5 Ways to Protect Religious Freedom
Congressman Doug Lamborn talks about his efforts to promote religious liberty for people of faith, non-profit organizations, and military service members.
The First Amendment in the Bill of Rights clearly establishes the relationship between the government and religious organizations: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”
However, in modern times, many of the actions taken by our government hurt religious organizations and keep people of faith from living according to their beliefs. As a Member of Congress, I hope to protect your First Amendment right to worship, pray, and otherwise exercise religious beliefs freely. Below, I’ve outlined five of my legislative priorities that will promote religious liberty for all Americans.
1. Allow Religious Leaders to Exercise Free Speech from the Pulpit
Repealing Harmful Provisions in the Johnson Amendment
I have introduced legislation to protect the rights of religious organizations and non-profits to express their opinions. My bill, H.R. 6086, the PREACH Act, would give churches and non-profits the freedom to voice opinions over the pulpit and in newsletters or other communications to the congregation and the public. Under this bill, churches and religious groups can exercise freedom of speech without fear of losing their tax-exempt status so they can continue to strengthen our communities.
2. Prevent Discrimination Based on Beliefs
Supporting the First Amendment Defense Act
In the wake of judicial activist court decisions threatening traditional family values, House Republicans have moved to protect Americans from discrimination by the government. H.R. 2802, the First Amendment Defense Act would prevent the federal government from discriminating against any individual or group based on their beliefs that marriage is the union of a man and woman or that sexual relations are reserved for marriage. That protection would extend to tax policy, employment, licensing, accreditation, contracting and grants.
3. Protect Religious Freedom for Service Members and Veterans
Passing Conscience Protections for Military Chaplains
I have worked throughout my tenure to promote the religious freedom of our defenders through all available means. In 2012, I joined several of my colleagues on the Armed Services Committee in passing conscience protections for service members and chaplains in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), requiring the Department of Defense to issue regulations implementing these protections.
4. Promote the Free Exercise of Religion in the Military
Strengthening Religious Protections in the Air Force
I successfully advocated for a change in Air Force regulations governing religious expression. By placing a disproportionate emphasis on religious neutrality, the old language was inconsistent with the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment and with the conscience protections for service members and chaplains in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). The Air Force has released a revised version of the religious expression language in Air Force Instruction 1–1 on November, 2014.
5. Defend and Preserve the Importance of Faith in America’s Founding and Subsequent History
Defending our National Motto, “In God We Trust.”
I joined fellow amicus curiae brief defending the national motto, “In God We Trust.” The lawsuit, filed by Michael Newdow, argues that the inclusion of the motto on U.S. currency violates the Free Speech and Free Exercise Clauses of the First Amendment, as well as the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. The Member brief, authored by the ACLJ, argues that the Founders based our national philosophy on the idea there is a God, and that God is the source of our inalienable rights. Our national motto echoes this foundation, seen also in the Declaration of Independence.
Congressman Doug Lamborn represents Colorado’s Fifth District. For more information about his voting record on behalf of religious liberty, please read the press release “Unwavering Support of the Family.”