1. Protecting religious liberty: Laws can promote freedom from discrimination in tandem with freedom of religion, By Orrin Hatch, The Washington Times, November 18, 2016, Pg. B1, Opinion.

In 1994, nearly every member of Congress supported legislation affirming that the free exercise of religion is an “unalienable right.” Four years later, Congress unanimously declared that religious freedom “undergirds the very origin and existence of the United States.” Today, however, President Obama says he will veto crucial legislation equipping the armed forces to defend our nation rather than protect religious freedom. We have come a long way in a short time, but in the wrong direction.

The Russell Amendment to the NDAA affirms that religious organizations and schools enjoy these same protections when they contract with, or receive grants from, the federal government. The amendment embodies the commonsense, longstanding principle that religious organizations should not have to surrender control over their religious mission in order to interact with government.

Mr. Obama, however, has threatened to veto the NDAA rather than allow religious organizations and schools to hire in accordance with their religious beliefs. The president and his liberal allies are concerned, it seems, that if religious organizations that contract with the federal government are able to select employees who share the organization’s religious beliefs, they may make decisions that liberals would disapprove of. For example, a conservative religious school may choose to hire individuals who hold traditional views on marriage and human sexuality. Because the president does not share these views, he thinks religious organizations should be unable to take them into account when seeking employees who will promote the organization’s mission.

It’s hard to imagine a more extreme position that is more at odds with America’s entire history, heritage, and tradition. Failing to provide religious organizations the freedom to choose employees who will carry out their religious mission would insert government into fundamental decisions regarding religious identity, discriminate based on religion, or both. It would also have the effect of declaring certain religious beliefs off-limits.

• Orrin Hatch is a Republican senator from Utah and president pro tempore of the U.S. Senate.


2. Samuel Alito: America faces ‘unprecedented challenges to our constitutional structure’, By Bradford Richardson, The Washington Times, November 18, 2016, Pg. A4.

Justice Alito delivered the opening address at The Federalist Society’s 2016 National Lawyers Convention, themed “The Jurisprudence and Legacy of Antonin Scalia.” His bittersweet remarks focused on Scalia, who died in February after nearly 30 years on the high court.

In the absence of one of the Constitution’s most stalwart defenders, Justice Alito implored the late justice’s followers to think about the acronym WWSD — “What Would Scalia Do?” — when approaching future constitutional battles.

Freedom of religion, Justice Alito continued, “is in even greater danger.” He pointed to the Supreme Court’s decision not to hear a case in which Washington state told a Christian pharmacy that it had to provide abortion-inducing drugs, even though doing so would violate the religious beliefs of the owners.

“In this case, there is a strong argument that the law was enacted to rid the state of those troublesome pharmacists who objected to these drugs on religious grounds,” he said. “But the 9th Circuit sustained the law, and the Supreme Court did not even think that case deserved review.”


3. Pope fires back at his critics over ‘Amoris’ and discusses ecumenism, By Inés San Martín, Crux, November 18, 2016.

Pope Francis has fired back at his critics over the document Amoris Laetita, suggesting they suffer from “a certain legalism, which can be ideological.”  The critics now include a group of four cardinals who’ve accused the pontiff of causing grave confusion and disorientation and even floated the prospect of a public correction.

“Some- think about the responses to Amoris Laetitia- continue to not understand,” Francis said. They think it’s “black and white, even if in the flux of life you must discern.”

Although he gives no names, it’s not a stretch to imagine the pope was thinking about the dubia or “doubts” about the apostolic exhortation presented to him by four cardinals, including American Raymond Burke.

The pope told the prelates he wasn’t going to respond, which is the reason why the cardinals went public with their questions earlier in the week.