by Nathan A. Cherry, 09/10/2012
Does anyone know where religious freedom is headed in America? There has to be an end-game, right? With the recent HHS mandate there is a dark cloud looming over the country as uncertain people of faith wonder what the next step is going to be. Until recently Americans enjoyed broad religious freedom whether in public or private. Increasingly, however, we are seeing attacks on religious freedom that are more reminiscent of communist countries.
It seems every day we are hearing about a new attack on religious freedom, but let me just highlight some of the most recent reports I’ve mentioned in the past few months:
“Hercules Industries in Colorado fighting against the Obama HHS mandate (not to mention Catholic charities and universities). Or the church in Florida threatened with removal from the school they met in because they taught homosexuality was sin. I could talk about the restaurant in Pennsylvania being attacked for offering a discount to people that bring a church bulletin with them. And I could mention the Water park in Arkansas being harassed by the ACLU for offering a discount to church groups. Or even the kids right here in West Virginia that were told they could not write Jesus’ birthday was the reason for Christmas on their school papers. The list is endless.”
Just in case that’s not enough, let me mention the photographer in New Mexico fined for not providing service for a lesbian civil ceremony. And the Bronx Household of Faith case in New York city that threatens to evict dozens of churches from public schools.
But a couple of cases from Europe are particularly interesting given our countries recent pattern of following European trends and laws. WND.com reports:
“The European Court of Human Rights is expected to decide soon whether Christians across the continent can be forced by employers to act in violation of their religious faith…In Europe, the conflict has been developing for several years already, and is culminating with an expected ruling from the ECHR on four different cases…They are the Eweida and Chaplin cases, in which employees were disciplined for wearing ‘a small cross on a chain around their neck,’ and the Ladele and McFarlane cases, in which public employees were ordered to perform same-sex civil ceremonies in violation of their biblically based beliefs.”
Why are these cases so important?
Simply stated, these cases will provide litigation patterns sure to be followed by “civil rights” lawyers and groups here in the U.S. If the plaintiffs in these cases lose, and their religious freedom and convictions are not upheld and defended by the court, then we are certain to see the strategies used by the European government in these cases utilized her ein America as well.
The European Center for Law and Justice is arguing that the government and employers have a responsibility to protect and defend the religious convictions and conscience of people rather than violate them:
“The employer has the obligation to respect the freedom of conscience and religion of his employees and not to practice discrimination in this respect. The employees’ internal conscience enjoys full protection: the employer cannot discriminate against, or penalize, an employee for his beliefs or religion. Nor can he force them to change their beliefs or religion.”
So while the Obama administration continues to trample religious freedom and conscience with its HHS mandate, among other things, we continue to watch these cases cautiously. Obama has proven that he is no friend of religious freedom and doesn’t care if he violates the religious beliefs of a majority of Americans. He is more interested in his liberal social agenda than anything else.
Religious Freedom is not something to be dismissed with the wave of a hand or the stroke of a pen. It is a foundational principle that has driven this country since its founding. We must continue to defend it and oppose those that would seek to limit or end it. If not for ourselves, for our children and grand-children.
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About Nathan Cherry
Nathan Cherry is the chief editor and blogger for the Engage Family Minute blog, the official blog of the FPCWV. He serves also as the Regional Development Coordinator as a liaison to the pastor's of West Virginia. He is a pro-life, pro-traditional marriage, pro-religious freedom conservative. He is also a husband, father, pastor, author, musician, and follower of Jesus Christ.