Catch up on the latest and most important religious freedom headlines from around the web.
VA Staff Shouldn’t Be Required to Perform or Assist with Abortions
First Liberty attorneys Danielle Runyan and Christine Pratt wrote an op-ed for Stars and Stripes discussing the Department of Veterans Affairs’ interim final rule titled “Reproductive Health Services,” immediately allowing elective abortions at VA medical clinics. They write:
“There is no provision within the VA rule explaining how religious accommodations will be processed…Given the Biden administration’s track record, we anticipate having to go to court to protect the rights of VA clinic staff who have conscientious objections to participating in abortions.”
Pro-Life Org Fires Back After Democrats Demand Info on Privacy Policies
First Liberty represents Heartbeat International, a life-affirming organization that supports thousands of crisis pregnancy centers in the U.S. and around the world. Fox News reports that the organization is firing back after Sen. Elizabeth Warren and other senators issued a letter citing “significant privacy concerns” over the group’s privacy policies regarding “pregnant people.” First Liberty sent a letter responding Sen. Warren, stating: “You appear determined to wield the power of your office to investigate a private organization that holds to a religious and ideological position with which you disagree.”
Soros-Backed Group Demands IRS Crack Down on Politically-Engaged Churches
The Washington Stand reports that just a few days before the 2022 midterm elections, ProPublica, a widely touted media outlet funded by George Soros, has accused the Biden administration of not cracking down hard enough on churches. ProPublica asserted the government has done too little to prevent Christians from violating the Johnson Amendment, a controversial 1954 tax provision that effectively prevents churches from endorsing or opposing political candidates. The political Left continues to argue that Christian involvement in the political process threatens to destroy all that America stands for.
Survey: 60% of Americans Say the Founders Intended America to be a Christian Nation
A new Pew Research Center survey found that a strong majority (60%) of U.S. adults think America’s founders intended the country to be a Christian nation. 45% said say they think it should be a Christian nation today. A majority (52%), however, said that the federal government should never declare any particular religion as the official religion of the country.
Sen. Rubio Raises Concerns About Chase Bank Politically Motivated De-Banking
Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida sent a letter to JPMorgan Chase and Co. CEO Jamie Dimon raising concerns over the potential of politically-motivated de-banking of the National Committee for Religious Freedom, a nonprofit organization led by former international religious freedom ambassador Sam Brownback. Rubio requested the bank’s justification in terminating the organization’s account.
Rev. Samuel Rodriguez: Democratic Party’s “Extreme” Positions on Religious Liberty Alienating Voters
In a Fox News op-ed, Rev. Samuel Rodriguez—who leads the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference—argues that the “Democrat Party has become an extremist party on issues such as life, religious liberty and parental rights.” He claims that the Party’s radical positions are alienating voters, especially Hispanic Americans. He specifically calls religious freedom one of the top issues the Latino community is “most concerned” about.
Kroger Will Pay $180K to Employees Fired for Refusing ‘Rainbow’ Logos On Their Uniforms
The Christian Post reports that supermarket chain Kroger will create a religious accommodation policy and implement new training for store management after settling a lawsuit from two former employees who objected to wearing a logo they believed would force them to violate their religious convictions. The company agreed to pay $180,000 to settle the lawsuit.
Despite Their Many Disagreements, the Founding Fathers Agreed on the Basic Principle of Religious Freedom
Writing for the Acton Institute, Professor Thomas S. Kidd at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary discusses a new book about what the Founders did—and did not—say about religious liberty, church-state relations and natural rights. He writes:
“People involved in American political life in the late 1700s disagreed vehemently about the proper approach to church-state separation. But…there was near-universal agreement among people of widely differing faiths and ideologies on religious liberty as an inalienable natural right.”
The Peril and Promise of Administrative Law for Religious Freedom
Mosaic Magazine takes a deeper look at how the growing administrative state can pose grave problems for religious liberty. The author notes that “most of the recent religious-liberty conflicts at the Supreme Court have been administrative conflicts, caused by bureaucratic agencies rather than legislatures.” However, the articles notes that “administrative law—done right—can be used to bolster religious liberty.”
Houses of Worship Across Maryland to Receive $10M for Enhanced Security Measures
Security Magazine reports that Maryland religious and nonprofit community organizations will receive more than $10 million to enhance security measures. The federal funding is provided through the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Nonprofit Security Grant Program. The program was recently created to provide better equip and train religious nonprofit organizations in response to the rise in religiously motivated attacks on faith communities across the country.