DRAFT – 12/26/11 – 10:30 am(Paid for by NEWT 2012)
religious freedom has been a powerful force for good at home and throughout the world; anda preliminary assessment of why there is a need for a presidential commission on religiousfreedom. We expect the material in this paper will develop further in the months ahead.
NEWT 2012 Executive Order on Religious Freedom Working Group
NEWT 2012 will put together a working group over the course of the primary and generalelection campaign that will finalize the executive order for the presidential commission onreligious freedom. The final draft of the executive order will be published on September 27,2012, along with other campaign executive orders as part of NEWT 2012’s 21
CenturyContract with America. The draft outline of the executive order set forth below will helpguide the working group in its work.
Draft Outline of an Executive Order Establishing aPresidential Commission on Religious FreedomMission
The mission of the religious freedom commission will be to advise the president on issues thatthreaten or impede the religious freedom that all Americans enjoy as an unalienable rightfrom our Creator, which the First Amendment to the Constitution explicitly protects.In examining and investigating threats or impediments to religious freedom, the religiousfreedom commission should examine and investigate:1.
Interpretation by courts throughout the U.S. of the First Amendment’s protection of religious freedom and freedom of conscience. The Commission should also reviewthe Religious Freedom Restoration Act and recommend what new legislation might be pursued to achieve its original aims.2.
The status of religious freedom and freedom of conscience in schools from primary touniversity level.3.
The impact on religious freedom of new policies and regulations of the Department of Health and Human Services regarding the delivery of health and healthcare services inthe United States, including for example, any new HHS mandate that would requirehealth-insurance plans to cover contraception, sterilization and drugs known to induceabortion that may violate and interfere with the religious freedom of individuals, andthe weakening of conscience clause protections for healthcare workers.4.
How U.S. national interests (social, economic, and security) could be supported by promoting greater religious freedom abroad, and conversely, how U.S. nationalinterests have been hindered by a lack of religious freedom abroad. In addition, theCommission should examine the International Religious Freedom Act with a view torecommending improvements.