It’s that time of the year again. As 200+ million Americans gear up for the Christmas season, a vocal minority is at it again in their never-ending War on Christianity, and religion in general. With the holidays approaching, we are once again forced to endure the War on Christmas.
Yes, it is easy to get caught up with how retailers are now forced to say “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas.” But there is not a single religious tradition in this country that is criticized in this manner. No one tells Muslims they aren’t allowed to say Ramadan Mubarak (Ramadan the Blessed Month) during Ramadan, and it would be unconscionable for anyone to prevent Jews from wishing people L’Shanah Tovah (A Blessed New Year) during Rosh Hashana. Yet it is somehow offensive for Christians, roughly 80% of all Americans, to openly celebrate Christmas and proclaim the birth of Christ.
Courts are already removing the Ten Commandments, Crosses, and Nativity Scenes from public property. Even the military is too afraid to put up religious Christmas decorations; for fear that the celebration of the majority might offend a vocal minority. And while the Judicial and Executive branches continue to prohibit the open celebration of Christmas, the Congress has remained silent on this issue. It is unacceptable how the Federal government, as a whole, thinks it has any right to determine how you and I practice our faiths.
The First Amendment is very clear when it comes to religious freedom in this country. “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion,” it reads “or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” It couldn’t be clearer. The government cannot specify an official state religion. The government never has. But the most important part of the First Amendment is the promise that the government has no right to determine how you, me, or any citizen peacefully practices the faith.
This is a principle that the Founders felt was so important, they made it the First Amendment to the Constitution. However over time, this simple promise of individual religious freedom has been warped by activist judges to mean something completely different. Instead of ensuring that government cannot prevent your freedom of religion, we are now led to believe that First Amendment really protects every American’s freedom from religion.
But Obama’s War on Religion goes so much deeper than cheery Christmas wishes.
The Supreme Court is currently hearing the case brought by Hobby Lobby, a Christian-owned arts-and-crafts store that has challenged the constitutionality of forcing business owners to violate their religious beliefs in order to provide contraceptives and abortion-inducing drugs to employees. The essential argument is that for many of the religiously devout, it would be a First Amendment violation to force employers to violate their belief system in order to provide contraceptives and abortion coverage to their employees.
The case is pretty simple, and in many ways, it is a continuation of the Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission case that has changed election finance laws since 2010.
Now I know what you’re asking: What does a Supreme Court case about campaign finance law have to do with Obamacare forcing business owners to violate their faith?
In the Citizens United decision, the Court ruled that it was unconstitutional to prohibit corporations from engaging in politics because – and here is the important part – a corporation is a person. While these types of expenditures can be regulated, it would be a violation of the First Amendment to prohibit a company from exercising free speech.
All across the board, the Federal government has claimed that certain religious practices, traditions, and belief systems are incompatible with modernity, and that the religious faithful must sacrifice their values and beliefs to support the collective good.
Nowadays, everything is a “right.” We’re being told that we have a right to healthcare, a right to open immigration, a right to be gainfully employed. However we are told these so-called collective rights, are more important than the individual rights enshrined in the Constitution.
The sad thing is that while Christians are constantly losing these seemingly common-sense constitutional battles, the results are drastically different for atheists and other religious traditions. When will it stop? Will Catholic Priests be forced to officiate same-sex weddings against their will? Will Jehovah’s Witnesses be forced to have blood transfusions against their religion? Will Uncle Sam drag the Amish off to fight a war in violation of their faith? At what point are we going to force the government to honor the simple constitutional promise that the federal government “shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;” We must stand up, as one, and scream “NOT. ONE. MORE. INCH!”
At this time of year, we are always reminded of the War on Christmas. Anti-Christian groups have reignited their attempts to remove Christ from the public eye. We are told we must give up crosses and nativity scenes in public, and must stop wishing each other “Merry Christmas.” But these are just the symptoms of the problem. These are just more proof that the government really believes it has the right to tell you how to practice your religion. The War on Christmas is an attempt to belittle the birth of Christ, there’s no doubt about that. But these attacks against a Holy-day pale in comparison to the constitutional struggles taking place across America when it comes to our individual freedom of religion.
The fact that anyone in government thinks that it is unconstitutional to practice your religion, as you see fit, is abominable.
Join me in telling Congress to stop the ongoing War on Religious Conscience and reaffirm that as the First Amendment clearly says, the federal government cannot compel individuals and religious institutions to act against their faith!