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November 3, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – Oregon Gov. Kate Brown has again been sued for targeting religious groups with discriminatory coronavirus measures. Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) filed a lawsuit against the Democrat for forcing small private religious schools to remain closed while allowing similar-sized public schools to operate.

The suit was filed on behalf of Hermiston Christian School, which has a student population of about 50. The school is permitted to operate as a daycare, but teachers offering care could be jailed or fined for teaching while monitoring the children.

The state has issued at least eight different sets of guidelines for schools since the beginning of the pandemic. Through June and July, private religious schools were told they would be allowed to resume in-person classes in the fall. Many of these schools invested significant amounts of money to ensure coronavirus protocols could be met, only to be denied permission to operate.

The version released September 8 allowed schools in “small public districts” with enrollment of 75 or fewer students to work with the local public health authorities “to establish the criteria … and open the school(s) in the district to in-person instruction.”

Ryan Tucker, ADF senior counsel and director of the Center for Christian Ministries, wrote at The Federalist that this rule had originally included private schools but was “quietly changed” a week later, stating instead, “This same rule does not extend the same benefit to private religious schools, effectively ensuring that parents who need to send their students to school will be forced to send them to public schools, even if they would prefer a private religious school.”

Seemingly in response to the ADF lawsuit, the state updated its guidelines once again on October 30, substantially altering the section on exceptions containing the above rule. The new rule states that “small and remote” private and public schools with enrollments of 75 or fewer students can reopen if they meet certain criteria. Most important, it specifies that such schools must be “more than 25 miles by the nearest traveled road form any town or city with a population of over 3,000 people.” 

In a statement given to LifeSiteNews, Tucker wrote of this rule change, “It is a shame that it took a federal lawsuit for the state to change its unconstitutional policy of allowing small public schools to open while denying that option to similarly-sized religious schools. Oregon should not be singling out religious schools for worse treatment.” 

Despite the fact that Hermiston Christian School is in a town of more than 3,000 people and so will be required to remain closed under the current rules, Tucker is committed to continue helping them. “But now, the state has imposed different restrictions that still make it difficult for Hermiston Christian. We will continue our lawsuit and work with our client so it can re-open for in-person instruction, just like another small public school is doing in the same county,” he wrote.

This is not the first religious discrimination case in Oregon that ADF has pursued. In May, ADF sued the Democrat governor for banning church services of more than 25 people when other businesses, such as restaurants, were permitted a greater capacity.
The state loosened restrictions on church services in response to that lawsuit, which was subsequently dropped. Churches were then allowed up to 250 participants as long as they could maintain social distancing between groups. The limit was reduced to 100 in July, and new restrictions imposed in September have reduced them even further.

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Core conservative and Christian values are at stake in the upcoming election.

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Please SIGN this open letter which calls for the preservation of our core values of Life, Family, Faith and Freedom.

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The following core conservative and Christian values will all be affected, one way or the other, by the outcome of the election:

  • The protection of human life from conception till natural death.
  • The protection of the natural family.
  • The protection of our right to freely and meaningfully practice our religion both inside and outside our houses of worship, without interference from the state.
  • And, the protection of our freedoms - especially, our freedom of speech, our freedom of assembly and licit medical freedom.

So, where do the candidates stand on Life, Family, Faith and Freedom?

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ON LIFE

President Trump has already proven himself to be pro-life. He reinstated the Mexico City Policy, prohibiting U.S. foreign aid from paying for and, or, promoting abortions. And, he has also pledged to sign a late-term abortion ban and veto any pro-abortion legislation.

Former Vice President Biden supports tax-payer funded abortion (i.e., getting rid of the Hyde Amendment), and has been endorsed by Planned Parenthood and NARAL.

ON FAMILY

President Trump’s tax cuts have helped 82% of middle-class American families, which saved an average of $1,260 on their taxes according to Breitbart News.

On the contrary, if former Vice President Joe Biden implements the "Green New Deal," thousands of energy sector jobs will be eliminated. What’s more, Biden plans on raising taxes by more than three trillion dollars – a move which could severely hurt the average American family.

Additionally, President Trump backs school choice for all American families, which will allow parents to choose the school that best meets the needs of their children.

However, former Vice President Biden supports policies that are not in favor school choice. His policies would hurt families by keeping parents from choosing a school that would help their children and provide them with the best opportunities.

Finally, President Trump's administration has co-sponsored the Geneva Consensus Declaration, which reaffirms that “the family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and the State", and which seeks to achieve the "strengthening of family as the foundational unit of society."

While, earlier this year, former Vice President Biden revealed his “LGBTQ+ and equality” plan, which he will use to “protect,” “enforce,” and “advance” the homosexual agenda and homosexual “rights."

ON FAITH

President Trump’s second-term agenda includes the promise to "defend the freedoms of religious believers and organizations."

Former Vice President Biden stands against conscience rights - vowing to sue the Little Sisters of the Poor to force them to pay for abortion and contraceptives. And, Biden also stands against religious freedom, as he and the Democrats support mandating that pro-life Christian business-owners, like cake bakers, violate their religious beliefs.

ON FREEDOM

If re-elected, President Trump has promised to minimize lockdowns and mask mandates.

If elected, former Vice President Biden has promised to enact a nationwide mask mandate, and allow more lockdowns.

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Churches sue governor of Oregon for extended crackdown on religious services

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