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Analyst: Hobby Lobby Decision Was About Religious Freedom — Not Contraceptives

Citizen Link - Tue, 07/01/2014 - 18:26

The nation’s high court made a bold statement Monday with its 5-4 ruling in favor of religious freedom: Christian business owners still have the right to live out their faith. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the Obama administration cannot force Hobby Lobby — or any closely held business — to offer possible abortifacients in employee health plans.

News outlets, though, continue to claim the case was all about “contraception.” Focus on the Family Judicial Analyst Bruce Hausknecht explains why that is misleading.

“Don’t buy the hype that this case is about contraceptives or even abortion,” he explained. “Those are talking points from the Left that serve only to distract from what is really going on.”

In Monday’s majority opinion, Justice Alito was very clear about the issue at hand: The Health and Human Services (HHS) mandate violates the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 (RFRA).

In holding that the HHS mandate is unlawful, we reject HHS’s argument that the owners of the companies for­feited all RFRA protection when they decided to organize their businesses as corporations rather than sole proprie­torships or general partnerships.

Monday’s ruling is “fundamentally about religious freedom,” Hausknecht said.

“This is about whether the government can coerce an employer and its owners, who are people of faith, to violate their conscience in order to comply with a law. The Supreme Court quite reasonably pointed out that the federal government had alternatives available to it to accomplish its policy goals that didn’t trample on the rights of religious business owners. What is so unreasonable about that conclusion?”

While many recognize the ruling as a major victory for our First Amendment rights, others are falsely claiming the decision is a “war on women.”

Carly Fiorina, chairman of Unlocking Potential Project and former CEO of Hewlett Packard, said on Fox News we must combat these claims with facts.

The notion that this decision “intervenes between us and our doctors — it’s a lie,” she said. “This is propaganda — this is not political debate.”

These cases now return to the trial courts. Hausknecht said the Supreme Court decision gives Conestoga Wood and Hobby Lobby “a leg up.”

“Those courts,” he said, “are probably going to rule in their favor.”

Pictured above: Focus on the Family Judicial Analyst Bruce Hausknecht


Justices who ruled in favor of the families: Alito, Kennedy, Roberts, Scalia and Thomas.

Justices who dissented: Breyer, Ginsberg, Kagan and Sotomayor. _______________________________________________________________________

Read the decision in Conestoga Wood Specialties v. Burwell and Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores.

Watch “Hobby Lobby: A Family Business.”

Read the complaint in Hobby Lobby v. Sebelius.

Watch “Conestoga Wood Specialties.

Read the complaint in Conestoga Wood Specialties v. Sebelius.





Hobby Lobby Decision Causes Domino Effect for Other Cases

Citizen Link - Tue, 07/01/2014 - 18:19

Six more religious groups were granted relief from the HHS mandate, following the Supreme Court ruling Monday in favor of Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood Specialties.


Two federal courts issued decisions involving Eternal Word Television Network and five Catholic institutions in Wyoming. The groups object to the HHS mandate in Obamacare. It would have required them to provide possible abortion-causing drugs in their company health plans. The move comes just in time to save them from paying crippling fines that would have begun today.



“Thanks to the courts’ decisions, Eternal Word can now freely practice what they preach,” said Lori Windham, senior counsel at the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty. “The death knell is sounding for the HHS mandate.”


“The ruling in Hobby Lobby, and then these two rulings in quick succession, show that the HHS mandate is on its last legs when it comes to religious non-profits,” Windham said. “The sad part is that it has taken almost three years of litigation to get to a result the administration should have supported in the first place, because it is the right thing to do. Government shouldn’t be in the business of forcing nuns to violate their religious convictions.”

Supreme Court to Hear Church Free-Speech Case

Citizen Link - Tue, 07/01/2014 - 18:08

The nation’s high court agreed today to review a case involving an Arizona church that wants to post signs outside its building.

An ordinance in the town of Gilbert, a suburb of Phoenix, allows local governments to impose stricter regulations on temporary church signs than on other temporary, non-commercial signs.

“No law should treat the speech of churches worse than the speech of other similar speakers,” said Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) Senior Counsel David Cortman. “Towns cannot apply stricter rules to church signs when it doesn’t apply them to ideological, political, and other non-commercial signs.”

The ordinance sets the following regulations:

    • Political signs may be up to 32 square feet, displayed for many months and unlimited in number
    • Ideological signs can up to 20 square feet, displayed indefinitely and unlimited in   number
    • Church signs can only be six square feet, displayed for no more than 14 hours  and limited to four per property

ADF is asking the Supreme Court to reverse a federal appeals court decision. The 9th Circuit ruled 2-1 in favor of the ordinance.

In a dissent accompanying the ruling, Circuit Judge Paul Watford underscored the discrepancies among the sign regulations:

What we are left with, then, is Gilbert’s apparent determination that ‘ideological’ and ‘political’ speech is categorically more valuable, and therefore entitled to greater protection from regulation, than speech promoting events sponsored by non-profit organizations. That is precisely the value judgment that the First and Fourteenth Amendments forbid Gilbert to make.”

The appeals court decision “is out of step with the Constitution and the decisions of other circuits,” Cortman said. “We hope the Supreme Court will reverse the 9th Circuit’s decision.”

Read the ADF’s brief filed with U.S. Supreme Court in Reed v. Town of Gilbert.


CitizenLink Report: Court Reaffirms Religious Freedom

Citizen Link - Tue, 07/01/2014 - 17:48

A 5-4 decision at the U.S. Supreme Court confirms family owned corporations have religious rights. Kim Trobee and Bruce Hausknecht discuss the Hobby Lobby decision.

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Nepali Government Officials Acknowledge Success of Tailoring Program to Combat Human Trafficking

Christian Newswire - Tue, 07/01/2014 - 15:49
Contact: Colette Bercu, Founder/CEO, Free for Life International, 888-335-8835 FRANKLIN, Tenn., July 1, 2014 /Christian Newswire/ -- Nepal Government official takes note of anti trafficking non-profit organization's tailoring program for girls vulnerable to slavery and pledge to make an even greater impact. Free for Life International and Peace Rehabilitation Center have partnered since 2007 to make a difference in the war on slavery in Nepal. In 2012 they launched a tailoring program for yo Source: Free for Life International

Autopsy Report Reveals Abortion Patient's Hemorrhage Not Detected in Time

Christian Newswire - Tue, 07/01/2014 - 14:20
Pro-life Groups demand that Cuyahoga County Prosecutor launch criminal investigation of Cleveland's Preterm abortion facility.   Contact: Troy Newman, President, 316-841-1700; Cheryl Sullenger, Senior Policy Advisor, 316-516-3034; both with Operation Rescue, [email protected]       CLEVELAND, July 1, 2014 /Christian Newswire/ -- Operation Rescue has obtained the autopsy report of a woman who died from abortion complications that shows evidence of stand Source: Operation Rescue

Catholic Answers Relaunches Chastity Website

Christian Newswire - Tue, 07/01/2014 - 13:20
Contact: Jon Sorensen, 619-387-7200 SAN DIEGO, July 1, 2014 /Christian Newswire/ -- Catholic Answers announced the launch of the rejuvenated, a website aimed at helping Catholics understand and defend Catholic Church teaching on issues related to human sexuality. "Over the years, we've produced a substantial library of resources to help people understand God's plan for their sexuality," said Jon Sorensen, Catholic Answers director of marketing. "We have redesigned the Source: Catholic Answers

The 1st Annual 'Antelope Valley Praise in the Park Festival' is Coming to Lancaster California

Christian Newswire - Tue, 07/01/2014 - 11:00
Contact: Andrea Wilson, 818-561-0440, [email protected]; [email protected] LANCASTER, Calif., July 1, 2014 /Christian Newswire/ -- Total Deliverance Church, the fastest growing church in the Antelope Valley announces the first inception of the Antelope Valley Praise in the Park Festival event which will take place on Saturday August 30, 2014 from 1:00pm-5:00pm at the American Heroes Park located at 701 W Kettering Avenue Downtown Lancaster, CA. With the association of RKD Source: RKD Music Management

Christianity Today Highlights Millennial Faith with '33 Under 33'

Christian Newswire - Tue, 07/01/2014 - 10:00
Contact: Wes Jakacki, 630-260-6200 ext. 4320, [email protected] CAROL STREAM, Ill., July 1, 2014 /Christian Newswire/ -- In the midst of increasingly dire reports and commentary over the Millennial generation's departure from institutionalized faith, Christianity Today magazine recently published a list of "33 under 33" as the cover story of their July/August issue, highlighting 33 Millennials leading the Christian faith. A Millennial herself, Christianity Today's Managi Source: Christianity Today

Co-Director of 'Alone Yet Not Alone' Launches a Purpose-Driven Film Workshop for Christians

Christian Newswire - Tue, 07/01/2014 - 09:10
Contact: Michael Snyder, 540-338-8023; George Escobar, 540-751-1021, [email protected] WASHINGTON, July 1, 2014 /Christian Newswire/ -- Following the successful theatrical release of ALONE YET NOT ALONE, George Escobar, co-director/co-writer of the Oscar-nominated (for best song) faith drama will host an extensive two-day film training workshop, June 19-20, 2015. Escobar, co-founder of Advent Film Group, is offering a 50% discount for early registrations. "We're launching this p Source: Advent Film Group

Manifest Destiny: The Path Towards Wisdom

Christian Newswire - Tue, 07/01/2014 - 09:05
Jefferson City, MO. - Manifest Destiny: The Path Towards Wisdom by Dr. Jamere Brown Spencer reveals hope, purpose and identity through a powerful testimony of his life that led him to victory in finding his own purpose and destiny in the Kingdom of God. He uses these experiences, along with historical events that relate the unfolding of destiny, such as the Underground Railroad and the march on Washington D.C. in 1963 that also reveal deep spiritual truths. As an author, minister and theologi Source: MereJay

Churches for Life Announces Third Annual Nationwide Fast and Feast

Christian Newswire - Tue, 07/01/2014 - 09:00
Designed to Equip Christians Use Spiritual Weapons to Fight Spiritual Battles in the Life Arena Contact: Pastor Doug Merkey, President, Churches for Life, 314-267-4238, [email protected] ST. LOUIS, Mo., July 1, 2014 /Christian Newswire/ -- On July 25 and 26, 2014, Churches for Life [CFL] will help Christians pick up the spiritual weapons of fasting and prayer in its third annual Fast and Feast. Using tried-and-true resources, the ministry is planning to expand parti Source: Churches for Life

True Story of Sam Childers, the 'Real Machine Gun Preacher' to Raise One Million Dollars to Help Children of South Sudan in Current Civil War

Christian Newswire - Tue, 07/01/2014 - 07:00
The Machine Gun Preacher Documentary will be released on July 1, 2014 by Vision Films, Inc. Contact: Cherry Hepburn, 818-783-4071, [email protected] LOS ANGELES, July 1, 2014 /Christian Newswire/ -- Vision Films, Inc. is proud to announce the release of The Machine Gun Preacher Documentary, directed by Kevin Evans and Zac Simpson and produced by Angels of East Africa. The Machine Gun Preacher Documentary will debut on local cable satellite and Telco VOD providers through iNDemand Source: Putnam & Smith

A Win for Religious Freedom!

Citizen Link - Tue, 07/01/2014 - 01:05

EchoLight Studios' Religious Freedom Docudrama Set to Release After Hobby Lobby Victory

Christian Newswire - Mon, 06/30/2014 - 19:17
"One Generation Away" explores ongoing tension and suppression of religious issues in America   Contact: Heidi McDow, A. Larry Ross Communications, 972-267-1111, [email protected]    NASHVILLE, June 30, 2014 /Christian Newswire/ -- EchoLight Studios, a faith and family film studio and distributor, is releasing "One Generation Away: The Erosion of Religious Liberty," a docudrama that explores several current state and federal court cases, including Sebel Source: A Larry Ross Communications

Video: CitizenLink — A Quick Look at the Hobby Lobby Decision

Citizen Link - Mon, 06/30/2014 - 18:46

The Supreme Court says Christian families that own companies still have First Amendment rights. Bruce Hausknecht, judicial analyst for Focus on the Family, offers a first look at the decision.

Pro-Life Leaders Respond to Hobby Lobby Decision

Citizen Link - Mon, 06/30/2014 - 17:51

Pro-life leaders rejoiced at the Supreme Court decision affirming religious freedom:

“In holding that the HHS mandate is unlawful, we reject HHS’s argument that the owners of the companies for­feited all RFRA protection when they decided to organize their businesses as corporations rather than sole proprie­torships or general partnerships.”
—Justice Alito

 “These families’ stand for freedom benefits the many faith-based businesses faced with the same awful choice of deciding between their faith and livelihood. It also vindicates a higher principle, showing that government must tread carefully when it seeks to impose policies contrary to our most cherished rights.”
Focus on the Family President Jim Daly

“We thank the courageous Hahn and Green families for standing strong. They have had to endure the abuse of the radical abortion lobby and others who say they respect diversity but, in fact, endorse and impose conformity. Their message that women want free abortifacient drugs – and that they value these drugs above religious liberty – is demeaning to all American women and will be rejected by voters nationwide this fall, Americans of faith and conscience have been vindicated and this will be a galvanizing moment for the vast majority of citizens who vehemently objected to this mandate and the elected leaders who thrust it upon us.”
Susan B. Anthony List President Marjorie Dannenfelser

“I am proud that our Supreme Court has upheld the fundamental religious liberties of American citizens to engage in the free exercise of their religious beliefs, not only in their houses of worship, but also in their day to day lives, in business as well as at home,” “Our Justices have affirmed that Americans must not be compelled to put aside their religious beliefs and values as a pre-condition to their entering into the sphere of commerce and making a living for themselves and their families.”
—Thomas Brejcha, president and chief counsel of the Thomas More Society

“Our family is overjoyed by the Supreme Court’s decision. Today the nation’s highest court has re-affirmed the vital importance of religious liberty as one of our country’s founding principles. The Court’s decision is a victory, not just for our family business, but for all who seek to live out their faith. We are grateful to God and to those who have supported us on this difficult journey.”
Barbara Green, co-founder of Hobby Lobby

“We in the Hahn family want to thank everyone who supported us during this lawsuit. We wholeheartedly affirm what the Supreme Court made clear today – that Americans don’t have to surrender their freedom when they open a family business. As I said at the beginning of this lawsuit, this effort wasn’t just for Conestoga. We took this stand for others as well. The administration has gone too far in disrespecting the freedom of Americans to live out their convictions.”
Conestoga Wood Specialties President and CEO Anthony Hahn

“Hobby Lobby [and Conestoga Wood Specialities] refused to render to Caesar what belongs to God: their consciences. The Supreme Court agreed.”
—Dr. Russell Moore of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission

“This is a much-needed victory for faith freedoms, because this administration continues its assault on the values of the faith community. We are witnessing increasing attempts by the government to coerce the faith community to adopt the government’s viewpoint in matters of conscience.”
David Stevens, CEO of Christian Medical Association

“Today’s decision is a strong rejection of the Obama’s administration’s faulty argument that Americans’ religious freedom ends when they open a family business. The government cannot unreasonably force Americans to set aside their beliefs simply because they go into business to provide for themselves, their families, and their employees.”
The Heritage Foundation’s Religious Liberty Policy Analyst Sarah Torre and Senior Legal Policy Analyst Elizabeth Slattery

“Today’s decision is a victory for common-sense as pro-life Americans do not lose their First Amendment freedoms when they open a family business or when they value unborn life.”
—Americans United for Life President Charmaine Yoest

Freedom is the Ultimate Winner in Conestoga Wood and Hobby Lobby Supreme Court Decision

Citizen Link - Mon, 06/30/2014 - 17:03

CitizenLink is proud to work with the Pennsylvania Family Instituteand other family policy organizations across the country to stand for marriage, life and religious freedom. Learn more about the one in your state. 

Liberty in America was affirmed and protected today as the United States Supreme Court sided with advocates for First Amendment freedoms, and rejected government overreach into the lives of those who own and operate businesses.

Pennsylvania Family Institute (PFI) congratulates the Hahn Family, old-order Mennonites from Lancaster County and the founders and owners of Conestoga Wood Specialties, who challenged the federal government’s contraceptive drug coverage mandate.

“The Hahns made it very clear from the start being forced to provide employee coverage for drugs that can cause an abortion would be a severe violation of their religious faith and conscience,” said Michael Geer, PFI President. “Today’s ruling will permit them to continue to operate their company, continue to provide and care well for their employees, and also maintain the rights of conscience and religious freedom that brought their ancestors to our shores,” added Geer.

Pennsylvania Family Institute’s Independence Law Center initiated the case on behalf of the Hahn family and Conestoga Wood Specialties in December 2012.  Despite losses at the Federal District and Appeals Court levels, the Hahns stayed the course, understanding the significant liberty issues that were at stake.

At the Appeals court level, attorneys from the Alliance Defending Freedom joined with the Independence Law Center in supporting Conestoga Wood. At the Supreme Court, the case was combined with a similar challenge brought by Hobby Lobby, and attorneys from the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty engaged on behalf of both parties.

The Pennsylvania Family Institute applauds the excellent teamwork and cooperation among the families, companies, organizations and attorneys that brought about today’s decision which affirms and protects our most precious liberties.

“We thank the many friends and supporters of Pennsylvania Family Institute and the Independence Law Center for their prayers and financial support that enables us to vigorously defend liberty,” said Michael Geer.  “Your involvement and generosity was key to today’s win and will enable our continued vigilance on behalf of freedom.”
by the Pennsylvania Family Institute

Learn more about the Pennsylvania Family Institute.


Family Institute of Connecticut to Hold Victory for Religious Freedom Rally Tonight in Hartford

Christian Newswire - Mon, 06/30/2014 - 16:14
Contact: Peter Wolfgang, Executive Director, Family Institute of Connecticut, 860-548-0066   HARTFORD, Conn., June 30, 2014 /Christian Newswire/ -- Family Institute of Connecticut will host a Victory for Religious Freedom Rally tonight, Thursday, June 30th at 6:00 p.m. on the steps of the step Capitol in Hartford, overlooking Bushnell Park. State residents will join together to celebrate the U.S. Supreme Court's rulings in the Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood decisions.   Source: Family Institute of Connecticut

Coalition on Abortion/Breast Cancer Applauds Supreme Court's Decision on Contraceptive Mandate, Decries Government's War on Women's Health

Christian Newswire - Mon, 06/30/2014 - 15:52
Contact: Karen Malec, Coalition on Abortion/Breast Cancer, 847-421-4000   HOFFMAN ESTATES, Ill., June 30, 2014 /Christian Newswire/ -- The Coalition on Abortion/Breast Cancer welcomes the U.S. Supreme Court's decision involving ObamaCare's contraceptive mandate. The decision favors the religious freedom rights of Hobby Lobby Stores and Conestoga Wood Specialties Corporation and their owners.   The Coalition on Abortion/Breast Cancer was one of several organizations represented b Source: Coalition on Abortion/Breast Cancer