The right to think and act in accordance with our beliefs is under sustained attack these days. There really is no precedent in American history for what’s happening. So-called progressives are trying to police our behavior, manipulate our thoughts and indoctrinate children.
Courageous figures are successfully fighting, though, to protect our constitutional freedoms of free speech and the free exercise of religion.
Jack Phillips, the baker, and Lorie Smith, the website designer, were told they must create art inconsistent with their beliefs. Gerald Groff, the mailman, was told he must work on Sundays, even though his employers had previously promised to respect his reverence for the Sabbath. Joseph Kennedy, the high-school football coach, was ordered to stop praying publicly after games.
In each case, progressive employers, officials and judges thought they could force them to go along with their agenda. But in each case freedom triumphed over secular ideology, thanks to the First Amendment. In addition to guaranteeing free speech, it also specifically safeguards religion in America. This double protection, and federal laws such as the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, together with various religious protections in civil-rights laws, make it clear that the government can’t discriminate based on religion and should accommodate religious exercise.
Religious freedom is our last line of defense. And it’s a line we can hold.