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Conservatives Urge President Trump To Act To Protect Religious Freedom

In the aftermath of President Trump’s successful address to Congress, a broad coalition of more than 120 conservative leaders and activists, including CHQ Chairman Richard A. Viguerie, Dr. James Dobson, Tony Perkins, Morton C. Blackwell, Jenny Beth Martin, Edwin Meese III, and L. Brent Bozell, III issued an open Trump religious freedomletter to the President urging him to issue an executive order “protecting the practical exercise of religious freedom.” 

To read the letter and see the complete list of signatories, click here

Saying that Americans of all backgrounds have suffered the loss of their religious freedoms because of destructive Obama-era policies and that “Naming the problem is the first step toward addressing it” the letter commended President Trump for identifying the threat:

  • *You have rightly called attention to the need to restore the free speech rights that have been violated by the Johnson Amendment.

  • *You have rightly noted, at the National Prayer Breakfast, that “[o]ur Republic was formed on the basis that freedom is not a gift from government, but that freedom is a gift from God.”

  • *You observed in the same speech that international religious freedom violations are taking place: “We have seen . . . [a]cts of wanton slaughter against religious minorities . . . . We have seen peace-loving Muslims brutalized, victimized, murdered and oppressed by ISIS killers. We have seen threats of extermination against the Jewish people.”  

However, the letter also called attention to the ongoing threats to religious liberty that can only be reversed by Presidential action:

  • *Federal grantees like World Vision, the Salvation Army, the Adventist Development and Relief Agency, and Samaritans Purse face the prospect of the government forcing them to violate their faith or give up their role serving the disadvantaged and poor around the world.

  • *Adoption providers such as Bethany Christian Services and Catholic Charities have been forced out of Massachusetts, Illinois, and D.C. because they are committed to placing needy children with a married mom and dad.

  • *The Obama administration’s solicitor general declared before the Supreme Court that religious schools that fail to embrace the Court’s redefinition of marriage could see their tax-exempt status fall into jeopardy.

  • *Schools like Gordon College and Brigham Young University Law School have had their accreditation come under scrutiny because of their beliefs about marriage, and the threat of federal action against religious schools remains.

  • *Service members like Navy Chaplain Wes Modder have been disciplined for counseling according to their Christian beliefs about natural marriage.

  • *The Little Sisters of the Poor as well as other religious groups and colleges have been forced under the HHS contraceptives mandate to choose between paying crushing federal fines or violating their deeply held beliefs.

  • *Family business owners around the country have been punished by state and local governments because of their religious views. Earlier this month, the Washington State Supreme Court affirmed the penalties imposed on florist grandmother Barronelle Stutzman for following her faith in the marketplace. She and others like her need to be assured that the federal government will not similarly punish them—whether through tax policy, denial of grants or contracts, or otherwise—because they act in accordance with their beliefs.

  • *Under a policy issued by the Obama administration’s agriculture secretary, a USDA official threatened to remove all USDA inspectors if West Michigan Beef Company owner Donald Vander Boon didn’t permanently refrain from placing in the company’s breakroom religious literature supporting marriage between one man and one woman that the department deemed “offensive.” The Vander Boons were forced to choose between their religious beliefs and having their plant closed and their employees left jobless. 

The letter closed by pointing out to the President that the “above individuals and groups, and many others like them, have either been punished by the government for their religious beliefs or are about to suffer under Obama era anti-religious regulations. They need protections that you can grant through an executive order to prevent federal discrimination against them for acting in accordance with their beliefs.” 

The signatories to the letter urged President Trump to take action to ensure that freedom to believe and live out those beliefs is protected from government punishment.

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