Evangelical leaders urge Obama to reject religious liberty report

Evangelical leaders urge Obama to reject religious liberty report

Southern Baptist Russell Moore and a number of other religious leaders are calling for President Barack Obama and Congress to reject a report that could severely limit religious freedom if followed by the government in the future.

The report, released in early September by the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights (USCCR), claims that religious organizations use their right to religious liberty as a veil for discrimination.

“The phrases ‘religious liberty’ and ‘religious freedom’ will stand for nothing except hypocrisy so long as they remain code words for discrimination, intolerance, racism, sexism, homophobia, Islamophobia, Christian supremacy or any form of intolerance,” Martin Castro, USCCR chairman, wrote in the report titled “Peaceful Coexistence: Reconciling Non-Discrimination Principles with Civil Liberties.”

Moore, president of the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, and other signers asked Obama, Senate President Pro Tempore Orrin Hatch and House Speaker Paul Ryan to “renounce publicly the claim that ‘religious freedom’ and ‘religious liberty’ are ‘code words’ or a ‘pretext’ for various forms of discrimination.”

The letter signers — who include evangelical Christian, Catholic, African Methodist Episcopal, Jewish, Muslim, Mormon and Hare Krishna leaders — said they understand “people of good faith can disagree about the relationship between religious liberty and antidiscrimination laws.” Yet, they said, “[W]e are one in demanding that no American citizen or institution be labeled by their government as bigoted because of their religious views and dismissed from the political life of our nation for holding those views. And yet that is precisely what the Civil Rights Commission report does.”

Legal advances by LGBT

The legal and legislative advances of the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) and same-sex “marriage” movements have prompted debate for at least the last decade on how the conflict between religious liberty and what has become known as sexual liberty should be resolved. USCCR is now on record favoring sexual liberty.

Moore said the report shows how “deeply entrenched our federal government is in a ‘culture war’ mentality against religious dissidents.”

“This hostile attitude toward tens of millions of law-abiding Americans is tragic, and my prayer is that it would quickly give way to a recognition that soul freedom is worth defending for all,” Moore said. (TAB, Baptist Press)