|For Immediate Release
July 16, 2014
Manassas, VA– NRB, thankful an unfounded attack on religious liberty was thwarted in the United States Senate today, urges Congress to stay true to upholding First Amendment freedoms and the long-standing, bipartisan Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA).
“Obviously, activists who would use the heavy hand of government to squelch our nation’s founding freedoms are undeterred,” said Dr. Jerry A. Johnson, President & CEO of NRB. “Rather than pause and thoughtfully reconsider their approach in light of Constitutional values, so-called ‘progressives’ bypassed regular procedures in the Senate in order to vote on knee-jerk and ill-conceived legislation.”
In an effort to overturn the Supreme Court’s recent ruling in favor of the religious freedom rights of two family businesses, Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood Specialties, Senate Democrats had attempted to force through a bill (S.2578) to punch a hole in RFRA. This would have been the first such carve-out to the 20-year-old law, which demands deference to religious liberty unless there is a “compelling government interest” achieved by the “least restrictive means.”
“Let’s be clear: Today’s vote was not about health policy but about America’s commitment to religious freedom,” continued Dr. Johnson. “Quite frankly, despite the wishes of Planned Parenthood and their allies on Capitol Hill, Christian business owners should not be forced to violate their religious beliefs by providing for abortion.”
RFRA was passed unanimously in the House of Representatives and by a 97-3 vote in the Senate in 1993. On November 16, 1993, President Bill Clinton signed the bill in the White House Rose Garden and declared, “The free exercise of religion has been called the first freedom – that which originally sparked the development of the full range of the Bill of Rights. Our founders… knew that there needed to be a space of freedom between government and people of faith that otherwise government might usurp.”
The full text of the 2014 NRB Board Resolution supporting Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood Specialties in their Supreme Court cases is available online here. Also, NRB’s Office of General Counsel filed an Amicus Curiae (“Friend of the Court”) brief in these cases arguing for appropriate “breathing room” for religious freedom in accordance with RFRA. Find that brief online here.
The National Religious Broadcasters (NRB) is a non-partisan, international association of Christian communicators whose member organizations represent millions of listeners, viewers, and readers. Our mission is to advance biblical truth; to promote media excellence; and to defend free speech. In addition to promoting standards of excellence, integrity, and accountability, NRB provides networking, educational, ministry, and fellowship opportunities for its members. Learn more at www.nrb.org.
About the NRB Convention
The annual NRB International Christian Media Convention is the largest nationally and internationally recognized event dedicated solely to assist those in the field of Christian communications. The dynamic Exposition consists of around 200 companies and is an active marketplace for those seeking tools and services to expand their organizations. NRB 2015 will be held at the Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center in Nashville, TN, February 23-26, 2015. For more information, go to www.nrbconvention.org.
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