Celebrating 20 Years: One of America’s Truly Premier Family Policy Councils

You just know the Center for Arizona Policy (CAP) is a great organization when you see how exercised the Left gets in demonizing this awesome organization. When someone or some organization is doing God’s bidding, they’re a threat to Satan, and he’ll engage in spiritual warfare against them.

CAP’s entire team has been waging that spiritual battle on our behalf for 20 years. The Center for Arizona Policy is a nonprofit research and education organization committed to promoting and defending the foundational values of life, marriage and family, and religious freedom.

They’ve had a hand in well over a hundred state laws enacted to protect men, women and children. And it’s not just Christians or conservatives who benefit from these laws. ALL Arizonans benefitted. The Left just doesn’t want to admit that.

Over the last 20 years, CAP and its allies have assured many a good policy for Arizona families. And they have helped to prevent bad policy from taking root here. We can thank them that we are not hamstrung by damaging policies fabricated by undiscerning lawmakers beholden to the far Left in other states. We are blessed and fortunate that the Center for Arizona Policy advocates for life, marriage and family, and religious freedom — each of them under withering attack by radical agents of change.

Thankfully, God has blessed CAP’s outstanding efforts with the support of many wise and virtuous state leaders and thousands of citizens whose financial support enabled CAP to emerge as one of the finest family policy councils in America. In fact, it’s one of the very best destinations for your charitable dollars. If you’re one of those persons who wishes someone would “just do something” about the attacks on our values … CAP is your team.

Cathi Herrod has been most capably leading the CAP Team for several years. And Len Munsil led the way before her. They have been vulgarly savaged by the ill-tempered, ill-mannered Left, attacked by the left-stream media people who take their marching orders from Arizona’s leftist organizations. But Cathi, Len and the entire team have considered it an honor to be attacked for their devotion to Christ. They … will … not … back down in their work to promote the policies that benefit Arizona families.

Established in 1995 as a nonprofit organization dedicated to strengthening Arizona families through policy and education, CAP has worked with elected officials and members of communities to make Arizona the most welcoming state to raise a family.

To celebrate, Center for Arizona Policy invites you to join its 20-year anniversary celebration, where it will remember the past and look forward to our future. Please be there and show your support for CAP. Help honor this incredible team by attending. You are NOT going to want to miss this night of reflection, celebration, and fellowship.

Here are the details:

Tuesday, October 20, 2015 at 7:30 p.m.

Mesa Arts Center in the Ikeda Theater 1 E Main St, Mesa, AZ 85201 

Semiformal Attire

Not only will you hear from speakers who span the history of CAP, you will also be treated to a concert from Shane & Shane.

Tickets are only $25 per person, and are selling fast.

State Leaders Put Planned Parenthood on Notice

In light of recent allegations of unlawful practices and procedures being performed by Planned Parenthood, Governor Doug Ducey today directed the Arizona Department of Health Services to conduct a thorough review of current law and immediately promulgate emergency rules designed to prohibit the illegal sale of any tissue from an unborn child. The governor also issued this statement:

“The footage released by The Center for Medical Progress regarding the alleged sale and trafficking of aborted fetal tissue and body parts by Planned Parenthood is horrifying and has no place in a civilized society.  I am calling on the Department of Health Services to conduct a thorough review of the law and immediately promulgate emergency rules designed to prohibit the illegal sale of any tissue from an unborn child.  This is consistent with federal law and will deter action that we all agree is abhorrent.  Further, I have instructed ADHS to provide any and all assistance required to Attorney General Brnovich in any efforts conducted by his office.”

###

Center for Arizona Policy President Cathi Herrod lauded the governor and attorney general for their swift responses:

“Today, Arizona Governor Doug Ducey and Attorney General Mark Brnovich both publicly responded to the shocking undercover video exposing the horrifying practices of the country’s largest abortion provider.

The video, released last week, captures Planned Parenthood’s senior medical director discussing how their doctors can manipulate an abortion in order to preserve vital organs of preborn children for medical experimentation and possibly sale. Troublingly, the state of Arizona is referenced multiple times in the unedited version of the video as a potential state in which to carry out these abhorrent transactions.

We appreciate and are thankful for Governor Ducey and Attorney General Brnovich taking steps to protect preborn children and ensure baby tissue is not a commodity for sale in our state.”

###

AG Mark Brnovich said:

“Like many others I was deeply disturbed by a recently released video that may show a Planned Parenthood executive discussing profiteering on the sale of tissue from aborted children.  As prosecutors, it is critical for this office not to rush to immediate judgment or determinations before facts can be established.  While we cannot comment on the status of any possible investigation, this type of allegation is something we take very seriously.”

Center for Arizona Policy: A Good and Balanced Law

By Cathi Herrod, President, Center for Arizona Policy

Many of you likely watched the scene unfold in Indiana last month where supporters of religious freedom sought to pass a fairly simple law called the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA).

The scene was eerily similar to what played out here in Arizona with the CAP-supported SB 1062. Ignoring the facts, opponents of religious freedom falsely claimed that the bill would allow individuals to have a license to do pretty much anything, all in the name of their free exercise of religion. Or in other words, they wrongly tried to say religious freedom would become the equivalent of Monopoly’s “Get Out of Jail Free Card.”

Yet what was lost in the debate, both here in Arizona and in Indiana is the reality of how these laws actually operate in a court-setting and in real life. They don’t provide a license to do whatever illegal activity somebody wants to do. Rather, they provide the court with a well-established and longstanding legal balancing test for analyzing competing interests.

To provide some background, Arizona has had a state-version of RFRA since 1999, and a nearly identical federal law has been in place since 1993. More than 20 states also have state RFRAs.

In a nutshell, RFRA ensures the government cannot force someone to violate their religious convictions unless the government meets a strict legal test. For the strict legal test, the government must show it has a really good reason for the law and that the law is narrowly tailored to achieve that objective. If the government does that, then the RFRA defense fails and the government law or action stands.

Although Indiana’s original version of RFRA was heavily amended after big business bullied the governor and legislature, the remaining law is still set to take effect on July 1, 2015.

This brings us to a recent story out of Indiana and a perfect example of how RFRA works. Calling his newly formed church the First Church of Cannabis, founder Bill Levin plans to break the law and openly smoke marijuana. If he is cited or arrested, he says he will claim Indiana’s RFRA for protection.

Unfortunately for Mr. Levin, this same ploy was attempted in Arizona already, and Arizona’s RFRA operated just like it’s supposed to.

In 2005, Danny Hardesty was arrested for possession of marijuana, and in court he claimed that the use of marijuana was a sacrament of his church, the Church of Cognizance. This case reached the Arizona Supreme Court in 2009, and in a unanimous ruling the Court ruled against Hardesty.

Even assuming Hardesty had a truly sincere religious belief to smoke marijuana, the Court found that the government has a good reason to prohibit marijuana use (the fact that it poses a real threat to individual health and social welfare, in addition to the public safety concern posed by unlimited use, particularly by those driving motor vehicles), and that “no less restrictive alternative [ ] would serve the State’s compelling public safety interests and still excuse the conduct for which Hardesty was tried and convicted.”

So there you go, RFRA is not a “Get Out of Jail Free Card,” and it does not provide a license to do whatever illegal activity someone wants. Rather, it is a time-tested and just law that allows for courts to acknowledge when the government overreaches and burdens someone’s free exercise of religion, and to balance that against the reasons for the government action.

Please watch for the launch of the 3rd edition of The Policy Pages later this fall, which will include a brief devoted solely to explaining how laws like the Religious Freedom Restoration Act work.