This is the latest ERLC End-of-Year update as part of our RISE Campaign.
Over the last several years, religious liberty has been misrepresented and attacked in legislatures, courts, and the culture across America.
As Christians, we must fight to defend religious liberty for every American because it is the foundation of all other civil liberties.
As Dr. Russell Moore has written,
When we advocate for religious liberty, we are acknowledging that there are important issues that are not resolved by the state or by free markets. A state that can pave over the conscience without a compelling interest in doing so, is a state that is unfettered to do virtually anything. ...
Let’s stand up for the religious liberty of all Americans. Let’s defend the inalienable rights and human dignity of those whom we seek to evangelize. And let’s work with others across religious and racial lines to advocate for our first freedom, and the right of everyone made in God’s image to be citizens with conscience.
This year, the ERLC fought on multiple fronts to communicate a robust view of religious liberty that impacts every Americans’ rights and freedoms, no matter what their faith or whether they have any faith at all.
On Capitol Hill, we advocated for the confirmation of the Trump Administration’s nomination of Sam Brownback to be the State Department’s Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom. Our years of standing up for the religious liberty of the Little Sisters of the Poor and other religious groups in the face of the Obama Administration’s abortifacient mandate finally paid off when the Trump Administration released a new rule with robust religious liberty protections. On that same day, the Department of Justice released new legal guidance comporting with many of our recommendations to ensure every level of government realizes the fundamental importance of religious freedom and conscience protection.
At the Supreme Court, we filed a brief in a landmark victory for religious liberty when 7 of the 9 justices declared that the government cannot withhold benefits to organizations just because they are religious. Then, later in 2017, we filed a brief in the Masterpiece Cakes case about whether the government can compel a cake baker to lend his artistic talents to custom design a cake for a same-sex wedding ceremony.
Although we had many victories for religious liberty this year, there is still much work ahead in 2018. The ERLC continues to equip Christians to have a robust understanding of what religious liberty is and what it isn’t. We continue to gather people of all faiths together to work towards reclaiming religious liberty so that people of all faiths can love their neighbors and exercise their faith freely in the public square.