“Whereas the people of the United States enjoy and respect the freedom of religion and believe that the fundamental rights of all individuals shall be recognized…
Whereas religious freedom is an absolute human right and all people are entitled to do with their own souls as they choose.” (S. Res. 251, October 23, 2003)
In 2003, the 108th Congress designated October 27th as International Religious Freedom Day. They considered it a subject significant enough to officially observe this “absolute human right”; and gave Americans everywhere permission to do what they like with their own souls, which is awfully generous. Just ten short years have passed from this day and it’s hard to imagine where in the world religious freedom can be celebrated without at least a twinge of irony.
Internationally, religious minorities are being forced out of their homes, looted, enslaved, raped, and murdered daily by those ethnic/religious majorities in power; most often Islamists and their totalitarian brethren, Communists. The churches of Coptic Christians are burned to the ground in Egypt. People of faith are jailed in Canada for their religious beliefs. Iranian pastors are imprisoned and tortured; their families receiving little or no information about the health of their loved ones. Government officials from neighboring countries brazenly talk about a future Middle-Eastern landscape, devoid of the nation of Israel and the Jewish people. Entire villages of African “infidels” are burned and slaughtered. All while the UN invites more wolves to the table to discuss tomorrow’s menu.
Domestically, religious freedom has never been more precarious than today. Long has America served as the lone bastion of religious freedom in a secularizing world; yet it appears even she is not immune to the many-faceted influence of secular humanism. As Rabbi Daniel Lapin deftly describes in his book, America’s Real War, the various factions arrayed against the people of the Book are not as disparate as they seem. They share a common bond, despite the diversity of their methods and ends. The touchstone for this anti-biblical coalition is a hatred of the God of Israel and His Word. Orthodox atheism, militant homosexuality, eco-fascism, Progressivism, Islamism, et al all seek the elimination of God and Christ from the Public Square, and punishment for those who hold fast to their beliefs.
In times past, Progressivism has draped itself in the trappings of Christianity to garner support for their socialist policies; but as the nation shifts to a post-Christian consensus, progressives are shifting as well. No longer will the likes of Williams Jennings Bryan or Walter Rauschenbusch gain the same amount of traction on the Left. Since their base is no longer drawn to Christian phrases and terminology, there is no need to wear that mask any longer. When Rauschenbusch said, “The God that answereth by low food prices, let him be God,” he was accurately describing the Left’s worship of the State. And now his ideological great-grandchildren have taken it a step further, dropping the sheep’s clothes to savage the sheep around them.
The recent exponential growth of hostility towards biblical religion in America can be laid at the feet of our current President. America has never had a President whose administration was more hostile to biblical faith and religious freedom. Despite his fumbling protestations of faith, made on the campaign trail or within earshot of influential ministers, President Obama’s administration has shown itself to be overtly antagonistic toward religious freedom.
Over the past 6 years, the writing on the wall of the White House has been increasingly plain to see. It reads, “Your religious freedom ends when it conflicts with my Progressive social agenda.” President Obama, like a good statist, believes that all rights are subject to government approval. He ignores the difference between rights which are granted by government as part of the social compact between the governors and the governed, like the right to operate a motor vehicle on a public thoroughfare, and rights which are granted by God alone and are not subject to government authority.
There is no question that religious freedom in America has been eroding for generations; but it is telling to think that 10 short years ago, the political climate in Washington was comfortable enough with religious belief to designate a day in October to commemorate its existence. Should the same bill somehow find its way through Harry Reid’s Senate today, there would be no smiling crowds fawning over the President’s gold pen or his signature of the bill into law. The law would be quietly taken into a White House broom-closet, put on a shelf, and left to expire. This is, after all, the President’s preferred method of dealing with objects that outlive their planned termination, as demonstrated by his opposition to an Illinois statute which would have prevented the same from being done to the survivor of an abortion procedure. He was the lone dissenter, all three times it came before the legislature.
This October 27th should hold a special place in our hearts. Not because we have the religious freedom which our founders meant to provide for us, we don’t and it is shameful. Cherish the 27th of October as a reminder that we have an obligation to each other and to the rest of the world to swing that secular progressive pendulum back the other direction in the next 10 years and celebrate the next decade anniversary with cheer instead of chagrin.