A United States Government agency has robustly affirmed the right to religious expression in the workplace.
A policy statement by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), backs the right of employees to express views on same-sex marriage, transsexualism, and sexual ethics at work without fear of repercussions.
Employees are told they can “share their varying viewpoints on these topics”, through conversation, literature and other means.
Travis Weber, Director of the Center for Religious Liberty at the Family Research Council welcomed the USDA’s commitment to “respecting the First Amendment”.
The policy could help protect people like Steve Tennes, a farmer who was banned from selling his products at market because of his biblical view on marriage.
Tennes was excluded from attending a local market when he wrote that marriage is the union of one man and one woman on his company’s Facebook page.
His legal case is ongoing, but a preliminary injunction means he is allowed to return to market for the time being.
Freedom of religion
The policy comes shortly after US Attorney General Jeff Sessions issued Government-wide guidance which protects religious liberty.
At the time, he stated: “Americans do not give up their freedom of religion by participating in the marketplace, partaking of the public square, or interacting with Government”.
Commenting on these guidelines, Travis Weber said that Sessions had put federal Government agencies on notice that they should “not only respect the freedom of every American to believe but live according to those beliefs”.