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First Amendment Religious Trump Truth

Trump Could Make History With A Religious Bill Of Rights For The Americas

Rod Thomson

President Trump has the chance to make history in one of the most memorable ways today and tomorrow at, of all places, the United Nations by making the case for religious freedom worldwide, but specifically for calling for a Western Hemisphere Religious Bill of Rights.

The President is sponsoring an event today (Monday morning) at the UN Headquarters in New York entitled a Global Call To Protect Religious Freedom. The goal is to highlight increasing religious persecution around the world and claim the high moral ground for all civilized countries to commit to liberty for all religious adherents. This is something that has not been done by previous U.S. presidents and in breaking this mold, he is doing a marvelous thing.

The religious liberty event is at the same time as another in the endless line of politicized climate change panels that are unceasing. The media will hyperventilate and bring out children to teach us all about having only 18 months before some climate changes are irreversible. But it will all be meaningless gibberish because there is zero consensus on action, because, in truth, the evidence of both severity and cause are just not strong enough.

Not so with religious liberty. The evidence is overwhelming. Here are some stats from the 2019 Open Doors USA report, which tracks Christian persecution — the most persecuted religion in the world.

In the top 50 World Watch List of countries persecuting Christians the most, nearly a quarter billion Christians experience high levels of persecution for their faith; 1 in 9 Christians worldwide experience high levels of persecution; 14% more Christians experience high levels of persecution than did in 2018; 4,136 Christians were killed for being Christians; 1,266 churches or Christian buildings were attacked; In 7 out of the top 9 countries in the World Watch List, the primary cause of persecution is Islamic oppression (the other is North Korea); 11 countries now score as “extreme” for their level of persecution of Christians, compared to only North Korea five years ago.

This is a true crisis. The world’s Jewish population is experiencing it also.

According to the World Jewish Congress: “…the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA)’s December 2018 second comprehensive report on discrimination and hate crimes against Jews in the EU, found that an overwhelming majority… — 89 percent — feel that antisemitism is getting worse…The 2018 report also found that 79% of those who experienced antisemitic harassment in the five years prior to the survey did not report the most serious incident to police, indicating an even darker reality than the official national crime numbers. More than one-third of all respondents said they had considered emigrating in the five years preceding the survey because they did not feel safe as Jews in the country where they live.”

The United States has a long history of being the global leader in freedoms in general, but specifically in religious freedom — critical, as that has been the lever of most of the world’s atrocities. America is a known refuge for the religiously persecuted and sought to export the concept for many years. But we abdicated that role to the deification of “multiculturalism” where the left paralyzed American leaders’ ability to say our way was better.

Yet our way of religious freedom for all, enshrined in the 1st Amendment, is undeniably superior to any that do not have such protections. People like former President Obama and today’s Democrats are largely incapable of saying even that.

But Trump is fearless on such matters and will thumb his nose at the self-appointed elites in the U.S. and Europe for whom religion is just a pile of myths leveraged to violently oppress. Living in the 13th century apparently, they see white Christians as the primary religious threat. 

Here’s where the political incorrectness must come out, and it is backed by daily news accounts and Open Doors USA’ data: The giant source of religious intolerance and persecution today comes from Muslim dominated countries. In the past 50 years, Christians have been eliminated via forced conversion, displacement and massacre in large swaths of the Middle East. The region is becoming almost 100 percent Muslim, when it was the birthplace of Christianity. This is true in Iran, Iraq, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Lebanon, Egypt, Libya and elsewhere.

And it is the rub at the United Nations, because part of the worthlessness of that body is that almost every scoundrel nation out there is a member. There are 47 Muslim majority countries that are part of the U.N., including those who are the worst persecutors of Christians. They are not all scoundrels, but that weight, along with Europe’s growing return to anti-Semitism, is one of many reasons for the rank anti-Semitism evident in the endless denouncements of Israel, but never of Palestinian terrorists.

Not only do none of those countries have a 1st Amendment, they do not even acknowledge such a concept as good. A resolution would have a hard time at the U.N. But that doesn’t matter because it would be as meaningless as most resolutions at the U.N. Those only have value when powerful and influential countries sign on and agree to enforce them — such as economic sanctions against places like North Korea and Iran.

But by laying the foundation for religious freedom, Trump can not only claim the high moral ground, but can also begin an entirely new effort that encompasses the Western Hemisphere — North and South America. This would be a sort of Western Hemisphere Bill of Religious Rights. Countries that sign on, enact and enforce religious freedom laws could get more favorable relationships with the rest of the Hemisphere, most notably the United States.

This is actually doable in this Hemisphere because there is not much religious persecution at this moment in North or South America, and most of the nations are Catholic, Protestant or maybe secular in the case of Canada. The persecution that does exist, is not by adherents of a different religion, but by militant political leftists operating in countries without a 1st Amendment (again, see Canada.) 

Let leftists, including those in the United States, oppose a Bill of Religious Freedoms, a majority of which will encompass “brown” people.

This may be more than Trump is going for this week. According to the White House statement:

“The President is working to broaden international support for ongoing efforts to protect religious freedom in the wake of increasing persecution of people on the basis of their beliefs and a growing number of attacks on and destruction of houses of worship by state and non-state actors.  The President will call on the international community to take concrete steps to prevent attacks against people on the basis of their religion or beliefs and to ensure the sanctity of houses of worship and all public spaces for all faiths.”

Religious intolerance always ends in terrible places. Using the United States as a model, President Trump could try something totally unique in world history.

Rod Thomson is an author, past Salem radio host, ABC TV commentator, former journalist and is Founder of The Revolutionary Act. 


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Categories
Freedom Government Liberty Media Obamacare Religious Trump

Freedoms Are Expanding Under President Trump

Rod Thomson

There is an ongoing narrative in the media and by Democrats that President Trump is a threat to everything American, that he is fascistic and that our most basic freedoms are under assault. Therefor, all must #resist!

But the opposite is true when set in juxtaposition to the Obama Administration.

The actual facts on the ground do not support what appears to be only a caricature created to scare the Democrat base and the American people in pursuit of the ongoing agenda to undermine the duly elected president.

When looking at Trump’s actions, compared to Obama’s actions, several things become clear. Not every individual action is pro-liberty, but in the aggregate, there is a substantial net lurch toward freedoms that moves the needle in the opposite direction from the Obama administration’s eight years of restraining American freedoms on several fronts.

The basics make the point.

 

Press freedoms

Ironically, Trump’s expansion of freedoms holds true even for the media that despises Trump and disingenuously considers him fascistic or trending toward Nazism.

Under Obama, we had actual federal government surveillance of Associated Press reporters and an FBI investigations of Fox News reporter James Rosen. Those are the ones we know of. Further, Obama and the Eric Holder Department of Justice aggressively pursued government whistleblowers — the journalists’ sources.

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According to the decidedly non-conservative Freedom of the Press Foundation, Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder used the Espionage Act of 1917 to put a record number of reporters and sources in jail. The foundation said “Obama strongly supported Holder’s war against journalists’ sources, despite once promising to protect whistleblowers when in office…”

Yes, Obama persecuted more leakers and journalists than any president ever. Isn’t it interesting how the media had no heart for really covering these stories?

But under Trump so far, there is no known Obama-era surveillance of reporters, no investigations of reporters. In fact, Trump is perhaps the most accessible and open president in history.

Empirically, there can be no doubt that, so far, journalists are freer under President Trump than they were under President Obama.

 

Religious freedoms

The Obama Administration used federal funds to pay for abortions, meaning individual taxpayers were required to participate in an activity that many find abhorrent and in violation of religious beliefs.

Further, Obamacare (again) allowed Obama to require businesses to pay for abortion and birth control devices for their employees through the insurance they offered, violating the religious convictions of many business owners.

This policy was a major hit to First Amendment freedoms and landed companies such as Hobby Lobby in court, creating a religious freedom firestorm — for those who care about religious freedom.

But last October, the Trump administration changed the Obama policy to allow employers to claim a religious or moral objection to Obamacare’s birth control coverage mandate, sweeping away the onerous, freedom-stealing policy. Naturally, the American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit to block the Trump action, because the ACLU is very selective of which civil liberties they defend — and the obvious bedrock Jeffersonian principle of a right to condoms and abortion are clearly more important than religious freedom.

You can argue for or against the policy as right or wrong, but you cannot argue that the Obama policy was pro-religious freedom when it denied religious freedom to some for the convenience of others.

This alone is a major gain for religious freedom. But Trump has also appointed federal judges, up to and including Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch, who are originalist and will almost assuredly protect religious liberty when it collides with modern conveniences.

 

Individual freedoms

President Obama’s signature action was Obamacare. And there can be no argument from any side that Affordable Care Act was a pro-freedom bill or expanded individual liberties.

The basic premise of Obamacare was to specifically limit individuals’ choices and freedoms by requiring all Americans to buy a product (health insurance) and penalizing them if they did not to create a large enough marketplace to cover the uninsured. This was the infamous individual mandate. You can argue for the cause of ACA, but you cannot argue it was pro-freedom. By definition and mandate, it was not.

Trump and Congressional Republicans essentially eliminated the individual mandate in the tax reform package that has been so successful on the economic front. That was a net step back from the government control of the previous administration and toward individual freedom.

The same can be said of the rest of the tax reform package. Any cut in personal income taxes is at least a tiny step toward more freedom as Americans are allowed to spend more of their money how they choose, not how some distant bureaucrat chooses.

And deregulation allows more freedom from businesses to homeowners, not only helping the economy and general quality of life, but expanding liberties for Americans by removing at least a small part of the yoke of government.

 

A couple of exceptions to watch

There are a couple of small exceptions to this general rule.

Trump’s proposal, at the urging of his daughter Ivanka Trump, for family and medical leave reduces individual freedoms by forcing companies to provide this — meaning the companies have less freedom as do the company employees who must pick up the slack while people are on lengthy leaves via government mandate.

Also, to a very tiny degree, Trump’s $1.5 trillion government infrastructure spending bill is the wrong direction because it ultimately requires taxes to pay for. More government spending equals less individual freedom. It’s just a basic equation.

But these two exceptions pale when compared to the broader expansions of liberties for all Americans.

Trump will get little to no credit for this expansion of liberties because the media’s shared ideology with Obama and Democrats means they either don’t value these freedoms or don’t even recognize their loss.

But there are still enough Americans that prize liberty to appreciate this new atmosphere.


Rod Thomson is an author, TV talking head and former journalist, and is Founder of The Revolutionary Act.

Today’s news moves at a faster pace than ever, and a lot of sources are not trustworthy. Whatfinger.com  is my go-to source for keeping up with all the latest events in real time from good sources.


 

Categories
Constitution Religious Truth

Judicial Secularists Attack Religious Freedom

(Editor’s Note: (The Revolutionary Act has received information that First Liberty Institute, representing Cambridge Christian High School in its fight for religious freedom, is planning to file an appeal.)

by Rep. Julio Gonzalez, M.D., J.D.

On June 7, the U.S. District Court of the Middle District of Florida dealt the latest blow to religious freedom in our country.  

The case arose from a request by Cambridge Christian High School, which had earned the opportunity to compete in the 2A division playoffs finals, to use the stadium’s public announcement system in prayer prior to the beginning of the game. The team’s opponent was another Christian school equally devoted to serving God and to conducting itself in His image with every activity it undertakes.  

Citing issues of potential coercion and fearing that such prayer might be offensive to others, Dr. Roger Dearing, the executive director of the Florida High School Athletic Association (FHSAA), declined the request.

Of course, in so doing, Dr. Dearing dismissed the fact that the same FHSAA had approved such a request in 2012. He also dismissed the national tradition of engaging in prayer prior to the start of a football game. And most astoundingly he ignored that both teams, meaning all parties involved, wished to engage in a unified prayer as one community under Christ.

Following the denial, Cambridge Christian brought the case to the judiciary for consideration. After all, they weren’t asking for the announcer to lead everyone in prayer. They weren’t asking for the FHSAA to buy new equipment. They weren’t even asking for the game to be delayed for one moment because, in point of fact, the two teams were going to pray on the field and in front of the fans anyway.  

No. The only question they were asking was, “Hey, man, can I borrow your microphone?”

 

Court predictably quashed religious freedom

But almost predictably, the court ruled against religious freedom citing issues of perceived endorsement of religion by government and of the infringement praying might have on the rights of others (yes, this is not a misprint).

Every time I learn of a case like this, I am baffled at the extent to which the state squashes the public’s ability to pray in an open forum merely because of government’s presence. This catastrophic road upon which the Supreme Court of the United States has placed us suppresses our right to worship and to pay reverence to God — in direct violation of the original intent First Amendment.  It ignores the spiritual aspects of human existence, and most importantly, casts aside the foundational roles of religion and religious worship in our nation’s birth.  

Repeatedly, I am told that the reason for following this road is the wall of separation between church and state espoused by Thomas Jefferson in his letter written on the first day of 1802 to the members of the Danbury Baptist Church.  

But there is so much that runs counter to this assertion.  

First, President Jefferson’s comment was completely extrajudicial in nature.

Second, the concept of a wall of separation between church and state has been tainted by the agenda-driven nature of the Supreme Court’s 20th-century opinions. Following the 19th-century Court’s introduction of Jefferson’s wall into the legal corpus, the first two 20th-century cases invoking it did so in an effort to keep the government from interfering with state-based, religious-supporting programs.  

But in 1947, the Court changed direction to one that would inhibit, rather than support, religious worship. With its McCollum decision, the court prohibited Bible verses from being recited in public schools, and later, it struck down prayer in schools as well as the observance of even a bland and neutral moment of silence.

The subsequent deterioration in the nation’s moral posture and the breakdown in the family as a central societal unit are the predictable consequences of these actions.

 

An alternative route ensuring freedoms

But lost in these recitations is the overt bias the Court displayed in selecting Jefferson’s wall of separation in its interpretation of the First Amendment.  

Let’s consider a few similarly applicable observations made by some of the nation’s foundational greats in equally extrajudicial fashion.  George Mason, in writing the Virginia Bill of Rights, wrote, “all men are equally entitled to the free exercise of religion, according to the dictates of conscience; and. . . it is the mutual duty of all to practise Christian forbearance, love, and charity toward each other.” His proposed amendment was subsequently approved by the Virginia legislature, the same legislature Madison and Jefferson inhabited — a far greater weight of influence than one man’s personal letter.

Based on Mason’s language, would it not have been more appropriate for a 20th century court to hold that in interpreting the First Amendment we should recognize that our nation was created with the purpose of guaranteeing that all men be able to engage in Christian forbearance? If so, wouldn’t using a public microphone for spontaneously requested prayer be not only allowed, but encouraged?

Or how about using John Marshall, the most prolific justice in the history of the Supreme Court? When asked about the nexus of Christianity and the nation’s government, he wrote in a letter, just like Jefferson did, that, “The American population. . . is entirely Christian, and with us, Christianity and religion are identified. It would be strange indeed, if with such a people, our institution did not presuppose Christianity.”

Consequently, wouldn’t a more appropriate truism for the Supreme Court to follow in its interpretation of the First Amendment be that the United States of America, through its foundation and its culture, presupposes Christianity?

Or consider the observation made by Justice Joseph Story, one of the early members of the Supreme Court, who extra-judicially wrote, “My own private judgment has long been (and every day’s experience more and more confirms me in it) that government cannot long exist without an alliance with religion to some extent; and that Christianity is indispensable to the true interests and solid foundations of free government.”

From this, wouldn’t a more appropriate guide for the interpretation of the First Amendment be that Christianity is indispensable to the true interests, foundations, and existence of these United States of America?

 

Back the need for a legislative override

If any of these guides had been adopted instead of, or perhaps in addition to, Jefferson’s wall of separation, imagine how different American jurisprudence would be as it relates to religious liberty and our freedom to worship! Sharia law would be an impossible legal threat, and the concepts of love for one’s neighbor and respect for the dignity of man would be freely taught in our schools under the direct supervision of the community’s parents.

From this analysis a few conclusions may be reached.

First, there is no inherent reason for Jefferson’s wall of separation, at least as the courts apply it today, to be the only compass in interpreting the First Amendment of the Constitution. So long as all religious views are respected, the government can peacefully cohabitate with worshipers be they Christian, Jewish, or any peace-loving faith.  

Second, neither the people of this great nation nor its elected representatives selected the road our nation has traversed regarding religious liberty. Instead, it was embraced by an oligarchy of legalists unaccountable to the will of the people.

Consequently, if it is true that the Courts have interpreted the Constitution in a manner inconsistent with the will of the people, then isn’t it up to We The People, as the true purveyors of the Constitution, to override an opinion of such a Court and reverse an ill-conceived opinion? We know, through their writings, that at least Jefferson and Madison would think so.

Truly, the road we are following regarding our religious freedom is nothing short of harrowing. It has diminished our sense of morality and has curtailed our abilities to teach our children that there are things bigger than themselves.

It is time for our country to navigate back to the road built upon Christian forbearance; the same road that would lead us to the shining city on the hill.

Dr. Julio Gonzalez is an orthopaedic surgeon and lawyer living in Venice, Florida. He is the author of The Federalist Pages and serves in the Florida House of Representatives. He can be reached through www.thefederalistpages.com to arrange a lecture or book signing.