According to a disturbing new report from the First Liberty Institute, attacks on religious freedom have gone through the roof over the last six years. The report shows that there were more than 1,400 hostile acts against religious expression in 2016 compared with only 600 documented attacks in 2011.
“Quantitatively and qualitatively, the hostility is undeniable,” said the report. “And it is dangerous. This past year has seen the continuation of high-profile attacks on religious liberty in the public arena as people of faith have been fired, refused employment, or fined for practicing their faith or speaking out about their religious beliefs.”
The report’s authors said that even the staggering figures the First Liberty Institute had arrived at could underestimate what’s really happening to people of faith in America.
“What we collect is just what’s published,” CEO Kelly Shackelford told reporters. “So really it is just the tip of the iceberg because what’s published is really a fraction of what is actually happening. 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.”
It goes without saying that the left is responsible for the overwhelming majority of attacks on religious freedom, though not all of these attacks are aimed at white Christians – a favorite foe of American liberals. Quite the contrary, religious freedom laws – seen as the height of evil by today’s leftists – have been used to defend Muslims, American Indians, Sikhs, Jews, and people of nearly every faith you can think of. They are an essential aspect of our national fabric. The institute responsible for the report isn’t kidding when they refer to religious freedom as our “first liberty.”
Unfortunately, we are in danger of leaving that liberty to die on the vine. Our federal government has for some time erred on the side of placing too much emphasis on regulation and too little emphasis on liberty. Americans have been led to believe that government must step in, regulate, criminalize, and sue at the first hint of “discrimination,” and that’s the source of today’s troubles. There used to be a presumption of freedom in this country. The government used to need a damn good reason to go meddling in the affairs of the people. No longer. Now the government comes under fierce attack by the left when it does nothing, even when there is simply nothing to do.
And of course, what about those “discrimination” cases? Well, they are absurd. As you know, most of them recently have to do with the LGBT movement, which has suckered America into believing that gay couples have a right – a CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT – to force bakeries to cater their weddings! A right that trumps the FIRST F’ING AMENDMENT! It would be laughable if it were not so damned sad.
Religious freedom must be protected, because religious freedom stands for all the rest. It is not separate from our freedom of speech, of expression. It is not separate from our constitutional mandate to live as a free people. It is, indeed, the foundation.