10/12/2016 Washington, D.C. (Religious Freedom Institute) Thomas Farr, President of the Religious Freedom Institute, joined forces with a broad coalition of leaders from across the religious, ideological, and political spectrum to defend the right of all Americans to participate in the political life of their nation without being labeled – especially by their own government – as bigots because of their religious views. In a letter to President Barack Obama, House Speaker Paul Ryan, and Senate President Pro Tempore Orrin Hatch, Farr and the other signatories ask them to reject publicly the statements of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights and its Chairman that “religious liberty” and “religious freedom” are “code words” for intolerance.
In a startling display of a new and virulent form of state-sanctioned anti-religious prejudice, a report from the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, released last month, condemned America’s first freedom, the freedom of religion, as a front for racism, sexism, and “Christian supremacy.” The report, entitled Peaceful Coexistence: Reconciling Non-Discrimination Principles with Civil Liberties, stigmatizes tens of millions of Americans, their communities and institutions, and threatens the religious freedom of all citizens. The intent of the report appears to be to end the debate over critical issues concerning the nation’s common good, and to exclude millions of Americans from our public life.
RFI President Thomas Farr said in a statement today: “I was honored to join with Muslim, Jewish, Hindu, Baha’i, Mormon, Evangelical and Catholic leaders, as well as the leaders of non-religious organizations, to call on our elected leaders to condemn the Commission's report. We took no position on the great cultural and moral debates facing our nation, except the position that in America everyone has a voice. Our founding generation would be scandalized that a government agency has asserted, in effect, that Americans who exercise their religious freedom are doing so with evil intent, and that the First Amendment’s guarantee of the free exercise of religion should be considered null and void. Every American should condemn this report.”
The entire letter can be read here: Multi-Faith Letter
The USCCR report can be read here: Peaceful Coexistence: Reconciling Nondiscrimination Principles with Civil Liberties
Jeremy P. Barker
The Religious Freedom Institute (RFI) works to secure religious freedom for everyone, everywhere. The RFI is a non-profit, non-partisan organization based in Washington, D.C. www.religiousfreedominstitute.org