H.R. 1378 or the Do No Harm Act, would have profound implications for faith communities and religious organizations across America. In the bill, the author Rep. Kennedy Joseph states that the act would “preserve the law’s power to protect religious freedom, but also clarify that it cannot be used to cause harm." While the language is welcome and inviting, it leaves very broad powers to the government to force compliance over American communities of faith.
Implications of H.R. 1378 :
- The phrase "cause harm" is ill-defined, and therefore all-encompassing of anything that gov't determines to be harmful.
- Removes protections given to faith organizations, originally given by the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993
- Would require churches and faith organizations to provide employees access to health services that go against their religious tenants (i.e. abortion services)
- Prevents churches from hiring individuals based on their belief system.
If passed, this legislation could give gov't and organizations the right to sue and prosecute churches and faith organizations who choose to differentiate hiring based on religious convictions. The humanistic Interfaith Alliance said: “In recent years, bad faith interpretations have distorted RFRA’s protections to justify discrimination and grant individuals and businesses the authority to impose their religious beliefs on others.”
Supporters of this bill include:
- Americans United for Separation of Church and State
- National Center for Transgender Equality
- Planned Parenthood Federation of America
- The Center for American Progress