We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
-Declaration of Independence
My first wish is to see this plague of mankind, war, banished from the earth.
– George Washington
Give me liberty or give me death.
An unjust law, is no law at all.
-St. Aquinas, Martin Luther, & MLK Jr.
Any law that which violates the inalienable rights of man is essentially unjust and tyrannical; it is not a law at all.
It’s the duty of everyone to defend and promote religious freedom.
One has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws.
Those who deny freedom to others deserve it not for themselves.
If a law is unjust, a man is not only right to disobey it, he is obligated to do so.
An unjust law itself is a species of violence; arrest for its breach is more so.
Civil disobedience becomes a sacred duty when the state becomes lawless and corrupt.
When a law is unjust, it is only right to disobey.
Anyone in a free society where the laws are unjust has an obligation to break the law.
-Henry David Thoreau
Unjust laws exist; shall we be content to obey them, or shall we endeavor to amend them, and obey them until we have succeeded, or shall we transgress them at once? Men generally, under such a government as this, think that they ought to wait until they have persuaded the majority to alter them.
They think that, if they should resist, the remedy would be worse than the evil. But it is the fault of the government itself that the remedy is worse than the evil. It makes it worse. Why is it not more apt to anticipate and provide for reform? Why does it not cherish its wise minority? Why does it cry and resist before it is hurt? Why does it not encourage its citizens to be on the alert to point out its faults, and do better than it would have them?
–Henry David Thoreau
Be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.
A dangerous movement, undetected by many, is now challenging and eroding our great tradition of religious freedom. There can be no doubt. This is no little matter. It must be confronted and defeated.
Laws protecting religious freedom and conscience rights are just empty words on paper if they aren’t enforced. No one should be forced to choose between helping sick people and living by one’s deepest moral or religious convictions, and the new division will help guarantee that victims of unlawful discrimination find justice. For too long, governments big and small have treated conscience claims with hostility instead of protection, but change is coming and it begins here and now.
— Office of Civil Rights Director Roger Seravino
President Trump promised the American people that his administration would vigorously uphold the rights of conscience and religious freedom. That promise is being kept today. Enforcing these statutes, some of which have been on the books for decades and some of which have lain largely dormant will expand and complement the already excellent work that Office of Civil Rights does protecting all Americans civil rights. Fundamentally, protecting the rights of Americans of faith, living up to our constitutional obligations is about building a nation of tolerance and that is a goal that matters deeply to all of us. When faithful Americans are bullied out of the public square and out of public service, when bigotry is allowed to flourish we all lose as individuals, as communities, and as a country.
— Acting HHS Secretary Hargan
It is enshrined in our own constitution in the first amendment that we have no established religion, but neither do we impede anyone’s religious practice. There is free exercise. The free exercise of religions seems to be misunderstood by some. It’s not the ability to have a religion and practice it in your place of worship. It’s the ability to be able to have a faith and live your faith wherever you are. If you have a faith and can only practice it in your certain place of worship you don’t have real religious freedom, you have allowance to be able to go to where you want to go when the government chooses for you to go there.
That’s not who we are. We are a nation that says have your faith practice your faith wherever you are, in any location that you exist.
I believe there is not a flood of new cases of religious intolerance. I think this is an opportunity for people to be able to say “this has existed for a while and I felt no one was listening. Now someone’s listening and I want to be able to express I have been biased against.” It’s a reasonable thing for a nation to be able to reach back to them and to say let’s find out, and where its wrong let’s fix an injustice. It’s the basic function of government to speak out for those who cannot speak for themselves and to settle the issue of injustice for all people.
— Oklahoma Senator James Langford
The federal government should never pursue to define the matters of the church, it should never pretend to dictate, define, contradict, or contravene religious belief. This is not the governments business, but rather it is the right and responsibility of the church and of the American people. Furthermore and just as important, the government should never presume to prohibit any citizens free expression of their faith. In other words, religion is not merely some secondary matter regulated to ones private life, but rather it is a public priority of personal values and corporate morals and something that all faithful people live out on a daily basis in the market square of life. This is not the government’s business said James Madison. The government should leave the church alone and never presume to tell people what to believe, or how to or how not to practice their faith. A Conscience and Religious Freedom Division should not be necessary, all of government should be that division, but at a time when our courts believe that they have the right to redefine a very Sacrament of the church we need this commission, we need this division, and I am grateful for it.
—Dr. Everett Piper President of Oklahoma Wesleyan University
Our understanding and defense of religious liberty comes from recognizing its important role as the core of our first amendment freedoms, as the critical buffer between the state and the individual. It is the expression of our founders acknowledgement and respect for human dignity and the essential and undeniable right to conscience free from government intrusion.
—Montse Alverado Executive Director of the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty