From The International Ad Hoc Religion & Justice Observatory Committee
Events in an ongoing trial in Los Angeles Superior Court pose a severe threat to religious freedom. I was outraged to find that a judge had taken it upon herself to not only make a defendant’s religion an issue in a criminal trial, but also to interpret religious doctrine in complete violation of the First Amendment – and even to go so far as to allow a hostile opponent of the religion to testify as an expert on its doctrine. U.S. courts are meant to be the impartial guardians of fairness and justice, and governed by the principles of liberty contained in the First Amendment. Religious liberty and the separation of Church and State, as contained in that Amendment, are at the bedrock of this country. But like all liberties, they cannot be taken for granted. These events prompted me to ring the alarm in the religious community. I wrote a letter to the Court to address the issues, and a wide range of religious leaders and advocates of religious freedom have signed on. So it is we raise our voices in solidarity, in the following letter sent to the Court on May 6, 2023.