Monday, August 01, 2022

Justice Alito-- "Religious Liberty Is At Risk"

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Speaking in Rome last Thursday, Supreme Court Justice Alito said religious liberty is waning and in peril around the world partly because of the waning influence of religion itself.

“It is hard to convince people that religious liberty is worth defending if they don’t think that religion is a good thing that deserves protection,” Alito said last week at the Notre Dame Religious Liberty Summit in Rome.

He says the challenge for those who want to protect religious liberty in the United States and elsewhere is to “convince people who are not religious that religious liberty is worth special protection.”

And he added, “That will not be easy to do."

The fact that the Summit on Religious Liberty was being held in Rome was not lost on Alito.

Be informed, not misled

Religious liberty at risk.

As Justice Alito began his speech, he noted that the "Roman setting also brought to mind how religious freedom has been challenged and championed throughout history."

“I find myself thinking about the proud civilization that was centered here two millennia ago,” Alito said near the beginning of his remarks.

“As I think back, I also think ahead, and I wonder what historians may say centuries from now about the contribution of the United States to world civilization,” he said. “One thing I hope they will say is that our country, after a lot of fits and starts, and ups and downs, eventually showed the world that it is possible to have a stable and successful society in which people of diverse faiths live and work together harmoniously and productively while still retaining their own beliefs."

Then he said this: 

"As the remnants of the Roman Empire make clear throughout the city, no human achievement is ever permanent."

“Therefore, we can’t lightly assume that the religious liberty enjoyed today in the United States, in Europe, and in many other places will always endure. Religious liberty is fragile, and religious intolerance and persecution have been recurring features of human history,” he said.

Indeed, Rome is where St. Peter, St. Paul, and countless other early Christians were martyred.

“Religious liberty is under attack in many places because it is dangerous to those who want to hold complete power,” he said. “It also probably grows out of something dark and deep in the human DNA..."

Indeed it does. More on that in a moment.

He noted, "Another test is the growing number of people who reject religion or don’t think religion is important."

“It is hard to convince people that religious liberty is worth defending if they don’t think that religion is a good thing that deserves protection,” he said. “The challenge for those who want to protect religious liberty in the United States, Europe, and other similar places is to convince people who are not religious that religious liberty is worth special protection. That will not be easy to do.”

Alito concluded with this:

“If religious liberty is protected, religious leaders and other men and women of faith will be able to speak out on social issues. People with deep religious convictions may be less likely to succumb to dominating ideologies or trends, and more likely to act in accordance with what they see as true and right. Civil society can count on them as engines of reform.”

An example of what Alito was talking about. 

CBN is reporting, "Prominent Canadian Pastor Artur Pawlowski, who earned international media attention for defying onerous pandemic restrictions, has been released from prison after reportedly spending close to two months in solitary confinement."

You will likely remember this. I wrote about it here and we talked about it on our daily radio program.

Pastor Pawlowski, who leads Street Church and the Cave of Adallum in Calgary, Alberta, was released last Wednesday after spending 51 days in custody. The preacher’s release comes about six weeks after he was arrested for allegedly inciting “mischief” while addressing a crowd of Freedom Convoy participants at the U.S.-Canada border in Alberta, according to Canadian News.

The authorities have been persistently attempting to shut down this pastor and his church, using Covid restrictions, and other various "tools."

Because he refused to shut down his church per the government mandate, and ordered the authorities to leave until they had a warrant.

Later as the pastor and his brother were driving home following a Sunday service, multiple police units pulled them over---shutting down a freeway--- and arrested the brothers, charging them with contempt of court for holding church services.

Rev. Pawlowski served 51 days in police custody.

Last week they received good news. The Court of Appeals made a unanimous---and legally sound---decision, overturning the charges of contempt, ordering  Alberta Canada's Health Services to pay the Pawlowskis' $15,733.59.

You can't fault the authorities for not doing their best to shut down the church.

This is what Alito is talking about. Attacks on religious liberty from without.

Attacks on religious liberty from within.

Leftist theology is high jacking the church.

Social Justice has become the modern-day Trojan Horse for the church.

Jason Yates, CEO  of My Faith Votes, said last week, "We’re seeing a hydra of involvements between progressives, Leftists, and deconstructionists. I define the Christian Left as this growing constituency of left-leaning Christians (at times, Christians in name only) who willingly embrace a downgraded view of the Bible in favor of a held belief about socialism and Marxism."

He said, "We hear statements like “Jesus was a socialist,” trying to paint Jesus as a Palestinian refugee to support open borders or a diminished view of Israel. We are also seeing a rise in acceptance of the world’s definitions of sexuality and gender."

Search the term “progressive Christianity” on social media platforms like TikTok. You’ll find thousands of videos of so-called Christians attempting to justify alternative lifestyles and immoral practices using Scripture.

Yates says "The Church has become convinced that the Gospel is a social justice gospel. But typically, social justice is just a ruse for critical theory in various forms. That has distracted us from the central message of Jesus Christ."

Continuing he says:

There’s a general message that, as Christians, we should be above politics. We shouldn’t get involved in politics.

From what we see in Scripture, Jesus spent much time talking to the Pharisees and Sadducees. These were the political figures creating rules and laws. Often, we see Jesus actively pushing back against them.

I don’t want to make Jesus a lobbyist by taking this beyond what we see in Scripture because that’s the same mistake we’re seeing on the Left. But Jesus wasn’t afraid to engage in politics, and he wasn’t scared to express the opinion of his Father.

As Christians, we must recognize the influence we hold. If the state grants us the ability to vote and use our voices to make a difference, we commit a disservice by not stepping up and using that to the best of our ability.

Yates says, "The Left talks about the separation of church and state, but they want a church subservient to the state. One practical way to combat this is using our vote."

Billy Graham said, "If you don't take your stand for Christ, you will be on the wrong side, and someday when it is too late, you'll cry out, 'I've taken the wrong stand! You'll be in the devil's trap! You can't lick the devil."

Ephesians 6:11 reminds us to "Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil."

Be Informed. Be Vigilant. Be Engaged. Be Discerning. Be Prayerful.