Religious Liberty

Our nation was founded on the core principle of religious freedom. Yet, today we are faced with almost daily assaults against our religious liberties. Freedom of religion is now viewed as freedom from religion. People of faith are being hindered on every front from expressing their faith and values in the public square. Every level of government has a fundamental responsibility to protect and defend the ability of Floridians to express their religious faith and heritage.


Talking Points and Basic Information

Religious Liberty
Family Research Council
The Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment to the Constitution prohibits the government from interfering with a person’s practice of his or her religion.

Religion in Public Life
Family Research Council

Religious Freedom
Focus on the Family
This resource will educate you in the basics of religious freedom in five major areas of society: churches and religious organizations; the military; public schools; the workplace; and the public square.

Religious Freedom 101
Bruce Hausknecht, Focus on the Family
Although it is tempting to assume that the First Amendment’s guarantees of freedom of religion and speech apply to everyone at all times, including college campuses, the answer is not that simple.

Religious Freedom
Alliance Defending Freedom
Throughout our history, America has been a land defined by religious faith and freedom. Religious freedom is our first and most fundamental, God-given right deemed so precious that our Founding Fathers enshrined it in the U.S. Constitution.

Religious Liberty: An Introduction to Our Freedom to Believe
Travis Weber, Family Research Council
We will explain (1) what we mean by religious liberty, (2) who is affected, (3) why this is happening, (4) why you should care, and (5) what you can do about it.

The Christian Doctrine of Religious Liberty
By Barret Duke, Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission
As the church seeks to speak to these new and old threats to religious liberty, she must also contend with a postmodern mind-set among Western intellectual elites that no longer believes in absolute moral truth. This abandonment of the concept of absolute moral truth has led many to question whether any culture can demand certain behaviors of any other culture.

Religious Freedom in Danger
Bruce Hausknecht, Focus on the Family
Given the religious roots of our founding, and the universal acknowledgment of Christianity’s role in this nation’s continued success, the alarming erosion of religious freedom we’re now witnessing should serve as a wake-up call to us all.

Comprehensive Research and Articles

Faith, Freedom, and the First Amendment: The Guarantee of Religious Liberty
Thomas Berg, The Heritage Foundation
Freedom of religion is at the heart of the American understanding of liberty. Under our constitutional order, the free exercise of religion is not a mere matter of toleration but an inalienable natural right. As George Washington explained in his famous letter to the Hebrew Congregation at Newport: “All possess alike liberty of conscience and immunities of citizenship. It is now no more that toleration is spoken of, as if it was by the indulgence of one class of people, that another enjoyed the exercise of their inherent natural rights.”

A New Defense for Religious Liberty: Going on Offense Against Bad Laws
David Rosenthal, The Heritage Foundation
The Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment is designed to ensure that all Americans may freely live out their faith.  This is not limited to freedom of worship, but includes the heart, mind, and soul of religious people, thereby guiding how people act in the public square.  When a law restricts that first freedom, the American conscience is put on trial.

Big Business Trying to ‘Rebrand’ Religious Liberty as Bigotry
Jennifer A. Marshall, The Heritage Foundation
Citizens beware: Big business is trying to “rebrand” religious liberty as bigotry by distorting the facts about policies that draw strong support among Americans.

The Power of ‘No’ in Support of Religious Liberty
Jennifer Marshall
Four hundred years later, the right to say no to government is in peril. Religious groups by the dozens have been forced to go to court to ensure the federal government will let their no be no. They seek, simply, to protect the religious freedom that all Americans have enjoyed to this point.

Moral and Religious Liberty in the Armed Forces
Chuck Donovan, Heritage Foundation
The repeal of the 1993 law prohibiting open homosexuality in the military poses significant risk for military service members and chaplains who, as matters of religious or moral conviction, hold to traditional values regarding marriage and sexual behavior.

Women and Religious Liberty
Interview with Jeanne Monahan, Center for Human Dignity at the Family Research Council
Monahan talks with National Review Online’s Kathryn Jean Lopez about the perniciousness of the coercive HHS mandate for contraception, sterilization, and abortion-inducing drugs, and some of the common myths about it.

State Forces Church to Choose
Chuck Donovan, Heritage Foundation
Our nation’s simmering conscience wars have claimed another victim: the Catholic Diocese of Rockford, Ill. Once again, the conflict centered on the legal redefinition of marriage and family. But at a deeper level, what’s at stake is the future of moral and religious liberty.

Websites, Books and Additional Information

Debating Religious Liberty and Discrimination (Video)
The Heritage Foundation

Debating Religious Liberty and Discrimination (Book)
Ryan T. Anderson, PhD; John Corvino; Sherif Girgis
Virtually everyone supports religious liberty, and virtually everyone opposes discrimination. But how do we handle the hard questions that arise when exercises of religious liberty seem to discriminate unjustly? How do we promote the common good while respecting conscience in a diverse society?

Reclaiming Your Freedom to Live Your Beliefs on Campus
Alliance Defending Freedom
Universities ought to encourage the sharing of ideas, but many campuses discriminate against and censor Christians. But you have a right to be heard.

Marriage and Religious Liberty: Fundamental Goods That Stand or Fall Together
Open letter signed by numerous religious leaders.

Alliance Defending Freedom
Alliance Defending Freedom is dedicated to defending the right to hear and speak the truth through strategy, training, funding, and direct litigation. You can request legal help by phone or at the above link.

The Becket Fund For Religious Liberty
The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty is a non-profit, public-interest legal and educational institute that protects the free expression of all faiths.

Liberty Counsel
Liberty Counsel is an international 501(c)(3) nonprofit litigation, education, and policy organization dedicated to advancing religious freedom, the sanctity of life and the family by providing pro bono assistance and representation on these and related topics. Legal representation can be requested by phone or at the above link.

First Liberty Institute
First Liberty Institute is the largest non-profit legal organization in the nation dedicated exclusively to defending religious liberty for all Americans.

Baptist Joint Committee For Religious Liberty
Primarily an education and advocacy organization, the Baptist Joint Committee is a leading voice in Washington, D.C., fighting to uphold the historic Baptist principle of religious freedom. It stands guard at the intersection of church and state, defending the first freedom of the First Amendment.

The National Legal Foundation
The mission of the National Legal Foundation is to prayerfully create and implement innovative strategies that, through decisive action, will cause America’s public policy and legal system to support and facilitate God’s purpose for her.

Pacific Justice Institute
Pacific Justice Institute is a non-profit 501(c)(3) legal defense organization specializing in the defense of religious freedom, parental rights, and other civil liberties. Pacific Justice Institute works diligently, without charge, to provide their clients with all the legal support they need.

Christian Law Association
Christian Law Association provides free legal assistance to Christian churches and Christians experiencing governmental regulation, intrusion or prohibition that affects their practice of religious faith. The website provides a phone number for any legal emergencies and a contact form to submit other requests for legal assistance.

Protect Your Church Ministry Legal Resources
Florida Family Policy Council
If you are not currently in need of legal representation, but would like to know what you and your church or ministry can do to protect your ministry, please visit our resource page.

The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission
Southern Baptist Convention

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