Religious Liberty: The Coming American Battle

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By Graham Glover

Social conservatives in America have been on the losing end of two epic battles over the past 43 years. The first occurred in 1973 with the decision of the United States Supreme Court in Roe v. Wade to legalize the innocent slaughter of unborn children. The second occurred in 2015 when the Court fundamentally altered the legal and historical definition of marriage in Obergefell v. Hodges.

While many are pessimistic about Roe v. Wade ever being overturned, I remain hopeful that in the relative near future the Court could reverse course. The Pro-Life movement continues to grow and at times is fortunate to enjoy victories in individual states. This, coupled with its steadfast stance over the past 4 decades, puts us, I believe, on the cusp of a new generations of pro-life citizens, voters, and politicians, that will once again protect that must fundamental human right: the right to life.

As for the marriage debate, I’m not so optimistic. The radical change in public opinion and law that we have seen over the past few years on this issue is startling and really without precedence. Additionally, the insistence of the current administration to further alter society’s understanding of what it means to be a male and female under the guise of “transgender rights” is a sign of what is to come, that is, a desire and plan to completely and utterly redefine what it is to be human.

Despite these setbacks, social conservatives march on, holding true to our principles, advocating and fighting for what is right and true. This march must continue, even if the future becomes darker as more political battles are lost. For upholding truth on the issues of life and marriage should never be compromised, even in the midst of a political culture which is intensely committed to an ethos that runs contrary to it.

But there remains a battle that social conservatives will likely fight that should make every freedom loving American cringe. This battle could get ugly. Real ugly. It’s the battle over religious liberty.

church and state

As the 1st Commandment is the commandment which forms all others, so too is the 1St Amendment with respect to the United States Bill of Rights. More than any other liberty, Americans hold their right to religion, speech, and assembly.

Why then is religious liberty at risk? How could this enshrined national right be something that social conservatives would have to fight to preserve?

[A quick caveat: no matter what may happen to American’s freedom to practice their faith freely and without recourse, Christians should never lose hope over what the government does with respect to religious liberty. Christians have, are, and will continue to suffer and be persecuted because of our faith. But this doesn’t mean that the Church ceases to exist. The Word of God and the promises of our Lord do not depend on “rights” that the government grants to its citizens. In other words, the Church remains Church no matter what “Caesar” says or does.]

The coming fight over religious liberty is rooted in the desire of some in our society to control and dictate speech, specifically, religious speech. These religious liberty deniers have no problem with one’s “personal” faith (remember, they have no problem with what you personally want to do to your body). You can believe whatever you want. Their problem is with the public proclamation of your faith. Here, in the outward expression and practice of certain teachings within some religions, the religious liberty deniers want to radically reinterpret how the 1st Amendment is understood. Ultimately, they want to deny religious teachings and speech that they find offensive.

This desire is really a desire to completely redefine religion. The denies of religious liberty want to be the authors of what religion is and how citizens should practice it. Never mind if they are not adherents to the religion they critique or if they are, it matters not that they have no power in that particular religious organization. Religious liberty deniers have one goal in mind: to take away the ability of some religions and their members to freely and without recourse practice their faith.

This battle is coming. The threat is real, it is direct, and those who wish to fight it have an agenda that should make every freedom loving American cringe. Our responsibility as Americans is to be ready to fight. Our hope as Christians is in the love of our Savior and the promise of forgiveness and eternal life that he offers.

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