President Donald Trump made religious liberty a focus of his administration when he protected nuns who serve the poor and elderly from being forced to pay for abortifaciencts in Obamacare.
His administration fought for conscience rights for pro-life medical workers, including a pro-life nurse in Vermont who was tricked into helping abort an unborn baby. And it sanctioned China for persecuting Muslim minorities and forcing mothers to abort their unborn babies through all nine months of pregnancy.
On Saturday, the president recognized Religious Freedom Day in a special proclamation and encouraged Americans to celebrate one of the country’s most cherished, fundamental values.
“When the Pilgrims first crossed the Atlantic Ocean more than 400 years ago in pursuit of religious freedom, their dedication to this first freedom shaped the character and purpose of our Nation,” Trump said. “Since then, the United States has set an example for the world in permitting believers to live out their faith in freedom.”
Trump highlighted how his administration has worked faithfully to protect religious liberty, not only for Americans but also for religious people across the world.
In his statement last week, Trump said they honored “the sanctity of every life” and protected the conscience rights of all Americans so that they could practice their faith without discrimination.
Soon after he took office, his administration issued a new rule expanding religious exemptions for Obamacare so that charities like the Little Sisters of the Poor, which serves the poor and elderly, and other religious employers are not forced to pay for contraception, including abortifacients, in their employee health plans.
The U.S. Supreme Court upheld the rule in July, but President-elect Joe Biden is expected to repeal it soon after he takes office.
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In 2018, Trump also established the Conscience and Religious Freedom division within the Office for Civil Rights to fight for Americans’ religious freedom and conscience protections. In 2019, the office became involved in a Vermont nurse’s case after she said her employer, the University of Vermont Medical Center, tricked her into participating in an abortion against her will.
In addition, the Trump administration created a new rule to better enforce conscience protections and punish medical groups that discriminate against pro-life medical workers.
Through the coronavirus pandemic, Trump said his administration also strove to protect religious freedom and the sanctity of human life.
“Throughout this difficult year, we have continued these efforts, cutting red tape to ensure houses of worship and other faith-based organizations could receive Paycheck Protection Program loans on the same grounds and with the same parameters as any other entity,” he said. “We have also aggressively defended faith communities against overreach by State and local governments that have tried to shut down communal worship.”
Globally, the Trump administration fought against persecution and urged other countries to protect religious freedom for all.
In July, it sanctioned several Chinese government officials in the wake of an Associated Press report documenting numerous human rights abuses, including forced abortions and sterilizations, against minorities.
The report estimated that hundreds of thousands of Uighur women are being subjected to state pregnancy testing, forced sterilizations and forced abortions. Additionally, at least 1 million Uighur Muslims have been placed in “re-education” camps since in 2017 in China, PBS News reports. According to the AP, one of the main reasons for their detention is having too many children.
Trump said America is strong, in part, because its founders recognized the importance of religious freedom.
“As Americans united in unparalleled freedom, we recommit to safeguarding and preserving religious freedom across our land and around the world,” he said.