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Two States Want Christian Employers to be Less Christian

Wed, 06/21/2017 - 3:04pm

by Ashley Shaw

If your child attends a Christian school, he or she is likely to be taught by teachers who cherish the Christian values so important to your own family. Your child’s teacher may even have signed a faith-based code of conduct to help preserve the school’s commitment to biblical morality.

But what if your child’s teacher chose to abandon those values and became pregnant out of wedlock or even decided to have an abortion? Your school may face the hard choice to take disciplinary action against the teacher for not reflecting the code of conduct she voluntarily signed.

Should a Christian school have the freedom to make that choice?

If the legislatures in California and New York have their way, the answer is “No.” Both bodies are considering bills that would take away the freedom of religious employers to require their employees to abide by codes of conduct based on biblical values.

The bills ban an employer from “tak(ing) any adverse employment action” against an employee based on his or her “reproductive health care decisions, including the use of any drug, device or medical service.” The bills also prevent employers from requiring employees “to sign a code of conduct or similar document that purports to deny any employee the right to make his or her own reproductive health care decisions.”

These provisions essentially mean that an employee who, for example, has premarital sex or has an abortion in violation of their employer’s guiding biblical values would be free to do so without penalty. In fact, while many Christian schools often require their students to abide by a moral code of conduct, those schools would be unable to require the same standard of their teachers, if these bills pass.

Proponents of the bills, like NARAL, argue that firing or disciplining an employee for violating a code of conduct is discriminatory. But federal law and the Supreme Court have long allowed religious employers the freedom to hire and fire based on the tenets of their faith.

The California bill, AB 569, purports to align with federal law by providing an “exception” for religious organizations if the employee in question is the “functional equivalent of minister,” but that exception is intentionally drawn too narrow to adequately protect most religious employers.

The real aim of such bills is to chip away at the established freedom of religious employers to establish a moral standard on issues such as abortion or sex outside of marriage. But religious organizations must be allowed the freedom to have employees who will abide by the tenets of faith that are so integral to their organization’s purpose.

If you live in California, now is the time to reach out to the members of the Senate Labor and Industrial Relations Committee to ask them to vote NO on AB 569 to protect the religious freedom of employers. You can do quickly and easily that through our Family Policy Alliance Action Center.

 

The post Two States Want Christian Employers to be Less Christian appeared first on Family Policy Alliance.

You Made a Difference in a Georgia Special Election | Family Policy Briefing

Wed, 06/21/2017 - 9:17am

Big Media and the Left said a special election in Georgia for a seat in Congress would be a referendum on the president’s conservative policies. Your support of Family Policy Alliance played a part in an upset victory for the pro-life candidate.

Paul Weber, our President and CEO, explains what can happen when you unleash your citizenship.

Here’s the video that got so much attention:

The post You Made a Difference in a Georgia Special Election | Family Policy Briefing appeared first on Family Policy Alliance.

‘It’s Wrong to Shoot Members of Congress – But…’

Thu, 06/15/2017 - 10:20am

by Stuart Shepard

Here’s what surprised me most: The sheer number of people on social media who found it impossible to write “It’s wrong to shoot members of Congress” – without adding – “but…”

I was scanning the reaction to the news this week that a gunman targeted a baseball field full of Republican lawmakers practicing for a friendly game against their Democrat rivals.

I’ll share a few social media posts I saw, but out of mercy, I will not share their names:

“I’m very sorry these people were shot… I suppose it’s too much to think that this might be a learning experience…”

“Not happy that anyone was shot. The irony (given their position on gun laws) is inescapable, however.”

“Funny my thoughts were this is not good… (but I) bet they never thought a gun would have Sacalise in it’s sites. Swift recovery and I hope some mediation on gun laws.” (sic)

“I can’t muster empathy for them. I just can’t.”

“Congress has viciously turned on all of us. If they continue to ignore the needs of the people they best expect more of this.”

“These people who were shot, voted to be shot.”

Okay, so some of them skipped right past the “It’s wrong to shoot members of Congress” part.  But these are all actual comments by ostensibly actual human beings on a rather gracious post by the Southern Poverty Law Center, a group that regularly opposes much of what conservative members of Congress stand for.

But some followers of SPLC took issue with that expression of goodwill. One example:

Yikes.

Here’s a question for you: How do you respond?

Do you match name-calling with name-calling? When dark money pays people to pick fights at conservative rallies, do you swing back? Do you respond to ALL CAPS COMMENT with ALL CAPS RETORT, YOU CHUCKLEHEAD!

Oh, I know, it’s tempting. I fight that urge all the time – with varying degrees of success.

But, I’m convinced of this: It’s best simply to reply with a winsome, unassailable argument. To treat our friends who would “slap you on the right cheek” with surprising, unmerited grace, respect and courtesy. Because, in the end, our goal is not to beat them. It’s to win them to our point of view. And the proper way to nudge them gently in the right direction is by being salt and light – as opposed to, say, a sledgehammer.

Here, let me show you an example. Here’s a winsome, unassailable argument that has no need for a clarifying remark, footnote or “but…”:

“It’s wrong to shoot members of Congress.”

 

The post ‘It’s Wrong to Shoot Members of Congress – But…’ appeared first on Family Policy Alliance.

Texas: Governor Signs Religious Freedom Bill for Foster Homes and Adoption Agencies

Thu, 06/15/2017 - 10:10am

Texas Values is one of 40 state allies that Family Policy Alliance is proud to work alongside.

Legislation designed to allow faith-based foster homes and adoption agencies to keep operating according to their faith-based principles (HB 3859) was signed today by Gov. Greg Abbott.

The new law, called the Freedom to Serve Children Act, protects faith-based providers from being targets of discrimination or litigation if they do not refer girls for abortion or if they only place children in homes with a married mother and father.

One-fourth of all foster care agencies in Texas are faith-based, but there has been a trend nationally of religious placement organizations closing as the result of being forced to deny their beliefs. Because of the crisis in state-run foster care, faith-based providers have been asked to do more to help care for foster children. Many faith-based providers want to do so, but Jonathan Saenz, president of Texas Values, said state law previously did not protect them from being targets of grant discrimination or litigation.

“The signing into law of the Freedom to Serve Children Act is a major victory for children and for religious liberty in Texas. Faith-based providers across Texas are now free to recruit foster families and place children with loving families,” he explained. “HB 3859 ensures that there’s a place at the table for everyone at a time when Texas children need everyone at the table.”

Learn more about Texas Values.

The post Texas: Governor Signs Religious Freedom Bill for Foster Homes and Adoption Agencies appeared first on Family Policy Alliance.

The Parenting Discussion My Husband and I Have Never Had

Tue, 06/13/2017 - 2:51pm

by Autumn Leva

I’ve always loved talking with my husband, but one thing that’s surprised me most in our eight-month-long marriage is how much there is to talk about — from lively discussions over the household budget to negotiations over who washes the dinner dishes to choosing a home church. Since we’re both lawyers, that probably contributes to the length of our conversations.

We talk about kids fairly regularly — and if we were to forget to discuss this, my in-laws helpfully remind us. We wonder whether our kids will love football as much as my husband — or if they’ll defy us both and choose baseball. But mostly we talk about our deep desire for our kids to follow God and to love Jesus.

But you know what kid-related topic never has come up? We’ve never discussed what we would do if the state took our kids away.

It turns out this is something we, and other Christian parents and future parents, need to discuss. Up in Canada, the Ontario Legislature just passed a law (with minimal opposition) that would allow child protective services and judges to consider factors such as a child’s “sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression” when deciding whether to strip parents of custody.

Let me explain how this new law would play out in the real world using my husband and me as an example: Say we give birth to a baby girl whom we raise in the church, praying with her and reading her Bible stories every night. We send her off to kindergarten, and she comes home one day telling us she wishes she were a boy. My husband and I lovingly explain that God created her to be exactly who she is, that both male and female are made in His image, reflecting His nature. Our daughter returns to school and informs her teacher we won’t let her dress or act like a boy. From there, the state takes over, questions my husband and me about our faith, and removes her from our home. We then enter into a long legal battle to regain custody of our child.

For anyone who may be thinking “that’s just Canada,” this is already being discussed in the U.S. For example, the Massachusetts Legislature has a bill (SB 62) that would put counselors at risk of losing their licenses for helping a little girl understand how God has fearfully and wonderfully made her female (and not male), and, even worse, would label parents as “child abusers” when they affirm their little girl’s wishes to seek counseling for unwanted same-sex attraction or gender-identity issues.

The most haunting quote I’ve seen from Canada about their new law was directed at the Catholic Church:  “Why has the most powerful spiritual body in this province, (the Church), not lifted a finger nor raised a voice to oppose this tyranny against Christian families, and those from other faiths? The lack of spiritual leadership is killing us… We hear nothing but silence from the Church. This has to stop.” (emphasis added)

Ouch.

We’ve reached a place where parents have to think about what to do if our government labels us “child abusers,” because of our faith, and takes away our kids. No parent should have to worry about this. Churches may be nervous or unsure about wading into political issues, but surely when Christian parents are at risk of losing the right to parent according to their faith, the time has come for churches to reclaim their bright lights and saltiness.

May we as believers in the Only One True God never be accused of being silent here in America.

If you and your church are ready to flood a thirsty culture with the Living Water, Family Policy Alliance and our network of 40 state-based family policy groups are ready and eager to help! Our Alliance can make sure you have the latest news on what policies, like the one in Massachusetts, that may affect your family in your state. We’d love to help train you and your church how to be salt and light on the “mission field” of your state capitol. And, if you feel called, we can even get you training in how to talk to the media and testify before the legislature.

Please let us know how we can help at mail@familypolicyalliance.com!

The post The Parenting Discussion My Husband and I Have Never Had appeared first on Family Policy Alliance.

Acting on Principle in an Imperfect World | Family Policy Briefing

Tue, 06/13/2017 - 2:09pm

When your state legislature is flooded with bills, how do you discern which are worthy of your support?

Eric Teetsel, president of Family Policy Alliance of Kansas, shares from personal experience how he makes that sometimes difficult decision. His insights are true for every state in the country.

Learn more about Family Policy Alliance of Kansas.

 

The post Acting on Principle in an Imperfect World | Family Policy Briefing appeared first on Family Policy Alliance.

State Court Rules in Favor of Families Choosing Best Schools for Children | Family Policy Briefing

Thu, 06/08/2017 - 12:32pm

A Montana court says the state cannot exclude private, religious schools from a state education tax credit.

Jeff Laszloffy, president of Montana Family Foundation, explains why it’s a good decision for families as well as Christian schools. And what other states can learn from the legislation.

Learn more about Montana Family Foundation.

 

The post State Court Rules in Favor of Families Choosing Best Schools for Children | Family Policy Briefing appeared first on Family Policy Alliance.

Gambling on Your Child’s Future

Thu, 06/08/2017 - 12:31pm

by Cole Muzio, Family Policy Alliance of Georgia

You have to admit, the Left takes on some difficult arguments. They argue a baby isn’t a baby, a boy isn’t necessarily a boy, and what has been marriage throughout the history of the world isn’t the only definition of marriage. Sadly, they have gotten quite good at making utterly nonsensical arguments.

That’s why, in my state of Georgia, it’s no surprise that the Left uses the same tactics when selling the idea of bringing casino gambling here. And, we want you to be aware of this deceptive salesmanship when it comes to your state.

Only rarely will you hear casino proponents arguing that their construction in and of itself is a positive thing. Instead, they will argue for supposed peripheral benefits – increased tax dollars flowing into our community, into our education system and scholarship programs, and new jobs for our workers.

Those arguments sound good on the surface – but they are dead wrong.

That’s why Family Policy Alliance of Georgia has released a new educational video telling the truth about the dangers of bringing casinos to our state.

Granted, your state may not have something like a Hope Scholarship- which helps in-state kids pay for college. However, there is no doubt that casino advocates will find a similar “heart-string” argument. But, do not be fooled! While the specifics to your state may be different, the devastating results of bringing casinos to our communities are universal.

No, casinos don’t bring economic prosperity to a community – they destroy hope for progress. No, casinos don’t bring tourism – they cannibalize local spending. No, casinos don’t improve educational opportunity – they drain school and scholarship funding. No, casinos don’t make lives better – they obliterate families, open pathways for the destruction of innocence with more human trafficking, and lead to a radical jump in crime.

Look, we know there may be good, well-meaning, otherwise conservative men and women who support bringing casinos to your state. However, they are not only wrong on this issue, but their stance has profound implications for job loss, dwindling educational opportunity, crime and human trafficking, and the destruction of the family. Their intentions may be solid, but they have bought into a lie.

As we consider this issue, we more and more see this as one that has dramatic and adverse cultural effects on entire communities, not just those who waste their family’s resources on vain fantasies and hopeless addictions. We firmly believe that we cannot treat this as a side issue that can be boxed off and separated from the rest of conservative, pro-family policy. We must challenge those who seek to advance the growth of the casino industry, articulate the truth, and, when dealing with conservative brothers and sisters, lovingly engage in a frank dialogue that shares the consequences of their position.

Moreover, given the incredible amount of resources that casino advocates possess, we must be proactive in pushing back their arguments. They will spend tens of millions of dollars on lobbying and in elections to ensure their profits, and we cannot be caught off guard!

Family Policy Alliance is committed to defeating efforts to grow the casino industry in my state of Georgia and in yours as well. While that doesn’t mean we can’t find common ground with those who disagree with us on this issue, it does mean that we cannot look the other way. Join with us today by sharing this video, engaging in serious dialogue with those who say “I agree with you on everything but this.” In our vision for a nation where “… families thrive,” this is an issue where we are proud to carry the banner, educate the public, and lead the fight against this well-funded industry.

P.S. In my state of Georgia, we are engaging in the fight against the casino industry by speaking truth, electing bold, pro-family officials, and engaging at the Capitol. In your state, we are making similar efforts to equip our leadership to engage on this issue and a host of others. If you want to make certain that our movement is “armed” to halt the devastating agenda of the casino industry – or any that would do harm to our families – please contribute to our efforts today.

The post Gambling on Your Child’s Future appeared first on Family Policy Alliance.

Is This Race a Bellwether for 2018? | Family Policy Briefing

Tue, 06/06/2017 - 11:46am

Why are so many people investing so much attention in a congressional special election in Georgia?

Paul Weber, president and CEO of Family Policy Alliance, explains what’s happening and who the organization is recommending in the race.

Here’s the election-related ad from Family Policy Alliance of Georgia.

 

The post Is This Race a Bellwether for 2018? | Family Policy Briefing appeared first on Family Policy Alliance.

Affirming Religious Freedom for the Little Sisters of the Poor

Tue, 06/06/2017 - 11:42am

by Autumn Leva

Nuns who buy birth control.

That sounds like the start of a joke, and I even begin to laugh.

But then I remember there’s no punch-line here. Forcing nuns to pay for birth control was a very real policy of the Obama Administration, and the Little Sisters of the Poor were a main target.

Let’s think about this for a moment: The Little Sisters of the Poor take vows of chastity, poverty and obedience to God, and their main mission is “to offer the neediest elderly of every race and religion a home where they will be welcomed as Christ, cared for as family and accompanied with dignity until God calls them to himself.” Despite their vows and mission to care for some of the most vulnerable, the Obama Administration decided that these nuns should be required to fund contraception and even abortion-causing drugs in their healthcare plans under an Obamacare HHS Mandate.

The Administration exempted big, nonreligious corporations like Pepsi from this same mandate, but insisted that the mandate apply to the Little Sisters — threatening them with $70 million worth of fines per year if they refused to comply. Ultimately, the Little Sisters were forced to turn to the courts to defend their right to freely live out their faith and serve those in need.

Enter President Trump.

On the campaign trail, President Trump promised the Little Sisters: “I will fight for you.”  He then honored them as he signed an Executive Order on the National Day of Prayer stating that his administration would work to protect religious freedom. Now, a leaked draft of an HHS rule has emerged, indicating that the Trump Administration intends to provide relief for the Little Sisters.

As believers, we may all disagree on the various policies of President Trump from time to time, but let’s give thanks where thanks is due and encourage him to keep doing the right thing. President Trump is right to defend the Little Sisters, and issuing a new rule protecting their religious beliefs and their ministry is the right thing to do.

When nuns are not forced by our government to pay for birth control, that’s a good day in America for everyone — no matter your faith background or if you have no faith at all.

So, I hope you’ll join me in encouraging President Trump to go forward with a new HHS rule so that the Little Sisters can continue to freely live out their faith serving the elderly poor—and so all of us breathe a little easier knowing that our government isn’t so coercive and unaccountable.

We’ve made it easy for you to send a message to the President here. Simply fill in your contact info and the letter will be sent to him automatically.

Thank you for partnering with us to encourage our leaders to do the right thing, and to protect religious freedom for all!

 

The post Affirming Religious Freedom for the Little Sisters of the Poor appeared first on Family Policy Alliance.

Taking the Government to Court Over Marriage | Family Policy Briefing

Tue, 05/30/2017 - 3:28pm

Family Action Council of Tennessee is moving forward with a lawsuit seeking to get clarity on the Supreme Court ruling that redefined marriage.

The Obergefell case of two years ago  left many state marriage statutes in limbo and David Fowler, president of FACT, tells us that he’s calling out the court to, in Justice Antonin Scalia’s words, “remind the court of its impotence.”

Find an allied group in your state.

The post Taking the Government to Court Over Marriage | Family Policy Briefing appeared first on Family Policy Alliance.

Churches: A Force for Good in Our Community

Tue, 05/30/2017 - 3:25pm

by Jerry Cox, president of Family Council of Arkansas

Family Policy Alliance is proud to work alongside Family Council of Arkansas. They are part of our alliance of 40 state-based family organizations. For more information, or to find one in your state, go to familypolicyalliance.com.

The other day as I was reviewing a slate of bills that have been proposed at the Arkansas Legislature, it occurred to me that there are so many ways that a church can be a force for good in a community. Churches serve their neighborhoods – especially the poor and needy. Churches are often some of the first to provide for the victims of natural disasters, such as floods and tornadoes.

I think we would all agree that Bible-believing churches share the gospel with nonbelievers and make their communities better. But what if I told you even a church building itself can make a community more wholesome? What if I told you those four walls do more than give believers a place to meet – they actually keep certain types of evil out of our neighborhoods?

Under Arkansas law, adult-oriented businesses cannot operate within 1,000 feet of a church. Liquor stores, likewise, cannot be located within 1,000 feet of a church. Penalties for certain crimes – such as illegal drug deals and drug use – are enhanced if they occur within 1,000 feet of a church. “Medical Marijuana” stores cannot operate within 1,500 feet of a church, and marijuana farms cannot operate within 3,000 feet of a church.

I realize the “church” is more than just four walls and steeple. Believers are the true church. I also realize you can’t completely rid a community of sin. However, just having those four walls and steeple in your neighborhood repels some types of evil. It keeps certain vices away from our children and our neighbors. It makes our communities more wholesome – often without anyone noticing.

I believe most people probably take good things churches bring to Arkansas for granted. But if the churches disappeared – along with all the good things they bring to the table – people would notice.

Our world is wrestling with some serious questions right now. From top to bottom, many days it feels like our nation is losing its mind. It reminds me of the prophet Amos, who wrote, “Behold, the days come, saith the Lord God, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord:  And they shall wander from sea to sea, and from the north even to the east, they shall run to and fro to seek the word of the Lord, and shall not find it” (Amos 8:11-12,KJV).

Now more than ever we need churches to engage the culture. Churches are already a powerful force for good simply by being present in our state. Many churches run food pantries that help families facing physical hunger. We need believers to help those starving for the Truth of God’s Word as well.

Now more than ever we need churches to engage the culture. In the past six weeks Family Council has issued more calls to action than I can count. We have asked people to call their state representatives and senators time and time again. That’s because our lawmakers need to hear the truth about the important issues they are voting on. They need to hear it from Family Council, but they also need to hear it from their neighbors back home.

Jerry Cox is president of Family Council of Arkansas. Family Council is a conservative education and research organization based in Little Rock, Arkansas. Their mission is to promote, protect, and strengthen traditional family values found and reflected in the Bible by impacting public opinion and public policy in Arkansas.

The post Churches: A Force for Good in Our Community appeared first on Family Policy Alliance.

Georgia District Race Takes On National Importance | Family Policy Briefing

Tue, 05/23/2017 - 3:42pm

A congressional district special election in Georgia is gaining national attention. Activists on the Left are pouring money into the state to support the pro-abortion candidate in an effort to gain perceived momentum for the 2018 mid-terms.

Cole Muzio, president of Family Policy Alliance of Georgia, says it’s time for Georgians – and the rest of us – to take a stand against policies and candidates that take aim at family values.

Watch the video ad that Cole mentions.

Learn more about Family Policy Alliance of Georgia.

The post Georgia District Race Takes On National Importance | Family Policy Briefing appeared first on Family Policy Alliance.

Delaware Life Story

Tue, 05/23/2017 - 3:40pm

Lawmakers in Delaware are considering a bill that would roll back many of the state’s pro-life laws. SB5 maintains the U.S. Constitution provides for abortion of preborn babies prior to viability and the life laws in question are in violation.

“The bill is headed to the House for final vote,” said Nicole Theis, executive director of Delaware Family Policy Council, one of Family Policy Alliance’s 40 state-based allies. “If it passes, Delaware will potentially become a magnet for late-term abortions and profiteering abortionists. There is no accountability or enforcement in the bill.”

The law is being debated even as an abortion seller is coming under scrutiny for a botched abortion.

A woman was taken from Planned Parenthood Delaware in a private car to the hospital even though she was in extreme pain. No ambulance was called.

Larry Roy Glazerman, the abortionist at the facility, recently testified before the Legislature. He said that abortionists, such as himself, should have the final say about whether a preborn baby is “viable.”

“SB 5 gives abortionists the authority to decide if a baby is viable or not. Even those who say they are pro-choice have a problem with abortion without restrictions, specifically, late term abortions,” Theis said. “This takes Delaware back to the dark ages of Roe v. Wade, ignoring over 40 years of legal rulings to better protect women. Polls consistently show that Americans believe abortion should come with restrictions. We’ve never seen this much bipartisan opposition to an issue. Ever.”

The post Delaware Life Story appeared first on Family Policy Alliance.

Alaska Legislature Votes Against Transgender Commissioner

Tue, 05/23/2017 - 3:38pm

The Alaska Legislature has voted not to confirm Drew Phoenix, a woman who identifies as a man, to the state Human Rights Commission.

Phoenix, who has worked for the American Civil Liberties Union, created a conundrum for many lawmakers who worried the appointment would lead to a conflict of interest.

“When you’re an advocate, you’re pushing for a policy call,” said Sen. John Coghill. “When you’re within that commission, you’re looking out for people more evenhandedly. And I couldn’t get the comfort level that that would be the case in the Human Rights Commission with Drew.”

Alaska Family Action, one of Family Policy Alliance’s 40 state-based allies, had worked to raise awareness of the appointment and urged its constituents to contact their lawmakers to voice their opposition.

“The Legislature has done the right thing,” said Jim Minnery, president of Alaska Family Action, “by telling Gov. Walker to find someone who has the qualities of objectivity and impartiality that will inspire confidence among all Alaskans.”

The post Alaska Legislature Votes Against Transgender Commissioner appeared first on Family Policy Alliance.

Deconstruction | Stoplight

Thu, 05/18/2017 - 2:57pm

Sometimes, before you can build, you have to clear out what’s in that spot.

In his Stoplight® commentary, Stuart Shepard shows you a little construction project he’s been watching. What you may not realize is that you happen to be the contractor on this job.

The post Deconstruction | Stoplight appeared first on Family Policy Alliance.

President Trump Expands Ban on International Abortion Funding

Thu, 05/18/2017 - 2:56pm

This week, President Donald Trump made a significant step in fulfilling his pro-life promises by expanding the Mexico City Policy. That Reagan-era rule, routinely dropped by Democrat presidents and reinstated by Republican ones, strips billions of dollars from international non-governmental organizations that promote or perform abortions.

Nearly $9 billion will now go to organizations that agree not to include abortion alongside health care for women.

Rep. Chris Smith, from New Jersey, praised the expansion in a commentary on The Daily Signal.

“This funding includes not only family planning, but other global health assistance such as maternal and child health, malaria and HIV/AIDs,” he said. “Also of significance, the new pro-child, pro-woman safeguards do not reduce funding for global health assistance by so much as a dollar.”

President Trump’s policy, dubbed Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance, includes exceptions for rape, incest and life of the mother. It does not prevent NGO’s from providing care for any abortion-related illness or injury.

Pro-abortion activists have decried the expansion of the policy, but Marjorie Dannenfelser with the Susan B. Anthony List, said it’s a step in the right direction – and it’s exactly why pro-lifers put Donald Trump in the White House.

“With the implementation of Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance,” she said in a statement, “we have officially ceased exporting abortion to foreign nations. No longer will we undermine the pro-life laws and cultural commitments of other countries by funding organizations that obsessively promote and perform abortion.  Our hard-earned tax dollars will now be used by health care entities that act consistently to save lives rather than destroy them.”

President Trump has made positive steps toward fulfilling many of his campaign promises to evangelicals. By undoing the Obama Title IX “bathroom” mandate he empowered states to protect the privacy and safety of students. Signing the religious freedom executive order was a first step toward strengthening our Constitutional freedoms and now the expansion of the Mexico City Policy that further protects human life, not just here, but around the globe.

“There is still much work that remains to be done,” said Stephanie Curry, policy manager with Family Policy Alliance. “As believers, we need to make sure that President Trump and Congress fulfill those promises, especially defunding Planned Parenthood and preventing government from targeting people and business owners of faith.”

The post President Trump Expands Ban on International Abortion Funding appeared first on Family Policy Alliance.

Christian T-Shirt Maker Gets Big Win

Thu, 05/18/2017 - 2:52pm

A Christian business owner in Kentucky is rejoicing today after the Kentucky Court of Appeals upheld a lower court decision that says he did nothing wrong when he declined to print T-shirts requested by the Gay and Lesbian Services Organization.

Blaine Adamson, owner of Hands on Originals, told said that his Christian faith kept him from printing shirts for an event.

“Specifically, it’s the ‘Lexington Pride Festival’, the name and that it’s advocating pride in being gay and being homosexual,” he said at the time. “I can’t promote that message. It’s something that goes against my belief system.”

The activist group, which has since changed its name to the Pride Community Services Organization, reported Adamson to the Human Rights Commission, which ruled against Adamson. From there, the case wound its way through the courts. Pride Community Services is now weighing whether it will appeal to the Kentucky Supreme Court.

Adamson was relieved when the ruling was announced Friday.

“I don’t leave my faith at the door when I walk into my business,” Adamson told the Lexington Herald-Leader. “In my case, fortunately, the legal system worked.”

Cases like Adamson’s demonstrate why believers in every state need to call on their lawmakers to pass strong religious freedom protections. Business owners should be free to live out their faith in the way they do their business—without fear of being punished for their beliefs by their own government.

The post Christian T-Shirt Maker Gets Big Win appeared first on Family Policy Alliance.

Missouri Defunds Planned Parenthood

Thu, 05/18/2017 - 2:46pm

The Missouri Legislature pulled funding for Planned Parenthood from the state Medicaid budget. An amendment restricting $10.8 million in Medicaid reimbursements goes into effect July 1.

The language says Medicaid funds may not be disbursed to persons or entities that “perform or induce abortions, or encourage or refer for abortions which are not necessary to save the life of the mother.”

Joe Ortwerth, executive director of the Missouri Family Policy Council, one of Family Policy Alliance’s 40 state allies, said women will still receive care they need – there are 24 qualified health care centers compared to just 14 Planned Parenthood facilities.

“The 2018 budget also makes clear that the State of Missouri remains committed to providing maternal health care services to low-income women,” Ortwerth said. “The budget includes a $14 million appropriation to the Show-Me Healthy Babies Initiative. That program provides health insurance coverage for pregnant women and their children in families which are not eligible for Medicaid and cannot obtain health insurance coverage.”

Family Policy Alliance is proud of the hard work state ally Missouri Family Policy Council has done to get defunding pushed through. We’ll continue to work with other state groups and Congress to defund Planned Parenthood.

The post Missouri Defunds Planned Parenthood appeared first on Family Policy Alliance.

Federal Government Sides with Fired Teacher Over Bible Incident

Tue, 05/16/2017 - 3:13pm

You may remember Walt Tutka. Walt gave a Bible to a student who asked for one and was promptly relieved of his substitute teaching duties at a school in Philipsburg, New Jersey. That was back in 2013.

This week, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission sided with Tutka saying the school discriminated against him on the basis of religion. Tutka now has been reinstated.

Hiram Sasser of First Liberty Institute, which represented Tutka, said they were pleased that they accomplished what they set out to achieve.

“We always knew Walt complied with all school district policies and federal laws,” Sasser said. “The EEOC agreed, and now Walt is returning to his service to the community in Philipsburg.”

After hearing Tutka say “The first shall be last, and the last shall be first,” a student asked him about the quote, then asked more about the Bible, and ultimately asked if he could have one. Tutka, a member of the Gideons, gave him a pocket New Testament.

But Tutka wasn’t the only victim here. The young man in the case had his religious freedoms violated as well. In fact, students of faith are finding themselves faced with more and more challenges to their religious freedoms, but state legislatures are answering with laws to strengthen First Amendment protections.

In Indiana, the Legislature passed and Gov. Eric Holcomb has vowed to sign, a bill that adds even more protections for students. Indiana House Bill 1024 allows public schools to teach survey courses on world religions, affirms students’ right to pray in school and to express their religious views in their schoolwork. It also allows students to wear jewelry and clothing with religious symbols and will give religious student groups access to school facilities.

Last year, a school in Carmel, Indiana, removed a pro-life group’s poster saying it violated policy. Teens for Life sued, and the two came to a settlement, allowing the sign to be put up for a pre-determined amount of time. Ryan McCann, director of operations and public policy at the Indiana Family Institute, one of Family Policy Alliance’s 40 state-based allies, said passage of the new law may have been a reaction to this incident.

“We’d hope that all schools are protecting the First Amendment rights of all students,” he said, “but we just know, unfortunately, that that’s not always the case.”

These cases highlight the fact that more laws need to be passed to make sure that free speech is stronger than ever.

“The rights of students to express themselves according to their faith is no longer a given,” said Autumn Leva, policy and communications director for Family Policy Alliance. “But if states will follow Indiana’s lead and enact laws to protect those Constitutional rights, then we have a chance to restore free speech as the Founding Fathers envisioned. And that would be good for students, teachers, faculty and parents alike.”

The post Federal Government Sides with Fired Teacher Over Bible Incident appeared first on Family Policy Alliance.

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