Senator Lankford Encourages the White House to Take a Strong Stance to Protect Religious Liberty

WASHINGTON, DC – Senator James Lankford (R-OK) today urged the White House to take clear affirmative steps to ensure that the right to the free exercise of religion is protected for all Americans.

“The right to practice any faith or choose no faith is a fundamental human right of all Americans guaranteed in the First Amendment of the Constitution,” said Lankford. “For too long, this right has been suppressed under hyper partisanship. True diversity should respect the views and conscience of all without forcing one belief system on everyone. Americans should be free to exercise their faith without fear of repercussion or discrimination from the federal government. I encourage the administration to immediately take concrete steps to ensure that people of faith remain free to live out their faith, including the right to partner with their own government to serve communities together. Today’s statement from the White House affirms the religious liberty found in our Constitution, but it does not clarify for all executive agencies how to protect the rights of Americans of all religious traditions.”

In February, Lankford introduced a bill to protect free speech for houses of worship and nonprofits. He also led the amicus brief in support of nonprofits’ Supreme Court challenge against a Health and Human Services mandate issued by the Obama Administration and introduced legislation to ensure that health providers have the ability to defend their religious or moral beliefs without fear of discrimination.

On April 13, Lankford sent a letter to encourage the Trump administration to take steps to protect religious freedom, both in America and around the world. Lankford is co-chair of the Congressional Prayer Caucus, which protects the right of Americans to practice a faith of their choosing or to practice no faith at all.

Lankford co-sponsored a bill to protect rights of child welfare charities to operate the fear of discrimination based on religious beliefs. The bill was introduced in April by Senator Mike Enzi (R-WY) and by Rep. Mike Kelly (R-PA). Last year, Lankford advocated for the Department of Homeland Security to change its documentation to accurately reflect America’s First Amendment right of freedom of ‘religion’, and not just freedom of ‘worship’.  In 2015, Lankford added an amendment to the final Trade Promotion Authority legislation to assure that human rights and religious liberty would be addressed in all international trade negotiations.