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In the News: Breaking Religious Freedom Stories Across the Country

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October 21, 2022
Fli Insider | In the News

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


Biden Admin Still Pushing COVID Vaccine Mandate for Military: It’s Unlawful and Hurts National Security

First Liberty attorney Danielle Runyan wrote an op-ed for Fox News discussing how religious service members are unlawfully being denied religious accommodations to the military vaccine mandate. Thousands continue to face punishment and potential involuntary separation for wanting to serve in a manner consistent with their faith.

Runyan writes:

“The unrelenting push to remove thousands of religious service members from the military for their sincerely held objections to taking the COVID-19 vaccine should be classified as a clear dereliction of duty by the Biden administration. The president himself declared ‘the pandemic is over.”

First Liberty continues to fight on behalf of thousands of service members whose requests have been denied. Learn more about our U.S. Navy SEALs and Air Force cases.


Coast Guard used ‘digital tool’ to more efficiently mass deny religious vax exemptions, Congresmen allege

Fox News reports that the U.S. Coast Guard used a “digital tool” to illegally assist in mass denials of religious COVID-19 vaccine exemptions even though federal law and Pentagon policy requires an individualized analysis of every request. Over one dozen members of Congress are demanding a staff-level briefing to explain the process, which they claim was designed to reach “predetermined conclusions with the goal of rejecting applications.” As of late September, the Coast Guard had approved 12 religious accommodations and denied 1,231, amounting to a near 99% denial rate.


Today in Soft Totalitarianism

Christian author Rod Dreher writes in The American Conservative about Chase Bank’s decision to close the account of a faith-based nonprofit organization. Dreher warns why this is so dangerous to religious Americans:

“They’re going to ultimately debank you, you know. If not Chase, then somebody. This is how the regime works. They’re going to make it more and more difficult for dissenters from wokeness to participate in society and the economy.”


What Is the Proper Balance Between Church and State?

The Christian Post dives deeper into Thomas Jefferson’s wall of “separation between church and state.” The article discusses the original meaning and interpretation of the letter that Jefferson wrote to the Danbury Baptists, where the phrase most famously appears. The author writes that if Americans followed the original “understanding of the First Amendment, they would have much more religious freedom than they do today and they would have far more freedom to promulgate their views without the threats of the censorious cancel culture.”


Nevada Nondiscrimination Ballot Measure Alarms Religious Liberty Lawyers

The Washington Examiner writes that voters in Nevada will consider a ballot referendum next month that would amend the state constitution concerning sexual orientation and gender identity. Conservative legal groups are concerned that if the amendment is adopted, it could have a negative impact on religious freedom. The measure could be misused and abused to go after people of faith and to exclude religious organizations, religious schools from government programs that are open to everyone.


Cardinals Urge HHS to Reconsider ‘Misguided Mandate’ on Transgender Procedures

Catholic New York reports on a recent statement made by two cardinals regarding a proposed rule by the Biden administration, commonly known as the “transgender mandate,” which would rollback extensive civil-rights protections for Americans of faith in healthcare. They write that religious hospitals and healthcare providers “must not be coerced by the government to violate their consciences” by being forced to perform “gender transition procedures” against their religious beliefs.

First Liberty recently delivered a compelling 42-page public comment explaining that people of faith and religious institutions will continue to be targeted, sued, and eventually forced out of the healthcare field if federal regulations do not permit them to follow their consciences.


Religious People Changing Beliefs Based on Politics: Study

The Washington Examiner writes about the findings of a recent study from Monmouth College. Survey results suggest that some Americans are using their political views to inform their religious beliefs, with 25% of adults saying they’ve considered leaving their religion because of disagreements with their political affiliation.

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