Religious Leaders Blast ‘Civil Rights’ Report over Discrimination Claims

In a letter, religious leaders ask Washington power-brokers, including Sen. Orrin Hatch, to reject a report from the left-leaning U.S. Commission on Civil Rights that accuses churches of using religious freedom as a pretext to discriminate against members of the various self-proclaimed victim groups that make up the Democratic voter base.

Reports Crux (see also related post at American Thinker):

“We call upon each of you to renounce publicly the claim that ‘religious freedom’ and ‘religious liberty’ are ‘code words’ or a ‘pretext’ for various forms of discrimination,” the leaders say in the Oct. 7 letter, adding: “There should be no place in our government for such a low view of our First Freedom – the first of our civil rights – least of all from a body dedicated to protecting them all.”

The letter was addressed to Obama, House Speaker Paul Ryan, and Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), the president pro tempore of the Senate, who are responsible for appointing members of the civil rights commission. It was signed by 17 people, including religious freedom experts and Catholic, Muslim, Jewish, Hindu, Baha’i, Mormon, African Methodist Episcopal, Southern Baptist and Evangelical leaders.

A 306-page report by the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights issued Sept. 8 titled “Peaceful Coexistence: Reconciling Non-Discrimination Principles with Civil Liberties,” included the assertion that religious organizations sometimes “use the pretext of religious doctrines to discriminate.”

The letter’s signatories acknowledge that people of faith “can disagree about the relationship between religious liberty and anti-discrimination laws in our country, and how that relationship should best be structured. These questions have to do with issues critical to the common good such as marriage, the family, contraception, abortion and the source of human dignity.”

But they said that they found it “disturbing” that in the report, the civil rights commission’s chairman Martin Castro wrote, “The phrases ‘religious liberty’ and ‘religious freedom’ will stand for nothing except hypocrisy so long as they remain code words for discrimination, intolerance, racism, sexism, homophobia, Islamophobia, Christian supremacy or any form of intolerance.”

The letter said such language “stigmatizes tens of millions of religious Americans, their communities, and their faith-based institutions, and threatens the religious freedom of all our citizens.”