“The Free Exercise of Religion”

“The Free Exercise of Religion” October 28, 2021

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”  (Amendment 1.  U. S. Constitution.)

Note the wording of what must not be prohibited:  “the free exercise” of religion.

But when progressives talk about religious liberty, they tend to refer to “the freedom to worship.”  But the “exercise” of religion means the freedom to act on one’s religious beliefs.

Sean Spicer, former White House press secretary under Donald Trump, makes that point in an article at National Review entitled Democrats’ Assault on Religious Liberty Began with an Innocuous-Sounding Phrase. He writes,

Words matter. When politicians speak of freedom of worship, they are saying that you are free to worship any way you choose in your home or in your house of worship. But they don’t want your religion to affect the way you live your life in public or the way you conduct your business. Democrats and progressives say that you are perfectly free to pray and worship in any way you choose — as long as you do so behind closed doors.

But if you are a Christian businessperson, you must set aside your convictions and pay for your employees’ abortions. If you are a Christian baker, you must set aside your conscience and create a cake that celebrates a same-sex wedding. You may practice your faith in your house of worship one day a week. The rest of the week, your conscience belongs to the State, not your Creator.

But the First Amendment guarantees much more than freedom of worship. It guarantees the free exercise of religion. This means that you are free to practice your religion wherever you are, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, in every aspect of your life.

Spicer goes on to point out that the Do No Harm Act–the bill being considered by Congress that amends the Religious Freedom Restoration Act [RFRA] so that it cannot apply to cases of “discrimination” when it comes to abortion, disapproval of homosexuality, rejection of transgenderism, and the like–is a direct assault on the “free exercise” of religion.  As would, I would add, the Equality Act, which, approaching the issue from the other side, disallows RFRA claims from applying to such issues.

The article is drawn from Spicer’s new book Radical Nation:  Joe Biden and Kamala Harris’s Dangerous Plan for America.


Photo:   “Freedom to Worship,” from the Liberty Garden, a 9/11 Memorial, at Eden Park, Cincinnati, Ohio, photo by elycefeliz, via Flickr,  Creative Commons 2.0 License.  No alterations.


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