Religious freedom is a bedrock American value and a cornerstone of our democracy. It is a right protected by the Constitution that allows all people to practice their faith, or no faith, without persecution.
As religious leaders from diverse traditions, we are committed to finding a path forward that upholds everyone’s right to follow the teachings of their faith and honors the value of treating others as we would like to be treated. We urge all elected officials and all people of goodwill to refrain from politicizing religious freedom and to proactively reclaim it as a shared principle that protects all people, including LGBTQ people.
We respect religious conscience and affirm the dignity of all people. These values are complementary, not contradictory. Today, too many people — from members of the LGBTQ community to religious groups such as Muslims, Sikhs, and Jews — are not treated with the dignity, equality and respect all people deserve. Too often, religious freedom is used as a tool to harm our neighbors. We are called to speak out against this injustice and reject any discrimination in the name of faith.
Our religious traditions call us to uphold the dignity of our neighbors who are targets of oppression and discrimination. Religious freedom has been misused to justify denying shelter to vulnerable youth experiencing homelessnes, firing dedicated employees for being married to partners of the same gender, and preventing children from being placed in secure, loving foster homes. These kinds of discrimination are not a true manifestation of religious freedom. We are all God’s children and deserve equal treatment under the law. As people of faith, we commit to advancing a positive and construction vision of religious freedom in the public square.