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Archive for the category “Religious liberty”

On religious freedom, at CNN it’s still 1984

Mark Kelly writes at kainos:

orwell 1984 2Do not take a press release at face value, nor press releases regurgitated by “news” organizations.

Dan Merica and Kevin Bohn report for CNN, in a post RealClearReligion styled as “White House Caves on Mandate” that the Obama administration has finalized rules on the HHS abortifacient mandate that “appropriately balance” religious liberty and contraception coverage. Yet the article goes on to point out that those rules “have undergone only minor changes” and you have to read 13 paragraphs before you find out  the very serious conscience issues faced by Christians in for-profit business like Hobby Lobby have not been resolved. Five administration voices — named and unnamed — are quoted glowingly that justice has been done, contrasted with only one opposing voice speaking directly to the finalized rules.

In stark contrast, Sarah Pulliam Bailey’s article for RNS got straight to the real news in an article headlined “White House denies contraception exemption to private businesses.” The article lead plainly says what the CNN presser did its best to ignore: “The Obama administration on Friday (June 28) issued final rules for religious groups for its controversial contraception mandate, maintaining its position on who qualifies for religious exemption and allowing no carve-outs for private business owners.”

I’m supposing someone at RCR rewrites the headlines. CNN’s said “Finalized rules let religious groups opt out of contraception mandate.” But that’s only marginally more accurate than the RCR head, and the CNN piece goes to great lengths to bury the still-serious concerns about religious liberty and completely ignores recent developments like Hobby Lobby’ssuccessful appeal against the mandate.

Only in 1984 would news media portray an administration’s determined opposition to religious freedom as listening to the people’s voice and allowing conscientious objection.

Hobby Lobby appeal update: Court unanimously agrees

david green hobbyBrianna Bailey reports for

A federal appeals court in Denver sided with Hobby Lobby Stores Inc. on Thursday in its legal battle against part of the Affordable Care Act. …

In a statement, Hobby Lobby founder and CEO David Green said he and his family believe that life begins with conception and paying for their employees to have insurance coverage for emergency contraceptives such as the morning-after pill would force them to violate their religious beliefs.

“We believe that business owners should not have to be forced to choose between following their faith and following the law,” he said in the statement. “We will continue to fight for our religious freedom, and we appreciate the prayers of support we have received.”

In a 168-page ruling issued Thursday, the federal appeals court sent the case back to a lower court for further review.

The panel of eight appellate court judges who heard arguments in May ruled unanimously that Hobby Lobby and its affiliated Christian bookstore chain Mardel have the right to sue over the Affordable Care Act.

“A religious individual may enter the for-profit realm intending to demonstrate to the marketplace that a corporation can succeed financially while adhering to religious values,” the judges said in the ruling.

Read the full text of the article by clicking here.
Learn more from the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty.

Stand for freedom — both at home and abroad

Have conservative evangelicals in the United States become so shortsighted — or steeped in the culture of victimhood — that they can only protest the noose tightening on their own religious liberty but cannot be bothered to stand alongside Christians in other lands whose very lives are at stake?

Mark Tooley, writing at, agrees with a recent Jonathan Merritt column that too many U.S. Christians are crying out about their own “persecution” while ignoring the truly horrifying oppression of Christians in other places around the world:

“… Even in our increasingly problematic culture, difficulties in the U.S. don’t compare to church burnings in Iraq, Pakistan, or northern Nigeria. Hundreds of millions of Christians globally live with the daily threat of persecution, mostly by Islamist regimes and movements or by communist governments. Their plight should motivate our unending prayers and advocacy, amid gratitude for our own relative safety in America.”

At the same time, however, “domestic religious liberty concerns such as the Obamacare mandate compelling religious groups to subsidize abortion pills, or the stigmatization of supporters of traditional marriage, amid rhetoric that privatizes ‘freedom of worship,’ may not equal North Korea level torment. But they are very real, unprecedented attacks on traditional American legal and cultural protections for full religious liberty. …

“Our American liberties are the notable exception and not the rule in our fallen world. We should jealously guard them, knowing freedom is typically lost incrementally and not suddenly, while also keeping perspective on and solidarity with believers who suffer unimaginably around the world. It’s not an either/or issue but a seamless garment of expectation that all persons everywhere merit full religious liberty. As Americans, we have special providential duties to protect religious freedom here. And as Christians, we are supremely obliged to esteem and urge protection for the whole Body of Christ.”

The Institute on Religion and Democracy and Evangelicals for Social Action’s Prism magazine both engage the issue of religious freedom in worthy ways.

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