RELIGIOUS LIBERTY UNDER ASSAULT, PART 2
By Chuck Norris
April 3, 2013 (originally
published April 1, 2013)
(Editor’s note: This is Part 2 of a two-part
series on religious liberty. Read Part 1
Last week in Part 1, I gave 12 examples of how
religious liberty has been assaulted in just the past two years in
the U.S. Here are a couple dozen more instances just for good
measure, as reported by the Family Research Council, the office of
Rep. Randy Forbes, R-Va., and various media outlets.
- The following public institutions have recently joined the
growing rank of those which have
banned the use of “Easter” in order to diminish or eliminate
references to religion: East Meadow School District in Long
Island, N.Y.; Prospect Heights Public Library, Ill.; Heritage
Elementary School, Ala.; Manhattan Beach School District,
Calif.; Flat Rock Elementary School, S.C.; and West Shore School
- The Colorado Court of Appeals
ruled that the state’s annual Day of Prayer proclamations
violated the state constitution.
- Officials in Buhler, Kan., are
removing a cross from the city’s seal,
which was placed on it four decades ago to represent the city’s
founders, who were immigrants fleeing religious persecution.
- The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit ruled
crosses placed on Utah roadsides to honor fallen state
troopers violated the Establishment Clause of the First
- A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the
ruled that a cross displayed as part of the Mt. Soledad Veterans
Memorial in San Diego, Calif., was unconstitutional.
- The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit ruled that
a North Carolina board of commissioners’
prayer policy was unconstitutional because the prayers
mentioned “Jesus” too frequently.
- The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit ruled that a
Florida city commission’s practice of
offering invocations at the beginning of meetings was
- For decades, the Sussex County Council in Delaware had
opened meetings with the Lord’s Prayer, but after a year-long
court battle challenging the practice, the council agreed to
replace it with a recitation of
- Other lawsuits by activist groups are sweeping the nation
targeting the tradition of city and county council prayer. Here
are a few more recent examples:
- North Carolina –
Prayer in public meetings debated in Greenville.
- New Jersey –
New Invocation Policy Includes Indemnification Waiver for All
- California –
Rialto City Council defends public prayers before meetings.
- Michigan –
Prayer at Oakland Twp. meeting draws ACLU’s attention.
- Georgia –
Cave Spring rethinking Lord’s Prayer issue.
- Washington –
‘Christ’ ban signals apparent end to Longview council meeting
- Officials at HHS
denied funding for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’
successful program for sex trafficking victims because of the
church’s teaching on human life.
- In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, many New York synagogues and
other houses of worship
discovered that they were ineligible among other nonprofits
for financial assistance from the Federal Emergency Management
- Presidential administration officials refused to intervene
closing of the U.S. Commission on International Religious
- Walter Reed National Military Medical Center
drafted policy that prohibited individuals from using or
distributing religious items during visits to the hospital.
- Three-star Army general and Delta Force war hero, Lt. Gen.
William G. (“Jerry”) Boykin, couldn’t speak at West Point
because of his Christian faith.
- The Air Force Academy apologized
for merely announcing Operation Christmas Child – a
Christian-based charity and relief program designed to send
Christmas gifts to impoverished children around the world.
- The Marine Corps considered
tearing down a Camp Pendleton cross meant to honor fallen
- The Navy
relocated a live nativity at a base in Bahrain to the chapel
- Air Force officials
stripped religious curriculum from a 20-year-old course on
“just war theory.”
- Yet, as reported in the Los Angeles Times, as of November
2011, the Air Force is
building an $80,000 Stonehenge-like worship site for
“earth based” religions, including “pagans, Wiccans, druids,
witches and followers of Native American faiths.”
- The Department of Veterans Affairs
censored references to God and Jesus during prayers at
Houston National Cemetery.
- The Pentagon released new regulations
forcing chaplains to perform same-sex weddings, despite
their religious objections. However,
members of the
Congressional Prayer Caucus worked tirelessly to ensure that
the final version of the
FY 2013 National Defense Authorization Act, signed into law
in January (2013), included key religious freedom protections
for service members generally and chaplains specifically
Pentagon revoked approval to use the logo of each service
branch on the covers of Bibles sold in military exchange stores.
What is going on in the U.S. military? Apparently
the military’s urge for neutrality is officially and fundamentally
transforming into hostility on faith.
What is so difficult about the feds understanding
of the Free Exercise clause in the First Amendment, in which they “…
shall make no law prohibiting the free exercise thereof …”?
Long gone are the days when, before the start of
World War II, the
commander in chief, President Franklin Roosevelt, actually wrote the
prologue to the Gideon Bibles given to the Armed Forces,
encouraging them to find strength and courage from its contents: “As
Commander-in-Chief, I take pleasure in commending the reading of the
Bible to all who serve in the armed forces of the United States.
Throughout the centuries, men of many faiths and diverse origins
have found in the Sacred Book words of wisdom, counsel, and
inspiration. It is a fountain of strength, and now, as always, an
aid in attaining the highest aspirations of the human soul.”
As I wrote in my
New York Times bestseller, “Black Belt Patriotism,” skeptics are
quick to point to Thomas Jefferson, who is generally hailed as the
chief of church-state separation. But proof that Jefferson was not
trying to rid government of religious (specifically Christian)
influence comes from the fact that he endorsed using government
buildings for church meetings, signed a treaty with the Kaskaskia
Indians that allotted federal money to support the building of a
Catholic church and to pay the salary of the church’s priests, and
repeatedly renewed legislation that gave land to the United Brethren
to help their missionary activities among the Indians.
Some might be completely surprised to discover
that just two days after Jefferson wrote his famous letter citing
the “wall of separation between Church and State,” he attended
church in the place where he always had as president: the U.S.
Capitol. The very seat of our nation’s government was used for
sacred purposes. As the Library of Congress website notes, “It is no
exaggeration to say that on Sundays in Washington during the
administrations of Thomas Jefferson (1801-1809) and of James Madison
(1809-1817) the state became the church.”
The official website for the Office of the
Chaplain of the U.S. House of Representatives explains that near the
Rotunda of the Capitol there is a room set apart for prayer,
established by the passage of both Houses in Congress in 1954: “Its
only purpose is to provide a quiet place where individual
Representatives and Senators may withdraw to seek Divine strength
and guidance, both in public affairs and in their own personal
lives. … The room’s inspirational lift comes from the stained glass
window with George Washington kneeling in prayer as the focal point.
Surrounding him are the words from Psalm 16:1, ‘Preserve me, O God,
for in thee do I put my trust.’ Above him are the words from
Lincoln’s Gettysburg address: ‘This Nation Under God.’”
The only fight left is for we the people to
defend our First Amendment’s freedom of religion, not
espouse or enable the freedom from religion. Start in
your own town or city, and take the battle all the way to
Write or call your representatives, then the
White House to voice your opinion about the assault on religious
liberty occurring across our land and what you think should be done
about it. You can reach the White House at 202-456-1111 or
by email here.