Freedom of ‘religion’ not ‘worship’

Senator James Lankford (R-OK) today applauded the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) decision to change its documentation to accurately reflect America’s First Amendment right of freedom of “religion,” and not just freedom of “worship.”

Last year, Lankford urged the Department to make this change. On Thursday, DHS issued a notice to the public that they are currently in the process of updating all relevant internal and external publications, including test study materials, to reflect this ‘freedom of religion’ change in terminology.

“I applaud the Department of Homeland Security for listening to me and deciding to change their material to reflect our First Amendment right of freedom of religion,” said Lankford. “At first glance, it appears like a small matter, but it is actually an important distinction for the Constitution and the First Amendment. The ‘freedom of religion’ language reflects our right to live a life of faith at all times, while the ‘freedom of worship’ reflects a right simply confined to a particular space and location. We live in a great nation that allows individuals to live out their faith, or have no faith at all. To protect freedom and diversity, we must carefully articulate this right throughout the federal government.”

The DHS Citizenship and Immigration Services naturalization test used to only reflect freedom of worship, however, DHS will now change the materials to read “freedom of religion” to fully express America’s free exercise of religion.

Lankford serves on the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, and is co-chairman of the Congressional Prayer Caucus.