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AFA: Join Congressmen Around the Nation to Support First Amendment Defense Act

Monday, July 20, 2015 @ 8:15 AM

TUPELO, Miss.—Around the country, many have been calling for specific protections for churches, pastors, faith-based organizations and Christian-owned businesses.

The First Amendment Defense Act will help further some of these protections since the landmark Supreme Court decision that legalized same-sex marriage in America.

American Family Association (AFA, www.afa.net) is encouraging Americans to contact their U.S. representatives about this newly proposed legislation that will protect churches and faith-based organizations from government penalties or actions regarding their religious convictions.

Thus far, 124 representatives from 38 states have signed on to co-sponsor H.R. 2802, which was introduced by Rep. Raul Labrador (R-Idaho). The religious freedom bill would ban the federal government from punishing churches, charities or private schools for actions in opposition to same-sex marriage.

In an Action Alert recently sent to its one million-plus friends and supporters, AFA is urging Americans to support the bill by contacting their members of Congress so swift action can be taken by lawmakers.

“This First Amendment Defense Act is not only important to all Americans, but time-sensitive as well,” said AFA President Tim Wildmon. “Many Republicans say they hope to pass the bill before they head home in August for the summer break, but they need your voice to get other legislators to move on it quickly. Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy needs to hear from your representative, but it won’t happen unless our representatives hear from concerned citizens. Even if your representative is already a co-sponsor of the First Amendment Defense Act, he or she needs to hear from you. Take a moment to urge these lawmakers to push for a floor vote over the coming weeks. Our religious freedoms depend on it.” 

The bill, says AFA, is crucial because if it passes, for example, the government could not revoke the tax-exempt status of churches whose leadership refuses to perform same-sex weddings because of religious convictions; nor could the government deny federal grants or contracts for food banks, adoption agencies or similar agencies—or to any individual or institution that doesn’t choose to uphold same-sex marriage practices.

AFA added in its alert that Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), who controls the floor schedule, has given no indication he’ll schedule a vote in the remaining two weeks before the House’s long August recess.

AFA is urging those concerned to visit the Action Alert web page and send a letter to their representatives—either a pre-written message from AFA or their own letter in the space provided. AFA is also suggesting that letter-writers additionally call their representatives’ offices after sending their message, as elected officials have repeatedly said it only takes a few phone calls from voters in their district to move an issue to the top of the list.

In the wake of the recent Supreme Court decision, AFA is making important resources available to help pastors, leadership and other ministries to protect themselves, their churches and their religious liberties.

American Family Studios, a division of AFA, has produced a short documentary that provides legal analysis of the dangers posed to religious liberty by the recent Supreme Court ruling. Watch the trailer here. In addition, AFA is offering insights from AFA General Counsel Patrick Vaughn in a commentary titled “Will a gay marriage storm crush your church?,” which will help churches understand the dangers of taking no action on this important matter.

Alliance Defending Freedom has also produced a handbook, “A Legal Guide for Churches, Christian Schools, and Christian Ministries,” which walks churches through every step of adopting strong marriage policies, including sample resolutions and statements.

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