Family Research Council

PROTECT FREEDOM OF CONSCIENCE FOR EMPLOYERS, CLERGY, RELIGIOUS BELIEVERS, AND OTHER AMERICANS

Robert Morrison

The Issue

The passage by Congress of ObamaCare and federal "hate crimes" legislation are threatening the constitutional right of millions of Americans to speak and act according to the dictates of their consciences. The so-called hate crimes bill, signed into law by President Obama in October, 2009, is ostensibly directed only at violent crimes (which we unequivocally condemn), but since these acts are already illegal and are regularly prosecuted, the bill's purpose is redundant. Its real purpose is to suppress free speech against homosexual conduct and to stigmatize Americans who object to the gay lifestyle by labeling them "haters." In many jurisdictions in the U.S. and abroad, such laws have been used to prosecute speech that the liberal authorities find politically incorrect.

ObamaCare, passed and signed into law last March, represents the most massive expansion of abortion since Roe v. Wade (1973). Despite administration assurances to the contrary, it was recently revealed that federal funds will subsidize the killing of the unborn in Pennsylvania, Maryland, and New Mexico. Unless this is rolled back, dozens of other states will be dragged into subsidies for abortion under ObamaCare. This presents a crisis for Americans whose faith and conviction recoils at this slaughter of innocents. Health care professionals, teachers, clergy, businesses, union members, Catholics, Evangelicals, Lutherans, Orthodox Jews, and citizens at the grassroots level have appealed in vain for pro-life amendments to the legislation. The Executive Order signed by President Obama -- supposedly to address these concerns -- was a mere fig leaf. It has no enforcement provisions. For tens of millions of taxpayers, ObamaCare presents a crisis of conscience not experienced in this country since the passage of the Fugitive Slave Act.

Congress is poised to enact the so-called Employee Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA). This measure would extend special rights to homosexuals and deny the rights of employers and heterosexual co-workers. Hiring and personnel practices would be radically altered in this country to favor a lifestyle that has profound implications, not only moral and religious, but also financial and in terms of public health. The vast majority of Americans who have long been tolerant of their homosexual neighbors and family members would find themselves compelled by law to approve the gay lifestyle. The "religious exemptions" offered thus far to this proposed radical legislation offer little or no protections for the for-profit activities of religious people. Religious summer camps, Boy Scouts, Christian bookstores, religious publishing houses, religious broadcasters, private schools and colleges, and any enterprise with more than 15 employees are among the American institutions that would find themselves targeted by this legislation. The mere threat to ruin a business or association through litigation will impose ruinous costs on such groups--and is intended to. Supreme Court Justice nominee Elena Kagan noted in her brief calling for the banning of military recruiters from Harvard's campus that public policy must not only eschew what it termed discrimination, it must not tolerate those who do. Under such policies, the tax exemptions of religious denominations which refuse to approve homosexual conduct will be challenged. Following the reasoning of Elena Kagan, in league with President Obama's appointee to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Chai Feldblum, those challenges would be upheld.

Proposals

  • Congress should repeal ObamaCare.
  • Congress should reject ENDA.
  • Congress should pass conscience protection legislation that affirms and strengthens the religious freedom of Americans as guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution and rooted in the nation's history. Congress should exempt by law Americans who have conscientious objection to the taking of innocent human life (abortion, infanticide, assisted suicide).
  • Congress should pass legislation allowing Americans to express their moral views on homosexuality in the workplace, in their religious institutions, in their businesses without fear of legal harassment and social stigma.
Meet The Author
Bob Morrison Senior Fellow for Policy Studies

Bob Morrison was educated in New York Public schools and earned his B.A. and M.A. degrees in government and foreign affairs from the University of Virginia. He has also done (Full Bio)

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