Tomorrow, a subcommittee of the House Judiciary Committee is holding a hearing on "The State of Religious Liberty in America." Today, Americans United joined two dozen organizations in a letter urging the subcommittee to focus on an extraordinary, immediate threat to religious freedom: President Donald J. Trump’s Muslim ban.
“President Trump’s executive order runs counter to the First Amendment’s guarantee of religious freedom and betrays our nation’s values,” states the letter, which was sent to the leaders of the U.S. House Subcommittee on the Constitution and Civil Justice. “People of all faiths and backgrounds have long sought refuge in our country and its promise of religious freedom. This executive order is fundamentally wrong.”
AU has been raising concerns about the ban since its inception and is now fighting it in court. All along we’ve said it violates religious freedom by singling out one religious group – Muslims – for discrimination based solely on how they worship. We submitted written testimony for the hearing spelling out this threat.
The biggest threat to religious freedom in America is President Trump's Muslim ban.
And now, in what seems like perfect timing, a congressional committee will be examining threats to religious freedom. Today’s letter, signed by organizations that advocate for religious freedom and represent many faith communities, reminded the subcommittee about the Muslim ban. Tomorrow is an important opportunity for Congress to weigh in on this harmful and unconstitutional policy and the subcommittee would be remiss to overlook this indefensible executive order.
In addition to AU, signers also included the American Civil Liberties Union, the Anti-Defamation League, the Arab American Institute, the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty, Muslim Advocates, the Union for Reform Judaism, the United Church of Christ, Justice and Witness Ministries, and the United Methodist Church-General Board of Church and Society.
Rabbi David Saperstein, an expert on religious freedom issues and who served as the U.S. ambassador-at-large for international religious freedom, will be one of the speakers offering testimony at the hearing. Also testifying are representatives of three organizations that have a troubling track record on religious freedom: the Christian Legal Society, The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty and Alliance Defending Freedom.
The hearing is scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. Thursday. You can watch it here.