Evangelicals & Fleeting Religious Liberty

This week I am blessed to write and publish two blog posts. I will seek to be economical in my words with this post, so wish me well. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito caused a national stir with his speech at a recent meeting of the Federal Society (see note below). Justice Alito was the keynote speaker and spoke openly about his thoughts concerning the prevailing legal worldview strenuously propagated by many of the cultural elite Law Schools in America.

[The Federalist Society for Law and Public Policy Studies is a group of conservatives and libertarians interested in the current state of the legal order. It is founded on the principles that the state exists to preserve freedom, that the separation of governmental powers is central to our Constitution, and that it is emphatically the province and duty of the judiciary to say what the law is, not what it should be. The Society seeks both to promote an awareness of these principles and to further their application through its activities.]

CNN characterized Justice Alito’s speech with these terms “He said it out loud Thursday night in an ireful speech to the conservative Federalist Society.” I admit I had to look up the word “ireful.” Ireful is defined as “feeling or showing extreme anger; “irate protesters”; “ireful words” irate. angry – feeling or showing anger; “angry at the weather”; “angry customers”; “an angry silence”; “sending angry letters to the papers.”

Justice Alito’s general thesis is beyond dispute, at least from my perch as I keenly observe the banter that takes place within the public square. Religious Liberty is directly in the crosshairs of the Radical Left. They will work relentlessly to eliminate the Evangelical voice from the marketplace of ideas. Any Evangelical holding to a distinctively Judeo-Christian worldview will soon be marked as hateful and harmful to society’s pursuit of human flourishing. I share this perspective from an fellow blogger, Kalvis Golde.

To Justice Alito, religious freedom is most vulnerable of all. “Religious liberty,” Alito lamented, “is fast becoming a disfavored right.” The foremost example of this disfavor in the justice’s mind was the court’s 1990 decision in Employment Division v. Smith, written by Justice Antonin Scalia, which “cut back sharply” on free exercise by establishing that religious groups are usually not entitled to faith-based exemptions from neutral, generally applicable laws. Alito lauded Congress for passing, with near-unanimous support, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 to push back against this very decision. The Supreme Court is considering whether to overrule Smith this term in Fulton v. City of Philadelphia. And the afternoon of Alito’s speech, the Catholic diocese in Brooklyn asked the court for emergency relief from New York’s coronavirus regulations similar to that previously sought by Calvary Chapel in Nevada.

If you are tempted to dismiss or gloss over Golde’s statement, at least allow the following words to chill your indifference. Justice Alito’s most caustic statement was, “religious liberty fast becoming a disfavored right.” If this does not arrest your attention, I fear what will it take to arrest you from your slumber. Many have long considered and understood religious liberty as America’s first liberty, more than the Right to Assembly, the Right to Bear Arms, or even of a Free Press, even as cherished and revered as these Rights are passionately held to be sacrosanct by many.

During his speech, Justice Alito recounted the comments he hears most frequently from recent Law School graduates (please note Justice Alito is not likely to intersect with Law School graduates who went to night school. Instead, the graduates he likely comes in contact with are lawyers from prestigious institutions like Harvard, Yale, and Stanford) is the censorship they experienced if they dared to voice an ideology that was not consistent with the Liberal worldview espoused and promulgated at the many of the elite institutions in America.

If we are not careful, our nation’s trajectory is most assuredly heading to a time when it will no longer be permissible to postulate a definitely Evangelical worldview in the public square. Listen to Justice Alito when he says, “Whether our society will be inclusive enough to tolerate those with unpopular religious beliefs,” Alito said, is the question we now face.

 

That is indeed one of the most pressing question our society must face. Ignore this question if you choose, but the question is not going away. Yet, what I find most chilling is the general apathy I see from the Evangelical community. AAs seem fixated on accusing the incumbent POTUS of being a racist, all the while throwing their unbridled support behind the most liberal President elected in U.S. history if the vote tallies continues to go as expected and Joe Biden becomes the 46th POTUS.

Sadly, this has happened repeatedly in our past, but we keep falling for Satan’s old bag of tricks. We are not even making Satan work to retain his continual deception and blinding of the Gospel. Many of the stakeholders in Germany quietly and passively allowed Hitler to build his coalition. In a matter of a few years the train left the station and barreled full speed ahead. It took WWII and all of its carnage to stop Hitler’s insidious and demonically inspired plan for world domination.

I close with these sobering words:

First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out— because I was not a socialist.

Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out – because I was not a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out — and there was no one left to speak for me.

We will either pay now or pay later but pay we shall. If I am going down, it will not be without a fight. If Evangelicals are discarded and banned from the public square, it will be in spite of my best efforts and never due to my lack of effort, God help me!

Feel free to agree or dissent by letting your voice be heard while it still can. I am afraid there is quickly coming a day when that will dramatically change. Until then, keep your hands to the plow and seek to serve for Audience of One.

 
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