A Clear and Present Danger: Religious Liberty Under Attack

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religious-freedom

There was a time in America when certain behaviors were considered inappropriate and taboo, when modesty and discretion were standard societal norms, and people treated one another with civility and respect. Yes, the past did have its share of outcasts and malcontents, they who flaunted society’s conventions, but the order of the day was traditional and religious values, and the Judeo-Christian ethic.

Over the last 150 years we’ve made tremendous strides in technology and invention. Distant lands, that at one time took days even weeks to reach, are now only hours away. Modern day conveniences, with all their advantages and yes at times inconveniences, allow for an easier and better quality of life. The internet, a vast wealth of information, offers us the world at our fingertips.

With progress, however, change is inevitable in both people and belief systems. One of the changes that I believe is an outgrowth of the sexual revolution of the 1960’s, that is having a significant effect on the culture is what has become referred to as “gender equality”. Within that framework is the widespread acceptance of LGBT rights,   an acronym for homosexual, gay, bi-sexual and transgender lifestyles.

Among other cultural manifestations, and with the complicity of the current administration in Washington, local governing bodies, the media, entertainment industry and big business, the LGBT agenda has become a threat to religious liberty. So pervasive is this post modern phenomenon, this cause célèbre, that it has progressively become accepted as main stream by the government, the Democratic Party and some traditional institutions. These entities at one time looked askance and with derision at what they considered a sinful and deviant lifestyle.

Natural law, unlike those established by man, dictates that the joining of a man and woman is necessary for the propagation of the human species. This is the foundation of the family structure and the most essential element of a fruitful society. This is also an incontrovertible biological fact that is sacrosanct, and supported by the weight of history and Biblical teaching.

Tolerance should be a two way street, for some however it exists only in one direction. No one should deny any man or woman, straight or gay, their rights under the Constitution. But things began to drastically change with the onset of the Obama administration. It’s refusal to uphold the Defense of Marriage Act, its obsession with LGBT rights, and the Supreme Court’s decision upholding same sex marriage unions opened the floodgates and a new overwhelming predicate has been added to the American ethos, and it threatens one of the foundational principles of the Constitution, religious liberty and freedom.  To add to this miasmic turn of events, the Obama administration recently issued an edict to all public educational institutions to implement a gender neutral restroom policy, and have threatened any state that does not comply, a number have voiced their objection, by withholding federal funding.

Christianity in America is under attack from many quarters. There are a number of businesses who have become victims of what many believe is a contrived effort by a radical element within the LGBT community. Owners, for their Christian religious beliefs and convictions, having denied services and refused to accommodate same sex unions, are now being subjected to exorbitant fines, face financial ruin, some have closed their doors and gone out of business. Friendly Human Rights agencies and judges have decided in favor of the couples filing the claims against businesses. Following are just some examples

  • In Dallas a gay couple filed a complaint against the Dallas Morning News for refusing to publish their wedding announcement.
  • In Illinois a gay couple filed a complaint against two bed and breakfast inns for their refusal to provide accommodation for their wedding.
  • In Iowa a baker facing legal action for refusing to provide a cake for a lesbian wedding.
  • In Kentucky a shirt maker is under investigation by the Human Rights Commission of the City of Lexington for refusing to print shirts for a local gay rights organization.
  • In New York a husband and wife own a rural farm that provides catering services. The owners refused to provide for a lesbian couple’s reception, who in turn filed a complaint with the New York Division of Human Rights.
  • In the state of Washington, a florist because of her religious beliefs refused to provide floral arrangements for a same sex marriage ceremony. The owner is being brought to court by the states Attorney General who is seeking a judgment for monetary settlement for the owners’ infringement of the couples civil rights.

These are some of the threats to religious liberty that are happening across the nation. And lest we forget, there is the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) which in effect, poses still another threat with its contraception mandate. In most of the aforementioned above cases, the Christian business owner offered to furnish the couples with the names of other businesses that would accommodate them, but that was not good enough.

Last year Indiana Governor Mike Pence signed into law his state’s version of the Religious Freedom and Restoration Act. The national outcry from the supporters of the LGBT agenda was tantamount to the Governor having banned homosexuality from his state entirely. Businesses, celebrities, and even the leadership in other states threatened to boycott Indiana. Regrettably the Governor acquiesced to the threats and made concessions. The hypocrisy however is glaring; some of the states that threatened to boycott Indiana have similar laws on their books. All these state laws emulate the federal governments.

German Poet, author and philosopher, Novalis, (pseudonym) wrote “Christianity is the root of all democracy, the highest fact in the rights of man”. Christians are being persecuted and slaughtered throughout the world. Sadly, this once accepted and highly respected religion is also under assault in America. Whatever your position on this highly charged and controversial issue, there is one overriding fact this assault on religious liberty if left unchecked could lead to the kind of internal strife that will be the catalyst that eventually causes civil unrest.

 

 

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The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author and are not not necessarily either shared or endorsed by iPatriot.com.

BOB PASCARELLA

> Authored book, "Short Stories in Verse" > Wrote booklet on Civics for NYC schools > Have written articles for local newspaper > have poetry included in American Poetry Society volumes

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