Tell Congress You Oppose Religious Discrimination in Foster Care

Yesterday, the House Appropriations Committee inserted a poison-pill amendment into the Labor, HHS, and Education Appropriations Bill.

If passed, this amendment would require states to allow taxpayer-funded foster care and adoption providers to discriminate on the basis of their religion and cut child welfare funding for states that refuse to comply.

It is difficult to even convey how terrible this is—and sadly, there is a substantial chance this bill could pass.

We need you to take action now! Tell Representative Schrader that the welfare of children must come before religious dogma.

This amendment would require states to allow adoption and foster care placement agencies to discriminate against atheists and nonbelievers, religious minorities, single parents, LGBTQ people, or any other group of people they disfavor.

This kind of discrimination reduces the number of potential adoptive parents, making children in these systems less likely to find loving, permanent homes. Even worse, states that refuse to go along and allow religious discrimination will see their child welfare funding cut, which would only harm the vulnerable young people in the foster system.

This hateful provision could be used to allow foster parents to deny medical services or counseling to young people if it conflicts with their religious beliefs, agencies could refuse to reunite families if the parents are the “wrong” religion, or providers could kick LGBTQ children out of shelters. And they could do all this while receiving your tax dollars!

If this amendment is allowed to stand, this will be the first in a long line of federal attacks on religious equality at the state level.

This horrific agenda is being pushed by Christian nationalists, the Catholic Church, and organizations like the Heritage Foundation who want government funding for their so-called “charities” while they refuse to provide services for people they dislike. Only 10 states have passed laws adopting the twisted vision of “religious liberty” this bill espouses. But now they’re trying to use a must-pass appropriations bill to force it on the rest of us.

The majority of Americans oppose using religion as an excuse to discriminate. Together, we can stop this attack on religious equality.

Representative Schrader needs to hear from you today. Please take action now!

 

Sincerely,

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Alison Gill

Legal & Policy Director

American Atheists

With #MuslimBan2.0, Donald Trump doubles down on cruelty and prejudice

Statement by NOW President Terry O’Neill

03.07.2017
Donald Trump made changes at the margins of his infamous Muslim ban, but with #MuslimBan2.0 he is doubling down on its cruelty and prejudice.

The new order is still a Muslim ban, it still does nothing to keep Americans safe, and it still puts tens of thousands of refugee families at risk. The United Nations says that the revised travel ban will increase danger to the world’s refugees, with families fleeing deadly violence who once had hope of being allowed to emigrate left in perilous refugee camps.

This is the image that Donald Trump is projecting to the world—the heavy hand of U.S. government officials extinguishing the promise of welcome that has always been the bedrock of our country’s values. NOW stands in solidarity with our Muslim sisters and brothers, and we will work with our allies in opposing this unconstitutional and morally repugnant executive order.

Contact

M.E. Ficarra , press@now.org , 951-547-1241

http://now.org/media-center/press-release/with-muslimban2-0-donald-trump-doubles-down-on-cruelty-and-prejudice/

How we are going to fight #MuslimBan 2.0

Source: How we are going to fight #MuslimBan 2.0

Just hours ago, the President signed a new Muslim ban that shuts our doors to refugees and targets immigrants from Muslim-majority countries. The administration has made tweaks to the original order. But make no mistake: This is #MuslimBan 2.0. The White House’s own policy advisor promised the new ban would “have the same basic policy outcome.”

I’m heartbroken. But resolved to fight. It will take time to challenge this new ban in the courts. That means we need to turn to Congress. If our representatives receive enough phone calls from us, we can move them to take a strong moral stand. Please call Congress here: 202-224-3121. (Scroll down for sample script)

This news comes at a moment when hate crimes are at an all-time high. Anytime the government targets and profiles a people for who they are, it emboldens people to act on impulses to racism, bigotry, and violence.

On Friday night, a Sikh man was shot in his own driveway by a man who said “go back to your own country.” A little more than a week ago, Srinivas Kuchibotla, an Indian American engineer was killed by a man who yelled “get out of my country.” And we just received reports of the killing of Harnish Patel, an Indian American in South Carolina. The motive is unknown but in the context of skyrocketing hate against Muslims, Jews, Hindus, and Sikhs, our communities are shaken. 

Hate breaks bone and sears flesh. But it also poisons the air we breathe. Right now, thousands of families here in the U.S. are having a hard time breathing. They tell me they are canceling camping trips, keeping their kids from school, and afraid to travel.

Today’s ban just fuels the fire. It makes our country less safe, not more so. Not a single refugee since 9/11 has been convicted of domestic terrorism, nor has any immigrant from the countries targeted by the ban. Instead, the ban endangers refugees fleeing war and persecution, establishes a de-facto religious test for immigrants, and threatens our people and Constitution.

What can we do? #RevolutionaryLove calls us to see people who are not like us as sisters and brothers – and stand up for them when in harm’s way.

Here are 3 simple powerful things you can do immediately:

1. CALL CONGRESS: 202-224-3121. Sample script: “Hi, my name is ___ and I’m a constituent. I don’t require a response. I’m calling to express my strong opposition to the new Muslim ban. Just like the last time, this ban punishes Muslims, immigrants, and refugees for who they are, not anything they have done. It also emboldens hate crimes against Muslims, Sikhs, and so many others. Hate crimes are now at an all-time high. I am calling you to show my love and care for these communities. Please take a strong public stand to protect our people and our Constitution. Thank you.”

2. REACH OUT. Call or text your neighbors and friends who are Muslim, Sikh, Hindu, Arab, or South Asian to tell them that you are troubled by the ban and hate crimes and are here to support them. Ask them what they need. Similarly, you can reach out to people you know in immigrant communities who are reeling from raids and offer your solidarity and support. This is #RevolutionaryLove in practice.

3. PLAN  TO SHOW UP. Nothing is more powerful than showing up in your community. Check out events held around the country this week here. On Wednesday, we are championing a Day Without a Woman with our partners at the #WomensMarch. You can participate in three ways: do not work, do not buy anything, and/or wear red. Post why you are striking and standing in solidarity using #WomensMarch #NoBanNoWallNoRaids and #RevolutionaryLove.

Remember to breathe. In labor, we don’t breathe just once and push the rest of the way. We breathe, and push. And breathe. And push. And we do this holding the hand of someone we love. So find your sister or brother or partner or friend today — and be one another’s midwives. We can only do this together. #BreatheAndPush

In Chardi Kala — ever-rising high spirits,

Valarie Kaur
Director, The Revolutionary Love Project
Founder, Groundswell Movement

PS. Registration is open for the Revolutionary Love Conference at the end of April. We are co-hosting the conference at Middle Church in NYC with the Rev. Dr. Jacqui Lewis. The line up includes fellow signatories — Rev. William Barber, Brian McLaren, Rev Jacqui Lewis and myself. It will be an opportunity to think together about the theory and practice of love in our movement. Register here: http://revolutionaryloveconference.com

The Revolutionary Love Project is based at the University of Southern California ORL.

Why the Only Way to Fix the Muslim Ban Is Not to Have a Muslim Ban | American Civil Liberties Union

Today President Trump signed a new Muslim ban. The new executive order is a major retreat by the administration, reflecting that, as courts around the country have recognized, the original order was deeply flawed and totally unjustified. But the fundamental truth of this new order, like the old one, remains unchanged: The president promised to ban Muslims from the United States, and the ban is his attempt to make good on that unconstitutional and indefensible goal.President Trump’s intentions regarding the Muslim ban have been clear. In a statement “ON PREVENTING MUSLIM IMMIGRATION” posted to his campaign website — and still available on it as I write — then-candidate Trump called for “a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States.” Again and again, he refused to disown this proposal, expressing his opinion that “Islam hates us” and that there are “problems with Muslims coming into the country.”Instead of abandoning this odious idea in response to widespread criticism and outrage, Mr. Trump candidly explained that he would change the wording of his proposal but not its substance. “I’m looking now at territories,” he said. “People were so upset when I used the word Muslim. Oh, you can’t use the word ‘Muslim.’ Remember this. And I’m okay with that, because I’m talking ‘territory’ instead of ‘Muslim.’” Asked about the Muslim ban, he said, “[C]all it whatever you want. We’ll call it territories, okay?” Rudy Giuliani, former mayor of New York and advisor to the president, explained that Trump asked him to figure out “the right way” to establish the Muslim ban “legally” and that he and others settled on using the word “countries” to achieve Trump’s goal.Tell Your Senators to Oppose Muslim ban 2.0Sure enough, when the original Muslim ban was signed, it did not use the word “Muslim,” instead purporting to single people out for exclusion from the United States based on their nationality.But it was no coincidence that the seven countries singled out were all overwhelmingly Muslim, and account for over 80 percent of Muslim refugees entering the United States from 2014 to2016. It was no coincidence that the order carved out special treatment for certain religious minorities, which the president promptly explained was intended to help Christians. It was, in other words, no coincidence that the president who promised to ban Muslims from entering the United States signed an order that would ban a large number of Muslims from entering the United States.Courts refused to buy this transparent attempt to avoid the bedrock American commitment to freedom and equality among religions. As the ACLU’s legal director, David Cole, explained before the original order was signed, a government action motivated by intent to discriminate on the basis of religion is unconstitutional even if the text of the order does not name a particular religion to be harmed. Courts across the country agreed. And, starting with a temporary stay won by the ACLU and its partners at the National Immigration Law Center, the International Refugee Assistance Project, and the Worker & Immigrant Rights Advocacy Clinic the night after the Muslim ban was signed, courts have halted the ban — including a unanimous panel of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.In response to these court losses, the president has now signed a new order. The order backtracks dramatically — exempting not only green card holders but all current visa holders, delaying the implementation of the order, and eliminating some of its glaringly illegal elements. These changes further undercut the administration’s weak national security case for the ban, already rebutted by the government’s own assessments and the administration’s repeated delays in issuing it — including putting off the new order to seek favorable media coverage.Despite the substantial ground the president has now conceded in the face of his legal defeats, however, the heart of the order remains. The order still singles out individuals from six of the same overwhelmingly Muslim countries, as promised in the same repeated pledges to institute a Muslim ban, and does so purportedly based on the same debunked national security arguments. Indeed, any suggestion that this new order represents a clean break from the prior one or from the president’s comments is undercut by various statements coming out of the White House, describing the new order as “a revised policy” that would advance “the same basic policy outcome for the country.”Ultimately, in other words, the most fundamental flaw of the Muslim ban remains the same: It is still a ban, signed by a president who promised to bar Muslims from entering the United States, motivated by an intent to discriminate against Muslims, and that overwhelmingly affects Muslims rather than those of other faiths. Neither the president’s original offer to “call it whatever you want,” nor this most recent attempt to “revise” the order while pursuing “the same basic policy,” alters

Source: Why the Only Way to Fix the Muslim Ban Is Not to Have a Muslim Ban | American Civil Liberties Union