Freedom of Faith and Conscience | Right of Conscience
Cheering Free Speech Supreme Court Decision, Christian Doctors Warn of Government Enforcement of Ideology
The 15,000-member Christian Medical Association, which along with other faith-based organizations had filed a friend-of-the-court brief in a U.S. Supreme Court case examining free speech and assembly rights, lauded the decision announced today in the case, McCullen v. Coakley.
"The Court simply reaffirmed that the First Amendment's protection of peaceful speech and assembly is a cornerstone of this nation," explained CMA CEO Dr. David Stevens. "Hopefully such decisions will begin to address the alarming growth of coercive assaults on the free speech of anyone deemed not politically correct by the government."
The brief, submitted by the Christian Legal Society, sought to counter a Massachusetts law that had attempted to ban peaceful pro-life speech on public sidewalks, by prohibiting many citizens from entering a public street or sidewalk within 35 feet of an abortion facility.
"The fact that the government was bent on not only banning peaceful speech and assembly, but also penalizing its citizens with fines and jail, demonstrates the type of coercion that can happen when governments decide to enforce their own ideology," stated Dr. Stevens.
The Court's religious freedom caseload this term also included cases in which the Obama administration attempted to force, under threat of millions of dollars in fines, family businesses like Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood to violate their religious beliefs by participating in an Obamacare contraceptives mandate. The Obama administration also recently launched another sweeping mandate that appears to target faith-based groups, requiring agreement with same-sex marriage as a condition of receiving federal grants.
Dr. Stevens added, "It's really time for all Americans, whatever their beliefs, to wake up to the fact that whenever the government threatens one group's First Amendment rights, all of our First Amendment rights stand at risk."
CMA's Freedom2Care website (www.Freedom2Care.org) details other violations of faith and conscience rights:
- "A coercive contraceptive mandate that imposes pro-abortion ideology on all with pro-life views.
- "The gutting of the only federal conscience regulation in health care opens the door to discrimination.
- "The denial of federal funds to a ministry, just for opposing abortions, threatens care for human trafficking victims.
- "The administration's court case to restrict faith-based organizations' hiring rights minimizes religious liberty.
- "Firings, discrimination and coercion of life-honoring health care professionals imperil health care access."