Religious liberty is a cornerstone of human flourishing and a bedrock of our country. Unless our leaders respect our right to religious freedom, the United States cannot survive. This is why the Family Policy Institute of Washington is now directly involved in a current US Supreme Court case.
In conjunction with 30 other family-oriented organizations, FPIW signed onto an amicus brief that was filed with SCOTUS. The case being heard involves the federal government’s sweeping vaccine mandate which requires employers with over 100 employees to force those employees to receive the COVID shot. Alarmingly, the mandate attempts to bypass Congress and the typical legislative process. It also relies on the support of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), a regulatory government agency, therefore allowing unelected bureaucrats to make important policy decisions.
Not only is the regulation an abuse of power, it’s also a grave violation of religious freedom. The first section of the brief’s argument states that protecting religious liberty has been of primary importance since our nation was founded. The founders described religious liberty as “an unalienable right,” as one’s religion represents “a duty towards the Creator.” George Washington claimed national morality could not prevail without religious freedom. John Adams noted in 1788 that “nothing is more dreaded than the national government meddling with religion.” Our founders knew that religious liberty was both intended by God and necessary for human flourishing.
Further, the brief notes that Congress and the states have been very protective of religious liberty when creating laws. With the support of their constituents, bipartisan legislators have continued to enact religious liberty protections such as the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993, the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act of 2000, and many others.
And in this case, the religious liberty issues are unquestioned. Bishop Strickland of Tyler TX stated it very clearly when he said, “that he would rather die than attempt to benefit from a ‘vaccine’ produced using an aborted child.” If one supports religious freedom, we must allow Bishop Strickland and all others to make their own decision on this controversial vaccine medical treatment. And to deny that this is a religious issue important to hundreds of millions of people in this country is to be in denial of any common sense or reality.
Unfortunately, while elected officials are supposed to protect religious liberty, unaccountable agencies tend to neglect it. This problem is exacerbated when agencies abuse their statutory authority. They often disregard the effects of their rules on religious liberty, leading to outcomes that the typical political process would not otherwise allow. Ultimately, religious liberty is compromised under agency rule, and this is exactly what has happened in this case.
The brief concludes by noting that the regulation is beyond OSHA’s jurisdiction. The agency irresponsibly disregarded religious exercise questions and simply asked the courts to defer to its own view of its authority. The federal government has departed from principles of federalism which were put in place to avoid rights violations such as this.
Agencies such as OSHA do not treat our liberties as God-given, inalienable rights, but view them as afterthoughts. This is why we must protect the traditional legislative process and fight back when agencies rule beyond their limits.
We are working hard to maintain the foundation that our founders so brilliantly laid for us. This means that in all cases, religious liberty must be non-negotiable. Rest assured, in the upcoming legislative session that begins January 10, religious liberty and life issues will be paramount!
Please pray that our brief is received well and our SCOTUS justices rule in accordance with God’s will. Arguments for the case are being heard by the Supreme Court this Friday, January 7.