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Americans, don't take our religious freedom for granted

Former U.S. Ambassador at-Large for International Religious Freedom Sam Brownback speaks to reporters at the State Department's Harry S. Truman Building in Washington, D.C. on July 26, 2018.
Former U.S. Ambassador at-Large for International Religious Freedom Sam Brownback speaks to reporters at the State Department's Harry S. Truman Building in Washington, D.C. on July 26, 2018. | The Christian Post/Samuel Smith

Religious freedom is on a winning streak in America, especially when we take a look at the multiple victories that have unfolded at the U.S. Supreme Court in recent years. These include the landmark wins in our Coach KennedyTreat Children FairlyFaithful Carrier and Bladensburg Peace Cross cases, just to name a few.

But even with this incredible momentum in favor of religious liberty in our nation, it’s clear that in America — as well as many other nations — people of faith still face many challenges and ardent opposition to the free exercise of religion.

Earlier this year, our experts wrote about the alarming rise in religious persecution worldwide. As CBN News reported recently, there’s a lot of confusion clouding free speech and exercise rights. From a British Royal Army veteran being charged after refusing to pay a fine for silently praying outside of an abortion clinic to a Finnish politician on trial for tweeting a Bible verse about sexuality, there’s no shortage of concerning and eyebrow-raising cases.

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With religious oppression increasing globally, Americans must remember the bedrock on which our nation is built. From its inception, the U.S. has always striven to be a safe haven to those who experience persecution. Religious freedom is a pillar of our Republic. Being grounded in this founding principle is more crucial now than ever.

First Liberty Senior Counsel Jeremy Dys recently appeared on CBN News, where he gave a candid assessment when asked if Americans risk seeing the same type of harsh persecution and oppression develop here in the Land of the Free.

“I really hope that that risk is low, but I can’t say that it is zero, because there’s always forces that want to restrict our religious liberty for reasons I don’t quite understand,” Dys said. “In fact, that’s the very reason why the Founding Fathers put the First Amendment in place to begin with.” Watch the full interview below:

Dys also noted that America’s Founders knew governments throughout history have been known to attack and strip away people’s religious liberty. That’s the reason why they intentionally sought to enshrine protections for citizens to live out their faith.

With the threats we face today, Dys believes it’s up to Americans to truly defend and protect the rights for which so many have fought and died. “I’m grateful that we have a First Amendment [and] we have got other laws in place that protect our religious freedom,” he said. “But it falls to you and I to make sure we’re maintaining our vigilance to preserve these freedoms going forward for our next generations.”

As people in many nations struggle for their freedoms, Americans cannot take ours for granted. It is all too easy to become complacent in the wake of recent legal victories. But we must remember that not every country experiences religious freedom as we do here in the Land of the Free. The rise in religious persecution happening all across the globe should be a wake-up call.

Religious freedom is in our DNA. It was a priority for the Pilgrims and the First Freedom that the Founders enshrined in the Bill of Rights. The U.S. has stood as a symbol of freedom, a beacon of liberty, and a safe haven to the religiously oppressed for over two centuries. In the face of a global wave of religious hostility, we’d be wise to heed the warning signs that no nation is immune to tyranny. That’s why we must be bold and protect religious liberty, the foundational freedom that’s made our country exceptional since its founding.

Originally published at First Liberty. 

Jorge Gomez is the Content Strategist and Senior Writer for First Liberty Institute. He has previously worked as a communications and messaging strategist for faith-based nonprofits and conservative policy organizations. He holds a degree in political science from the University of Central Florida and a master’s degree in public policy from Liberty University.

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