Nothing less than America's constitutional commitment to freedom of religion is at stake in the 2016 presidential election.
This is not hyperbole, exaggeration or overstatement if one grasps the definition and understanding of "religious freedom" held by America's founders.
To them, "religion" meant belief systems that centered around the God of the Bible. Thus, the constitutionally guaranteed protections of freedom of religion were designed to protect the rights of citizens to follow the dictates of their faiths in an overwhelmingly Christian society, yet one that included much theological diversity.
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The founders believed that the unique experiment America afforded in "self-government," meaning sovereign individuals would govern themselves for the most part, allowing for strict limits on government power, could only be achieved and sustained in a society with the general moral standards shared by Christians and Jews. On the other hand, a society in which every man and woman did what was right in their own eyes would require the heavy hand of government coercion.
Never could the founders have imagined how far America would drift from its Judeo-Christian roots over the next 200 years:
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- Today, one presidential candidate, along with most members and leaders of her political party, believe it is a good idea for the country to accept with enthusiasm and subsidies massive numbers of Sunni Muslim immigrants from the Middle East at the expense of Christian refugees facing a genuine genocide at the hands of mostly Sunni Muslims.
- That same presidential candidate suggests all opposition to her plan to increase the influx of Muslims is, in fact, unconstitutional – a violation of the First Amendment's guarantee of freedom of religion, even though immigration into the U.S. has always been considered a privilege and applicants have always been asked about their religion.
- When asked what kind of Supreme Court justices she would nominate if she became president, this candidate said she would consider only those who would uphold Roe v. Wade, the decision that struck down abortion laws in most states. Perhaps her most sacred political commitment is to the unrestricted, unregulated killing of unborn babies for any reason or no particular reason at all. She also wants to require taxpayers to participate in the destruction of the most innocent form of human life by supporting it more generously and widely with government funding.
- The communications director of that same presidential candidate, Jennifer Palmieri, wrote an email to John Podesta, her campaign manager, in which she ripped Catholicism and evangelical Christianity as "severely backwards" when it comes to "gender relations."
- She is also unequivocally supportive of what she calls "marriage equality," which means not only can men marry men and women marry women, but those who do not share that unbiblical belief have no right to opt out of participation in the preparation of those ceremonies, nor the right of refusal to participate in them – a clear violation of religious freedom. Americans have already been prosecuted, fined, sued and lost their jobs and businesses for simply declining to bake cakes, prepare floral arrangements and provide catering services and photographic and video services for same-sex weddings because of their own religious convictions.
- But, perhaps most stunning and alarming of all is what this presidential candidate said last year in speaking to the 2015 Women in the World Summit, declaring that "deep-seated cultural codes, religious beliefs and structural biases have to be changed." This is a presidential candidate who openly and defiantly proclaims that "religious beliefs … have to be changed." Freedom of religion, as America's founders viewed it, had two parts: 1) free exercise by individuals; and 2) a prohibition on the establishment of a national religion. On this test, one presidential candidate flunks both constitutional provisions.
If Hillary Clinton is elected president of the United States in November, you can expect an all-out war by her regime on freedom of religion in America – and particularly on those individuals and institutions that promote a Judeo-Christian worldview with devotion to the God of the Bible and His laws.
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That's what is at stake on the 2016 election – and much more.
Media wishing to interview Joseph Farah, please contact [email protected].