"American Values" are the principles by which we as a nation have agreed to be governed by, as well as, the rights we have retained for ourselves. These principles and rights are to be found in the Constitution of the United States, the laws and treaties enacted pursuant thereto and by court decisions interpreting them.
The Jefferson Madison Center is an educational organization that promotes these American Values. The Center is guided by the teachings of its name sakes Thomas Jefferson and James Madision. Consistent with their teachings and in order to perfect our union, the Center encourages all Americans, Congress, the President and the Courts to rededicate themselves to these principles and to conform Religious Liberty Law to them:
We are a nation governed by the rule of law.
The rule of law is the principle that governmental authority is legitimately exercised only in accordance with written, publicly disclosed laws adopted and enforced in accordance with established procedure. The principle is intended to be a safeguard against arbitrary governance. Wikipedia
The Constitution of the United States, the laws enacted by Congress pursuant to it and the treaties adopted under its authority are the supreme Law of the Land. (Const., Art. 6)
We have a representative form of government whereby we elect representatives to represent our interests in Congress. (Const., Art. 1, Sec. 2 and the 17th Amend.)
Majority rules. However, there are certain ("inalienable") rights that are guaranteed by the Constitution that the majority cannot take away by a simple majority. (See, for example, the Bill of Rights)
The very purpose of a Bill of Rights was to withdraw certain subjects from the vicissitudes of poltical controversy, to place them beyond the reach of majorities and officials and to establish them as legal principles to be applied by the courts. West Virginia Board of Education v. Barnett, 319 U.S. 624, 638 (1943)
All people are equal in the eyes of the law. (14th Amend., Sec. 1, [N]o State [shall] deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.)
Citizens have an equal voice in government -- "one person, one vote." (Baker v. Carr, 369 U.S. 186 (1962); see also 15th Amend. (race, color, or previous condition of servitude), the 19th Amend. (sex), the 24th Amend. (poll tax) and the 26th Amend. (18 years of age).
[No] State [shall] deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law. (14th Amend.)
The powers of the United States are divided among three co-equal branches -- the legislative branch which passes laws, the executive branch which carries out the laws and the judicial branch which enforces and interprets the laws. (Const., Arts. 1, 2 and 3)
Americans have other rights in addition to those specified in the Bill of Rights. (9th Amend. The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.) [Ed. Note: This grant of other "rights" is arguably the weakest part of the Constitution because it lacks any standard or direction for determining the nature and scope of the unspecified rights. For example, does the 9th Amendment guarantee the right of privacy? And if so, the right to an abortion? The right to consensual sex with someone of the same sex? Etc.]
The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people. (10th Amend.)
Of Particular Importance to Religious Liberty
We are a Secular nation - We the People of the United States ... do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America. (Preamble to the Const.)
By "secular" it is meant that the authority to govern is derived directly from the citizens rather than a divine source or theocracy and that the government serves for the benefit of the citizens rather than a divine source or theocracy.
[N]o religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States. (Const., Art. 6)
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof ... (1st Amend.) thus building a wall of separation between church and state. (Thomas Jefferson, letter to Danbury [Connecticut] Baptist Association, January 1, 1802)