Following the Department of Health and Human Services November 24 decision to rescind the HHS Office of Civil Rights’ authority to affirmatively protect Americans’ conscience rights pursuant to the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, Senator Hawley penned a letter to HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra demanding he reinstate the protections and provides answers on why the policy was rolled back.
“As President Clinton remarked when signing the Religious Freedom Restoration Act into law, religious liberty is the first freedom of American citizens. It is the responsibility of HHS, no less than any other governmental institution, to protect that liberty. Your November 24 decision to rescind the HHS Office of Civil Rights’ authority to affirmatively protect Americans’ conscience rights pursuant to the Religious Freedom Restoration Act —authority originally extended in December 2017—abdicates that responsibility,” wrote Senator Hawley.
“Let’s be clear: the only reason to remove RFRA compliance enforcement from the Office of Civil Rights is if your administration no longer believes that religious liberty is a civil right. Instead of affirmatively taking steps to ensure the Department is fully complying with its constitutional and statutory obligations, the underlying memo explains that the Office of Civil Rights will no longer “proactively” enforce RFRA. Instead, the burden will be on individual Americans of faith to hold the Department accountable for its conduct. And OCR sought to make this change in secret…”
Last month, Senator Hawley also sent a letter to the Biden Administration in defense of religious liberty regarding vaccine mandates and the Biden Administration’s failure to provide adequate safeguards for the sincerely held religious beliefs of federal employees and displays clear contempt for religious liberty.
Read the full letter here or below.