ADF comment on Trump administration’s religious freedom guidance

Friday, October 06, 2017

The following quote may be attributed to Alliance Defending Freedom President, CEO, and General Counsel Michael Farris regarding guidance on religious freedom that the U.S. Department of Justice issued Friday as directed by an executive order President Trump signed in May: (Farris was one of the drafters of the original Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993.)

“All Americans should have the freedom to peacefully live and work consistent with their faith without fear of government punishment. The guidance that the Trump administration issued today helps protect that First Amendment freedom. As the memo states, ‘Americans do not give up their freedom of religion by participating in the marketplace, partaking of the public square, or interacting with government,’ and ‘free exercise of religion includes the right to act or abstain from action in accordance with one’s religious beliefs.’ This guidance will help protect families like the Vander Boons in Michigan, who were threatened with the effective closure of their family-run business for simply expressing a religious point of view on marriage that differed from that of the federal government. And it is another step toward fulfilling President Trump’s promise to protect a host of Christian colleges, the Little Sisters of the Poor, and others from having to choose between violating their consciences and paying crippling fines to the IRS. The guidance is on firm legal and constitutional ground. As it notes, the U.S. Supreme Court made clear in its recent 7-2 decision in Trinity Lutheran Church of Columbia v. Comer that singling out religious Americans for unequal treatment by the government ‘is odious to our Constitution…and cannot stand.’ As CEO of the largest religious freedom legal organization in the world, I commend the president for taking another step to honor his campaign promise to make religious liberty his ‘first priority’ by directing the Department of Justice to issue this guidance, which simply directs the federal government to adhere to its legal and constitutional obligation to respect existing religious freedom protections.”
ADF hosted a press call to discuss the guidance, which you can listen to here.

Alliance Defending Freedom is an alliance-building, non-profit legal organization that advocates for the right of people to freely live out their faith.
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