Ten Religious Freedom Policy Advances that Could be Reversed Under a Biden Administration

January 15, 2021
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by Jorge Gomez • 5 min read

As President-elect Biden and a new administration prepare to take office in less than a week, it’s prime time to review the record of the outgoing Trump administration and how they treated religious freedom over the last four years.

From the White House, to multiple executive branch departments, the military and the originalist judges confirmed for lifetime tenure on our federal courts, the current administration has left a very positive legacy for religious liberty.

Since taking office in 2017, the administration directed and implemented numerous—and in many ways, historic—policy actions and initiatives that had a rippling effect across all of First Liberty’s key pillars, including our nation’s schools, the military, houses of worship, as well as government and the public arena.

Now, you and millions of Americans who have benefited from these policies are asking some pressing questions:

  • How will a Biden administration treat religious freedom moving forward?
  • Will pro-religious freedom policy actions remain in effect, or will they be reversed?
  • Will the Supreme Court be packed with activist judges who will rule based on personal politics above the principles of the Constitution?

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Below is a recap of ten important advancements for religious freedom that took place in the last four years.

Since a great number of these are executive orders, federal regulations and departmental policies, with the stroke of a pen, the new president could rescind them and undo much of the progress that’s helped reclaim the right of Americans to freely live out their faith:

  1. The 2017 Executive Order on Protecting Religious Liberty, a measure designed to advance religious freedom across all federal executive agencies.
  2. The 2019 Executive Order on Combating Anti-Semitism, affirming the administration’s commitment to enforce federal law that prohibits discrimination against Jewish communities and believers.
  3. The 2020 Executive Order on Advancing International Religious Freedom.
  4. Updating the Department of Education’s policies to allow religious organizations to receive federal funds and take part in programs that provide tutoring, mentoring and other services to students and teachers.
  5. A critical policy update to Department of Veterans Affairs regulations to permit religious literature, symbols and displays across facilities nationwide.
  6. Removing burdensome Federal Emergency Management Agency regulations and reinstating emergency relief for houses of worship and religious organizations.
  7. Proposing new Department of Labor regulations that will afford religious organizations and businesses better and fairer treatment when they contract with the federal government.
  8. Implementing a new Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) rule to make sure the Little Sisters of the Poor and other faith-based ministries would not be forced to choose between violating their religious beliefs by complying with contraceptive mandates or shutting their doors.
  9. Establishing the new HHS Conscience and Religious Freedom division to direct the agency’s efforts to protect religious freedom and people of faith in the healthcare industry.
  10. Setting the Department of Justice in motion to defend religious liberty in the legal sphere, as exemplified by the DOJ’s recent lawsuit in an ongoing federal case of discrimination against orthodox Jewish communities in the Village of Airmont, NY.

Regardless of who occupies the White House, Congress, or the Supreme Court, our mission and focus at First Liberty remains the same: To ensure that we protect religious freedom, both inside and outside the courtroom.

For more analysis on the progress of religious freedom policy, First Liberty’s expert legal team has compiled a FREE resource with in-depth information on the current administration’s record: Reclaiming Religious Freedom: An Inside Look at Recent Actions By the Executive Branch, 2017 – 2020

Download Your FREE Copy Today!

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