Governmental Attacks on Religious Freedom

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

~ The First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America

The First Amendment has been under attack for a long time.

The First Amendment contains two clauses pertaining to freedom of religion.  The first, known as the Establishment Clause, reads, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion…”  The second, known as the Free Exercise Clause, reads, “…or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;

The Federal Government has been gradually stripping away the rights of most religions, including Christianity, while at the same time granting and establishing special protection for other religions, especially Secular Humanism.

The U.S. Supreme Court cited Secular Humanism as a religion in the 1961 case of Torcaso v. Watkins (367 U.S. 488).  This allows Secular Humanists the same rights as any other religious people under that Free Exercise Clause.  Secular Humanist organizations are tax-exempt as religious organizations.  Followers of Secular Humanism cannot be required to take oaths to God, and can file for conscientious objector status based on their religious beliefs, and are otherwise free to exercise their beliefs free from governmental intervention.

Yet, in Peloza v. Capistrano Unified School Dist., 37 F.3d 517 (9th Cir. 1994), the 9th Circuit Court ruled that Secular Humanism is not a religion under the Establishment Clause.  This means that Secular Humanism can be taught in public schools.  Public school teachers can actively attempt to convert students to Secular Humanism during instructional time, but are prohibited from initiating any discussion of other religions.

The courts have absurdly determined that Secular Humanism is a religion for free exercise clause purposes, and it is not a religion for establishment clause purposes.  This, in effect, allows the government to establish Secular Humanism as the de facto state religion, which it has done.

This is why evolution is taught in public schools, but creation and intelligent design cannot be; why relativistic morality is taught, but absolute morality cannot be; why teachers can assign readings from Darwin, Freud, Dawkins, and Asimov, but not the Bible; and why commencement speeches can be on any topic, except belief in God.

The recent Obama administration ruling requiring all employee health care plans, including religious organizations, to cover birth control, including drugs that induce abortion, is another example of the attack on religion by the government.  This ruling is a direct attack on both the Establishment Clause – the government is establishing access to birth control as a right – and the Free Exercise Clause – the government is forbidding religious organizations from freely exercising their belief that providing birth control is immoral.  In effect, the Obama administration is usurping the free exercise of certain religions by establishing the values of the religion of Secular Humanism as law.

Some people would like to frame the attacks on religious freedom as a conflict between Democrats and Republicans, or liberals and conservatives.  I disagree.  It is a battle between God‘s people and the Devil:

For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.

Ephesians 6:12, NKJV

I do agree that, as Christians, we must use the political process to defend our rights under the Constitution of the United States.  The pressure from religious organizations and from constituents in both the Republican and Democratic parties seems to be forcing the Obama administration to back down from its policy of mandating coverage for contraception in the health care plans of religious organizations.  However, when the fickle winds of public opinion blow in a different direction, there is nothing to prevent this administration – or another – from reinstituting this policy in the future.

I believe that it is far more important to remember that, ultimately, the problem is not political, but spiritual.  Satan has declared war on God’s people.  In order to halt the attacks on religion and reverse the decline of Christianity in America, Christians need to be on their knees, in repentance and supplication before God, and must actively and persistently work to change the hearts and minds of those around us, to lead people to a relationship with Jesus Christ, and to help them become His doctrinally sound, mature disciples.  This is the only viable, Biblically-sound solution to the attacks on Christianity.

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