The National Association of Evangelicals (NAE) commends President Trump for announcing today a policy of protecting and vigorously promoting religious freedom. Religious freedom is a gift from God to people of all faiths and none, and is an indispensable foundation for human flourishing. We are grateful for the extent to which our constitution and laws protect the freedom of all Americans.
We welcome the promise, repeated today, that religious organizations will not be required to provide drugs that may act as abortifacients and services that violate their commitment to protect all human life. Now we call on the administration to promptly issue revised regulations and resolve lingering legal disputes over this issue.
Most evangelical leaders do not think pastors should endorse political candidates from the pulpit, according to the February Evangelical Leaders Survey. As Leith Anderson, NAE president, said, “Evangelicals emphasize evangelism, and pastors often avoid controversies that might take priority over the gospel message. Most pastors I know don’t want to endorse politicians. They want to focus on teaching the Bible.”
While the executive order is a first step, it does not permanently resolve even the issues it addresses. Anything done by executive order can be undone by a future president. Threats to religious freedom in America need to be addressed through legislative action that protects religious liberty for all Americans. We call on President Trump to work with members of Congress to pass legislation that strengthens the rights of all Americans and allows the organizations they form to operate in ways that are consistent with their beliefs.