The United States was founded in part due to a desire for religious liberty. The concept was so important to the founding fathers that they enumerated it in the Bill of Rights in the 1st amendment:
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
The members of the Federalist Coalition believe that the United States Government should play absolutely no part in preventing any person from expressing his or her religious beliefs so long as that expression is not harmful to the rights of other citizens.
Support for this position can be found in the above listed 1st amendment, but also in the 9th amendment which limits the federal government to powers expressly noted in the constitution itself, of which regulation of religious practice is not one:
“The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.”
As a result, we believe that religious expression should not be restricted inside the confines of the church, mosque, synagogue, or other institutional walls. Religious institutions and private businesses should not be forced to perform acts that directly violate deeply held religious beliefs, rather it is the right of a free people to patronize or abandon those institutions if they believe there is injustice. Section 1 of the 14th amendment, commonly used to refute this principle states:
“All persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”
The purpose of this amendment is not to restrain private decisions by private citizens, but rather to insure that laws are made legally by dually elected representatives, and that they are applied evenly over all citizens. We believe this principle should excite individuals across the political spectrum as it allows for the continued American traditions of equality, diversity, and tolerance without interference.
Religions inherently disagree with one another, and therefore, some measure of tolerance and respect is necessary for a free society. This fact also applies to individuals who profess no religion at all. To this end, we implore Americans not to admonish each other’s differences, but to accept them as the duly paid price of liberty.