Jerry Newcombe
Religious freedom at risk
FacebookTwitterGoogle+
By Jerry Newcombe
November 18, 2020

400 years ago this month, a weary band of Christians from England came ashore in New England after a grueling 66-day voyage aboard the Mayflower.

The Pilgrims came for one purpose, which they spelled out in writing: “for the glory of God and the advancement of the Christian faith.”

It was all about religious freedom. They wanted to worship Jesus in the purity of the Gospel.

150 years after the Pilgrims came, the founders of this nation enshrined religious freedom in our national charter, the Constitution.

When the Constitution was first written, there were some hesitations toward ratifying it. Many of those who accepted it did so upon the assurance that religious freedom would be guaranteed. Thus, the founders amended the Constitution with the Bill of Rights, the document’s first ten amendments.

First and foremost among these was religious freedom. The first two freedoms enshrined in the First Amendment deal with religious liberty. In effect, these liberties were understood to mean there would be no national denomination, and people were free to practice their faith as they saw fit. Implied in that is that the non-believer would be free to practice his lack of faith.

Jump forward to today, 400 years after the Pilgrims arrived, and in the land for which they sought refuge, religious freedom is at risk. With tongue and cheek, one wag asked, “Can we uninstall 2020 and install it again? This version has a virus.”

That virus, Covid-19, has been the excuse many anti-Christians bigots have used to try to hamstring churches. We have seen in the last several months an unprecedented assault on religious freedom.

Just consider a few examples:

  • Last week a judge in California ruled that strip clubs should be allowed to re-open, despite the pandemic, because the First Amendment is not nullified by a virus. And yet at the very same time, officials in California insist churches must be closed or severely limited because of the pandemic.

  • The Supreme Court ruled in the Calvary Chapel v. Sisolak case (July 24, 2020) out of Nevada that it was okay for the state to limit how many people could attend worship services, but the casinos were allowed to operate more freely. In his dissent on this case, Justice Neil Gorsuch declared, “…there is no world in which the Constitution permits Nevada to favor Caesars Palace over Calvary Chapel.”

  • Abortion clinics have been deemed “essential services” by a number of liberal governors, while churches are categorized as “non-essential.”

Rev. John MacArthur is one of the most listened-to and respected Bible teachers in our time. His church is in the greater Los Angeles area. He is generally not one to speak out on political matters. But after months of the pandemic and the way many state officials impair churches because of it, MacArthur decided that enough is enough. He reopened his church—despite threats from state and local officials.

Jenna Ellis, MacArthur’s attorney from the Thomas More Society, said “Our position has been that L. A. County shutting down churches indefinitely amid a virus with a 99.98% survival rate, especially when state-preferred businesses are open and protests are held without restriction, is unconstitutional and harmful to the free exercise of religion.”

Kelly Shackelford of First Liberty, which also fights for religious freedom, told D. James Kennedy Ministries: “All people have to do is look at the ‘experts’ saying, ‘Well, you can’t sing at church, but oh yeah, the [BLM and Antifa] protests, we’re okay with that because that’s important.”

It would appear that Christophobic bigots are using the pandemic to curb religious freedom in a country that was born for religious freedom.

Author and speaker Bill Federer once told me in a TV interview: “Tolerance was an American Christian contribution to the world. Just as you drop a pebble in the pond, the ripples go out, there was tolerance first for Puritans and then Protestants, then Catholics, then liberal Christians, and then it went out completely to Jews. Then in the early 1900s, tolerance went out to anybody of any faith, monotheist or polytheist. Finally, within the last generation, tolerance went out to the atheist, the secular humanist and the anti-religious. And the last ones in the boat decided it was too crowded and decided to push the first ones out. So now we have a unique situation in America, where everybody’s tolerated except the ones that came up with the idea. And so when people say Christians are intolerant, we really need to correct them and say, ‘No, we’re the ones that came up with the idea of tolerance.’”

The Pilgrims sacrificed everything they had to practice religious freedom. It would be horrible to see the gift they bequeathed to the world uprooted in our time by secular fundamentalists.

© Jerry Newcombe

 

The views expressed by RenewAmerica columnists are their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of RenewAmerica or its affiliates.
(See RenewAmerica's publishing standards.)

Click to enlarge

Jerry Newcombe

Jerry Newcombe is an on-air personality/senior producer for D. James Kennedy Ministries. He has written/co-written 31 books, e.g., The Unstoppable Jesus Christ; American Amnesia: Is America Paying the Price for Forgetting God?; What If Jesus Had Never Been Born? (w/ D. James Kennedy); The Book That Made America, Doubting Thomas (w/ Mark Beliles, on Jefferson), and the bestseller,George Washington's Sacred Fire (w/ Peter Lillback). djkm.org@newcombejerry, www.jerrynewcombe.com

Subscribe

Receive future articles by Jerry Newcombe: Click here

More by this author

 

Stephen Stone
'The fervent prayer of the righteous'

Siena Hoefling
Protect the Children: Update with VIDEO

Stephen Stone
Busted: Dems' fake claim that Trump and Utah congressional hopeful Burgess Owens want 'renewed nuclear testing' blows up when examined

Cliff Kincaid
America’s turkey is the CIA

Mark Shepard
Joe Biden has no path to victory

Paul Cameron
Did Biden win the presidency? Democrats and Republicans disagree

Judie Brown
REPORT: ‘Planned Parenthood’s Racism . . . In Their Own Words’

Timothy Buchanan
You’re being robbed

Curtis Dahlgren
Four diplomats walk into a bar (the Thanksgiving classic)

Laurie Roth
America and Trump are fighting the Nazi party and Hitler all over again

Larry Klayman
God's plan: Save America by destroying current government

Rev. Austin Miles
Lying news media fakes Trump election recount results

Steve A. Stone
“Drop and Roll:” How The 2020 election was stolen from Donald Trump

Randy Engel
Join the international boycott of Hallmark at Christmas time and forever

Rev. Mark H. Creech
The pandemic and the fear of death
  More columns

Cartoons


Click for full cartoon
More cartoons

RSS feeds

News:
Columns:

Columnists

Matt C. Abbott
Chris Adamo
Russ J. Alan
Bonnie Alba
Jamie Freeze Baird
Chuck Baldwin
Kevin J. Banet
J. Matt Barber
. . .
[See more]

Sister sites