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The Battle Over Religious Freedom and Parental Rights Last Week In NJ

Dear Friends:

Summer has finally arrived. Despite the torrential rain last week, the sun is now shining. This should inspire us with hope! No matter the current condition, things can and will change – even in NJ.

Legislative Update

I need to update you on important news concerning our state. The state Assembly passed A5508 on Thursday, June 20. This bill removes the religious exemption for churches, Christian schools, Catholic hospitals and other faith-based ministries, by forcing them to pay for abortion inducing drugs in their insurance plans, against their deeply held religious beliefs. The team of Len Deo, Shawn Hyland and Lou Scheidt, from New Jersey Family Policy Council and Family Policy Alliance of NJ, respectively, were present at the Statehouse in Trenton, along with a number of allies opposing the bill and advocating for religious freedom by requesting legislators retain the religious exemption within the bill.

The prime sponsor of the bill, Assemblyman Zwicker, no friend of the family, admitted on the floor of the chamber that no woman in NJ had a problem accessing contraceptives within the state. Assemblyman Webber, opposing the bill, publicly denounced A5508 as a blatant violation of conscience and religious liberty. The purpose of the bill was not to improve access to contraceptives, including abortifacients, but mandate religious institutions fund these drugs.

Furthermore, Assemblyman Zwicker told Shawn Hyland, our Director of Advocacy, they wanted to match the original Affordable Care Act word for word as state law. However, the religious mandates in the federal law were deemed unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court in Burwell vs Hobby Lobby (2014) and Zubik vs Burwell (2016). Tragically, the bill passed 48-25 along party lines. It was a hotly contested debate, that accentuated the deep divide today between the radical left and the religious right!

Legal Update

Secondly, Judge Goodzeit decided not to side with a concerned group of parents that brought a lawsuit against Watchung Hills Regional School District over the book Fun Home.

This book contains detailed pornographic illustrations of lesbian sex and should not be distributed to minors by teachers. In spite of hundreds of outraged parents who signed petitions or testified at school board meetings, the book continues to be available for students as an option to read as a requirement in the English Literature Curriculum. The only recourse now, according to attorney Demetrios Stratis, is to attempt to replace those school board members who are sold out to the LGBTQ agenda in upcoming school board elections!

Ultimately, this is where you must protect the students of your district. School board elections are vital in the battle over the minds of students. Curriculum and policies drastically effect the worldview of the next generation. I want to encourage you to consider running for school board or recruiting someone in your district that you are confident will stand for moral clarity. We will be offering campaign training for those who are interested in running this year. It’s not too late, but you must file with your local school board secretary by July 29. Please contact us at the NJFPC for questions. We want to help you win!

Qualifications to Run for School Board

There are five common qualifications to be eligible to be a candidate in a school board election. A school board candidate must:

  1. Be a registered voter.
  2. Be a resident of the district she is running in
  3. Have at least a high school diploma or a certificate of high school equivalency
  4. Not have been convicted of a felony
  5. Not be a current employee of the district and/or be related to a current employee in that district.

For more information please click here for the NJ School Boards Association (make this a hot link with the internet address below.

Len Deo
Founder and President

Shawn Hyland
Director of Advocacy

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