Progressive Advocacy Groups Call on Democrats to Defend Individual Religious Freedom

Sep 05, 2012, 09:54 ET from Catholics for Choice

CHARLOTTE, N.C., Sept. 5, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- During the Democratic National Convention a unique gathering of progressive advocacy groups called upon the Democratic Party to stand up for people of faith and no faith and not allow conservative politicians and religious leaders to redefine the meaning of religious liberty. The panel, featuring advocacy groups representing millions of Americans from across multiple faith traditions, urged voices of faith to speak up for the real meaning of religious freedom—the protection of individual conscience.

Catholics for Choice hosted the panel discussion to educate stakeholders and delegates about how progressive advocates and people of faith can stand up and speak out against the intensifying rhetoric of conservative religious leaders that would put the interests of institutions over the conscience of individuals.

Catholics for Choice, the National Council of Jewish Women and the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice are all members of the Coalition for Liberty & Justice. At the panel, they and the Charlotte-based Freedom Center for Social Justice addressed the recent debates over religious liberty healthcare, marriage equality and other issues that affect people of faith this election season. Working in coalition and individually, each of the participating groups strives to influence policies important to their constituencies, informed by their own political perspectives, faith traditions and community priorities. 

"The freedom to follow one's conscience is at the center of our Catholic tradition because it affirms each individual's moral agency," said Sara Hutchinson, the domestic program director at Catholics for Choice. "The freedom to decide what is right and act upon that decision does not come in Democratic or Republican varieties. It exists in the human experience of believers and nonbelievers of all ideologies. Those shaping the debates and setting policy on access to reproductive healthcare services should respect the consciences of those seeking to do the best thing for themselves and their families—Catholic and non-Catholic, rich or poor, Democrat or Republican. Protecting our freedom requires nothing less." 

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SOURCE Catholics for Choice