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Victory For Pediatric Nurse In The Illinois Court – With Kevin Theriot – Exciting victory in the Illinois court! Sandra is a pediatric nurse who was forced out of her job for refusing to perform abortions. Kevin Theriot joins us today to discuss this case, and how it could effect other cases in the future. Tune in to hear more!
Air Date: 03/28/2022
Guest: Kevin Theriot
On-air Personalities: David Barton, Rick Green, and Tim Barton
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Welcome to the intersection of faith and the culture. It’s WallBuilders Live. We’re taking on the hot topics of the day from a biblical, historical, and constitutional perspective. And when I say we, that includes me, I’m Rick Green, former Texas legislator, and America’s Constitution coach. But it also includes David Barton. He is our founder here, WallBuilders and America’s premier historian. And it includes Tim Barton, national speaker and pastor and president of WallBuilders.
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Alright, David, and Tim, later, we’ll have an Alliance Defending Freedom attorney on with us talking about rights of conscience for healthcare workers, great victory actually out of Illinois. Believe it or not, guys, this is not even a Good News Friday, and we’re throwing a curveball in here. We’ve got some good news from the state of Illinois. So, got some good stuff coming up later. But we’ve talked about this one a lot for everything, from pharmacists and nurses to doctors when it comes to not being forced to participate in abortion, which should just be a constitutional right of conscience. Right?
Well, it should be and especially it’s interesting that this case comes at Illinois. I mean, I remember years ago, when we were talking about conscience rights in Illinois and the fight was over. And nurses that did not want to participate in abortions, and it took them 18 years to get the decision on that. They had been fighting that for 18 years and the law early on, I mean, a couple of decades ago, Illinois was a conservative state, it still was pretty much a rural country state in many ways. And then it really started getting that hardcore, liberal progressive, probably 15 years ago. But their leaders just held up those cases for a long time. I mean, holding up those cases have finally got the decision.
And it’s interesting that Illinois, I think, maybe more than any other state, that I recall, has had more cases fighting conscience rights in medical things than maybe any other state we’ve ever covered. And so it’s just interesting that they have the rights, it’s on the books. You just can’t get their officials to really want to go with it, at least not the officials in the blue part of the state. It’s just fascinating to me how hard Illinois has fought against this over the last couple of decades.
Well, and typically, the pro-abortion crowd is saying they want freedom of choice. But when it comes to you having a freedom of choice to not participate, I mean, not that I know we point out the hypocrisy of the left all the time and that’s just how they are, but I mean for us to recognize that if they really believed in freedom of choice, they would believe in that nurses freedom to not participate, right?
Yeah, guys. One of the things, Rick, you mentioned, it’s kind of silly when we expect leftist to be logical, but it certainly would be much more intellectually honest. If you said, hey, we believe in the freedom of the individual, because then let individuals actually have freedom and choose. But when you are compelling and forcing participation, then there’s really can’t be about individual choice, it can’t be about freedom. It can’t be about right. It is about compelling and mandating.
And of course, over the last couple years, we’ve seen a lot of compelling and mandating. So people have probably a much more fresh view and take on what compelling and mandating actually looks like. But certainly, in these scenarios, when you’re telling someone that in order to respect the rights of individuals, we are going to make you do something, well, then you’re definitely not respecting the rights of individuals.
And this is a person we’re going to we’re going to learn about today that their career, their life calling was to save life and to end to help life. And so to ask them to actually end life, I mean, makes it even worse. I mean, this is literally taking someone’s life calling and making them do the exact opposite.
But Rick, you hinted earlier this is part of the hypocrisy of it, is we only believe in freedom if you agree with what we say. We don’t want freedom on the other side. And we’ve seen that even in recent weeks with stories we covered. I saw one this last week where that a student at school was suspended for three days because they didn’t want him talking about certain subjects outside of school on his private time, on his own time, and he texted with some other students who believed like he did and get suspended for three days.
So these guys are really coercive. There’s nothing logical about it, Tim, as you mentioned. And it’s just a weird thing that they don’t want choice except for them. They want everyone else to do what they want. And they’re willing to use government to do that. And that’s just a real disappointing thing to see that we have had a generation of education that has trained Americans to believe like this.
10-15 years ago, you might get one of these cases every once in a while. But the fact that we have so many of them going now with vaccines and with military and with medical personnel, and whether it’s abortion or whether it’s COVID, or whatever it is, it’s we’re going to force you to comply with us. I see that as bad for the nation. But I also see that as a result of what we’ve been educating for the last 10-15, 20 years. We’re not educating constitutional principles. We’re not educating freedom. We’re definitely not educating a religious and a moral foundation from which to make those choices. And this is what we see as a result.
Yes, definitely real world results, all the more reason to support these organizations that are out there fighting these legal battles to try to preserve those liberties when fewer and fewer people recognize the importance of them. Kevin Theriot is an attorney at Alliance Defending Freedom and he’s going to be with us when we come back from the break, talk about this case and what it might mean for the rest of the country. Stay with us, folks, you’re listening to WallBuilders Live.
This is David Barton, with another moment from America’s history. Often today, it seems that the federal government has become too intrusive in the local matters and federal micromanagement has now unfortunately become the norm in education, law enforcement, religious expressions, and even on what is and is not moral.
Strikingly, the Founding Fathers had intended that the federal government never intrude into any of these issues. As Thomas Jefferson explained, “Taking from the states the moral rule of their citizens and subordinating it to the federal government would break up the foundations of the Union. I believe the states can best govern our home concerns and the federal government, our foreign ones.” According to Thomas Jefferson, the original plan was for the federal government to direct foreign affairs, but for the states and local communities to direct the domestic and the moral ones.
For more information on God’s hand in American history, contact WallBuilders at 1808REBUILD.
Welcome back to WallBuilders Live. Thanks for staying with us today. Good to have Kevin Theriot back with us from Alliance Defending Freedom. Kevin, always good to have you, man. Thanks for coming on the program.
Thank you, Rick. It’s good to be on again.
Well, yet another victory for you guys. And this one is a big one, dealing with nurses ability, really anybody in the health care profession to not have to participate in abortion. This one out of Illinois, so it feels kind of weird, we have good news and a victory from Illinois. This is great.
Yeah. Believe it or not, Illinois has some fantastic right of conscience laws that protect medical professionals because they shouldn’t be forced to violate their oath to do no harm.
Yeah. Doesn’t this go all the way back to the founding? I mean, isn’t this a basic concept of right of conscience and being able to not just believe certain things but actually not have to act against those beliefs?
Yes, our Founding Fathers and most Americans believe that we should have the freedom to operate according to our ethical and religious beliefs. And this law actually is a reflection of that. They want under a law in Illinois that was put in place right after Roe v Wade was created or discovered, this right to abortion in the Constitution. And Illinois was one of the leaders in protecting rights of conscience back then.
You guys have a great, by the way, video explaining this case. And we’ll get into those details. But we’ll have a link today to that link on your website. I don’t know who’s doing yours videos for your cases now. But if you had, whoever that is, making videos for me in law school, I would have actually gotten decent grades. I would have done so much better. Anyway, they’re great and it’s like a five minute video explains very much the case. But share with us a little bit of what happened here. Because this nurse’s job really changed when the hospital changed and she was being essentially forced to participate in something that really violated her conscience.
That’s right. Sandra worked for the county as a nurse for almost 30 years. And she as a devout Catholic she did not participate in abortion or help prescribe or be complicit with prescribing abortion causing drugs. And the county accommodated that religious conviction for years. And then a new administrator came in and basically attempted to force her to participate in procedures or treatments that conflicts with her ethical, moral and religious beliefs regarding abortion.
And she said I can’t do that. They tried to be motor and they essentially let her go. And she filed a lawsuit. The court awarded her damages. And then just in the last couple of weeks, the court granted her over $370,000 in attorney’s fees because her rights were violated.
Wow. And now, if I understand, right, I mean, most of the time ADF goes in and essentially, right off the bat says, hey, here’s the law, you guys are violating it, straighten up , fly, right and otherwise, we’re coming after you. And a lot of times that settles that you don’t have to actually go to court. I mean, clearly this hospital or this administrator refused to do that. And you guys had to take it all the way to court. Can you back up and give us a little bit of that process as well? I mean, they could have avoided this all the way through the process but you all had to push it all the way.
Sure. As a matter of fact, one of our over 3,000 KDF networking attorneys, Noel Sterett was on the ground with Sandra when all this happened. And there were many attempts in many occasions for the county to settle or to make this right before they got hit with this huge award. As a matter of fact, the judge took that into consideration when he said you could have settled this a long time ago, and you decided not to.
I love it. I love it. Well, it’s great news. Tell us a little bit about how this affects other people in that profession, but also other professions. I mean, does this just give them more ground to stand on? Should this happen at their job? And can people reach out to ADF if they’re facing something similar?
Yeah, this is a great example of what happens when a person like Sandra Rojas, who’s a very devout Christian stands by her beliefs, takes a stand. Because 81% of Americans believe it’s important that their medical providers share their moral beliefs. And that’s because a lot of patients, if they don’t have a provider that agrees with them, then they’re limited and then the doctors or nurses like Sandra, they can take care of them.
And of course, when freedom of conscience is compromised, then patient care is compromised. And that’s especially concerning in this day and age when there’s a shortage of nurses and doctors and others to take care of us.
I know you’ve had have had these conversations, I assume it didn’t come up in the case. But I mean, do you think that this outcome has any bearing on the other issues right now with nurses that don’t want to get the vaccine for prolife reasons or other reasons? That’s a religious exemption still. Would that apply in this situation or is this two different?
Well, it’s a little bit different in the sense that this law that Sandra invoked to help her win was designed to protect people from employment discrimination and of course, because they’re being forced to do something that violates their convictions. But the principle right across the board applies when you’re being treated differently because your conscience prohibits you from doing something that the state or the government wants you to do.
So yeah, this has a good precedential effect on those kinds of cases.
Okay, last thing, because I kept you longer than I said I would. But I remember when President Obama was addressing some of these issues, at one point, he basically said something to the effect, I don’t want to misquoting, but the essence of it was you’re welcome to have those beliefs. But if you have those beliefs, then you don’t need to be in the public square, you don’t to be working at a hospital, you don’t be doing X, Y, and Z. This was an Illinois law that you were dealing with. Are there any federal laws or recent decisions that that conflict with this or that you think that we’re going to have to fight in the coming years to get the same kind of result that you got for Sandra here?
I do. Well, first of all, you have the constitution. So whenever a state or other governmental entity tries to force someone to participate in procedures that conflict with their ethical or moral or religious beliefs, they’ve got a constitutional case. And then there are some statutes like Title VII protects employees and some other statutes that protect students like the [inaudible 14:46] amendment. They are very helpful for those who feel like they’re being coerced to violate their convictions by either participating in abortion like Sandra was or being, for instance, forced to participate in some sort of end of life thing, like what’s going on in some of our other cases right now, like physician-assisted suicide.
Yeah, very similar. Well, man, I appreciate you taking time. I appreciate all that you all do. And I know you all have thousands and thousands of cases and just an incredible win rate and just so thankful for ADF. But appreciate you, Kevin. Man, thanks for coming on and informing our listeners. Keep up the great work. Best place for folks to follow is I guess, adfmedia.org or adf.org, what’s the best place to go?
Adflegal.org. Alright, brother, appreciate it, man. Keep it up. We’ll talk soon.
Thanks for having me, Rick.
You bet. Stay with us, folks. We’ll be right back with David and Tim Barton.
Hi, friends, this is Tim Barton of WallBuilders. This is a time when most Americans don’t know much about American history or even heroes of the faith. And I know oftentimes we, parents, we’re trying to find good content for our kids to read.
And if you remember back to the Bible, to the book of Hebrews, it has the faith Hall of Fame where they outline the leaders of faith that had gone before them. Well, this is something that as Americans, we really want to go back and outline some of these heroes, not just of American history, but heroes of Christianity in our faith as well.
I want to let you know about some biographical sketches we have available on our website. One is called The Courageous Leaders collection. And this collection includes people like Abigail Adams, Abraham Lincoln, Francis Scott Key, George Washington Carver, Susanna Wesley, even the Wright brothers. And there’s a second collection called Heroes of History. In this collection, you’ll read about people like Benjamin Franklin or Christopher Columbus, Daniel Boone, George Washington, Harriet Tubman; friends, the list goes on and on. This is a great collection for your young person to have and read and it’s a providential view of American and Christian history. This is available at www.wallbuilders.com. That’s www.wallbuilders.com.
We’re back here on WallBuilders Live. Thanks for staying with us. Thanks to Kevin Theriot from Alliance Defending Freedom. And to Alliance Defending Freedom, I think they have something like, what is it, guys 3,000 attorneys or something out there and affiliates around the country taking on these cases and community after community and doing fantastic work and just a great victory here. So guys, in this case, even they’re in Illinois, they said, yeah, she has rights of conscience and she has a right to keep her job and not be fired for a requirement to take life instead of preserving life.
Well, guys, it is one of the things we talk so often even on Good News Friday. But how many of these wins, how many of these victories that we are seeing, you know dad, as you mentioned, sometimes the challenge is it can take almost decades, plural, multiple decades before we see some of these victories. It’s really silly that people have to endure so much before their basic constitutional rights are recognized and acknowledged.
It is basic freedoms and provisions that that freedom of religion, freedom of religious conscience that the kind of a foundation nation was founded on. But it is encouraging to see these things being restored and upheld. And so, there is some good news, even recognizing the frustration of the challenge in the battles that we are facing. You know, the good news is that we are winning these battles. But I do think that these battles are not going anywhere anytime soon because we are seeing a stronger and wider division in the nation where people now are caring less and less about what is constitutional.
And as we mentioned, kind of before the interview where there’s a promotion of coercion, and we want people to do what we’re going to tell them to do. And so now it’s not even about what’s constitutional. It’s not even about what’s illegal. It’s about who’s in control, and what side is going to win. So I definitely think we’ll see more of these battles. But guys, I’m always encouraged when we do see that victory came out of this. And certainly grateful that she’s getting some restitution for what she had to endure.
And I’m thankful too that she was willing to stand up, right, that’s where this whole thing had to start. You know, a lot of people are wronged like this. A lot of people have pressure put on them. They may or may not reach, ultimately getting fired, but they’re either forced to do things or are bullied into doing things. So she said no. I mean, she stood up, and that’s where it began. And then the legal counsel came alongside them. And the Constitution doesn’t mean anything if we don’t stand up and fight for it. So that was a big part of what started this whole thing.
Yes. And I’m fine for it. But notice too, that that we’re really wanting a lot of these cases on conscience. And that says something about the judges that were appointed. I’ll point back to Trump, what he did with judges. I think this is a significant reason we’re winning these types of cases and that we’re winning these cases that the US Supreme Court also helps us. Covered from the US Supreme Court, they put out a report and the Supreme Court is named after the Chief Justice.
So you have the John Jay court, the John Marshall court going back to the original courts. But as you get into the 40s, 50s, and 60s where we started turning against religion versus Earl Warren Court, and a First Amendment case is only 47% of the time that the Supreme Court uphold the First Amendment for religious and conscience etc. Then you get into the later courts and it went to 51% and under Rehnquist, it went to 57%. And this current court that we have now has been 81%. So they uphold more cases on religious liberty than we’ve had in 60 years, literally. And that sends a message to all those lower courts as well.
And so we’re seeing these kinds of cases being won. Tim and I were talking to a couple of our attorney friends here and just last week. But you have Kelly Shackleford, who’s just won two big cases, dealing with conscience rights for religious conscience for those in the Navy. I think he has 28 SEALs on one case, and then the court reached out and said, well, we’re going to let you represent the whole Navy because the military right now is attacking religious rights, and we’re going to stand for the military. And then I think Mat Staver just won one on the Air Force, the same thing.
So these guys are fighting for conscience rights all over. And I’ve been struck with not only how few people today actually know what the First Amendment says. I’ll listen to the critics talk about how that you’re not supposed to have religion in public. And well, you clearly don’t know the First Amendment. But at the base of the First Amendment was not just free exercise of religion, it was the rights of conscience. And the rights of conscience is what caused them to say you can have the free exercise of religion. Because what drives your conscience, the religious beliefs that you believe that you’re accountable to God for, that’s what’s you’re going to do to choose how you express your faith. So it’s all about conscious more than even freedom of religion, because without conscience, you don’t have the freedom of religion.
And that’s where we’re just seeing these so many government entities, so many people in power that say, well, conscience, you don’t have a right to conscience. Oh, yes, you do. And that’s a huge part of the Constitution. And so it struck me even listening to Kevin, where he said, she had all these conscience rights and protection was good. And then a new administrator came in and the new administrator came in and said, well, you’re not getting them under me. You know, I’m going to make sure that you do this. I’m going to punish you. And it’s just crazy to say that we just don’t understand what freedom of religion is about. But conscience is the essence of it. And it’s good to see the courts upholding the rights of conscience.
Well, and dad, I think to that reiterates, the notion when you have a new leader come in saying I’m not going to recognize your right, what I was pointing out, but I think somewhat of the battle we’re going to see going forward really is revolving around the power of who’s in charge, and he’s used to be the boss and just tell you what to do, part of this this Marxist tyranny that we’ve seen over the last couple of years, when people are blatantly governors, mayors, even federal bureaucrats administration, as we’re seeing the President or whatever administration under him, they’re coming in and saying, well, we’re going to suspend your rights here because we think this.
And so it, really, to me does seem like your rights are now becoming much more of a political pawn on this chess game of it depends on who’s in charge as to what rights you do and don’t get, instead of recognizing the basic premise the Founding Fathers laid out so clearly, starting with the Declaration of Independence, that we hold these truths to be self-evident, right, that there’s some basic notions that we think there are truths and these truths should be obvious to every American: that there is a God, that God gave us right and government’s job is to protect those rights.
We now have different people who think that their job is not necessarily to protect your God given rights, their job is to determine what rights you do or don’t get. And this is, I think, certainly a dangerous time. That’s why we talk about elections have consequences, we want to make sure that we elect the right kind of people. But I think we’re definitely going to see some of these battles going forward, not because the Constitution or even at this point.
Legal precedent, it’s not that legal precedent isn’t clear. I think there’s been so many cases that there shouldn’t even be questions about most of these issues anymore because as we mentioned, we win so many of these cases, even at the US Supreme Court. But I think now people are looking at what’s constitutional, but not always looking at what the precedent is. It really is a political battle for the heart, the soul, the mind, the direction of the nation, whether we’re going to continue to be free people under the Constitution or whether these kind of Marxist communist regimes are going to win out.
You know, and, Tim, what you’re just saying there just strikes me. This really is a battle for the rule of law. And John Adams said that the rule of law means that everyone is governed by the law, as he said, it’s a government of laws, not of men. And if you can have people come in and change that philosophy, then people are higher than the law it is.
And so this really is a battle about whether we respect fundamental rights, fundamental laws, whether we respect the Declaration and the Constitution; the Bill of Rights, whether those are the key things. And I was talking with Glenn Beck recently, and he said, you know, we have a lot of differences, a lot of things in America. He said, but if you’re willing to stand with the Bill of Rights and you’re willing to say I support every right in the Bill of Rights, he said, then I’ll stand with you, even if we disagree vehemently on other areas, at least we had that fundamental protection that we can have disagreements and still be bound by the rule of law.
And I think the rule of law is part of what’s the question here with Tim, as you said all the bureaucrat’s administration, giving edicts, giving mandates, suspending the Constitution etc. So when in a case like this with ADF, this is really good to help restore the rule of law.
Alright, well, we’re out of time for today, folks. But you can always get more at our website wallbuilderslive.com. And then also, I actually encourage you to go over to wallbuilders.com and just peruse through there and read some of those articles, grab some of those audios, download some of the mp3 or the videos. There is so much education on that website. I mean, everything from our history as a nation in terms of our Constitution and Declaration in the spirit of the Founding Fathers and all the things they put in place to “American history in Black and White: Setting the Record Straight” really lays out the black history in a way that you actually get truth. We tell the good, the bad and the ugly. It’s not one sided story like you typically get from most people today to what pastors can do in the role of pastors in the culture.
In America, I mean, we would not have a nation if it wasn’t for the black robe regiment, the pastor’s that were so engaged, they taught liberty, they preach liberty, and then they went and fought for liberty. All of those different stories you can learn about that at wallbuilders.com. So I encourage you to check out the website today wallbuilders.com.
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