Faith Leaders reacting to President Trump’s Executive Order on “Religious Liberty”

May 3, 2018

For Immediate Release

Contact: Catherine Orsborn,

This morning, we heard overtures from both President Trump and Vice President Pence on religious freedom. President Trump released an Executive Order on religious liberty, while Vice President Pence said in his remarks at an event marking the National Day of Prayer, “Believers of every background have a champion in President Donald Trump.” Shoulder to Shoulder believes Americans of all and no faith backgrounds should find in our country a safe and free place to be themselves without fear of violence or discrimination. We are concerned by the ways in which the Administration has prioritized the rights of certain faith communities while marginalizing and outright discriminating against others.

Shoulder to Shoulder’s leadership reacted to today’s news:

Director Catherine Orsborn:

“Religious freedom isn’t religious freedom unless is it equally available and equally applied to all. It must not be used as a cover for bigotry or discrimination. We can judge the health of a pluralistic society by looking at how religious minorities are treated, and we are gravely concerned about the bigotry and discrimination that American Muslims face today. If the Administration want to work for religious freedom, it must do so for people of all faiths and backgrounds.”

Steering Committee Member Rabbi Burton Visotzky:

“I fear the president’s executive order merely serves to further erode the wall of separation between Church and State. There must be a guarantee from the White House for the free exercise of religion that protects religious minorities, particularly Muslims, as well as LGBTQ communities, from religious bias. Our country must be a bastion of freedom for all who believe as well as those who do not. Today’s executive order is another step in the wrong direction.”

Co-Chair Rev. Ron Stief:

“The President and Vice President can speak about religious freedom all day long, but until they stand up against white supremacists who have twisted the Bible to equate religious freedom with Christian nationalism, and apologize for their own statements that have supported and encouraged this false ideology of hate, it’s just talk.”

Shoulder to Shoulder will continue to advocate to uphold our nation’s highest ideals of religious freedom for all, as we urge members of our own communities to treat Muslims with the same fairness, dignity and respect we all want for our own lives.


Shoulder to Shoulder is a coalition of 35 national religious denominations and faith-based organizations dedicated to addressing and opposing anti-Muslim bigotry in the United States.

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Shoulder to Shoulder is a coalition of 34 religious denominations and organizations committed to standing with American Muslims to advance American ideals