Posts

Federal Judge Blocks Obama Bathroom Mandate

 

A federal judge in Texas has issued an order blocking the enforcement of the Obama Administration’s federal action forcing schools to open locker rooms, showers, and bathrooms for students, regardless of their biological status.

Earlier this summer, 13 states sued the Obama administration after its Education and Justice Departments had told schools to comply with the “guidance” or risk federal funding.  It appears, for the time being, that that issue is moot; however, it is expected that the Obama Administration will appeal the ruling.

The judge cited the government’s failure to give the public an opportunity to comment as his justification for the block.  The judge also took an opportunity to look at the intent of federal non-discrimination laws, arguing in his decision that “the plain meaning of the term sex meant the biological and anatomical differences between male and female students as determined at their birth,” and not transgender students, as the Obama Administration has tried to interpret.

This ruling means that schools will not be in jeopardy of losing federal funding this fall if they implement policies to protect students’ privacy and safety.  You can read the Press Release from Texas Values here.

We’ll keep you updated on this story, and through a potential appeals process, here at FPIW.org and on our Facebook page.

FPIW Releases Press Statement Regarding Obama Administration Public School Mandate

 

***FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE***

May 13, 2016 (LYNNWOOD) — Following the Obama Administration’s issuance of threats to public schools not adhering to the new guidelines and interpretation of Title IX of the Civil Rights Act, FPIW Executive Director Joseph Backholm made this statement:

“The President’s behavior is lawless.  If the United States wants a law that forces grade schools, middle schools, and high school to allow boys into the girls locker room, that’s something the Congress would do, not the President. Even if it were lawful, every parent should be concerned that the President just threatened to intentionally diminish the quality of public education by way of removing funding unless we start forcing girls to share locker rooms with boys at school.”

Joseph Backholm is available for comments and interviews Friday afternoon.  Please contact FPIW’s offices at (425) 609-0242 or email Zach Freeman at zach@fpiw.org to schedule an interview.

 

Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood Decision Expected Soon

As soon as tomorrow, the U.S. Supreme Court will release their decision in lawsuits involving Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood Specialties, two family owned businesses who have challenged the Obamacare mandate requiring employers to pay for contraceptives that cause abortions for their employees.

The businesses object to paying for four of the 20 types of contraceptives the mandate requires employers to provide because of their belief that they cause abortions.

The mandate threatens the existence of these businesses which employ more than 14,000 people.

In the case of Hobby Lobby, the fine for failing to comply with the mandate is as much as $1.3 million per day.

The plaintiffs have asked the Supreme Court to find the mandate unconstitutional claiming it violates their First Amendment Right to the free exercise of religion and their Fifth Amendment right to due process and equal protection under the law.

In its decision, the Supreme Court will first determine whether a for-profit corporation can “exercise religion”.

While it is undisputed that individuals have the right to the exercise of religion (though there is much debate about what that means as well) the government is arguing that corporations cannot claim the religious freedom protections at all.

In essence, the Obama administration believes the government can force Hobby Lobby to do things they could not force the Green Family, owners of Hobby Lobby, to do if they did not have a business.

Of course, the Green Family sees their business as an extension of themselves and do not believe they surrendered their right to make decisions consistent with their faith once they built a business and started employing people.

If the Supreme Court agrees with the families that corporations can claim religious freedom protections, the court will then decide if the mandate restricts their religious freedom.  If they conclude that it does, the court will then decide whether the burden is justified by a “compelling government interest” in providing contraception and whether there is a way to accomplish the same goal without restricting religious freedom.

Put another way, “could the government make contraceptives available to employees in a way that did not take away people’s religious freedom?”

The answer to that question is almost certainly, yes.

As with the floristsphotographers, and bakeries, these cases are just another example of government attempting to force people to do things that violate their conscience as a condition of doing business.

Religious groups and business owners should not have to violate their faith in order to be in compliance with the law.  Nor should families have to choose between their faith and their livelihood.

People of faith do not forfeit their religious freedom when they choose to start a business.

Some argue that they don’t understand the big deal about providing contraceptive coverage for employees, but that is beside the point.  It’s not the role of government to define what people believe or what our faith includes.  That’s the role of the church.

If the left is going to really care about the separation of church and state, they will stay out of the business of telling individuals and companies what their faith requires.

It is worth noting that the government has exempted 100 million employees from these mandates for commercial and political reasons.  But for companies that want out of the mandates for conscience reasons, the government is arguing that there is a “compelling government reason” to force them to comply.

While our ability to influence the Supreme Court’s decision in this case is limited, we have significant influence over the future of religious freedom in Washington State and around the country generally.

There are elections this fall in every part of our state, and we encourage you to ask those who are on your ballot how they feel about religious freedom.  Do they support these mandates against businesses that don’t want to pay for contraceptives that cause abortions?  Do they support lawsuits against small businesses like Arlene’s Flowers because of their belief about marriage?

Then allow their answers to inform your vote.  Make sure your friends and neighbors who care about religious freedom know whether the candidates on their ballot support religious freedom as well.

The lawsuit against Arlene’s Flowers could be done away with in a single legislative act, but the legislature will only protect religious freedom if the people who elect them insist on it.  That means those of us who support religious freedom need to be the squeaky wheel, in the most pleasant way possible.

To ask your legislators how they feel about these issues, click here.   If you would rather ask these questions over the phone, you can reach all your legislators at the same time through the legislative hotline at 1-800-562-6000.  Even if you don’t know who your legislators are, just provide your address to the operator and they will tell you.

We want to know what you learn as well because every citizen should know how every legislator feels about religious freedom.

To paraphrase the lesson from the Little Red Hen, if we don’t help protect our religious freedom, we should not expect to enjoy the benefits of it. And given the aggressive nature of those wanting to take away religious freedom, if we do nothing, we can be quite confident we won’t.

Obamacare Abortion Coverage in Washington

Over the last couple years, the abortion industry in Washington has done a lot of hand-wringing over the possibility that some insurance plans sold in Washington would not cover abortion.

When it was passed, the Affordable Care Act gave states the right not to cover abortion in their health care exchanges.

Eighteen states passed legislation specifically prohibiting abortion coverage in their exchanges.

Of course Washington was not one of them.

We continue to have an A+ rating from the National Abortion Rights Action League for our unambiguously pro-abortion policies.

However, because of the prohibition on federal funding for abortion,  (which the Obama administration is apparently not interested in enforcing) there was uncertainty about how abortion coverage would be treated in the Obamacare exchanges.

The abortion industry’s response was to promote an abortion insurance mandate and require every insurance policy to cover abortion.

And why not?

Can you even imagine the harm that would result if a woman wanting abortion coverage inadvertently purchased a policy without it?

What? You think women are smart enough to figure out if they are buying abortion coverage or not?

You obviously hate women.

Regardless, we no longer have to discuss hypotheticals, because Obamacare is here now. We passed it so now we get to find out what’s in it.  And hasn’t that been like an early Christmas present.

Here in Washington State, there is only one insurance policy on the exchange that doesn’t cover abortion.  That plan is the Blue Cross Multi-state options administered by Premera.

Every other plan?  You guessed it. They cover abortion. And a mad scramble is underway to make sure everyone knows it.

Now that the facts are in, a mandate to force everyone to buy abortion insurance as a way of making abortion insurance available appears to be unnecessary.

It would be like a mandate to run beer commercials during football games. They got it covered.

But that doesn’t mean they won’t revive the mandate.  And the reason why is buried in the name of the legislation…the Reproductive Parity Act.  They aren’t primarily concerned with making sure women have access to abortion.  That’s status quo.  They want to create parity between birth and abortion. They’re angry that moral disapproval of abortion exists and that people have the right to express that through their purchasing decisions.

So they want to take that right away.  After all, they’re “pro-choice”.

If you’re pro-choice in the true sense, and you’d like more choices than the current Obamacare exchange offers, consider Samaritan Ministries, a Christian cost sharing ministry that my family and I are part of.

We made the switch when our monthly premium reached $1,800/month. Now we pay $350/month to cover our family of 6.

Membership in this ministry allows you to avoid the Obamacare fine/tax and is much less expensive than what people are paying through Obamacare.

It works too.  I have a two-year old son that is a danger to himself and others.  He has been to the ER three times and we pay only the first $300 of every incident.  The remainder is covered by checks from families all over the country who are helping to share the burden.

We are also blessed with the chance to send our prayers and a check to another family with medical costs every month as well.  It’s people helping people, and the government isn’t even involved. Who ever heard of such a thing?

Yes, it’s a commercial. No, I wasn’t asked to plug them nor are we compensated in any way for doing so.  But it might be a blessing for your family.