WASHINGTON, D.C. – The American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) has successfully stopped a realtor board’s attack on a Christian realtor for using a cross logo in his advertisements.
According to a report from the ACLJ, an unidentified “long-time realtor” contacted the ACLJ regarding pressure from his local realtor board to remove a cross logo from his advertising materials.
The logo was actually that of the Christian Real Estate Network (CREN), an organization that connects Christian realtors with clients who would like to connect with “a like minded Christian agent that places a high value on integrity, Biblical values & excellent customer service.”
— Canada Free Press (@canadafreepress) November 9, 2021
It should also be noted that the CREN website also specifically states:
“please note that if you are not a Christian, you still have every right to be a member of the Christian Real Estate Network.”
Regarding the use of the logo, the ACLJ noted:
“By using this [CREN] symbol, our client is signaling to people that in addition to all of the other licenses he holds, he is also a part of this Christian realtor network.
“This is no different than the referral networks of almost all professions, including for example, the Christian Legal Society for lawyers.
“Nothing nefarious. Nothing illegal. Nothing discriminatory.”
The client’s realtor board, however, saw the use of the logo differently.
According to a spokesperson from the ACLJ:
“The board suggested that the cross could be discriminatory and violate the realtor’s code of ethics as well as the Fair Housing Act.”
The National Association of Realtor’s code of ethics specifies that:
“REALTORS® shall not print, display or circulate any statement or advertisement with respect to selling or renting of a property that indicates any preference, limitations or discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, national origin, sexual orientation, or gender identity.”
The Fair Housing Act makes it illegal:
“[t]o discriminate against any person in the terms, conditions, or privileges of sale or rental of a dwelling, or in the provision of services or facilities in connection therewith, because of . . . religion . . . .”
Thus, the board was claiming that the cross indicated “an intent to discriminate and, thus, should be removed.”
An ACLU spokesperson said of the case:
“The local realtor board was using this as a scare tactic to try and convince our client to remove any cross or religious symbol from his advertisements, waiting at any moment to apply this policy to ban the cross and initiate a formal complaint against our client.”
In response, the ACLJ crafted two letters, one to the local realtor board and one to the National Association of Realtors, in which they cited case precedent and HUD guidelines that showed that there was no discrimination present in the use of the logo.
The ACLJ described the letters in their report as follows:
“[T]he ACLJ prepared a letter to National Association of Realtors (NAR), as well as to the local governing board, contesting any suggestion that our client’s use of the cross was prohibited and/or demonstrated any ill motive or intent to discrimination.
“We also explained that such a broad application of any non-discrimination policy to exclude any realtor’s use of religious symbols would stifle speech and religious liberties – treasured freedoms in our country.”
The NAR replied with a formal response, “explaining that they have no intent to apply the [Fair Housing] policy in a manner to ban the cross.”
The local board has not yet responded in writing, but has “verbally indicated” to the ACLJ that it will not challenge the ACLJ nor hinder their client from using the cross logo in his advertisements.
An ACLJ spokesperson has indicated that the situation is resolved in their client’s favor, saying:
“Because of the ACLJ, our client can now use the cross logo without further fear of reprimand.”
Our client was warned by his local realtor board that the use of the cross in his advertisements could violate NAR nondiscrimination policies. In another religious liberty victory for the ACLJ, NAR agreed that the rule should not be interpreted that way. https://t.co/NF2VTdE0LM
— ACLJ (@ACLJ) November 13, 2021
The ACLJ also reports that it is fighting on behalf of another realtor whose religious freedom is also being threatened by their local real estate board.
In that case, a Virginia realtor came under fire from the Virginia Real Estate Board for putting John 3:16 on her website and saying, “Jesus loves you,” in emails.
The ACLJ filed a lawsuit on her behalf in 2020, and the organization is now engaged in a court battle to protect the rights of their client.
The ACLJ concluded their report on these real estate cases by noting:
“The ACLJ has a long history of defending the constitutional rights of Christians in business.
“No person of faith should be denied their free speech rights or the lawful expression of their faith.
“Now more than ever, we must fight for and defend the constitutional rights of Christian businessmen and women against anti-Christian discrimination.”
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What Constitution? Biden administration reportedly plans to roll back Trump-era religious liberty rule
Originally published November 11, 2021
WASHINGTON, D.C.- On Tuesday, November 9th, the Biden Department of Labor (DOL) said that it plans to roll back the Trump rule that went into effect on January 8th, which allows religious groups that are federal contractors to specifically hire people who hold to their faith beliefs.
Mississippi Attorney General Lynn Fitch said Biden had “vastly overreached his authority” and that his mandates violate “vital principles, including state sovereignty, the rule of law, and religious liberty.”https://t.co/ncbjNKoQmF pic.twitter.com/Y1ymd9Lsg6
— Mississippi Free Press (@MSFreePress) November 11, 2021
According to reports, back in August 2019, the Trump Labor Department announced the proposed rule intended to clarify that faith-based organizations could “make employment decisions consistent with their sincerely held religious tenets and beliefs without fear of sanction by the federal government.”
The Biden administration, however, signaled its intention to overturn the rule after civil rights organizations claimed it allowed discrimination against LGBTQ individuals in terms of hiring by faith-based groups.
The Biden administration is claiming that the Trump rule “departed from” the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs’ (OFCCP) longstanding “policy and practice” of applying principles and case law to interpret the exemption. OFCCP Director Jenny R. Yang stated:
“The Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs’ proposed rescission would protect against discrimination and safeguard principles of religious freedom.
With this proposal, OFCCP would simply return to our policy and practice of considering the facts of each case and applying Title VII principles and case law and other applicable law.”
However, Mary Best Waddell, Family Research Council’s director of Federal Affairs to Family and Religious Liberty, said the Biden administration is “couching its change in terms of following precedent and the law to promote religious freedom” and “doing the opposite.”
Waddell said in a statement:
“This Department of Labor proposed rule curtails the ability of religious individuals and entities to live out their faith in the public square. This is one of many choices the Biden administration has made to sideline religious freedom and elevate other policies in its place.”
“Religious freedom must protect the ability to practice and exercise sincerely held religious beliefs in the public square.”
Waddell noted that the Trump administration:
“…Understood this and did not tamper with what constituted a religious exemption in this rule, bur rather defined the terms and added a rule of construction in favor of the broadest protection of religious exercise ‘permitted by the U.S. Constitution and law.'”
Biden Admin Moves to Scrap Trump Religious Liberty Rule https://t.co/slHOHif3sq
— MikeKirby (@mikekirbyone) November 11, 2021
Waddell stated that under the Trump-era rule, “religion” was defined as including “all aspects of religious observance and practice, as well as belief.” She added:
“The Biden administration’s move away from this definition is bad news. Faith-based entities should not be denied government contracts and grants just because they want their employees to follow the same faith tenets they do.
They should be allowed to freely exercise their religious freedom and run their business in accordance with the tenets of their faith.”
American Atheists released a statement praising the Biden DOL’s proposed rule as it claimed the administration was “restoring workers’ freedom of religion.” Allison Gill, the group’s vice president for legal and policy, said:
“The government should never fund businesses that justify discrimination based on religious beliefs. And American taxpayers should never be forced to be complicit in discrimination.”
Nick Fish, president of American Atheists, added:
“Finally, atheists, LGBTQ people, women, and religious minorities will see these important protections restored. Let me be clear: the people who will be complaining about this change do not care about religious freedom, they only care about how they can use religion as a weapon against people different from them.”
Biden to Abolish Trump Rule Protecting Religious Freedom of Federal Contractors | Neon Nettle https://t.co/iFzZ6XcZxb
— llyoung LT Z/28 (@llyoung28) November 11, 2021
However, Terry Schilling, president of American Principles Project, said that the proposed rescission of the Trump-era rule is a sign that “Joe Biden’s anti-American war on our fundamental freedoms continues.” He added:
“The administration is lying when they claim this move will prevent ‘discrimination.’ In fact, it will do the very opposite: by eliminating critical religious liberty protections, the administration is declaring open season on persecuting religious organizations that dare to dissent from the left’s prevailing sexual orthodoxy.”
“This is an affront to the First Amendment, but it shouldn’t surprise anyone. This is who they are. They oppose free speech. They reject the idea of religious freedom.
The once great Democratic Party has been reduced to a bunch of would-be totalitarians hellbent on forcing everyone to submit to their insane mandates on gender, critical race theory, or even the latest politicized COVID ‘science.'”
“It’s obviously not going to work. Americans are sick and tired of the left’s radicalism and there will be political hell to pay next November.”
Editor note: In 2020, we saw a nationwide push to “defund the police”. While we all stood here shaking our heads wondering if these people were serious… they cut billions of dollars in funding for police officers.
And as a result, crime has skyrocketed – all while the same politicians who said “you don’t need guns, the government will protect you” continued their attacks on both our police officers and our Second Amendment rights.
And that’s exactly why we’re launching this national crowdfunding campaign as part of our efforts to help “re-fund the police”.
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