Published on Townhall.com
An edited version of this Post was published on Grove City College's Vision & Values website
The 2016 debates are history, and although nearly every topic was hammered to heaven, one was not broached at all: a First Amendment guarantee that makes us uniquely American.
Freedom of religion represents the proverbial canary in the coalmine, and the evidence shows it may be about to expire. Let’s take a look.
Hillary Clinton says she’s Methodist, but her words and actions reveal that a belief in Almighty God comes well after the gods of state power and the accumulation of personal wealth. That is a threat from which our Founders sought to protect us when they spelled out the First Amendment to our Bill of Rights:
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 difference between the language in the Constitution and language now used by Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton ought to be of interest to Americans who reportedly attend a church or synagogue. Gallup puts that number as high as 122 million (37%) weekly in 2015, while the Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion put it as low as 72 million (22%) in 2005. High or low, freedom of religion is a right practiced regularly by a quarter to a third of our population.
Our heritage guarantees the free exercise of religion, but an attorney who worked on Zubik v. Burwell (more colloquially known as the Little Sisters of the Poor v. Obama) points out that since 2013, President Obama has used “freedom of worship” rather than the more traditional, “freedom of religion” in his speeches. Hillary Clinton has adopted the same wording.
What’s the big deal, you ask? The phrase, “freedom of worship” is code for religious freedom within an enclosed, non-public space, such as a religious structure, residence, or vehicle. Eventually, the progressive view will mean, for example, that roadside billboards advocating a pro-life stance will disappear. And so will our right to say Grace before a meal in public, or have religious symbols displayed upon our persons.
If you think I’m paranoid, think again. The 2016 Democratic Party Platform says:
We support a progressive vision of religious freedom that respects pluralism and rejects the misuse of religion to discriminate.
Consider carefully the words, support a progressive vision of religious freedom. How can a political party support a “vision” other than the Constitutional freedom we are now guaranteed? What exactly is a progressive view of religion? What if a church declines to embrace the LGBTQ agenda? What will Clintonians do when they believe a religion is not sufficiently progressive?
A large part of the answer appeared in a speech by candidate Clinton herself. In April 2015, at the Women’s World Summit, she said, reportedly, “Laws have to be backed up with resources and political will. And deep-seated religious beliefs have to be changed.” As a public or private position, that’s scary. Match those words with her party’s platform and think about our future, especially in religious denominations professing pro-life beliefs.
What’s missing from the DNC platform, most notably, is the exception appearing in the 2012 platform, which “allowed physicians and other medical professionals to excuse themselves from performing or assisting in abortions if to do so would violate their religious beliefs,” (according to the Religion News Service). That means, in the “progressive view of religious freedom” going forward, Hillary will appoint judges who will reverse or water down the March 2016 victory in Zubik.
Even before the transformation of SCOTUS, Hillary will, like Obama, act to change deep-seated beliefs by executive fiat. In Hillary Clinton’s America, doctors and nurses will be forced to perform partial birth abortions and full term abortions, even in religiously affiliated hospitals. So, in Hillary Clinton’s America, belief in God will be allowed only after subservience to the state.
So-called news organizations have spent much time these past weeks pummeling Trump with questions about some of the stupid things he’s said or done with women—none of them, apparently, rising to the level of newsworthiness at the time they allegedly occurred. In that regard, those who obsess on this—reporting or watching—are unwitting conspirators with Democrats in executing Saul Alinsky’s power tactics, Rules 8 & 10, that go something like, “Keep the pressure on and never let up,” and “If you push a negative long enough (against an enemy), it will become a positive (for you).”
Hillary Clinton is a candidate who has not had a presser in eons and has avoided journalists’ questions like a plague. If real journalists would ask the right questions, might they be tempted to ask Hillary to more fully explain her progressive view of religious freedom and what she means by the mandate to change deep-seated views?
This line of inquiry is far more important to our freedoms and our future than whether Trump has stolen one too many kisses. No, I am not trivializing his purportedly moronic behavior with women, but I strongly object to those who trivialize my free exercise of religion, privately or publicly. And if Hillary and her progressives can narrow my religious practices, what will they do with free speech and the right to bear arms?
Will this election be like the Affordable Care Act, as infamously described by Nancy Pelosi? Will we elect Hillary Clinton and only then, find out what’s in it for us?
God help us, and I insist on my right to say so in public. Don’t you?