In the News: Breaking Religious Freedom Stories Across the Country

October 28, 2022
Fli Insider | In the News

Catch up on the latest and most important religious freedom headlines around the web.

Religious Liberty Before the Court 

First Liberty attorney Keisha Russell wrote an op-ed for WORLD discussing two major religious freedom and free speech cases pending at the U.S. Supreme Court this term. These include First Liberty’s Sweet Cakes case involving Christian bakers Aaron and Melissa Klein, who were forced to shut down their Oregon bakery for declining to create a cake for a same-sex wedding. The Court is also considering a case involving a Colorado web designer who declined to create a website for a same-sex wedding.

These could be landmark cases to help clarify key protections for religious freedom and conscience. Russell writes:

“The Supreme Court must take the opportunity to clarify the role of civil rights laws and remind governments that these laws are intended to prohibit invidious government discrimination in public accommodations.They are not intended to force a business owner to perform any service that anyone in a protected class might demand.”

Religious liberty and the Reformation

Jordan J. Ballor, Ph.D.—Director of Research at First Liberty’s Center for Religion Culture and Democracy—wrote an op-ed for WORLD discussing how the Reformers laid the theoretical grounds for religious freedom. Ballor writes:

“The American experiment in ordered liberty stands as a unique enterprise arising out of these centuries of conflict and discord…Religious liberty in the modern world is undoubtedly a key legacy of the Reformation, one worth celebrating and honoring. But it is also a legacy that is constantly under threat, one that must be defended anew with each generation, and that must ultimately prove its worth as a foundation for social flourishing.”

California Court Rules on Christian Rights of Baker in Same-Sex Wedding Case

CBN News reports that a Christian baker won a legal victory in her battle for religious freedom in California. Cathy Miller, owner of Tastries Bakery in Bakersfield, was exonerated on charges that came because she declined to create a custom wedding cake for a same-sex couple due to her Christian beliefs. The court’s ruling pointed out that the First Amendment states that no law shall prohibit the free exercise of religion and that “the evidence affirmatively showed that Miller’s only intent, her only motivation, was fidelity to her sincere Christian beliefs.”

Parental Rights Amendment Introduced in Congress Amid Public Education Concerns

The Christian Post reports that Rep. Debbie Lesko from Arizona introduced a constitutional amendment to protect parental rights in the U.S. House of Representatives amid heightened concerns about the state of public education.

The proposed amendment contains five sections, with one declaring that “the liberty of parents to direct the upbringing, education, and care of their children is a fundamental right.” The proposal also contends that “the parental right to direct education includes the right to choose, as an alternative to public education, private, religious, or home schools, and the right to make reasonable choices within public schools for one’s child.”

Religious Liberty Once Again Under Attack by the Cultural Elites

The Washington Examiner discusses ongoing threats to faith-based healthcare organizations and hospitals. A proposed rule by the Biden administration, commonly known as the “transgender mandate,” would rollback extensive civil-rights protections for Americans of faith in healthcare. The author explains:

“Cultural elites long have been skeptical of the reach of religious freedoms, let alone faith-based care. But their hostility towards these institutions has never been a coordinated effort until recently. Now, however, three powerful progressive cultural curators (federal and state regulators, legacy media, and left-wing special interest groups) seemingly have banded together to force Catholic hospitals to violate their faith.”

White House Refuses to Address Arrests of Pro-Lifers Amid Attacks on Pregnancy Resource Centers

The Daily Signal reports that the Biden administration is refusing to address why it’s focusing efforts on arresting pro-life activists amid national outcry over dozens of attacks on pro-life centers and churches.

At least 86 Catholic churches and 74 pregnancy resource centers and pro-life organizations have been attacked since the May leak of the draft Supreme Court opinion overturning Roe v. Wade. Many of these buildings have been vandalized with threats such as, “If abortions aren’t safe, neither are you.”

First Liberty attorneys recently sent a letter to Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey, asking her to enforce the law and ensure that life-affirming pregnancy resource centers are protected from vandalism and threats.

No, The Supreme Court Is Not an Agent of Oligarchy

In a Washington Examiner op-ed, Hillsdale College Professor Adam Carrington writes about the political Left’s persistent attacks on the U.S. Supreme Court. He responds to radicals who continue to label and wrongfully accuse the nation’s highest court of pushing the country toward “oligarchy.”

“We shouldn’t buy that the Constitution is a ‘redistributist’ document or that the Supreme Court is hurling us toward oligarchy. The Constitution equally secures the sometimes-unequal blessings of liberty to all. And the current court has respected those bounds, protecting individual liberty while moving legal interpretation toward greater equality under the law and more rule by regular members of the public. Those are principles to guard, not undo.”

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