Former Congressman Frank Wolf warned that Americans’ freedom of conscience is under attack and it’s mainly Christians with conservative values who are in the crosshairs of the new champions of political correctness.
Wolf, 76, said Christians may have to resort to civil disobedience because their views are increasingly considered “intolerant.”
“When tolerance is demanded, when orthodox Christianity is deemed intolerant and when government and even society fails to extend tolerance to people of faith, we are headed down a perilous path,” said the former 17-term congressman from Virginia.
Wolf was a champion for religious freedom throughout his time in Congress. Since his retirement in January, he has become a senior fellow at the 21st Century Wilberforce Initiative, which advocates for religious freedom worldwide.
Wolf delivered the May 7 speech at an event hosted by the Petrie-Flom Center and the Ambassador John L. Loeb Jr. Initiative on Religious Freedom and its Implications at Harvard’s Center for American Political Studies.
His address was titled “After Hobby Lobby: What is Caesar’s and What is God’s?” at the center’s 2015 Annual Conference, “Law, Religion, and Health in America.”
The Christian Post reported that Wolf’s main point was that freedom of conscience has long been understood as important for religious freedom, but recently there has been a trend of violating the conscience protections of conservative Christians, particularly over the issues of abortion and marriage.
“Our conscience is not ultimately allegiant to the state, but to something, and for many people, Someone, higher,” Wolf said, citing a resolution adopted by the Continental Congress to protect the conscience rights of pacifists. This is important “because if our conscience belongs to the state, the state can choose to violate it or compromise it at will.”
He referenced a “subtle but insidious trend” in which the government is expanding into areas more likely to infringe upon conscience rights.
This trend was “at the heart” of the recent Supreme Court case involving Hobby Lobby, a Christian-owned craft supply chain, and the Obama administration’s birth control mandate, according to the Christian Post article. While the owners of Hobby Lobby, the Green family, are pro-life, the Obama administration sought to require them to pay for health insurance coverage for contraceptive pills that could cause an abortion.
“We are witnessing the imposition of a new state religion” called “progressive liberalism,” Wolf said.
Wolf also cited the recent firestorm of opposition to Religious Freedom Restoration Acts in Indiana and other states as part of the trend.
The double standards of Corporate America
He pointed to the hypocrisy of corporate leaders like Apple CEO Tim Cook, who opposed RFRA, a law to protect conscience rights, while exercising their own conscience rights, the CP reported. Apple removed from its products an app by the pro-life and pro-marriage group the Manhattan Declaration.
Cook also opposed Indiana’s RFRA over so-called “fairness” toward gays while doing business with Muslim countries where homosexuality is illegal, and China, a nation that “has one of the worst overall human rights records.”
“Freedom of conscience is good for all,” Wolf said. “If Apple and other companies want to protect their own rights, they ought also to protect those of others. If they wish to run their companies according to their conviction, they ought not deny other companies the same right.”
Universities beat up on Christians while embracing Islam
Wolf’s final example of attacks on religious conscience was the trend of Christian groups being singled out for their beliefs on college campuses. Christian students are forced to choose between leaving or remaining faithful to their beliefs while no such coercion is found toward Muslim or Hindu students who are free to say and do pretty much as they please.
“These legal realities and emerging policy norms, coupled with fears of compromised livelihoods and tarnished reputations, risk driving people of faith out of the public square,” he said.
Wolf said he hopes that in the face of these attacks on religious freedom, Christians will not “retreat from the public square” but “boldly stay, regardless of the cost” in the vein of Martin Luther King Jr.