A Summary of the 20 Key Principles of Religious Liberty in the DOJ Guidance of October 6, 2017
Here are the 20 principles as summarized by the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention.
- The freedom of religion is an important, fundamental right, expressly protected by federal law.
- The free exercise of religion includes the right to act or not to act in accordance with one's religious beliefs.
- The freedom of religion extends to persons and organizations.
- Americans do not give up their freedom of religion by participating in society or the economy, or interacting with government.
- Government may not restrict or compel actions because of the belief they display.
- Government may not exclude religious individuals or entities based on their religion.
- Government may not target religious individuals or entities through discriminatory enforcement of neutral, generally applicable laws.
- Government may not officially favor or disfavor particular religious groups.
- Government may not interfere with the autonomy of a religious organization.
- The Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 (RFRA) prohibits the federal government from substantially burdening any aspect of religious observance or practice, except in rare cases where the government has a compelling reason and there is not a less-restrictive option available.
- RFRA's protection extends not just to individuals, but also to organizations, associations, and at least some for-profit corporations.
- RFRA does not permit the federal government to second-guess the reasonableness of a sincerely held religious belief.
- A governmental action substantially burdens an exercise of religion under RFRA if it bans an aspect of an adherent's religious observance or practice, compels an act inconsistent with that observance or practice, or substantially pressures the adherent to modify such observance or practice.
- Under RFRA, any government action that would substantially burden religious freedom is held to an exceptionally demanding standard.
- RFRA applies even where a religious adherent seeks exemption from a requirement to confer benefits on third parties.
- Title VII of the Civil Rights Act prohibits discrimination on the basis of religious observance or practice as well as belief, unless the employer cannot reasonable accommodate such observance or practice without undue hardship.
- Title VII prohibits discrimination on the basis of religious observance or practice without undue hardship.
- The Clinton Guidelines on Religious Exercise and Religious Expression in the Federal Workplace provide useful examples for private employers of reasonable accommodations for religious observance and practice in the workplace.
- Religious employers are entitled to employ only persons whose beliefs and conduct are consistent with the employers' religious precepts.
- Generally, the federal government ma not condition federal grants or contracts on the religious organization altering its religious character, beliefs, or activities.
Notice: This article is designed to provide accurate and authoritative information in regard to the subject matter covered. It has been provided to member schools with the understanding that ACSI is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting, tax, or other professional services. If legal advice or other expert assistance is required, the services of a competent professional should be sought. Laws vary by jurisdiction, and the specific applications of laws to particular facts requires the advice of an attorney.
Association of Christian Schools International
731 Chapel Hills Drive
Colorado Springs, CO 80920