(Photo: The Christian Post)
WASHINGTON – A conservative expert on religious freedom issues believes that President Barack Obama has headed "the most hostile" administration to religious freedom in American history.
Ken Klukowski, director of the Center for Religious Liberty at the Family Research Council, told The Christian Post at an FRC event on Wednesday that he believes the administration has been unprecedentedly hostile to religious liberty.
"I think the record is clear that this president and this administration are the most hostile towards religious liberty in all of American history," said Klukowski.
"I say that without exaggeration. There are all sorts of lines that previous presidents have just not crossed…political operators around the president strongly encouraged him with regards to this HHS mandate that this is just a bridge too far. And yet the president chose to go after it anyways."
Klukowski's remarks came as he was part of a panel event sponsored by FRC titled "Religious Liberty in America," which focused on pressing issues surrounding the freedom of religion in the United States.
"Religious liberty in America has long been a cherished freedom. In recent decades, reaction to displaying that religion in the public sphere has grown increasingly hostile," reads the event summary on FRC's website. "It is imperative that we make ourselves aware of the battle fronts and support those who stand as sentinels against encroachment on our first freedom."
In addition to Klukowski, the other two guest speakers were Adele Keim, legal counsel at the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty and Kellie Fiedorek, litigation counsel with Alliance Defending Freedom.
Keim spoke about the religious liberty issues surrounding the controversial HHS "preventive services" Mandate. "I think it's one of the most significant threats to religious freedom that we've faced in decades. I can't really think of a more significant one right now," said Keim.
Fiedorek spoke to those gathered about the various legal suits coming up against Christian businessmen by gay rights groups. These included a photographer sued for refusing to take photos at a gay union ceremony and a baker sued for refusing to provide a cake for a gay union reception.
When asked by The Christian Post about whether there was a way gay rights could be advanced without harming religious freedom, Fiedorek answered that there would always be an issue.
"Experts on both sides agree that there is tension and I think that there always will be tension because obviously in terms of people of faith that have specific viewpoints and deeply held convictions on what is marriage and that's not going to change," said Fiedorek.