritual health. It’s essential to our mental health.”

To view Penny’s interview, start at 9:20 mark.

CWALAC Letter Opposes Becerra for HHS

By | Legal, Legislative Updates, News and Events | No Comments

Concerned Women for America Legislative Action Committee (CWALAC) submitted a letter to the U.S. Senate opposing the nomination of Xavier Becerra to be Secretary of Health and Human Services. The letter concludes:

Gen. Becerra is a prosecutor and activist with no experience in the healthcare industry, no respect for the conscience rights of American citizens, and no compassion for the lives of the most vulnerable. CWALAC urges all Senators to oppose Xavier Becerra’s nomination to be Secretary of HHS. He is simply the wrong choice for this important position.

Read CWALAC’s full letter here.

Click here to read our general counsel Mario Diaz’ op-ed on the nomination as feature on The Stream.


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The Federalist: Biden’s DOJ Appointees Plan To Persecute Nuns, Police, And Female Athletes

By | Legal, News and Events, Religious Liberty, Sanctity of Life | No Comments

Judge Merrick Garland, President Joe Biden’s choice for U.S. attorney general, confirmed his focus on “ensuring racial equity” and “meeting the evolving threat of violent extremism” at his confirmation hearings last week.

“If confirmed, I will supervise the prosecution of white supremacists and others who stormed the Capitol,” he said in his opening statements, calling the events on Jan. 6, “a heinous attack that sought to disrupt a cornerstone of our democracy: the peaceful transfer of power to a newly elected government.”

Combined with other nominations being put in motion, the statements indicate we may be going back to the days of extraordinary politicization of the Department of Justice (DOJ) and other administrative agencies to go after Democrats’ enemies.

Click here to read the rest of this op-ed as featured in The Federalist.


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Penny on CBN: Religious Freedom at Stake

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Penny Nance, CEO and President of Concerned Women for America discussed Kristen Clarke, President Joe Biden’s nominee to lead the DOJ’s Civil Rights Division. Clarke is set to face a contentious nomination in the U.S. Senate next week. Penny had this to say when asked about the nominee, “People of faith should be very concerned about possible persecution under the kind of people that Joe Biden is appointing.”

Watch Penny’s interview.


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Rejecting the Idolatry of Safety with Faith and Faithfulness

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

As in the time of Babylon, there are those in power today who, like King Nebuchadnezzar, demand we bow down to an image. It is not a golden image, to be sure, but it is an image, nonetheless. It is the image of safety—the image of security.

The two weeks to stop the spread of COVID-19 has turned into an indefinite violation of our civil liberties. White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki recently said that “Even after you’re vaccinated, social distancing, wearing masks are going to be essential.”

“Essential” is a crucial word. You see, for the government, wearing a mask and social distancing is essential to public health, but faith is not. Despite mountains of evidence showing how important the church community is, they insist on unconstitutionally limiting the free exercise of religion.

Friday night, the United States Supreme Court issued an injunction on California’s draconian restrictions on indoor activities for houses of worship, affirming the churches challenging the restrictions are likely to prevail on the merits of the case. That means that the restrictions are likely to be found in violation of the First Amendment.

This is good news, but it was not enough. The Court denied the appeal for an injunction “with respect to the percentage capacity limitations,” and “with respect to the prohibition on singing and chanting during indoor services.”

At least two justices recognized that those are likely also to be violations of our religious liberties. Justices Clarence Thomas and Neil Gorsuch would have granted the injunction in full. Justice Samuel Alito also would have gone a lot further, giving the state 30 days to prove that “nothing short of those measures will reduce the community spread of COVID–19 at indoor religious gatherings to the same extent as do the restrictions the State enforces with respect to other activities it classifies as essential.”

Chief Justice Roberts concurred that “the State’s present determination—that the maximum number of adherents who can safely worship in the most cavernous cathedral is zero—appears to reflect not expertise or discretion, but instead insufficient appreciation or consideration of the interests at stake.” But he also unexplainably concluded, “that singing indoors poses a heightened risk of transmitting COVID–19.” The evidence of this does not come even close to withstand judicial review.

Justices Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barret said the record was insufficient to make such a determination on singing, saying, “[I]f a chorister can sing in a Hollywood studio but not in her church, California’s regulations cannot be viewed as neutral,” which, of course, is precisely what the government has done time and again.

Black Lives Matter riots, good; religious gatherings, bad. Thanksgiving dinner for regular folk, really bad, but indoor dinner for liberal elites, completely fine. You get the picture.

When the government is trying to impose its power, there are always those who will point to the Christians and chastise them for not bowing down to the image of the age. In the times of King Nebuchadnezzar, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego defied the edict to bow down to the golden image, and they were brought before the king to be thrown into the fiery furnace.

Such is the case today. Churches are being forced all the way to the Supreme Court to fight for their religious freedoms. They ought to have a lot more support from the American public as a whole. They ought to have overwhelming support from the body of Christ— the Church at large.

But the threat of the fiery furnace is compelling to those who have their eyes set on the things of the world. Cancel culture today is an incredible incentive to comply with the Spirit of the Age.

We should learn from Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego and stand against it. Remember what they told King Nebuchadnezzar as they were about to be “canceled” by the fiery furnace? “O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. If this be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us out of your hand, O king. But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up” (Daniel 3:16-18).

Faith and faithfulness, that is how they pushed back against the evil in their time. Faith that God can and would deliver them from the hands of evildoers, but also the faithfulness to say, “even if He doesn’t, we will not bow down.”

That is exactly how we must fight today. We must be courageous in the face of evil. Trusting God and remaining faithful until the end.

Fulton v. Philadelphia Argument Recap

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The Supreme Court heard oral arguments in an important religious liberty case this week, Fulton v. City of Philadelphia. Sharonell Fulton and other foster parents who work with Catholic Social Services (whose work goes back 200 years in the city) brought suit after the City of Philadelphia tried to kick them out of the foster care and adoption arena because of their faith.

The city wants to force them to violate their faith and place children with same-sex couples. Concerned Women for America submitted a brief in support of the foster parent’s religious liberty.

This should be a simple case. The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution prohibits any law prohibiting the free exercise of religion. That is exactly what the city is doing here in trying to prevent Catholic Social Services from serving the poor and needy in the way they have done for centuries.

Lori Windham, of the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, who represented the foster parents put it succinctly for the justices. “The City has no compelling reason for excluding Catholic Social Services, which has exercised its faith by serving at-risk children in Philadelphia for two centuries,” she said in her opening presentation.

The real motivation behind this law, a blatant attack on Christians, was exposed in Court as Justice Samuel Alito asked a simple question: “How many same-sex couples in Philadelphia have been denied the opportunity to be foster parents as a result of Catholic Social Services’ policy?”

To which Ms. Windham responded, “Zero. In fact, Justice Alito, none have even approached Catholic Social Services asking for this approval and endorsement.”

Still, the liberal justices wanted to see a big problem here, suggesting, as they always do, that the situation is akin to Catholic Social Services discriminating against African Americans. But both, Ms. Windham for the foster parents and the federal government who also presented arguments in their support were careful to bring back the issue to what was really before them. “What the City’s trying to do here is tell religious groups who have been doing this prior to when the City got involved, ‘We’re going to exclude you; you can no longer carry out this work unless you take actions that are contrary to your faith.’”

Ms. Windham concluded saying, “In our pluralistic society, a properly functioning Free Exercise Clause is supposed to prevent this kind of unnecessary and harmful conflict. There are children in need of loving homes waiting for them. Neither Philadelphia nor [precedent] should stand in the way.”

Deputy Assistant Attorney General Hashim Mooppan also presented in support of religious liberty on behalf of the United States. He took the argument from where Ms. Windham left off. “Philadelphia has not afforded Catholic Social Services the tolerance of religious practice that is required by the Free Exercise Clause and vital to our pluralistic nation,” he said.

He was strong also in responding to the liberal justices’ contention that this requirement was neutral and did not target faith specifically. He highlighted that the city indeed made many exceptions to their supposed rule, including in law. “[U]nder 55 Pennsylvania Code 3700.64,” he highlighted, “the City requires agencies to consider both familial status and disability in certifying foster children — foster parents. The City has tolerated racial and ethnic-based outreach to — for foster parents. And then the City itself considers race and disability when placing children.”

But now, when it comes to taking into account faith, they want to bully Christian agencies to violate their deeply held beliefs to accommodate the city’s desired preferences.

Radical liberal attorney Neal Katyal represented the City of Philadelphia and tried to persuade the Court that they extended those exemptions at a different stage and so that made it different. It was not persuasive. Justice Alito, again, got to the heart of the matter: “[I]f we are honest about what’s really going on here, it’s not about ensuring that same-sex couples in Philadelphia have the opportunity to be foster parents. It’s the fact that the City can’t stand the message that Catholic Social Services and the Archdiocese are sending by continuing to adhere to the old-fashioned view about marriage. Isn’t that the case?”

Katyal, of course, denied it and tried to deflect to another matter.

The new member of the Court, Justice Amy Coney Barrett, also asked important questions about the ramifications of the government’s actions in this case. She asked Mr. Katyal:

[L]et’s imagine that the state takes over all hospitals and says from now on, you know, we are going to be responsible for hospitals, but we will contract with private entities to actually run them. And so there’s a Catholic hospital and gets a contract with the City to run it. In fact, it’s a Catholic hospital that’s in existence before the state adopts this policy. And its contract with the state provides that there are — in the contract the state gives everyone is that you can get some exceptions for some medical procedures, but every hospital has to perform abortions.

The deflection continued. Justice Barret made an important point because as the size of government continues to grow, this sort of anti-religious bullying will only expand to more and more areas. Justice Alito, later on talked about homeless shelters, and one could think of any number of other spaces.

The city’s position is not only that people of faith cannot get government funding to serve the poor in those cases, but that they couldn’t operate at all.

Thankfully, the oral arguments show their position is likely to be rejected by a majority of the Court.

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

By | Blog, Education, LBB, News and Events, Press Releases, Religious Liberty, SCOTUS | No Comments

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.”

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

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

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.