By Nancy Thorner -
In June 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court redefined marriage throughout America by mandating governmental entities to treat same-sex relationships as marriages. The Court, however, did not say that private schools, charities, businesses, or individuals must do so if they disagree. Indeed, there is no justification for the government to force these entities to violate beliefs about marriage. Americans who believe that marriage is the union of husband and wife should continue to be free to live and work according to their convictions.
Accreditation has already been an issue for Gordon College, an evangelical school near Boston that came under fire last year for its beliefs about sex and marriage. Though the school prevailed in its high-stakes battle to preserve its accreditation, and thus its students’ eligibility for student loans, last year’s challenge may be merely the first of many for schools that hold fast to their beliefs about marriage.
Do Republicans Really Stand For Religious Freedom?
The way Congress decides to deal with the religious liberty issue, given Republican majorities in both Houses, will indicate their degree of commitment to protecting religious liberty. Refusing to take a stand will only reinforce the way many Republicans already view those on the Republican side of the aisle: 1) That they are spineless and are concerned more about keeping their power and control than fighting to preserve the 1st amendment. 2) That many are perfectly fine in allowing government to discriminate against individuals who still believe what America always used to believe about marriage -- it’s a union between husband and wife.
It is the 1st Amendment that protects religious freedom and freedoms of speech, press, and assembly—for the religious and non-religious alike. The Founders rightly understood that all of these freedoms are united, which is why they were all protected in the First Amendment. The constitution protects an ecosystem of freedom and government should not carve it up.
Government policy should not trample on the consciences of citizens who dissent from political correctness on sexuality. Government policy that discriminates against social service providers that believe marriage is a male–female union undermines our nation’s commitment to pluralism and diversity.
Why FADA is Essential
It’s a sad state of affairs when a 1st amendment guarantee needs to be spelled out in legislation. FADA, sponsored by Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) and Representative Raul Labrador (R-ID), is a measured reasonable commonsense policy -- a First Amendment-sensitive bill -- which would prevent the federal government from discriminating against individuals, organizations, and small business owners who affirm marriage as between a man and a woman.
As local governments are already penalizing those who are refusing to act against their convictions regarding sex and marriage, it is certain that the federal government will soon employ the same tactics should FADA fail.
- Destroying nonprofit institutions by ending tax--exempt status for religious organization.
- Questioning accreditation of colleges (like Gordon College) over its beliefs about sex and marriage.
- Withdrawing eligibility for student loans who attend Christian schools.
- Discriminating against social services providers that believe marriage is a male-female union.
- Denying businesses government contracts if a Biblical belief of marriage exists.
- Putting adoption and foster care organizations out of business because they can't in good conscience place children in same-sex settings.
The sooner a vote happens in the House the better it will be. Why not now in June? As religious liberty is too important an issue to delay the best way to draw attention to this crucial issue and rally the American people is swift action designed to generate public awareness and maximize the contrast with the left’s effort to trample over freedom of conscience.
Legislators Spooked by Failures at State Level
Why the ongoing failure in Washington, D.C. for Congress to take up a religious freedom bill which is supported by more than 160 members of Congress? Perhaps part of the failure can be contributed to the inability of the governors of Georgia, Arkansas and Indiana to withstand the threats and bullying they received over constitutionally valid religious freedom bills, even though the bills had garnered support among a significant majority of the people.
Members of Congress must know they will be supported by the vast majority of people in their districts so they do not allow the tactics of fear and intimidation to prevent them from co-sponsoring FADA. Polling commissioned this year by the FRC and performed by WPA Opinion showed that 81% of Americans believe that individuals should be able to live and work in accordance with their belief in marriage as between a man and a woman, yet legislators remain skittish.
Shame on Illinois U.S. Republican Congressmen
Currently there are 169 co-sponsors which includes Rep. Daniel Lipinski, a Democrat from Illinois, and Rep. Randy Hultgren (R-IL14), who is the ONLY Republican from Illinois on FADA.
Missing are the names of Mike Bost (12th district); Robert Dold (10 district); Adam Kinzinger (16th district); Darin LaHood (18th District), Peter Roskam (6th district); and John Shimkus (15th district).
Regarding John Shimkus (IL-15), when walking his vote back on the Maloney Amendment when accidentally voted 'yea' when he intended to instead vote 'nay', if Shimkus' clarifying vote remarks are to be taken seriously of having "consistently defended religious liberty and always will", then Rep. Shimkus should already be co-sponsoring the First Amendment Defense Act.
Contact the six delinquent Illinois Republican congressmen, even if they don't represent your own district. Phone numbers are found here. Say you support the First Amendment Defense Act and want yours or another congressman to insist that the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee pass FADA without further delay.