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Issues > American Values > Free Speech & Religious Liberty

Free Speech & Religious Liberty


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The Bill of Rights is intended to protect core liberties against government. While all the rights protected under the Constitution are important, recent years have seen newly invigorated efforts to erode and suppress two in particular: the right to speak freely in the political process and the right to live and work according to one’s religious beliefs.

The Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United and other rulings friendly to an unfettered ability to speak about politics have spurred attempts in Congress to amend the First Amendment by giving Congress an unchecked ability to limit and control the spending of money that funds political communications. This would mean politicians and bureaucrats would have the power to decide who could speak and who must remain silent during elections and public debates on policy, something the Founding Fathers would have recoiled at.

Citizens wishing to live their lives according to religious principles have also come under assault, despite the First Amendment’s protections for religious beliefs and practices. Religious charities have been forced to stop providing adoption services in some states because they decline to place children with homosexuals seeking to adopt, and countless small business owners face the threat of fines and criminal prosecution for informing same-sex couples they cannot provide marriage-related services as a matter of their religious faith. Under Obamacare, businesses may be forced to pay for procedures and medicines that violate their religious beliefs, such as contraception or abortion.

The right to speak freely in the political process as well as the right to live and work in accordance with deeply held religious beliefs should be protected, not trampled. Congress and the courts must not pass or uphold legislation or regulations that would limit these rights.

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