Last spring, U.S. Senator James Lankford (R-Oklahoma) confronted Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson with a significant wording problem in the agency’s naturalization test materials. Those documents, which are provided to immigrants who wish to become U.S. citizens, identified a “freedom of worship” rather than the “freedom of religion” as a fundamental right guaranteed to Americans. Senator Lankford urged a change, and Dr. Jerry A. Johnson, President & CEO of NRB, joined more than 60 other religious and conservative leaders in doing the same.
Happily, last week the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced it would be correcting this mistake in all of its publications. Applauding DHS, Senator Lankford explained why this move is significant. He said, “The ‘freedom of religion’ language reflects our right to live a life of faith at all times, while the ‘freedom of worship’ reflects a right simply confined to a particular space and location. We live in a great nation that allows individuals to live out their faith, or have no faith at all. To protect freedom and diversity, we must carefully articulate this right throughout the federal government.”
By Aaron Mercer, Vice President of Government Relations
Published: April 15, 2016