Freedom of religion is a fundamental American value. Our laws should be a shield to protect this freedom and not a sword to harm others.
Americans United for Separation of Church and State today welcomed the re-introduction of the Do No Harm Act, legislation introduced by U.S. Reps. Joseph P. Kennedy III (D-Mass.), Robert C. “Bobby” Scott (D-Va.) and 50 other co-sponsors.
“Religious freedom is a fundamental American value. Our country is strongest when we are all free to believe or not, as we see fit, and to practice our faith without hurting others,” said the Rev. Barry W. Lynn, executive director of Americans United. “The Do No Harm Act will protect the religious freedom of all Americans.”
U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) and U.S. Rep. David Cicilline (D-R.I.) today introduced the Equality Act, which would protect LGBTQ people from discrimination. It builds on our nation’s tradition of expanding civil-rights protections to ensure that more of our neighbors are protected from discrimination based on who they are.
The Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) of 1993 was intended to protect the fundamental American value of religious freedom.
In the more than two decades since RFRA’s passage, however, the law has too frequently been misused and misinterpreted as a sword to harm others, rather than as a shield to protect religious liberty. In particular, some ne’er-do-wells have tried to manipulate RFRA into a tool that allows them ignore non-discrimination laws.
U.S. Reps. Joseph P. Kennedy III (D-Mass.) and Robert C. “Bobby” Scott (D-Va.) on May 18 introduced legislation that would counteract some of the harmful effects of the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) and restore it to its original intent.
The “Do No Harm Act,” (H.R. 5272) would preserve RFRA’s power to protect religious liberty but also clarify that it may not be used to harm others.
The Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 (RFRA) was born of good intentions: to protect the fundamental American value of religious freedom.
In the two decades since, however, many have misconstrued and exploited the law in ways that would result in harm to others. We can’t stand by and watch the corruption of the noble concept of freedom of religion and belief. RFRA should be restored to its original purpose so that the law, once again, can be a shield to protect religious freedom and not a sword to harm others.