Category Archives: Religious Freedom
If you’re not familiar with the writings of Robert P. George, you should be. The brilliant professor of law at Princeton is well respected in most circles for his keen insight into matters of law and public policy. But he is also respected as a man of faith that believes in the conservative, traditional values America was founded upon.
After President Obama removed the words “under God” from his recitation of the Gettysburg address this year an article of Dr. George’s surfaced in which he addressed the issue. Defenders of the president claim that Obama was merely quoting one of the “other copies” of the Gettysburg address in which the words “under God” do not appear. Indeed at least five copies of the address exist and at least two o those copies do not have the words “under God” in them. But this excuse is not acceptable, as Dr. George explains:
“Of course, none of these copies is actually the Gettysburg Address. The Gettysburg Address is the set of words actually spoken by Lincoln at Gettysburg. And, as it happens, we know what those words are. (The Bliss copy nearly perfectly reproduces them.) Three entirely independent reporters, including a reporter for the Associated Press, telegraphed their transcriptions of Lincoln’s remarks to their editors immediately after the president spoke. All three transcriptions include the words “under God,” and no contemporaneous report omits them. There isn’t really room for equivocation or evasion: Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address—one of the founding texts of the American republic—expressly characterizes the United States as a nation under God.” Click here for original article.
A case with incredible implications for the religious freedoms of Americans came to the Supreme Court recently. In Town of Greece v. Galloway the high court heard oral arguments as to whether or not a town council has the constitutional right to open with public prayer. This case has been ongoing for many years and finally made it to the Supreme Court on November 6th.
The last time the Supreme Court heard a public prayer case was in 1983 when it ruled in favor of public prayer in the Nebraska legislature in Marsh v. Chambers. The question now is whether or not the court will stay consistent in recognizing the constitutional right for any public assembly or body to open with prayer.
For the time being ENDA appears dead. Even though it passed in the Senate it had no chance of making it through the House where Speaker Boehner opposed it as well as most Republicans; and a few vulnerable Democrats hoping to keep their job in 2014.
In case you don’t know what ENDA is, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act seeks to make it illegal for an employer to hire or fire a person based on their sexual orientation or gender identity.
On the surface this might sound like a good idea. After all, no one should be denied a job simple because he is gay. But the problem with ENDA is that it has a back door that would lead to forcing religious organizations and Christian business owners to violate their religious convictions. Here’s how:
Remember way back when Ryan T. Anderson said ENDA would threaten the religious freedoms of Christian business owners and people of faith? Well, he said it:
“While it is unclear which religious organizations would be exempted from ENDA, it is clear that the bill would not exempt those who wish to run their businesses and other organizations in keeping with their moral or religious values. Additionally, ENDA’s religious liberty protections extend only to businesses directly run by a church or religious organizations. As a result, other religious business owners would be exposed to significant liabilities. Consider, for instance, a Christian bookstore not formally incorporated as a religious organization. Such a store could be accused of creating a hostile work environment by selling and promoting books stating that marriage unites one man with one woman. Clearly, ENDA would create enormous legal risks for businesses that allowed their employees to express traditional religious teachings on sexuality. Anti-discrimination law ought not to silence religious believers.”