Freedom of religion is the first right mentioned in the Bill of Rights. The Founders knew how integral this would be to the United States of America. Without religious freedom, we cease to be free. Religion and the free exercise thereof is slipping through our fingers little by little, every day. But most people don't even even notice it, and they also don't understand why it's important.
In this four-part series, Glenn examines our religious rights as Americans --- where they come from, why they're essential and how the progressive left has slowly eroded them away.
Part III: Today's Battles
Since the ratification of its founding document, Americans have always been able to count on their number one God-given freedom. It is the first of all rights, spelled out at the very beginning of the United States Constitution:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.
It is positioned at the beginning of the First Amendment for a reason: It is the most important. It is sacrosanct. Until recently.
In 1962, the Supreme Court ruled that praying in school was unconstitutional, setting the stage that began the assault on America's religious freedom.
Interestingly, children saying prayers in school does not and cannot qualify as Congress making a law to establish religion. But it certainly could be interpreted as prohibiting the free exercise thereof. Yet, that somehow was not the determination made by the Earl Warren-led Supreme Court. For religious freedom in America, the ruling was a significant turning point.
Another blow came in 2008 with the presidential election of Barack Obama. He brought a new attitude to the executive branch of the government in the United States.
Whatever we once were, we are no longer a Christian nation.
It was an attitude that stunned many Americans who knew that America, in fact, was founded on Christian-Judeo principles. His understanding or lack thereof concerning the scriptural passages, context, culture and frame of reference also shocked many believers.
Passages of Scripture should guide our public policy. Should we go with Leviticus, which suggests slavery is okay and that eating shellfish is an abomination? Or he could go with Deuteronomy, which suggests stoning your child if he strays from the faith? Or should we just stick to the Sermon on the Mount, a passage that is so radical that it's doubtful that our own Defense Department would survive its application?
No American president had ever been so brazen in his disdain for the Bible. And he was just getting started.
Listen to the Full Series on Religious Freedom