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Faith Leaders Denounce Trump Administration’s Discriminatory Executive Order Guidance


October 6, 2017


Michelle Nealy, mnealy@faithinpubliclife.org, (202) 735-7123

Mackenzie Harris, mharris@faithinpubliclife.org, (610)283-8879

Faith Leaders Denounce Trump Administration’s Discriminatory Executive Order Guidance

WASHINGTON, D.C. —  On Friday, October 6th, faith leaders throughout the country stand in firm resistance to the executive order guidance issued today by Attorney General Jeff Sessions granting broad leeway to use religious freedom as a justification for discrimination. Federal government staff and contractors and grantees will now be able to claim a broad religious exemption from federal laws, rules and regulations meant to protect LGBTQ people from discrimination.

“Religious freedom is a core American value protected by the Constitution,” said Rev. Jennifer Butler, CEO of Faith in Public Life. “Today the Trump administration gave a green light to those who would invoke this freedom to justify discrimination. This is a huge step backward for religious freedom, equal treatment and our nation.”

In a national letter released earlier this year, more than 1,300 faith leaders condemned any effort by the Trump administration to use religion as a means to discriminate.

“We urge you to turn away from all proposals that would abuse religious freedom, including any executive orders on this issue that are currently under consideration,” the letter stated. 

Additional responses from faith leaders can be found in the following videos and below.

Rev. Dr. Neil Cazares-Thomas, Cathedral of Hope, Dallas, Texas:

“As a faith leader, I acknowledge the privilege that I have to live in a country where I have the religious liberty to exercise my faith and to determine the theology of my congregation. I honor the fact that no one can order me to conduct a service, such as a marriage or a funeral or any other religious rite, that is ordered by the congregation I serve.”

Rev. Joe Parramore, New Journey Ministries, Tallahassee, FL:

“Religious liberty has served as a cornerstone of our democracy since our nation’s founding. However, throughout history, some have sought to use religious liberty as a battering ram and a tool to discriminate against those on the margins. As a Christian, I do not condone these actions or behaviors. We are to embrace our immense diversity, and we are to welcome all humanity, regardless of their religious beliefs or traditions, regardless of their skin color, regardless of their sex, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity.” 

Rev. Kenneth Meyers, Hendricks Avenue Baptist Church, Jacksonville, FL:

“God made us all free. Free to say yes, free to say no, and free to make up our own minds about our spiritual destiny. The fight for religious liberty is the fight to prevent the government from doing what even God will not do — and that is coerce faith. The expression of this began for Baptists almost 400 years ago, and we all have a role and responsibility to make sure others enjoy religious freedom through the years to come.”


Faith in Public Life is a strategy center for the faith community advancing faith in the public square as a powerful force for justice, compassion and the common good.

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