Northwest Religious Liberty Association
The Northwest Religious Liberty Association, organized in 1906, and reorganized in 1991, serves the states of Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, and Washington through its team of government relations representatives and attorneys. The Northwest Religious Liberty Association partners with the North American and International Religious Liberty Associations to defend religious freedom here and abroad.
Dedicated to protecting religious freedom, we seek to empower legislative, administrative, and judicial authorities, and the public at large, with an accurate and reasonable understanding of the First Amendment.
Championing a balanced approach in the church-state constitutional arena is becoming increasingly difficult. The goal of preventing church and state institutions from becoming excessively entangled must be balanced with safeguarding the right of individuals and institutions to freely express and practice their religious convictions without government intrusion.
Some attempt to tear down the constitutional wall separating church and state by coercing all levels of government to endorse and fund Christianity and its majoritarian ultimatums. This violates the First Amendment command that no legislature shall make any law “respecting an establishment of religion.”
Others attempt to freeze religious access and expression out of the public square by upholding extreme separation standards, violating the command that no legislature shall make any law “prohibiting the free exercise thereof…”
Declaration of Principles
We vigilantly guard against both extremes and their potential interpretive harm to the US and State constitutions. This is reflected in our statement of principles:
We believe that the God-given right of religious liberty is best exercised when church and state are separate. Government is God’s agency to protect individual rights and to conduct civil affairs; in exercising these responsibilities, officials are entitled to respect and cooperation.
Religious liberty entails freedom of conscience: to worship or not to worship; to profess, practice, and promulgate religious beliefs; or to change them. In exercising these rights, however, one must respect the equivalent rights of all others.
Attempts to unite church and state are opposed to the interest of each, subversive of human rights, and potentially persecuting in character. To oppose union lawfully and honorably is not only the citizen’s duty, but also the essence of the Golden Rule – to treat others as one wishes to be treated.
These values characterize the foundation of our mission. We uphold and applaud efforts to pursue these principles at all levels of government.
Our Charter defines our mission:
(1) To preserve religious liberty by monitoring governmental activities at their various levels in the states of Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon and Washington; by advocating changes in existing or proposed legislation; and by making appropriate representations to the officials of state, county, and municipal governments
(2) To protect religious liberty by assisting individuals, employers, and labor organizations in facilitating religious accommodations.
(3) To enhance religious liberty by raising the consciousness of its principles and ideals as expressed in state and federal law, this educational effort is to include public rallies and seminars, the circulation of Liberty magazine and Liberty Express, and formal and informal visits with public officials and those of public influence, as well as people of all walks of life.
Our Expanding Vision
We continually study to become more effective representatives and, in addition to our defense of First Amendment rights, we embrace an active role in carefully chosen areas of civic and moral reform, where such action is compatible with our declared principles and mission.
We invite others to join us in a coalition:
To advance the cause of religious liberty,
To encourage civic and moral reforms that do not compromise individual freedom,
And to thwart any law that establishes religion or prohibits its free exercise.