|Dear Arizonans ,
Imagine my shock when I received a call while I was on vacation alerting me that my entire professional career is at risk because of my belief in the true definition of marriage.
The call came from Center for Arizona Policy’s (CAP) Legal Counsel, Deborah Sheasby. She had just learned that the Arizona State Bar is attempting to impose expanded so-called “anti-discriminatory” ethical rules on every one of the 16,000 lawyers in our state.
The new rules proposed by the Bar’s “Committee on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity” are a direct affront to the religious liberty of every attorney in the state who shares our foundational values. The committee is attempting to force us to represent clients whose views and legal actions we sincerely oppose on religious grounds.
While this kind of attack on religious freedom is
outrageous, it’s not uncommon.
This is why promoting and defending the liberty of Arizonans to freely live out their faith is a part of Vision 2020, CAP’s 10-year strategic plan.
Vision 2020 affirms that by the year 2020:
Arizona will be a place where religious liberty
is fully affirmed and protected in state law.
I think it’s fair to say that most Americans don’t realize the serious affront to our First Amendment rights. The attacks are subtle, but if you listen carefully to the rhetoric of the secularist and liberal left, you begin to see their goal.
Here are quotes from two of our countries most influential and powerful individuals that exemplify my point. See if you can catch the problematic language they use:
“We’re a nation that guarantees the freedom
to worship as one chooses.”
“The rights of individuals to express their views freely,
petition their leaders, worship according to their
beliefs – these rights are universal…”
The U.S. Constitution does not guarantee a freedom just “to worship.” It guarantees our right to practice and promote our faith in every area of civic life.
Those quotes came from President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. In the minds of these politicians, and as expressed by the liberal left, religion should be kept within the four walls of the church. They believe that when we walk into the public square, our belief in foundational values should become secondary to their secular ideology.
I have seen this mentality explode in our own state. But for sixteen years, CAP has stood as a “watchman on the wall” in Arizona to block the degradation of your and my religious liberty. In the past three years alone we’ve achieved some serious and resounding victories.
In 2009, seventh-grader Deborah Chambers was called into her principal’s office because she had written “Jesus died for you because he loves you so much!” on her binder. She was told that some kids were offended by this statement, and she had to remove it. Her mother called CAP, and we intervened, working with the Legislature to pass the Students’ Religious Liberty Act that ensures that no student in our state’s public schools can be blocked from sharing his or her faith.
In December 2010, Judge Louis Araneta, a member of the Commission on Appellate Court Appointments, said Tucson-resident Christopher Gleason was not qualified to serve in public office because of his involvement in a Christian nonprofit organization. In a public hearing to review Gleason’s application, Araneta said he was worried about Gleason’s application because “there needs to be a separation of church and state.” I immediately issued a statement calling for Mr. Araneta’s resignation for applying an illegal religious test for public office. The following day, Mr. Araneta stepped down from the Commission.
The point is this: if you hadn’t been there
supporting CAP, these offenses would have
happened unbridled and would have become
accepted as part of our established culture.
We have an acute awareness of the undermining of our religious freedom, and we remain committed to blocking any attempts to infringe on your liberties at every turn.
That’s why in year two of our 10-year strategic plan, Vision 2020, religious liberty is at the forefront of our goals. The key initiatives we will be working on are:
Drafting and supporting a best-in-the nation rights of conscience bill, to ensure that every Arizonan who must be licensed for his or her profession is protected from discrimination by the state for holding to sincerely held religious beliefs.
Implementing and promoting the CAP-supported University Religious Liberty Act. This law was signed by Governor Jan Brewer in April and protects the freedom of religion and freedom of speech for our college students and student groups.
Compiling and distributing the 2012 Voter Guide and promoting azvoterguide.com. Every one of the 101 CAP-supported bills that have become law could be reversed by a radical shift in the make-up of the Legislature. With the legislative district lines being redrawn, it is a genuine reality that a bad election could seriously threaten the progress we’ve made.
You have probably heard me speak many times about the need to turn this moment of success into an enduring movement towards cultural transformation. We have developed the plan, and we know how to implement it. What we need now is the support to carry it out. Will you help?
Your partnership has allowed us to make significant progress and celebrate many victories. I hope you’ll consider helping us continue this fight for your religious rights by making a special gift today. It is your partnership with CAP that makes it all possible.
Thank you for standing with us.
Cathi Herrod, Esq.
P.S. President Barack Obama said recently, “We’re a nation that guarantees the freedom to worship as one chooses.” Yet the U.S. Constitution doesn’t guarantee only a “freedom to worship,” it guarantees a freedom to express and practice our faith everywhere. This subtle shift in rhetoric highlights the goal of the liberal left to constrain our religious liberty within the four walls of the church and deny our rights to promote and practice foundational values in the public square.
CAP has had a success record like no other organization in Arizona in passing legislation that protects our religious liberty. Will you help us keep fighting for the full expression of our religious rights in all areas of public life? Our 10-year strategic plan, called Vision 2020, defines how we plan to continue and even expand our work in protecting our religious liberty in the years ahead. Will you stand with us by making a generous contribution today?
Thank you for your support and prayers.