#ShortNews: What’s next for religious freedom in 2019?

The Deseret News spent the past six months investigating the present and future of religious freedom.

President Dallin H. Oaks, first counselor in the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints; “Today’s religious freedom debates are different than in the past. Religious freedom has gotten political. It’s dividing people along lines different than before… We see people who believe in God in contests with people who don’t, or people who value religion and recognize that religion holds society together in contests with people who reject this.”

Johnnie Moore, commissioner on the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, member of President Donald Trump’s evangelical advisory board, ordained Southern Baptist pastor; “Religious freedom makes building trust and understanding easier. People aren’t fearful of sharing their point of view. Rather than scream at each other and have big public fights, people need to sit down in good faith around the table and consider how to move forward. People should not be discriminated against, but religious freedom cannot be compromised.”

Montserrat Alvarado, vice president and executive director of The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty; “Religious freedom is about deeply held convictions. No two people, even if they go to the same church or ascribe to the same deity, believe the same thing in exactly the same way.”

Rachel Laser, President and CEO of Americans United for the Separation of Church and State, an advocacy organization seeking to protect religious freedom by reducing government entanglement with faith groups; “We don’t have true religious freedom when one narrow set of religious beliefs is foisted on the rest of us. True religious freedom is about everybody’s right to believe what they want to believe, to choose their own spiritual brew and maybe change their beliefs throughout their lifetime. It’s not about using religion as a tool to justify harm to other people.”

Robin Fretwell Wilson, law professor and director of the family law and policy program at the University of Illinois, consultant on state religious freedom legislation, including the 2015 Utah laws balancing LGBT and religious rights.

Rabbi David Saperstein, senior adviser for strategy and policy with the Union for Reform Judaism and former U.S. ambassador at-large for international religious freedom; “How do we balance religious freedom claims against civil rights claims?”

Asma Uddin, senior scholar at the Religious Freedom Center.

To read more what Faith leaders and policymakers weigh in please click here; https://www.deseretnews.com/article/900044866/whats-next-for-religious-freedom-in-2019-faith-leaders-and-policymakers-weigh-in.html

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