Following the horrific church bombings by Islamic terrorists in Sri Lanka, which killed and injured hundreds, Donald Trump, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton all denounced the attack; however, none of them saw fit to recognize the victims by noting that they were “Christians.” This was far from coincidental in a world where using any variation of this word is increasingly deemed to be offensive. And it doesn’t stop there.
After NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstein recently spoke at a Capitol Ministries Christian gathering about the importance of influencing government with biblical teachings, Business Insider’s Dave Mosher expressed concern that he had violated the separation of church and state and possibly federal ethics rules.
Then the New York Times expressed sheer horror at the fact that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo holds the position of the United States top diplomat. His crimes: He is a man of faith, guilty of regular Bible reading and a believer in religious liberty.
Times Reporter Edward Wong first raised religious concerns about Pompeo during his visit to Jerusalem, during which Pompeo toured the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, built on the ground where Jesus is said to have been crucified and buried, and the tunnels beneath the Western Wall, by the holiest site in Judaism.
Specifically, Wong accused Pompeo of blending his religious beliefs with government policy; something no recent secretary of state has engaged in and which should trouble us all. Most concerning too was Pompeo’s contention that “the Bible informs everything I do.”
These are clear examples of the Left’s continuing war on Christianity, which increasingly includes an effort to prevent those of Christian faith from holding positions of public service within government. This intolerance literally has no bounds, from compelling Christian bakers to make cakes for gay weddings, preventing organized prayers by high school teams prior to athletic events and banning public nativity displays.
The founding fathers recognized this danger. America’s Bill of Rights first words state, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” But to many on the left, this only covers private expression of religion. Yet James Madison, the primary author of the Bill of Rights and the “Father of the Constitution,” believed in the fullest exercise of religious freedom.
Michael Berry of the First Liberty Institute, a non-profit law firm dedicated to defending religious freedom for all, believes Madison’s philosophy no-doubt stemmed from his time witnessing the then-colony of Virginia jailing Baptist ministers whose beliefs failed to match the majority Anglican society. Madison believed, like many founders, that religious freedom was not a concept created by the government, but an inalienable right granted by God.
Years later, Madison chaired the U.S. House of Representatives conference committee on the Bill of Rights. Not surprisingly, his proposed first amendment language was grounded
in individual liberty over toleration as follows: “the civil rights of none shall be abridged on account of religious belief or worship … nor shall the full and equal rights of conscience be in any manner, or on any pretext infringed.”
In December, 1789, the states ratified this foundational concept as the First Amendment to our Constitution, as well as our entire Bill of Rights; legitimizing the concept that all people have a natural right to religious expression, government authorization notwithstanding. Furthermore, the Constitution sought to insure liberty by commencing with the words, “We the people,” in recognizing inherent individual rights and while agreeing to some central authority, not forfeiting ultimate personal freedom to the government.
Slowly, but surely, America has seen hostility increase as it pertains to the expression of religious liberty. Madison believed this freedom to be constant and not subject to limitation based upon prevailing attitudes of the time. This is a concept foreign to the progressive/statist mindset which seeks to elevate central government authority while diminishing and subverting religious expression to permanent secondary status.
Ours is the first and only nation ever conceived by virtue of inalienable rights granted by God. And just as government did not issue us these rights, it cannot remove them. Yet as long as the Left is engaged in a spiritual war against those of faith, the battle to preserve what Madison fought so long and hard to protect is undeniably worth fighting for.
Mark Figley is a political activist and guest columnist from Elida. His column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the The Lima News editorial board or AIM Media, owner of The Lima News. Reach him a firstname.lastname@example.org.