“Freedom to Worship” is NOT Freedom of Religion

“Freedom to Worship” is NOT Freedom of Religion June 9, 2015
Photo Source: Wikimedia Commons, Official Senate Photo, Public Domain
Photo Source: Wikimedia Commons, Official Senate Photo, Public Domain

Oklahoma’s Senator James Lankford raised the question, and it’s a good one.

President Obama has staked the legacy of his presidency on a tyrannical revision of the First Amendment  to limit the Constitutional right to the free exercise of religion to activities conducted out of sight and behind the closed doors of church sanctuaries. Senator Lankford, along with Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council, asked if this has hurt United States’ efforts to speak for religious freedom in other countries.

From Christian Post Politics:

Sen. James Lankford, R-Okla., and Family Research Council president Tony Perkins argued that limiting religious freedom to “freedom of worship” in the United States has hurt efforts to advocate for religious freedom abroad.

“I think the lack of priority on religious freedom that we have placed here domestically on our policies does send a message internationally. I think there is a correlation between the growing intolerance of religious freedom, not freedom of worship, but the growing intolerance toward religious freedom, like in the marketplace, is giving rise to persecution abroad,” Perkins asserted before the U.S. Senate’s State, Foreign Operations Subcommittee hearing on protecting international religious freedom Wednesday. “We no longer make it a priority here domestically, that sends a message to bad actors abroad that ‘America no longer puts a high priority on religious freedoms so we don’t have to worry about them moving against us based on that.’

Perkins noted how the Obamacare HHS mandate on birth control health care coverage has forced private businesses, like Hobby Lobby, to go to court to fight for their religious freedom.

In a Thursday interview with The Christian Post, Perkins clarified that there is a clear distinction between the penalizing of Christian business owners in America who stick up for their beliefs and the Christians killed and imprisoned in other parts of the world for their faith. However, there is still a responsibility for American Christians to stand up for their religious rights.

“But as Christians here in this country, if we refrain from speaking out and exercising our freedoms, we put the lives of Christians elsewhere at risk if we allow our religious freedoms here at home to be lost,” Perkins added.

Lankford, who is the co-chair of the Congressional Prayer Caucus and presided in the hearing, agreed with Perkins that the current limitations on religious liberty domestically can have an impact internationally, and added that the United States is responsible for setting a positive precedent.

“I made a comment in my conversation with the panelists that the United States has a responsibility to be a beacon of light for religious liberty and free speech and tolerance of individuals,” Lankford told CP. “When we set that example, we can multiply, we are on a good platform to do that. When we begin to limit free speech and freedom of religion in the United States, it diminishes our opportunity to be able to do that worldwide.”

“So, when universities want to be able to limit what Christian organizations can do on a campus, when Navy chaplains are limited on what they can say and do in regards to Scripture, when individuals can’t fully live out their faith in the workplace, those become serious issues because it diminishes the rights that we want to encourage worldwide within our own country,” Lankford continued.

Since President Barack Obama took office, the notion of “freedom of worship,” as opposed to “freedom of religion,” has become a contentious issue.

Read more at http://www.christianpost.com/news/does-obamas-freedom-of-worship-hurt-international-religious-freedoms-135574/#Asd8P3RTSkVZC8LB.99



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7 responses to ““Freedom to Worship” is NOT Freedom of Religion”

  1. I would love to see Congress get off their butt and pass some laws in the area of Religious Freedom. All I am hearing now is talk. Talk is easy and the Republicans have given us only talk.

  2. I think it is a dogmatic belief of the left that religion just isn’t important. President Obama seems to buy into that.

  3. So, what do you think of the following cases where the right of freedom of religion has been invoked?

    There is the tongue in cheek “First Church of Cannabis” created in response to Indiana’s RFRA law:

    There is a more serious claim done by a Rastafarian:

    And on the same topic of marijuana there is this argument for its legalization in Texas. Its not a case explicitly invoking religious freedom, but the argument could be used by a Christian who wanted to:

    Another case that involves a Christian is a woman that was fined for feeding the homeless:

    And finally, there is the Satanic Temple invoking religious freedom to waive the 72-hour waiting period on abortions:

    There is a saying: unless you’re willing to defend somebody’s right to speech you disagree with, you don’t really believe in free speech. The same thing could be applied to the concept of religious freedom.

    So, do you stand on principle and allow the aforementioned requests to circumvent the law in the name of religious freedom, or do you only feel inclined to afford that leniency to the issues and/or groups that you favor?

    If neither, then what criteria do you use to determine which groups and issues are given a pass in the name of religious freedom?

    Just some food for thought.

    • Very good point. Another thing worth noting is that some religions (Unitarians, for example) have been performing gay weddings (spiritual, although the not necessarily legal) for many decades now. The FLDS believe polygamy brings them closer to God. Religious freedom laws will certainly be used to further legalize gay marriage and could be a factor in eventually legalizing polygamy.

      My fear is that religious freedom laws are going to force the government into having to declare which religions are “real” and deserve protection, and which are “fake”. This seems a very dangerous thing, and there will certainly be backlash from any religion declared “fake”.

    • I read somewhere, maybe the local paper, that the Indiana church is not considered a real religion but only a group trying to use the pretense of religion to break the drug laws and would therefore lose their case. I’m totally in support of allowing people who really have a religious reason for their actions to break the less important laws. Not commit murder, obviously, but use drugs for religious purposes, certainly.

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