What are the Appropriate Boundaries of Religious Liberty?

What are the appropriate and ethical boundaries of religious liberty at a time when religious liberty is being used as an excuse or sanction for discrimination? Groups of Presbyterian leaders across the United States are raising this question and it resulted in a ruling made by the recent 223rd General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA).

We are grateful this ruling On Clarifying the Position of the Presbyterian Church (USA) Regarding Appropriate Boundaries of Religious Liberty was adopted by the 223rd General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA) on June 23, 3018 in St. Louis, Missouri.

On Clarifying the Position of the Presbyterian Church (USA) Regarding Appropriate Boundaries of Religious Liberty


Presbyterian leaders across the US declared that the “misuse of “religious liberty” is costing lives and depriving individuals of basic human rights. The federal government and state legislatures are considering and passing legislation, and adopting administrative rules and regulations, under the guise of religious freedom, that in reality are nothing more (or less) than a targeted attempt to promote a singular religious viewpoint that does not believe LGBTQ individuals are entitled to the full scope of human rights to employment, healthcare, and parenting rights.”

This ruling calls for “all Presbyterians to distinguish between our historical understanding of our religious freedom to practice the essential tenets of our faith, and the misuse of the term religious freedom as a justification for discrimination.” May all persons of faith and good will take a closer look at this historic understanding and intention of religious liberty and not allow this historic principle to be used as a weapon to discriminate or hinder the protection of human rights. Together we can build a world that is free and equal.

Photograph: David Mullins and Charlie Craig, the couple at the center of the Supreme Court’s Masterpiece Cakeshop case.