Senator Bernie Sanders on Separation of Church and State

Sanders has made various statements about the separation on church and state. In a video from his 2016 presidential campaign, Sanders states:

“Religious freedom in this country is part of our constitution and all of us agree with that… we know how dangerous it is historically for governments to get deeply involved in religion… You have your religion, you have your religion, everyone has them, and that’s what America’s beauty is about but lets not fuse and merge religion and state. That is not what our founding fathers wanted and they were right.”

In response to the Hobby Lobby Supreme Court decision on June 30, 2014, which in some cases allows for-profit corporations to be exempt from a regulation its owners religiously object to, Sanders said: 

“Bosses should not be able to impose their religious beliefs on their employees.”

He has also voiced his concern over the use of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act in Indiana and elsewhere—acts that allow for exemptions to some laws through claims of religious freedom—in an interview on Overheard with Evan Smith in April 2015: 

“Does everybody believe in religious freedom? Of course we all believe in religious freedom but I think what has come out is my religious freedom says that i do not have to provide services to you if you’re gay… I don’t believe [the Religious Freedom Restoration Act was not intended to be a license to discriminate].”


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