religious freedom – Helviti http://helviti.com/ Fri, 25 Mar 2022 21:09:41 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.9.3 https://helviti.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/10/icon-1-1-120x120.png religious freedom – Helviti http://helviti.com/ 32 32 Children’s hospital fires uninfected staff after questioning religious beliefs https://helviti.com/childrens-hospital-fires-uninfected-staff-after-questioning-religious-beliefs/ Thu, 24 Feb 2022 13:06:11 +0000 https://helviti.com/childrens-hospital-fires-uninfected-staff-after-questioning-religious-beliefs/ “I love it. I love my job. I love what I do, and it’s been very difficult. Sorry.” The pediatric nurse, who had worked at Children’s Wisconsin for 12 years, fought back tears as she emphasized her passion for treating sick children to the chaplain and human resources representative who questioned whether her religious beliefs […]]]>

“I love it. I love my job. I love what I do, and it’s been very difficult. Sorry.”

The pediatric nurse, who had worked at Children’s Wisconsin for 12 years, fought back tears as she emphasized her passion for treating sick children to the chaplain and human resources representative who questioned whether her religious beliefs were sincere enough to earning him an exemption from the Milwaukee Hospital’s vaccination mandate, which went into effect in November.

This nurse, whose religious exemption appeal interview was shared with The Federalist on condition of anonymity, was eventually granted an exemption after being first denied, then on appeal, then questioned by the two representatives of the hospital on his religious beliefs. Some of his colleagues weren’t so lucky.

Of the five call-in interview tapes reviewed by The Federalist, only two of the employees were granted religious exemptions despite the same general questions posed to each of the child workers and similar themes in each of their responses. The other three were refused.

Staff were informed in July of the vaccine mandate, which required them to be vaccinated against Covid-19 in mid-November. Employees had until Sept. 1 to apply for a religious exemption, according to a vaccine brief that Children’s WI President and CEO Peggy Troy emailed to all employees at the facility. hospital, and they were informed of the decisions later.

Some of those who were turned down have started looking for new jobs, Alyssa Pollow, a nurse practitioner and former Children’s Wisconsin provider, told The Federalist. However, others wanted to stay and appealed, especially if they had seniority.

To appeal a denial, employees had to email Employee Health and Wellness and Human Resources, who would set up Zoom interviews to grill applicants on their religious beliefs and point out apparent contradictions.

These interviews were conducted by Chaplain Ian Butts and someone from HR, such as Sharyl Niebler or Staci Benz, but Butts conducted most of the questioning. The questions included details of employees’ personal religious beliefs and their vaccination records, with Butts pressing what he saw as contradictions.

Two particularly important questions concerned the details of how employees would keep their patients safe without being vaccinated, involving the moral implication of refusing a vaccine, as well as how they could work for a hospital that demanded something. something as contrary to their personal beliefs as a condition of employment.

“In my opinion, he’s so above the way he asks these questions,” Pollow told The Federalist. “And for him to be their religious arbiter whose religious beliefs are more virtuous than someone else is such an invasion of privacy.”

“It seems so intrusive,” she added, even calling it an “assault on religion.”

Butts and the HR representative would then forward the information they gathered to an overarching committee called the COVID Religious Waiver Committee, whose members were hidden, shielding the adjudicators from liability.

The committee also offered no transparency regarding why employees were denied exemptions. “Because Children’s must preserve the integrity of its process for reviewing waiver requests, the specific reasons for denials are not shared,” the Covid-19 Employee Health and Wellbeing team wrote in response to an employee’s question regarding this person’s denial of religious derogation.

Children’s Wisconsin did not respond to questions from The Federalist about who was on the waiver committee. He also wouldn’t say how many people have applied for religious exemptions, how many have been approved, and how the current number of vacancies compares to pre-pandemic levels.

“All staff at Children’s Wisconsin are currently complying with our vaccine requirements,” children’s spokesperson Andy Brodzeller responded to The Federalist’s inquiry. “Over 98% of our team members met our November 15 deadline to get vaccinated or have an exemption approved. … We were sad to see the less than 100 people leave our organization when the requirement came into effect, but respect their decision to do so.

Children’s response, however, leaves many questions unanswered, such as how many people were not included in the denominator of that 98% because they quit after learning about the terms of reference, well before the deadline. of November 15, without even trying to acquire an exemption. And the language about “100 people leave[ing]involves a voluntary decision, so how many others have been fired? It is eerily reminiscent of public relations words conducted by Gundersen Health Systems, another hospital system in Wisconsin, to cover up the staffing crisis of its vaccine mandate.

[READ: In Wisconsin, Hospital Shortages Aren’t From Covid, They’re From Vaccine Mandates]

Judging by the disparity in results for the five aforementioned employees who appealed despite the similarities in their responses, it appears that Children’s does not have a strong or consistent rationale for its waiver decisions.

Pollow said that when a manager received a list of a dozen employees she was going to lose, she demanded a meeting with decision makers, where she “raised the hell up” about the need for all those members. staff to stay on their team. The following week, Pollow said, the majority of those staff members had their appeals approved, leading her to believe the COVID Religious Waiver Committee was making its decisions in an effort to appease officials in certain departments. who were willing to stick their necks out for their employees. Or maybe more likely they were trying to “spread their losses across the departments”.

This is because we have seen the catastrophic effects of these vaccination mandates and other poor management and working conditions, which have left other hospitals severely understaffed.

Gundersen Health Systems in La Crosse, Wisconsin suffered a severe staff haemorrhage due to the vaccine mandate, contrary to its misleading self-reporting about it. These layoffs coupled with workers leaving for low wages have led to underserved patients.

“Within the hospital, nursing shortages have led to dangerous staffing situations where nurses and CNAs are forced to take on more patients than is safe due to the lack of nursing staff present. Patients are forgotten on bedpans or fall because there are simply not enough staff to care for them safely,” a former Gundersen nurse wrote in an impact statement. community. Although she obtained a religious exemption from this hospital, she was so disgusted by the language of the letter that she resigned anyway.

Following the departure of low-wage staff, she said nurses should use the bare minimum of sheets, even going so far as to make makeshift pillowcases from hospital gowns. One weekend in October, Gundersen had to close a dozen beds due to a shortage of nurses, she said, adding that she also canceled heart valve replacement surgeries because she couldn’t. did not have enough postoperative staff.

Like Gundersen, Children’s Wisconsin appears to be struggling to fill staffing gaps. Even in September, the hospital wings made desperate pleas for help, captured in the screenshots below. After refusing religious exemptions and therefore losing more staff, Children’s had to get creative.

Senior management launched “Helping Hands” where employees could sign up for 2-4 hour shifts to complete necessary tasks left undone by understaffing, such as replenishing laundry, folding laundry , cleaning the floors or working in the cafeteria. This email from late January states that “only 92 out of 234 shifts are currently filled”.

Like other hospitals in Wisconsin, Children’s also tries to recruit travel nurses to fill vacancies, although many travel nurses can evade vaccination requirements by being employed not directly by hospitals but by travel agencies. trips. (Below is an example of a Gundersen nurse who said she was fired in November for not being vaccinated and has now agreed to a 13-week travel RN contract with the same hospital when she was still not vaccinated.)

Not to mention that travel nurses don’t specialize in any particular institution, especially pediatrics, which means that when hospitals outsource this care, it can cause patients to suffer unnecessarily.

“I think they’re so desperate and they know they’ve created a staff shortage crisis,” Pollow said.

Pollow no longer works at the Children’s, but that’s not because she was denied an exemption or refused to get vaccinated. In fact, she has been vaccinated since January 2021. In December, once the mandate was established, however, she stepped down.

His resignation is noteworthy because it suggests that employees in his situation likely weren’t included in Children’s self-declaration “less than 100 people are leaving.”[ing] when the requirement came into effect. Their departures are scattered and do not coincide with the entry into force of the mandate.

“For vaxxed people, we’re just sick of the BS,” she said. “It really opened our eyes to the toxic environment our senior leaders have created and blindly imposing things and disregarding the true quality of care that is being affected.”

For this reason, Children’s is probably not done losing staff. Pollow said more people are still employed but have one foot outside. Some of them have been lucky enough to have their religious waivers approved, but are wrestling with how long they will stay because the hospital mandates weekly testing for the unvaccinated only – a serious double standard since the vaccinated can still catch and spread Covid.

“We’re definitely still seeing the effects of that,” Pollow said. “And we will continue to see it for a very long time.”


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Lawyer and religious leader inaugurating the lecture series | News, Sports, Jobs https://helviti.com/lawyer-and-religious-leader-inaugurating-the-lecture-series-news-sports-jobs/ Wed, 23 Feb 2022 05:17:55 +0000 https://helviti.com/lawyer-and-religious-leader-inaugurating-the-lecture-series-news-sports-jobs/ ELKINS — Davis & Elkins College will open its Spring Lecture Series on Thursday, sponsored by the Morrison-Novakovic Center for Faith and Public Policy. Allyson McKinney Timm, founder and executive director of Justice Revival in Washington, DC, will be the guest speaker for the 7 p.m. event at the Myles Center for the […]]]>

ELKINS — Davis & Elkins College will open its Spring Lecture Series on Thursday, sponsored by the Morrison-Novakovic Center for Faith and Public Policy.

Allyson McKinney Timm, founder and executive director of Justice Revival in Washington, DC, will be the guest speaker for the 7 p.m. event at the Myles Center for the Arts.

In his lecture entitled “Reconciling religion and human rights? The experience of a lawyer grappling with lingering tensions over gender equality,” Timm will explore the complex relationship between religion and human rights and, in particular, the ongoing tensions over the issue of gender equality.

“D&E is very fortunate to have a leading human rights lawyer and faith leader joining us as we begin the Center’s spring presentations on democracy and faith,” said Dr. Bryan Wagoner, associate professor of religious studies and philosophy and director of the Morrison-Novakovic Center for Faith and Public Policy. “Allyson is a national thought leader who will help our community reflect on women’s rights as human rights and the complex connections between rights discourse and matters of faith.

A human rights lawyer, scholar, and religious leader, Timm has two decades of experience advocating for the dignity and rights of people on the margins, in the United States and around the world. His work promoting justice and equality has spanned the non-profit, private and academic sectors. After founding Justice Revival in 2017, she was named “one of ten religious leaders to watch” by the Center for American Progress the following year. His writing has appeared in Sojourners, California Lawyer, The Independent, USA Today, Yale Divinity School’s Reflections magazine, and others.

As a Robert M. Cover-Allard K. Lowenstein Fellow in International Human Rights at Yale Law School, Timm taught and supervised students at the Lowenstein International Human Rights Clinic, investigating and analyzing issues such as child and forced marriage. , human trafficking, religious freedom. and the human rights to education and housing.

Timm also created and led the Uganda Field Office of the International Justice Mission, an organization that launched a successful program to defend the property and inheritance rights of vulnerable widows and orphans.

Prior to joining IJM, Timm was a litigation associate in the San Francisco office of Latham & Watkins LLP, where she contributed to a team that successfully advocated for the reform of unlawful conditions in California’s juvenile prison system. She worked on a first civil action to combat human trafficking and served as a volunteer in a trial team with the Office of the Prosecutor of the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda. Over the years, she has worked on several projects dealing with constitutional law, justice and peacebuilding issues in what is now South Sudan.

Timm holds professional degrees in law and business from Georgetown University and a Master of Divinity degree from Yale Divinity School. She is ordained a ruling elder in the Presbyterian Church (USA) and will be teaching adult education and preaching at Davis Memorial Presbyterian Church on Sunday, February 27.

Timm’s lecture is the first in a series sponsored by the Morrison-Novakovic Center for Faith and Public Policy this spring that focuses on the themes of democracy and faith. All are free and open to the public. Mandatory masks and social distancing.

For more information, email Wagoner at wagonerb@dewv.edu.



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Americans support religious freedom – as long as it suits everyone https://helviti.com/americans-support-religious-freedom-as-long-as-it-suits-everyone/ Tue, 15 Feb 2022 23:27:10 +0000 https://helviti.com/americans-support-religious-freedom-as-long-as-it-suits-everyone/ (RNS) – Perhaps one of the most important legal terms of the 21st century is “religious freedom.” As my fellow University of Cincinnati political scientist, Andrew Lewis, explains in his most recent book, “The Rights Turn in Conservative Christian Politics”, religious conservatives began to center their legal strategy on the rights of individuals to practice […]]]>

(RNS) – Perhaps one of the most important legal terms of the 21st century is “religious freedom.” As my fellow University of Cincinnati political scientist, Andrew Lewis, explains in his most recent book, “The Rights Turn in Conservative Christian Politics”, religious conservatives began to center their legal strategy on the rights of individuals to practice their faith without fear of government repercussions.

The most notable example of this strategy was Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, in which two men sued a Colorado bakery owner who refused to create a cake for their wedding. The store’s defense rested on the fact that the baker held deep religious beliefs about marriage and that being asked to violate those beliefs by serving two people of the same sex would infringe on the baker’s religious freedom.

But liberal Christians do not hesitate to use the arguments of religious liberty themselves. Just weeks ago, St. Timothy’s Episcopal Church in Brookings, Oregon, filed a lawsuit because the city passed an ordinance limiting the number of free meals each week that area organizations residential facilities could offer homeless people. The law was passed after neighbors complained about disruptions caused by St. Timothy’s Meals Ministry.


RELATED: How religious is your 22-year-old? A new golden age of survey data opens a door


The basis of the church’s lawsuit is that the city ordinance prohibits worshipers from practicing their religious beliefs. Like Masterpiece Cakeshop, the church argues that its actions are protected by the “free exercise” clause of the First Amendment.

It turns out that support for religious freedom is popular with all Americans — as long as it doesn’t limit the other freedoms we all share.

In late 2020, the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty surveyed a thousand Americans, asking a number of nuanced questions about religious liberty. The results seem to indicate that while Americans see the value of religious freedom, they believe it has limits.

Generally speaking, a majority of Americans support religious freedom, whether or not they call themselves a “person of faith.” But while nearly 40% of people of faith believe that religious freedom is too poorly protected in the United States, this opinion is shared by only 18% of people who call themselves non-religious.

At the other end of the spectrum, 20% of Americans who say they are not religious think religious freedom is overprotected. Only 7% of religious people agree with this.

As the pollsters’ questions became more nuanced, it was clear that the average American is more likely to give religious practices more leeway when they have the least impact, but more hesitant to protect beliefs. and behaviors that bother others in the community or workplace.

For example, more than 85% of Americans think it is “somewhat important” or “absolutely essential” that an American has the right to choose the religion of their choice. The same percentage believe that the right to practice one’s religion without fear of persecution is a key element of religious freedom.

But nearly 37% of people say practices that bother others are “definitely not” or “not a very important part” of religious freedom.

Painting by Ryan Burge

This disadvantage seems to include religious views on politics, especially in places of worship. Nearly 35% of respondents said religious freedom should not extend to the right of religious leaders to endorse political candidates.

It should be noted that in these cases, a majority of Americans believe that religious freedom should apply in these circumstances. There is broad support for the idea that religious organizations and individuals should have a large place in society. But those are high percentages of dissent when a religious practice gets in the way of another American.

There were also many contradictions. In a part of the survey in which Americans were asked to respond to a variety of statements about religious freedom, 3 in 5 adults agreed that religion is a fundamental part of some Americans’ identity and should be protected. . However, 42% of this same group agreed that religious beliefs are often used as an excuse for bigotry.


RELATED: Is God Good For America? Depends who you ask.


Painting by Ryan Burge

Elsewhere, 56% of Americans agreed that “cutting down religious freedoms is a first step toward losing broader freedoms,” but 44% agreed that it was appropriate for the government to prevent religious groups from meeting for a period of time. pandemic or other public emergency.

Anyone who studies the opinions of Americans knows that they are often in direct contradiction to each other. They often say they want to reduce taxes and the federal deficit, for example, but also express strong support for expensive government programs and others. But the message from Becket’s poll for preachers and politicians is clear: Talking generally about religious freedom will win admirers. Just avoid telling anyone what to think of specific cases.

(Ryan Burge is assistant professor of political science at Eastern Illinois University, pastor of the American Baptist Church, and author of “The Nones: Where They Came From, Who They Are, and Where They Are Going”. He can be contacted on Twitter at @ryanburge. The views expressed in this commentary do not necessarily reflect those of Religion News Service.)

Ahead of the Trend is a collaborative effort between Religion News Service and the Association of Religion Data Archives made possible with support from the John Templeton Foundation. See other Ahead of the Trend articles here.

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After a year-long hiatus, the North American Division hosts third Religious Freedom Prayer Breakfast https://helviti.com/after-a-year-long-hiatus-the-north-american-division-hosts-third-religious-freedom-prayer-breakfast/ Wed, 02 Feb 2022 12:33:22 +0000 https://helviti.com/after-a-year-long-hiatus-the-north-american-division-hosts-third-religious-freedom-prayer-breakfast/ On January 13, 2022, more than 40 people from various faith traditions gathered for the third Religious Freedom Prayer Breakfast hosted by the Seventh-day Adventist Church in North America (NAD). The event recognized January 16 as National Religious Freedom Day in the United States and included a prayer for elected officials, community, nation, global health […]]]>

On January 13, 2022, more than 40 people from various faith traditions gathered for the third Religious Freedom Prayer Breakfast hosted by the Seventh-day Adventist Church in North America (NAD). The event recognized January 16 as National Religious Freedom Day in the United States and included a prayer for elected officials, community, nation, global health and healing, peace, religious freedom and unity. of mind. Representatives of several faith groups prayed over these topics, including participants from Adventist, Jewish, Muslim, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Baptist and non-denominational Christian traditions. Several NAD leaders and local church leaders participated with prayer and music.

Eric Baxter, president of the Silver Spring Stake—Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and senior counsel for Becket, a nonprofit, public-benefit legal and educational institute, delivered special remarks for the event, which was scaled back due to the coronavirus pandemic.

During the prayer breakfast welcome, Orlan Johnson, NAD Director of Public Affairs and Religious Liberty, provided a brief summary of the program and shared the significance of the January date for the event. . “We are here to celebrate an important day: National Religious Freedom Day, which commemorates the signing in 1786 of Virginia’s historic Statute of Religious Freedom. It was a law by Thomas Jefferson, which included powerful language that later served as the basis for our First Amendment to the US Constitution – language that means you and I can each worship God in any way we see fit. appropriate.

Johnson further shared, “No matter what religious tradition we represent, we can celebrate together and be grateful to live in this country that respects religious freedom. Sometimes here in America, however, we begin to feel convinced that this is how it is, and this is how the world should be. But the Pew Research Center estimates that 80% of the world’s population lives in areas where religious freedom is severely restricted. The reality is that it’s a bit like looking in your car’s rear view mirror: the objects you see in the rear view mirror can come at you faster than you think! And if religious freedom is restricted in someone else’s garden, we need to be aware that it’s possible it could happen in ours as well.

Orlan Johnson, director of public affairs and religious liberty for the NAD, welcomes attendees to the 2021 Religious Liberty Prayer Breakfast at division headquarters on January 13. [Photo by Pieter Damsteegt]

During his address, Baxter noted that although people represent different traditions and beliefs, we can still work together toward the common goal of promoting and protecting religious freedom for all. “In today’s world, we have so many opportunities to feel division and discord. It is good, on the contrary, to focus on what brings us together,” he said.

Baxter told the story of one of the many religious accommodation cases he fought. Captain Simratpal “Simmer” Singh is a devout Sikh and decorated army captain who was forced to choose between serving his country and wearing the articles of his faith: his uncropped hair, beard and turban.

“He was forced to make the difficult choice between following his religion by serving his God or following his religion by serving his country. It was basically an impossible choice that no one should have to face,” Baxter explained. The case allowed the military to end its 30-year beard ban and issue new regulations stating that Sikh soldiers will not be forced to give up their religious turbans, uncropped hair or beards while throughout their military career.

“We need to stand in solidarity with those who don’t share our faith and even with those who have no faith at all,” Baxter said. “When we get to know each other, we can find ways to work together to protect religious freedom for all…We still have many challenges ahead of us, including a general decline in religiosity and a fairly widespread apathy toward the importance of religious freedom. ”

He acknowledged the difficult issues that have emerged in recent years, including the need to preserve religious freedom while ensuring non-discrimination. “I believe that the well-being of our society, and the world at large, depends heavily on our ability as individuals and religious organizations to support one another as we seek in good faith, with humility and compassion, to meet some of these challenges.”

prayer time

Seven special prayers were offered during the event. The prayer for religious freedom was delivered by Kyoshin Ahn, executive secretary of the NAD. Ahn gave thanks for the gift of religious freedom – the right to love and worship God. “We know that not only is religious freedom central to our relationship with you, but we also recognize that it is the foundation of human rights, justice and the common good,” he said. he declares.

A Prayer for the Community followed from Jennifer Gray, Director of Interfaith Outreach for the Governor’s Office of Community Initiatives.

“Our Lord, we pray that our nation, the United States, will remain loving and compassionate. Remove prejudice from our hearts and enable us to love our brothers and sisters of all faiths,” Missionary Umar Nayyar, of Wasaya Baitur Rehman Mosque, said during his prayer for the nation.

As he prayed for the elected, Lt. Col. YS (Lonny) Wortham, State Chaplain for the Maryland National Guard, said, “We pray for these officials, that you root them and root them in love. [for] their Lord, and it would not be by their purpose or their will, but they would hunger and thirst for the things of God. Father, we pray that You’ll save them from their pride; we pray that you save them from their desires for power, so that they may become servants of the people of this country and this nation.

Reverend Jerome Stephens, director of community outreach to Senator Ben Cardin, offered a prayer for global health and healing. He asked God to help overwhelmed healthcare workers during the pandemic. Stephens also said: “It is our prayer that all be encouraged. As we endure this season, it is our faith in God that [we know] a change will come for better health and better healing.

A prayer for peace followed from the Rev. Jennifer Hawks, associate general counsel for the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty. Hawks addressed disturbing trends in society with domestic violence, racism and negative cultures in social media. She prayed: “Critics are ready to replay our mistakes and failures, trapping us in this negative loop, telling us we are never enough. May we find peace through rest so that we can be agents of shalom within our networks.…May the day soon come when we will treat everyone with the worth and dignity that comes from being created in your image.

Ivan Williams, director of the NAD Ministerial Association, closed the event with a prayer for unity of spirit.

“Oh, God, our maker of every race, tongue, language and people. From your providential hand, we have received our right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. You called us as your people and you gave us the right and the duty to worship you. Thank you for calling us to live out our faith in the midst of the world, accepting the faith of all,” Williams began.

He continued, “Give us the strength of mind and heart to easily defend our freedoms when they are threatened. And give us the courage to raise our voices – even beyond our own rights – for the rights of others. We pray [for] a clear, compassionate, and united voice for all your sons and daughters gathered together in your creation at this defining hour in our nation’s history, that with every trial withstood and every danger overcome now and with our children and grand- children… that this great earth will always be “one nation, under God, indivisible, with freedom and justice for all”.

This article originally appeared on the North American Division news site

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Utah Compromised Approach to Gay Rights, Religious Liberty Offers Lessons | Opinion https://helviti.com/utah-compromised-approach-to-gay-rights-religious-liberty-offers-lessons-opinion/ Tue, 25 Jan 2022 05:00:00 +0000 https://helviti.com/utah-compromised-approach-to-gay-rights-religious-liberty-offers-lessons-opinion/ Our political age has come to reflect what is known as the “prisoner’s dilemma”. Two bank robbers are awaiting trial. If they remain silent, it could be difficult for the prosecutor to prove their guilt. Thus, separately, the prosecutor presents each detainee with an offer: a reduced sentence in exchange for testifying against the other […]]]>

Our political age has come to reflect what is known as the “prisoner’s dilemma”.

Two bank robbers are awaiting trial. If they remain silent, it could be difficult for the prosecutor to prove their guilt. Thus, separately, the prosecutor presents each detainee with an offer: a reduced sentence in exchange for testifying against the other detainee.

Here is the prisoner’s dilemma: remain silent or take the deal?

Fortunately, most people do not face this kind of situation. But every day we judge whether to trust or cooperate. Nowhere is this manifested more acutely than in the political arena.

Studies show that our tribal differences on politics are deeper and more intense than at any time in 50 years. Having spent my career on public policy issues in Washington, D.C. and in over 30 state capitals, the biggest change I have witnessed in a generation is that our politics have become devoid of the type of trust rooted in personal relationships.

As cable news and online platforms increasingly mediate political discourse, lawmakers are pressured to promote their own brands, rather than working cooperatively to solve complex issues for voters. But in my interactions with hundreds of lawmakers and activists from both parties, I have discovered a small but determined minority who are reinventing the prisoner’s dilemma and cultivating an approach that a religious leader recently called the “Politics of Peace”. “.

These policy makers cooperate with former ideological adversaries to find solutions.

It’s understated, but on some of our thorniest challenges — criminal justice, immigration, and the conflict between LGBTQ rights and religious freedom — risky and unlikely friendships lead to innovative policy ideas and outcomes. .

And the process of working together to find those results has created outposts of social peace.

Relationships often begin because of frustrating dead ends. The revival of criminal justice reform over the past decade began when conservative intellectuals and many religious groups began to question whether certain aspects of our legal system were efficient and consistent with their first principles. This led to successful partnerships with progressives who had similar long-standing concerns but were unable to push through reforms at the federal level or in red states.

Over the past six years, I have worked alongside leaders from a wide range of religious and LGBTQ groups seeking to replicate the “Utah Compromise” nationally, to broadly protect the rights and LGBTQ religious freedom.

Many have entered conversations as their “Plan C”.

Social conservatives realized that trying to pass religious freedom protections like the First Amendment Defense Act was failing even in red states. And they were skeptical that LGBTQ rights advocates would ever care about religious freedom, which some progressives had slandered as a “license to discriminate.”

Those willing to put aside suspicion on both sides found unexpected common ground. Even when the process has not produced a clear legislative victory, the process itself has changed lives. Fighting for the rights of once feared adversaries leads people to see the wisdom of CS Lewis’ observation that “When you behave as if you love someone, you will end up loving them”.

The results in Utah are remarkable. Ten years ago, there probably wasn’t another red state in which LGBTQ issues were more complicated. Today, polls show Utahns remain conservative on the definition of marriage, but 77% support protections against LGBTQ discrimination. In 2018, it was the second highest rate in the country. (At the time, only New Hampshire was higher.)

The common denominator of all Politics of Peace successes is years of building relationships of trust. There is also a kind of mindset in those who take the first step towards vulnerability and cooperation. Some scholars have suggested that life is less of a prisoner’s dilemma and more of a “drift’s dilemma.”

If a road is blocked by snow, you can hope that someone else will shovel it so you can sit in your car or house warm. But if you go out with a shovel, then this act will benefit you and everyone around you, may others do the same. But it is more than likely that other shovels will arrive soon.

We can take that first vulnerable step.

We may refuse to chat with acquaintances about online politics; we can lean into friendships and conversations with people with asymmetrical viewpoints. As Eboo Patel, president of the Interfaith Youth Core, observed, “we are much more cooperative with each other in real life than on cable news.”

“Blessed are the peacemakers” is also true in politics. And the more people try it and model it, the more our policy will change for the better.

Tim Schultz is the president of 1st Amendment Partnership, a nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting the religious freedom of Americans of all faiths.

This story appears in the February issue of Desert Magazine. Learn more about how to subscribe.

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A Religious Matter – Lewiston Sun Journal https://helviti.com/a-religious-matter-lewiston-sun-journal/ Thu, 20 Jan 2022 09:00:04 +0000 https://helviti.com/a-religious-matter-lewiston-sun-journal/ For the editor: From the time the “Founding Fathers” of this country drafted the “Declaration of Independence” and the Constitution of the United States of America, belief in God and Christian principles have been the foundation of our national laws and our principles of just government of the people. , by the people and for […]]]>

For the editor:

From the time the “Founding Fathers” of this country drafted the “Declaration of Independence” and the Constitution of the United States of America, belief in God and Christian principles have been the foundation of our national laws and our principles of just government of the people. , by the people and for the people of this wonderful nation.

General George Washington followed these principles in building America’s first army. At the same time, he installed chaplains in the army to provide religious advice and moral support to the troops. These practices have continued in the US military since then.

That is, until Barack Obama becomes president. At that time, President Obama repeatedly stated that “America is not a Christian nation”. The Obama/Biden administration then initiated a policy of prohibiting “religious proselytism” and/or “religious coercion” in the American military services.

This practice is being reinstated by Obama bureaucrats who are trying to make sharing “faith” in the military a criminal act.

A few examples: (1) The Air Force Academy, under pressure, removed the words “so help me God” from the sacred oath taken by Academy recruits.

(2) A DoD training directive places Christians in the same category as the Islamist terrorist group that attacked the United States on “9/11” (September 11, 2001).*

(3) military commanders were prohibited from informing their units of the programs and services offered by chaplains.

In my 22 years of experience in the USAF, including 100 combat missions, I have met many veterans from all of our military services; many of them, including my F-105 fighter pilot, expressed a number of religious beliefs.

My opinion is that a belief in a religion, especially Christianity, can have a very beneficial and calming effect on someone who is in a stressful state, such as being in combat.

Richard Grover

Township of Mason

EDITOR’S NOTE: *DoD Directive 1300.17, dated 09/01/20, states: Establishes DoD policy under the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, recognizing that members of the Service have the right to observe the principles of their religion or to observe no religion at all. This allows all religions and beliefs and Implements the requirements of Section 2000bb-1 of Title 42, United States Code (USC), also known as “The Religious Freedom Restoration Act” (RFRA), and other applicable lodging laws Religious Practices for the DoD to provide, consistent with RFRA, that DoD components will normally accommodate a Service member’s practices based on honest religious belief.

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‘No weakening’: Liberal state governments express concern over federal religious discrimination bill | Religion https://helviti.com/no-weakening-liberal-state-governments-express-concern-over-federal-religious-discrimination-bill-religion/ Sun, 09 Jan 2022 16:32:00 +0000 https://helviti.com/no-weakening-liberal-state-governments-express-concern-over-federal-religious-discrimination-bill-religion/ The Liberal governments of New South Wales and Tasmania have expressed concern that the federal religious discrimination bill trumps their anti-discrimination laws. The core provisions of the Morrison government’s bill, including those protecting the beliefs and hiring practices of religious institutions, would trump state laws, potentially rendering the claims unworkable, they submitted. to a parliamentary […]]]>


The Liberal governments of New South Wales and Tasmania have expressed concern that the federal religious discrimination bill trumps their anti-discrimination laws.

The core provisions of the Morrison government’s bill, including those protecting the beliefs and hiring practices of religious institutions, would trump state laws, potentially rendering the claims unworkable, they submitted. to a parliamentary inquiry.

The coalition is struggling to gain support for the bill, with a trio of moderate Liberal MPs reserving the right to vote against and a deal between the attorney general and another group of disgruntled MPs crumbling after a religious backlash.

The bill is being examined by two parliamentary inquiries, including the Joint Human Rights Commission.

Tasmanian Attorney General Elise Archer submitted that the federal bill appeared to “effectively invalidate the operation of Tasmania’s anti-discrimination law”, including the provision prohibiting speech that offends, insults or humiliates a person on the basis of the law. base of a protected attribute.

Archer argued that a person need only claim that their statement was a protected belief statement and that the Tasmanian Anti-Discrimination Tribunal “must decline to hear the case” unless the request is specious. .

Although the person who made the statement was not required to prove that it was a statement of conviction, the complainant would be required to prove that he or she breached the guarantees in the bill that de such statements should not be malicious, intimidating or harassing, she said.

“I would like to reiterate that the view of the Government of Tasmania is [the package] would reduce the ability of the Tasmanian Anti-Discrimination Tribunal to deal with certain complaints and… we continue to advocate strongly not to weaken our anti-discrimination laws. “

New South Wales Premier Dominic Perrottet has openly questioned the need for the federal bill.

Anti-Discrimination NSW, the state government body that administers the discrimination law, said it “remains concerned” that the bill does not strike the right balance between freedom of religion and other rights.

He warned that the Religious Discrimination Bill would override provisions in state law “which limit the circumstances in which denominational schools can discriminate against job applicants and existing employees.”

The conviction statement and the hiring clauses “would also create significant procedural and access to justice problems,” he said, as the NSW Civil and Administrative Court may not be competent to consider state claims when federal law is raised as a defense.

Referral of the case to federal court would add “procedural and financial burdens to complainants and create a barrier to access to justice.”

Constitutional law professor Anne Twomey argued that the federal government had attempted a “provocative” takeover of state law, but the drafting was “conceptually confused and probably invalid.”

Both sections “seek to control the functioning of state law,” she argued, rather than simply creating incompatibility with state law.

“How can a Commonwealth law dictate the interpretation of what constitutes discrimination under a state law?”

“He can’t do it. He cannot amend or alter state law or instruct a court on how to interpret state law.

The Australian Catholic Bishops’ Conference has praised the bill, saying it “does not go far enough” to ensure the protection of religious freedom. The conference accused state governments, including Victoria, of seeking to restrict the hiring and firing powers of religious institutions.

The Australian Human Rights Commission has said it “strongly supports the introduction of enforceable protections against religious discrimination for all people in Australia”.

But while endorsing these elements of the bill, he warned that other articles “would offer protection to religious belief or activity to the detriment of other rights.”

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These were “unnecessary and disproportionate, or are otherwise incompatible with international human rights law” and should be deleted, he said.

In addition to the statement of belief clause, the AHRC complained that the bill “provides very broad exemptions that allow ‘religious bodies’ to engage in religious discrimination” and allows companies to file a complaint of religious discrimination.

“This is a significant departure from national and international human rights laws which only protect the rights of individuals, ie humans. “


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PM to Introduce Faith Discrimination Bill | Camden-Narellan Advertiser https://helviti.com/pm-to-introduce-faith-discrimination-bill-camden-narellan-advertiser/ Mon, 22 Nov 2021 21:56:56 +0000 https://helviti.com/pm-to-introduce-faith-discrimination-bill-camden-narellan-advertiser/ Discrimination on the basis of religious belief or activity will be made illegal in the areas of employment, education and the provision of goods and services, under a bill to be submitted to the federal parliament this week. Prime Minister Scott Morrison will personally present on Thursday the government’s long-promised religious discrimination laws. Details of […]]]>


Discrimination on the basis of religious belief or activity will be made illegal in the areas of employment, education and the provision of goods and services, under a bill to be submitted to the federal parliament this week.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison will personally present on Thursday the government’s long-promised religious discrimination laws.

Details of the bill were released on Tuesday evening after the coalition common room backed it.

The laws will state that making a statement of belief, in good faith, would not constitute discrimination under Australian anti-discrimination law.

However, this would not apply to statements that are malicious or that a reasonable person would consider threatening, intimidating, harassing or vilifying any person or group of persons.

The bill will restrict the ability of organizations to impose standards of behavior on members of that profession, trade or occupation that would prevent a person from making a private statement of belief.

And it will allow religious organizations such as schools to give preference to people of the same religion as the religious body in employment decisions.

The government says the bill will not allow discrimination based on age, disability, race or sex.

The laws are not expected to be passed by the end of this year, as they will be the subject of a Senate inquiry.

Mr Morrison told his party hall that the bill is about tolerance and the balance between freedom and responsibility.

“This is a bill on religious discrimination, not a bill on religious freedom,” he told members of the coalition.

The Prime Minister also described it as a shield and not a sword.

Some village hall concerns have been raised about the bill, including a contentious clause designed to protect people who have made statements about their religious beliefs.

Others stressed the need to keep the 2019 election promise and pass the legislation.

Separately, crossbencher Pauline Hanson has indicated that she will not be supporting the bill in its current form, while Rex Patrick and Rebekha Sharkie do not see the need for it.

Earlier on Tuesday, Equality Australia, which advocates for the rights of LGBTIQ + people, feared some of the “worst parts” of the bill might remain.

The main objection of the group was the clause allowing people to make statements about their beliefs.

“This will allow someone to defend themselves against a discrimination claim if they say offensive, insulting, inappropriate and unacceptable things,” CEO Anna Brown told ABC Radio.

“In general terms, it reverses existing protections for vulnerable groups, it compromises access to non-judgmental health care and inclusive workplaces.”

Ms Brown was concerned that a nurse, for example, could be protected if she told someone with HIV that the disease was a punishment from God.

“That person at the reception (would, under the bill) be barred from filing a complaint against the person who made that statement because their statement of belief is protected,” she said.

Associated Australian Press


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PM to Introduce Faith Discrimination Bill | Narooma News https://helviti.com/pm-to-introduce-faith-discrimination-bill-narooma-news/ Mon, 22 Nov 2021 21:56:56 +0000 https://helviti.com/pm-to-introduce-faith-discrimination-bill-narooma-news/ Discrimination on the basis of religious belief or activity will be made illegal in the areas of employment, education and the provision of goods and services, under a bill to be submitted to the federal parliament this week. Prime Minister Scott Morrison will personally present on Thursday the government’s long-promised religious discrimination laws. Details of […]]]>


Discrimination on the basis of religious belief or activity will be made illegal in the areas of employment, education and the provision of goods and services, under a bill to be submitted to the federal parliament this week.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison will personally present on Thursday the government’s long-promised religious discrimination laws.

Details of the bill were released on Tuesday evening after the coalition common room backed it.

The laws will state that making a statement of belief, in good faith, would not constitute discrimination under Australian anti-discrimination law.

However, this would not apply to statements that are malicious or that a reasonable person would consider threatening, intimidating, harassing or vilifying any person or group of persons.

The bill will restrict the ability of organizations to impose standards of behavior on members of that profession, trade or occupation that would prevent a person from making a private statement of belief.

And it will allow religious organizations such as schools to give preference to people of the same religion as the religious body in employment decisions.

The government says the bill will not allow discrimination based on age, disability, race or sex.

The laws are not expected to be passed by the end of this year, as they will be the subject of a Senate inquiry.

Mr Morrison told his party hall that the bill is about tolerance and the balance between freedom and responsibility.

“This is a bill on religious discrimination, not a bill on religious freedom,” he told members of the coalition.

The Prime Minister also described it as a shield and not a sword.

Some village hall concerns have been raised about the bill, including a contentious clause designed to protect people who have made statements about their religious beliefs.

Others stressed the need to keep the 2019 election promise and pass the legislation.

Separately, crossbencher Pauline Hanson has indicated that she will not be supporting the bill in its current form, while Rex Patrick and Rebekha Sharkie do not see the need for it.

Earlier Tuesday, Equality Australia, which advocates for the rights of LGBTIQ + people, feared that some of the “worst parts” of the bill might remain.

The main objection of the group was the clause allowing people to make statements about their beliefs.

“This will allow someone to defend themselves against a discrimination claim if they say offensive, insulting, inappropriate and unacceptable things,” CEO Anna Brown told ABC Radio.

“In general terms, it reverses existing protections for vulnerable groups, it compromises access to non-judgmental health care and inclusive workplaces.”

Ms Brown was concerned that a nurse, for example, could be protected if she told someone with HIV that the disease was a punishment from God.

“That person at the reception (would, under the bill) be barred from filing a complaint against the person who made that statement because their statement of belief is protected,” she said.

Associated Australian Press


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PM to Introduce Faith Discrimination Bill | Flinders news https://helviti.com/pm-to-introduce-faith-discrimination-bill-flinders-news/ Mon, 22 Nov 2021 21:56:56 +0000 https://helviti.com/pm-to-introduce-faith-discrimination-bill-flinders-news/ Discrimination on the basis of religious belief or activity will be made illegal in the areas of employment, education and the provision of goods and services, under a bill to be submitted to the federal parliament this week. Prime Minister Scott Morrison will personally present on Thursday the government’s long-promised religious discrimination laws. Details of […]]]>


Discrimination on the basis of religious belief or activity will be made illegal in the areas of employment, education and the provision of goods and services, under a bill to be submitted to the federal parliament this week.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison will personally present on Thursday the government’s long-promised religious discrimination laws.

Details of the bill were released on Tuesday evening after the coalition common room backed it.

The laws will state that making a statement of belief, in good faith, would not constitute discrimination under Australian anti-discrimination law.

However, this would not apply to statements that are malicious or that a reasonable person would consider threatening, intimidating, harassing or vilifying any person or group of persons.

The bill will restrict the ability of organizations to impose standards of behavior on members of that profession, trade or occupation that would prevent a person from making a private statement of belief.

And it will allow religious organizations such as schools to give preference to people of the same religion as the religious body in employment decisions.

The government says the bill will not allow discrimination based on age, disability, race or sex.

The laws are not expected to be passed by the end of this year as they will be the subject of a Senate inquiry.

Mr Morrison told his party hall that the bill is about tolerance and the balance between freedom and responsibility.

“This is a bill on religious discrimination, not a bill on religious freedom,” he told members of the coalition.

The Prime Minister also described it as a shield and not a sword.

Some village hall concerns have been raised about the bill, including a contentious clause designed to protect people who have made statements about their religious beliefs.

Others stressed the need to keep the 2019 election promise and get the legislation passed.

Separately, crossbencher Pauline Hanson has indicated that she will not be supporting the bill in its current form, while Rex Patrick and Rebekha Sharkie do not see the need for it.

Earlier Tuesday, Equality Australia, which advocates for the rights of LGBTIQ + people, feared that some of the “worst parts” of the bill might remain.

The main objection of the group was the clause allowing people to make statements about their beliefs.

“This will allow someone to defend themselves against a discrimination claim if they say offensive, insulting, inappropriate and unacceptable things,” CEO Anna Brown told ABC radio.

“In general terms, it reverses existing protections for vulnerable groups, it compromises access to non-judgmental health care and inclusive workplaces.”

Ms Brown feared that a nurse, for example, could be protected if she told someone with HIV that the disease was a punishment from God.

“That person at the reception (would, under the bill) be barred from filing a complaint against the person who made that statement because their statement of belief is protected,” she said.

Associated Australian Press


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