Religious Freedom Overview

Religious Freedom

I believe that in the United States, the religious civil liberties that are guaranteed by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution are of utmost importance to disciples of Jesus.

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”

The United States was founded on the principle that God, not government, is the source of our fundamental rights. Our Founders, including the 56 signers of the Declaration of Independence, understood this clearly:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men. …” 

The other widely held understanding during the founding era was that religion and morality formed the foundational basis upon which both our society and our form of government rested:

“Of all the dispositions and habits, which lead to political prosperity, Religion and Morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of Patriotism, who should labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness, these firmest props of the duties of Men and Citizens.” — President George Washington’s Farewell Address, 1796 

“Our Constitution was made only for a religious and moral people. It is wholly inadequate for the government of any other.” — President John Adams, 1798

Consider these few troubling examples of current issues

  • This Cake Baker Won At The Supreme Court. Now The State Is Trying To Get Revenge — Read more
  • Pastor faces eviction for hosting home Bible studyPublished August 23, 2018
  • Is religious liberty in America under threat? — Read more Published August 21, 2018
  • Canada clamping down on religious freedom —  Read more … Published August 7, 2018
  • Amendment to Protect Religious Freedom of Adoption Providers Attached to Appropriations Bill in House –  Read more … Publish article on July 25, 2018

Here are some other highlights

  • As part of the Affordable Care Act the federal government has issued a controversial policy — commonly known as the “HHS mandate” — which will require employers to provide possible abortion-causing drugs via their company health plans, even if they object to it on religious or moral grounds. Millions of dollars in fines, bankruptcy and/or the dissolution of their businesses are the only alternatives available to public and private companies who object to the mandate.
  • The Internal Revenue Service has engaged in harassment of numerous conservative groups. In fact, pro-life organizations were asked overtly intrusive questions regarding the content of the prayers its members pray!
  • New Jersey officials revoked part of a church’s tax-exemption status and found it “guilty of discrimination” for refusing to rent a part of its facilities for a same-sex civil union ceremony.
  • Nurses in state-funded hospitals around the nation have been threatened with termination for refusing to participate in abortion procedures on religious and moral grounds.
  • County clerks in New York state were threatened with criminal prosecution for refusing to issue same-sex marriage licenses and/or attempting to delegate the responsibility, after the passage of a same-sex marriage law there in 2010.
  • Since 2006, Catholic Charities has been forced to abandon its adoption services in Boston and the District of Columbia, because of its biblical stance on placing children only in homes with heterosexual married couples. in Illinois, the state government took it a step further and refused to renew contracts with Catholic Charities and other faith-based adoption agencies for the same reason, effectively putting them out of business.
  • A post-graduate counseling student at a state university in Michigan was expelled from the program for asking if she could refer a homosexual client to another counselor. She cited her Christian beliefs as the reason for the referral.
  • Pharmacists in Illinois and Washington state were ordered, at the risk of losing their professional licenses, to stock and sell possible abortion-causing drugs against their conscience.
  •  In El Paso, Texas, a grand jury was convened by a local prosecutor to look into possible criminal charges against members of a local church. The mayor complained the church circulated petitions in favor of a ballot initiative to stop the city’s attempt to provide taxpayer-funded domestic-partner benefits to unmarried government employees.
  • In the past few years, an increased number of owners of bed and breakfast innsbakeriesphotography shops, and florists have all been subjected to state and local government sanctions and prosecution for refusing, for reasons of religious conscience, to furnish goods or services in furtherance of same-sex ceremonies.
  • in 2012, politicians in Chicago and Boston threatened to prevent Chick-fil-A from opening new franchises in their cities, because of its owners’ public stance on the biblical definition of marriage.
  • A federal judge threatened all participants in a Texas high school graduation ceremony, including the school’s valedictorian, with jail time if there was a prayer offered by anyone At the ceremony.