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USDA Sides With Meat Packaging Company’s Religious Liberty

This week, Donald and Ellen Vander Boon, owners of the West Michigan Beef Company, got an official statement from the USDA that resolved their two-year battle for religious liberty. The Obama administration had threatened to shut down this Christian-owned business because the Vander Boons put literature in their company breakroom about biblical marriage.

In the wake of President Trump’s executive order on religious liberty and Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ subsequent memorandum providing guidance to all federal agencies on this topic, the Department of Agriculture followed suit by siding with the Vander Boons: “Opinions about same-sex marriage, gender identity, and sexual morality are all matters of public importance . . . USDA respects the First Amendment rights of USDA personnel, as well as non-USDA personnel working at facilities inspected by USDA, to share their varying viewpoints on these topics, whether through oral discussion, the display or distribution of literature, or other means.”

Donald Vander Boon was elated with this latest decision. “My family and I seek to share God’s love and truth with others, and we’re thankful that the USDA is now recognizing our right and the right of other Americans to speak freely without facing government persecution,” he said.

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USDA Targets Meatpacking Plant for Marriage Beliefs

The USDA is threatening to shut down a family-run Michigan meatpacking company owned by Donald Vander Boon if it doesn’t stop showcasing religious literature about one-man, one-woman marriage in its break room. The USDA deems such literature “offensive and harassing speech,” yet ADF Senior Counsel Jeremy Tedesco responds, “Americans shouldn’t be threatened with the loss of their livelihoods simply because they live and speak peacefully according to their beliefs.”

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