Tag Archives: Religious Liberty

Canadian court rules that Christian university cannot uphold Christian moral values

Canada Election 2015: Socialists in red, Communists in Orange, Conservatives in blue
Canada Election 2015: Socialists in red, Communists in Orange, Conservatives in blue

This article about religious liberty in Canada is from Vancouver Sun. (H/T Glenn)

Excerpt:

Ontario’s top court has dismissed an appeal from a private Christian university that forbids sexual intimacy outside heterosexual marriage, denying its proposed law school accreditation in the province.

The ruling from the Ontario Court of Appeal on Wednesday dealt a significant blow to Trinity Western University in a legal battle which pitted freedom of religion against equality rights.

A panel of three appeal court judges found that while the university’s religious freedom had been infringed upon, the institution discriminated against the LGBTQ community.

Trinity Western — which is fighting similar cases at appeal courts in Nova Scotia and British Columbia — expressed disappointment at the ruling, saying it would be taking its fight to the Supreme Court of Canada.

The Ontario case saw the Evangelical Christian institution based in Langley go up against the Law Society of Upper Canada after the regulatory body voted not to accredit the university’s planned law facility.

At the heart of the dispute was Trinity Western’s “community covenant” or code of conduct, which all students are required to agree to.

The key point about the code of conduct is that it doesn’t discriminate against any particular group, e.g. – LGBT. It also forbids excessive drinking and premarital sex by heterosexuals:

It includes requiring students to abstain from gossip, obscene language, prejudice, harassment, lying, cheating, stealing, pornography, drunkenness and sexual intimacy “that violates the sacredness of marriage between a man and a woman.”

Now read this next part carefully. Although there was no legal support for denying a Christian university religious liberty and freedom of association, there was the hurt feelings of the LGBTQ community:

“The part of TWU’s Community Covenant in issue in this appeal is deeply discriminatory to the LGBTQ community, and it hurts,” the appeal court ruling said. “The LSUC’s decision not to accredit TWU was indeed a reasonable conclusion.”

In Canada “it hurts” means the end of human rights like religious liberty and freedom of association. Why? Because the Christian community in Canada has – for decades – voted to increase the size of government at the expense of liberty, in order to get free stuff. It doesn’t matter if the Christians who wanted a Christian university are hurt. Or that the Christian students at TWU are hurt. Only the hurt of the LGBT community matters, and their hurt changes laws, criminalizes dissent and annihilates natural rights. There are no such things as freedom of religion and freedom of conscience in Canada. There never was free speech, either. Anything that might hurt the feelings of left-wing groups has to be made criminal.

I’ll put this as plainly as anyone can: Canadian “Christians” have been voting to transfer wealth and power to a big secular government for years. They wanted government to cover health care, and now the government thinks that health care is providing free sex changes, free IVF and free abortions. Canadian “Christians” wanted their 30 pieces of silver more than they wanted the freedom to act as if the Bible was true in public. It turns out that the more wealth and power that you transfer to a secular government, the more likely they are to abuse that wealth and power in trampling out any ideology that interferes with their buying votes from their favored special interest groups.

Obama administration rejects “right of conscience” complaint from pro-life groups

Barack Obama speaking to Planned Parenthood
Barack Obama speaking to Planned Parenthood

This is from the radically leftist Los Angeles Times.

They write:

Thee Obama administration on Tuesday rejected a “right of conscience” complaint from anti-abortion groups in California who objected to the state’s requirement that health insurance plans include coverage for elective abortions.

The civil rights office at the Department of Health and Human Services said it had completed an investigation and dismissed several complaints after concluding California’s policy did not violate a decade-old rule adopted by Congress, known as the Weldon Amendment.

The office said the provision, which protects doctors, nurses, hospitals and other healthcare providers who object to performing abortions, does not extend to health insurance firms that have no moral objection to providing abortion coverage and instead are acting on the request of religious-minded customers.

The decision upholds a move by the California Department of Managed Care, which notified seven insurance providers in 2014 that state law does not allow them to offer coverage that limits or excludes abortions for some employers.  The issue arose when faculty members at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles and Santa Clara University objected to this limitation in their insurance plans.

So, the religious schools and institutions cannot have plans that exclude abortion, because the Obama administration does not recognize the right of religious organizations to refuse to fund abortion. But the Obama administration does recognize the obligation of pro-life taxpayers to continue to pay the salaries and benefits of their Democrat overlords. You must pay the taxes for government, you just don’t get a say in what government does.

Alliance Defending Freedom reacted to the decision so:

Lawyers for the Alliance Defending Freedom, which filed one of the complaints, denounced the HHS decision.

“The Obama administration is once again making a mockery of the law,” said Casey Mattox, senior legal counsel for the alliance. “The state of California has ordered every insurer, even those insuring churches, to cover elective abortions in blatant violation of the law. We will continue to defend churches from this clear violation of the 1st Amendment and federal law and call on Congress to hold HHS accountable.”

I know that sometimes people vote for bigger government because they want a handout taken from their neighbors. But money isn’t everything – some things are more important. Like not violating the consciences of Christians. Don’t make Christianity harder for Christians to practice.

Alliance Defending Freedom files brief to defend pro-marriage Wyoming judge

Gay activist vandalizes pro-marriage sign
Gay activist vandalizes pro-marriage sign

Although you might think that Wyoming is conservative, it’s actually quite socially liberal. Check out this story from The Stream.

It says:

A beloved judge in a whisper of a town in Wyoming faces being thrown off the bench for stating she wouldn’t be able to perform same-sex weddings due to her religious beliefs.

The Wyoming Commission on Judicial Conduct and Ethics is recommending the removal of Municipal Judge and Circuit Court Magistrate Ruth Neely. The Commission also wants her to pay up to $40,000 in fines.  This despite the fact Judge Neely is neither required to perform weddings, nor has even been asked to perform a same-sex wedding. Still, in the Commission’s view, by stating her commitment to natural marriage, she has “manifested a bias” and is permanently unfit to serve as a judge.

The troubles for Judge Neely of Pinedale, Wyoming (pop. 2030) began in 2014 after a Federal judge struck down Wyoming’s ban on same-sex marriage. When asked about the decision by a reporter for the local Pinedale Roundup, Judge Neely responded that she wouldn’t be able to perform a same-sex marriage. “When law and religion conflict, choices have to be made,” she said.

The Commission launched a formal investigation in 2015, and according to the Casper Star Tribune, accused Judge Neely of violating six rules of judicial conduct, including prejudice based on sexual orientation, acting improperly and refusing to uphold the rule of law.

According to a brief filed by her attorneys, the Commission first told Judge Neely it wouldn’t prosecute if she would agree to resign, admit wrongdoing and never again seek judicial office in Wyoming. Judge Neely refused.

Then this February, reports the Casper Star Tribune, the Commission told Judge Neely she could stay on the bench if she publicly apologized and agreed to perform same-sex marriages. The judge responded that doing so would violate her religious convictions.

The Commission then filed its recommendation to the Wyoming Supreme Court that Ruth Neely be ousted. According to the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, which today filed a brief on her behalf, “This would be the first time in the country that a judge was removed from office because of her religious beliefs about marriage.”

The heroic Alliance Defending Freedom has filed a brief in defense of the judge:

In a recently filed brief Judge Neely’s attorneys from the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) asked the state Supreme Court to reject the Commission’s recommendation. Among the points argued by the ADF:

  • The Commission’s actions violate Judge Neely’s constitutional rights to free speech and free exercise of religion.

  • Judge Neely has discretion when exercising her authority to perform marriages and could refuse to do so for any number of reasons.

  • Judge Neely has been suspended from her role as magistrate and is not currently performing any marriages.

  • Any question over her authority to perform marriages has no bearing on her ability to perform her duties as a municipal court judge, of which there is no accusation she has violated any judicial rules.

You would think that at least in Wyoming, that a Christian would be allowed to serve in public office, but actually no. If you are a Christian or a Torah-believing Jew, then you are not allowed to be a judge in Wyoming. It’s not a good place to live for conservatives.

Supreme Court vacates lower court ruling against religious liberty

Barack Obama speaking to Planned Parenthood
Barack Obama speaking to Planned Parenthood

Life News explained what was at stake in the “Little Sisters of the Poor” case decided yesterday by the Supreme Court:

The Little Sisters of the Poor are asking the nation’s highest court to ensure they do not have to comply with Obamacare’s abortion mandate. The mandate compels religious groups to pay for birth control and drugs that may cause abortions.

Without relief, the Little Sisters would face millions of dollars in IRS fines because they cannot comply with the government’s mandate that they give their employees free access to contraception, sterilization, and abortion-inducing drugs.

Religious liberty champion David French writes about the decision in National Review.

Excerpt:

First, the Supreme Court vacated the lower court ruling holding that the Little Sisters had to facilitate access to contraceptives and denied that the mandate substantially burdened their religion. Speaking as a person who’s argued a few cases in courts of appeal — when the court vacates the ruling you’re challenging, that’s a win.

Second, the Supreme Court provided a roadmap for an excellent resolution to the case…

[…]the Court suggested an accommodation that was far more respectful of the Little Sisters’ religious liberty than the challenged Obamacare regulations, and the government will now have extreme difficulty credibly arguing in lower courts that the Supreme Court’s own suggested compromise should be set aside.

Third, this ruling was unanimous. That means the DOJ should be far from confident that it can simply wait out the new presidential election and pursue its original claims with the same hope for success — especially if it spent the intervening years rejecting a compromise that it already seemed to accept.

Fourth, we can’t forget the context. This the second time a unanimous Supreme Court has turned back the Obama administration’s regulatory efforts to restrict religious freedom (Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church and School v. EEOC was the first), and it represents yet another setback for the administration’s contraception/abortifacient mandate. The Obama administration has pushed hard against religious liberty — on occasion too hard even for the Supreme Court’s more liberal justices.

The case will now go back to the lower courts again, but SCOTUS was clear on what they expect the ruling to be – a compromise that protects religious liberty and achieves the administration’s goal of providing contraception and abortifacient drugs. Unfortunately, that’s what a Democrat administration thinks is a priority.

It’s not a complete victory, but an 8-0 decision should be solid until Trump or Hillary packs the court with pro-abortion liberals. I expect either candidate will do that, since both candidates are “very pro-choice”, and both favor partial-birth abortion.

Which candidate will defend religious liberty as President: Trump or Cruz?

Gay activist vandalizes pro-marriage sign
Gay activist vandalizes pro-marriage sign

First, let’s see a story is from the Business Insider, about the latest attack on religious liberty. Then we’ll compare the candidates on religious liberty.

Excerpt:

An Illinois inn that refused to allow a same-sex couple hold their civil union ceremony on the property was fined more than $80,000 by the Illinois Human Rights Commission on Tuesday.

An administrative law judge with the commission ordered TimberCreek Bed & Breakfast to pay $15,000 each to Todd and Mark Wathen for emotional distress.

[…]TimberCreek, located about 100 miles south of Chicago, must also pay $50,000 in attorneys’ fees and $1,218.35 in costs.

“We are very happy that no other couple will have to experience what we experienced by being turned away and belittled and criticized for who we are,” Todd Wathen said in a statement.

Ah, yes. The “Human Rights Commissions” that only ever go after Christians and conservatives, never secularists and liberals. It’s now more important that gays not feel “belittled and criticized” than that Christians have their religious liberty respected. Christians must be forced by the government to act like non-Christians – that’s apparently the law. A law that many Christians voted for when they voted for Democrats.

OK, now let’s see what the presidential candidates think about the issue of gay rights vs religious liberty. Let’s start with Ted Cruz.

Ted Cruz

Pro-marriage activist Maggie Gallagher reports on what Ted Cruz said about the Georgia governor’s decision to side with gay rights over religious liberty:

Ted Cruz once again proved he has the courage to go up against the GOP establishment in the person of Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal, who sided with leftists, big business and Hollywood by claiming conscience protections for gay marriage dissenters are “discrimination”:

“I thought that was very disappointing to see Gov. Deal of Georgia side with leftist activists and side against religious liberty,” Cruz said. “It used to be, political parties, we would argue about marginal tax rates and you could have disagreements about what the level of taxation should be. But on religious liberty, on protecting the rights of every American to practice, live according to our faith, live according to our conscience, we all came together. That ought to be a bipartisan commitment and I was disappointed not to see Gov. Deal not defend religious liberty.”

Now will any reporters ask John Kasich, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump the same question?

No need to ask Hillary Clinton what she thinks, she been endorsed by the Human Rights Campaign – she’s a hardcore gay activist who opposes religious liberty 100%. Bernie Sanders is the same – 100% opposed to religious liberty.

But what about Donald Trump?

Donald Trump

This is from Bay Windows, which bills itself as “serving New England’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender communities”.

Here’s what they wrote:

The frontrunner for the Republican presidential nomination today promised “forward motion” on gay and lesbian equality if he is elected.

In an interview with NECN’s Sue O’Connell just days before the crucial New Hampshire primary, Trump cast himself as a uniter on LGBT issues.

O’Connell, who is also Bay Windows’ Publisher, identified herself as a lesbian in a question that noted the progress the LGBT community has made in the last two decades and asked Trump if voters can expect him to continue that momentum if elected

“When President Trump is in office can we look for more forward motion on equality for gays and lesbians?” O’Connell asked him.

“Well, you can,” Trump answered. ” And look, again, we’re going to bring people together, and that’s your thing and other people have their thing. We have to bring all people together and if we don’t we’re not going to have a country anymore.”

Recall that during the Iowa primary, Trump declared how much he loves evangelicals, and even held up a Bible he supposedly got from his mother as evidence of his genuine, authentic Christian faith. But the Iowa primary is over now, so no more Bible prop needed.

What about John Kasich?

John Kasich

Kasich considers same-sex marriage to be the law of the land, and he opposes legal protections for Christians who are sued by gay activists.

He gets an F on marriage from pro-marriage activist Maggie Gallagher for his stance on same-sex marriage:

The Supreme Court overturns the marriage laws of your state and many others by inventing a new right?  That gets a big yawn from John Kasich: “I do believe in the traditional sense of marriage—that marriage is between a man and a woman.  But I also respect the Supreme Court of the United States.  The Supreme Court of the United States made the decision, and as I have said repeatedly we’ll honor what the Supreme Court does—it’s the law of the land.”

And he opposes protections for Christians who are sued by gay activists:

What will you do, Gov. Kasich, to protect the rights of gay marriage dissenters?

[…]Gov. Kasich has refused to say whether he would support [the First Amendment Defense Act].

Ted Cruz has pledged to sign the First Amendment Defense Act, and quickly, too. No hesitation, because religious liberty is in the Constitution, and Ted Cruz is crazy about the Constitution!