Tag Archives: religious freedom

In Defense of Religious Liberty : A Declaration Concerning Obamacare

Our federal government, charged under the Constitution not only to respect, but to protect and defend, our most fundamental freedoms, has now imposed upon people of all faiths a mandate that their institutions provide insurance to their employees to pay for abortion inducing drugs, surgical sterilizations, and contraceptives.

There is, for all intents and purposes, no recognition of the rights of conscience for those Catholic, Protestant, Orthodox, or other faith-based employers to be free of this imposition.

The Catholic Church, as the largest provider of faith-based education, health care, and social services for the poor, is on the front lines of the struggle, but because of the required abortion drug coverage and the violation of religious freedom at the heart of the mandate, it is a struggle that implicates all believers. If the mandate is rammed down the throats of Catholics, no people of faith will be safe.

The Catholic bishops of the United States, dozens of whom are signers of the Manhattan Declaration, have made clear that they cannot and will not bend to the mandate. If forced to choose between the law of Christ and the edict of Caesar, they have no doubt about which master they will serve. If necessary, they are prepared to close institutions, and even go to jail, rather than comply with a human dictate in violation of what they believe, in conscience, to be the will of God.

All of us pledged such fidelity in the Manhattan Declaration. We saw this day coming, though few of us realized it would come so soon. Now we face the test: Will we, as we promised to do, “ungrudgingly give to Caesar whatbelongs to Caesar, but under no circumstances give to Caesar what belongs to God”?

The above was adapted from the Manhattan Declaration website on February 7th by Carol Conley. Conley is director of the Maine Family Policy Council.

Rutherford Institute Calls on Iranian Ambassador to Intervene in Execution of Christian Pastor in Iran

(New York, NY)   John W. Whitehead, president of The Rutherford Institute, has called on the Iranian ambassador to the United Nations to intervene in the impending execution of Youcef Nadarkhani, a Christian pastor in Iran who was convicted of apostasy. In a letter to the Iranian ambassador and other key dignitaries, Whitehead urged the Iranian ambassador to encourage his government to abide by its obligations under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and its own Constitution, which provides that “no one may be molested or taken to task simply for holding a certain belief.”

The Rutherford Institute’s letter on behalf of Youcef Nadarkhani is available at www.rutherford.org.

“If citizens in Iran cannot depend upon the protections of the most basic human rights provided in their own Constitution, then we must offer them the solace of a watching world that is willing to intervene politically,” stated John W. Whitehead, president of The Rutherford Institute. “Surely we cannot stand silent as this man of faith is martyred. Youcef’s imminent execution presents Iran with the unique opportunity to prove its commitment to human rights and being a part of the international community by dropping the charges against Youcef and letting him go free.”

According to reports by the Assyrian International News Agency, Christian pastor Youcef Nadarkhani was convicted of apostasy after protesting the government’s decision to teach Christian schoolchildren—including Youcef’s own 8- and 6-year-old sons—about Islam. Over the course of the past two years Youcef has spent in prison, he has allegedly suffered various forms of inhumane and irregular punishment, including a denial of access to his attorney, the arrest of his wife, threats to place his two sons in the custody of Muslim families, and the administration of drugs in an attempt to force him to recant his religious faith. On Wednesday, Sept. 28, 2011, Youcef refused to deny his faith a fourth time. Most recently, Youcef has been charged with rape and extortion, trumped-up charges which never surfaced during his series of trials in 2010.

Gay Journalist Continues Aggressive Campaign Against Christian Counsellor

Lesley Pilkington, the Christian counsellor who is being investigated by the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) for giving counselling to an undercover gay reporter, has had her confidence breached once again after Patrick Strudwick released a misleading article about the hearing, while the investigation still continues, and against the express instructions of the BACP.

The Professional Conduct Hearing took place on 4th May 2011 in relation to Mrs. Pilkington providing Reparative Therapy to Mr. Strudwick. The decision was communicated to the parties on 23rd May, with a stipulation that its contents were confidential.

Reparative Therapy is recognised in the primary textbook <em>Essential Psychopathology and its Treatment</em> (2009) which reads:

“[H]omosexual orientation can be theraputically changed in motivated clients, and that reorientation therapies do not produce harm when attempted”.

Mr. Strudwick is a gay activist seeking to end the practice of Reparative Therapy. In 2009, Mr. Strudwick pretended to be a Christian individual who wished to undertake Reparative Therapy. He approached Mrs. Pilkington at a Christian conference pretending to want counselling for unwanted same-sex attraction. He attended two counselling sessions with Mrs. Pilkington during which he secretly recorded her. He then reported her to the BACP.

What happened at the Hearing on 4th May 2011:

The BACP did not question the validity and effectiveness of Reparative Therapy, and found that:

The Professional Conduct Panel found that certain procedural rules had been breached by Mrs. Pilkington, such as extending the session over the allotted hour and for failing to counsel Mr. Strudwick after a meeting with her husband whilst Mr. Strudwick was on a purported toilet visit, but in fact, his purpose of going to the toilet was to change the tapes he was using to record Mrs. Pilkington. Further, the BACP found that Mr. Strudwick was a “client” and “was the recipient of counselling related services”.

A Complaint to the Press Complaints Commission:

Lesley Pilkington said:

“I am deeply concerned that the privileged and confidential relationship between a counsellor and her patient will be undermined by a journalist seeking a sensationalist story without any substance. It is an abuse by the Guardian newspaper. Accordingly, I propose to act with restraint. I will seek to make a joint complaint with the BACP to the Press Complaints Commission in relation to the subterfuge and deceit used by Mr. Strudwick. Reparative Therapy is a valid therapy that many people want and it should not be damaged by irresponsible reporting. The hearing is still subject to an appeal.”

Andrea Minichiello Williams, CEO of the Christian Legal Centre said:

“We are grateful that the decision of the Professional Conduct Committee has not questioned the validity of Reparative Therapy and individuals are still free to seek counselling services for reorientation when they choose to change their behaviour.

“Christians are being targeted and increasingly unable to access justice in this country. To think a gay activist, engaged in deception, can seek out a Christian therapist by pretending to be a Christian seeking to choose to change his behaviour, manipulate the counselling sessions for the purpose of a story, use a clandestine taping device and then report the therapist to the professional body is almost beyond belief. The fact that the BACP even entertained the complaint is wholly unacceptable. Lesley Pilkington is a caring and devoted counsellor, inspired by her Christian faith to help people. She is being persecuted by persons who dislike the love, ethics and transforming power of Christ. One can only imagine the reaction if a Christian tried to do this to a Pink therapist.”

<strong>Source:</strong> Christian Legal Center, May 27, 2011.

High School Valedictorean Denied Student-Initiated Free Speech Right

The U.S. Supreme Court refused to take the case of a Nevada girl whose religious freedom was harshly denied right in the middle of delivering her 2006 public-school valedictorian speech. This is an alarming push backwards for religious freedom. We have a Supreme Court ruling from 1992 (Lee v. Weisman) that protected religious messages and prayers of students, including at graduation ceremonies, as long as they are student-initiated.

A press release by the Rutherford Institute states school officials stopped her speech “after she began speaking about the part her Christian beliefs played in her success in life. Attorneys for The Rutherford Institute had asked the Court to hear the case of Brittany McComb, charging that school officials violated McComb’s free speech rights and engaged in viewpoint discrimination when they censored her speech because of its Christian content.”

The harsh rejection of Christianity and basic religious freedom is the 11th reason to remove your children and grandchildren from the government school system, according to family advocates at SaveCalifornia.com. (See Reasons 1-10 at their special website RescueYourChild.com.)