Center for American Progress Report: Extreme conservatives cannot and should not define religious liberty

Center for American Progress , Advancing Progressive Religious Liberty in 2016, March 30, 2016
"Extreme conservatives cannot and should not have the monopoly on defining religious liberty. Current efforts to twist religious liberty distort the very meaning of one of the country’s founding freedoms: Religious liberty belongs to all Americans. This report demonstrates that Americans of faith and conscience across the ideological spectrum reject the use of religion to discriminate and justify harm against others."
Successfully advancing progressive health care laws, nondiscrimination policies, and religious tolerance depends on restoring a progressive interpretation of religious liberty that maintains the balance between that core American value and the government’s compelling interest in protecting others from harm or the imposition of religious beliefs. This needs to happen not only in progressive legislative and judicial action but also as a part of the broader cultural conversation. 

Finally, this report offers four recommendations to lawmakers, candidates, advocates, and stakeholders to advance progressive religious liberty in 2016 and beyond: 
  • Highlight the support of the faith community for progressive policies, such as reproductive health care access and comprehensive nondiscrimination protections, in conjunction with opposition to overly broad religious exemptions 
  • Demonstrate that abuses of religious liberty protections can have a disproportionate negative impact on vulnerable communities, such as women of color and LGBT youth 
  • Call out the hypocrisy of war on religion narratives by framing anti-Muslim bigotry as a religious liberty issue and calling it what it is—discrimination against Muslim citizens and immigrants alike 
  • Fight overly broad religious exemptions on the state and federal levels; support comprehensive nondiscrimination protections; and advance legislation that affirms a progressive vision of religious liberty that is balanced with protections against harm to others

- Carolyn Davis , Senior Policy Analyst for the Faith and Progressive Policy Initiative, Center for American Progress

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