The struggle over religious freedom is oftentimes not straight-forward. Restrictions can come in tricky wording or bureaucratic regulations. If “freedom of religion” is changed to “freedom of worship” then, just like that, Christians would not be free to live their faith outside church walls and in their every-day lives.
One back-handed method is happening right now. And it’s over the contentious issue of abortion.
The scheme is unfolding in U.S. courtrooms.
Last month a teenage refugee gave a handwritten statement to a judge. She wrote that the attorney who claimed to represent her in a lawsuit against the U.S. government had forced her to sign the documents.
She did not want an abortion, as the lawsuit claimed. And she does not want Rochelle Garza as her attorney.
“The people I saw yesterday were lawyers that made me sign,” she wrote. “I do not need their help because I do not want an abortion.”
She is identified only as Jane Doe. She is likely from Central America, where many people are professing Christians. Her name is withheld, just like in the infamous Roe v Wade case that overturned U.S. laws against abortion and has resulted in marginalizing – and sometimes punishing – Christians who try to help pregnant women.
In another case last November, Garza and ACLU attorneys were criticized for “misleading” the Justice Department. The morning that case was scheduled to be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court it was discovered that, in the middle of the night, the girl had been whisked away for a secret abortion.
Refugees are vulnerable to being exploited. Even more so are teenage girls who are separated from their parents. Displaced from their homes and dependent on others to navigate a path forward, they can become prey to hucksters, abuse, trafficking and manipulation. In this case, lawyers are using refugees to promote a political agenda on abortion that is contrary to the religious beliefs of many refugees – and trying to keep Christians from helping.
The ACLU has filed several lawsuits against the Office of Resettled Refugees (ORR) to force the government to facilitate abortions for pregnant teens. The refugees are “unaccompanied minors” who entered the U.S. without their parents and are in the custody of the Office of Resettled Refugees in the Department of Health and Human Services. ORR provides grants to organizations to house and care for them.
The Obama administration restricted these grants. Only organizations that provide access to abortion would be eligible. That left Christian organizations, who believe God creates each human being, ineligible for grants to help refugees. This was a backhanded way to discriminate against Christians and faith-based organizations, and to isolate refugees from Christians.
Last year this changed. The current director has taken an active interest in protecting refugee children under the care of his office.
Scott Lloyd was appointed to the ORR by the Trump administration. Previously, he assisted Christian refugees who were persecuted by ISIS. One of his notable achievements was investigating ISIS’ horrific abuses against Christians and other religious minorities. The reportlisted 1,131 Christians killed, 125 churches attacked, and nearly 200 attacks on property, sexual assaults, enslavement, torture and imprisonment, and led to the U.S. declaring that ISIS was committing genocide – a determination that politicians and diplomats wanted to avoid because it requires countries act, and help the victims.
Mr. Lloyd is now being attacked for meeting with pregnant refugee teens in his department’s care and connecting them to resources for help and counseling. He has sought to protect them from lawyers like Garza and activists who use vulnerable people to advance their cause. These politically-motivated lawyers argue that they should have access to the refugees but Mr. Lloyd should have no contact with the teens – and they are running a smear campaign to damage his reputation and get him fired.
The ACLU and others are exploiting refugees and discriminating against Christians. They are now targeting a man for upholding his Christian and legal duty to care for others.
Please stand with Scott Lloyd against discrimination for Christian beliefs – the first step toward persecution.
Tell Vice President Mike Pence and HHS Secretary Azar to support Mr. Lloyd’s efforts to help Christian and other refugees from being exploited. Sign the petition.