Conservatives Call on Trump to Protect Religious Liberty
By Todd Starnes
Christians are under fierce attack across the fruited plain and some of the nation’s most prominent conservative leaders are urging President Trump to take immediate action.
More than 150 members of the Council for National Policy are calling on the president to issue an executive order “protecting the practical exercise of religious freedom.”
“For the last eight years, Americans of all backgrounds have suffered the loss of their religious freedoms because of destructive Obama-era policies,” the CNP wrote in a letter to the president.
For the sake of full disclosure, I am a member of the Council for National Policy. And I, too, share deep concerns about the future of religious liberty in our great nation.
Among those signing the document are CNP President Tony Perkins, former Attorney General Edwin Meese, Morton Blackwell, Bob McEwen, Kelly Shackelford, Becky Norton Dunlop, Chad Connelly, Dr. James Dobson and Penny Nance.
Since he took the oath of office, President Trump has been doing something unheard of in American politics – he’s fulfilling his campaign promises.
So CNP is hoping he will follow through on his promise to people of faith – and address domestic threats against religious freedom.
Here are just a few examples of how religious liberty is under attack in the homeland:
• 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.
It’s clear that the war on religious liberty continues to rage across the country. That’s why it is imperative that President Trump take immediate action.
“They need protections that you can grant through an executive order to prevent federal discrimination against them for acting in accordance with their beliefs,” CNP wrote. “We urge you to take action to ensure their freedom to believe and live out those beliefs is protected from government punishment.”
So, let’s make America great again by restoring religious liberty.