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New Trump Administration Rule Threatens Americans’ Health Care, Says Americans United

The Trump administration today issued a rule aimed at allowing health care workers to use religion as a reason to deny patients medical care. The move comes in the wake of the administration’s Jan. 18 decision to create a Conscience and Religious Freedom Division in the Office for Civil Rights of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The new office will be tasked with enforcing today’s rule.

Maggie Garrett, legislative director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, issued the following statement:

New HHS Office On ‘Religious Freedom’ Endangers Americans’ Health, Says Americans United

Today, the Trump administration created a Conscience and Religious Freedom Division in the Office for Civil Rights of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). This new division will enforce the administration’s extreme and harmful interpretations of federal religious freedom laws. In addition, it will enforce a still unreleased rule that will allow health care workers to use religion as a reason to deny services to patients.

Maggie Garrett, legislative director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, issued the following statement:

We’re Watching To Make Sure State Legislatures Don’t Permit Religion To Be Used To Discriminate

Religious freedom laws should be a shield to protect religious freedom, not a sword used to harm others. But this year, as in past sessions, legislators continue to introduce so-called religious freedom bills that would allow taxpayer-funded social service providers, individuals and businesses to use religion to discriminate and deny people their rights.

On Religious Freedom Day, Let’s Recommit To Defend That Vital Principle

Today we celebrate Religious Freedom Day. After nearly a year of the Trump-Pence administration’s unwavering attacks on the freedom of religion and belief, some might wonder what there is to celebrate. But today, we can be thankful for the fact that Americans United has been successful in fighting many of the administration’s reckless assaults on this core freedom.

Religious Right Group Drops Lawsuit Challenging Md. School District’s Transgender Policies

A lawsuit challenging a Maryland school district’s policies allowing transgender students to use rest­rooms that correspond with their gender identity has been dropped.

The suit, brought by an attorney affiliated with the Religious Right legal group Alliance Defending Freedom on behalf of an unidentified Frederick County woman and her teenage daughter, was withdrawn on Nov. 6 because the teen was stressed about the “potential humiliation” of being identified as the plaintiff, according to The Washington Post.

Around The World: Australia Implements Marriage Equality After Vote

The Australian Parliament has voted to legalize same-sex marriage, joining dozens of countries that afford their LGBTQ citizens marriage equality.

Prior to passing the bill in the country’s Senate and House, Australia conducted a nationwide survey to gauge Australians’ support of marriage equality. At 61.6 percent, the historic survey, which 80 percent of eligible voters responded to, showed that a majority of Australians sup­port same-sex marriage, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

365 Days Later

Depending on whether you like to look at the glass as half-full or half-empty, on Jan. 20 Americans will mark one year of Donald Trump’s presidency behind them or see at least three more to go.

Similarly, as the anniversary of Trump’s inauguration as the United States’ 45th president nears, advocates for church-state separation can lament the attacks Trump and his administration have launched – or they can take heart in the way the president’s actions have rallied the resistance and united those who are standing up for religious freedom.

Here Are The Top Ten Church-State Stories From 2017

There’s no denying that 2017 was a tough year for advocates of religious freedom and church-state separation. Yet despite the barrage of assaults from the Donald Trump-Mike Pence administration, Americans United saw important victories in and out of court.

As we look ahead to 2018, here’s a list of what are, in our opinion, the top 10 church-state stories from 2017:

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