Religious Freedom Under Attack

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Air Date: April 8, 2015

Host : Jim Schneider

Guest: Ryan Anderson

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Ryan Anderson researches and writes about marriage and religious liberty as the William E. Simon Fellow at the Heritage Foundation. He is co-author of the book, ‘What Is Marriage? Man and Woman: A Defense.’ It’s a book that Justice Samuel Alito cited twice in his dissenting opinion in the Supreme Court case involving the Defense of Marriage Act.

The original Religious Freedom Restoration Act that Governor Pence of Indiana recently signed into law was modeled in almost identical fashion to the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act that passed unanimously in the House of Representatives and the Senate and was signed into law by President Bill Clinton. It means that if the state government was going to substantially burden the free exercise of religion, it would need to prove that it’s doing so for a compelling state interest in the least restrictive possible way.

Both Hillary Clinton and Senator Schumer have tried to say that Indiana’s version is different from what President Clinton signed into law. However, Ryan believes they are wrong. He noted that if you look at the way the federal law is written and has been interpreted by the courts, Indiana’s law mimics what the federal law was intended to protect. Critics claim the federal law was intended to protect individual people, not corporate people. That’s false because the federal law in the Federal Dictionary Act defines the word ‘person’ to include corporations, both for and non-profit. In fact, this understanding was verified by the Supreme Court last year in the Hobby Lobby case.

So why has there been such a national backlash by the media, national LGBT activist groups and even corporate America? Ryan believes the change in attitude over the last 22 years since the federal law has passed has to do with the confluence of big government, big business and liberal sexual values. He cited a case from last year involving abortion and contraception. Certain big business interests wanted the government to mandate that all FDA approved contraceptives, including certain drugs that cause abortion, must be covered in all health plans. The same confluence is now playing out in the same-sex marriage debate.

Ryan also described the so-called ‘fix’ to the Indiana bill and what the ‘end-game’ is for those who are creating the backlash.

After his interview with Ryan, Jim brought the following related headlines to the attention of listeners:

–Many corporations are unified in shifting lawmaker focus away from what they see as discriminatory policy to passing comprehensive, non-discrimination protections for LGBT individuals.
–A New York Times article claims Christian churches must be convinced or coerced to change their teachings on homosexuality.
–A gay activist believes churches should lose their tax exempt status if they lobby to preserve the right of religious believers not to promote homosexual behavior.
–Michigan’s governor would veto religious freedom legislation if it came to his desk.
–The so-called ‘fix’ to Indiana’s religious freedom restoration law could send Christians to jail.
–Guam rejected a gay marriage license application. The couple plans to take their case to federal court.
–Madison, Wisconsin, implements explicit legal protections for people who don’t believe in God.
–Turmoil in the Republican Party over religious freedom legislation.
–Texas is afraid of what religious freedom legislation might do to their economy.

Jim also read from the Michael Swift essay from 1987 that outlines the homosexual agenda. The essay has been excused over the years as being satirical yet when you see how much of its attitude and described behavior is coming true, it appears to be quite sincere.

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Heritage Foundation

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