Religious Freedom Restored

President Trump has delivered!

This morning, the White House announced their long-awaited rule change.

The HHS Mandate will no longer be enforced against the Little Sisters, Catholic Charities, and hundreds of schools and ministries threatened by the infamous rule imposed by President Obama.

And here’s a key point: Organizations with a sincerely held religious or moral objection do not need to beg for permission from the federal government. The days of pleading for a waiver are over. The exemption must be granted to anyone with a reasonable objection who requests it.

What’s more: the Attorney General declared that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 “does not permit the federal government to second-guess the reasonableness of a religious belief.”

Biased media outlets, Planned Parenthood, and left-wing extremists are already apoplectic, warning of a sudden scarcity of contraceptives. The truth is (sadly), contraception will remain widely available for women everywhere. The difference is that now the federal government cannot force charities or businesses to violate their conscience and pay for them.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions today issued a powerful memorandum outlining 20 principles of religious liberty.

Here are just some of those principles he included and sent to all federal agencies and departments:

  • The freedom of religion is an important, fundamental right, expressly protected by federal law.
  • The freedom of religion extends to persons and organizations.
  • Government may not officially favor or disfavor particular religious groups.
  • Religious employers are entitled to employ only persons whose beliefs and conduct are consistent with the employers’ religious precepts.
  • Generally, the federal government may not condition federal grants or contracts on the religious organization altering its religious character, beliefs, or activities.

You can read the Attorney General’s Memorandum on Religious Liberty here. (PDF)

With today’s actions, the burden of proof has finally shifted back to the government where it belongs. Americans no longer have to prove that they deserve their religious liberty. Now any action by the federal government that would “substantially burden religious freedom” is held to an “exceptionally demanding standard.”

This is a great leap forward for our First Amendment right to religious freedom.

P.S. When I received the news this morning from the White House, I sat for a minute and reflected on this long difficult battle. Together we have fought this mandate for years. Remember you helped us file the first lawsuit against the mandate on behalf of a for-profit corporation. We later filed a second case — and won them both. We participated in campaigns, protests, signed petitions, produced ads. We promoted the Bishops’ Fortnight for Freedom. And so much more…

But most importantly, we never gave up — and kept on praying.

And today it paid off. Big time.

Thanks be to God.

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