There are few things as fundamentally meaningful to most people as the ability to worship who and how they chose, or not at all if that is their choice. We are fortunate that 400 years ago, a group of daring individuals chose to risk their lives crossing the Atlantic from England and Holland in search of religious freedom, among other reasons. That deep-seated desire and belief continued throughout the growth of the colonies and represented a fundamental right recognized by our founding fathers. The U.S. Constitution recognizes religious liberty as our first freedom by stating “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…” Unfortunately, today the State of Colorado recognizes and fervently enforces the first provision, but completely ignores the “or” and the freedom that it expresses for each and every individual. The Colorado Civil Rights Commission’s continued harassment of Jack Phillips, owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop, even after the U.S. Supreme Court decision recognizing his right to conduct his business in accordance with his religious beliefs, is unconscionable, illegal, and a waste of taxpayer money.
I support the Williamsburg Charter as first presented to the nation on June 25, 1988, the 200th anniversary of Virginia’s call for a Bill of Rights. This Charter, signed by over 200 leaders of religion, public life, business, education, labor, media, minority and ethnic groups, and other groups, reaffirms religious liberty – or freedom of conscience – for citizens of all faiths and none. It also sets out the place of religious liberty with American public life. I believe that the State of Colorado, the Colorado Civil Rights Commission, and all related departments and commissions must comply with the letter and the spirit of the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Masterpiece Cakeshop vs Colorado Civil Rights Commission and stop persecuting our fellow citizens for living and conducting their business in accordance with their religious beliefs, regardless of what those beliefs may be.
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