Texas State Representative Scott Sanford, author of the Pastor Protection law, joined by over 100 state legislators from across the country, sent an open letter to the NFL Commissioner, the Big 12 Commissioner, the CEO of the NCAA, the CEO of Marvel, and the CEO of Disney, requesting that the corporations reconsider their threats against states passing religious freedom bills.
States represented in the letter include: Texas, Kansas, Pennsylvania, Colorado, Tennessee, Maine, Virginia, Oklahoma, North Carolina, Iowa, Florida, and South Carolina.
Jonathan Saenz, President of Texas Values, made this statement in regards to the letter:
“We are proud that over 100 elected officials have voiced their strong support for religious freedom and safety laws. We applaud Rep. Sanford for his leadership and every state legislator who signed on to this letter. It is time for big corporations to seriously consider the negative implications of attacking religious freedom. We respect their right to speak about their beliefs and to decide how they run their businesses, but it is time that they respect the convictions of others as well – especially those under attack by the government for their religious beliefs. We urge each of these businesses to reconsider their attacks and strongly encourage them to rescind their statements.”
The letter states in part:
“We write to you today because you recently issued statements against religious liberty legislation in various states around the country. Giving you the benefit of the doubt, we understand that you may have been misinformed and misguided into a position of condoning and promoting government use of the force of law against people of faith in America….
Freedom of conscience and freedom exercise of religion can include nothing less than the way a person lives all aspects of his or her life. As a nation, our laws must encourage and support, not penalize, citizens who seek to adhere to their moral convictions.
Government, unelected Justices, and big businesses should not be in the business of forcing individuals and entities to act in a manner that contradicts their conscience. The Obergefell decision, the United States Supreme Court’s effort to redefine marriage throughout America, has left private schools, charities, businesses, churches or individuals that disagree unprotected. We need laws protecting their right to live their faith, thus the reason for the recent bill in Georgia.
All across this nation, people of faith are being fined, severely penalized or even serving jail time for simply adhering to their deeply held convictions.
Now, most “non-discrimination acts or ordinances” provide special protections based on sexual identity and orientation and undermine the original definition of religious freedom. The pressure to leave faith at the door of the public square is continually increasing for religious schools, nonprofits, public employees, private employees, small business owners, and entities interacting with the government via grants, contracts, or other means (including obtaining tax accommodations from the government). All of these individuals and entities (and more) should be protected from government coercion that would make them violate their consciences.
Lastly, if you were to remove your events and other economic activities from every state that already has significant religious liberty legislation or state court decisions with the same effect, you will find yourselves operating in an increasingly shrinking pool of states. As of now, 32 states contain these, and others are in the process of adoption.
Please ask yourselves this question: “Do we really want to live in a society where our government may, under the penalty of law, force its citizens to engage in the promotion or solemnization of an act that they find contrary to their conscience and their religious beliefs?” Your efforts are indeed forging a path that contradicts and undermines the principles and concepts that our Founders incorporated as the building blocks of this Constitutional Republic.
We, the undersigned, hereby encourage you to reconsider your recent public threats. We stand ready to meet with you in order to help you more fully understand the issues facing America’s significant religious population that form the basis of the First Freedom in our Constitution.”
About Texas Values