Sunday, September 18, 2016

The 3 - September 18, 2016

In this week's edition of The 3, spotlighting three stories of relevance to the Christian community, there was a court victory out of a Federal appeals court, which threw out a case against a Catholic hospital that would not perform an abortion.  Also, there's more pushback against a North Carolina law that was designed to prevent special treatment from those claiming to be transgender, as well as upholding privacy.   And, a Federal commission chair has created a troubling definition of "religious freedom," calling that phrase code for discriminatory acts and ideas.

3 - Appeals court dismisses case against Catholic hospital that would not do abortion

A case against a Catholic hospital has been set aside by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, according to a report on the Christian Examiner website, which reports that the case was filed by a woman named Tamesha Means, along with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) in 2013 after she went to Mercy Health Partners in 2010.

The hospital reportedly refused to abort the unborn child because of its adherence to the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services, which govern all Catholic hospitals and health care systems.  The directives are based on the doctrines of the Catholic Church and described in the article as "unabashedly pro-life."  Means delivered the child prematurely on her own, but the child later died.

Last year, a lower court had thrown out the case based on procedural grounds, but it was appealed to the Federal appeals court, which also ruled that the case had no merit.  The court noted, according to the story, "it did not preclude other challenges from being brought in other states."

2 - NCAA, ACC pull championships over transgender law

This past week, the NCAA decided to remove a number of championship events out of North Carolina, including first- and second-round Division I Men's Basketball Championship games in March, according to a Baptist Press story, which reported that two days after the NCAA decision, the Atlantic Coast Conference announced it would move all neutral-site championships for the coming academic year out of North Carolina, including the football conference championship game in December.
The reason is, of course, House Bill 2, which, according to the article, "does not include sexual orientation or gender identity among classes of people designated for antidiscrimination protection. The law also requires individuals in state buildings to use restrooms that correspond with the sex listed on their birth certificates."

Christian leaders were swift to criticize the entities. State legislator Paul Stam, speaker pro tem of the North Carolina House of Representatives and a Southern Baptist, issued an eight-page news release on Tuesday, noting what he called the "breathtaking hypocrisy" of the NCAA, which he wrote, "selectively boycotts North Carolina for policies it claims are unique to our state -- but actually are common throughout the nation -- and for daring to disagree with a sweeping federal mandate by the Obama Administration -- a mandate that is currently being challenged in court by 24 other states."

Stam noted that "state law on discrimination is the same or very similar to that of 28 other states and the statutory law of the federal government." He advised the NCAA to "take a careful look at its activities and those of its thousands of members" in those states as well. He also contends that "The NCAA and its member institutions are not in compliance with the civil rights provision of Title IX as defined by President Obama." For instance, as the article points out:

While the administration instructed colleges and universities to treat students consistently with their perceived gender identities, Stam wrote, NCAA rules prohibit so-called transgender females who are not undergoing hormone therapy from competing on women's teams.

The story reports that Franklin Graham wrote ACC Commissioner John Swofford this week, in which he challenges the conference head, pointing out the "profound hypocrisy of the ACC, the NCAA and other companies and organizations who are making calculated business decisions disguised as moral outrage." Graham said that ACC sponsors like Dr. Pepper and Toyota conduct business in countries where homosexuality is illegal, Graham wrote, asking why the conference does not sever ties with those sponsors.  NCAA policy, he added, requires a male-to-female transgender athlete who is not taking hormone therapy to compete on a team "in accordance with his ... assigned birth gender."  That corresponds to a point also made by Stam.
1 - new Administration report raises concerns on religious freedom

This week, the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights (USCCR) issued a report called, “Peaceful Coexistence: Reconciling Nondiscrimination Principles with Civil Liberties,” which, according to a Liberty Counsel press release, is "a shocking example of the war against religious freedom in America." Mat Staver, Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel, is quoted as saying that it "is a shameful anti-American and anti-God document that trashes religious freedom."

According to the release:

Martin Castro, named USCCR chairman by President Obama in 2011, said that the words “religious freedom” and “religious liberty” have become merely code words for intolerance, Christian supremacy, racism, sexism, homophobia, Islamophobia and therefore must yield before LGBT anti-discrimination laws. Regarding sexual orientation and gender identity, this report also does not support those people who hold to their religious belief of traditional marriage as they provide services such as marriage licenses, photography, cake decorating or flower arranging.

Staver declared that Castro "...and the other members of the Commission who agree with him want to throw out the First Amendment and trash religious freedom whenever faith and practice collides with an intolerant LGBT agenda. The report is a declaration of war against religious freedom. George Washington said anyone who works against the twin pillars of religion and morality cannot be called a ‘Patriot.’ This report is un-American..."

No comments: