NEW ORLEANS – Religious freedom in the United States is about to be subjected to a new wave of McCarthyism from the radical left, warned Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, who picked up where “Duck Dynasty” patriarch Phil Robertson left off at the Republican Leadership Conference in New Orleans.
“Are you ready to be asked the following question: ‘Are you now, or have you ever been involved in an effort to preserve the institution of marriage as a union between one man and one woman?”
Under the new McCarthyism, Perkins said in his speech Friday, the question could be even more intrusive, asking: “Do you now or have you ever thought the institution of marriage involves a union between one man and one woman.”
Perkins expressed concern that a politically incorrect answer in today’s secular society could risk “having your career taken away from you” as you watch “your reputation being smeared on a thousand different websites.”
As proof this could happen, Perkins cited the case of Brendan Eich, the co-founder and CEO of the software firm Mozilla. Eich was forced to resign after same-sex marriage advocates protested a $1,000 donation he made in 2008 to pass California’s Proposition 8, an amendment to ban same-sex marriages.
He also referenced the Air Force Academy removing a Bible verse posted on a cadet’s whiteboard after the posting offended other cadets. The cadet wrote the verse from Galatians, “I have been crucified with Christ therefore I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.”
Perkins warned belief in God in the U.S. is being pushed “out of sight, out of mind, out of influence on public policy,” because religious freedom is “the enemy of the all encompassing secular state.”
Perkins took his theme from President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s formulation of the “Four Freedoms,” in which FDR recast the freedom of religion as expressed in the First Amendment as “freedom of worship.” Perkins claimed it “has become in the hands of an aggressive secular state a tool to drive people of faith out of the public square and to confine religious liberty into the four walls of our churches.”
Perkins argued that “freedom of religion” has become “freedom from religion” under Supreme Court decisions that have interpreted the First Amendment to remove God from public schools and the public square in America.
He noted that in a few weeks, the Supreme Court will make a momentous decision in the Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood cases.
“These cases are not about contraception or even about devices and drugs that can end a life,” he said.
“These cases represent a clash over conscience that implicates the liberty of every American, including all of us here today and generations yet unborn. In a culture where contraceptives are legal, the federal government is seeking to impose its will over businesses with a different world view over human life.”
He argued the Obamacare requirement is unnecessary when government has alternatives, including giving a free Medicare card to all Americans. That would allow anyone wanting contraceptives or an abortion to get government assistance on their own without requiring businesses to provide the services as part of a health insurance plan offered employees.
“Instead, the Obama administration has chosen to mandate that every business providing health care services must pay for elective abortions chosen by their employees,” he said. “The point of this mandate is not to provide health but to prove the government has absolute power over conscience.”
Echoing the words of the Founding Fathers, Perkins declared: “I’m calling on all religious conservative Republicans to realize once again that there can be no liberty without religious liberty, just as there can be no constitutional government unless we remain a moral people.”
He urged the Republicans to refuse to be intimidated.
“We must be willing to stand tall in the public square, and we must be not afraid to champion our faith in the workplace as well as in the public school,” he said.
“We must never accept the idea that religious freedom must be confined within the walls of a building or kept from the eyes of others so they will not be offended by our message.”
He received a standing ovation when he directed his words to Obama.
“Mr. President, it’s time to stand up for America.”
Perkins concluded: “We must rededicate ourselves to a view of religious liberty. We must champion our religious beliefs wherever we work or live. We must never forget we are ‘One Nation under God.’ We must not be afraid.”