On Monday (April 3), eighteen U.S. Senators penned a letter to President Donald Trump urging him to sign an executive order that would require agencies of the federal government to respect religious freedom. The letter, drafted by Senator Roy Blount (MO-R) and signed by Sens. Cruz, Rubio, Sasse, and fourteen others, calls for the President to take swift action to protect religious liberty.
“We were encouraged to learn of your consideration of an executive order that would require the agencies of the federal government to respect religious freedom throughout their activities and respectfully request you issue such an order without delay” write the Senators.
Noting that “Congress and the Executive Branch have repeatedly acted to preserve and affirm the right of individuals to express freely and act on their religious beliefs,” the Senators encouraged President Trump that “an executive order requiring federal government agencies to protect the right to religious freedom is necessary, and directing agencies to adhere to existing federal laws protecting religious freedom is sound policy.”
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The letter highlights recent stories that alarmed many Americans—the Obama administration’s attempt to coerce the Little Sisters of the Poor to comply with the Obamacare contraception mandate and the United States Solicitor General’s comments during Obergefell v. Hodges that tax exemption was “certainly going to be an issue” if the Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage. These are only two of many potential examples.
Across the country, institutions and individuals that do not comply with the demands of the sexual revolutionaries are being dragged into court because they won’t violate their sincerely held beliefs concerning marriage and human sexuality. For example, a Washington court recently ruled against Barronelle Stutzman, a florist who declined to arrange flower bouquets for a same-sex wedding ceremony. Although she had served the same-sex couple for years, she said providing arrangements for a same-sex ceremony violated her religious beliefs. The court not only ruled against her, but said that the state and same-sex couple could collect damages and attorneys’ fees from Stutzman personally, meaning the 70-year-old grandmother could lose her business, home, and life savings. This example provides a glimpse into the challenging environment for people who seek to live out their religious beliefs.
And while florists, bakers, photographers and wedding service-providers have received the initial ire of LGBT activists, they won’t be the last. There have already been calls to strip churches and religious organizations of their tax exempt status for failing to embrace the new sexual orthodoxy. Thus, the need for strengthening religious liberty protections is vital.