WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and Special Representative on Anti-Semitism, Racism, and Intolerance for the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Parliamentary Assembly, issued the following statement on the executive order signed today by President Trump that weakens the constitutional boundaries between religion and political and economic activity.
“Candidate Trump excoriated President Obama for his use of executive orders but now touts his own frequent use of them as president. This latest executive overreach is an all-out assault on the separation of church and state specified in the First Amendment, and the latest chapter in this administration’s continuing attack on the Constitution and its core protections and rights. Individuals should not lose their basic rights because the president wants to fulfill campaign promises to extremists in the Republican Party.
“America is a nation of many faiths. We are proud of our religious convictions. Houses of worship already have strong legal protections under the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment. But government should not promote particular religious beliefs and we cannot allow faith to become an excuse for discrimination or stripping rights away from others. This executive action is the opposite of tolerance. It opens the door wide open for intolerance, inequity and government-sanctioned discrimination, using taxpayer funds, in health care, the workplace, and in our communities. ”