Senate adopts VanderWall resolution defending religious liberty

LANSING, Mich. — The state Senate on Thursday approved a resolution sponsored by Sen. Curt VanderWall to voice support for the religious liberty of Michigan citizens.

“In recent years, we have seen a growing number of policies that exclude religious families and organizations from foster care programs. We have seen mandates that effectively prohibit religious student-athletes from participating in collegiate sports. We have even seen executive orders issued to close the doors of houses of worship – all right here, in the United States of America. The list goes on,” said VanderWall, R-Ludington. “This resolution stands against this growing and un-American trend.”

Senate Resolution 88 states that the Senate supports the religious liberty of Michigan citizens, will not infringe upon the ability of citizens to act in accordance with their religious conscience, will not tolerate persecution of religious people because of their beliefs; and condemns any behavior by government authorities that limits the ability of individuals to express their religious conscience and beliefs.

The resolution cites the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which states “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech.”

Additionally, the Michigan Constitution upholds that “every person shall be at liberty to worship God according to the dictates of his own conscience” and that “the civil and political rights, privileges and capacities of no person shall be diminished … on account of his religious belief” and that “every person may freely speak, write, express and publish his views on all subjects.” It also declares “no law shall be enacted to restrain or abridge the liberty of speech.”

“The protections guaranteed by the First Amendment make it clear that the test of a functioning moral republic is not whether it protects the speech and religious expression with which it agrees, but whether it will protect the speech and religious expression with which it disagrees,” said VanderWall.

“Our continued and vigilant defense of this idea is a critical guard against the decay of our great nation. It works to ensure that we do not become a government of tyranny and oppression; which, sadly, is still all too common around the world.”