Focus on the Family

Religious Freedom in Danger?

by Bruce Hausknecht, Esq.

The United States was founded on the principle that God, not government, is the source of our fundamental rights. Our Founders, including the 56 signers of the Declaration of Independence, understood this clearly: 

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men. ..."  

The other widely held understanding during the founding era was that religion and morality formed the foundational basis upon which both our society and our form of government rested:

"Of all the dispositions and habits, which lead to political prosperity, Religion and Morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of Patriotism, who should labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness, these firmest props of the duties of Men and Citizens."President George Washington's Farewell Address, 1796 

"Our Constitution was made only for a religious and moral people. It is wholly inadequate for the government of any other."President John Adams, 1798 

Given the religious roots of our founding, and the universal acknowledgment of Christianity's role in this nation's continued success, the alarming erosion of religious freedom we're now witnessing should serve as a wake-up call to us all.  

Consider these few troubling examples: 

These are just a few examples of the over 600 documented instances of local, state and federal encroachments into religious freedom in recent years. Justice has prevailed at the court level for a few of the defendants; however, for others the courts are the problem. 

It's clear from many of these cases the goal of those who are infringing our rights is not a compromise between secular and sacred; rather, it's the complete stamping out of conscience and rejection of our nation's spiritual heritage. 

As Christians and as Americans, we must stay aware of these battles, pray for our nation and its leaders, and join in the defense of the rights and freedoms of all people of faith — in their communities, as well as in the public square of ideas. It's been said many times, our religious freedom is the lynchpin upon which all of our other rights depend. If that is, indeed, the case, then these current battles to protect religious freedom will determine America’s destiny. 

We cannot afford to stay silent. Here are a few things every Christian can do to fight the loss of religious freedom: 

"It should be the highest ambition of every American to extend his views beyond himself, and to bear in mind that his conduct will not only affect himself, his country, and his immediate posterity; but that its influence may be co-extensive with the world, and stamp political happiness or misery on ages yet unborn." — George Washington, 1789