No liberty is more essential to the continued vitality of a free society than religious liberty. The free exercise of religion is a right secured by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The National Association of Evangelicals (NAE) has long been zealous in guarding this most precious right.

Concern for religious liberty prompted NAE to work for congressional passage of the 1984 Equal Access Act. That Act now protects the religious free speech rights of public high school students. Unfortunately, threats to religious freedom continue today. The free exercise rights of all Americans are potentially jeopardized by a U.S. Supreme Court decision of April 17, 1990 which has revoked a long-standing protection of our First Amendment liberty.

Until recently, the Court had held that laws of general applicability could only interfere with religious practice if the government could demonstrate a compelling interest, such as public health or safety. A majority of the Supreme Court has now virtually abandoned the requirement that government clearly demonstrate a compelling interest for the public good before restricting religious practice. As a result, the right to the free exercise of religion is in jeopardy. Religious liberty will likely be eroded unless decisive action is taken.

Therefore, NAE urges Congress to pass bipartisan remedial legislation, such as the “Religious Freedom Restoration Act,” which will restore the traditional “compelling interest” test and thus protect the free exercise of religion.

NAE further calls upon all those who treasure religious liberty to write their senators and representatives, urging their support of this crucial remedial legislation.