No More Denying Attacks on Religious Freedom

AUTHORITATIVE NEW REPORT PRODUCED BY LIBERTY INSTITUTE AND FAMILY RESEARCH COUNCIL.

“I don’t think, generally, Christians are being persecuted in this country.” So said Barack Obama, during his first run for the White House.

The president won’t be able to make that claim this time around. Not after the release this week of the “Survey on Religious Hostility in America,” jointly produced by Liberty Institute and the Family Research Council (the recent target of such religious hostility).

Liberty and FRC declare, “Hostility to religious liberty has reached an all-time high, and the attacks are increasing at an unprecedented rate.” Their well-researched survey documents more than 600 cases of bigotry against people of faith.

Among the more egregious examples:

– The faithful Christian nurse ordered to assist a late-term abortion at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York or lose both her job and her nursing license.

– The federal judge who threatened a high school valedictorian in Castroville, Texas with “incarceration” unless the young Christ follower removed references to Jesus in her graduation speech.

– The institution of a new policy by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs secularizing funerals for vets at national cemeteries, with no references to God or the veteran’s faith, overriding the wishes of the vet’s family for a religious funeral.

– The Christian couple that managed an apartment complex in Lake City, Florida that was fired by their supervisor for being “too religious” because they displayed a piece of artwork that had pictures of lilies and a quotation from the Book of Matthew, “Consider the lilies of the field…”

– The New Mexico Civil Rights Commission’s finding that Christian-owned Elane Photography Company was guilty of “sexual orientation” discrimination because it refused to photograph same-sex weddings.

If these were but isolated cases, it would be hard for Liberty Institute and FRC to persuade much of the public that religious liberty is under assault throughout America. But their jointly-produced survey has provided example after example after example – more than 600 in all.

One would have to be an atheist, or a recalcitrant Obama supporter, not to see the obvious pattern of hostility toward people of faith; Christians in particular.

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Comments

  1. “On the other hand, God is perfectly Good so for Him to ask such things would be impossible to his nature.”

    So you think there is a concept of “Good” independent of God.

  2. This is in response to Pastorjackwilson:

    “I can tell you that a guy with a gun going into the frc to kill anyone in general is a start of many situations like that.”

    Not sure you what you mean here.

    “I could say that you mention the moral thing to do but where do you get your moral compass? If there is no God than there are no absolutes and so your morality and your neighbors may have a great distance between them.”

    This is an argument often used against by theists. The unspoken presupposition is that morality cannot have natural causes and must be rooted in a supernatural origin, such as a deity. This is accepted without proof and asserted as a self-evident truth claim. But the problem with it here is that, without sufficient proof of God’s existence and the Bible’s inerrancy (since you link the two together), I am justified in not accepting this as a source of authority. Unless God actually exists, then I have no more reason to derive morality from the Christian concept of a deity than I would deriving morality from the concept of Zeus.

    The other tricky problem here is when reference is made to absolutes. The Christian believes he or she has absolutes and can make assertions based upon them as a foundation. In truth, though, God’s existence must first be proven, and the Bible be proven to be error-free in at least all passages considered authoritative for the truth claim being derived from them, before any claim to an absolute can be made. Furthermore, human judgment is both finite and subjective. How does a Christian know anything is an absolute, or that he or she understands it correctly? Supposedly, Christians have the Holy Spirit to guide them into perfect truth, and not unbelievers. This presents another side to this problem, because an unbeliever such as myself presumably lacks the Holy Spirit and so lacks any infallible guidance or perfect understanding to absolute truth, so even if it exists, the Christian would not be able to sufficiently defend it in the mind of the unbeliever (such as myself) if the unbeliever is incapable of seeing the truthfulness of the absolute.

    Evolution most likely provides us with our sense of morality, developed over time and refined by Natural Selection. There are no absolutes in a cultural sense, but there certainly are genetic limits and neuroscience has already revealed much of the inner working of the brain, which produces the mind as a function of the bodily organ. Too, the higher animals display understanding in some concepts of morality as well. It’s possible that we derive morality from the supernatural deity known to the Christians as Christ, but increasingly unlikely.

    “what I find rally interesting is that Liberal need the approval of Christians. they always go on their sites and try to prove themselves as being something good but they never do.”

    Mostly it is in our vested interest, to go to sites with opposing points of view and attempt to defend our perspective, especially against misconceptions and bias that exists against atheists simply for being atheists in a deeply religious culture.

    “I do not need your validation as my god and His book validates everything I do. You don’t have that. You have a made up Compass.”

    So do you. Even if you were right about Christianity, what I hear from you is the fallible perspective of your finite understanding which can easily be offered independently of the Holy Spirit’s guidance, if He exists. How can you know if your understanding is ever perfect? Have you ever changed your mind about doctrine? Sadly, I know some people who have not, and I find their depth of theology rather lacking, but that is just my personal experience. I would say your God and your Book need the proper validation first, before I can accept them as sources of authority. I have a more reasonably constructed compass than yours, potentially, because I can base mine upon science, especially biology and neuroscience.

    “You speak about what the Country is based on. It’s based on the Bible. Have you been living in a bubble. Webster adorned his fly pages in his dictionary with scripture. The bible was taught in all the schools. Harvard, Yale and a whole hosts of educational facilities were manned by ministers.”

    That proves nothing except that the country was founded by the very religious. Oddly enough, this argument isn’t valid when used by proponents of other religions for their country. Why is that?

    “Our laws are based on Biblical standards. You need to do some reading because I am afraid I can not validate you yet.”

    I actually agree with you, here, but many of the moral concepts expressed in the Bible predate Christianity and I think possibly predate Judaism. I am not concerned whether you “validate” me or not. What I do wish, however, is that you can recognize our common humanity and the tremendous potential of science for the human race.

    • pastorjackwilson says:

      I have to admit, you have made me dizzy. So let’s break it down. For you at least it is what is correct, God, Science or both. Of course Science is real because all it is , is a study. Sometimes it is proven by the five step method but as we both know Evolution does not fit into that category no matter how much you believe a monkey named Lucy.
      Do you have any idea the size of the number it would take to show the odds that any of this world, has come together by chance? It has always amazed me how anyone could believe such things. That takes faith!
      I am sure you heard the one about the man who asked how Michelangelo painted the Sistine chapel and the man replied that he took various colors of paint and threw them at the ceiling. Could that really happen? Yet what you propose is far more difficult. No, Impossible.

      The design has a designer. Period.

      So that leaves the Bible which is filled with fulfilled prophecy. Authors of 66 books writing in different times and places correlating everything perfectly. We have Jesus who done miracles which was testified to by many witnesses, even the testimony of His enemies. I can go on an on but the truth is you are blinded. You will not see it because you have no heart for it. I wish I could change that for you. We are not opposed to science. Man has come a long way in discovering the “secrets” of God. It is however, a feeble attempt to learn everything. I believe we could walk through walls and fly and breathe underwater if we were able to use or discover all that God has made into us but we will not because of our being cut off in the Garden. That time will be restored soon.

      I’m sorry. I really would like you to see what I see but we are told to shake the dust off our feet. Like the saying goes, no sense beating a dead horse.

  3. Larry A. Jones says:

    Well, I agree that Christians are being unfairly treated in some cases, but I think “persecution” is a gross overstatement. And as far “religious hostility”, you guys have brought that upon yourselves. You guys have an uncompromising stance on abortion, intolerence of gay rights, trying to force public school science classrooms to teach creationism, promoting sexism (“man is head of the household”), thumbing your nose at alternative forms of disciplining children such as the “Time Out” method, fostering a distrust of science, abstinence-only sex “education”, etc. I could go on. So, here’s a quarter….

  4. The case of the Texas senior center was based on the complaints of some senior citizens that their use of the center was being disrupted by religious meetings on public property. The complaint was resolved within a couple of months, and prayer was reinstated.

    The Texas validictorian was prevented from using her speech to prosyletize christianity on school grounds. Her validictorian address did not include a casual mention of Jesus, but was actually a lengthy harangue and recruitment attempt. She was told not to use that speech, as it was inappropriate to the occasion.

    The little boy who supposedly prayed over lunch is a fraudulent internet legend, dating back to 1994. The school involved confirmed that the child lied to his parents about his detention – he had, in fact, been punished for fighting during recess.

    Are all the claims lies? No. Most though. I suggest reading it, and doing your own research.

    It’s been a long time since the FRC and “Liberty Counsel” took seriously the stricture against “bearing false witness”. I suggest that you contact other Christian groups and see what they say, before taking this “report” as Gospel.

    • Zoe, If you presume to rebut my post, the least you can do is accurately reflect what I’ve written. I didn’t mention anything about a little boy praying over lunch.

  5. pastorjackwilson says:

    As a Christian, even if not, this is very depressing. My thought on all this is that Christians as a whole have taken these attacks defensively but I don’t hear of them taking them offensively. Why don’t we ever sue for our rights? Why don’t we make them pay? For example the judge that threatened the girl if Jesus was included in her speech. Can you sue a judge? Can you bring him up of charges of judicial misconduct? It is time we go, fangs bared at anyone who tries to attack us. I have started to use the term Christophobe when writing against these “haters.” (another word I stole from the liberals) If your spell check puts a red line under it, right click and hit “add to dictionary.”
    These leftists use words against us to try to make us think we are reacting badly. They use them over and over because as Hitler said, tell a lie enough times and they will believe it.
    The time to do something was yesterday. Tomorrow will be too late. Before we lose all of our rights let’s hit them hard.

    • Amen, Pastor.

    • pastorjackwilson said, “It is time we go, fangs bared at anyone who tries to attack us. I have started to use the term Christophobe when writing against these “haters.” (another word I stole from the liberals)”.

      Oh, please do. This means any time you Christians do not get your way, you construe it as an attack? We will respond appropriately, and quite simply debunk your assertions with reason and logic. Christianity is being restricted from exclusively manifesting itself in the public sphere, and from oppressing others with dissimilar viewpoints, as well it should be. That is what TRUE religious liberty is all about, not “how can we defer to the Christian majority and make sure they are completely satisfied and never criticized, even constructively, by non-believers” but instead “how can we make this country fair and equitable for people of all faiths, or no faith, not just Christians.” So, when the requisite reality check slaps you upside the head, this should prove quite entertaining to watch.

      • pastorjackwilson says:

        I am so glad you are wrong. Have you seen the Christians in jails and killed and crucified in Egypt and the rest of the world? Have you seen when we are against abortion which is clearly murder we are attacked or homosexuality? I don’t have to keep on with this, no one went into your organization with chicken and a gun. Liberals are criers and complainers and think their incessant whining will get them attention. LEt’s speak no more. You can congratulate us in November.

      • Wrong about what, Pastorjackwilson? Somehow the legitimate condemnation of real persecution of Christians in other countries somehow justifies your assertion here? What is done to Christians in other countries is clearly wrong and immoral. But guess what, it’s caused by religion. You don’t see Christians tossed into dingy prisons and beaten and tortured in atheistic countries. Why is that? Religion is poison. I have a few Christian friends whom I respect, and I believe them to be much more moral than what people generally are in fundamentalist Islamic countries. No, the real thought crime here is that liberals tend to be thinkers and visionaries, and threaten the status quo at best, and at worst, actually change people’s entire lives to embrace new and hopefully better ways of living. No matter who wins in November, this will remain true. What might not remain so visible, however, is the fact that it is and has been true throughout America’s history. You are free to believe what you want, have whatever religious facts you want, embrace whatever political philosophy you wish. However, you are not free to create your own facts, or teach those “facts” to others as truthful. We will continue to not only politely disagree but shoot down false assertions and faulty reasoning, not only because it is the moral thing to do, but also our patriotic duty for the country we love so much.

      • pastorjackwilson says:

        I can tell you that a guy with a gun going into the frc to kill anyone in general is a start of many situations like that. I could say that you mention the moral thing to do but where do you get your moral compass? If there is no God than there are no absolutes and so your morality and your neighbors may have a great distance between them. what I find rally interesting is that Liberal need the approval of Christians. they always go on their sites and try to prove themselves as being something good but they never do. I do not need your validation as my god and His book validates everything I do. You don’t have that. You have a made up Compass. You speak about what the Country is based on. It’s based on the Bible. Have you been living in a bubble. Webster adorned his fly pages in his dictionary with scripture. The bible was taught in all the schools. Harvard, Yale and a whole hosts of educational facilities were manned by ministers. Our laws are based on Biblical standards. You need to do some reading because I am afraid I can not validate you yet.

      • “I could say that you mention the moral thing to do but where do you get your moral compass? If there is no God than there are no absolutes ”

        Untrue. But the question as to where one gets one’s moral compass is not just a good one, but a *crucial* one.

        We say that God is good. Why? Is it because we use God’s will to define what “Good” is? That if God wills it, it *must* be Good by definition? That seems to be the argument for belief in gods to be required to set a moral compass. That Might makes Right, that any entity with the power to create a Universe gets to define what’s Good and what isn’t.

        If one is to say, “No, Might does not make Right, God is Good because Good exists externally to God, as an absolute, and God shows all the properties of Justice, Mercy, Kindness, Compassion and Love that define goodness”, then we accept the existence of an absolute which is not dependant on God, or God’s existence.

        If God was cruel, capricious, unjust – would those characteristics define “Good”? If God told you to go disembowel your children, set fire to kittens, and put puppies in microwaves, to engage in torture, rapine and genocide “in accordance with His Will”, would you do it without demur, without a single pang of conscience? If what God wants *defines* Good, then you should have no problems with this. If you have a single qualm – that indicates you believe, however weakly, in an absolute moral standard external to gods.

        Where do you get this external standard from? What justification other than the very unreliable and unsatisfactory one of gnosis is there?

        One can justify much of it with Kantian philosophical logic. More with experiments and Games Theory. But supposing one couldn’t, and that those things proved the exact opposite of what they do – would you still try to be just, honourable, charitable, compassionate?

        I’ve come to the conclusion that I would. Even in the face of God’s Holy Wrath that would condemn me to eternal torment. That would reflect badly on Him, not me.

        I don’t believe in gods. Not in baals, nor in powers, thrones, spirits, ghosts, not in Allah or Vishnu or Amaterasu or Thor, not in Baron Samedhi, John Frumm or Xenu, not in Archangels, Angels, Principalities, Seraphim or Cherubim, nor in Santa Claus nor the Easter Bunny.

        If one is Christian, one is called on to believe in the existence of multitudes of gods. I don’t mean the knotty problem of Trinitarianism, I mean actually separate supernatural entities, The Archangels, Seraphs etc, Satan, Demons and unclean spirits. I’ve not met anyone who can tell me how many there’s supposed to be, let alone the names of all of these gods.

        The first commandment says “Thou shalt have no other gods before me”. That means that other gods exist, they’re just lower in the hierarchy of the pantheon, there’s many gods, but only one (possibly triune) God.

        I don’t believe in any of them. I do believe in Good though.

      • pastorjackwilson says:

        To answer your last point “gods before me” simply means what you worship other than god, sex, drugs, rock and roll, too many soap operas. Not there is any other Gods. (Big G)
        With that said your entire diatribe is moot. If we can not agree to believe i God we will never agree and them my point of why people come on these Christian sites is made. They do it to justify their actions. They see what they perceive as those who do have this absolute moral compass and try to somehow get at least one or two points of agreement and thereby justifying oneself and feeling better, continue through your life.

        I can not validate you except to say by my standards (God and the bible) you are a sinner working on your own feelings and reacting to what you perceive as right or wrong and hence, you will never be satisfied in life. In your mind you will eventually die and rot and be no more. for that I feel truly sad for you although you might say it is not necessary , it is a natural experience for me to see those who are perishing without hope and feel sad.

        As for your hypothesis that if God told me to do evil would I do it. i will start to sat whatever God told me to do I would do it because God is absolutely, always right. Seeing that He is the creator He can make no error. Even if He could (which is an absurdity) who would it be that could prove Him wrong.
        On the other hand, God is perfectly Good so for Him to ask such things would be impossible to his nature.

        I would suggest (This is not my site and I take no privileges or assume no rights) that you might try one of those sites that might agree with you on all your points. I will say that it probably won’t fulfill a person of your intellect. There is a problem with intellect is that sometimes those who are extremely intelligent (at least in their own eyes) do not see anything they have not invented.

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