The deeply troubling federal report targeting religious freedom

Nearly 225 years after the ratification of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, the cause of conscience protected by the principles of “no establishment” and “free exercise” may be losing support in the minds and hearts of the American people.

Appeals by religious individuals and groups for exemption from government laws and regulations that substantially burden religious practice are increasingly unpopular and controversial. So much so that many in the media have taken to using scare quotes, transforming religious freedom into “religious freedom.”

Now the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights appears to be recommending that we make it official: Our first freedom is first no more.

According to a commission report released Sept. 7, “civil rights protections ensuring nondiscrimination, as embodied in the Constitution, laws, and policies, are of preeminent importance in American jurisprudence.”

If we accept this assertion, it means that conflicts between religious freedom and nondiscrimination principles are resolved by denying accommodation for religious conscience — except perhaps in very rare and narrow circumstances.

According to the findings of the commission:

“Religious exemptions to the protections of civil rights based upon classifications such as race, color, national origin, sex, disability status, sexual orientation, and gender identity, when they are permissible, significantly infringe upon those civil rights.”

The findings and recommendations of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights — an independent, bipartisan, fact-finding federal agency — carry weight with government officials responsible for national civil rights policy and enforcement.

Robust protection for civil rights is, of course, essential in a democratic society. But so is protection for liberty of conscience. Despite dark chapters of religious discrimination, the United States has a long and honorable history of taking claims of conscience seriously. From conscientious objection to war to religious accommodations in the workplace, the American experiment in religious freedom seeks (on our best days) to ensure that people are free to follow the dictates of conscience in matters of faith.

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Lawsuit: Girls exposed to transgender twerking & grinding in locker room

A Minnesota public high school is accused of turning a blind eye as a transgender student engaged in twerking, grinding and all sorts of scurrilous activity in the girls locker room, according to an explosive lawsuit filed in federal court.

Alliance Defending Freedom is representing at least 11 families asking the court to stop Virginia Public Schools’ policy that opens up showers and locker rooms to the opposite sex.

“School policies should promote the rights and safety of every student, but that’s not what Virginia Public Schools is doing – and it’s certainly not what the departments of Education and Justice are doing,” ADF senior counsel Gary McCaleb said. “No child should be forced into an intimate setting, like a locker room, with someone of the opposite sex.”

Named as defendants in the lawsuit are Attorney General Loretta Lynch, Independent School District Number 706 (the Virginia School District) and Secretary of Education John King, Jr.

I reached out to the district but they are not commenting.

“No student should be forced to use private facilities at school, like locker rooms and restrooms, with students of the opposite sex,” the lawsuit declares.

The district opened its schools’ locker rooms and showers and restrooms to boys who identify as girls after the Justice Dept. and Dept. of Education issued a directive warning schools to either accommodate transgender students or lose federal funding.

“No government agency should hold hostage important education funding to advance an unlawful agenda,” the lawsuit states. “No school district should trade its students’ constitutional and statutory rights for dollars and cents, especially when it means abandoning a common sense practice that long protected every student’s privacy and access to education.”

Under the school district’s policy, the transgender student (identified as Student X) was allowed to use the bathrooms and locker rooms of his choice. The child was also allowed to participate on girls athletic teams.

Alliance Defending Freedom alleges Student X engaged in inappropriate and sexually suggestive behavior – leaving some girls in tears.

Original Publication


Transgender Bathroom Song Targets Kids

Mr. Loops, a New York based children’s entertainer, is trying to teach kids about acceptance through current events. In other words, he’s singing potty propaganda.

In a new, catchy music video, Mr. Loops, his wife and animal puppets dance in front of bathroom stalls, teaching kids that “pee is pee, poo is poo, me is me and you is you.” According to LGBTQ Nation contributor Jeff Taylor, the song “explains bathrooms and bigots in the best possible way.”

“No matter your gender, we gotta remember, it all comes out the same in the end. Everyone needs a place, to go where they feel safe,” croons Mr. Loops, his wife smiling by his side. “We gotta respect each other.”

Apparently, the irony of safety and respect are lost on the clownish couple. In a time where media coverage of sexual assault is so high, the logical disconnect is mindboggling.

“Portapotties are a potty everybody shares, so are potties inside our houses, and nobody cares,” the song continues. “All we gotta do is use our common sense and then, we can solve our problems while remaining friends.”

A couple of problems here. Portapotties and domestic bathrooms have always been solo. Always. No one takes issue with individual gender neutral bathrooms.

Second, to what end does Mr. Loops’ common sense take him? He certainly doesn’t articulate it here, but one thing is clear. Mr. Loops isn’t a fool. Catchy beats and dancing animals are a great way to brainwash children. “I imagined kids and families singing [the song] and laughing,” he explained to Taylor, “all the while instilling a sense of acceptance and awareness to this ‘issue.’”

We should certainly teach our children to be polite to others and respectful of those who are different, but this should not come at the cost of endangering our kids.

Original Publication

Russia’s Newest Law: No Evangelizing Outside of Church

Russian president Vladimir Putin approved a package of anti-terrorism laws that usher in tighter restrictions on missionary activity and evangelism.

Despite prayers and protests from religious leaders and human rights advocates, the Kremlin announced Putin’s approval yesterday. The amendments, including laws against sharing faith in homes, online, or anywhere but recognized church buildings, go into effect July 20.

Though opponents to the new measures hope to eventually appeal in court or elect legislators to amend them, they have begun to prepare their communities for life under the new rules, reported Forum 18 News Service, a Christian outlet reporting on the region.
Protestants and religious minorities small enough to gather in homes fear they will be most affected. Last month, “the local police officer came to a home where a group of Pentecostals meet each Sunday,” Konstantin Bendas, deputy bishop of the Pentecostal Union, told Forum 18. “With a contented expression he told them: ‘Now they’re adopting the law I’ll drive you all out of here.’ I reckon we should now fear such zealous enforcement.”

“There are potentially very wide-sweeping ramifications to this law,” Joel Griffith of the Slavic Gospel Association said in a Mission Network News report. “It just depends on, again, how it is going to be enforced, and that is a very huge question mark.”

Original Publication