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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4 months ago

Why have mosques been allowed to hold thrice-daily prayers, despite the closure of Christian churches?

martha beimer
4 months ago

We have one recourse left which will be ignored by most and not believed strongly enough by others,,, that is to PRAY! We have turned our backs on
God, Family, Morality, Modesty, Integrity and many other things which fall under the heading of God’s oversight. Pray.

4 months ago

Today is National Day of Prayer-let’s pray for him and our nation. About a month ago I received in the mail a petition to Trump to remove many restrictions in our military on freedoms of religious expression- even enforced on our military chaplains! Our military is often unable to receive comfort and assurance from the Word because of these restrictions. Let’s pray that our president reverses these as well!

Rodney Ernst
4 months ago

He battle will continue until the Lord returns. Not to many people remember, we are living in the devil’s domain. God is in control, but this is satans temporary controlled system. God allows things to happen, this virus is one of them. We just need to walk by faith and not by sight. On a different tone, where is the ACLU in all this. They are supposed to be protecting our civil liberties. I guess they are part of the left to. I say, when July 4th comes, every town, and people should celebrate our independence with all the gusto… Read more »

4 months ago

Churches should all be exempt from all gooberment interference with any worship activities… virus or not..

4 months ago

Excellent article.

4 months ago

Thank you President Trump! Now just open the country back up so we can get back to normal.

4 months ago

Thanks Amac for providing news that is real and not propaganda. Keep up the good work.

4 months ago

God, prayers, religion, 1st Amendment, 2nd Amendment etc. do not mix well with today’s democrat party!

4 months ago

I believe that SB 868 here in Virginia which was passed recently here in Virginia puts many Christian businesses, churches, school and faith based ministries in danger and takes way our Constitutional/Bill of Rights protections. Mr. Barr, can you look into that?

4 months 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… Read more »

4 months ago

It’s just too bad the public haven’t had the freedom to practice their religion freely as per the US Constitution! If anything, churches coming together in prayer for the country should be encouraged. Instead, the churches have been restricted from assembling as usual throughout this pandemic……yet the big box stores like Walmart, Lowes Home Improvement, Home Depot etc. have had business as usual. These stores are crowded with customers lately with apparently no restrictions on shopping. Yes, many will say that it’s all about social distancing, which makes that almost impossible for church members having to sit together in the… Read more »

4 months ago

the constitution doesn’t just apply to religion. it applies to all activities by an individual or group. I cant help but wonder at what point are we the people justified in overthrowing these tyrant by force?

4 months 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. 🙏

4 months 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.

4 months 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.

Stephen Russell
4 months ago

Agreed for ever

David Gaffaney
4 months ago

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

Norma Gilchrist
4 months 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.

josephine pooley
4 months ago

I love this information! I’m reposting so it gets out there!

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