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IRD Commends NAE on Marriage and Conscience Protection

"Bravo to NAE for warning that both legalized same-sex marriage and mandatory contraception coverage under Obamacare threaten religious freedom." -- Mark Tooley, IRD President

Contact: Jeff Walton, Institute on Religion and Democracy, 202-682-4131, 202-413-5639 cell, jwalton@TheIRD.org

WASHINGTON, Jan. 26, 2012 /Christian Newswire/ -- The National Association of Evangelicals' (NAE) recent defense of traditional marriage and calls for conscience protections under Obamacare exemplify a courageous and thoughtful political witness, declared the Institute on Religion and Democracy.

In joining with other religious freedom advocates, NAE has strongly criticized the Obama Administration for forcing even religious institutions, such as Catholic hospitals, to pay for contraceptive insurance coverage.

The criticism follows a December 2011 letter from NAE President Leith Anderson to President Obama objecting to the contraception coverage mandate under Obamacare. NAE has called for legislation to ensure conscience protections.

Anderson, along with officers from many NAE denominations, has also signed an interfaith open letter affirming that marriage is the union of one man and one woman. It warns that redefining marriage threatens religious freedom and the common good. Commendably, the NAE likewise filed briefs in a recent U.S. Supreme Court case seeking to protect the right of religious organizations to define who is a "minister." The court agreed with NAE.

The NAE counts over 40 denominations as members, including the Salvation Army, the Assemblies of God, the Church of the Nazarene and the Presbyterian Church in America. IRD in recent years has criticized NAE's more liberal political stances on the environment and federal budget, asking whether most NAE constituents support those stances and whether they are backed by unequivocal church teaching.

IRD President Mark Tooley commented:

    "Bravo to NAE for warning that both same-sex marriage and mandatory contraception coverage under Obamacare threaten religious freedom.

    "With these stances in defense of religious freedom and traditional moral beliefs, NAE is faithfully representing its own membership and traditional Christian teachings. NAE is also rightly standing with a broad based faith coalition.

    "On these issues, undoubtedly most evangelicals support NAE. May NAE leaders continue to speak in ways that thoughtfully represent evangelicals on public issues to which their faith speaks directly."

The Institute on Religion & Democracy works to reaffirm the church's biblical and historical teachings, strengthen and reform its role in public life, protect religious freedom, and renew democracy at home and abroad.