As American Jews, we are deeply concerned by the misleading use of the phrase “Judeo-Christian values” to falsely claim Jewish support for harmful Christian-nationalist policies, such as allowing state-funded child welfare agencies to discriminate on the basis of religion, permitting healthcare providers to impose their religious beliefs on patients, or promoting Christianity in public schools.
We reject the inappropriate portrayal of these discriminatory policies as Jewish values. American Jews stand for progress and against discrimination toward women, the LGTBQ community, religious minorities (including Jews), and any others.
Today, the phrase “Judeo-Christian” is deeply embedded in the language of Christian nationalists who seek to establish Christianity as the dominant political, cultural, and social force in society. Elected officials and all citizens must understand how the phrase has been weaponized in the hands of religious fundamentalists.
We are committed to upholding the constitutional separation of religion and government and building an America where people of all or no faith traditions are equal under law. We therefore call for an end to the use of the phrase “Judeo-Christian” in all political contexts.
The Do No Harm Act would amend the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) to ensure that it can only be used as a shield against persecution and not as a sword allowing religious beliefs to trump the law. It would change RFRA by clarifying that it cannot counteract civil rights laws, employment law, protections against child abuse or access to health care.
Since its passage in 1993, RFRA laid the groundwork for some of the most devastating attacks on the separation of church and state.
In the 2014 Hobby Lobby v. Burwell case, the Supreme Court ruled that the Hobby Lobby company—a craft store chain—was exempt from the Affordable Care Act’s requirement that employers provide their employees with contraceptive coverage. Hobby Lobby’s conservative Christian owners claimed that doing so would “substantially burden” their religious beliefs, and in a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court decided that an employee’s religious freedom can be trampled upon by their employer.
The Court’s decision in Hobby Lobby created a legal loophole for anyone who wishes to discriminate in the name of religion—allowing individuals and corporations to be free from following laws that apply to everyone else, and putting the civil rights of religious minorities and the nonreligious at risk.
Take action now by urging your Members of Congress to support the Do No Harm Act!
The Women’s Health Protection Act would re-establish a nationwide right to abortion in the United States. Since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, 12 states have outright banned abortion and more are expected to follow suit.
As Jews, our freedom of religion is violated when laws that restrict abortion access are based on another religion’s viewpoints. The government should not be legislating reproductive rights based on any religion’s dogma.
Email your Members of Congress now and urge them to support the Women’s Health Protection Act!