by Jorge Gomez • 5 min read
For over two centuries, the United States has been a beacon of freedom. The principles, values and liberties enshrined in the American Constitution have made our nation a safe haven for people of all faiths.
In particular, one of the characteristics that makes our Constitution so exceptional is the incredible protection that it offers to minority religions and smaller faith communities. From the very inception of our republic—and really, even before we formally unified as a standing nation—we’ve been a religious refuge for the least among us, namely those oppressed and persecuted because of their beliefs.
But as we survey the landscape of a culture that’s growing increasingly hostile to religion and religious expression, we see that fundamental promise undermined. And, it is minority faith communities who eventually suffer the consequences, as many of them are often hesitant—or worse yet, afraid—to openly live out their faith.
Right now, we’re seeing this phenomenon very starkly with the Jewish community in the United States. A litany of recent studies and surveys reveal:
Certainly, living out your faith should never come down to a choice between your beliefs and your safety. Whether it’s members of the Jewish community, or of any faith group, Americans shouldn’t have to fear harassment, violence or coercion at the hands of the government just for wearing religious symbols, clothing or jewelry.
The fact remains that if people are bullied or intimidated into hiding their faith behind closed doors, or forced to practice their religion underground…then we don’t have religious freedom in any real sense.
At its most fundamental level, fostering true religious freedom for people of all faiths requires a couple of things from each and every one of us.
For one, we must hold strong to a mutual understanding of peaceful coexistence. We can live in the same country without having to bully, intimidate, or violently harass others who believe and worship differently.
Secondly, we must stand boldly and act to stop religious hostility, especially when minority faith communities are the target.
Here at First Liberty, we continue to be First in the Fight in some of the worst cases of discrimination against religious minorities, including:
Without question, America’s promise of religious liberty and the freedom for all—especially religious minorities—to live according to the dictates of their conscience is a feat unlike any other in world history, an ideal few nations have successfully brought to fruition.
That’s a legacy worth defending. If others’ faith is under attack, you are likely to be next.
Forcing faith underground isn’t a part of America’s DNA. That’s why First Liberty Institute continues to stand strong for the right of all to freely, openly and publicly exercise their beliefs.