It’s not often that we hear of government bodies agreeing on a decision. But yesterday, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a UNANIMOUS judgement in favor of children and religious freedom.
What happened? Here are the facts.
The case: Fulton v. City of Philadelphia
Catholic Social Services (CSS) is a longstanding faith-based nonprofit that serves the foster children of Philadelphia. They exist to help children in need, particularly hard-to-place children, find forever homes. They have many guidelines for the families who are receiving children in their homes – including that there be a married mom and dad in the home.
Their beliefs are essential to their identity and cannot be separated from their work. But the city of Philadelphia thought otherwise.
When the city discovered CSS’s beliefs about marriage, they forced the organization to make a decision: change your beliefs, or the city will stop contracting with you.
CSS chose a third option: seek legal help.
The organization rightly recognized that this was a violation of their constitutionally protected religious freedom, and – represented by our friends at Becket Law – they took that argument to court.
After years of litigation, Catholic Social Services ultimately got their day in court before the U.S. Supreme Court last year. And today, the Justices issued their verdict: Philadelphia violated CSS’s religious freedom.
The implications: good news for children and religious freedom
This decision is good news not only for CSS, but for the many children they serve. When CSS is allowed to participate in Philadelphia’s foster care system, it not only offers a distinctly Christian option, but also increases the sheer number of foster providers – and that matters greatly.
In the U.S., more than 400,000 children in the foster system are waiting for homes. Around 4% of children are adopted within a year of entering foster care, and 85% of children in foster care have at least two placements in their first 12 months. In fact, the foster crisis is so extreme that some states are hosting foster children in hotels and office buildings because there is nowhere else to place them.
Today’s decision is a strong affirmation that foster homes like Catholic Social Services should be able to place children in loving homes while abiding by their religious convictions. Religious freedom is a precious gift afforded to all Americans. The belief that children should be in homes with a married mother and father should not be punished — and the Court affirmed that today.
The decision also reminds us of why the federal Equality Act – which could be up for a vote anytime in the Senate – is unworkable and inadvisable. The Act would redefine “sex” to include a person’s self-declared “sexual orientation and gender identity” throughout federal civil rights law. By doing that, the Act could be used to force foster and adoption agencies into similar dilemmas to Catholic Social Services – something that that the entire Supreme Court rejected today. The Equality Act would threaten religious freedom and the wellbeing of children and must be rejected.
We applaud today’s Supreme Court decision and are thankful for the work of Becket Law representing Catholic Social Services!
Policy and Communications Strategist
P.S. Want to speak out against the Equality Act? Send a message to your Senator now.
Today, we are encouraging the pro-life community to join us in prayer as we’ve learned the Supreme Court will take up the Mississippi case on their law banning abortion after 15 weeks. Like Georgia’s Heartbeat Law, the Mississippi bill has been held up in courts since its passage due to the unconstitutional and wicked precedent set in Roe v Wade.
The Court could choose to answer the Mississippi question in a number of ways, but this could be what brings down the standard set in Roe. It’s a standard that we in Georgia have led the fight to topple as well.
Our Life Act, or Heartbeat Law, continues to be defended in court by Governor Kemp and his legal team. We know that it is not an easy fight, but we don’t back down when things are hard. Instead, we stand on the frontline to defend life, in all stages and needs.
Recently, Governor Brian Kemp signed two of our life-affirming legislative initiatives: “Gracie’s Law” and “Simon’s Law.” Gracie’s law affirms our belief that everyone, regardless of disabilities, are worthy of any and all life-saving healthcare measures. The bill says that you cannot prohibit someone from being placed on the organ transplant list based solely on mental and physical disabilities. The second part of the bill, known as “Simon’s Law,” says that you cannot place a DNR on a minor without parental consent.
These are significant changes in toward making Georgia a place where life is cherished. But this is only the beginning. We are determined to lead the fight on saving all lives. Will you be a part of what we’re doing and donate to help our efforts?
We’re already gearing up for next session and pledge to continue to fight for Life – at the Capitol, at the ballot box, and in the hearts and minds of every Georgian. Can we count on you to donate $50, $100, $250, or more to help us defend the unborn?
We thank you for your continued prayers and support and promise to stand up for life-no matter how hard it gets. Please join us in prayer as the Supreme Court now plans to hear this monumental case which could topple Roe and holds huge ramifications for Georgia and the rest of the nation.
“Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God.” -1 Peter 2:16
U.S. Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett has only been on the high bench for a month and half; and yet, she has already made her mark on history by voting to uphold the religious freedom in America.
On the eve of Thanksgiving, Justice Barrett was the deciding vote in a narrow 5-4 decision which temporarily blocked New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s attendance limits in houses of worship. In the majority opinion, Justices Thomas, Alito, Gorsuch, Kavanaugh, and Barrett ruled that limiting churches, synagogues, and mosques to just 10 to 25 worshippers violated the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment.
“Members of this Court are not public health experts, and we should respect the judgment of those with special expertise and responsibility in this area. But even in a pandemic, the Constitution cannot be put away and forgotten. The restrictions at issue here, by effectively barring many from attending religious services, strike at the very heart of the First Amendment’s guarantee of religious liberty.”
In a concurring opinion, Justice Gorsuch strongly denounced the disparate treatment between houses of worship and other “essential businesses,” noting that while a large New York synagogue in the red zone would be capped at just 10 people, a small liquor store or bicycle shop in the same red zone would have no such restriction. Justice Gorsuch concluded:
“It is time—past time—to make plain that, while the pandemic poses many grave challenges, there is no world in which the Constitution tolerates color-coded executive edicts that reopen liquor stores and bike shops but shutter churches, synagogues, and mosques.”
The impact of Judge Barrett’s deciding vote and the high court’s decision in this case quickly rippled from one coast to another – from New York to California. On December 3rd, the U.S. Supreme Court vacated a federal judge’s ruling that allowed the State of California to impose harsher restrictions on worship services than comparable secular activities. The restrictions in California remain in place. However, they may not stand when the federal judge applies the new precedent.
Though questions remain about the government’s power to limit constitutional rights during a pandemic, the U.S. Supreme Court has now sent a clear message to our nation’s governors. Though the state may burden the free exercise of religion to further a compelling government interest (e.g. mitigating the spread of COVID), the state may only do so using the least restrictive means available. And under no circumstance should houses of worship be slapped with more severe restrictions than secular businesses, gatherings, and/or activities.
To all the pastors, ministry leaders, and volunteers working faithfully each week to prepare and offer a safe worship environment for your congregants – thank you! As my pastor recently shared, “It is our job to minister to the things that a vaccine cannot help…and to point people to the truth and hope we have in the Gospel of Jesus Christ.”
To that end, we press on!
Pastor Vince Torres
President & Executive Director
P.S. Our $25,000 year-end challenge grant is well underway, and thanks to the generosity of ministry partners like you, we are very close to meeting our goal. As of today, we have raised $20,827.
If you have not yet given, would you please consider helping us raise the remaining $4,173 today by sending a gift of $50, $100, $250, or $500?
Thank you for your faithful prayers and support!
Today was an exciting day on Capitol Hill. After 30 hours of debate – including a Sunday overnight session – the Senate voted 52-48 to confirm Amy Coney Barrett as Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court.
Find out how your state’s two senators voted below.
As my colleagues and I put it in our recent op-ed, Barrett is a unicorn to the Left but the future to us. A woman isn’t supposed to achieve great professional success and raise a large family, and a person of faith isn’t supposed to earn acclaim from legal scholars of every political persuasion and land a seat on the highest court in the land, right? Wrong. As Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-SC) said, Barrett has not “punch[ed] through a glass ceiling, but a reinforced concrete barrier.” Justice Amy Coney Barrett personifies the extraordinary capability of a woman and the hope of America at this pivotal time in our nation’s history.
The addition of a young, originalist justice to the Supreme Court indeed gives Americans of faith and pro-life values specific hope for the potential undoing of Roe v. Wade.. Barrett’s confirmation also provides optimism for the future of religious freedom in our country and the ability of people of faith to exercise their deeply held beliefs without reprisal.
It is expected that Justice Barrett will sit on the bench next Wednesday (the day after Election Day) to hear oral arguments in the case of Fulton v. City of Philadelphia. This landmark case centers on two foster care moms – Sharonell Fulton and Toni Simms-Busch – and the City of Philadelphia. In 2018, the city ended its partnership with Catholic Social Services because the agency would not bow to the city’s demands to change its religious practices and place children with same-sex couples. Sharonell and Toni are both single women of color who have been called to help at-risk children break the cycle of foster care, but today their homes sit empty. They have fostered more than 45 kids between them, and are more than willing to continue this heroic work if the agency that aligns with their faith and values – Catholic Social Services – is allowed to reopen with its mission intact.
In addition to the likelihood of the current Supreme Court affirming laws to protect human life and religious liberty, there is also great reason to hope the addition of Amy Coney Barrett will usher in a return to the Court’s proper role of interpreting laws and the Constitution as written. If the judiciary fulfills its Constitutional mandate instead of legislating from the bench, pro-family, pro-life and pro-religious freedom Americans can expect to be pleased with the outcome.
Even as we celebrate the positive potential outcomes of Justice Barrett’s confirmation, we remain cautious given the unknown outcome of next week’s election. It is wise to acknowledge that the significant gains made possible by the newest Supreme Court justice could be undone if the next president of the United States determines to “pack the court.” Joe Biden has said we’ll “find out after [he’s] elected” what he thinks about court packing. He’s also voiced his intention to assemble a commission to research the issue. These messages provide no comfort to pro-life Americans who know Biden’s position on abortion includes support for codifying Roe v. Wade and if given a chance, will appoint pro-abortion, activist judges. The threat this poses intensifies with the possibility of Democrat leadership growing the number of justices on the Supreme Court with the intention to make it a super-legislature.
Meanwhile, we know President Trump’s record of federal court nominations. He has appointed more than 200 jurists – including three Supreme Court justices – to the federal bench who are committed to interpreting the law and Constitution faithfully. Appreciation is due to President Trump, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and all senators who have voted to confirm these individuals – and Justice Amy Coney Barrett in particular.
As we look expectantly to the future of the federal judiciary, we do so prayerfully and hopefully as Election 2020 nears.
External Relations Manager
Here’s how your state’s 2 Senators voted on confirming Justice Amy Coney Barrett:
|Jones, Doug – D||N||Daines, Steve – R||Y|
|Shelby, Richard – R||Y||Tester, Jon – D||N|
|Murkowski, Lisa – R||Y||Fischer, Deb – D||N|
|Sullivan, Dan – R||Y||Sasse, Ben – R||Y|
|McSally, Martha – R||Y||Cortez Masto, Catherine – D||N|
|Sinema, Krysten – D||N||Rosen, Jacky – D||N|
|Boozman, John – R||Y||Hassan, Margaret Wood – D||N|
|Cotton, Tom – R||Y||Shaheen, Jeanne – D||N|
|Feinstein, Dianne – D||N||Booker, Cory – D||N|
|Harris, Kamala – D||N||Menendez, Bob – D||N|
|Bennet, Michael – D||N||Heinrich, Martin – D||N|
|Gardner, Cory – R||Y||Udall, Tom – D||N|
|Blumenthal, Richard – D||N||Gillibrand, Kirsten – D||N|
|Murphy, Christopher – D||N||Schumer, Charles – D||N|
|Carper, Thomas – D||N||Burr, Richard – R||Y|
|Coons, Christopher – D||N||Tillis, Thom – R||Y|
|Rubio, Marco – R||Y||Cramer, Kevin – R||Y|
|Scott, Rick – R||Y||Hoeven, John – R||Y|
|Loeffler, Kelly – R||Y||Brown Sherrod – D||N|
|Perdue, David – R||Y||Portman, Rob – R||Y|
|Hirono, Mazie – D||N||Inhofe, James – R||Y|
|Schatz, Brian – D||N||Lankford, James – R||Y|
|Crapo, Mike – R||Y||Merkley, Jeff – D||N|
|Risch, James – R||Y||Wyden, Ron – D||N|
|Duckworth, Tammy – D||N||Casey, Robert – D||N|
|Durbin, Richard – D||N||Toomey, Patrick – R||Y|
|Braun, Mike – R||Y||Reed, Jack – R||Y|
|Young, Todd – R||Y||Whitehouse, Sheldon – D||N|
|Ernst, Joni – R||Y||Graham, Lindsey – R||Y|
|Grassley, Chuck – R||Y||Scott, Tim – R||Y|
|Moran, Jerry – R||Y||Rounds, Mike – R||Y|
|Robert, Pat – R||Y||Thune, John – R||Y|
|McConnell, Mitch – R||Y||Alexander, Lamar – R||Y|
|Paul, Rand – R||Y||Blackburn, Marsha – R||Y|
|Cassidy, Bill – R||Y||Cornyn, John – R||Y|
|Kennedy, John – R||Y||Cruz, Ted – R||Y|
|Collins, Susan – R||N||Lee, Mike – R||Y|
|King, Angus – I||N||Romney, Mitt – R||Y|
|Cardin, Benjamin – D||N||Leahy, Patrick – D||N|
|Van Hollen, Chris – D||N||Sander, Bernie – I||N|
|Markey, Edward – D||N||Kaine, Tom – D||N|
|Warren, Elizabeth – D||N||Warner, Mark – D||N|
|Peters, Gary – D||N||Cantwell, Maria – D||N|
|Stabenow, Debbie – D||N||Murray, Patty – D||N|
|Klobuchar, Amy – D||N||Capito, Shelly Moore – R||Y|
|Smith, Tina – D||N||Manchin, Joe – D||N|
|Hyde-Smith, Cindy – R||Y||Baldwin, Tammy – D||N|
|Wicker, Roger – R||Y||Johnson, Ron – R||Y|
|Blunt, Roy – R||Y||Barasso, John – R||Y|
|Hawley, Josh – R||Y||Enzi, Michael – R||Y|
President Trump just announced Amy Coney Barrett as his pick to be the next Supreme Court justice, and this announcement… well, it could change everything!
We believe Judge Barrett is a strong, constitutional juror who will restore the Court, roll back the devastating radical agenda that has permeated the SCOTUS oligarchy, and, we pray, defend the fundamental right to life.
As you know, the radical Left already has their knives out. The attacks that have and will come will be intense – and, they’ll be aimed at making religious views look “extreme” and “disqualifying” to be on the Court.
That’s why we’re mobilizing support and engaging in this election all-the-more. Can you join us by contributing $50, $100, $250, or more today? We’re working to raise $9,650 by September 30th, and your help could make all the difference!
Everything is on the line, and Georgia’s own Heartbeat Bill is essentially on the ballot – with the consequences in federal races and the implications for it in state legislative races.
We need your help!
The coming fight will be intense, and it won’t stop with this appointment. It’ll run all the way through November 3rd and beyond, and we’re committed to leading the charge to #FillTheSeat, Defend our American Values, and Keep Georgia, Georgia!
Ready for the Fight,
President & Executive Director
Family Policy Alliance of Georgia
P.S. President Trump has delivered on his promises to restore the Court, and the selection of Amy Coney Barrett is another step in fulfilling that promise! Senators David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler have pledged to join him. And, this battle is bound to permeate every race across our state. We MUST fill this seat, and we MUST win at the ballot box for LIFE. In time of unprecedented opportunity, join us today with a generous donation to protect the unborn up and down the ballot.
Paid for by Family Policy Alliance of Georgia (www.familypolicyalliance.com/georgia) and not authorized by any candidate or candidate’s committee.
President Trump has made his nomination and now it’s time for us to act!
President Trump has been very transparent with all Americans about the type of jurist he would select—one who will faithfully apply the law and protect the Constitution as written. In naming Seventh Circuit Judge Amy Coney Barrett as his nominee to our high Court, he continues to fulfill his promise to Americans.
Judge Barrett’s record not only demonstrates her faithfulness to interpret the law as written and as its authors intended it—but she has also written extensively about this concept, known as “originalism.” Her professional resume is stellar, leaving no question she is qualified for the position. Her personal life reveals a working mom of seven, including two adopted children and a child with Down Syndrome. And, she’s a woman of deep faith.
In fact, California Senator Dianne Feinstein attacked Judge Barrett for her faith in 2017, and Judge Barrett has already proven she can withstand the brutal attacks of the Senate confirmation process. Senator Feinstein meant it as an insult when she said to Judge Barrett about her faith that “the dogma lives loudly within you.” Yet for all of us who are believers, we want—and are called—to live out our faith in such a way that it’s recognizable to the world around us. Judge Barrett is about to face even more brutal attacks on her faith and reputation than she already has, and she will need her faith to sustain her.
In naming Judge Barrett as his Supreme Court nominee, President Trump has done his part to keep his promise to Americans. Now, the brutal Senate confirmation process will begin, with political shots being fired about the nominee within hours of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death—before Judge Barrett had even been named. We know the vote will be close.
The Left is scared of Judge Barrett because they know she won’t assist in their strategy to make sweeping changes to our laws and Constitution from the bench. And, she may even provide the vote needed on the Court to undo prior bad decisions that did “legislate from the bench,” leaving both legal and real life devastation in their wake—like Roe v. Wade.
Your help is urgently needed to convince the Senate to quickly confirm Judge Barrett as our next Supreme Court Justice. Will you please take 1 minute to send a letter to your Senators? We’ve made it easy through our Action Center.
TAKE ACTION NOW
For law and for life,
Vice President of Strategy
P.S. Every Senator needs to know that the full weight of the American people is behind Judge Amy Coney Barrett—and that voters are watching every senator’s vote. Please email your senators now!
The issues surrounding the November election have never been clearer. Justice Ginsberg’s passing just 46 day before the election (one event that no political party could control or predict) has only heightened the importance of this election and what happens in the weeks leading up to it.
In the last several generations we’ve seen activist courts block good legislation and insert their desired policy goals into the Constitution. This has meant that women considering abortion have been denied the protection and benefit of numerous health and safety provisions because the Court created their own laws. It has meant that the integrity of the family has been slowly eroded. It has meant that our first amendment religious freedom rights have been relegated to the role of an exception rather than a rule.
This all could change with the addition of another justice who believes in, and works to defend, the original meaning of our Constitution.
That is why it is so important for our sitting Senators to do their Constitutionally mandated job and to consider the President’s nominations for vacant Court seats.
The Senate would be following its own example by confirming a new Supreme Court Justice before the end of 2020. In fact, the Senate has confirmed Supreme Court nominees 17 times in Presidential election years, when the president and Senate majority were in the same party. There is nothing out of the ordinary about what Senator Majority Leader McConnell has proposed.
Our current Kansas Senators have already pledged their support for the nomination and confirmation process. However, they are receiving intense pressure from the Left to cave to its political whims.
It’s imperative that they hear from you TODAY! Take a moment sign our petition to Senators Roberts and Moran and encourage them to continue to support the process. It’s easy in our action center.
The Left is pulling out all the stops to block this nomination because the last thing they want is to lose their ability to pass their policy agenda through an activist court. We can’t let this happen. The issues before the Court are too important this term. It’s time to take a stand and #filltheseat.
Director of Advocacy
“…and they shall judge the people with righteous judgment.” –Deuteronomy 16:18
On Friday, September 19, Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, passed away following complications of metastatic pancreas cancer. She was 87. Upon learning of her passing, President Donald Trump said of Justice Ginsburg, “She was an amazing woman” who “led an amazing life.”
The passing of Justice Ginsburg further enflamed what was already an extremely heated election season. Democratic leaders immediately called for a delay in the nomination process until after the election. Republican leaders in the U.S. Senate, however, have stated their intent to commence the confirmation process immediately upon the President’s nomination.
Earlier this week, President Trump indicated that he will announce his Supreme Court Nominee this Saturday at the White House, and according to multiple sources, there are three women at the top of his shortlist.
Meet Federal Judge Amy Coney Barrett. Judge Barrett sits on the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals. She graduated top of her class at Notre Dame Law School and clerked for the late-Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. Judge Barrett is a devout Catholic and a married mother of seven children (2 adopted).
Meet Federal Judge Barbara Lagoa. Judge Lagoa currently sits on the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals. She is a graduate of Columbia Law School, and prior to joining the federal bench, she was the first Hispanic woman to sit on the Florida Supreme Court. Judge Lagoa is a devout Catholic and the married mother of three children.
Meet Judge Allison Jones Rushing. Judge Rushing sits on the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals. She is a graduate of the Duke University School of Law and previously clerked for Supreme Court Justices Clarence Thomas and Neil Gorsuch. Judge Rushing is also a devout Catholic and the married mother of one child. At age 38, she would be the youngest confirmed Justice since the early 1800s.
For those committed to the pro-life cause, this nomination represents perhaps the most significant moment in our history since the infamous Roe v. Wade decision in 1973. Some legal scholars suggest that one more conservative Supreme Court Justice may finally pave the way for the Court to overturn Roe (without relying on Chief Justice John Roberts), and thus, overturn one of the gravest human injustices in American history.
Will one of these women be the next Supreme Court Justice? Will one of these women be the vote needed to protect future generations of unborn babies in the womb?
All eyes will be on the White House this Saturday and on the U.S. Senate in the coming weeks.
During this time, I ask you to join me in prayer for our Nation; for our President and members of the U.S. Senate; for these potential nominees and others; and for the upcoming election. While some may use this time to further promote fear and chaos, let us sow hope and faith – knowing that God Almighty is in control, and that we can rest because He never does.
President & Executive Director
This week, we’ve heard a lot about what a “nice” and “decent” guy Joe Biden is. It may be true that he’d be a friendly guest at dinner – provided you were willing to make it an early one.
Yet, there is nothing “nice” or “decent” about his platform. He wants to erase gender, redefine biology, and deny the right to life. His platform would impose the most radical agenda our nation has ever seen – a big government, anti-opportunity, anti-faith agenda.
And, when you vote in November, this agenda isn’t simply a legislative and executive one. It will redefine the Supreme Court.
At the end of the next presidential term – Trump’s second or Biden’s one and only – Neil Gorsuch will be 57, Brett Kavanaugh 59, Elena Kagan 64, John Roberts 69, and Sonia Sotomayor will be 70. With the average age of the previous 6 Supreme Court departures being 81 years old, it’s likely that their replacements would be left to the next president – at the very earliest.
But, by the time the next presidential term ends in January of 2025, Samuel Alito (who was rumored to be considering retirement just months ago) will be 74, Clarence Thomas 76, Stephen Breyer 86, and Ruth Bader Ginsburg would be 91.
If Joe Biden wins, he will almost certainly appoint replacements for Stephen Breyer and Ruth Bader Ginsburg – securing the Court’s left flank for years to come. And, it’s possible (though perhaps unlikely) he would have the chance to appoint replacements for Thomas or Alito, which would represent a profoundly leftward shift for an already runaway Court. Only David Souter, in recent years, would have exited the Court sooner than both of these justices, and he did so with a president of a similar ideology. Still, especially given the Alito rumors earlier this year, we can’t rule it out.
If Donald Trump wins, both Breyer and Ginsburg would still be unlikely to remain on the Court through the entirety of the second term. Among recent departures, only John Paul Stephens would have been on the Court at an older age than Breyer, and his age (90) would be a year younger than Ginsburg’s in Jan. 2025. And, Thomas and Alito – neither of whom seem to be inclined toward remaining on the Court for as long as they physically can – would be likely departures for a president who would appoint a replacement with a similar jurisprudence.
In short, a Biden win would at least cement the status quo of the Court – one that is already far too leftist. A Trump win could likely unleash the most conservative Court in the modern era, and, by the end of the second term, he could have made a total of 6 Supreme Court appointments.
My friends, Joe Biden could be the nicest guy on the planet. I don’t know him, but good for him if so. But, no amount of niceness is worth the next term of Supreme Court appointments.
Losing this election would have devastating effects. Winning could be the most significant event to happen to SCOTUS in our nation’s history.
President and Executive Director
Over the past few weeks, the U.S. Supreme Court handed down three significant decisions involving the First Amendment freedom of religion.
In Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue, the Court ruled that a discriminatory Montana rule prohibiting students from using tax-credit scholarships at religious schools violated the Free Exercise Clause of the U.S. Constitution. (5-4 decision; Roberts, joined by Thomas, Alito, Gorsuch, and Kavanaugh)
In Our Lady of Guadalupe School v. Morrissey-Berru, the Court upheld the “ministerial exception,” preserving the staffing decisions and rights of religious institutions to “decide for themselves, free from state interference, matters of church government as well as those of faith and doctrine.” (7-2 decision; Alito, joined by Roberts, Thomas, Breyer, Kagan, Gorsuch, and Kavanaugh)
And finally, in Little Sisters of the Poor Saints Peter and Paul Home v. Pennsylvania, the Court determined that the Little Sisters of the Poor are exempt from the Obamacare contraceptive mandate so they can continue serving the poor and the elderly without violating their sincerely held religious beliefs. (7-2 decision; Thomas, joined by Roberts, Breyer, Alito, Kagan, Gorsuch, and Kavanaugh)
What do these three recent cases tell us? – that while religious freedom is winning, religious hostility is on the rise.
Dr. Ryan T. Anderson, Senior Research Fellow at our national ally, The Heritage Foundation, pointed this out recently in response to a tweet touting 15 straight religious freedom victories at the U.S. Supreme Court this decade. Dr. Anderson replied, “The fact that there were 15 flagrant religious liberty violations that rose to the Supreme Court in a decade is a sign not of a winning streak at large, but new and heightened hostility.”
We agree with Dr. Anderson, noting that multiple defeats at the nation’s highest Court have not deterred anti-religious activists and politicians from continuing to target people of faith – whether they be single mothers (Espinoza), Catholic schools (Our Lady of Guadalupe School), or even nuns (Little Sisters of the Poor). In fact, following these recent losses, the hostility from the far-left immediately continued.
The ACLU quickly condemned the Court’s decision in Espinoza while praising the anti-Catholic “Blaine Amendment” in Montana’s constitution. Meanwhile, in response to Little Sisters of the Poor, former Vice-President Joe Biden announced his intentions to reinstate President Obama’s policy which would require the Little Sisters to provide access to birth control and abortifacients for employees.
It is also worth observing that two Justices of the U.S. Supreme Court dissented in all three cases – Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Justice Sonia Sotomayor. So, while the First Amendment may have survived another term at the U.S. Supreme Court, the effort to defend our first freedom – the freedom of religion – is more critical than ever.
Together with our state and national allies, Family Policy Alliance of New Mexico® will continue to defend our constitutional rights so that the Gospel of Jesus Christ can continue to be proclaimed and lived out in our homes, churches, schools, and places of employment. Our vision is a state and nation were religious freedom flourishes, and with your partnership and support, we will preserve that freedom for generations to come.
Financial Update: Given the unprecedented times in which we live, one of the encouraging stories has been the faithfulness of local Ministry Partners like you. Though COVID impacted our giving in the Spring, we wrapped up the month of June in a much better financial position than expected and, believe it or not, we are now on track to meet our target for the fiscal year ending September 30!
Entering the month of July, we had just $35,000 left to raise and thanks to your generosity, we have already raised $13,500 in the past three weeks. If you have not yet given this year, or if you would like to further help us reach our goal, I invite you to do so today by becoming a monthly Ministry Partner or by making a one-time gift of $100, $250, or $500.
Thank you for your prayers and support!
President and Executive Director