Protected by the First Amendment, the freedom of religion is one of our most cherished constitutional rights and has allowed adherents of many religious traditions and nonbelievers alike to thrive in the United States.
The Trump administration’s ongoing attempts to use religious liberty as a weapon to advance a social agenda is deeply troubling. Within weeks of taking office, President Donald Trump issued the infamous executive order banning Muslims from entering the United States. Since then, his administration has continued to test the boundaries of religious liberty, most recently with the issuance of worrisome guidance from the Justice Department to all government agencies that potentially sanctions the use of discriminatory religious exemptions. The Trump administration’s pattern of redefining religious liberty to allow people and corporations to opt out of the law by citing a religious objection hurts the LGBT community, religious minorities, women, and other vulnerable groups.
Our panel will examine the impact of decisions to deviate from legal precedent and established religious liberty principles. Panelists will also explore ways in which advocates and faith communities are fighting to uphold true religious liberty, which respects pluralism and rejects discrimination.
Winnie Stachelberg, Executive Vice President for External Affairs, Center for American Progress
Kira Shepherd, Director of Racial Justice at the Public Rights/Private Conscience project, Center for Gender and Sexuality Law, Columbia Law School
Rev. Jasmine Beach-Ferrara, Executive Director, Campaign for Southern Equality
Eunice Hyon Min Rho, Advocacy and Policy Counsel, American Civil Liberties Union
Arielle Gingold, Deputy Director, Bend the Arc Jewish Action
Johnathan Smith, Legal Director, Muslim Advocates
Claire Markham, Associate Director for the Faith and Progressive Policy Initiative, Center for American Progress