Indiana protects religious liberty. Why that’s good policy.

Ryan T. Anderson in LifeSiteNews.com Mar. 27, 2015 (

March 27, 2015 (DailySignal.com) — In a victory for religious freedom, earlier today Gov. Mike Pence, R-Ind., signed into law the state’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act. This is good policy that protects the fundamental freedom of Indiana citizens from unnecessary and unreasonable government coercion.

The Indiana law is based on the 1993 federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act—a law that has served the American people well for more than 20 years. Passed with 97 votes in the Senate and by unanimous voice vote in the House, the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act was signed into law by then-President Bill Clinton. This federal law prohibits substantial government burdens on religious exercise unless the government can show a compelling interest in burdening religious liberty and does so through the least restrictive means.

No one has the right to have the government force a particular minister to marry them, or a certain photographer to capture the first kiss or a baker to bake the wedding cake.

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These protections for religious freedom, like the one passed in Indiana, provide a commonsense way to balance the fundamental right to religious liberty with compelling government interests. The federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act protects against federal government violations of religious liberty, and state Religious Freedom Restoration Acts protect against state violations.

By passing its Religious Freedom Restoration Act, Indiana joins the 19 other states that have implemented such laws. Eleven additional states have religious liberty protections that state courts have interpreted to provide a similar level of protection. These common sense laws place the on us on the government to justify its actions in burdening the free exercise of religion.

Responding to critics of the bill, who wrongly characterized the religious freedom protections, Pence stated in a press release following the signing:

For more than twenty years, the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act has never undermined our nation’s anti-discrimination laws, and it will not in Indiana.

He added:

Faith and religion are important values to millions of Hoosiers and with the passage of this legislation, we ensure that Indiana will continue to be a place where we respect freedom of religion and make certain that government action will always be subject to the highest level of scrutiny that respects the religious beliefs of every Hoosier of every faith.

The Indiana law, like all state Religious Freedom Restoration Acts, prevents government discrimination against religious free exercise. Religious Freedom Restoration Acts simply provide a way to balance religious liberty with compelling government interests.

There are now numerous cases of photographers, florists, cake makers and farmers being forced to participate in celebrating same-sex weddings in violation of their belief that marriage is the union of a man and a woman. These are citizens who have no problem serving gays and lesbians but do object to celebrating same-sex weddings.

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Religious liberty isn’t an absolute right. Religious liberty doesn’t always trump. Religious liberty is balanced with concerns for a compelling state interest that’s being pursued in the least-restrictive means possible.

But it isn’t clear that forcing every photographer and every baker and every florist to help celebrate same-sex weddings is advancing a compelling state interest in the least-restrictive way possible. Protecting religious liberty and the rights of conscience doesn’t infringe on anyone’s sexual freedoms.

No one has the right to have the government force a particular minister to marry them, or a certain photographer to capture the first kiss or a baker to bake the wedding cake. Declining to perform these services doesn’t violate anyone’s sexual freedoms. Some citizens may conclude that they cannot in good conscience participate in a same-sex ceremony, from priests and pastors to bakers and florists. The government should not force them to choose between their religious beliefs and their livelihood. . . . .

[Read the whole LifeSiteNews article online.]

Children’s book promotes abortion to kids: ‘If you kept my sister, you would be tired, and sad, and mad!’

Katie Yoder on LifeSiteNews

March 26, 2015 (NewsBusters.org) — A three-year-old named Lee defends the abortion of his sister in a new children’s book – by an author with her own “ghost sister.”

Sister Apple, Sister Pig” by Mary Walling Blackburn focuses on an adult topic: abortion. The story follows Lee as he (or “she,” as the author stressed) searches for his sister – who might be an apple, a pig, or somewhere in a tree. Lee later decides “Sister is a happy ghost!” and explicitly says he’s glad Sister isn’t around to inconvenience his parents.  Continue reading

Supreme Court rules Quebec infringed on Loyola High School’s religious freedom

Montreal school wanted to opt out of Quebec’s ethics and religious culture course

The Canadian Press Posted: Mar 19, 2015 5:00 AM ET Last Updated: Mar 19, 2015 11:42 AM ET

But the high court was divided by a 4-3 margin on how to resolve the clash between religious freedom and the need to follow the secular law of the province. Continue reading

Alberta unanimously passes bill forcing faith-based schools to allow gay clubs

by Steve Weatherbe, LifeSiteNews. Marl 12, 2015

EDMONTON, March 12, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) –The Alberta legislature has unanimously passed a controversial law forcing Christian, Muslim, and Jewish schools to set up clubs for homosexuals, known as “gay-straight alliances,” and removing a provision allowing parents to remove their children from classroom discussions of homosexuality. Continue reading

Child sex offender Ben Levin said himself that he was in charge of crafting Ontario sex-ed curriculum

 
bySteve Weatherbe in LifeSite News, Mar. 4, 2015

Sign a petition to stop Ontario’s graphic sex-ed curriculum here

TORONTO, March 4, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Just-convicted child pornographer Ben Levin played a key role in developing Ontario’s new sex education curriculum, according to documents revealed by Toronto Sun columnist Joe Warmington, despite claims to the contrary by Premier Kathleen Wynne. Continue reading

The ‘preposterous’ reason that a Toronto university gave when it rejected its pro-life club this week

Thu Feb 26, 2015, LifeSite News

by Lianne Laurence
  • 15 (LifeSiteNews.com) — Ryerson Students’ Union’s board of directors has unanimously rejected an appeal of an earlier decision to refuse Students for Life at Ryerson (SFLR) recognition as an official campus club. Continue reading

Protecting human nature: Pope Francis takes aim at gender theory

In a book just published in Italy, the reforming pope defends the “design of the Creator…written in nature”.
Robert A. Gahl, Jr | 27 February 2015 in MercatorNet
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pope babyTelegraph/EPA

 

Once again, Pope Francis’ straight talk is making waves in the media. Two Vaticanisti, Andrea Tornielli and Giacomo Galeazzi, highlight his forceful condemnation of gender theory in a recent Italian book entitled Pope Francis: This Economy Kills, (Questa economia uccide), not yet available in English.

Last January, in a press conference during his return from the Philippines, Francis condemned the efforts to colonize developing countries with gender ideology. In one of the interviews provided in this new book, which had already been partially published but is only now made fully available by Tornielli and Galeazzi. Francis expands upon that condemnation. Continue reading

Christian Florist Found Guilty of Discrimination for Declining ‘Gay Wedding’ Refuses Settlement

By:   in Christian News online, February 21, 2015

KENNEWICK, Wash. — A Christian florist from Washington who is in jeopardy of losing her business, home and life savings after a judge found her guilty of discrimination this week for declining to fulfill an order for a same-sex ceremony has rejected an offer to settle the matter if she promises to service homosexual “weddings” in the future.

Stutzman Continue reading

Coming to select movie theatres on March 4 & 5, 2015: “The Drop Box”

For information go to this Focus on the Family Canada site.

EVERY HUMAN LIFE IS SACRED AND WORTHY OF LOVE

Hundreds of unwanted babies are abandoned on the streets of Seoul, South Korea, every year, forgotten by the surrounding culture.

The Drop Box is a documentary about the work of Pastor Lee Jong-rak and his heroic efforts to embrace and protect his community’s most vulnerable children. By installing a drop box outside his home, Pastor Lee provides a safe haven to babies who would otherwise be abandoned on the streets to die.

It’s a heart-wrenching exploration of the physical and emotional toll associated with providing refuge to save those deemed unwanted by society.

But it’s also a story of hope. And a celebration of the reality that every human life is sacred, has a purpose and is worthy of love.

Mum & Dad Adoption Preferred, Irish Poll Shows

TUESDAY, 24 FEBRUARY 2015, MercatorNet

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A new opinion poll conducted by Amarach Research on behalf of The Iona Institute has found that ninety-one percent of respondents believe that when a child is being placed for adoption, it is best to place the child with a man and a woman.

Ireland’s new Children and Family Relationships Bill has no such preference, meaning it is at odds with the opinion of the vast majority of Irish people, says Iona’s director David Quinn. “No assumption is made that it is in a child’s best interests to be placed with a mother and father when he or she is being placed for adoption.” Continue reading