Want to have your religious freedom protected? Well, here in Georgia, the freest place for people of faith is in our prisons – where federal religious protections apply. There, convicted felons receive stronger protections than you, your pastor, business owners, and the students, teachers, and coaches that enter our schools.
As Georgia remains one of the minority of states around the country lacking Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) protections, Stacey Abrams and the radical leftists running around Georgia will aim to create false arguments around the issue leading into the fall. Don’t let your friends, family, or neighbors be fooled!
To help others learn the truth about what RFRA really is, help us by sharing the compelling informational video found HERE.
Lies abound in this debate, and the George Soros/Tom Steyer funded liberals campaigning against pro-family conservatives will argue that protecting the First Amendment rights of all Americans is somehow discrimination or anti-business. That’s utterly false! Electing leaders who will protect our most fundamental rights is beneficial to ALL Georgians- even those who disagree with us.
Legislative Update: Many of you rallied with us around SB 361, sponsored by Sen. Michael Williams, and its House version, HB 922 sponsored by Rep. Kasey Carpenter. This legislation is critical to securing religious freedom for students, teachers, and coaches- all of whom are being bullied into surrendering their First Amendment rights upon entering a school.
While we look forward to updating you regarding our continued push on this issue over the coming legislative session, we are also thrilled that Georgia was one of 13 states that filed an amicus brief with the Supreme Court in the case of Coach Joe Kennedy, who coaches football in Washington. Like many of the sources of inspiration here in Georgia, Coach Kennedy had his First Amendment rights stripped away simply because of his job. No American should ever be told that they cannot acknowledge their God!
The Freedom from Religion Foundation and the leftists that are trying to infiltrate Georgia will continue bullying school districts and faithful individuals until we act with strong legislation. We are thankful that Attorney General Chris Carr has positioned Georgia on the right side of this issue, but we are prayerful that we can pass legislation that protects religious freedom in schools and removes the need to continue litigating the issue in court.
Because the First Amendment is for Everyone,
President and Executive Director
Supreme Court: Mandatory Union Dues Violate First Amendment
By Brittany Jones, Esq., policy manager for Family Policy Alliance®
Thomas Jefferson said, “To compel a man to furnish funds for the propagation of ideas he disbelieves and abhors is sinful and tyrannical.”
And just this week, Justice Alito echoed Jefferson in a monumental opinion where the Supreme Court reversed its own prior decision: “Compelling individuals to mouth support for views they find objectionable violates that cardinal constitutional command, and in most contexts, any such effort would be universally condemned.”
The Supreme Court in Janus v. American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees Council affirmed that the government can no longer compel the sort of funding that Jefferson abhorred through mandatory union dues for government employees. And by doing so, the Court for the second time this week, protected First Amendment rights to free speech and to freely live out one’s faith.
What is this case about?
This case challenges an established practice that allowed public sector unions to charge what is known as “agency fees.” In union states, this arrangement allows an employee to opt out of a portion of the union dues that are supposedly used for political activity. The fees are typically similar to, but a bit lower than, union dues.
This case centers around an Illinois public employee, Mark Janus. He challenged the agency fee system that was set up in the 1977 Supreme Court case Abood v. Detroit Board of Education. He argued that collective bargaining in public sector unions is inherently political and that forcing employees to pay any dues to an inherently political entity violates the First Amendment rights of public employees.
The Union, on the other hand, argued that without these fees they would not be able to survive and represent the employees well. Further, they argue that non-union employees benefit from their efforts and should at least pay some fees.
What did the Court say?
The Court decided that laws that compel a government employee to support a public sector union violate free speech rights by forcing an employee to support a message that they disagree with.
Justice Alito reiterated why free speech is so important to upholding our democratic system of government. Further he decried government-compelled speech because “individuals are coerced into betraying their convictions. Forcing free and independent individuals to endorse ideas they find objectionable is always demeaning.”
Once again, as in Masterpiece and NIFLA, the Court protected the rights of conscience of all people. It affirmed our right to think, act, and speak on the topics that most affect us and refused to allow the government to compel us to speak when we wish to remain silent.
What does this mean going forward—for Believers and for union states?
Twenty-eight states are already right-to-work states, which means that employees do not have to pay union dues. This ruling will not directly affect those states, but it will have a huge effect on states that don’t give employees this freedom. To learn more or opt out of union dues follow this link: https://www.optouttoday.com/other-public-sector-union.
For Believers everywhere, in union states or in right-to-work states, the Janus opinion this week further strengthens our freedom to speak freely about biblical principles in the public square. We can promote the value of life, the good of marriage between one man and one woman, and the importance of religious freedom.
And, of course, we can support elected leaders and organizations who share our values. If you live in a state where you were forced to pay union dues to fund advocacy that you disagreed with, you are now free to send your dollars to organizations and causes that align with your beliefs.
If you would like to support Family Policy Alliance’s 2018 election efforts to see pro-family, pro-religious freedom candidates (who have been through our thorough vetting process) elected to office in both state and federal races, please partner with us here.
Are you fed up with the liberal agenda to eradicate all faith from our schools?
Well, we at Family Policy Alliance are beginning to push back. As you may have seen, we are partnering with Senator Michael Williams on Senate Bill 361 which protects the First Amendment rights of students, teachers, faculty and coaches. Passage of this bill would end a sad era where our schools have been a place of open hostility and warfare against people of faith!
But we need your help. Please join us for the committee hearing on Wednesday, February 7, at the Capitol Building Room 450 at 3:00 p.m. to express your support for this legislation!
Your attendance at this meeting will send a strong signal that you support the First Amendment and that you expect our legislators to do the same. We hope to see you there!
Because the First Amendment Still Applies in Schools,
President and Executive Director
Do you know that January 16 is annually declared by the President as Religious Freedom Day? Did you also know that our Governor, Doug Burgum, also recently signed a proclamation declaring Religious Freedom Day for our state? That’s excellent and we thank both of them for their actions, but I suspect that many of you have never even heard of Religious Freedom Day.
Religious Freedom Day celebrates the anniversary of the Virginia Statute of Religious Freedom, signed in 1786. Thomas Jefferson’s landmark statute became the basis for the establishment clause of the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
Simply put, religious freedom is your freedom to live and work according to your beliefs.
Sadly, in the past few years private business owners adhering to their beliefs have been fined, subject to lawsuits, or had their licenses revoked. Some faith-based charitable organizations such as foster care and adoption agencies have been forced out altogether.
The Founders understood something we’ve forgotten: religious freedom matters because it ensures a free society in which the government doesn’t create rights. The role of government is to provide a framework for structured liberty and to recognize the rights that every person has because they are human.
We must defend religious freedom and oppose allowing those in power to use the force and weight of government to compel people to violate their sincerely held religious beliefs. No one should be forced to choose between their faith and their livelihood. No one should have to retreat from civil and political life to follow their faith or conscience. You should never be asked to surrender a God-given right.
In America, people should be free to live and work according to their beliefs. It’s one of the principles on which this country was founded. You’re not free if your beliefs are confined to your mind. Everyone in world history under every sort of regime has been “free to believe.” What makes America unique is our freedom to peacefully live out those beliefs, and the Constitution protects that freedom.
Family Policy Alliance fights for religious freedom right here in our state and at the national level. If you want to help us in this continual defense of your religious freedom, please pass this message on to your friends and family and ask then to join our mailing list so they can stay informed on this topic and many others that affect our families. We can protect our freedoms if we remain vigilant and stand up for truth and our God-given rights.
President and Executive Director
“Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy.” Proverbs 31:8-9
Few descriptors better fit the tactics of the radical Left than “bullies.” Whether using the mainstream media, academia or the political establishment, the Left knows the best way to win converts isn’t through the winsomeness of their ideas – it’s through bullying.
One recent example occurred in Cherokee County, when a high school teacher scolded two students for wearing T-shirts supporting President Trump. She compared it to a swastika and forced them to change.
Instead of encouraging dialogue, acknowledging the students’ political awareness or celebrating their free speech, she used her position to intimidate, bully and silence her students.
Now, please understand me: In this instance, it was a Trump shirt. Next time, it could be a shirt with a Bible verse. Students here in Georgia already have been punished for sharing the Gospel, and we are hearing reports of high school students being disciplined for wearing Christian clothing.
Even in this Red state, freedom of speech is under assault!
That’s why I appreciate Sen. Michael Williams, who led a First Amendment rally in Cherokee County this week to show support for students and for our most sacred of rights. As you may know, Williams is running for governor, and some have criticized his rally. However I was there, so I know firsthand that the students were incredibly thankful someone was willing to speak up for them.
Family Policy Alliance of Georgia has not yet taken a position in the governor’s race, but we are grateful to Sen. Williams for being a voice and standing up to leftist bullies. I enjoyed participating in the rally and will always make certain our organization is at the tip of the spear defending free speech for all Georgians.
If you wish to speak out regarding Cherokee County, I encourage you to contact the School Board.
Something to think about: There are intense opinions regarding the protests in the NFL. However, I encourage all of us to think about the rhetoric we use. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said this week that free speech can apply “on your own time.” An argument can be made that the statement can hold water if given context, but let’s be careful. The Left would love to see the exercise of free speech and religious freedom “on our own time,” aka “within the four walls of your church or home.” We can’t check our First Amendment rights at the door!
In case you missed it: Many experts on our team commented on the First Amendment in a great video.
In His service,
In his Stoplight® commentary, Stuart Shepard shares 14 things that are unassailably true about the NFL protest, the First Amendment and Mr. Trump.
Whether you agree or disagree with the players who are kneeling during the anthem, whether you think President Trump’s coarse language in saying they should all be fired was spot on or not fitting for a president, you’ll want to consider this sharp opinion on how all of this should play out in a free society.
And most of all, what this says about some other people who are fighting for the right to protest, but who are not getting nearly as much attention.
Thank you for sharing Stoplight with your friends.
College students are shouting down conservative speakers, breaking windows and smashing cars. NFL players are taking a knee during the national anthem, wanting their protest to be seen every week on national television.
Whatever you may think of these highly publicized protests, it says something about America, and it also says something about your freedom to speak up and bring about change – whether as an individual, a business owner or a church.
Paul Weber, president and CEO of Family Policy Alliance; Tom Minnery, our president emeritus; and other members of our team made this video to encourage you to exercise your right to free speech, to engage the debate and to unleash your citizenship.
If it seems to you that attacks on Americans’ religious freedoms continue to grow, you’re right. A comprehensive new report details the attacks – and documents a 133-percent increase since 2011.
The report is titled “Undeniable.” It’s a project of First Liberty, a leading legal advocate for religious freedom and a longtime close ally of Family Policy Alliance.
In addition to the dramatic growth in religious liberty violations since 2011, the report also provides the year-over-year increase, including a 15-percent rise in just the last year. But more than just giving a count of such violations, this 420-page resource offers details on every violation.
Download the report, and then spread the word. “Undeniable” is a great resource for pastors and policymakers, and it’s a good tool to inform friends who may be in the dark about this growing problem.
It’s hard to believe the back-to-school routine of busy mornings, school lunches and homework is upon us again — or will be very soon.
Have you ever thought about how so much of the debate about education is not focused on the kids who are being educated? Many school districts (and the Obama Administration) forced the transgender issue on children as young as kindergarten in the past year, by requiring curriculum changes or forcing young girls to share locker rooms and showers with men and boys.
Children don’t lose their First Amendment rights to religion and free speech when they walk into their classrooms, but school policies increasingly act like they do. And, in many states, efforts to enhance the freedom of families to choose the best education for their child are often dead-in-the-water because powerful, well-funded teachers’ unions oppose giving families that freedom. There are even school-based healthcare clinics that can give your daughter an abortion-causing drug without your knowledge or consent.
This is why we need your help and the help of Christian families across the country. It’s not enough to raise our kids in the church — especially when liberal agendas are working hard to counter the biblical training parents and churches are giving our children.
In the next few months, Family Policy Alliance will be unveiling a new project designed to launch kids to success. We believe it’s time to take Planned Parenthood and LGBT activist groups out of the classroom and put solid education back in it. We believe it’s time to help kids express their religious beliefs in a way that reflects Christ, rather than forcing them into silence. And, we believe it’s time for families to drive education needs. Specifically, we’ll be working to:
- Make it easier for parents to homeschool their children by providing access to specific public-school classes or extracurricular activities.
- Support Education Savings Accounts, so families can control their children’s education.
- Protect students’ religious-freedom rights in the classroom, so they can freely live out their beliefs.
- Remove bureaucracy and liberal agendas from the classroom — such as faith-based schools being targeted by state governments or students losing scholarships because they attend a religious school — so kids can focus on getting the education they need.
A federal judge has ruled that pregnancy centers in the greater Baltimore area do not have to promote any message other than the message of life.
Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake and the City Council had moved to force the pro-life centers to post signs discouraging women from using their services and pointing them to abortion sellers.
“No government or pro-abortion group has the right to invade the privacy of national pro-life organizations,” said attorney Matt Bowman with Alliance Defending Freedom, “simply to grind an ideological axe.”
The ordinance is similar to laws now on the books in California and Illinois where Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys are working to protect crisis pregnancy centers from government overreach.
“The court’s decision in this case,” Bowman said, “will provide persuasive precedent to defend free speech there and in other states. This is an important First Amendment victory.”