It’s finally here – the first day of a new Congress. Lawmakers will face immediate challenges, inheriting a partial government shutdown, devastating immigration crises, and more.
But this is also a moment to celebrate. We’ve always believed that our nation is made stronger through our rich religious and cultural diversity. This year, Interfaith Alliance welcomes the most diverse Congress in history, including the first Muslim congresswomen and the first Native American congresswomen. Congress is also making strides to support parents who work on the Hill, opening the first day care center to serve House staff.
The next few weeks are full of possibility. Right now, our representatives are choosing their defining issues for the coming legislative session. It’s up to us to make sure that religious freedom is at the top of the list.
Here are just a few things we’re calling on Congress to do this year:
- Stand for true religious freedom supporting The Do No Harm Act to protect freedom of and freedom from religion.
- Ensure that religion is not used as a license to discriminate by urging Congress to pass The Equality Act prohibiting discrimination against LGBTQ+ people in employment, education, public accommodations, housing, credit, jury service, and federal programs. We will continue to support The Every Child Deserves a Family Act, prohibiting discrimination against LGBTQ+ youth and prospective parents by taxpayer-funded child welfare agencies.
- End the Muslim Ban once and for all by strongly supporting efforts to bolster nondiscrimination provisions of our immigration laws to protect our proud legacy as a nation of immigrants and a bastion of hope for refugees.
- Stem the rising tide of hateful violence through bills like The NO HATE Act which will improve state and local tracking of hate-based incidents and expand the ways that victims can seek justice.
2018 was not the year we hoped for – not even close. Time and again, we were reminded that the Religious Right has entrenched itself in this administration, and in communities across America. They are enacting far-reaching policies and appointing extremists to key positions, with the explicit purpose of rolling back Americans’ First Amendment rights.
And yet, we remain hopeful. In the 116th Congress, Interfaith Alliance will stand up for our most fundamental freedom – the right to believe and live out our values, without discrimination or stigma. As legislation is introduced, we’ll keep you informed and share calls to action.
Now, more than ever, we must speak in a unified voice. We wish the members of the 116th Congress a productive legislative session, committed to protecting faith and freedom.