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Monday, August 7, 2017

Rebuilding the wall of religious freedom

Wall of Jerusalem
In biblical times, secular kings provided outcast and downcast Israelites, living in a hostile pagan culture, an opportunity to return to their spiritual home and rebuild the wall around Jerusalem. Their enemies derided them and used the secular government to stop progress. But with faith, determination and courage, the Israelites rebuilt the wall (see the book of Nehemiah).
The Obama administration gave American believers a taste of what government disfavor can feel like when aimed at people of faith. A few examples:
The Obama administration relentlessly pursued
faith-based objectors to a contraceptives mandate,
forcing groups like Little Sisters of the Poor
into court to avoid ministry-killing federal fines
--Coercing health professionals and redefining sex discrimination: the 2016 HHS transgender mandate;
--Squelching First Amendment freedoms on campuses: barring campus faith expression;
--Forcing nuns to violate religious tenets: the Obamacare contraceptive mandate;--Threatening pro-life doctors and health care access: the 2009 gutting of the federal conscience regulation;--Denying federal human trafficking grants to pro-life programs for victims: HHS grant scandal;--Government intrusion on churches' hiring freedom: Supreme Court Hosanna Tabor case;--Firing and coercing life-honoring health care professionals and students: personal stories of discrimination.
As American culture continues to careen toward widespread hostility against the Church, we have a window of opportunity--perhaps a brief one--to rebuild the legal wall of religious freedom that our founders erected.
Failure to do so will make the Obama administration's assaults on the Church seem like gentle nudges in comparison to the wholesale oppression that future hostile administrations may undertake.
"So we built the wall and the whole wall was joined together to half its height, for the people had a mind to work."--Nehemiah 4:6

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