Statement on Religious Freedom Day by NOW President Toni Van Pelt:
Today is Religious Freedom Day—a federal observance to commemorate Thomas Jefferson’s determination that the United States would not be considered a “Christian nation.” Jefferson’s original statute disestablished an official state church for the new nation, and provided that no one be compelled to attend any religious institution or underwrite it with taxes, and that individuals are free to believe as they will and that this “shall in no wise diminish, enlarge, or affect their civil capacities.”
Today, we observe Religious Freedom Day by recognizing that women are at grave risk from Donald Trump and those who are using their personal religious views to discriminate against women especially women of color, trans women and women living in poverty. They would deny women birth control and access to abortion care, divert them towards fake crisis pregnancy centers and hold them back from economic advancement with jobs that oppress them, put them at risk of sexual harassment and abuse, and perpetuate a culture of submission.
False religious justifications are used to discriminate against LGBTQIA+ people in public accommodations, jobs and housing, and also against secular humanists and atheists as well as those who practice other religions.
The religious right must not be allowed to hijack Religious Freedom Day for their own propaganda purposes. Their America is not the Founders’ America, and it’s not ours.
Women know the truth: religious freedom does not mean freedom to discriminate.
Emily Imhoff, email@example.com, 951-547-1241