5 Minutes for Families
- Hobby Lobby and SB 1062 11-Jul-2014
- Freedom Defined 07-Jul-2014
- ICYMI 27-Jun-2014
- How did we get here? 20-Jun-2014
- ICYMI 13-Jun-2014
- ACTION ALERT: Stand for Life - Contact the Governor! 09-Apr-2014
- ACTION ALERT: Protect Life - Contact Your Senator! 13-Mar-2014
- ACTION ALERT: Ask the Cottonwood City Council to say No! to Civil Unions 03-Dec-2013
- Your Congressmen Need to Hear From You on ENDA! 21-Nov-2013
- Action Alert: Sen. McCain & Sen. Flake Need to Hear From You! 01-Nov-2013
- How did they vote? 13-May-2014
- Find the Facts: CAP Reboots The Policy Pages with Interactive Website 29-Jan-2014
- BREAKING NEWS: New AZ Abortion Clinic Regulations Released Today 27-Jan-2014
- Mother’s Health & Safety at Risk: Supreme Court Will Not Hear Critical Law 13-Jan-2014
- BREAKING NEWS: Senators McCain & Flake Break Their Promise to Arizona Voters 07-Nov-2013
The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to affirm the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) rights of the Green Family (who own Hobby Lobby) and the Hahn family (who own Conestoga Wood Specialties) had a very real tie to Arizona’s SB 1062.
One of the primary purposes CAP supported SB 1062 was to clarify Arizona’s own Religious Freedom Restoration Act to ensure that every Arizonan is not forced to surrender their religious beliefs merely because they start a business.
In the majority opinion, Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito echoed this fundamental principle when he wrote:
“Business practices compelled or limited by the tenets of a religious doctrine fall comfortably within the understanding of the “exercise of religion” that this Court set out in Employment Div., Dept. of Human Resources of Ore. v. Smith.
Any suggestion that for-profit corporations are incapable of exercising religion because their purpose is simply to make money flies in the face of modern corporate law.”
Make no mistake, this was no small victory for religious freedom, but it also is not the final word. There is still much to be done to ensure every Arizonan is free to live and work according to their faith.
As with SB 1062, opponents have launched a massive misinformation campaign about the decision. Take time to understand what government mandates were objectionable to the Green and Hahn families. The federal government attempted to compel the family-owned businesses to provide and pay for abortion medication in their employee health insurance plans. Hobby Lobby did not object to providing 16 of 20 contraceptive medications mandated by the government –it’s the other four that can function to cause an abortion that were objectionable.
Following the decision, I spoke with a number of media outlets about what it means for Arizona. Click to watch them below:
Channel 3’s Politics Unplugged – Debate with Equality Arizona
Happy Independence Day!
The Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood Specialties religious freedom victories before the U.S. Supreme Court exemplify the ideals our nation was founded upon.
It was 238 years ago that our nation declared its freedom and independence. It seems in recent years, we’ve lost sight of what freedom truly means.
At the CAP Family Dinner in May, we shared this video of friends sharing what freedom means to them as they live their lives, run their business, raise their families, and worship God.
Latest on AZ Policy Pages
- What Hobby Lobby means. Understanding RFRA is crucial to understanding Hobby Lobby.
- Fox 10 News Interview. Cathi interviewed on Fox 10 news about the Hobby Lobby decision, and the importance that every American should be free to live and work according to their faith.
- Conestoga and Hobby Lobby – The Aftermath Begins. Read what Alliance Defending Freedom senior legal counsel, Matt Bowman says about what will happen now.
- Freedom for All: Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Win! Don’t miss CAP President Cathi Herrod’s statement on Hobby Lobby, and what it means for Arizona.
There’s been a lot going on this week on life, marriage and family, and religious liberty. You have to pay close attention to keep track of all the changes! So, in case you missed it (ICYMI), here’s an update.
Waiting for the Hobby Lobby decision. On Monday, the Supreme Court will announce the decision on Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Woods. As private business owners, the Green and Hahn families both face heavy fines imposed by the HHS mandate, simply for refusing to violate their sincerely held religious beliefs and pay for abortion-inducing drugs. The Beckett Fund and Alliance Defending Freedom argued the cases before the court in March.
Supreme Court rules abortion clinic buffer zones unconstitutional. In this major win for the pro-life movement, the Supreme Court ruled the 35-foot buffer zone law in Massachusetts was unconstitutional. This victory will allow free speech surrounding abortion clinics so that counselors can help women in need.
Church stays open! In spite of the odds, the Isaiah 58 Project in Quartzsite, Arizona raised the $68,000 needed to keep their doors open! Now they can continue to serve their community and fight the unconstitutional tax assessment that was levied against them by the La Paz County Assessor. Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys are representing the Church of the Isaiah 58 Project in the lawsuit over the wrongly-assessed taxes.
Divided 10th Circuit Court overrules Utah’s marriage amendment defining marriage as the union of a man and woman. This is the first time a federal circuit court has ruled on marriage since last summer’s U.S. Supreme Court decisions. The Governor of Utah continues to stand for marriage between one man and one woman and plans to appeal the ruling. Echoing what Chief Justice Roberts wrote last summer in his Windsor dissent, the Utah Governor said he believes it is up to the states to determine their laws on marriage.
The U.S. Supreme Court will be issuing a ruling in the coming days on historic Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood Specialties cases. It’s been a long road that’s led us here.
Here’s the timeline of events that brought us to today. We are closely monitoring the High Court, and will let you know as soon as a decision comes down.
Latest From AZPolicyPages.com
- Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Woods. The Supreme Court is expected to rule on the case soon, but this won’t be the last freedom of conscience we see.
- N.T. Wright discusses same sex “marriage.” When asked about the redefinition of marriage, N.T. Wright answers as only he can.
- Should “sexual orientation” be a protected class? CAP Communications Director Aaron Baer discusses why this is the wrong policy for Arizona.
It seems like every day, there’s another major development or important article on the issues of life, marriage and family, and religious liberty.
Here are some of the latest updates – In Case You Missed It (and don’t feel bad if you didn’t know what ICYMI meant. This is one of the many benefits of having a younger crew on staff…)
Pennsylvania Court Clerk Stands for Marriage. After a federal court overturned Pennsylvania’s voter-approved marriage amendment, PA Governor Pete Corbett decided not to defend the will of the voters in court. Now a courageous court clerk has picked up this mantle to defend marriage between one man and one woman in the state. Twenty members of the Pennsylvania legislature have filed a brief in support of the clerk.
Assessing “God and the Gay Christian.” Ex-gay leader Joe Dallas has written a seven-part series on his blog in response to Matthew Vine’s new book God and the Gay Christian. These posts are a must read for anyone interested in understanding why Vine’s proposals are theologically wrong – and dangerous.
Why SCOTUS may hear Arizona’s FDA Protocol Lawsuit. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals bucked legal precedent when they blocked the CAP-supported law requiring abortion clinics distribute the dangerous and deadly abortion pill in line with FDA protocol. This decision sets up a circuit split that may force the U.S. Supreme Court’s hand to take up this case.
Marriage, Marketing, and Intimidation: "It is up to you, fearless reader, to act." Proponents of same-sex marriage haven’t won in the arena of ideas – they have won through manipulation and intimidation. Those who oppose them must speak up.
University sticks taxpayers with $700,000 bill for retaliating against conservative professor. After attempting to deny a professor a promotion because of his religious convictions, the University of North Carolina-Wilmington must now pay $710,626.50 in the wake of a 7-year lawsuit.
One of the loudest attacks against SB 1062 – the CAP-supported bill which would have protected the right of every Arizonan to live and work according to their faith – was that there is no threat to religious freedom in America today. People can still go to church. Our freedom is intact.
But you and I know better. And we are seeing stories like these two more often that show why our First Freedom is in jeopardy:
La Paz County forcing closure of church that helps the homeless
The Church of the Isaiah 58 Project runs a homeless shelter out of its church in La Paz County. Along with providing medical care, shelter, and clean clothes, the church also provides nearly 13,000 meals to the County’s homeless every winter.
Under state law, the church qualified for an exemption from property taxes and filed the appropriate paperwork with the La Paz County Assessor. The assessor sat on the church’s paperwork for three years before granting a tax exemption and then only granted it for the years 2009 and later, leaving the church with back-taxes for 2007-2008 that it should not owe.
As the assessor wasn’t applying state law as intended by the policymakers, our friends at Alliance Defending Freedom filed a lawsuit defending the church in court. In 2013, Gov. Brewer vetoed a CAP-supported bill intended to clarify state law to ensure the assessor would properly apply the law.
Now, a church that operates on a $50,000 annual budget owes a tax lien of $68,000 by June 15 or it will be forced to close its doors. This is the definition of injustice. Since our nation’s founding, churches have been exempt from property taxes. Not only because of the very clear benefits they provide to our communities, but also because of the fundamental principle that the government should stay out of the business of the church.
If you would like to help the church by making a donation, you can click here.
The intolerance of tolerance
You may recall right before the veto of SB 1062, 11 law professors, led by University of Virginia Law School Professor Douglas Laycock, sent a letter to Gov. Brewer in an attempt to clarify all of the misinformation and lies surrounding the bill.
What was most powerful about the letter was not all of the professors were conservatives or agree with our stance on marriage. Professor Laycock is not regarded as a conservative. In fact, he would probably disagree with me on several issues – for instance, he believes marriage should be redefined.
But like those few who actually read the bill, Professor Laycock recognized that the media hype surrounding the bill had completely distorted its true impact. As a longtime legal expert on First Amendment law, Professor Laycock knows how laws like Arizona’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act were designed to operate and why they were necessary.
Writing that letter has not come without a cost. Since that time, the homosexual community has come after Professor Laycock - starting with an open letter, accusing Professor Laycock of harming homosexual students with his work.
They also filed a Freedom of Information Act request seeking “among other things, university-funded travel expenses and cellphone records for the past two-and-a-half years,” and “a full, transparent accounting of the resources used by Professor Laycock which may be going towards halting the progress of the LGBT community and to erode the reproductive rights of women across the country.”
These types of intimidation tactics are designed to suppress speech and restrain diversity of opinion. You can only imagine that these accusers will only be satisfied if Professor Laycock completely renounces his work, or is forced out.
Hardly an exercise in true freedom.
Whether it’s Elane Photography, Hobby Lobby, the 2013 veto (mentioned above) or the 2014 veto of the CAP-supported bill (HB 2281) that would have ensured churches that rent their property don’t pay property tax, there is no shortage of stories that show that our religious freedom is in danger of being eradicated in the name of “tolerance.”
Latest from AZ Policy Pages
- Still time to get tickets for #RaviPrager! Don’t miss Ravi Zacharias and Dennis Prager at Christ’s Church of the Valley in Phoenix on June 5!
- Sheriff calls for investigation of Planned Parenthood. After allegedly intentionally miscoding a rape that led to the sexual assault of at least 5 other girls, Planned Parenthood may come under investigation.
Memorial Day is a reminder of the ultimate price so many Americans have paid in defense of freedom.
At the CAP Family Dinner earlier this month, we shared how the freedoms that countless men and women in our military have laid down their lives to defend are fragile, and can be lost easily. It is our heart at Center for Arizona Policy to ensure these hard fought fundamental liberties are protected and preserved for generations to come.
One of the most powerful moments of the evening was when five Arizona leaders read excerpts of speeches and writings on freedom. This included messages from Patrick Henry, Margaret Thatcher, Abraham Lincoln, Alveda King, and Ronald Reagan.
Watch the short video of these speeches below and share it as an encouragement to your friends and family to remember our fallen veterans, and the cause of freedom they died for this Memorial Day.
Latest from AZ Policy Pages
- 32 Arizona lawmakers stand up to Planned Parenthood! Read the amicus brief these legislators filed to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in defense of the CAP-supported law that ensures abortion clinics distribute the dangerous and deadly abortion pill in line with FDA protocol.
- Don’t miss Ravi and Prager! Ravi Zacharias and Dennis Prager are coming to Phoenix on June 5 for an event at Christ’s Church of the Valley in Peoria. Don’t miss it!
- Judicial lawlessness. Another single Federal Court judge has ignored the will of the majority of Pennsylvanians who voted to protect marriage as only the union of one man and one woman.
But before you hit the road, keep in mind that we are in a critical election year. This means that not only do we have a November 4 General Election, but we also have an August 26 Primary Election, which is just as important.
Elections – especially Primary Elections – are often won by the smallest of margins. The primary elections often determine the makeup of the state legislature.
And after one of the most contentious legislative sessions in recent memory, I have no doubt that this year will be no different.
That’s why my message to you this year is simple – don’t let yourself be silenced. There are many organizations and individuals that hope you stay home this election season, or that you at least sit out the August Primary.
As always, Center for Arizona Policy does not endorse or oppose candidates for office. But we will do all we can to educate and equip you so you – the voter – make your voice heard.
So before you take off, here are four easy steps for you to take to make sure your voice is heard loud and clear this year:
- PRAY! This is (obviously) the most important thing you can do. Pray for good government. Pray for mercy on our state and nation. Pray for our families and our future. And always remember pray for those in authority over us.
- REGISTER VOTERS. You would be surprised how many in your church or community are not registered to vote, or haven’t updated their registration since moving. That’s why Center for Arizona Policy provides everything you need for free at azvoterguide.com to conduct a voter registration drive. Check it out today!
- SIGN A CANDIDATE PETITION. To qualify for the ballot, candidates have to turn in petitions signed by registered voters in their district. Signing the petition of a candidate only takes a few minutes because you now can do it electronically! Get involved and help them qualify for the ballot by clicking here and electronically signing their candidate petition.
- SIGN UP FOR AN EARLY BALLOT. If you’re not already on the Permanent Early Voting List, you’re missing out on a tremendously convenient service from our state. About one month before the election, you’ll automatically receive your ballot in the mail for you to fill out, and mail back. Avoid the lines at the polls on Election Day! Click here to access a list of County Recorders, then select your county to sign up for the Permanent Early Voting List.
- Don’t miss Ravi Zacharias and Dennis Prager in Phoenix! Center for Arizona Policy is cosponsoring this June 5 event with two of the most influential thinkers in the country. They’ll be tackling the questions “What is tolerance?” and “Has tolerance come to mean moral apathy in today’s society?”
- Voting Records now available! CAP’s 2014 Family Issues Voting Records are now available at azpolicy.org. Find out how your legislators voted on key legislation impacting life, marriage and family, and religious liberty.
Center for Arizona Policy releases Family Issues Voting Record
Your legislators represent your voice at the state legislature. Center for Arizona Policy’s Family Issues Voting Records provide you with a snapshot of how your representation acted on key legislation that impacts life, marriage and family, and religious liberty.
This was a legislative session like none other. Despite three disappointing vetoes of important pro-family, pro-religious freedom legislation, seven CAP-supported bills were signed into law, bringing the total number of CAP-supported bills that have become law to 130.
The 2014 Family Issues Voting Record shows how your legislators voted on bills that:
- Ensure abortion clinics can be subject to the same unannounced inspections as every other medical facility in the state.
- Strengthen and expand Arizona’s school choice Empowerment Scholarship Account program.
- Protect children from being trapped in child-sex slavery.
- Safeguard the rights of every Arizonan to live and work according to their faith.
To read more about these bills, click here.
Get the word out!
Make sure your network knows the Family Issues Voting Record is now available! Click here to share the Voting Record on Facebook.
The indictment of Tyler Kost reads like a horror story. Over a span of four and a half years, it is alleged that Kost sexually abused and/or raped at least 11 different young girls, ages 12 to 17.
What’s worse is that it appears Planned Parenthood Arizona could have prevented four of the young girls from being assaulted, but didn’t because it wasn’t worth the “hassle.”
According to the police report, one of the victims became pregnant after the rape. Her mother brought her to a Planned Parenthood Arizona clinic on 12/31/13 and again on 1/4/14.
According to the police report, the victim “disclosed the assault to a counselor at Planned Parenthood. The counselor intentionally miscoded the assault as a consensual assault. The counselor told them they did not want the hassle of having to report the assault to law enforcement as they were a mandatory reporter.”
As a mandatory reporter, Arizona law requires Planned Parenthood to immediately report these cases to the authorities.
Furthermore, the young girl who received counseling from Planned Parenthood was led to believe that she’s not worth the “hassle” of going to the police for help and protection.
There is a legal process that must now run its course. Yet the problem you and I can commit to solving today is this: every family should know that if tragedy were to strike, Planned Parenthood is not a safe or trusted organization from which to seek help.
It’s simply tragic that in this dark moment, this family sought support from Planned Parenthood.
We will be monitoring this situation closely.
Latest from AZ Policy Pages
• Encore of Irreplaceable. Nearly 100,000 people packed out theaters this week to see this important movie about family. Miss your chance to catch it? There are encore performances of the film today and next Thursday, May 15!
• “God and the Gay Christian.” Joe Dallas is writing a five part series that critiques this new book that attempts to change 2,000 years of Christian orthodoxy on sexuality and marriage.