By Stephanie C., Esq., policy manager
“Government shall not attempt to control the ideas a man has. . . . It shall let anybody talk in this country.” Former Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black
Recently, I read a story about a doctor in the U.K. who was fired for continuing to use pronouns that identified a person’s biological sex, instead of their “chosen” sex. So, even though Dr. Mackareth might be treating a man (who said he was a transgender woman), he would still refer to the individual as “he” or “him.” After 26 years of treating people, Dr. Mackareth was no longer free to speak the truth because that truth is in opposition to the transgender agenda, which has become the state agenda in the U.K.
Here in the U.S., his story is becoming all too familiar. Teachers are also being fired for not using a student’s “preferred gender pronoun.”
In Indiana and Texas, teachers have been forced out of their positions for continuing to use correct gender pronouns and names to refer to students. Schools cite this “improper” use of language as “harassment” and in violation of school policies to use “preferred gender pronouns.” For these teachers, using a pronoun like “her” to refer to a boy was wrong –biologically, linguistically, and quite literally.
The Christian Civic League of Maine and New Yorker’s Family Research Foundation (our state allies) have worked hard over the past year to fight new school policies that seek to control the ideas teachers and students have about gender by requiring teachers and students to use cross-gender pronouns and names. Teachers and students face termination, expulsion, and suspension if they do not conform their speech to promote the school’s radical agenda—an agenda that denies the biological reality of sex and imposes the idea that sex is changeable.
Teachers and students are also subject to school “sensitivity training” if they use language to express the view that sex is biological. Teachers and students should never be forced to attend government training of an ideology or political perspective. This is yet another way the government is attempting to control the ideas that teachers and students have about sex and gender. This is a gross infringement upon our right to ideas and, by extension, our right to free speech.
Our nation was founded upon inalienable rights. Rights that cannot be taken away or removed or reduced. One of those inalienable rights is Liberty. From this right of liberty, flows the absolute right to our ideas and to share our ideas. We share our ideas through speech. Which brings us to our nation’s strongest free speech protections in the world.
Our own Supreme Court recently warned about the dangers of our state government “suppressing unpopular ideas or information” for no legitimate government purpose. In a recent Supreme Court Case, Justice Thomas wrote:
“The best test of truth is the power of the thought to get itself accepted in the competition of the market. . . and the people lose when the government is the one deciding which ideas should prevail.”
There is a reason America has been a symbol of light and hope to much of the world. We fiercely protect our liberty and have a unique system of checks and balances to limit the power of our government. But that system requires our constant participation, and our freedoms require our constant protection. Stand with Family Policy Alliance today! Unleash your biblical citizenship ™ by donating to Family Policy Alliance—to promote good policy, elect honorable leaders, and hold our representatives accountable for protecting our Liberty.
The battle for freedom in America was officially launched 242 years ago tomorrow. We rightfully celebrate the landmark in human history that the signing of the Declaration represents – and the practical freedoms that we still enjoy to this moment.
But the battle has never ended.
That’s evident from just a glance at the headlines of the last week. Thankfully, we won some of those skirmishes, including these two:
- On a 5-4 opinion last week, the Supreme Court struck down California’s “authoritarian regime” (in the words of Justice Kennedy) that forced pregnancy resource centers to promote abortion.
- The Court last week also scored another victory for free speech – also in a 5-4 ruling – when it declared that public employees cannot be forced to pay union dues that fund political causes with which they disagree.
In so doing, they even quoted the author of the Declaration, Thomas Jefferson, who said, “To compel a man to furnish contributions of money for the propagation of opinions which he disbelieves and abhors is sinful and tyrannical.”
Indeed, the battle that Jefferson launched 242 years ago lives on.
There are three lessons from those victories:
- They may be legal victories, but they wouldn’t have happened without tireless work and sacrificial investment in the political arena. Those decisions don’t happen if Hillary Clinton had made a Supreme Court nomination last year.And they don’t happen if not for the dramatic transformation of the U.S. Senate in the 2014 elections, when your support helped Family Policy Alliance send 23 million election messages, boosting the turnout of inconsistent pro-life voters by several percentage points in key states.
- These victories are 5-4 decisions. Yes, freedom won – but it’s hanging by a thread.
- The same “authoritarian regimes” that are behind the compulsion struck down by the Court are at work in a hundred other nefarious schemes all over the nation. Most notoriously, as we’ve told you about, is the California bill that would shut down a portion of the Gospel itself – the message that God can transform the lives of sinners like you and me, including those struggling with same-sex attraction and gender confusion.
So tomorrow, let’s celebrate with vigor and joyfully thank God for the blessings of freedom that we enjoy in this nation!
But then let’s get back to the battle. There’s so much to be done.
In the words of Ronald Reagan, “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same.”
Thank you for engaging on the front lines of that battle through your prayerful involvement and support of Family Policy Alliance.®
Standing with you for freedom,
P.S. If you would like to join in the 2018 election efforts to see godly men and women serving in public office—especially as we see the need for men and women elected to the U.S. Senate who will support placing the President’s conservative, prolife justice on the Supreme Court—please consider stewarding some of your resources to support our efforts to mobilize Christian, prolife voters in 2018!
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.
A California legislative committee is about to consider a bill that has truly stunned observers around the country. Will you join a rising chorus of voices who are speaking out to stop it?
Assembly Bill 2943 essentially outlaws ANY communication that is seen as an attempt to influence someone away from transgenderism or homosexuality – if such communication involves any kind of financial transaction.
What would California look like if AB 2943 passes?
- A therapist or pastoral counselor could be prosecuted for helping a 20-year-old who is struggling with her gender and pays for counseling to help her accept her God-given birth sex.
- A Christian college could face punishment if a professor teaches about God’s design for sexuality.
- Even a Christian bookstore owner or non-profit ministry that sells a book that contains similar messaging could face the long arm of the law.
As an organization with deep California roots, Family Policy Alliance is thankful that Californians are speaking up against AB 2943! Will you join them?
Here’s what you can do:
- Please send a quick note to the members of the committee that will consider the bill this week. You can reach them all with just a click on our Action Center.
- Please share this message far and wide. If thousands of Californians speak up, it will be impossible to ignore!
Thank you for making your voice heard!
The Family Policy Alliance Team
For years, LGBT activists have insisted that it is impossible to change so-called “sexual orientation.” But now they are trying to make it illegal.
Faced with the testimonies of thousands of people who have made the journey out of homosexuality, the powerful LGBT lobby is now trying to demonize and outlaw counseling that facilitates such change—as well as counseling that helps children struggling with gender identity.
The first step is an effort to ban professional counseling for minors who have unwanted same-sex attraction or gender identity issues. Already, 34 states have been targeted with such legislation, and additional states are expected to be targeted in 2018.
But while the gay lobby has managed to pick off several states that might be considered “low-hanging fruit” – mainly West Coast and northeastern states – the vast majority of the targeted states (25) have rejected this top LGBT priority. Why?
Here are some key reasons state lawmakers have rejected these counseling bans, and why families—including families who do not have children struggling with unwanted same-sex attraction or gender identity issues—should join the fight to reject this top LGBT priority.
1. It attacks free speech.
Banning this type of counseling censors the speech of licensed counselors by prohibiting them from offering acceptance, support and understanding of a patient’s own goals for change. Many state lawmakers recognize that the Constitution prohibits the government from censoring speech based upon viewpoint. Yet, these bills only allow speech that supports the viewpoint that all same-sex attraction or gender identity is healthy and good.
2. It strikes at the heart of parental rights.
These bills strip parents of comprehensive tools and resources to help protect their child from the psychological harm that comes from living with unwanted same-sex attraction – or the emotional distress that is caused by their child feeling alienated from their physical bodies (gender dysphoria). Parents know their children best and are in the best position to decide the right course of treatment and spiritual help for their children.
3. It abandons victims of sexual abuse.
One of the most common – and tragic – causes of same-sex attraction in children is sexual abuse. Opponents of these counseling bans recognize that it is wrong to compel a child to embrace an identity that was forced upon them by their abuser.
Jayson’s story is an example of a child who struggled with same-sex attraction after suffering from abuse—yet he received help.
4. The scare stories are being exposed.
With help from a largely complicit media, the LGBT lobbyists have trumpeted tales of abusive practices such as shock therapy. But even some ban supporters now admit that it has been decades since such “aversive” practices have been employed, and in most states any new attempt to use such practices would violate counseling standards. In fact, the LGBT lobby has opposed efforts to ban such practices, as it would make their scare stories moot and take away from their real target, which is basic “talk therapy” counseling.
Still, despite growing resistance to the counseling bans, they remain a serious threat, thanks to the power of the LGBT lobby and their allies in the media. And reports indicate that such bans may be pushed in a majority of states in 2018.
Family Policy Alliance and our network of 41 state groups is engaged on your behalf on this issue. In fact, since the initial 2013 surprise attacks in California and New Jersey, only one state with a Family Policy Alliance-allied group has passed a counseling ban.
What you can do: Be on the lookout for counseling ban legislation in your state, and if you receive such alerts from Family Policy Alliance or one of our state allies, be sure to take action and forward the alert to friends in your state. We need your help as parents and believers to stop this attack on parental rights.
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.
Wisconsin Family Action is one of 40 state groups allied with Family Policy Alliance.
A Wisconsin judge says a work-from-home photographer does not have to comply with city and state “public accommodations” laws that might have forced her to photograph same-sex weddings.
“This is a huge win for free speech in Wisconsin,” said Julaine Appling, president of Wisconsin Family Action. “No one should be threatened with punishment for having views that the government doesn’t favor.”
Earlier this year Amy Lawson, a professional photographer and blogger who works out of her Madison home, filed what is known as a “pre-enforcement challenge” lawsuit against the City of Madison and the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development, alleging that the city’s public accommodations ordinance and the state’s public accommodations law prohibit her from conducting her business, Amy Lynn Photography Studio, according to the dictates of her conscience and beliefs. Lawson argued the ordinance and law even force her to use her creative expression in support of activities she doesn’t agree with, including same-sex marriage and abortion.
Dane County Circuit Court Judge Richard Neiss determined in a court hearing in the case Amy Lynn Photography Studio v. City of Madison that he would issue an order that declares Lawson and her home-based business are not subject to the city’s public accommodations ordinance or the state’s public accommodations law. Both the state and the city agreed to this resolution.
“What this decision means,” Appling explained, “is that creative professionals in Wisconsin and in Madison, those who, like Amy, don’t have storefronts, have the freedom to determine what ideas they will promote using their artistic talents. In other words, the City of Madison and the State of Wisconsin can’t punish these professionals for exercising their freedom of speech artistically, even if the city or state disagrees with what they are saying.”
A federal district court has ruled that churches in Iowa are not “public accommodations.” That means they are not subject to government control.
The ruling came in a case brought by Fort Des Moines Church of Christ after the Iowa Civil Rights Commission issued guidelines censoring church statements on biblical sexuality and forcing churches to open changing rooms, showers and restrooms to transgendered individuals.
“The government cannot legally censor pastors or coerce churches to use their facilities in a way that violates their religious beliefs,” said Steve O’Ban, Alliance Defending Freedom attorney. “The Iowa commission’s guidance was vague and empowered government bureaucrats far beyond what the Constitution allows. The court cut off this unconstitutional power grab by clarifying that the law does not apply to churches and reassured Iowa churches that they are free from improper state interference.”
Fort Des Moines Church of Christ will now drop its lawsuit against state officials.
The Iowa Civil Rights Act bans places of “public accommodation” from expressing a view on sexuality. Church leaders worried that it could have been used to violate freedom of speech on topics of sexuality and would leave the Civil Rights Commission in charge of deeming what was “bona fide” religious speech.
Christina Holcomb, an Alliance Defending Freedom attorney, said churches should be free to communicate their religious beliefs according to their faith without fear of government punishment.
“This lawsuit was necessary to ensure that the state won’t try to enforce the law against churches,” she said, “and we’re pleased that Iowa churches now have the reassurance and clarity that 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.”