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Entries in Freedom of Religion (81)


FreeKeeneNews - Shire Free Church Lawyers Up, Re-Files Tax Exemption Application 

For those who have been following the saga of the Shire Free Church: Monadnock, here’s the latest, much of which was well-covered by the Keene Sentinel’s Martha Shanahan last week.  After bringing on liberty attorney Brandon Ross for our tax appeal case last year, the church board decided to dismiss the 2014 case in favor of re-filing in 2015.  We’ve since filed the 2015 tax exemption with our attorney’s oversight.

Given the state’s rejection of multiple liberty churches’ tax exemptions in 2014 (including the Peaceful Assembly Church – also represented by Ross), the board wanted to make sure we were putting our best foot forward, legally.

There has been a misconception that this is all about money; it’s about religious freedom. We don’t believe that the Shire Free Church, or any other church, should owe taxes. However we have nonetheless continued to give voluntary contributions to the City of Keene’s operations we support, like road maintenance and fire protection.

Shire Free Church: Monadnock is established to promote peace and other divine virtues, and to promote the study of religion in freedom and fellowship.  We believe there are many paths to God, one for each individual. We believe God is the source of all creation; and divinity is expressed through compassion, empathy, forgiveness, freedom, generosity, honesty, humility, kindness, mercy, patience, and peace.

This is not about keeping money.  If it were, we’d not be hiring an attorney.  In fact, Shire Free Church: Monadnock’s board decided to go ahead and pay the full amount demanded by the city for 2014 in order to forestall any violent acts by the city agents and start our 2015 appeal without any liens on the property.  The state religion is a dangerous, aggressive religion and we will use their system to protect your right to choose a religion of peace instead of believing in the violent, morally-corrupt state.

Stay tuned here to the Free Keene blog or the Shire Free Church page on facebook for the latest.

Feel free to get in touch with me if you have questions or would like to interview an activist,
Ian Freeman


NHCC Opposes Gambling Expansion

New Hampshire Council of Churches
New Hampshire Council of Churches
E-blast April 27, 2015
Casino Free
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NHCC Opposes Gambling Expansion

Greetings, Friends of NHCC:


     The New Hampshire Council of Churches has opposed the expansion of gambling in New Hampshire to include casinos and video lottery machines over a long period of time.  The issue is again before us as the House considers the casino bill on Wednesday of this week, the 29th of April.

     As we share in our policy statement:  "Our faith teaches that the role of government is to maintain order, preserve justice and promote the common good."  Slot machines and casino gambling have proven to be particularly addictive and can lead to excessive gambling and increased criminal activity.  See the full statement HERE.

     If you believe that the expansion of gambling in New Hampshire is not in the best interests of our NH community, please reach out to your representative today and urge them to defeat SB113 on Wednesday.  Every email and phone call makes a difference!





Clare J. Chapman

Executive Director

New Hampshire Council of Churches


New Hampshire Council of Churches 
125 Airport Road                                 PO Box 1087 
Concord, NH  03301                Concord NH  03302

DNC - NH & IA Editorial Boards Weigh in on Indiana Right to Discriminate Law 

CC: Jeb Bush, Ted Cruz, Rick Perry, Scott Walker, Marco Rubio, Chris Christie and Carly Fiorina




Conservative showdown

Quad City Times // Editorial Board

Just last week, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence invited a handful of religious conservatives to a private signing of his Religious Freedoms bill, a vague appeal to religious exclusionists aligned with anti-gay initiatives. The bill flew through Indiana’s Republican-controlled legislature. Just five Republicans voted against it. …So the Indiana governor’s socially conservative tactic didn’t just backfire. It ignited a war between Indiana’s traditional conservatives and the tea party wing Pence helped bring to power.


Indiana needs to clarify or drop discriminatory law

Dubuque Telegraph Herald // Editorial Board

That Indiana is facing a firestorm of criticism and protest over last week's enactment of a so-called Religious Freedom Restoration Act may not say as much about the Hoosier state as Americans' shifting attitudes over gay marriage and LGBT issues…There has been significant movement over the past few years regarding Americans` attitudes toward gay marriage and other LGBT issues. The pendulum has swiftly swung away from discrimination. Owners of businesses have no better reason for refusing to sell a gay couple flowers or a cake for their wedding than their ancestors did for refusing to serve blacks at lunch counters and hotels 50 (or fewer) years ago. Providing a product or service to a LGBT customer is not an endorsement of the customer`s lifestyle. The customer wants to buy flowers or photographs, not drag the business owner to church or a gay-pride parade.


New Indiana law is a step backward for civil rights

Iowa State Daily // Editorial

Indiana took a big step backward in civil rights on Thursday when Gov. Mike Pence signed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act into law. The new law will allow Indiana businesses to legally refuse services to people who are gay. This is the first bill to become law under a movement of states that have legislation moving through the state legislatures to “protect religious freedoms.”…Those who worry that the vague nature of the law’s language will create a gray area that facilitates discrimination have more than enough reason for concern, especially because the law itself is a nearly textbook example or dictionary definition of discrimination.


New Hampshire

Indiana makes N.H. look progressive

Nashua Telegraph // Editorial

The uproar in Indiana will probably put an end to talk about Mike Pence as a possible presidential candidate – he made a test-the-waters visit to New Hampshire in the fall – but more importantly, it should serve as a lesson to those who favor greater religious protections. The way to achieve it is not by discriminating against others. Anyone with even a passing familiarity with religious history should know that. 


Discrimination bill is indefensible

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript // Editorial

Big businesses have already threatened to pull their money and events out of the Hoosier state. Several states, including New York and Connecticut, have banned state-funded travel to Indiana in the wake of the bill’s signing. But there are a vocal few who have made their support of Gov. Pence and the bill quite clear: the majority of the perceived frontrunners for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination. Former Florida governor Jeb Bush fired up the bandwagon, and was quickly joined on his ride by Senator Ted Cruz of Texas and Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, all of whom defended Gov. Pence in lockstep.These politicians need to be held accountable for their stance on this issue, and when voters and media members have their chance to question the potential nominees, we hope they won’t have forgotten this misstep. Discrimination under any guise is just plain wrong, and it’s hard to imagine electing someone for any position who feels otherwise.


Gov. Jindal: Religious Liberty Created America 

Gov. Jindal: Religious Liberty Created America

Governor Jindal appeared on Simon Conway’s radio show earlier today where he talked about the fight for religious liberty.

Click here to listen to a short clip of the interview 



Governor Jindal:

This situation is gravely, gravely concerning. I’m proud that in Louisiana we have a Religious Freedom Restoration Act. We’re one of nineteen states other than Indiana and Arkansas--the two states in the news today that already have this law. Let’s understand the context of this. America did not create religious liberty. Religious liberty created America. 

It is a foundational freedom and right. Without religious liberty rights, there would be no freedom of speech, freedom association. Government should never step in and tell Christians that they have to choose between making a living and their Christian values. 

This is nothing new. It’s not a new fight. Our Founding Fathers knew firsthand about government choking religious liberty. They knew what they were doing. This is not something where we can say things have changed. This was a fundamental part of the Bill of Rights in the Constitution, written specifically for instances like this.

Let’s talk very specifically about what’s happening. The Left loves to throw out hypotheticals with a lot of misinformation in the media about alleged discrimination. I’m against discrimination, obviously, but let’s talk about what’s really happening today. Government is requiring Christians to participate in gay marriage ceremonies that often times contradict their religious beliefs. Here in America, we shouldn't force those with sincerely held religious beliefs to participate in ceremonies they don’t want to. That’s the real discrimination.

This isn't hypothetical. This isn't made up. We’re talking about florists, we’re talking about bakers, we’re talking about photographers that have had to choose between closing their businesses, paying huge fines or violating their sincerely-held religious beliefs, and I think this is a grave, grave concern. 

It’s ironic it’s happening during Holy Week and the days leading up to Good Friday and Easter Sunday--at a time when we as Christians are praying and reflecting on what Christ did for us on the Cross and how he rose again three days later. 

But make no mistake about it, there has been a lot of misinformation in the media, a lot on the Left want to hide what this is really about. This is about Christians. We shouldn't have to choose between our faith and operating our businesses. 



CEI Today: Chemical safety, religious freedom, and the UN climate plan 

Thursday, April 2, 2015
In the News Today



TSCA Reform Debate Is Not about Public Safety


At recent hearings on the the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act (S. 697), senators, environmental activists, and local government officials claimed that the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) law is not sufficient protect public health. As I have argued before, that’s certainly not the case.
There may be an economic reason to reform this law—to preempt a growing patchwork of nonsensical state-level consumer product regulations—but there’s no legitimate “safety” reason for reform. > Read more

> Interview Angela Logomasini



Anti-Business Myths Pervade Reporting on Religious Freedom Legislation

In reporting on the Indiana legislation, many media sources have erroneously suggested that it is somehow radical to give rights to businesses or corporations (as opposed to individuals) and that such legislation would be unprecedented in allowing religious freedom to be asserted as a defense to a lawsuit by a private person.
Press coverage has also often falsely implied that religious-freedom legislation gives religious businesses a broad right to discriminate against gays and lesbians, when in fact no such right has ever been recognized under the similar legislation that already exists at the federal level and in many states. > Read more



President Obama's UN Climate Plan Ignores American People and Congress
Myron Ebell of the Competitive Enterprise Institute responded to the Obama Administration’s submission of its intended nationally-determined contribution (INDC) to the United Nations:
“President Obama has pursued his domestic climate agenda without trying to build support for it with the American people or in Congress, and today’s INDC submission is no different." > Read more

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