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Dem Jewish House members urge Trump to observe religious freedom

More than 20 Democratic Jewish members of the House of Representatives call on US President Donald Trump to not sign an executive order that would exempt religious organizations from adhering to nondiscrimination protection.

The letter sent on Thursday was in reaction to news reports that Trump would sign the order allowing federally funded, faith-based organizations to discriminate against people they believe act in a manner inconsistent with their religious beliefs and values.

“The use of religious faith as a tool to discriminate contradicts a core American value, and the principles of social justice and equality so central to our Jewish faith,” says Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D.-Fla., a signer of the letter, in a statement issued from her office.

Among the lifestyles objected to by the faith-based organizations, which could include some Orthodox Jewish organizations, are same-sex marriage, premarital sex, abortion and transgender identity.

“Just as our nation’s foundational texts call on us to preserve and promote equal justice under the law, the ancient Jewish command of ‘tzedek, tzedek tirdof,’ or ‘justice, justice shall you seek!’ compels us to speak out against bigotry, discrimination, injustice. This guiding tenet informs our ardent opposition to any rules, orders, or policies that would allow discrimination against our constituents based on their identity or beliefs,” the letter says.

“Make no mistake — we celebrate the right of all people to worship and believe in accordance with their faith. However, this right does not override the rights of other Americans to live their truth, receive necessary health care services or seek employment,” the letter adds.

— JTA

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