FOR FAITH LEADERSHIP ONLY:
Defend Freedom of Religion, Sign the Petition!
Attn: United State House of Representatives
United States Senate
President of the United States
Freedom of Religion Statement
We the undersigned represent the diverse Religious Community of the United States. We all share a concern about Governmental intrusion into the practice of religion. We believe that every American should feel free to follow their faith and conscience. Religious Freedom should be important to all Americans regardless of one’s belief system.
The First Amendment of our Constitution guarantees the right to the “free exercise” of religion. Subsequent Supreme Court decisions have further defined that right. In 1963, Justice William Brennen writing for the Court in Sherbert vs Verner, stated “…any law that resulted in an incidental burden to the free exercise of her religion must be justified by a compelling state interest in the regulation of a subject within the State’s power to regulate.” The Court later added, in Wisconsin vs Yoder, that “only those interests of the highest order and those not otherwise served, can overbalance the legitimate claims to the free exercise of religion.” These precepts were reiterated by the passage of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which was signed into law by President Clinton in 1993.
We therefore stand in opposition to legislation that would force an individual to violate their religion or conscience, even if that violation was unintended by the law, and especially if there exist reasonable alternative approaches to accomplish the compelling State interest that would not violate religious precepts.
Additionally, with regard to the Affordable Healthcare Act, despite its laudable goal of providing adequate health care to many more Americans, it should not force physicians, to provide or terminate treatments in opposition to their beliefs, nor should it force employers to fund procedures in opposition to their religious belief and conscience. In both of these circumstances, reasonable accommodations to the religious practice, or reasonable alternative approaches exist to fulfill the State’s interest, and should therefore be pursued.
While we may represent a diversity of religious beliefs, and specific legislation may not impact each of us, we all emphatically stand behind the principle of Religious Freedom to follow the tenets of ones faith as expressed in our Bill of Rights.
To be Signed by House of Worship/Faith Community Leaders only
(Pastors, Associate Pastors, Rabbis, Imans, and other worship / faith community leaders.)