January 16, 2020 marks an important milestone in the protection of religious liberty – and therefore in human decency. 

President Trump announced that his administration is updating federal guidance for prayer in public schools and other initiatives aimed at protecting religious freedom and discrimination against people and groups of faith.

The changes, announced on National Religious Freedom Day, include new rules directed at nine federal agencies related to social services programs, updating federal guidance on prayer in public schools, and instructing federal agencies to ensure states do not impose anti-religion restrictions on grants of federal funds

The new Guidance on Constitutionally Protected Prayer and Religious Expression in Public Elementary and Secondary Schools is a wonderful primer on the status on religious liberty and is designed to assure that government entitles, including public schools, do not discriminate against people of faith or unlawfully restrict the expression of their faith. 

Here are the three major actions now being taken to protect religious freedom: 

  1. Ensuring Religious Organizations Are Treated the Same as Secular Ones.
  2. Requiring Public Schools to Respect Students’ Rights to Express Their Faith.
  3. Ordering That Federal Grant Programs Cannot Discriminate Against Religious Schools or Organizations.

Too frequently government authorities treat people of faith like second-class citizens. Whether driven by overt hostility, mistaken understanding of constitutional restrictions, intimidation by bigoted anti-religious advocates, or simple ignorance, violations of religious liberty are always offensive. President Trump’s announcement on January 16th makes clear that help is on the way. School employees, government grant administrators, and ideologically driven secular zealots on the public dime are on notice. A new day has dawned for federal intervention to protect our cherished First Freedom.