Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA): Religious Freedom or License to Discriminate?

Do you live near Peoria, Illinois, Clearwater, Florida, New York City, or Austin? Learn more about the history of religious freedom in these upcoming talks by Toni Van Pelt.

Based on religious objections with increasing frequency, we are seeing individuals, businesses, organizations and institutions claiming a right to discriminate by refusing to provide services to women, LGBTI people and the disability community and by resorting to hiring discrimination. These are the same arguments that were used in the 1960s to oppose laws requiring integration in restaurants because of sincerely held beliefs that God wanted the races to be separate. We even saw some religiously affiliated universities refuse to admit students who engaged in interracial dating. Now the radical right is working to expand allowance of this discrimination for “moral” reasons.

Imposing beliefs on others who do not share them goes against the very fiber and core of Secular Humanist, Feminist and shared American family values and principles. Toni Van Pelt will discuss the history of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), and outline the damage it has done to date and the potential for future damage. She will also discuss ways you can help to stem the tide of religious special exemptions to the rule of the law and to assist and insist in the establishment of secular moral principles in American culture.

Sponsored by Peoria Secular Humanist Society
August 18 (Thursday), 6-8pm
Peoria Riverplex, 600 NE Water Street, Peoria, IL 61603

Sponsored by West Pinellas National Organization for Women
September 10 (Saturday), 1-4pm
The Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Clearwater, 2470 Nursery Road, Clearwater, FL, 33764

Sponsored by Secular Humanist Society of New York and New York Society for Ethical Culture (2 W. 64th Street at Central Park West) September 21 (Wednesday), 7pm

October 20 (Thursday), and October 23 (Saturday) Sponsored by The First Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Austin, TX; 7—9pm (4700 Grover, Austin, TX)

Toni is co-founder, president, and Congressional advocate for the Institute for Science and Human Values (ISHV).  She launched and directs one of the first public policy offices of the Secular Humanist movement in Washington DC, which focuses on the importance of science, the use of empirical evidence as the basis for public policy, separation of church and state, secularism, and women’s and LGBTQI rights.

She regularly presents on a variety of issues including proposed federal legislation and regulations, human rights, how to effectively participate in federal and state government, and how to lobby legislative bodies.  Further, she educates on, and advocates for the passage of Equal Rights Amendment and the United Nations Convention to Eliminate Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW).  As a secular humanist, feminist activist and citizen of the world, she serves on the board of the Institute for Humanist Studies, is the Chairwoman of Americans United for Separation of Church and State Speakers Bureau and on many of the boards and committees of the National Organization for Women. She has been recognized by the Veteran Feminists of America for her long time activism for women’s rights.