by Diane Robertson
This week I received an email from Alliance Defending Freedom, a group of lawyers who defend religious freedom, that began thus:
Do you ever wonder what the future will look like for your children and grandchildren?
We live in a world where religious freedom for future generations cannot be assumed. It must be fought for—every day.”
As I have studied the issues, written for UFI, discussed the issues with friends, family, and strangers, and written and spoken with lawmakers, I have often thought, “Have we so little compassion for the destinies of our own children that we can feel just about ignoring the destruction of the freedoms we have enjoyed?”
There are so many reasons people give to ignore the current erosion of religious freedom– we are too busy; losing our freedom is inevitable; religious freedom marginalizes people with other beliefs; religion itself is bigoted and old fashioned, and so on. The fight for religious freedom is not a friendly fight.
It’s true that those on the side of religious freedom are continually disparaged. They are told that their views are based on bigotry and hate for certain groups of people. It’s hard to stand up against such demeaning accusations. And it is certainly not true for most. Most people fighting for religious freedom do so because they believe that everyone should be allowed to live and work according to the dictates of their conscience. They believe in property rights, freedom of belief, and freedom of conscience. They oppose laws that limit the ability of people to live, work, and worship as they believe.
In the same email mentioned above, ADF reported that their:
“Clients are regular people who were going about their daily business—work, school, church—until they were confronted by a culture intolerant of their faith. A Christian printer faced a boycott and lawsuit because he politely declined to print t-shirts promoting the local ‘pride’ festival. A decorated firefighter was suspended because of a Christian book he wrote in his spare time. A college student was threatened with expulsion because of her Christian beliefs. A church was told that their house of worship is no longer sacred, but just another public accommodation.”
These are a few of the ways religious freedom is eroding in North America. It has hit some individuals hard. There are forces working to establish laws that would limit what churches can do in their buildings and even what religious leaders are allowed to preach. There are forces working to regulate private property as if it were public or government property.
To help our children and grandchildren enjoy the same freedoms we have enjoyed, we must study the issues, understand current events, and speak up. Losing our religious freedom is only as inevitable as we allow it to be. If enough people act, freedom can still be preserved for the generations to come.