Another banner year (2016) for violations of Americans’ religious freedoms the Constitution is supposed to protect. First Liberty Institution has compiled a report, entitled for the last five years of all the known religious liberty violations in the U.S. This year’s report about 2016 is entitle “Undeniable.” First Liberty attorney Jeremy Dys says, it’s the most comprehensive survey of its kind, which includes 1,400 real-life stories.
“This year’s survey represents a 15-percent increase in just the past year,” Dys explains, “and an alarming 133-percent increase… since we started tracking and publishing this survey in 2012.”
According to the report, hostility toward religious liberty continues to rise in the public arena (government and industry, for example) as well in the realms of education, religious institutions, and the U.S. military.
First Liberty founder Kelly Shackelford cites an incident documented in the report: “One example is Giovanni Rubio, a nine-year-old boy who was told he could bring any book he wanted to school during free reading time. He brought his Bible” – and uproar ensued.
Then there is the case of Alexia Palma, a health educator to the poor in Houston. She objected to teaching pregnant mothers about contraception because of her faith. Management accommodated her, but then new management took over. Palma said: “Next thing you know, I was getting called into a meeting where they told me that I needed to put my religious beliefs aside if I wanted to continue being a health educator there.” She stood firm and was fired. First Liberty, which has a 90-percent win rate, filed suit and the institution settled for an undisclosed amount.
Attacks on religious liberty are paving the way for the biblical prediction that worship laws will eventually violate the religious freedom of faithful seventh-day Sabbath keepers because it sets precedents that will make worship laws seem like the best solution to the secular assault on religious freedom.
“The founders of the [United States] wisely sought to guard against the employment of secular power on the part of the church, with its inevitable result—intolerance and persecution. The Constitution provides that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,” and that “no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.” Only in flagrant violation of these safeguards to the nation’s liberty, can any religious observance be enforced by civil authority.” The Great Controversy, page 442.