Published on Thursday, April 19, 2012 by John Fuller
As Americans, we pride ourselves in our rights and freedoms that are endowed by our Creator and guaranteed in our stall worth constitution. Above all other rights, Americans have always treasured and valued the freedom of religion, as decreed in the First Amendment.
We’ve been taught since elementary school that the Pilgrims and Puritans came to North America seeking refuge from the oppressive mandate of religion by the kings of Europe, and thus America was established as a secular land so that we may all pursue and worship in whichever religion we best identify with. Of course, take any American History course and you’ll see that this ‘religious tolerance’ had anything but a smooth foundation.
Catholics were persecuted in the New England Colonies. The Native Americans were seen as savages for not complying with the values of Christianity. Mormons were forced to move across the country to escape persecution.
Yet, as a nation we persevered, and today, cities across the nation are filled with cathedrals, churches, temples, mosques and people of every and no faith. Whether you prefer to pray to Mecca five times a day or attend Mass on Easter Sunday, you have the freedom to do so in America.
Or do you?
Republican leaders will tell you that your religious liberties are on the chopping block, at the behest of President Obama’s new fangled war against religious liberty and, more specifically, Christianity. The truth is, there’s never been a greater time in American history for religious freedoms and liberty.
As prominent politicians like Newt Gingrich would have you believe, the Obama administration has opened up a new war against Christianity with a ‘War on Religion’. It’s absolutely reprehensible and ignorant for such a claim to be made.
While such a ‘War on Religion’ has morphed into an ideological screaming match, the original debate stems from the Obama Administration’s HHS healthcare mandate that requires all non-church institutions to provide birth control for their employees as a part of their health insurance plan.
After Catholic institutions and the American bishops requested that Catholic-affiliated institutions like universities and hospitals be exempt from such a requirement, the Obama administration offered a compromise that would force the insurance company to pay for healthcare so that the hospital or university wouldn’t have to pay for it. Clearly, the Obama administration’s willingness to compromise demonstrates their support for religious freedoms, not their desire to squash the liberty of Christians and those of faith.
The ‘War on Religion’ isn’t being fought stateside—it’s being fought in places like China, where Christians have to hide their faith from government officials. It’s being fought in the Balkans, where Muslims and Christians continue to deepen the bloodbath over differences in religion. It’s being fought in the Middle East, where religious values are being forced on individuals without regard to their individual liberties.
Yet, politicians like Gingrich and Rick Santorum want to stand behind a pulpit, acting like martyrs, to proclaim that the federal government is out to squash any religious liberty and persecute Christians.
The argument is nothing but a red herring intended to incite fear amongst believers across the nation for their own personal, political gain. There’s nothing greater that individuals hold dear than their religious convictions, and if such religious freedoms are threatened, there’s little that people wouldn’t do to protect themselves and their faith. These politicians are attempting to manipulate such faith so that they can be elected into office in November.
Don’t fall victim to their political meandering. We pride ourselves on freedom and religious liberty because we truly do have religious freedoms. Don’t let someone from a campaign bus convince you otherwise.