The National Pulse
Photo credit: American Life League via Flickr, CC BY-NC 2.0

Trump Administration Follows Through on Protecting Religious Freedom

Today, the Trump administration announced it would be taking three important, new steps to better protect life and religious liberty:

1.) The administration officially issued a rule which will protect the religious freedom of employers who object to the Obama administration’s “contraception mandate,” finally providing relief to groups such as the Little Sisters of the Poor who had taken their case all the way to the Supreme Court. Importantly, the new rule also expands exemption from the mandate to cover the religious and moral objections of non-profit organizations, for-profit, government contractors, non-government employees, institutions of higher education, individuals, and even insurance companies. It’s also granted for sincere religious and moral objections, meaning that these individuals and groups don’t have to go through a tedious application process for the exemption.

2.) The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued a guidance announcing it would be enforcing requirements that abortion healthcare coverage be separate from other healthcare coverage under Obamacare plans, ensuring that federal money does not go toward funding abortions.

3.) The Department of Justice (DOJ) issued a guidance to all federal agencies directing them to protect freedom of religion when it comes to enforcing employment law as well as in awarding federal grants.

As evidence across the world shows, countries with robust protections for the free exercise of religion have healthier economies and more secure civil liberties. No doubt the United States will also benefit greatly from moves in this direction.

Additionally, in taking these actions, the Trump administration’s DOJ and HHS are following through on one of the President’s key campaign promises: to provide relief for good Americans burdened by the remnants of President Obama’s overreach. By clarifying that religious freedom encompasses all aspects of religious practice, not just the revisionist definition of freedom to ‘worship,’ President Trump’s administration has set forth the right principles for interpreting existing law — not to mention providing the Little Sisters of the Poor and other morally-motivated citizens the justice they deserve.

Unfortunately, in light of the redefinition of marriage by nine unelected judges, the Left is still free to persecute good-willed Americans who still hold beliefs about marriage, sexuality, and gender that are in line with all of human history. President Trump and his agencies have done all possible to interpret existing law so that Americans do not have to choose between the law and their faith.

Now it is time for Congress to follow suit. Our elected officials must take legislative action to protect the religious and moral convictions of Americans when they run up against the steamroller of secular belief.

Photo credit: American Life League via Flickr, CC BY-NC 2.0

Anna Anderson

Anna Anderson is the Director of the Religious Freedom Program at American Principles Project.

  • “By clarifying that religious freedom encompasses all aspects of religious practice, not just the revisionist definition of freedom to ‘worship…”

    Revisionist? Anderson is in a dreamworld!

    The SCOTUS Reynolds decision regarding Mormon polygamy should be a BIG roadblock to the Right Wing’s version of so-called religious liberty:

    Reynolds had argued that as a Mormon, it was his religious duty as a male member of the church to practice polygamy if possible.

    The Court recognized that under the First Amendment, the Congress cannot pass a law that prohibits the free exercise of religion.
    However it held that the law prohibiting bigamy did not meet that
    standard. The principle that a person could only be married singly, not
    plurally, existed since the times of King James I of England in English law, upon which United States law was based.

    The Court investigated the history of religious freedom in the United States and quoted a letter from Thomas Jefferson
    in which he wrote that there was a distinction between religious belief
    and action that flowed from religious belief. The former “lies solely
    between man and his God,” therefore “the legislative powers of the
    government reach actions only, and not opinions.” The court considered
    that if polygamy was allowed, someone might eventually argue that human
    sacrifice was a necessary part of their religion, and “to permit this
    would be to make the professed doctrines of religious belief superior to
    the law of the land, and in effect to permit every citizen to become a
    law unto himself.” The Court believed the First Amendment forbade
    Congress from legislating against opinion, but allowed it to legislate
    against action.

    Note: The SCOTUS came down UNANIMOUS on this decision.

    King James, Thomas Jefferson and a unanimous Supreme Court says that what is revisionist is Anderson’s idea that her religious views trumps the constitution. So Anderson, you cannot treat gay people like second-class citizens based on your so-called religion anymore than someone can perform human sacrifices based on his sincerely held religious passion.

  • The Southern Baptists must be cheering Trump’s move. Now they can go back to the ’60s when they claimed that in the name of their conservative religious liberty, public accommodations can turn away interracial couples. Anna Anderson’s version of religious liberty indeed means right wing religious bigotry trumps the constitutional rights of minorities. Never mind that the sinister force these conservatives worship is not the God I worship. The Christian God that liberals believe in doesn’t count with Anna. Religious liberty means freedom for her so-called religion, not for those who are morally repelled by her hate.

  • Anderson deceptively calls straight-forward theocracy with the label “religious liberty.” She would use the machinery of a Theocratic Big Government to crush the rights of Christian Churches to perform legal same-sex marriages.
    She says, “Our elected officials must take legislative action to protect the religious and moral convictions of Americans when they run up against the steamroller of secular belief.” What she doesn’t write is that she has no sympathy when government refuses to protect the religious and moral convictions of decent American Christians who support gay rights when they run up against the steamroller of right wing religionist belief.

    Freedom of religion is paramount to our nation’s success, but does not give people the right to impose their beliefs on others, to harm others, or to discriminate. Nothing could be more un-American and unholy than using religion to justify harm and discrimination to others.

    Anderson hate religious liberty.

  • So Anna Old Gal would use the brute force of government to deny Christian churches from performing legal same-sex marriage. Anna Old Gal has contempt for religious liberty. Hypocrite.

    • Yes Anderson promotes a state religion theocracy that would use the machinery of government to repress the rights of Christian Churches that affirm the rights of God’s gay children.

      She hate religious freedom.
      Good point.