Commentary / Coronavirus

No Quarantine on Religious Freedom

freedomIt’s not a date most people have circled on their calendars. But whether they know it or not, May 4, 2017 was the day most Americans were set free. Free from government imposed anti-religious mandates, court battles, and fines. Free from jail threats, harassment, and closures. After eight long years of an administration at war with religious freedom, President Trump leaned over a piece of paper in the Rose Garden and vowed, “We will not allow people of faith to be targeted, bullied, or silenced anymore.”

It was the first step of a thousand this administration has taken to reverse the devastating trends of the Obama years. Now, three years into his executive order on religious liberty, Americans don’t have to live in fear of the federal government. For once, Washington is an ally — not an enemy, at least on religious freedom. He’s proven it with meat packers, cake bakers, nuns, and Air Force colonels. Then he sided with health workers, adoption agencies, private schools, and federal contractors. Because for President Trump, restoring religious freedom wasn’t just a box he checked on his campaign promise whiteboard. It was a deeply personal mission to restore what Americans had lost.

Even now, in a time of unprecedented, nationwide suffering, this administration hasn’t let a challenge like the coronavirus distract it from the commitment it made more than 1,000 days ago: to protect what America stands for. The Trump team has been adamant, even from the earliest days of this outbreak: “the Constitution is not suspended in times of crisis.” If ever we needed faith, the administration has insisted, it’s now.

And thanks to Trump’s Department of Justice, local churches are getting the help they need to practice it. When local officials have used the lockdown to put the squeeze on churches, Attorney General William Barr’s staff has been on the ground, pushing back. “Expect action,” DOJ’s Kerri Kupec warned any would-be tyrants. And they got it. Just last week, in a shot across the bow, the nation’s chief law enforcer said all eyes were on the states. Any threats to freedom, Barr insisted, and his attorneys would be there in a flash to intervene.

If they were unconvinced, at least two incidents should have proven the DOJ’s sincerity. In Mississippi, where churches were being ticketed for drive-in services, Barr himself ordered his staff to file a “statement of interest” in the case — which essentially, DOJ’s Eric Dreiband explained on “Washington Watch,” tells the court which way the department thinks they should rule. Fortunately, the court listened and agreed that the city can’t single out churchgoers for harsher treatment than anyone else.

Over this past weekend, Dreiband’s staff was busy again — this time in Virginia, where police (under liberal Governor Ralph Northam’s direction) threated a pastor with jail time for holding a 16-person church service on Palm Sunday. State officials say that the Lighthouse church somehow violated the Virginia Constitution. Hardly, the DOJ insists, since the pastor insisted on “rigorous social-distancing and personal-hygiene protocols.” As far as Barr’s team is concerned, the criminal treatment of these churches is unacceptable. “The Commonwealth of Virginia has offered no good reason for refusing to trust congregants who promise to use care in worship in the same way it trusts accountants, lawyers, and other workers to do the same,” DOJ’s Dreiband argued in a statement.

Elsewhere, liberals in places like Kansas City, Missouri, seem intent on getting the administration’s attention with ridiculous monitoring measures like detailed registries on anyone who enters a church. Supposedly, the mayor’s new 10/10/10 rule is meant to keep tabs on non-essential businesses and other entities that open to the public. But some Christians are crying foul, since — conveniently — other gathering places, like grocery stores, are exempt. It’s just another power-grab in a long list of battles this administration will keep on fighting.

As frustrating as these flashpoints might be, they’re another example of just how much Americans have to be grateful for. Six years ago, our government wouldn’t be defending these churches — they’d be teaming up against them! Now, under just three years of this administration, we’ve seen a dramatic change in how freedom is regarded in this country. But this progress isn’t etched in stone. All it takes is one election for everything to go back to the way it was — when Americans were punished for their faith or excluded from the public square, rather than welcomed and protected by our government. Even now, with all of the uncertainty swirling around us, we need to stay focused on what’s at stake. And what’s at stake — for believers — is everything.

For more on this administration’s legacy on religious freedom, check out my new Washington Times op-ed on the three-year anniversary of the president’s executive order.

Reprinted with Permission from - Family Research Council by - Tony Perkins

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2 years ago

It is not about religion, the whole point of social distancing is to stop spread of Corona Virus. Did not about 70-people get infected at Sunday services in NYC early on before NYC became hot spot. Let us use some common sense here & quit the politics.

Gram Cracker
2 years ago

Thank you, Tony Perkins, for this important reminder of our freedom to worship. We are certainly blessed to have a President who values the constitution!! I am thankful that the DOJ has inserted themselves into the tyrannical states who have interfered with freedom of worship. We in PA – considering our very liberal governor – are surprisingly blessed indeed that churches are considered essential. Unfortunately, most either didn’t know it or thought it was prudent to close anyway.

Lynn Miller
2 years ago

It is not merely religious freedom that our wonderful President and Mr. Barr need to protect. There is NO persecution of the Muslims going to their mosques! It is the persecution of Christians and orthodox Jews who are being persecuted by the Leftist power elitists.

Joanna Johnson-Smith
2 years ago

Thank you Mr. Trump. Please make the 2nd Amendment the next thing you protect.

Marlene F Nickerson
2 years ago

Thank You. Just one question, why were so many churches closed and are still closed?

2 years ago

all of this pandemic closing of churches has been awful and a prejudicial closing compared to requirements for other “vital” industries. It too is a vital service and so long as we follow the safety distancing etc. we would be much better off to have them.

Waymon T Toles
2 years ago

Enough from the liberals. Lets try common sense instead.

2 years ago

Obama is a muslim. The stated goal of Islam is world domination. He was getting it started here and he is still out there poking his nose in where it isn’t wanted. No other President has been so presumptuous and intrusive after leaving office. He is a power monger as well as a deep state criminal. He disrespected our cultural norms and values we hold dear every chance he got. He should shut up and go away.

Dave D
2 years ago
Reply to  Jeanne

Well said but we have to stand up more than ever before as BHO REALLY gave them a good start & all the little
D’s said ya, ya, ya! More votes for us~~~

Christina Williams
2 years ago

Thank You God and Thank you, President Donald Trump. My heart and mind wd be able to slip easily into a deeper pit of despair that I can imagine, had you not been elected. I am healthy and 73 and a woman and Catholic and an American Patriot. I am embarrassed to say that occasionally in these 5+ yrs (early on) I wondered why I had lived so long after all of my family had died off, many younger than me. . And the culture had lost it’s brains and ethics. I wd look around and wonder what, other than pray and be as politically incorrect as I cd be (I have a loud and pleasant voice I did TV and radio when in my 20’s). I also have a shiny deep red car with many magnets in back. I shuffle them around frequently, so they won’t leave a pattern of neglect in my paint job. “I support Israel”, GOD is Pro-Life, TRUMP 2020 (used to say TRUMP, PENCE. I had, at one time or other, Herman CAIN, Ben CARSON, Marco RUBIO (I am white but color blind, like you). Land of the Free BECAUSE of the brave. I belong to the NRA but haven’t gotten around to buying a gun yet. Two weeks after you came into Office, I DID vote for you, I became an AVID SUPPORTER of yours. You have given me a Reason to stay healthy, care that I Live Long. I have been told by so many people that I am asking to get my car “keyed”. I am not rich. I say
“It wd by my privilege to bear such scratches, should they come my way. My 2011 is spotless and scratch-less at this point and I AM proud of that, but will close with the words on another of my magnets “Evil Will Triumph if Good People Do Nothing.”
I contributed, strategically , regularly, and I felt wisely to many worthy missions, conservatives, and researched charities that spent their money wisely. Now, I live on my Soc. Security alone, in a condo that I bought is St. Petersburg, FL, it has a mortgage attached. I spent some of my savings unwisely (but to good causes, I don’t regret any but one and the others cd have been a bit less. Next time I retire, I will be wiser. lol

Christina Williams

Brenda Blunt
2 years ago

Lord please guide our President Trump in Your way along with protecting him and guiding him according to Your will!!

2 years ago

resist resist resist ! All they can do is put you in jail, Rome crucified desenters.

2 years ago

Thank you Mr President for having some common sense and giving us hope. For those of us who are Bible students we know how this will end but we still need to “abide until [I] come”. Thank you Amac for staying true to your commitment while we still have more than a modicum of freedom left…but for how long.

2 years ago

Not a day goes by that I don’t thank GOD for giving us President Trump…I can only imagine what life would be like should the Dem’s have won the last election, or this next election coming up.
May GOD continue to bless the USA.

2 years ago

The church has yielded control to the gov’mt as soon as they accepted 501(C)3 status and incorporated. There are strings and this event proves it. There are global evil forces that have the church dead in their sights so hang on folks this is just the beginning.

2 years ago

Pray most definitely. Also, don’t forget to carry the sword.

Norma Gilchrist
2 years ago

I hope and pray Mr. Trump has lifted the ban on military chaplains to pray in Jesus’ name and the contents of their sermons.
Praise our Lord for what he has done already for churches and their rights.

2 years ago

In China the government dictates to religions what they can and cannot do and teach. That’s where Dems are heading. Proof is how they are dictating to churches in US.

2 years ago

I wonder if the government considers Muslims as falling under the umbrella of churches. Murder, beheading, female genital mutilation, child bride marriage, gang rapes…..all occur on a daily basis…mostly in Europe, but also here in the U. S. Islam is an evil movement that is centuries old, and IMO, it hardly qualifies as being a “church” in the traditional sense. Instead, it appears to be an organization that has its own ungodly agenda, fed by such devious organizations here in the U.S. as CAIR. Islam is a creeping menace to our freedom. Read Gatestone Institute, Pam Geller, Creeping Sharia and Jihad Watch Daily (all on line). You won’t find anything critical on the mainstream media.

2 years ago
Reply to  Grumpyoldcoot

And what if a devil worshipper’s group insisted they had the same rights? Doubt they would be so up-in-arms about that. Your right to worship doesn’t trump my right to be protected from your pathogens.

2 years ago
Reply to  rldiehl

You DO have the right to abstain from such worship gatherings; NO ONE is going to take that right from you. <

Nancy Hatfield
2 years ago
Reply to  Grumpyoldcoot

I don’t understand why any one would defend those horrible practices mentioned above. Obviously, they don’t see anything wrong with things that violate our constitution, our laws, and these practices need to be stopped. We should never allow foreign law into our country. How could anyone involved with these practices have peace of mind? We need to stand up to those who practice it and if possible, send those involved in violence, rape, child brides, etc to prison. discussion…

Lynn Miller
2 years ago
Reply to  Nancy Hatfield

Put quotation marks in your comment around the words “child marriage” because after those little girls are raped by their “husband” they become little more than sex slaves to him and hard labor slaves to the older “wife” in the household.

Susan P
2 years ago
Reply to  Grumpyoldcoot

One of the main tenets of Islam is that all other religions will be vanquished and all will bow down to Allah. This alone goes against the U. S. Constitution. The Immigration-Nationality Act of 1952 specifically FORBID entry into the USA of any person belonging to any group intent on overthrowing the government of the USA. Islam fits that description perfectly. ALL Muslims should have been denied entry into the USA under federal law. Obama chose to ignore this law. Perhaps it is past time we enforced it again and deported ALL who chose Islam as their religion

Lynn Miller
2 years ago
Reply to  Susan P

Also, Islamism is not a religion but a political system of law and societal order.

David Gaffaney
2 years ago

Good update. Mr President, keep up the good work of protecting our rights.

2 years ago

Really on target. Christians are their main goal to take away our freedom. ? Thank you Attorney General Barr for watching over us in their many actions to discriminate! ? God bless you. ?

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