Banning Christian Adoptions

Massachusetts is rejecting would-be adoptive parents if those parents are Christian and thus denying a home to children in need, according to a new lawsuit. Mike and Kitty Burke went through all the classes, background checks, and home assessments required to become adoptive parents, and scored highly. Yet, they were rejected because, as state officials wrote in their report, the couple’s Christian faith meant they are “not supportive” of kids who identify as LGBTQ. 

Right now, in Massachusetts more than 1,500 kids are in need of a foster home. Not only do advocates deny biology and sexualize children by suggesting their sexual preferences are their identity, but they also deny kids loving parents as if it is better to not have a home than to be in a home with a religious mom and dad. 

This is not an isolated incident. A mom in Oregon was also rejected from fostering kids for the same reason. Again, it’s the children who are harmed.

Copyright 2023 by the Colson Center for Christian Worldview. Reprinted from BreakPoint.org with permission.

US Supreme Court protects free speech for all

The following is a press release from Alliance Defending Freedom.

Friday, Jun 30, 2023

WASHINGTON – In a landmark decision Friday, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld free speech for all Americans in 303 Creative v. Elenis, stating, “as this Court has long held, the opportunity to think for ourselves and to express those thoughts freely is among our most cherished liberties and part of what keeps our Republic strong.” Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys represent Denver-area graphic artist and website designer Lorie Smith and her studio, 303 Creative, whom Colorado has censored for nearly seven years.

“The U.S. Supreme Court rightly reaffirmed that the government can’t force Americans to say things they don’t believe. The court reiterated that it’s unconstitutional for the state to eliminate from the public square ideas it dislikes, including the belief that marriage is the union of husband and wife,” said ADF CEO, President, and General Counsel Kristen Waggoner, who argued before the Supreme Court on behalf of Lorie and 303 Creative. “Disagreement isn’t discrimination, and the government can’t mislabel speech as discrimination to censor it. Lorie works with everyone, including clients who identify as LGBT. As the court highlighted, her decisions to create speech always turn on what message is requested, never on who requests it. The ruling makes clear that nondiscrimination laws remain firmly in place, and that the government has never needed to compel speech to ensure access to goods and services.”

“This is a win for all Americans,” Waggoner added. “The government should no more censor Lorie for speaking consistent with her beliefs about marriage than it should punish an LGBT graphic designer for declining to criticize same-sex marriage. If we desire freedom for ourselves, we must defend it for others.”

ADF attorneys sued Colorado in 2016 on Smith’s behalf for misusing state law to violate the U.S. Constitution. They argued that a Supreme Court decision for Smith would benefit all Americans, regardless of their beliefs, and help end nearly two decades of unconstitutional government coercion against artists. In New Mexico, photographer Elaine Huguenin is out of business; in Washington, floral artist Barronelle Stutzman was forced to retire; in New York, photographer and blogger Emilee Carpenter faces six figure fines and even jail; and in Colorado, the state has used the very law at issue in this case to punish cake artist Jack Phillips, who is enduring his third lawsuit after more than a decade of litigation.

In its decision reversing the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit, the Supreme Court made clear that the government can’t force Smith to create speech that violates her beliefs just as it cannot force a pro-abortion filmmaker to make a documentary supporting the pro-life movement, a lesbian artist to draw illustrations for a Christian book on marriage, or a Democrat publicist to pen Republican talking points.

“[T]he freedom to think and speak is among our inalienable human rights… By allowing all views to flourish, the framers understood, we may test and improve our own thinking both as individuals and as a Nation,” the Supreme Court wrote in its opinion.

“I’m incredibly grateful for the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling, which says I am free to create art consistent with my beliefs without fear of Colorado punishing me,” said Smith. “This is a victory not just for me but for all Americans across our great country—for those who share my beliefs and for those who hold different beliefs. Whether you’re an LGBT graphic designer, a Jewish calligrapher, an Atheist speechwriter, or a pro-life photographer, the government shouldn’t force any of us to say something we don’t believe. I love people and work with everyone, including those who identify as LGBT. For me, it’s always about what message is requested, never the person requesting. I hope that, regardless of what people think of me or my beliefs, everyone will celebrate that the court upheld the right for each of us to speak freely.”

The Supreme Court’s decision also reaffirms the government’s ability to protect people’s access to basic goods and services. Public-accommodation laws will continue to ensure people have access to goods and services. The ruling affirms America’s commitment to free speech, which has helped advance some of its most significant progress—from abolishing slavery and securing women’s right to vote to passing the 1964 Civil Rights Act. Each of these movements flourished because America refused to coerce or silence speech.

“Without the freedom to speak, we shutter diverse views, meaningful debate, and the conditions for progress,” Waggoner explained. “Regardless of one’s beliefs, race, faith, or identity, no one should be punished by the government for saying what they believe. Political and cultural winds shift, but the First Amendment’s promise remains constant. If our civil liberties are to have any meaning, people must be free to speak consistently with the very core of who they are. The Supreme Court’s ruling ensures that future generations will enjoy this most essential of freedoms.”

Alliance Defending Freedom is an alliance-building, non-profit legal organization committed to protecting religious freedom, free speech, parental rights, and the sanctity of life.

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Listen: Judge Strikes SAFE Act; Arkansan Prosecuted for Preaching; and More

You’re listening to Family Council in Little Rock, bringing you the latest news and updates. Here are today’s stories.

In our first story, a federal judge in Little Rock has struck down a law designed to protect children from sex-reassignment procedures. U.S. District Judge James Moody blocked the enforcement of the Save Adolescents From Experimentation (or SAFE) Act, a state law passed in Arkansas in 2021. The law safeguards children by prohibiting sex-reassignment surgeries, puberty blockers, and cross-sex hormones on minors.

Family Council President Jerry Cox expressed disappointment with the ruling, saying that subjecting children to sex-change procedures can have harmful, long-term effects. Cox believes that the higher courts will recognize the importance of the SAFE Act and ultimately uphold the law as constitutional.

Moving on to our second story, a federal lawsuit in Maryland highlights the significance of laws passed in Arkansas. Three families, including one Muslim, one Roman Catholic, and one Ukrainian Orthodox, recently filed a lawsuit against the Montgomery County Board of Education in Maryland. The lawsuit challenges the school district’s policy, which no longer notifies parents about LGBT content at school and prevents them from opting their children out of pro-LGBT material.

The families argue that the LGBT Pride Storybooks provided in the schools are not age appropriate and promote a one sided transgender ideology. Similar pro-LGBT books have caused controversy in libraries across Arkansas. The Arkansas Legislature has taken steps to prevent this type of material from being present in public school classrooms, with laws such as the 2023 LEARNS Act protecting elementary students from inappropriate sexual material and prohibiting critical race theory in public schools.

Our final story brings us to Batesville, Arkansas, where a Christian preacher named Jeremy Anders is being prosecuted for exercising his religious freedom. Mr. Anders was arrested in April for harassment due to preaching on a public sidewalk.

Attorney Bob Ballinger, the Director of Law and Policy for the National Association of Christian Lawmakers, is defending Mr. Anders in court. In a statement, Mr. Ballinger highlights the importance of protecting individual rights, including the right to preach and speak on sidewalks.

Former Senator Jason Rapert, Founder and President of the National Association of Christian Lawmakers, also voiced his concerns, emphasizing that the freedom of religion, speech, and peaceful assembly are critical rights that should be protected. Mr. Anders hopes that his case will set a precedent for the protection of religious expression in public spaces.

That wraps up our news segment for today! Stay tuned for more updates from Family Council in Little Rock. You can find more information on our website at FamilyCouncil.org. Thanks for listening!