Tearing Down The Foundation

The most important part of a building is the foundation. If the foundation is sturdy, chances are the building will stand. Our government is built on the concept of Judeo-Christian values. The Constitution states that our rights come from God and that the Constitution is there to insure those rights are protected–the rights do not come from government.

On Friday night, Attorney General William Barr gave a speech at Notre Dame about the attack on those traditional values that form the basis of our society. Yesterday The Observer posted an article about the speech. The Observer is a student-run, daily print & online newspaper serving Notre Dame, Saint Mary’s & Holy Cross.

The article reports:

U.S. Attorney General William Barr spoke at Notre Dame Law School on Friday evening, calling for a defense of Judeo-Christian values and religious freedom in response to growing secularism in America.

The event was reserved for students, faculty and staff of the Notre Dame Law School and de Nicola Center for Ethics and Culture, both of which hosted the lecture. It took place in the McCartan Courtroom while another room in the law school streamed the speech to another crowd of ticket-holding students and faculty.

Barr began by discussing the new challenges the United States is facing today. It’s a difficulty he said the Founding Fathers foresaw as “the supreme test of a free society.”

“The central question was whether over the long haul, we the people can handle freedom,” Barr said. “The question was whether the citizens in such a free society could maintain the moral discipline and virtue necessary for the survival of free institutions.”

In the Founders’ view, Barr said, free government was only suitable for people who had the discipline to control themselves according to a transcendent moral order. As John Adams put it, he said, the United States Constitution was made only for “a moral and religious people.” 

“Now, modern secularists dismiss this idea of morality as sort of otherworldly superstition imposed by a killjoy clergy,” Barr said. “But in fact, Judeo-Christian moral standards are the ultimate utilitarian rules for human conduct. They reflect the rules that are best for man not in the by-and-by but in the here-and-now.”

By the same token, he said, violations of these moral laws have “bad, real world consequences” for man and society — such as society is seeing today.

“I think we all recognize that over the past 50 years, religion has been under increasing attack,” Barr said. “On the one hand, we have seen the steady erosion of our traditional Judeo-Christian moral system and a comprehensive effort to drive it from the public square. On the other hand, we see the growing ascendancy of secularism and the doctrine of moral relativism.”

With escalating suicide rates, the drug epidemic, hate crimes and more, there is a campaign to “destroy the traditional moral order,” Barr said, and secularists ignore these results and press on with “even greater militancy.”

Please follow the link to read the entire article. The last part of the article includes the students’ reaction to the speech. Some of that reaction reflects the moral rebellion that has characterized many of our young college students.

CNS News also posted an article about the speech.

CNS News notes:

The secularist government attempts to alleviate bad consequences by advancing abortion, enabling drug use and assuming the roles of parent and spouse, Barr said. And, while promising unlimited freedom, the end result of the secularist religion is one of servitude, he warned:

“So, the reaction to growing illegitimacy is not sexual responsibility, but abortion.

“The reaction to drug addiction is safe injection sites.

“The solution to the breakdown of the family is for The State to set itself up as an ersatz husband for the single mother and an ersatz father for the children. The call comes for more and more social programs to deal with this wreckage.

“And, while we think we are solving problems, we are underwriting them.

“We start with an untrammeled freedom and we end up as dependents of a coercive state on whom we depend.”

“Interestingly, this idea of The State as the Alleviator of Bad Consequences has given rise to a new moral system that goes hand-in-hand with the secularization of society. It can be called the System of Macro-Morality. And, in some ways, it is an inversion of Christian morality.

“Christianity teaches a Micro-Morality: we transform the world by focusing on our own personal morality and transformation. The new secular religion teaches Macro-Morality. Once morality is not gauged by their private conduct, but rather their commitment to political causes and collective action to address various social problems.

“This system allows us not to worry so much about the strictures on our own private lives, because we can find salvation on the picket line. We can signal our finely-tuned moral sensibilities by participating in demonstrations on this cause or on that.”

The generation that is fighting to destroy the foundation of America will have to live with the consequences of their actions. They might not like what they have created.

How Is This Compatible With The First Amendment?

Fox News posted an article today reporting some recent comments by Beto O’Rourke.

The article reports:

Democratic presidential hopeful Beto O’Rourke says he’d strip churches of tax-exempt status if they don’t support same-sex marriage.

When the former Texas congressman was asked if religious institutions — “colleges, churches, charities” — should be stripped of tax-exempt status Thursday night by CNN anchor Don Lemon during the LGBTQ town hall, he immediately responded, “Yes.”

The article continued:

“There can be no reward, no benefit, no tax break for anyone or any institution, any organization in America, that denies the full human rights and the full civil rights of every single one of us,” he said. “So as president, we’re going to make that a priority, and we are going to stop those who are infringing upon the human rights of our fellow Americans.”

First of all, the churches who hold a Biblical view of marriage are not restricting your human rights–they are simply saying that they do not support something that is against the teaching of the Bible. These are churches who believe in the Bible. The Bill of Rights gives them the right to those beliefs. You are perfectly free to get married in any church that has a different view of marriage, you are just not allowed to coerce a church to go against its basic tenets.

The article concludes:

And Hiram Sasser, general counsel for First Liberty Institute, told Fox News their faith-based organization has taken on the government before.

“When the Obama IRS came after pastors gathering together in conferences with Rick Perry support traditional marriage, we had to defend the pastors,” Sasser said. “We beat the IRS then and we would do it again if O’Rourke attacks churches with the IRS in the future.”

President Trump has championed religious liberty, largely winning the evangelical vote in 2016, and earlier this year, his administration launched a global effort to decriminalize homosexuality.

Be very careful here. Regardless of how you feel about this particular issue, please understand that this is an attempt to chip away at the rights guaranteed to Americans in the Bill of Rights.

This Needed To Be Done

Yesterday CBN News posted an article about President Trump’s visit to the United Nations.

The article reports:

On Monday, President Donald Trump made history with a big push for the United Nations to truly focus its attention on global religious liberty

On the first day of a three-day scheduled visit during the UN’s General Assembly, the President’s big focus was a meeting about the worldwide persecution of religious minorities, especially Christians.

The event called a “Global Call to Protect Religious Freedom,” was attended by key evangelical leaders including Franklin Graham, Paula White, Jentezen Franklin, Tim Clinton, and Cissie Graham Lynch. The president was introduced by Vice President Mike Pence.

President Trump began his remarks by saying, “The United States is founded on the principle that our rights don’t come from government, they come from God.”

He said the facts are clear that 80 percent of the world doesn’t enjoy the same protection for religious freedom that US citizens enjoy.

Trump said it was an “urgent moral duty” for world leaders to stop crimes against faith.

“The United States of America calls upon the nations of the world to end religious persecution, to stop the crimes against prisoners of faith, to release prisoners of conscience,” Trump said.

The Trump administration has hosted annual meetings on the topic in Washington, and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced during this year’s event that he would create an international alliance dedicated to the issue.

The United Nations Human Rights Commission includes the following members: Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, South Africa, and Pakistan. In most of these countries, religious freedom is an impossible dream. In South Africa, white farmers are being murdered and their land taken. This is the United Nations President Trump is working with. I admire his effort, but I believe that the United Nations has become so corrupt that they are no longer an organization capable of working toward either peace or freedom. They need to be kicked out of New York City and dissolved.

 

Taking Away Religious Freedom And Parent’s Rights

On September 13th, CBN News reported that the New York Department of Education is moving to force all private schools in the state to perform as public schools. The department is reevaluating a 125-year-old law that would require private schools to offer the equivalent instruction to students as required in public schools.

The article reports:

This means all private schools’ curriculum, scheduling, lesson plans, hiring standards, and reporting requirements would have to follow all regulations as required by the state for public schools. The new regulations would also give the power to local school districts to oversee and inspect private and parochial schools. If a school was found lacking in compliance with the proposed regulations, the school could be closed. 

The Pacific Justice Institute (PJI), a non-profit legal defense organization, represents Parents Union for Religious Integrity of Torah Education (PURITE). The parents and rabbis who sought PJI’s assistance practice ultra-Orthodox Hasidic Judaism. They have been training their youth in small religious schools known as yeshivas for thousands of years. The schools instruct in subjects such as math and English language while focusing primarily on the Torah and Talmud. 

PURITE notes that the proposed regulations would essentially outlaw their way of life and education. Parochial school leaders and homeschool families are also concerned about the suggested rules. 

PJI attorney Kevin Snider sent a letter last week to the New York Department of Education, which had been accepting public comment. Snider’s letter explains in some detail the conflict between Torah-based education and the goals of NY public schools.

This is the precursor to a move against homeschooling. Unfortunately the American public education system is failing the students. Many students who go to college are having to take remedial courses in English and mathematics before they can actually take a college course. Our children are graduating high school with no marketable skills and no practical life skills. The have been schooled in what to think, but not schooled in how to think. As parents realize that the public schools are failing their children, they are turning to other ways to educate their children.

The following chart shows the growth of homeschooling in America since 1970. People taking their children out of public school is a threat to the education establishment. We already know that children in Charter Schools, private schools and homeschooling do better than children in public school.  That is the reason the State of New York is going after private education.

Ultimately parents are responsible for raising and educating their children. That is a responsibility and right that the government is slowly infringing on.

Slowly Moving The Anti-Christian Agenda Down The Road

On Friday, The Federalist posted an article about a recent video made by New Orleans Saints Quarterback Drew Brees.

The article reports:

Brees released a short video encouraging young people to share their faith by bringing their Bibles to school on October 3, 2019. The event is an annual celebration designed to encourage personal freedom, religious freedom, and religious pride, and is sponsored by Focus on the Family, a conservative Christian advocacy organization.

The reaction was instantaneous and intensely hostile. Sports commentator Robert Littal tweeted, “Drew Brees Created a PSA Video for an Anti-Gay Religious Cult That Believes in Conversion Therapy & Fights Against Any Anti-Discrimination Laws; Wants Kids to Bring Bible to School to Convert Other Kids.” Out Magazine, an LGBT publication, shamed Brees for associating with Focus on the Family, which they refer to as an “anti-gay extremist group.”

In 2010 Brees made a video for the It Gets Better series, which encourages LGBT youth to push through school bullying. In this video, he says, “If you’re making fun of someone because they are different, then you are no friend of mine.” He also partnered with Ellen DeGeneres to promote an anti-bullying campaign. Thus his work with Focus on the Family’s campaign, Out asserts, demonstrates a fall from grace.

Focus on the Family is not an “anti-gay extremist group.” They are a group of Christians who believe the Bible and teach from it. It seems to me that a gay community that is bringing drag queens into schools to encourage alternate life styles might not be the proper group to complain about students sharing their faith in God. Religious freedom is enshrined in our Constitution. Biblical Christianity recognizes homosexuality as a sin. It also recognizes sex out of wedlock as a sin. It does not condemn the sinner–it condemns the action and invites the sinner to repentance. The laws that Mr. Littal is accusing Focus on the Family of opposing would limit the rights of Christians. In a sense, those laws call for the discrimination of those holding Christian beliefs. Again the rights of those holding any religious belief are enshrined in our Constitution.

I am grateful for Drew Brees telling children to bring their Bible to school. If we had more Bibles in schools, we might have better discipline and less violence.

The First Amendment Allows The Free Exercise Of Religion–It Doesn’t Restrict It

The First Amendment was designed to prevent the establishment of one religion sanctioned by the government. It was not designed to put obstacles in the way of people choosing to practice their religion.

Yesterday CNS News posted an article about a policy of the Trump administration designed to protect the rights of Americans to practice their religion.

The article reports:

Evangelical leader Franklin Graham praised Vice President Mike Pence for defending religious freedom at Veterans Affairs hospitals in a recent speech, where Pence said, “Under this administration, VA hospitals will not be religion-free zones.” 

In an Aug. 29 post on Facebook, Rev. Graham wrote, “‘VA hospitals will not be religion-free zones.’ Vice President Mike Pence spoke at the American Legion’s 101st National Convention yesterday about all that this administration is doing to help our nation’s military veterans.”

“He also addressed the issue of a current lawsuit in New Hampshire to remove the Bible of a World War II POW from a VA hospital’s ‘missing man’ table,” remarked Graham. “Vice President Pence said, ‘…under the last administration, VA hospitals were removing Bibles and even banning Christmas carols in an effort to be politically correct.

The article concludes:

“In 2014, the Navy Exchange Service Command issued a memo for the removal of Bibles in Navy Lodge guest rooms following a complaint from the Freedom From Religion Foundation,” reads the letter. “The Navy reversed course and announced that the Bibles would be replaced.  Similarly, the Establishment Clause does not require that you remove Bibles from the Missing Man Table displays.  The mere presence of a Bible coerces no one.”

At the Manchester Veterans Affairs hospital in New Hampshire there is a “missing man” memorial table that includes a Bible. In May, the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, headed by Michael Weinstein, filed a federal lawsuit to have the Bible removed. The litigation is ongoing.

“That sectarian Christian Bible bolted down to that POW/MIA table at the Manchester NH VAMC is a grotesque gang sign of fundamentalist Christian triumphalism, exceptionalism and supremacy, indeed a middle finger of unconstitutional repugnance to the plurality and separation of church and state guaranteed in the U.S. Constitution,” Weinstein told the Military Times.

Weinstein is well known in the military as someone who frequently uses lawsuits to end religious speech. Barack Obama appointed Mikey Wienstein to be a consultant to the Pentagon to develop new policies on religious tolerance, including a policy for court-martialing military chaplains who share the Christian Gospel during spiritual counseling of American troops. These are some of the policies that President Trump is quietly undoing.

Taking Away The Freedoms Guaranteed In Our Constitution

The First Amendment to the U. S. Constitution reads:

Amendment I

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

Laws passed by Congress and state legislators are supposed to be in line with the U.S. Constitution. However, there is a bill currently in the House of Representatives that not only undermines the First Amendment, it also cancels out The Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993. H.R. 5 is a nightmare for those who believe in religious liberty and freedom of religion.

The Heritage Foundation lists seven problems with the bill:

1. It would penalize Americans who don’t affirm new sexual norms or gender ideology.

2. It would compel speech.

3. It could shut down charities.

4. It would allow more biological males to defeat girls in sports.

5. It could be used to coerce medical professionals.

6. It could lead to more parents losing custody of their children.

7. It would enable sexual assault. 

All of these problems have already arisen. Please follow the link to The Heritage Foundation to view the details.

The Liberty Counsel posted an article on May 10 detailing one major aspect of H.R.5. The article states:

HR 5, in the U.S. House, and S. 788, in the Senate, misnamed the “Equality Act,” takes the unpreceded step of eliminating the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 (RFRA) as a claim or defense to the application of many federal laws. This bill drastically alters religious freedom in all cases, not just those involving LGBT.

For example, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 permits houses of worship to make employment decisions based on religion. This recognizes the essential right for houses of worship to employ those who align with their religious doctrine. The “Equality Act” would abolish this fundamental right. Catholic and Christian churches could be forced to hire atheists. If a synagogue preferred a Jew over a Muslim, it would not be able to raise RFRA as a claim or defense.

RFRA is a federal law that protects religious freedom. Specifically, it “prohibits any agency, department, or official of the United States or any State (the government) from substantially burdening a person’s exercise of religion even if the burden results from a rule of general applicability, except that the government may burden a person’s exercise of religion only if it demonstrates that application of the burden to the person.” 

However, HR 5 clearly forbids raising RFRA as a claim or defense to the application to the “Equality Act” and many other federal laws that would be amended by this bill.

This “Equality Act” extends the federal protections to include sexual orientation, gender identity, and pregnancy, i.e. abortion. HR 5 applies to employment, housing, rental, public accommodation and more. In addition, the terms “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” will be defined to mean “pregnancy, childbirth, or a related medical condition.” In other words, under the terms of this bill, “pregnancy, childbirth or a related medical condition… shall not receive less favorable treatment than other physical conditions.” The “Equality Act” also expands the definition of public accommodations to include places or establishments that provide (1) exhibitions, recreation, exercise, amusement, gatherings, or displays; (2) goods, services, or programs; and (3) transportation services.”

After passing the House Judiciary Committee recently, the “Equality Act” will now go to the House next week and then be sent to the Senate, where the bill number is S. 788.

If you value religious freedom in America, please call your Senator and tell them to vote against this bill. It will probably pass in the House of Representatives, but needs to be stopped in the Senate. If you are not a religious person and don’t think this is a problem, remember that if the government can undo religious freedom, it can also undo other freedoms. You might not be impacted this time, but if this bill passes, there will be more to follow.

Private Property Rights

According to The American Policy Center:

In a “Fifth Amendment” treatise by Washington State Supreme Court Justice Richard B. Sanders (12/10/97), he writes: Our state, and most other states, define property in an extremely broad sense.” That definition is as follows:

“Property in a thing consists not merely in its ownership and possession, but in the unrestricted right of use, enjoyment, and disposal. Anything which destroys any of the elements of property, to that extent, destroys the property itself. The substantial value of property lies in its use. If the right of use be denied, the value of the property is annihilated and ownership is rendered a barren right.”

The right of use has come under fire in recent years. One instance of property rights being violated occurred recently in Pennsylvania.

Yesterday Todd Starnes posted the following:

The owners of a Pennsylvania farm have been ordered by the Sewickley Heights Borough to cease and desist holding Bible studies on their private property.

Borough leaders accused Scott and Terri Fetterolf of improperly using their 35-acre farm as a place of worship, a place of assembly and as a commercial venue.

They were served a cease-and-desist order in October 2017, the Post-Gazette reported.

The Independence Law Center filed a federal lawsuit on behalf of the farmers against the borough alleging an egregious violation of the U.S. Constitution.

According to the lawsuit, the Fetterolfs were threatened with fines of $500 per day plus court costs for having Bible studies at their home, having meetings where religious songs are sung, conducting any religious retreats for church leaders or seminary students or conducting any religious fundraisers.

The article concludes:

The lawsuit accuses the government leaders of violating religious freedom, freedom of speech, freedom of assembly and equal protection.

“Government should not target religious activities for punishment, particularly when similar secular activities are permitted,” attorney Jeremy Samek said. “In America, no government can categorically ban people from assembling to worship on one’s property.”

To that point, the lawsuit alleges the borough allows other activities and gatherings – ranging from political rallies to a Harry Potter event.

So if government leaders allow muggles to cavort in Sewickley Heights Borough, they should afford the same rights to Christians gathering for Bible study on private property.

There are situations where it might be appropriate to limit a home Bible study–if parking becomes a problem in the neighborhood or if the noise level was inappropriate. However, this was on a farm–I doubt there was either a noise or a parking problem. This is simply an illegal attempt to limit religious activity, and I suspect the Sewickley Heights Borough will lose the case in court. However, the thing to remember here is that in many cases the people holding the Bible study would not have the resources to fight the case in court. There are a number of legal advocates for Christians under attack that are handling this sort of case. We should all be grateful for these organizations–they are protecting our right to the free exercise of our religious beliefs.

The West Needs To Realize That Not Everything Is A Two-Way Street

As the invasion of Europe continues, some European leaders are waking up to the threat. For anyone who does not believe that Europe is being invaded, look at the demographics of the ‘refugees’ seeking asylum there.

The following is taken from a WND article from Marcy 2016:

The Gateway Pundit posted an article today about what is happening in Austria. Austria has deported more than 50,000 Islamic illegal immigrants. The article states that Austria plans to shut down seven mosques and deport 60 Turkish-funded radical imams. Turkey is outraged.

The article reports:

Turkey immediately condemned Austria’s move to close the radical mosques as ‘racist’ and anti-Islamic.

Of course, this comes just weeks after Islamist Turkey seized ALL Christian churches in city and declares them ‘state property’

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan took control of six churches in the war-torn southeastern city of Diyarbakir in his latest move to squash religious freedom.

It seems to me that if Muslim countries are not willing to allow religious freedom for Christians, western countries with their roots in Christianity should not allow religious freedom for Muslims. This might slow down the attempt to take over western culture by ‘refugee’ invasion to change the demographics of western countries. If you doubt the impact on demographics, compare the birthrates of western countries to the birthrates of the Muslim immigrants settling in them. In twenty years (or sooner)  Europe will no longer be part of western civilization.

 

 

What Did You Learn In School Today?

The Daily Caller posted a story today about Middle School students in a southern Indiana school who were taught that living under Sharia Law is wonderful.

The article reports:

The assignment provides a reading passage ostensibly written by a 20-year-old woman named Ahlima who resides in Saudi Arabia.

Ahlima says she feels “very fortunate” to be governed by Sharia law — the notorious Islamic penal code which, in countries such as Saudi Arabia, includes the practice of cutting off the hands of criminals who steal. She observes that she is about to become some guy’s second wife. She supports the repressive clothes women in Saudi Arabia must wear. “I understand that some foreigners see our dress as a way of keeping women from being equal,” Ahlima writes. “I find Western women’s clothing to be horribly immodest.”

The article points out that Ahlima is an imaginary character invented by Sharon Coletti, the president of InspirEd Educators, and based on someone Ms. Coletti saw interviewed on a television program.

The article states:

Coletti, the creator of the assignment, defended her work.

“If I can shape something so that kids have to decide for themselves, once I get them involved in the situation, they never forget it,” the former social studies teacher told The Courier-Journal.

Coletti, who describes herself as a practicing Christian, also said she hopes her materials help student to become “patriotic” and “problem-solvers.”

However, the fictional story of 20-year-old Ahlima who is becoming a second wife and loves to wear repressive clothing is apparently no longer for this world after the Highland Hills Middle School kerfuffle.

Coletti said she will retire the assignment and related material going forward because she doesn’t want to court bad press.

The same assignment has caused parents to be angry in the past. In 2011, parents in Smyrna, Georgia accused Coletti of “indoctrinating” middle school children with the Sharia lesson.

Where are the feminists when you need them?

We need to teach our Middle Schoolers that all cultures and legal systems are not equal. We need to stop apologizing for western civilization. Western civilization is not perfect, but it provides more freedom and opportunity for all people, including women, than Sharia Law. According to Sharia Law, a man can have more than one wife. All a man has to do to divorce his wife by declaring “I divorce you.” She has no say in the matter. The testimony of a woman in court is worth less than the testimony of a man in court under Sharia. Under Sharia Law, the murder of infidels or taking them as sex slaves is allowed. Under Sharia Law, pedophilia is acceptable. There is no religious freedom under Sharia Law.  Under Sharia Law, allegiance is to Islam–not to a country or the set of laws of that country. That is why Sharia Law and the U.S. Constitution are incompatible.

Teaching school children that Sharia Law is a good thing is teaching them that women have no value. Is that really the lesson we want to teach our young women?

Are We Losing Our Religious Freedom?

Yesterday Fox News reported the story of Eric Walsh, a lay minister in Georgia. The State of Georgia has asked that Dr. Walsh turn over copies of his sermons.

The article reports:

“Please produce a copy of your sermon notes and/or transcripts,” Attorney General Samuel Olens wrote to attorneys representing Dr. Eric Walsh.

…Walsh, a Seventh-day Adventist lay minister had been hired in May 2014 by as a District Health Director with the Georgia Department of Public Health. A week later, a government official asked him to submit copies of his sermons for review. He complied and two days later he was fired.

His attorneys said the government was curious about sermons Dr. Walsh delivered on health, marriage, sexuality, world religions, science and creationism. He also preached on what the Bible says regarding homosexuality.

He has since filed a federal lawsuit charging state officials with engaging in religious discrimination.

“He was fired for something he said in a sermon,” attorney Jeremy Dys told me. “If the government is allowed to fire someone over what he said in his sermons, they can come after any of us for our beliefs on anything.”

Dr. Walsh has assembled a powerhouse legal team comprised of Parks, Chesin & Walbert along with First Liberty Institute, one of the nation’s most prominent religious liberty law firms.

“It’s an incredible intrusion on the sanctity of the pulpit,” Dys said. “This is probably the most invasive reach into the pulpit by the state that I’ve ever seen.”

The First Amendment applies to churches. The government has no right to examine or control what is preached from America‘s pulpits. Although separation of church and state is not part of the Constitution (the concept is based on a letter from Thomas Jefferson), the Constitution states that the government does not have the right to interfere with the free exercise of religion.

This is not the first time a pastor has been asked to submit his sermons to the government. About two years ago I posted an article about a similar request in Texas.

These requests are unconstitutional. We need to make sure that they are not allowed to stand.

 

America No Longer Supports Religious Freedom Around The World

Yesterday Investors.com posted an article stating that the United States State Department is no longer including religious freedom in its annual Human Rights Report. The stated reason for this change is that they want to avoid duplicating another document, the annual Report on International Religious Freedom.

The article points out:

The Pew Research Center has produced two studies showing that 70% of the world’s population lives in countries where religious freedom is severely restricted, either by governments or by hostile groups allowed to run amok by indifferent or hostile leaders.

Religious liberty was considered so important by our Founders that it was written into the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution in a country populated by those fleeing the religious oppression of governments.

We considered religious liberty a bedrock of freedom and democracy and, as stated in our Declaration of Independence, we believed we were endowed with Unalienable rights by our Creator, not by men or governments.

The U.S. in recent years has grown increasingly indifferent to the lack of religious tolerance around the world as it has taken an increasingly violent turn.

America used to be the lighthouse of the world. I am afraid that lighthouse has gone dark.

The article concludes:

Here at home we find a different kind of war on religious liberty, not violent but insidious, conducted by a government intent on imposing its beliefs regarding access to contraceptives and mandating that religious institutions violate their beliefs and consciences in the name of government health care edicts.

Here we see an unprecedented attempt by the Obama administration through ObamaCare to define what a church and religious institution is — the notion that you’re a church if the government, in Soviet-style fashion, says you’re a church.

Religious institutions see the universities, hospitals, charities and other social services they perform as part and extensions of their faith.

The government believes they are impediments to its growing power over every facet of our lives. As a result, these religious institutions and the freedom on which they are founded, are in serious jeopardy.

We need to keep the focus on religious persecution — both abroad and here at home.