Religious Freedom

  • The Trump Justice Department Files a Brief on Behalf of a Christian Baker In September 2017, the Trump Justice Department filed a brief supporting Jack Phillips, the Colorado baker who refused, on faith-based grounds, to bake a wedding cake for a gay couple. “When Phillips designs and creates a custom wedding cake for a specific […]

The Trump Justice Department Files a Brief on Behalf of a Christian Baker

  • In September 2017, the Trump Justice Department filed a brief supporting Jack Phillips, the Colorado baker who refused, on faith-based grounds, to bake a wedding cake for a gay couple. “When Phillips designs and creates a custom wedding cake for a specific couple and a specific wedding, he plays an active role in enabling that ritual, and he associates himself with the celebratory message conveyed,” Acting Solicitor General Jeffrey B. Wall wrote in the brief. “Forcing Phillips to create expression for and participate in a ceremony that violates his sincerely held religious beliefs invades his First Amendment rights.”[1]

Trump Executive Order on Religious Liberty

On May 4, 2017, President Trump signed Executive Order 13798 which ensured key protections for religious liberty and the rights of the unborn. It was the first such order in American history. Said the executive order: “The Founders envisioned a Nation in which religious voices and views were integral to a vibrant public square, and in which religious people and institutions were free to practice their faith without fear of discrimination or retaliation by the Federal Government…. Federal law protects the freedom of Americans and their organizations to exercise religion and participate fully in civic life without undue interference by the Federal Government.”

Attorney General Jeff Sessions issued a document enumerating 20 separate protections that Trump’s May 4, 2017 executive order ensured. Those included:

  • “The freedom of religion is a fundamental right of paramount importance, expressly protected by federal law.”
  • “The free exercise of religion includes the right to act or abstain from action in accordance with one’s religious beliefs.”
  • “The freedom of religion extends to persons.”
  • “Americans do not give up their freedom of religion by participating in the marketplace, partaking of the public square, or interacting with the government.”
  • “Government may not restrict acts or abstentions because of the beliefs they display.”
  • “Government may not target religious individuals or entities for special disabilities based on their religion.”
  • “Government may not target religious individuals or entities through discriminatory enforcement of neutral, generally applicable laws.”
  • “Government may not officially favor or disfavor particular religious groups.”
  • “Government may not interfere with the autonomy of a religious organization.”[2]

Trump Exempts Employers from Obamacare’s Contraception & Abortifacient Mandate

  • In July 2020, the Supreme Court, by a margin of 7 to 2, upheld the Trump administration’s broad exemptions to employers who raised religious or moral objections to providing free coverage for birth control and abortifacients for its employees.[3]

Footnotes

[1] https://www.foxnews.com/politics/doj-files-brief-on-behalf-of-baker-who-refused-to-make-a-wedding-cake-for-a-gay-couple; https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2017/05/09/2017-09574/promoting-free-speech-and-religious-liberty

[2] https://www.breitbart.com/politics/2017/10/06/trump-doj-hhs-issue-major-religious-liberty-and-pro-life-protections/

[3] https://www.cbsnews.com/news/supreme-court-contraceptive-mandate-affordable-care-act-birth-control/; https://www.christianheadlines.com/contributors/michael-foust/supreme-court-strikes-blow-to-obamacares-abortion-contraceptive-mandate.html