Tag Archives: religious liberties

Evangelical ad campaign says Jesus would back immigration reform without delay

A coalition of Evangelical groups, including the Southern Baptist Convention, hopes to give an earful to key congressional lawmakers about immigration reform.

The Evangelical Immigration Table formed last year and has launched a $400,000 radio ad campaign in 56 congressional districts. The “Pray for Reform” ads feature local pastors and national voices encouraging passage of immigration reform without delay.

The ads are airing in Wisconsin, Alabama, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Louisiana, Missouri, Oklahoma, North Carolina, South Carolina and Texas and promote securoing the borders, keeping families together and establishing an earned pathway to citizenship for people in the country now without legal papers.

Dr. Barrett Duke of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberties Commission says the ads will air for two weeks “at saturation rates.”

Pastor Felix Cabrera of Oklahoma City’s Quail Creek Baptist Church says the collateral damage of the current policy that he’s seen includes detention and separation of parents from U.S.-born children.

And Amarillo, Texas, pastor Stan Coffey says evangelicals should sound off on the issue. He says “this is what Jesus would have done if he were here.”

On the Web…


‘Legitimate rape’ Akin pushes law supporting ‘religious rights’ of anti-gay bigots in the miitary

U.S. Rep. Todd Akin, R-Mo., lost his Senate bid to Democrat Claire McCaskill in November after insisting that a woman’s body automatically shuts down and prevents pregnancy during “legitimate rape.” But he hopes to deliver a parting blow for the religious right by passing a bill designed to undermine the repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell.”

In May, Akin introduced a “conscience clause” into the 2013 National Defense Authorization Act. Although he says the measure will protect the religious liberties of military personnel who believe homosexuality is evil, critics call it a license for bigots to harass and discriminate against out members of the military. 

 The House passed a version of the bill that included Akin’s amendment, but the Senate passed a version without it in December. Now the bill is in conference, and Akin is reportedly pushing hard to have his measure restored – with the help of Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Rep. Howard McKeon, R-Calif.

“As a former military commander, I can tell you that allowing any service member to openly discriminate against a comrade in this way will compromise good order and discipline – the very thing supporters of ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ falsely claimed was going to happen back when we repealed the law,” said Allyson Robinson, an Army veteran and executive director of the LGBT rights group Outserve-Service Members Legal Defense Network, in a statement. “The fact is, there are already strong protections for all service members, including chaplains, in place, and all this provision would do is create a license to discriminate. The next Secretary of Defense should not be saddled with a law that makes it harder for small unit commanders in the field to lead their troops.”

Catholic bishops holding rallies, vigils against Obama

Roman Catholic groups in the U.S. have started a two-week campaign of prayer vigils and rallies to fight what they claim are government attacks on religious liberty.

The immediate target is the mandate that President Barack Obama announced in January requiring most employers to provide health insurance that covers birth control, which the Vatican opposes.

Critics accuse the bishops of organizing the campaign as a partisan assault on Obama. But Church leaders say their only goal is to protect religious freedom.

The “Fortnight for Freedom” campaign runs through Independence Day, July 4.

“In only the past few years, we’ve experienced rampant disregard for religious beliefs in this country,” New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan wrote in an e-book released for the “Fortnight” effort. Among the examples he cites are approval for embryonic stem cell research, legal justification for torturing prisoners and support for same-sex marriage. Dolan is president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Opponents are unconvinced. “This bishops’ project isn’t about religious freedom – it’s about privilege,” said the Rev. Barry Lynn, executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State. “They are asking for preferential treatment from the government, and if they are successful, it would undercut the rights of millions of Americans.”

The bishops’ new religious freedom committee was formed last September in response to what church leaders viewed as inadequate religious exemptions in many state laws that authorized gay marriage and mandated contraception coverage in employers’ health insurance or prescription drug plans.

The Obama mandate on contraception coverage included a religious exemption for houses of worship, but not for religiously affiliated hospitals, charities, universities and social service agencies. Many Catholics from across the political spectrum protested that the Health and Human Services department chose the narrowest religious exemption available and urged Obama to reconsider.

In response, the president said he would require insurance companies to cover the cost instead of religious groups. However, some Catholic allies have called the compromise inadequate.

Last month, Catholic dioceses, charities and schools filed a dozen lawsuits against the administration over the mandate.