Religious liberty still at risk under Trump

Religious Liberty | It could be worse for believers, but it could also be better
by Nick Eicher
Posted on Friday, April 28, 2017, at 3:14 pm

Each week, The World and Everything in It features a “Culture Friday” segment, in which Executive Producer Nick Eicher discusses the latest cultural news with John Stonestreet, president of the Chuck Colson Center for Christian Worldview. Here is a summary of this week’s conversation.

The Department of Justice said this week it wants two more months to pursue negotiations over the birth control and abortion mandate of Obamacare, a religious liberty intrusion that President Donald Trump promised to end on the campaign trail.

The U.S. Supreme Court had sent the case, involving the Little Sisters of the Poor, back to the lower courts in search of a settlement. Religious liberty advocates expected the Trump administration to drop the case entirely, not negotiate further.

The Justice Department said the 60-day extension was just a delay to give the new administration more time to fill key positions and talk to the parties involved.

“They don’t have the team there that they need to handle this, and I think that is the charitable reading of it,” John Stonestreet said this week. “I’d feel a lot better if I really believed that President Trump understood and really was a champion of religious liberty.”

Stonestreet met with Trump during his campaign and said the then-candidate seemed to define religious liberty as having the right to say “Merry Christmas” and repealing the Johnson Amendment that prohibits nonprofit organizations from endorsing candidates.

But the biggest religious liberty concerns of today, Stonestreet said, “have to do with people taking their deeply held convictions into the public square and into their lives, including their public lives as business owners or employees. Those sorts of concerns seemed to then-candidate Trump to be a matter of polling.”

Stonestreet said he does not expect Trump to pass an executive order protecting religious liberty anytime soon, and he urged Christians to continue pushing for religious freedom.

Still, Stonestreet acknowledged, the situation could be much worse.

“Had this election been different, there would be a lot more aggressive posture against religious liberty,” he said.

Listen to “Culture Friday” on the April 28, 2017, edition of The World and Everything in It.

Nick Eicher

Nick is chief content officer of WORLD and co-host for WORLD Radio. He has served WORLD Magazine as a writer and reporter, managing editor, editor, and publisher. Nick resides with his family in St. Louis, Mo.

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  •  Paul B. Taylor's picture
    Paul B. Taylor
    Posted: Sat, 04/29/2017 12:28 am

    There are many forces set against religious liberty.  One particularly nefarious one is the therapy revolution.  The nature of group therapy is complete acceptance of all involved, except for Christians.  So, this movement has reinforced the notion of personal autonomy over any kind of thought that is found to be counter acceptance.  It has developed into the kind of thought which rejects any notion of rationally seeking after truth because this is alien to personal autonomy and total acceptance.  Thus we have not only a revolution that is counter Christian, but also one that is counter truth, especially when addressing theistic authority.  Now anti-Semitism is rampant in our high schools and places of higher learning, and Christianity has been kicked out of the public square.  I have fear for our future because our children are being trained to hate religion and espouse secularism.  It bodes for generations in darkness for decades and the terrible persecution of those who hold steadfastly to a foundation of thought that rests on Judeo-Christian values.  This is all the result of the rise of belief in therapeutic solutions to behavioral problems which solutions are found to be harmless and effective until the therapist takes up his or her mantra and works for greater power for values that should remain in the room for group therapy. This has graduated into the LGBTs seeking political representation and power in a way that greatly exaggerates their numbers, so that it is really an attempt at political engineering with the goal of marginalizing Christianity as has never before been seen in the history of America.  The other consequence of the therapy revolution is the insane notion that one may choose the gender identity that one feels one is instead of the gender that one biologically is.  All of these are manifestations of the rule of therapeutic ethics and rules which should be considered psychiatric and not in their own way a type of religion to which we should adhere in the public square. Terribly and sadly, now, the true face of the theraply revolution is being shown to bring in a host of evils which are becoming so much of a part of the social life of Americans. This is ironic because so many see it as good, yet we remember Dostoyevsky's quote that without God all things are permissable. The wise Christian would do well to choose a Christian therapist, especially one who views group therapy as a means for growth in sanctification, and not as a way to re-educate participants into dreaming of and seeking after a world where life would be a never ending group therapy session.   

  • zonie
    Posted: Tue, 05/02/2017 12:39 am

    Religious liberty is good and desirable. We should definitely push for it, in our own country and elsewhere. But we should also remember that the religious freedom we have enjoyed is an anomaly. For most of the past 2000 years and most of the rest of the world, religious liberty has not existed. What we have enjoyed in the west, and particularly in the USA, for the past couple of centuries are the exception. When religious liberty declines and if persecution comes to us, as it has to so many in other times and places, we may be dismayed but let us not be surprised. Jesus promised it: "If they hated me, they will hate you also."

  • Cyborg3's picture
    Posted: Tue, 05/02/2017 02:19 am

    Come now Nick, you are taking one man's feelings about Trump and assuming the worst in the man! Is that charitable or fair? I think not!