Legislative Leaders in Nine States Launch Religious Freedom Caucuses
Legislative leaders from nine states announced this month they are launching a series of caucuses to help legislators strengthen religious liberty in their respective states, WORLD News Service reports. The new caucuses currently include lawmakers from Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Kansas, Missouri, New Hampshire, Oklahoma and Tennessee. The Ethics and Public Policy Center’s American Religious Freedom Program (ARFP), dedicated to protecting religious rights nationwide, plans to expand the caucuses to all 50 states by the end of 2013. "Faith communities across the nation have begun working together to secure and strengthen our cherished religious liberties on behalf of all Americans of all faiths," said ARFP executive director Brian W. Walsh. "Today the movement to defend religious freedom is being joined by a bipartisan group of highly effective legislators in nine state capitals who will provide unifying leadership on these caucuses." Rep. John J. DeBerry, Jr., one of the founders of Tennessee’s religious freedom caucus, said, "Religious diversity in America is increasing greatly, and the only way we will hold together as one people is by continuing to ensure robust religious freedoms and rights of conscience for all Americans." DeBerry added that "some government leaders seem to have forgotten that freedom of religion includes keeping government out of matters that properly belong to America’s faith communities."