By Vince Torres, Executive Director
As reported last week, Legacy Church in Albuquerque filed a request for a temporary restraining order (TRO) in U.S. District Court following an unexpected revision to the Governor’s Public Health Order. Though the faith community had been voluntarily complying with the previous Order, the revisions removed the exception for churches, leading to confusion on the eve of Easter Sunday when the revised Order was released. The exception in question had allowed churches to use essential church members and staff to stream services and conduct socially distanced services like drive-ins and drive-through prayer lines. In response to the sudden change, some churches cancelled their Easter Sunday plans while others scrambled to modify them.
On Friday afternoon, U.S. District Court Judge James Browning denied Legacy Church’s request for a TRO, concluding that the Governor’s Order “does not violate Legacy Church’s First Amendment religious freedom rights, because the Order is neutral and generally applicable; and…the Order is a reasonable time, place, and manner restriction, and so does not violate Legacy Church’s First Amendment rights to assemble.”
On Saturday, however, a U.S. District Court Judge in Kansas granted a TRO against a similar Kansas Executive Order limiting church gatherings to 10 people. In his detailed opinion, Judge John Broomes noted:
“[T]he secular facilities that are still exempt from the mass gathering prohibition or that are given more lenient treatment, despite the apparent likelihood they will involve mass gatherings, include airports, childcare locations, hotels, food pantries and shelters, detoxification centers, retail establishments, retail food establishments, public transportation, job centers, office spaces used for essential functions, and the apparently broad category of ‘manufacturing, processing, distribution, and production facilities.’”
Unlike Judge Browning in the Legacy Church opinion, Judge Broomes determined that the Kansas Order was not neutral and generally applicable because it restricted religious practices while maintaining exemptions for secular activities with comparable health risks. Judge Broomes added:
“Based on the record now before the court, the most reasonable inference from this disparate treatment is that the essential function of religious activity was targeted for stricter treatment due to the nature of the activity involved, rather than because such gatherings pose unique health risks that mass gatherings at commercial and other facilities do not, or because the risks at religious gatherings uniquely cannot be adequately mitigated with safety protocols.”
With two seemingly conflicting rulings in these respective cases, it is clear that the government’s authority to regulate religious activity is still up for debate among members of America’s Judiciary. The federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act clearly provides that “laws of general applicability” (such as those found in the aforementioned state orders) may burden the free exercise of religion, but only if they advance a compelling governmental interest and represent the least restrictive means of doing so.
While there is no debating the fact that slowing the spread of COVID-19 represents a compelling governmental interest, questions certainly remain as to what constitutes the “least restrictive means” of burdening the freedom of religion. In Legacy’s case, the attorney’s argued that the Governor’s revised Order does not represent the least restrictive means given the fact that lesser restrictive means are available to retailers and other businesses. Judge Browning disagreed, stating that religious services could not be equated with essential business.
Despite Judge Browning’s ruling, New Mexico churches still benefited from the Legacy Church case. For example:
- Thanks to the Legacy case, we now have an official statement from Secretary of Health Kathy Kunkel affirming that churches are “exempt from the ‘mass gatherings’ restriction to the extent necessary to provide remote services to their congregants.” Though the revised Public Health Order clearly states that all gatherings of 5 or more individuals in churches are prohibited, we thank Secretary Kunkel for making this reasonable concession so churches can continue to stream their services online, with the people needed to produce them.
- Thanks to the Legacy case, we now have clarification and direction from Secretary Kunkel that drive-in and drive-through religious services are legal, “provided that people maintain social distancing.” Though the revised Public Health Order mentions “audiovisual means,” it does not address other creative services, and we thank Secretary Kunkel for this clarification.
- Finally, thanks to the Legacy case, churches and other houses of worship can minister to their people this weekend without the fear and anxiety of potentially breaking the law in the process.
Clearly, legal action could have been prevented by better and more timely communication from the Governor’s Office. Moving forward, our hope is that all revisions to the Public Health Order will be communicated during the work week and at least 72 hours in advance of any gatherings impacted by those revisions.
When we work together, we can find common ground, and that is exactly what our people desperately need us to do right now.
As we do our best to set politics aside and navigate this national pandemic together, I was reminded this week that politics are never truly set aside.
Consider the actions of Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham this past weekend…
On Saturday evening, Governor Lujan Grisham suddenly and unexpectedly revised her Public Health Order by removing the exception for churches and other houses of worship. While the faith community has been voluntarily complying with the Governor’s ban on mass gatherings, the exception had allowed churches to maintain the essential working staff needed to stream services, conduct socially distanced ministries like drive-thru prayer lines, and provide critical resources to people in need. This all changed less than 17 or so hours before most churches were scheduled to commence their Easter experiences, leading to confusion and in some cases, the cancelation of ministry plans. House Minority Whip, State Representative Rod Montoya, quickly released a public statement calling the Governor’s actions “egregious,” and Legacy Church in Albuquerque filed a request for an injunction in federal court. A ruling in the case is still pending.
Also consider the actions of Attorney General Hector Balderas earlier this month…
While other states were suspending elective abortions to conserve PPE for COVID-19-related medical care, Attorney General Balderas was busy pressuring the federal government to waive standard regulations on abortion pills so that women can terminate their pregnancies at home. In a letter signed by 21 State Attorneys General, Balderas also requested expanded abortion access through telehealth. New Mexico is already a participating state for TelAbortion, a website that offers online abortion evaluations and abortion pills by mail.
Now consider the message communicated by our State leaders through these actions …
According to Governor Lujan Grisham and Attorney General Balderas, abortions are so essential that abortion clinics must remain open and we should even waive standard drug regulations to increase abortion access. At the same time, churches are non-essential and must remain closed. Abortion clinics can have long lines of people—many coming from out of state. But five local church members cannot gather in their church building to package and prepare food boxes for families in need.
I have been extremely supportive of Governor Lujan Grisham and her efforts to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, and I will continue to urge all New Mexicans to practice social distancing and avoid mass gatherings. However, the Governor’s recent decision to single out churches while continuing to protect the abortion industry had to be addressed.
Governor Lujan Grisham repeatedly says we are in this together and we must do all we can to save lives.
I agree with you, Governor, so please do us a favor. Treat the church like you are treating all other essential services and help us save even more lives by closing the abortion clinics in New Mexico.
President and Executive Direector
Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports . . . And let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion. Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure, reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle. – George Washington, 1789 Farewell Address
Every individual, family, and church community should seek to follow the Lord’s command to love our neighbor as ourselves and follow social distancing guidelines in order to protect our community as we all seek to control the spread of COVID-19. And in return, government leaders should trust religious bodies to follow generally applicable guidelines. However, over the Easter weekend we saw a marked uptick in government leaders showing extreme distrust for the religious community and threatening harsh criminal penalties for exercising religious freedoms.
Because the First Amendment is a fundamental right explicitly listed in the Bill of Rights, it gets heightened protection. Any state law or regulation that affects religious practice or belief should be generally applicable, meaning that it must apply to everyone and cannot target religious people specifically as a distinct group. Further, any regulation/law must be for a specific purpose (like combating a pandemic) and cannot simply be imposed for an unrelated purpose.
When do the COVID-19 church orders go too far?
Generally speaking, government regulations go too far when they single out religious groups – parishioners, churches, mosques, synagogues, etc. – for special treatment or criminal prosecution. This is true during normal circumstances. It remains true during times of crisis like the current COVID-19 pandemic.
Many of the early stay-at-home orders applying to churches did so broadly and were voluntarily. And the vast majority of churches complied willingly. In other states without mandatory orders, churches complied voluntarily for the good of the community. But as Easter and Passover approached, this mutual trust between government and church disappeared.
In my state of Kansas, after weeks of working with legislative leaders, liberal Governor Laura Kelly reversed her exemption of churches and issued an executive order singling out churches while exempting 25 other types of groups. She even went so far as to compare church services to KU basketball games. While Kansans love KU basketball, there are clear constitutional differences.
Similarly, in New Mexico the liberal governor quickly changed her mind about whether churches were trustworthy during the holiest week in the Jewish, Christian, and Muslim faith. She ended the exemption for churches from her Public Health Order, subjecting churches to the ban on all gatherings of more than 4 people. Many churches were unable to produce even online services under these restrictions and cancelled even these services.
How bad is it?
- In Kansas, attending church could mean $2500 in fines and up to a year in jail.
- In Kentucky, the liberal Governor threatened to collect the license plate numbers of any who attended churches, even drive-in ones (where people remained safely in their cars) while ignoring others at drive-in restaurants or retail stores.
- New York City Mayor de Blasio threatened to close churches permanently if they did not comply with his closure order.
- Some counties in California have even banned drive-in services.
- Even the generally conservative Governor of Indiana issued a very detailed restrictive order targeting churches unfairly.
To add salt to this wound, many of these states allow abortion clinics to continue operating. In states where recreational marijuana is legal, pot shops have been deemed essential businesses. Similarly, liquor stores are deemed essential in most every state as well. Yet, church doors are shuttered.
Where do we go from here?
While there are no perfect solutions, other liberal governors in states like Colorado and Wisconsin figured out ways to work with the churches—to allow them to continue to produce services, while encouraging members to stay home. There are multiple different means for the church to still worship together without endangering lives. And as many people have said recently, the church is much more than just a building. God has provided great gifts of creativity and technology that many churches are putting to good use.
At the same time, Governors and government leaders are not off the hook – they still need to operate constitutionally. They cannot be allowed to set dangerous precedents that single out religious freedom for criminal prosecution.
Only under rare, extraordinary circumstances, can religious freedom be squelched, if at all. In those circumstances, government actions cannot, even then, single out religious freedom alone for punitive action.
Governors should actually strive to work with the faith community on a number of fronts amid this crisis. Family Policy Alliance team members have been on calls with President Trump and Vice President Pence, who have repeatedly thanked the faith community for all that they are doing to rearrange their services and serve their communities.
George Washington didn’t realize how important his 1789 words would be in 2020. We need national morality—fueled by religion—amid the fight against COVID-19 more than ever. Churches are coming alongside the government leaders to battle the coronavirus, provide hope, serve their communities, and help guide us through the crisis. Now we must make sure our government leaders come alongside the churches so that we still recognize our country’s moral fabric after the crisis passes.
Brittany Jones, Esq.
Family Policy Alliance of Kansas
This afternoon, Governor Kelly issued an executive order that specifically targets churches, demanding that they not meet if they are likely to bring more than ten people together. Until now, churches have been trusted to be responsible and take measures to protect their members. Churches have been voluntarily complying with these directives. Why are schools, libraries, and even restaurants exempted from this more restrictive order but churches are not? Why is Governor targeting churches? Why are we the ones who are not trusted to be socially responsible?
It is a highly disappointing that the Governor would choose to specifically target churches, especially on the holiest of week in the Christian faith. Yes, churches should be wise and should take appropriate measures to protect their members. Yet, there are multiple state governors in states with liberal administrations that have continued to trust the faith-based community to practice wisdom and love for neighbor. These governors have worked with the religious community to ensure their safety and well-being and instead Governor Kelly has refused to do so and rather issued a sweeping order.
To be clear, we are not encouraging any churches to meet during this time of crisis. However, the faith community should be trusted to self-regulate and the government should not use instances that occurred before the Governor’s first stay-at-home order was even issued to validate an attack on religious freedom. We call on members of the Legislative Coordinating Council to denounce this blatant attack on religious freedom and protect the freedoms we hold dear as Kansans.
This Holy Week has been unusual. Confinement not congregating is the new normal. As we celebrate Resurrection Sunday through innovative worship experiences, I want to share three lessons from the last 24 hours of Jesus’s life that will inspire you to stay focused and committed to making NJ better in the months ahead.
Lesson 1: God is involved in government – you should be too!
Many well-intentioned believers fail to live up to Christ honoring biblical citizenship because of early 20th century fundamentalist beliefs. In their eyes, government and other public institutions such as schools are inherently part of this fallen world. Therefore, Christians should avoid any effort to improve these institutions because they are irredeemable.
Jesus had a different perspective on the government. As he stood before Pontius Pilate, he appealed to the sovereignty of God that reigned over human government.
Do you not know that I have authority to release you and authority to crucify you?” 11 Jesus answered him, “You would have no authority over me at all unless it had been given you from above. Therefore he who delivered me over to you has the greater sin.”
Lesson 2: Religious liberty might suffer under the disguise of social justice
Judas was guilty of the greater sin referenced above because he willingly handed over Christ for his own personal benefit. Judas attempted to leverage feelings of guilt that the poor could have been better served with the money Mary dedicated by using expensive ointment to worship Jesus. Motivated by financial self-interest, Judas would betray the Savior hours later for 30 pieces of silver. I am alarmed that many today are intrigued by socialism, despite the potential loss of religious liberty at the hands of extreme left-wing political leaders who enshrine erotic rights above constitutional religious rights. Jesus instructed us to help the poor, but not at the expense of silencing gospel preaching.
Why was this ointment not sold for three hundred denarii and given to the poor?” He [Judas] said this, not because he cared about the poor, but because he was a thief, and having charge of the moneybag he used to help himself to what was put into it.
Lesson 3: Stand-alone if you must
Jesus not only experienced the betrayal of Judas but the pain of his closest friends refusing to stand with him in times of distress. Today, many people silently agree with our Biblical values that have helped society to flourish for centuries. Tragically, they are afraid to stand with us on the front lines to promote better public policies. We must stay encouraged and engaged notwithstanding the response of others.
Behold, the hour is coming, indeed it has come, when you will be scattered, each to his own home, and will leave me alone. Yet I am not alone, for the Father is with me.
Happy Resurrection Sunday! Our redeemer lives!
Director of Advocacy
On Saturday, President Trump tweeted, “The Paycheck Protection Program is up and running! The program is open to nonprofits as well, so banks be sure to sign up our Great Religious and Veteran Organizations that need help!”
Perhaps you work at one of those “Great Religious” organizations, or you know someone who does. If you’re at a church or non-profit and wondering whether you’re eligible for the program, what’s entailed, or how the program actually works, keep reading. If you’re not, consider forwarding this to a church leader or someone who may appreciate the extra help.
First things first: What is the Paycheck Protection Program?
The Paycheck Protection Program is one of two new types of loans available to small businesses through the recently signed CARES Act (the Congressional economic relief package which you can read about here). Churches must have fewer than 500 employees to qualify as a “small business.” The Paycheck Protection Program is a loan – up to $10 million – aimed at retaining small business employees. As such, the portion of it used toward payroll (and certain other expenses) will be completely forgivable provided that at least 75 percent of the loan goes toward payroll costs. Otherwise, the loan has a fixed one percent interest rate and maturity of two years.
Is my church eligible?
Yes. A recent Congressional news release clarified: “All churches are eligible for the forgivable loans available under the Paycheck Protection Program.”
Do churches and religious non-profits have to do anything extra to qualify?
No. The government has clarified that churches will be subject to the same limitations on the loans as other entities, but not to any additional or unique burdens. As the release stated, “No church should have to file a Form 990” and non-profits do not need a tax exemption “determination letter” from the IRS.
If I participate, will the government restrict my religious activities or speech?
A loan will not limit an organization’s First Amendment religious rights. It is true that churches receiving the funds must abide by federal nondiscrimination standards (which include race, color, religion, sex, handicap, age, and national origin), but the Small Business Administration has clarified that “these nondiscrimination requirements do not limit a faith-based entity’s autonomy with respect to membership or employment decisions connected to its religious exercise.”
For churches, we recommend COVID Church Aid, a website filled with COVID-19 resources for church leaders, including resources on the Paycheck Protection Program.
How does this affect ministries like Family Policy Alliance?
While churches and many non-profits are eligible to utilize the new funding, organizations and ministries like Family Policy Alliance that engage in election and legislative work are not. As a result, we are more thankful than ever for the faithful, sacrificial giving of our ministry partners. Regardless of your ability to give financially to Family Policy Alliance at this time, we are deeply grateful for your gift of prayer for our ministry. And please know, the Family Policy Alliance team is steadfast in praying for you.
Reflecting on this Holy Week, President Donald Trump observed, “We may be apart, but we can use this time to turn to reflection and prayer and our own personal relationship with God. I would ask that all Americans pray for the heroic doctors and nurses, for the truck drivers and grocery store workers, and for everyone fighting this battle. … Most of all, I would like to ask for your prayers for the families who have lost loved ones. Ask God to comfort them in their hour of grief, a great hour of grief for our nation, for the world. … With the faith of our families, and the spirit of our people, and the Grace of our God, we will endure, we will overcome, we will prevail. We have learned so much. We will be stronger than ever.”
We couldn’t agree more.
Policy & Communications Strategist
We need you to act today to help us stop an effort to add sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) as protected classes to our current nondiscrimination laws. A hearing has been scheduled for this bill next Thursday, March 19. Your quick action is needed to oppose it.
Around the country, SOGI laws have been the impetus for bathroom privacy issues (allowing men into women’s restrooms and locker rooms) and attacks on small business owners (like cake baker Jack Phillips in Colorado and florist Barronelle Stutzman in Washington State.) We need our conservative legislators to stand strong on this issue.
Despite claims to the contrary, the legislation that has been introduced does nothing to protect everyday believers like Jack and Barronelle. When this legislation receives a hearing, it becomes a circus, painting people of faith as out of step with the times and as bigots.
This legislation has been introduced in the past in Kansas but this is the first time in several years that it has gotten a hearing. For the good of all families in our state and for protection of our religious liberty, we need you to let your legislators know that weaponizing our nondiscrimination laws, designed to protect all Kansans, is totally unacceptable in our state.
I ask that you contact the members of the committee TODAY and ask that they keep the faith in the people of Kansas. Thank you for taking action! And please share widely so others can make their voice heard, too!
If you can make it, the hearing will be Thursday, March 19th at 9:00 am in the Old Supreme Court Chamber on the 3rd floor of the Capitol in Topeka. We need to fill the room that day and people should plan to arrive early in order to get a seat. We also need people of faith who are willing to testify against this bill. If you are interested, please let me know by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Keeping the faith in Kansans,
Brittany M. Jones, Esq.
Director of Advocacy
P.S. If you are an individual who can speak out for our freedom by testifying on this bill, I can help with arrangements but we need to act quickly – deadlines for arranging testimony are Tuesday, March 17th – email me for more details at email@example.com.
Faith-based adoption agencies provide a critical service by placing children in loving homes. Motivated by their faith, they show life is truly cherished.
But, they face a grave threat that would compel many to shut their doors here in Georgia and is keeping many others from even coming to our state.
Increasingly, governments are forcing these critical agencies to violate their faith – undermining their reason for existence. And, in our state, we have not passed legislation that will protect against such gross overreach.
That’s why Sen. Marty Harbin’s SB 368 is so critical. It ensures that these adoption agencies will never be forced to violate their written statements of faith.
We strongly support this bill. It protects the First Amendment, honors birthmothers, preserves options to meet the needs of children, and empowers more loving families to welcome children into their homes.
This legislation was just introduced, but we believe it will be assigned to the Judiciary Committee when the Senate reconvenes on February 18th. Please reach out to the senators on the committee to encourage them to support this pro-family bill:
Chairman Jesse Stone (404) 463-1314
Bill Cowsert (404) 463-1366
Blake Tillery (404) 656-0089
Bill Heath (404) 656-3943
Harold Jones (404) 463-3942
John Kennedy (404) 656-0045
William Ligon (404) 463-1383
Elena Parent (404) 656-5109
Brian Strickland (404) 656-7454
Already, opponents of this legislation are spinning a false narrative that this is discriminatory. That is FALSE. This bill prevents discrimination against those who hold to sincere beliefs – discrimination that would make it impossible for these agencies to continue providing their vital services.
Stand firm and take action today to support our faith-based adoption agencies!
President and Executive Director
In 1776, at the Fifth Virginia Convention in Williamsburg, George Mason of Virginia began drafting 10 articles outlining a “Declaration of Rights” emphasizing that these rights were the “basis and foundation of good government.”
These original 10 article were later expanded to 16 and finally passed into law on June 12, 1776.
An interesting story that teaches us much today came from a brief exchange between George Mason and James Madison. Mr. Mason, in drafting his thoughts on Freedom of Religion initially used the phrase “religious tolerance” in the first draft. James Madison, with his keen understanding, approached Mr. Mason and suggested that the phrase “religious tolerance” be replaced with “religious liberty.” Madison pointed out that “tolerance” gave the impression that the state could give and take away the basic right to exercise of religion.
Madison, who was a star pupil of Princeton Professor, Rev. John Witherspoon, had been well educated by the great teacher in the differences between “alienable” and “inalienable” rights. Madison clearly saw the danger in leaving the inalienable right of religion to the tolerance of government.
The current political conversation that’s driven by the LGBTQ movement, demands “gender identity” receive special protection in the law. This would mean everyone, teachers, students, employers, employees, and business-owners would have to “affirm” the transgender agenda or risk government persecution. Some in the LGBTQ movement say these special protections will exempt faith-based organizations. One popular example of this movement at the national level is a federal bill entitled “Fairness for All.” Radicals insist that it is the “middle ground,” a logical compromise.
There are several problems with this thinking. It reverses the historic American understanding of Religious Liberty and moves us into the path of government “toleration” of an inalienable right. It also places a fundamental disagreement about what a human being “is” directly into law.
In a day in which the most basic right to life for every citizen has been decimated to the point where an estimated 61 million lives have been legally extinguished, every American who holds their rights as sacred should see the danger inherent in “Fairness for All” and other legislation like it.
We in Wyoming must be prepared to guard against these efforts. “Fairness for All” started with our western neighbor, Utah, where it was sold as a compromise bill—”advancing the LGBT agenda and protecting religious freedom”. In reality, the Utah compromise has only served to trample on the rights of Americans to freely exercise their faith. Now, federal legislation is being promoted in Washington, D.C based upon the Utah bill.
Thankfully, many see the danger in the legislation and its federal introduction has been muted. But we must still always be alert for efforts to introduce it into Wyoming.
The purpose of Family Policy Alliance® is to see the danger and protect our families. Will you stand with us?
Director of Advocacy
Did you miss it? Last Thursday was Religious Freedom Day—a day commemorating the Virginia legislature adopting Thomas Jefferson’s Statute for Religious Freedom, which eventually led to the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and the guarantee of religious freedom for all Americans. It wasn’t hard to miss as the mainstream media largely focused on the preparations for the impeachment trial and the Democratic candidates for president.
President Trump celebrated Religious Freedom Day with three new areas of protection for religious freedom. Over the past three years, we have shared with you ways the Trump administration has advanced religious freedom in quite a few areas of policy. At the very beginning of the Trump administration we asked you to urge the president to begin the process to Make Religious Freedom Great Again, which the president eventually did.
We also made sure you knew when he strengthened religious freedom by addressing the abortion pill mandate in Obamacare, conscience rights for healthcare professionals, government contractors and adoption agencies, and even religious freedom abroad – all of which are vital efforts to protect and promote religious freedom for Americans from all walks of life.
Last week, the Trump administration advanced religious freedom in three more important areas.
Student Religious Freedom
The administration will now require every public school in the nation to affirmatively certify that it does not impede, stifle or hamper the religious expression of students. Among other things, the rule reiterates that schools cannot compromise students’ First Amendment rights to pray, read the Bible, be excused for religious observances, and include religious references in school speeches or academic works.
The rule also explicitly reaffirms that schools cannot discriminate against student groups’ rights to pray and organize for prayer or Bible study at permissible times on school property if other extracurricular groups are allowed to meet and organize similarly. Neither can religious groups be subject to different rules or requirements based on their religious nature.
Schools must also have a policy in place to investigate any complaints of religious discrimination and report those complaints to both state and federal education officials.
Perhaps most importantly, the rules clarify that the Equal Access Act absolutely allows student religious groups to limit those eligible to lead their groups to those who are members of their religion. This is important as, in some cases, Christian groups have been targeted because of their requirement that group leaders be Christians and live according to a faith-based morality policy.
Schools that cannot annually certify compliance with this rule risk losing federal funding.
Repealing Obama Administration Anti-Religious Rules
In a second action last week, the Trump administration revoked a discriminatory Obama-era rule that impacted religious organizations unfairly.
The Obama rule placed a burdensome requirement on any faith-based organization providing government-backed social services such as adoption, foster care and homeless assistance, among others. The organizations were required to inform all clients that they were a religious/faith-based provider. If the potential client was then uncomfortable or offended by this, the service provider was required to provide a list of alternate, secular service providers.
The former rule made an automatic assumption that since the provider was a religious entity, clients would immediately take offense and opt to seek services elsewhere. The Obama rule immediately prejudiced faith-based providers as suspect and therefore required them to conduct themselves differently than secular providers. There was no requirement placed on secular providers to make any such declarations about their secular status or to provide alternate referrals to potential clients who desired a faith-based provider.
The final set of religious freedom protections announced last week further clarifies that religious, faith-based entities cannot be singled out or treated differently than secular, non-religious entities in federal grant-making processes. This will level the playing field and eliminate any prejudices against faith-based organizations across nine different federal agencies.
Additionally, the rule prohibits any state or local laws or regulations from superseding this rule in the further distribution of federal grant money to local sub-grantees. In effect, the rule states that no federal money can be further distributed in any manner that discriminates against religious, faith-based organizations due to their religious nature.
The Trump Record
Don’t be surprised if this is the first you are hearing of these changes. With all the noise of partisan bickering in our nation’s capital and election-year politics dominating the headlines, it can be easy to miss the good news – and this is truly good news for our families, our nation and our religious freedom.
The Trump administration has a record of accomplishment on religious freedom and is continuing to deliver on promises to protect our First Amendment rights.
For freedom for the family of believers,