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Religious Liberty Attacks on the Rise in America

Family Policy Matters / NC Family Policy
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October 9, 2017 12:50 pm

Religious Liberty Attacks on the Rise in America

Family Policy Matters / NC Family Policy

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October 9, 2017 12:50 pm

This week on Family Policy Matters, NC Family President John L. Rustin speaks with Kelly Shackleford, President and CEO of First Liberty Institute, the nation’s largest legal organization dedicated exclusively to protecting religious freedom for all Americans. They discuss crisis of religious liberty in America today, demonstrated by a new report documenting the rise in the number and severity of attacks on religion across our nation.

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I really do believe that in the next 5 to 10 years working to determine at a country whether we're to preserve religious freedom or to gone is NC family Pres. John Weston thanks for joining us this week for family policy matters. Today we will be talking about the crisis of religious liberty in America today. Our guest today is Kelly Shackelford, Pres. and CEO of first Liberty Institute, the nation's largest legal organization dedicated exclusively to protecting religious freedom for all American Kelly is a constitutional scholar who has argued before the United States Supreme Court and has won a number of landmark First Amendment and religious liberty cases Kelly Shackelford welcome to family policy matters is great to have you on the show again goes great to be on happy to do it now. Tell us about first Liberty's annual report undeniable.

What is the scope of this report and when and why did you decide to initiate the project. Well, what happened was back. I think it was 2004 not mistaken, there was a hearing in the United States Senate on religious hostilities in United States to see what kind of things are going on and a number of people testified to their very specific cases, situations, and a number of those were our clients, and afterwards all the naysayers could say was just isolated incidents and so we got a letter from Sen. Kennedy and Sen. Cornyn saying is this true and we said, well So will just collect what we can find out there that is documented and will descendent back and you know somebody who does this full-time. We were even shocked by how pervasive it is because white what you forget is you're here about one of these a day to the today you know and when you start adding those up.

It's a lot and you realize it's so pervasive that it is. There's no way you can avoid it now and this was back ill back then so we decided about five years ago or so, the words to start redoing this every year and one of the things that people think people need to be aware of your listeners need to be aware of is it just the past five years alone. There's been an increase in these attacks on religious rib freedom in United States by 133% well so it shows you how quickly and how how really, these things are exacerbating and if not, our opinion, you can look at it. That's the great thing that all these are documented their citations to each one and died.

Something that anybody can look at any use to help people understand what really is going on around the country because I think it's it's important that people know now I know Kelly that you have characterized the findings in this year's undeniable report as unprecedented.

Explain why others never been this that it was never seen this over 1400 and these are documented attacks on religious liberty did again this is not overseas were not talking about situations overseas were talking about in the United States. It's also unprecedented because net groups which it which actually do surveys of the world, and religious liberty attacks and their very clear that they were not just talking about people being killed were talking about, you know, other types of attacks on religious freedom. They America made their list for the first time so that tells you something about the fact that something is going on there really is a battle going on.

This is not somewhere else.

This is in United States. We did go through story after story after story and we have to go beyond North Carolina moved at huge cases in North Carolina that were working on. This is everywhere and I think people who the tribe of people who listen to your to the station.

This is on the kind of people who follow your organization if they knew, and if they were all collected together and having this knowledge, I think we would put an end to this, but I think the problem is most people just don't know it's happening and they're getting it piecemeal. Providing this together is, I think, much more powerful and gives them a resource that they can use to stand for religious freedom.

Now tell you mentioned that in 2017 for the first time in history, International Christian concern which monitors the persecution of Christians worldwide included the United States in its quote unquote Hall of shame our listeners may be wondering United States really deserve to be on a list that includes notorious anti-Christian nations like Pakistan, China and India. Yeah it it it's it's these groups don't just sort of willy-nilly pick countries, may they have very exacting criteria that are in place for how they pick countries and put them on the list and they were very clear and saying you know that look. United States is not, you know countries murdering Christians and doing all that. So the different places on the list, obviously, but the fact that we now are on the list that means in that and that's where it starts. It starts they don't start with this kind of violence they start with taking away your freedoms with punishing people who express those freedoms they they they start and those it up. I want the best thing that comes to mind and thinking of Cardinal George, the famous quote that I will die peacefully in my sleep.

He said my predecessor will die on the streets of the United States and his predecessor will die in prison in the United States and he said he view of absent your redemption and turn and change were heading in the wrong direction here and some you might think all come on, you're going too far. I really do believe that in the next 5 to 10 years working to determine as a country, whether we're in a preserve religious freedom or it's going to be gone and the reason I would say that is is people who are skeptical is think of one state anywhere in the United States were you can pass religious freedom are all all right now. It is hugely controversial. It's almost impossible to do were really in a battle for that and this is what our country was founded upon.

So is this kind of information is valuable and it's a wake-up call to all of us to stand for religious freedom only for herself but for our kids or grandkids Kelly. What do you attribute the animus that we are seeing toward people of faith in the outward expression of faith in American society today.

While I I think there's usually twofold, and it can be one of the two were both there is a hostility to religious freedom that is out there. There are people in their groups formed in their sole purpose is and and they're very well-intentioned, the freedom from religion foundation would be a great example right there goal as an atheist group is to rid the country of religion because they think the country would be better if it didn't exist. So there are groups out there across the country from the ACLU to freedom from religion to honor on that you'll actually express hostility to religion in a number.

These situations were talking about. And there are also people who maybe they're not anti-religious. They just are. Like they were the government and you know you just need to move out of the way. Think of all the Obama care cases that are out there with you little sisters of the poor, a bunch of nuns all of a sudden being told that they have to buy abortifacients and contraception's against their faith.

Do I think the government in those cases from the Health and Human Services was just hateful of all religions know IIII just think their approach was where the government where the answer is you people need to get in line so there's sort of a, there's there's attacks for different reasons.

Some of it is hostility.

Some of it is just the government is is an almost every area of life and there are many people that their goal would be to move religion away and religious expression and groups away whenever government is nearby and that's really just a way to sort of push religious freedom into a very small corner in our society and those are the battles that were having to fight your listening policy matters a resource to listen to our radio show online enter more resources that will be a voice of persuasion in US community website see no Kelly, what good news did you find in the undeniable was the good news. Absolutely, there's good news. The good news is is if people are willing to stand up.

The odds are huge that they can win a Francis at our first liberty cases we would this is 17 years in a row are when right is been above 90% well and and so why won't number you know is if people are willing to stand up will get the best you know litigators around the country will donate their time from the biggest law firms in those community. But the reason we win is not only that we had the best attorneys in all this and in their local but because this country was built on religious freedom. The Constitution, the laws history the heritage. Everything is there to support religious freedom if were willing to stand for it.

Now if we allow all that to be stripped away. Then one day our kids or grandkids yield they will have those laws that history that heritage, because all that stuff will be gone.

That's not where we are now, and that's why we are winning these cases, so I would encourage people when you see these things realized you can stop what is being attempted. The law is on the side of of religious freedom is the first two clauses of the First Amendment of our Constitution.

It is something that our founders are committed to and we can win these cases over and over again if people are willing to stand up and stand their ground when those tax come when additional that Kelly is Christians living in the what some refer to as a post-Christian nation. Are there other tangible steps we can take to help turn the tide on this issue.

I am regain some of the ground. It seems to have been lost in recent years. Absolutely again I that's what's been happening in the cases if you're to go back 30 years ago, you would find that the cases were worse than they are now because there was nobody fighting for these things and you were finding.

Now there's numerous precedents that are now in print place that think of the case, just one this last year, the Supreme Court, the trailing leave Lutheran case we were winning a lot. He states that Supreme Court treating precedent and and these things are are are real positive as far as the average person is out there, they might think, oh, I'm not a lawyer, you know, my lawyer joke. Thank goodness, what can I do. I would say one of the things you can do is is that numbing the things you that I'm a tell you to do is probably to require you to connect to somebody and that is you can pray what how can you pray if you don't know things are going on right you can be the person who takes that email with the information on what people's rights are and send it to other people or that new case where people are trying to be intimidated and within that it says now here's the law and you can share that with maybe you know 10 people and maybe they share that with 100 people and now a lot of people because what I find in the faith is, if you try to do something that really has impact eternal impact the enemy is going to try to use fear and misinformation to stop you. And so if you're not willing to walk through that with boldness, you will have impact. That's how the if you're a listener you can be the person that allows others to be bold because you're providing them with the truthful information about the freedoms they have and again that requires to connect with you and I must say that the have to be first liberty is maybe there's another group out there that you're connected with. But if you're not, we love you to connect with first get those emails once a week look at the cases, look at the information on what your rights are as a teacher as a student what your rights are in the workplace. With regard to your faith and in the military, you name it and you can began to free other people to be bold and open and really make a difference in people's lives. Great. No Kelly that's a great segue into the last minute that we have on this week's show, and that is for you to tell our listeners where they can go to learn more about first liberty and also to obtain a copy of this report, undeniable the survey of hostility to religion in America, the easiest thing to do. Again would be to just go you spell this out. It's not that the number but first if you if you can type this much first and/undeniable will take you directly to the page where we have the information on this book that surveys all these attacks you can now watch a quick Facebook live over it. You can download the entire book. If you'd like to get all 1400 examples and any other information you need and you can even order a hard copy from the soup.

If you'd like, but so first is road. Go click on the get updates at the top and then if you want to go further to look novels or licks will Kelly Shackelford. I want to thank you for that.

I want to encourage your listeners to avail themselves of this great information and Kelly were so grateful for all that you do to stand for our first freedoms are first liberty's which is a freedom of religion and freedom of speech in our nation and we just pray for your continued success for your continued support from folks all across this nation to stand for what is right and true, and we thank you for standing in the gap invading such an effective life. Well, I thank you for getting the word out as well, that such a blessing so important Symington family policy matter the production of NZ family to listen to our radio show online, and for more valuable resources and information about issues important to families in North Carolina go to our and follow us on Twitter and Facebook

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