Guest / Limited Access /

The past year has marked a shift in religious liberty debates, one that previously centered on hiring rights but became focused on health care requirements. When President Obama first took office, faith-based groups were especially concerned that organizations that discriminate in hiring based on religious beliefs would become ineligible for federal funding. In 2011, the President indicated that he would not rescind an executive order on hiring rights. Just a week later, though, Health and Human Services ruled that religious groups other than churches must provide their employees contraception, triggering lawsuits and petitions. But contraception is not the only religious freedom issue faith-based groups are eyeing. The following timeline shows a number of actions the government took in the past year, setting precedents and priorities on various issues, including sexual orientation, health care, and hiring decisions.

Health care workers and the 'conscience clause'

February 18, 2011: The Obama administration revises "conscience clause" rules, maintaining the provision that allows workers to refrain from performing abortions but calling the Bush-enacted rule "unclear and potentially overbroad in scope." The earlier provision was interpreted as allowing such workers to opt out of a broad range of medical services, such as providing Plan B or other contraception.

Defense of Marriage Act

February 23, 2011: President Obama announced that the federal government would no longer defend the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act. The move stemmed from the administration's decision that sexual orientation should be protected by the highest legal scrutiny afforded by the 14th Amendment. Neither the Supreme Court nor federal law ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

Support Christian thought journalism. Donate to our nonprofit ministry today.
Read These NextSee Our Latest
Current Issue
Subscriber Access Only
Should Your Favorite Ministry Become a ‘Church’?
Why more parachurch groups are telling the US government they’re not like other nonprofits.
RecommendedTrump Won. Here's How 20 Evangelical Leaders Feel.
Trump Won. Here's How 20 Evangelical Leaders Feel.
Pastors, authors, and others weigh in on 2016 election.
TrendingWhy Do We Have Christmas Trees?
Why Do We Have Christmas Trees?
The history behind evergreens, ornaments, and holiday gift giving.
Editor's PickThe Bible Never Says ‘All Men Are Created Equal’
The Bible Never Says ‘All Men Are Created Equal’
How the New Testament offers a better, higher calling than the Declaration of Independence.
Christianity Today
Timeline: Obama Administration Actions Affecting U.S. Religious ...
hide thisAccess The Archives

In the Archives

March 2012

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.