Attacking The First Freedom

by Hal Lindsey
In a report issued last week, the Chairman of the U.S. Civil Rights Commission, Martin Castro, declared that the words “religious liberty” are merely a code for American bigotry.
He said, “The phrases ‘religious liberty’ and ‘religious freedom’ will stand for nothing except hypocrisy so long as they remain code words for discrimination, intolerance, racism, sexism, homophobia, Islamophobia, Christian supremacy or any form of intolerance.”
He went on to blame the Christian faith for slavery and Jim Crow laws.
Our nation’s founders viewed the first amendment as the most important in the Bill of Rights. “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press.…”
U.S. citizens stand heir to these remarkable words. They were assembled in an attempt to manifest in practical ways what both Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King called the “creed” of our nation — “…that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights.”
The Declaration set forth the concept of human dignity before God, and the Bill of Rights codified it into the bedrock of American law.  Yet today the Bill of Rights is under assault on university campuses, in federal courts, and now at the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights.
The Commission is an official arm of the United States government. Congress created it in 1957, and reauthorized it several times.  Their website says they are “an independent, bipartisan, fact-finding federal agency.”
Bipartisan?  One of the 8 commissioners is a Republican, and another is a right-leaning Independent.  The remaining 6 of 8 include 4 Democrats and 2 left-leaning Independents.
The Commission’s chairman, Martin Castro, is an Obama appointee.  Most Americans view the phrases “religious liberty” and “religious freedom” as precious.  But in the eyes of Chairman Castro, they stand for hypocrisy — mere code words for oppression.  His attack on them shows the depths to which this nation has fallen in just the last few years.
You have to wonder how someone so disoriented could rise to the Chairmanship of this important government entity.
In some ways, though, the determination of the Commission as a whole may be even more troubling.  The report that contained the Chairman Castro’s attack on freedom of religion is called, “Peaceful Coexistence: Reconciling Nondiscrimination Principles with Civil Liberties.”
In that report, the Commission wrote, “Civil rights protections ensuring nondiscrimination, as embodied in the Constitution, laws, and policies, are of preeminent importance in American jurisprudence.”  They concluded, “Religious exemptions… significantly infringe upon these civil rights.”
How could the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights fail to recognize that religious freedom is not something that competes with civil rights, but is a major component of those rights?  Because it is listed first in the Bill of Rights, “religious freedom” has long been known as the “First Freedom.”
In a rebuttal to the Commission’s report, Commissioner Gail Heriot wrote, “By starting with an assertion that antidiscrimination laws are ‘preeminent,’ the Commission’s analysis essentially begins with its conclusion. Why should anyone accept it?”
The Commission also expressed concern when “religious institutions and organizations claim the freedom under constitutional and statutory law to choose leaders, members or employees according to the tenets of their faith, even if the choice would violate employment, disability, or other laws.”
This isn’t even a matter of religious freedom.  It’s a matter of common sense.  Should the NFL be required to hire a Public Relations person who believes football is a dangerous sport that should be outlawed?  Should they be forced to hire someone to speak on their behalf who hates their sport?  Of course not.  To speak for the NFL, the person needs to be able to express the tenets of the NFL.
So why should a religious organization be forced to hire an atheist?  How long before the Catholic Church will be required to make women priests?  They aren’t required to do so now because of a “religious exemption.”  But the Commission officially states that “Religious exemptions… significantly infringe upon these civil rights.”
All institutions, including religious ones, are defined by their rules.  Abolish the rules and you remove the distinctions that define the group, thus destroying it.  On an international level, it’s the equivalent of removing a nation’s borders.
Governments around the world seem intent on overwriting the rules of faith-based institutions, primarily Christianity.  In this case, they are attacking Christians by saying that our beliefs in God’s rules are really just a way to disguise our bigotry.
It’s another sad day of decline in America – just as the Bible prophets predicted about conditions of the last days just before Christ comes for Christians.
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