Tom Waddell: Do you value your religious freedom?

The Trump administration doesn’t.

Do you value your religious freedom?

Whatever happened to the separation of church and state?

The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution clearly states that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,” yet Attorney General Jeff Sessions referred to the Christian Bible as justification for separating children from their mothers.

To quote Sessions, “I would cite you to the Apostle Paul and his clear and wise command in Romans 13, to obey the laws of the government because God has ordained them for the purpose of order.”

God has ordained them for the purpose of order? If the Christian God ordained Trump and his Cabinet for the purpose of order, why do we vote? In an effort to further erode your religious freedom, Sessions formed the “Religious Liberty Task Force” this week. It is specifically designed to grant religious privilege to fundamentalist Christians. Apparently, religious freedom includes the freedom to act as one’s religion demands, even if such actions might curtail the civil rights of others, or run contrary to the law.

Fortunately the Supreme Court in 1878 reasoned in Reynolds v. United States that taking action based on one’s sincerely held religious beliefs is unconstitutional if those actions violate established laws. The court ruled, “Laws are made for the government of actions, and while they cannot interfere with mere religious belief and opinions, they may with practices.” The court asked, “Suppose one believed that human sacrifices were a necessary part of religious worship; would it be seriously contended that the civil government under which he lived could not interfere to prevent a sacrifice? To permit this would be to make the professed doctrines of religious belief superior to the law of the land, and in effect to permit every citizen to become a law unto himself.”


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