Thursday, September 14, 2017

Attacks On Religious Liberty Up 133%

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A new report released this week shows there has been a 133% increase in domestic attacks on religious liberty in the past 5 years.

So far this year it is up 15%.

The authors of the report, "Undeniable: The Survey of Hostility To Religion in America," say "To deny that religious freedom is in crises in America is to deny the obvious."

Indeed. And the hostility is primarily directed at Christianity.

The First Liberty Institute, a conservative legal group dedicated to defending people and organizations whose First Amendment rights have been violated, released the exhaustive report this week.

The 420-page report highlights cases reported in the last few years in which Americans have had their religious liberty rights infringed upon or "attacked" in one way or another.

I would encourage you to at least glance at the full report. While it is lengthy, it is comprehensive. And very well laid out in categories of the various institutions in which religious liberty has been most under attack.

This is an overview of the report which focuses on:

  1. public arena
  2. military
  3. public schools
  4. churches

The authors say:
To deny that religious freedom is in crisis in America is to deny the obvious. And yet there are deniers. Ironically, they include those who launch the very attacks that have caused the crisis itself," the report explains. "The American people, however, deserve the truth. For that reason, every year a team of legal researchers at First Liberty Institute — led by a Harvard-trained constitutional attorney — investigates and documents the rise in the number and severity of domestic attacks on religion.
It's school cases, it's military cases, it's open public places cases, employment cases. Unfortunately, it is not just one particular area of society, it's across the board. What we collect is just what's published. So really it is just the tip of the iceberg because what's published is really a fraction of what is actually happening.

Kelly Shackelford and his team at First Liberty say, "Most people just take it. They don't call. They don't know there is a place they can get help. They don't have enough money to hire a legal team."

They say the significant growth in hostility toward religion---specifically Christianity, doesn't reflect the actual numbers. It's worse than it appears when you look at what is actually happening

The Christian Post highlights one of these 1,400 cases. One that involves Alexia Palma, a health clinic worker in inner city Houston in 2016 who was fired because of her faith.

As part of her job, Palma taught several classes, including one called "Becoming a Mom." Although the clinic asked Palma to teach a class on birth control, she had always been allowed to opt out of doing so by showing a film instead because she felt doing so would have violated her Catholic faith.
But after she came under new management, she was told that she wasn't allowed to show the video and that she must teach the class about birth control herself. But thanks to a complaint filed to the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission by First Liberty, Palma later agreed to a favorable legal settlement with her former employer.
"For a year-and-a-half, I just showed the video, there wasn't any complaints and the patients received their information. Then, I came under new management. The next thing you know, I was getting called into a meeting where they told me that I needed to put my religious beliefs aside if I wanted to continue being a health educator," Palma, an immigrant from Guatemala, said during the conference call.
"I was shocked because teaching that class constituted about two percent of my job. I even had another employee that volunteered to teach the class for me but they were like, 'No, you have to personally teach the class.' I told them I couldn't. I told them my faith would always come first and I was terminated because of that."

As I looked through the report, I noticed a number of cases we have talked about on our radio program and written about here, including football Coach Joe Kennedy at Bremerton High School, baker Jack Phillips, Barronnel Stutzman and others.

All of our Founding Fathers recognized the importance of religion and its free exercise and expression in our society.

They spoke clearly and often about the importance of religion in a society---specifically referring to the Christian faith that formed the foundation for this nation.

Thomas Jefferson was 1 of the 2 least religious of our Founding Fathers---the other was Ben Franklin. However, even Jefferson recognized the importance of God and His Word in our public life.

God who gave us life gave us liberty. And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are of the Gift of God?
That they are not to be violated but with His wrath? Indeed, I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that His justice cannot sleep forever..."
--Notes on the State of Virginia, Query XVIII, p. 237. Jefferson

Be Informed. Be Vigilant. Be Discerning. Be Faithful. Be Prayerful.