SCA’s Debbie Allen Responds to Trump on Religious Freedom Day

January 16 marks National Religious Freedom Day, which commemorates the Virginia General Assembly’s 1786 adoption of the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom authored and championed by Thomas Jefferson.
 
To commemorate the day, President Trump issued a proclamation reaffirming “our commitment to protecting the precious and fundamental right of religious freedom, both at home and abroad.” 
 
In addition, Trump announced a letter from the Department of Education to education secretaries and officials in all 50 states “reminding them that students and teachers can’t be discriminated against for practicing their First Amendment religious rights.”
 
In response, Debbie Allen, executive director for the Secular Coalition for America, said: 
“Donald Trump doesn’t stand for religious freedom—the idea is beyond laughable, it’s offensive. From day one, Trump has given a platform to Christian Nationalists and their extreme vision for an America that has courts, laws, and politicians more beholden to the Bible than ‘We the People’.
“By ‘religious liberty,’ the President means using faith as a cudgel to discriminate, marginalize, and dehumanize non-Christians. This dishonest proclamation is an affront to our nation’s Founding Fathers and the people in our nation who have lost the chance to adopt children, access healthcare, or find a loving home because of government sponsored religious extremism.
“The Supreme Court has said time and time again that public schools are no place for proselytization or organized prayer. The secular community in America makes up a quarter of our population and is growing. We are watching, we will vote in November, and we refuse to let Trump bully states into using our tax dollars to indoctrinate our children.”
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