Is Religion Really Bad for Society?

By Michael Duduit

Today’s headlines reflect a remarkable turn in American culture: Religious faith is under attack. Here are some examples (from the website of the Alliance Defending Freedom):

• A then-second-grade student at a public school in New Jersey was told that she could not sing “Awesome God” in an after-school talent show.

• A pastor of a church in Arizona was ordered to stop holding meetings or Bible studies in his private home.

• Five Christian men were threatened with arrest for sharing their faith on a public sidewalk in Virginia.

• A Christian student at a university in Missouri was threatened with having her degree withheld because she refused to write a letter to the state legislature expressing her support for homosexual adoption.

And it doesn’t stop there. Multiple lawsuits have been generated in response to the Affordable Care Act (known as “Obamacare”) and its limitations on religious liberty. For example, the Little Sisters of the Poor (a group of nuns known for their charitable work helping the most helpless in society) found itself in the sights of federal regulators because they refused to purchase insurance for their employees that included contraceptives and abortion-inducing drugs, both prohibited by their Catholic faith. They were given the alternative of signing a form they believe violates their religious beliefs. The government insists the form is “meaningless,” yet has sued the Little Sisters all the way to the Supreme Court to force them to comply. (The court has put a temporary hold on the government’s demands while the case goes to a lower court).

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Or consider the Hobby Lobby case, in which the Green family, which has run its corporation based on principles of their Christian faith, also argues that they should not be required to cover the cost of abortion-inducing drugs for their 28,000 employees. The Obama administration, however, insists that you lose any rights to religious freedom the moment you step into the marketplace as a corporation. This is a startling turn in attitudes toward religious freedom in America. As law professor John Eastman explains in an interview with radio host Hugh Hewitt, “Since the founding, people have engaged through corporate structures and whatever in religious exercise. Religion isn’t something you do only on Sundays. It was kind of life-encompassing. And the notion that a businessman just to enter the marketplace has to leave his religion at the door, if you will — it’s just foreign to our understanding of the First Amendment.”

The reality is that such attacks on religion and religious freedom are growing increasingly common, and are likely to be more so in the days ahead. One reason is that religious faith no longer holds a favored status in our society. Indeed, for many of the cultural elites who control education and media power, religion is an antiquated practice that should be eliminated in a modern society…

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