FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
September 15, 2021
Manisha Sunil, West End Strategy Team
[email protected]; Phone: 202-417-0171
100+ Faith-based, Civil Rights Groups Celebrate Reintroduction of Do No Harm Act
WASHINGTON—Religious freedom and civil rights advocates are celebrating the reintroduction of the Do No Harm Act in the Senate, which would be instrumental in protecting religious freedom while ensuring it cannot be misused as a weapon of discrimination.
Introduced by Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ), the bill clarifies the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) that no one can cite religious belief to undermine the Civil Rights Act, limit access to health care, or refuse services to those who live or love differently than they do. Supporting the legislation are over 100 faith-based and civil rights groups united in an inclusive vision of religious freedom.
Rabbi Jack Moline, president of Interfaith Alliance, praised the legislation as a win for true religious freedom for people of all faiths and none: “We have watched the Religious Right manipulate and weaponize RFRA and turn it inside out. The Do No Harm Act is a major step in the attempt to remedy the abuse of this legislation, especially over the past five years. Congress can restore the traction of people of goodwill who insist on true religious freedom for all, not just the few.”
Originally passed in 1993, RFRA affirmed the free exercise rights of religious minorities. In recent years, however, bad faith interpretations of RFRA have distorted its purpose to justify discrimination and grant individuals and businesses the authority to impose their religious beliefs on others. RFRA has been cited by those seeking exemptions to civil rights law and in efforts to deny health care coverage for employees, exclude LGBTQ+ people and members of religious minorities from federally funded social services, and impede justice in child labor and abuse cases. These claims often hurt the very people RFRA was designed to protect, undermining the First Amendment in the process.
If you are interested in speaking further with Interfaith Alliance on this issue, please contact Manisha Sunil at (202) 417-0171 or [email protected].
Interfaith Alliance celebrates religious freedom by championing individual rights, promoting policies that protect both religion and democracy, and uniting diverse voices to challenge extremism. Founded in 1994, Interfaith Alliance brings together members from 75 faith traditions as well as those without a faith tradition to protect faith and freedom. For more information visit www.interfaithalliance.org.