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American Family Association Urges President to Keep His Promise to Protect Religious Liberty

Wednesday, February 8, 2017 @ 12:00 AM

TUPELO, Miss.—Many Christians were encouraged last week when President Donald Trump reiterated his commitment to protect religious liberties in America.

“My administration will do everything in its power to defend and protect religious liberty in our land,” Trump said at the National Prayer Breakfast on Thursday, according to Fox News.

Now, the American Family Association (AFA, is urging Americans to petition the president to keep his word by moving forward with a proposed executive order to protect religious freedom and counter-balancing the efforts from homosexual activists to squash the executive order.

“Religious freedom continues to be of paramount importance to many Americans,” said AFA President Tim Wildmon. “With evangelical Christians being so instrumental in the election of Donald Trump, many have been buoyed by the great strides he has made so far, just weeks after the inauguration. AFA wants to ensure that the president and his administration will keep this crucial issue front and center, especially as many Americans have paid a hefty price for fighting for their religious liberties, such as losing their businesses, savings and more. Now, we urge President Trump to keep his momentum—and his promise—to protect people of faith from religious discrimination.”

On Thursday evening, a supposed version of a four-page executive order regarding religious freedom was leaked to the media. First Liberty, the nation’s largest legal organization dedicated exclusively to protecting religious freedom, is reporting that the executive order is similar to the policies suggested in the First Amendment Defense Act, as well as in initiatives to repeal the Johnson Amendment.

AFA aims to remind the president and his administration of the importance of religious freedom to millions of Americans by offering a petition to the president. In a new Action Alert to its more than one million friends and supporters, AFA invites those who want the president to protect religious liberties to sign onto a letter to the White House.

In the Alert, AFA gives multiple examples of how the government has bullied people for exercising their Judeo-Christian values, such as Aaron and Melissa Klein, Barronelle Stutzman, Blaine Adamson, Robert and Cynthia Gifford and Atlanta Fire Chief Kelvin Cochran.

According to the AFA Alert’s letter to President Trump, “Although these are state-level issues, they are indicative of the type of unconstitutional actions the radical left vigorously seeks to apply at the federal level. For this reason, we are seeking relief by changes in policy and laws to protect and preserve the religious liberty of not just religious institutions but also of individual Christians and Christian business owners.

“While we greatly appreciate your desire to repeal the Johnson Amendment, our humble desire is for you to sign an executive order protecting the First Amendment rights of all Americans throughout the executive branch. This includes protecting the freedom of Christians to exercise their belief that marriage is between husband and wife, that sex is confined between husband and wife, that a person’s sex is a fixed and biological reality, and that life begins at conception.”

First Liberty reported that the First Amendment Defense Act was written after the Supreme Court ruled on same-sex marriage in the Obergefell case. The bill was proposed to ensure that, as Justice Kennedy said in the majority opinion, Americans would still be able to “advocate” for their beliefs about marriage without fear of punishment. The bill, which has 172 cosponsors in the House and 37 cosponsors in the Senate, ensures that government employees cannot penalize people of faith for their beliefs on marriage, specifically that marriage is the union of a man and a woman.

The Johnson Amendment, passed in 1954, threatens to strip non-profits of their tax-exempt status if they speak on political issues or endorse political candidates. A repeal of the Johnson Amendment would affirm that churches, houses of worship, and religious institutions can address political issues from the pulpit without fear of losing their tax-exempt status.

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To interview a representative from American Family Association, contact Jen Retallick, 610-584-1096, ext. 100, or Deborah Hamilton, 610-584-1096, ext. 102, 215.815.7716.


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