The Do No Harm Act (H.R. 1450, S. 593) is a bill that would limit the negative impact of religious exemptions in federal law in areas such as civil rights and health care coverage.
American Atheists has long opposed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) because it gives special treatment to religion above and beyond what the First Amendment requires or allows.
While RFRA was originally intended as a shield to protect religious minorities, this law is now being used as a weapon to justify the denial of health care coverage for employees, to allow for discrimination, and to undermine child labor and abuse laws.
Religious beliefs should never justify special exemptions from the law.
The Do No Harm Act would take a step in the right direction by making sure than any religious exemptions under RFRA do not shift the burden to third parties like young people in foster care, people receiving services from the federal government, or employees of religious business-owners.
As bill sponsor Congressman Bobby Scott explained, the Do No Harm Act will ensure that, “religious freedom is only used as a shield to protect individuals from discrimination and not a sword to cut down the rights of others.”