The AACS Legislative Office monitors issues that affect the educational freedom and religious liberty of Christian schools.
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The Washington Flyer
 August 7, 2015
“Natural liberty is a gift of the beneficent Creator to the whole human race; and that civil liberty is founded in that and cannot be wrested from any people, without the most manifest violation of justice.”
Alexander Hamilton
College Board Releases New AP History Standards
The College Board has released new standards for the Advanced Placement U.S. History course, garnering both support and criticism from those who opposed the previous standards released in 2014. Several historians charged there was a liberal bias in the 2014 standards which downplayed “American citizenship and American world leadership in favor of a more global and transnational perspective.” The new standards released last Thursday initially received praise for several changes which focused more on American strength and nationalism. Specifically, scholars noted that the new standards now include a section on American exceptionalism, a more balanced approach to World War II that emphasizes the fight for freedom and democracy against fascism and Nazism, a recognition of Ronald Reagan’s strength in fighting and winning the Cold War, and an inclusion of some of the previously excluded Founding Fathers such as Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, and John Adams. However, some historians charge that the new standards, while improved, are still flawed in the explanation and understanding of American exceptionalism and instead overemphasize “globalism, gender, migration, environmentalism, and various group identities.” Critics claim that even though key elements have been added and controversial phrases have been removed, the content still reflects a liberal bias. Supporters of the standards contend that the standards are merely a guideline, and teachers are free to add to the content in a classroom. The College Board has indicated that the standards were effective upon release, and that the textbooks written to comply with the 2014 standards will also comply with the new standards.
Senate Fails to Pass Bill to Defund Planned Parenthood
On Monday, the U.S. Senate failed to invoke cloture on the motion to proceed to a bill that would defund Planned Parenthood. Introduced by Senator Joni Ernst (IA), S. 1881 would prohibit federal funds from supporting Planned Parenthood and ensure that “all funds no longer available to Planned Parenthood will continue to be made available to other eligible entities to provide women’s health care services.” The bill was introduced after a series of videos were released that exposed Planned Parenthood’s harvesting of human tissue from aborted babies for profit. A group of experts recently explained that not only do Planned Parenthood clinics rarely offer services other than abortion, but there are also a host of other community health clinics nationwide that provide medical help for women who need health services. The Senate bill aimed to deflect criticism that defunding Planned Parenthood would decrease access for women seeking health care services by redirecting funds away from Planned Parenthood to other community health clinics. The vote to proceed to debate on the bill was 53-46, mainly along party lines with only a few exceptions: Democratic Senators Joe Manchin (WV) and Joe Donnelly (NY) voted for the measure, Republican Senator Mark Kirk (IL) voted against the bill, and Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (KY) changed his vote from a “yes” to a “no” in a procedural move necessary to preserve his right to bring the bill up again for a vote at a later time. A similar bill has been introduced in the House, but the House leadership has not yet indicated when the legislation will receive a vote. 

NLC Registration

One Week Left for Discounted Registration for AACS National Legislative Conference
The AACS will be hosting the annual AACS National Legislative Conference on September 14–16, 2015, in Washington, D.C. The conference is designed to give pastors, administrators, teachers, and students from AACS ministries the opportunity to gain information about the issues facing Christian education, to meet with their Senators and/or Representatives, and to be encouraged in their service for the Lord. The conference will include a Congressional briefing designed for AACS members, a briefing hosted by the Heritage Foundation on educational and religious freedom, a “Stories in Stone” tour of the Jefferson Memorial led by Tim Schmig, and the annual Legislative Banquet featuring Senator James Lankford as the keynote speaker. The theme for this year’s conference is “Let Us Be Strong.” It is based on 2 Samuel 10:12 which states, “let us be strong for our people and . . . for God. And may the Lord do what is good in His sight.” Early
registration for a discounted rate ends Friday, August 14. Click here to register. The registration form can also be found under the “Legislative/Legal” tab on the website.

Religious Liberty

Religious Freedom Endangered by Equality Act
Last month, the
Equality Act was introduced in the House of Representatives by Representative David Cicilline (D-RI). If passed, every federal law that protects minorities from discrimination on the basis of race would be amended to include sexual orientation and gender identity. This proposed legislation far exceeds the reach of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), which was first introduced in Congress in 1994, but has been consecutively defeated in each new Congress. Although ENDA was first proposed to only include sexual orientation, gender identity was added in 2007. Even if ENDA had passed, it would have only applied to employment laws. The Equality Act, however, would apply to public accommodations, public education, employment, housing, federal funding, jury service, legal protections, and credit – religious objections not with-standing. Additionally, the bill explicitly states that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act cannot be used to defend religious objections. In short, religious organizations and people of faith would be given a backseat to the newly “protected class” that would be created under this law.


In Case You Missed It:

Weekly Market Update provided by Jeff Beach of the AACS Investment Team at Merrill Lynch
Register Now for AACS National Legislative Conference September 14-16, 2015
Bobby Jindal Terminates Louisiana's Medicaid Contract With Planned Parenthood
Houston Pastors Sue Mayor Over Sermons Subpoenaed
Court Rules Against Atheist Group and Allows Steel Cross to Remain at World Trade Center Site
Jamison Coppola: Legislative Director
Maureen Van Den Berg: Policy Analyst

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