Missouri Family E-News

June 23, 2015

                 
Bill Filed to Protect Religious Freedom

Legislation has been introduced in the United States Congress to protect the rights of small businesses and non-profit organizations who believe in the true definition of marriage.

The First Amendment Defense Act (FADA) has been filed in the U.S. Senate by Senator Mike Lee of Utah and in the U.S. House by Representative Raul Labrador of Idaho.

The bill would prohibit the federal government from discriminating against charitable organizations and business owners who affirm marriage as exclusively the union of one man and one woman.

The provisions of the proposed law would ban discrimination in the awarding of federal grants and contracts, the issuance of licenses, and the operation of programs.  The bill would also bar any action by the federal government to withdraw tax exemptions from churches and non-profit groups who uphold the traditional definition of marriage.

The legislation is a response in part to autocratic actions by President Obama which penalize faith-based agencies and businesses.  Earlier this year the President issued an unlawful executive order prohibiting any federal contractor from discriminating based on "sexual orientation."

Now the Obama Administration is proposing to expand the scope of the executive order to ban "sexual orientation" discrimination by any recipient of federal funds.

This would require countless religious organizations to violate their religious conscience in order to continue to receive federal payments or reimbursements for their charitable services to clients who qualify for government assistance.

Concerns about the institutional freedom of religious organizations were heightened during recent oral arguments before the U.S. Supreme Court on the legal effort to redefine marriage to include same-sex unions.

When asked by Justice Samuel Alito whether religious schools could be stripped of their tax exemption because of their beliefs in traditional marriage, U.S. Solicitor General Donald Verilli replied, "It's certainly going to be an issue."

Ryan Anderson of the Heritage Foundation says that adoption of the FADA is critical.  "Non-profit status isn't a political gift reserved for those groups who win the favor of a particular government administration."

"No group should be denied or lose non-profit status because it believes that marriage is the union of a man and a woman, or that sexual relations should be reserved for marriage."

Anderson argues that federal contractors should not be subject to a political litmus test.  "All Americans should be free to compete for contracts and other funding from the government without penalty because of their reasonable beliefs about morally contentious issues."

"The federal government should not seek to enforce monolithic liberal secularism by using the tax code and government contracting to reshape civil society on controversial moral issues--issues that have nothing to do with the contracts or tax policies at stake," Anderson adds.

We suggest you contact your U.S. Senators and your U.S. Representative to urge their support for the First Amendment Defense Act.

You can contact Senator Roy Blunt and Senator Claire McCaskill by using these links:
Senator Blunt

Senator McCaskill

You can reach your U.S. Representative by using this link:
Your Congressman 
  

Listen to the Broadcast Version of the Jeff City Update online at 
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Religious Leaders
Issue Challenge to
U.S. Supreme Court


A group of Southern Baptist leaders have issued a forceful warning to the United States Supreme Court on the eve of an anticipated landmark decision on the future of marriage in the United States.

A group of 17 current and former Presidents of the Southern Baptist Convention issued a joint statement declaring that they "will not recognize same-sex 'marriages,' our churches will not host same-sex ceremonies, and we will not perform such ceremonies."

Before the month ends, the Supreme Court is expected to issue a decision in a high-profile case known as Obergefell v. Hodges.  The High Court is hearing an appeal of a decision by the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upholding the traditional marriage laws of Michigan, Ohio, Tennessee, and Kentucky.

A group of homosexual "couples" are seeking a reversal of that decision, calling on the High Court to mandate so-called same-sex "marriage" on all 50 states in the Union.   The same-sex plaintiffs are demanding that the High Court rule that they have a fundamental right to "marry" under the Equal Protection Clause of the U.S. Constitution.

The Southern Baptist leaders affirmed together that they will stake their lives together "upon the Word of God and the testimony of Jesus."  "What the Bible says about marriage is clear, definitive, and unchanging...The Scriptures' teaching on marriage is not negotiable...We will not accept, nor adhere to, any legal redefinition of marriage issued by any political body including the United States Supreme Court."

The statement added:  "While we affirm our love for all people, including those with same-sex attraction, we cannot and will not affirm the moral acceptability of homosexual behavior or any behavior that deviates from God's design for marriage...Our first duty is to love and obey God, not man."

Dr. Ronnie Floyd, the current Southern Baptist Convention President, delivered a stirring message to SBC delegates who gathered last week at their annual messengers meeting in Columbus, Ohio.  Messengers were resolute in their commitment to God's design for marriage. 

"While some evangelicals may be bowing down to the deception of same-sex 'marriage,' we will not bow down nor be silent...Silence in the face of evil is evil itself.  God will not hold us guiltless.  Not to speak is to speak.  Not to act is to act...Our first commitment is to God and His Word--nothing else and noone else."
Another group of Christian leaders has also issued a joint statement reaffirming their commitment to protect and defend marriage as the union of one man and one woman.  That open letter was signed by leaders of the Assemblies of God, Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, General Baptists, Church of the Nazarene, Presbyterian Church in America, Anglican Church in North America, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, and the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

"Every child has a mother and a father, and every child deserves the opportunity, whenever possible, to be raised by his or her mother and father in a stable, loving home...," the statement reads.  "Marriage as the union of a man and a woman is the only institution that encourages and safeguards the connection between children and their mother and father.  ...It is in the best interests of the state to afford the union of husband and wife unique legal protection and reinforcement."

The religious leaders expressed concern about the serious consequences of transforming the legal and cultural meaning of marriage.  "No person or community, including religious organizations and individuals of faith, should be forced to accept a redefinition of marriage...Government should protect the rights of those with differing views of marriage to express their beliefs and convictions without fear of intimidation, marginalization, or unwarranted charges that their values imply hostility, animosity, or hatred to others."

The Missouri Family Policy Council joined in yet another open letter to the Supreme Court which was printed as a full-page advertisement in the Washington Post.  The leading signatories to the letter were Dr. James Dobson, founder of Focus on the Family, Franklin Graham of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, Rev. James Robison of Life Today International, Pastor Rick Scarborough of Vision America, and Mat Staver of Liberty Counsel.

"We affirm that any judicial opinion which purports to redefine marriage will constitute an unjust law...We will not honor any decision by the Supreme Court which will force us to violate a clear Biblical understanding of marriage as solely the union of one man and one woman," the letter reads.

"We implore this Court to not step outside of its legitimate authority and unleash religious persecution and discrimination against people of faith.  We will be forced to choose between the state and our conscience...On this choice, we must pledge obedience to our Creator.  While there are many things we can endure, any attempt to redefine marriage is a line we cannot and will not cross," the letter concludes.

You can read the letter in its entirety and join other Americans in signing the Marriage Pledge by using this link:
We ask that you be praying each day of this week for the Supreme Court Justices, that they will honor and preserve the Godly design of marriage in our nation's rule of law, and respect the religious freedom of those who stand on the Truths of the Word of God.  A decision in the Obergefell v. Hodges case is expected early next week.

Joe's Signature