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Opposition Voices > Religious Opposition to Real ID

Religious Opposition to Real ID

Many religious organizations and members of a variety of religions oppose Real ID.  They have expressed a range of concerns about how the Act will infringe on religious freedom. Among stated concerns are:

  • Photo Capture: Members of certain religious faiths, including many Native American groups and some Muslim women, object to having their picture taken. At least six states – Arkansas, Indiana, Iowa, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsincurrently grant an exemption to their photo requirement. However, Real ID would void this sensible protection of religious freedom, requiring all license applicants to submit to "digital capture" of their image and trample on the liberty of worshipers of all denominations.
"Mennonites Leaving Missouri Over Photo Requirement," Associated Press, March 19, 2007.
  • The Amish: Amish and Mennonite groups are exempted from various laws because of their religious beliefs, including participation in Social Security and compulsory secondary school attendance (the latter exemption was upheld in 1972 by the Supreme Court in Wisconsin v. Yoder). They do not carry driver’s licenses, and conscription into the Real ID program would violate many of their beliefs including a prohibition on being photographed.
"Amish-Mennonites Face Dilemma of Faith vs. National Security," Associated Press, August 17, 2003.

  • Mark of the Beast: Some religious leaders have objected to Real ID because they believe it represents significant step toward the modern day incarnation of the "Mark of the Beast," prophesied in the Book of Revelation: "And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name." (Revelation 13:16).
"Biblical Prophecy Finds Way to Legislators in Battle Over ID Plan," Associated Press, March 11, 2007.

"Will Real ID Become the Mark of the Beast?"
Endtime Magazine, May/June 2006. PDF >
"Real ID a Sign of the Apocalypse?" Concord Monitor, April 23, 2006.

Religious Groups opposed to Real ID:

American Friends Service Committee, National
American Jewish Committee, National
Catholic Charities, Hawaii
Catholic Charities, West Virginia
Catholic Charities Archdiocese of New Orleans, Louisiana
Catholic Charities Immigration Clinic, Mississippi
Catholic Conference of Kentucky
Catholic Immigration Network, Massachusetts
Catholic Legal Immigration Services, Washington DC
Catholic Social Services, Alaska
First Presbyterian Church, North Carolina
Florida Catholic Conference, Florida
Interfaith Refugee and Immigration Ministries, Illinois
Jesuit Refugee Service, Washington DC
Jewish Community Action, Minnesota
Jewish Labor Committee, National
Jews for Racial and Economic Justice, New York
Lutheran Social Ministries of New Jersey
Mennonite Central Committee, Pennsylvania
Navajo United Methodist Center, New Mexico
Our Lady of Victory and Sacred Heart Churches, California
Presbyterian Church (USA), Washington DC
Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, National
Sikh Coalition, New York
Union for Reform Judaism, National
United Methodist Children's Home, Alabama
Washington Association of Churches, Washington


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