INDIANAPOLIS—“Our country is not your church.”

It’s a popular argument that has been heard and seen at pro-abortion protests—a reaction to anti-abortion advocates citing Christianity in particular but a religion in general as a motive to “protect the sanctity of life.”

According to a study from PewResearch.org, 53% of people who attend religious services at least once a week believe abortion should be illegal in all or most cases, and 71% of people who pray daily believe abortion should be illegal in all or most cases.

Of people who think abortion should be legal in all or most cases, only 18% say they use their religion as their source of guidance on what is right and wrong.

That’s why it may come as a surprise to some that nearly 400 faith leaders and laypeople from across the state have written and/or signed a letter to Gov. Eric Holcomb and the Indiana General Assembly stating that banning abortion infringes on Hoosiers’ religious freedom and bodily autonomy. The letter is being hand delivered and emailed to Holcomb and all 150 Indiana legislators.

The multi-faith collective that signed this letter consists of Protestants, Jews, Muslims, Catholics, Hindus and Buddhists.

The group expressed in the letter that the Constitution guarantees religious freedom and that religions view reproductive matters differently.

“For example, the premise that human life begins at conception or that an embryo should be accorded legal protection is not a universally held tenet. Those who hold that belief have every right to do so, but Indiana should not privilege one particular Christian belief above other religious beliefs by codifying it into law,” the group writes.

“To do so violates the separation of church and state and robs other people of faith—who understand conception, reproduction, pregnancy and autonomy differently—of the freedom to make these decisions in accordance with their core religious beliefs.”

A member of the group stressed the importance of getting so many people from different religious backgrounds to come together and form this message.

“We are sending a powerful message to our governor and legislators that this is a matter of religious freedom—a freedom that should not be curtailed by state laws favoring one faith perspective over others,” said Sandy Eisenberg Sasso, Rabbi Emerita of Congregation Beth El Zedeck in Indianapolis and co-founder of Women4Change Indiana.

Although the multi-faith collective argues this is a religious issue, the group members wrote that it goes beyond religion and robs a woman of her bodily autonomy.

“Importantly, we note that reproductive health care is a uniquely sensitive and private matter and one that uniquely affects women’s ability to stand in equal citizenship, make choices in their and their family’s best interests, and determine how, when, and why to use their God-given talents,” the group writes.

The group doesn’t want to be the only voice heard, however.

“We urge our legislature to listen not only to what this group of religious leaders and laypeople have to say but also to their constituents from all parts of the state who believe that abortion should remain legal,” said Rev. John Van Nuys of Wabash Avenue Presbyterian Church in Crawfordsville.

FOOTNOTE: Zachary Roberts is a reporter for TheStatehouseFile.com, a news website powered by Franklin College jour