May 4, 2017

“Today’s executive order provides welcome relief to the Little Sisters of the Poor, who have been threatened with discriminatory government fines that would shut down their beautiful ministry of caring for the elderly poor.  In a free country, tolerance ought to include tolerance and respect for people of faith.  More needs to be done to create a culture of respect for the beliefs of others, and to protect conscience rights and the freedom of religious expression that our First Amendment guarantees.  Recent polling confirms that Americans instinctively affirm policies that respect freedom of conscience, with 89% naming protection of religious liberty a priority, and by a margin of 65% to 25% believe religious freedom should be protected even when it conflicts with government laws.” ~ Senior Policy Advisor, Maureen Ferguson

“The Executive Order on Religious Freedom recognizes that Supreme Court decisions like the ones involving Hobby Lobby and the Little Sisters of the Poor can only go so far in recognizing our long-standing protection from government interference with religious beliefs.  As such, it directs the federal government to comply with these Supreme Court decisions, consistent with the opinion of the majority of Americans, by issuing appropriate regulations protecting family-owned businesses and religious institutions from being forced to provide or contribute to medical procedures contrary to their beliefs.  This Order is an important step in safeguarding to the right of every American to have their religious beliefs protected in their day-to-day lives.”  ~ Legal Advisor, Andrea Picciotti-Bayer

“We applaud the Trump administration for taking an important step to protect conscientious objectors like the Little Sisters of the Poor who faced millions of dollars in fines for refusing to violate their deeply held beliefs. However there is more work to be done to restore broad protections for people of all faiths in healthcare, business, education, and countless other fields who face harassment, bullying, and lawsuits because of their faith. The American people want strong protections for religious liberty. Recent Marist polling, for example, finds that religious freedom remains an overwhelmingly popular part of the American tradition, with two-thirds of Americans holding the view that the government should not restrict religious liberty and a stunning 80 percent of Americans believing that medical professionals should not be forced to cover or provide medical procedures that violate their religious beliefs. Religious liberty is what allows us to live alongside one another peacefully despite our differences. This Executive Order is an important first step in restoring more robust protections for our first freedom.” ~ Senior Fellow, Ashley McGuire