Many Americans celebrate President Trump as the most significant champion for religious freedom in a lifetime. His actions gave Christians a sense of security, but now secularists, humanists, and others feel empowered to begin unraveling Trump-era protections.
“It all goes back to the May 2017 executive order by President Trump,” Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, tells CBN News.
That day in the Rose Garden, the president used his executive pen to ensure Christians and other people of faith don’t have to check their beliefs when entering the halls of government and prevented the federal government from going after pastors who speak about political issues from a moral perspective.
“We will not allow people of faith to be targeted, bullied, or silenced anymore,” the President said that day.
Now that order tops a long list of Trump administration actions that Secular Democrats of America want President-elect Joe Biden to erase.
Represented by the Congressional Freethought Caucus, the group paints Christians as extremists and urges the incoming administration to marginalize people of faith – relegating them to the back pew of the public square.
Part of their to-do list?
- Ensure Humanist and Nontheist chaplains serve in each branch of the military.
- Refrain from using the national motto “In God We Trust.”
- And reframe patriotism by avoiding phrases like “God and country.”
“In order for them to advance this new Democratic Party agenda which is leftist, which is Marxist at its core, they have to eliminate a vibrant, Christian orthodox faith in America – it stands in their way,” Perkins said.
Secular Democrats will also push the incoming administration to amend the Religious Freedom Restoration Act beginning with the Do No Harm Act introduced by Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) last year.
“That act would gut the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. It would make it inapplicable to cases that involve sexual orientation and gender identity as well as abortion,” Emilie Kao, director of the DeVos Center for Religion and Civil Society at The Heritage Foundation, tells CBN News.
These attempts to marginalize believers come as the media and even elected officials increasingly push the narrative that people of faith are unfit.
“Unfortunately we see that senators are increasingly treating religious beliefs with great suspicion and even hostility,” Kao said.
Demonstrated, she says, in the 2017 appeals court hearings of now-Justice Amy Coney Barrett, when some senators treated her Catholic faith as a disqualifying characteristic.
“The dogma lives loudly within you and that’s of concern,” Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) said during that hearing.
In Barrett’s Supreme Court hearings this year, Sen. Ben Sasse (R-NE) pushed back against that statement.
“Because religious liberty is the fundamental 101 rule in American life, we don’t have religious tests. This committee isn’t in the business of deciding whether the dogma lives too loudly within someone,” he said.
“Nothing could be more dangerous for the future of America than to separate America from a vibrant, God-fearing faith of its people that will ensure the tranquility and peace, and justice America so desperately needs,” Perkins noted.
He also suggests religious conservatives take a page from the other side’s playbook. That means using every legal option available to make efforts to roll back religious freedom as slow and painful as possible.