4.   Religious Freedom

See Party Platforms in their entirety.

 

Civil discussion has degraded on important social issues. Please read appropriate sections on each platform to compare.

Excerpt, Republican Platform –

“Ongoing attempts to compel individuals, businesses, and institutions of faith to transgress their beliefs are part of a misguided effort to undermine religion and drive it from the public square. As a result, many charitable religious institutions that have demonstrated great success in helping the needy have been barred from receiving government grants and contracts. Government officials threaten religious colleges and universities with massive fines and seek to control their personnel decisions. Places of worship for the first time in our history have reason to fear the loss of tax-exempt status merely for espousing and practicing traditional religious beliefs that have been held across the world for thousands of years, and for almost four centuries in America. We value the right of America's religious leaders to preach, and Americans to speak freely, according to their faith. Republicans believe the federal government, specifically the IRS, is constitutionally prohibited from policing or censoring speech based on religious convictions or beliefs, and therefore we urge the repeal of the Johnson Amendment.

Similar to our American Law and legal system founded on original U.S. doctrines and documents, - the Constitution, Bill of Rights, new legal circumstances require a continually re-examined and re-applied development to address the challenges in each new generation.  So too, religious theological doctrines are examined and re-applied to current day and times. The concern is when secular political interests strive to bring secular law to control theological / religious law and doctrine by the state.”

 

( See the 2020 Democratic Platform, pages 30-49).


What Has Been The Result of Recent Legislation and Executive Orders On The Free Exercise of Religion ?

Example #1 – State restriction of exercise of religious freedom – (see Democrat 2020 Platform, pages 30-49, and section above on Title IX)

The Little Sisters of the Poor and the Affordable Care Act (Obama-Care) – Video clip, 3 min.

The U.S. HHS (Health & Human Services) Mandate and religious freedom -  video – 8 min.

What is Religious Freedom ? -  video 4 min.

Looking at the religious tradition of Non-violence through the lens of a Film – “Gran-Torino” – video – 8 min.

Martin Luther King Jr. – Letter to American Christians -  video


What’s the difference between “right to worship”, vs “Freedom of Religion”?


“Thomas Farr, who directs the Religious Freedom Project at Georgetown’s Berkley Center, said that Clinton’s [ and Obama’s] focus on the “right to worship” relegates religion to the private sphere “with no capacity to influence public matters.”

“Her use of the term, and its deeper meaning, are quite consistent with her attacks on churches and religious organizations that oppose the progressive agenda of abortion on demand and same-sex marriage,” he said. “Last year (2015) she told an international conference that “religious groups who oppose abortion are going to have to change.”

“Anyone who believes that a President Hillary Clinton will support the religious freedom of Catholic elementary and high schools, colleges, refugee services, adoption agencies, homes for the aged poor, or any other private organization, is making a mistake,” Farr told CNA. “Her own words suggest that even churches will not evade her understanding of the kind of ‘compelling government interest’ that she considers abortion and same-sex marriage to be.”

“David French is right. Evangelicals and other social conservatives need to get serious about political engagement or we will lose our right to associate, organize, and keep our jobs while speaking Christian views on sex and marriage in America. French points to the tepid reaction – or, rather, non-reaction – to the proposed California bill that basically redefines religious freedom in education to apply only to seminaries. Christian colleges must conform to California’s new secular religion of equality or be shut down.” 

- Maggie Gallagher July 1, 2016  National Review, www.nationalreview.com/article/437405/

 

How do historical religious traditions help to inform and moderate extremist tendencies in modern democracies ? 

Evolutionary biologists Bret Weinstein and Heather Heyer discuss the principles required to avoid a “soft-totalitarianism” transforming our democratic system.



How are Christians to understand Religious Freedom ?

1.      Bishop Barron on Religious Freedom.  – Video clip – 2 minutes.

2.      Bishop Barron on the importance of Religious Liberty in modern culture.  – Video clip – 4 minutes

3.     Religious Freedom as noted in the Democratic Party Platform, -  We will reject the Trump Administration's use of broad religious exemptions to allow businesses, medical providers, social service agencies, and others to discriminate.” 

In other words, religious organizations will be required to defer to government-defined moral definitions.  

 


Both Democrats and Republicans Bi-Partisan Support Passed the Hyde Amendment. Why Are The Democrats Now Calling for It’s Removal ?

Example #2 - The Hyde Amendment –

Note - The Hyde Amendment is a conscience clause, a legislative provision barring the use of federal funds to pay for abortion except to save the life of the woman, or if the pregnancy arises from incest or rape. Before the Hyde Amendment took effect in 1980, an estimated 300,000 abortions were performed annually using taxpayer funds. At the time, it was supported and passed by a majority of both Democrats and Republicans. This amendment ensures the rights of those who in good and free conscience cannot materially support the use of their personal money to directly or indirectly pay for abortions.

Democratic Platform 2020 –

“Democrats oppose and will fight to overturn federal and state laws that create barriers to reproductive health and rights. We will repeal the 
Hyde Amendment, and protect and codify the right to reproductive freedom. We condemn acts of violence, harassment, and intimidation of reproductive health providers, patients, and staff. We will address the discrimination and barriers that inhibit meaningful access to reproductive health care services, including those based on gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, race, income, disability, geography, and other factors. Democrats oppose restrictions on medication abortion care that are inconsistent with the most recent medical and scientific evidence and that do not protect public health.”

 

1.      Democratic presidential candidates talk abortion

2.      How 2020 Democrats are reacting to state abortion restrictions

3.      2016 Final Presidential Debate: Abortion

4.      Henry Hyde's Speech   

 

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