First Liberty Briefing: To Preserve Religious Liberty, We Must Respect Other Religions

First Liberty Briefing: To Preserve Religious Liberty, We Must Respect Other Religions October 26, 2017

A Satanist was imprisoned and fined after defacing a Jewish academy’s religious objects. But he didn’t understand one important truth about religious freedom. Learn more at

To Preserve Religious Liberty, We Must Respect Other Religions

Thank you for joining us for the First Liberty Briefing, an exclusive podcast where host Jeremy Dys—also First Liberty Senior Counsel—provides an insider’s look at the stories, cases, people and laws that have made America the world’s leader in protecting religious liberty.

The students and faculty of the Margolin Hebrew Academy were staying overnight at the Doubletree Hotel in Jackson, Mississippi en route to Gatlinburg, Tennesee. While there, they used a meeting room at the hotel to conduct their Sabbath worship service. A Torah, religious books, and musical instruments were left in the meeting room overnight with the intention of continuing with their worship the following morning.

To Preserve Religious Liberty, We Must Respect Other Religions
Image: Jackson Police Department

Justin Baker, a self-professed anti-Christian, anti-Semitic Satanist, was a security guard at the hotel that night and he discovered the religious objects. He spat on the Torah and defaced the books with profanity and phrases including “Hail Satan.”

Baker was arrested and sentenced to five years in prison for his religious discrimination and required to pay $9,999.99 in restitution damages.

And, I somehow doubt he’s employed today as a security guard.

Baker may have been tempted to use religious liberty in a perverse attempt to justify his wicked actions, suggesting his adherence to the religion of Satanism motivated his actions.

He would be wrong.

Religious liberty is not a free pass to do what one likes. It is itself restrained for the good of religion as a whole and the dignity of the person. But, the principals of religious liberty never sanction destroying the property of another. Rather, religious liberty demands that we respect the religions with which we may disagree. When we break that societal, social compact and deny others the freedom to exercise their religion, it is proper for the authorities to enforce the penalties of the law.

To learn how First Liberty is protecting Religious Liberty for all Americans, visit

First Liberty Institute is the largest organization in the nation dedicated exclusively to protecting religious freedom for all Americans. Find out more here.

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