More than 75 prominent religious and thought leaders have come together as charter signatories of a statement that affirms every American’s freedom to peacefully live their lives according to their beliefs and opposes government coercion or censorship of fellow citizens who have different views.
Among the signatories of "Preserve Freedom, Reject Coercion" are Dr. Jerry A. Johnson, President & CEO of NRB; Rick Brewer, President of Louisiana College; John MacArthur, President of The Master’s University & Seminary; Eric Metaxas, Best-selling Author and Salem Radio Network Radio Talk Show Host; Russell Moore, President of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention; John Stonestreet, President of the Colson Center for Christian Worldview; and Roland C. Warren, President & CEO of Care Net.
The one-page statement, which was released Wednesday, is being hosted at colsoncenter.org/freedom.
"As Americans, we cherish the freedom to peacefully express and live by our religious, philosophical, and political beliefs — not merely to hold them privately," reads the statement. "We write on behalf of millions of Americans who are concerned about laws that undermine the public good and diminish this freedom for individuals and organizations alike."
Specifically, the statement addresses laws that add sexual orientation and gender identity ("SOGI") as new classifications. While the signatories affirm that every individual is created in the image of God and as such should be treated with love, compassion, and respect, they say such laws empower the government to use the force of law to silence or punish Americans who seek to exercise their God-given liberty to peacefully live and work in a manner that is consistent with their convictions. Under SOGI laws, people of good will can face personal and professional ruin, fines, and even jail time, and organizations can face the loss of accreditation, licensing, grants, contracts, and tax-exemption.
SOGI laws also create special preference in law for categories based on morally significant choices that profoundly affect human relations and treat reasonable religious and philosophical beliefs as discriminatory.
"We therefore believe that proposed SOGI laws, including those narrowly crafted, threaten fundamental freedoms, and any ostensible protections for religious liberty appended to such laws are inherently inadequate and unstable," the statement reads.
"SOGI laws in all these forms, at the federal, state, and local levels, should be rejected," it continues. "We join together in signing this letter because of the serious threat that SOGI laws pose to fundamental freedoms guaranteed to every person."
Those behind the statement are encouraging concerned Americans to stand with the leaders by adding their signature to "Preserve Freedom, Reject Coercion." They can do so by visiting colsoncenter.org/freedom.
By NRB Staff
Published: December 15, 2016