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Narrator: Religious freedom is a core American value. It is guaranteed by the Constitution and was one of the reasons that the United States was founded.

Religious freedom is a two-sided coin that involves freedom of religion and freedom from religion. Everyone has the right to practice their religion as they please, or not practice at all. But they do not have the right to use religion to discriminate in jobs, healthcare, and education.

American families need all the help they can get. People deserve the peace of mind that comes from being able to plan their families and protect their health. Recognizing this, the government expanded access to health insurance and included a provision that every woman would be able to access no-cost birth control. But religious extremists oppose this. Citing freedom of religion, they claim that any organization should be able to discriminate against their employees, whether it's a church, a school, or even a business, like Taco Bell. Using bogus arguments about religious freedom to deny women birth control is just the tip of the iceberg.

This is not the only way that religious extremists are forcing their agenda. Some states, like Mississippi, allow business owners to discriminate against customers based on their sexuality. Carla was a teacher for 19 years at a Catholic high school in Columbus, Ohio. After her mother passed away, she included her female partner's name in the obituary. Someone read it in the newspaper and anonymously complained to the school. Carla was fired. This is not an isolated issue. Carla's story is just one of many where men and women are being forced out of institutions run by religious organizations for being gay, being single and pregnant, getting married, or using in-vitro fertilization.

What's especially troubling is that many of these examples are from schools, hospitals, and other institutions that receive tax dollars. For example, the charity World Vision, which receives millions of tax dollars a year for its services, won't hire gay people. In Phoenix, a 27-year-old pregnant woman suffering from heart failure arrived at the emergency room of a Catholic hospital. Doctors determined that if she continued her pregnancy she would likely die. Sister Margaret, a hospital administrator, approved the termination of the woman's pregnancy, saving her life. When a bishop found out about this Sister Margaret was removed from her senior position at the hospital. This is not an isolated issue, either. Catholic hospitals serve millions of Americans every year, and receive billions in taxpayer funding, but the care isn't the same as that available in other, publicly-funded hospitals. It is wrong that bishops and other religious extremists are playing politics with people's lives.

It is up to each of us to make sure that the liberty guaranteed to every American is not compromised for political gain. The Coalition for Liberty and Justice wants to ensure that no one tramples on the rights of people living in the United States. If we want real religious liberty, we must have freedom of religion and freedom from religion. Please help us ensure that the rights of everyone are not traded away to appease extremists. Write your local, state, and federal representatives to ensure they don't stand for this nonsense.

There may be small errors in this transcript.

This video comes from the Coalition for Liberty & Justice, a group dedicated to protecting religious freedom from extremists who want to limit the rights of others.


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