Freedom of Faith and Conscience
Religious Freedom Wins Today
Bristol, Tennessee, January 18, 2018--Christian Medical & Dental Associations (CMDA) applauds the decision today by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to create a new Conscience and Religious Freedom Division. Restoring federal enforcement of our nation’s laws that protect the fundamental and unalienable rights of conscience and religious freedom is crucial for the 19,000+ members of CMDA.
“We are delighted that HHS has formed the Conscience and Religious Freedom Division. It is long overdue. There are already laws on the books, this division will help address the injustices that laws were designed to prevent. And this division is a way to do that. Our members have been discriminated against and some have even lost positions for speaking out,” states David Stevens, MD, MA (Ethics), CEO of Christian Medical & Dental Associations.
Christian Medical Associations Vice President of Government Relations and Director for Freedom2Care Jonathan Imbody points out, “Some today would portray religious freedom as just one of many rights to be balanced with or even subordinated to other factors, especially in cases involving controversial social issues. But our Constitution's framers wisely recognized that religious freedom must rise above cultural clashes and political debates as a foundational, natural and unalienable right.
“If the government or others can tell us what to believe, prevent us from exercising our core convictions or coerce us into acting against our conscience, what remains of our freedom?
“For this reason, in order to preserve the essence of our democratic republic, we Americans elevate the free exercise of religion as our First Freedom, constitutionally disengaging that freedom from government coercion and interference.
“Today's culturally controversial faith precept, freely expressed, may suffer cultural rejection and scorn, replaced by more popular modern notions. Or that faith precept may touch and kindle our national conscience—as faith-based social movements have done down through our history—and over time launch a national revival of principles that elevate every person's dignity, opportunity and right to life.
“The intended and—still today, attainable—result of recognizing this freedom is unity-preserving tolerance of contrary convictions and mutual respect in the midst of passionate debate. The survival of our democratic republic, this grand experiment, hinges on protecting our First Freedom.”