Opponents of Freedom Use COVID to Attack and Destroy the Religious Freedom Restoration Act | News | First Liberty

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Opponents of Freedom Use COVID to Attack and Destroy the Religious Freedom Restoration Act

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September 11, 2020
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by Jorge Gomez, Senior Writer• 5 min read

When the pandemic first began, people of faith were told that temporary church lockdowns were necessary to ensure public safety. They called it a measure of religious communities “loving their neighbors,” and that in a short time we’d be able to gather for worship once again.

But the events of the last several months reveal the real agenda of our opponents: to keep churches shut down indefinitely and attack religious freedom in America.

Government officials repeatedly overstepped their constitutional powers to openly discriminate against churches, even going so far as to tell pastors their rights were “suspended.”

Today, government continues exploiting this crisis to control our churches. It’s evident by the All Out assault happening in states like California, where singing in church has been banned and faith leaders face fines, possible arrest and even the threat of eviction for holding safe, CDC-compliant religious services. Or in Nevada, where casinos can operate at 50% capacity, yet no more than 50 people can gather for worship.

For every inch people of faith have conceded, opponents of faith have taken a mile.

And now, they’ve set their sights on dismantling one of the foremost federal protections of our First Freedom: the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA).


The secular Left is exploiting this “crisis” to permanently take away your constitutional rights.

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The headline of a recent article exposes just how vehemently the secular Left wants to obliterate RFRA:

“The Biggest Threat to Herd Immunity Against COVID-19 May Be the Religious Freedom Restoration Act(s) and State Religious Exemptions.”

The author mistakenly argues that RFRA is “already a potent weapon against public health,” and makes this outrageous claim:

“Religious liberty statutes and religious/philosophical exemptions to state vaccine requirements create a potential escape hatch for those who deny the science.”

The author says the law needs to be amended (watered down, essentially) in such a way that would make it easier for government to bypass anyone who may have a religious objection to injecting themselves with a vaccine.

You may be asking: Why is RFRA so essential in the protection of our religious freedom?

For over a quarter century, RFRA has been a cornerstone protection for people of faith. The law says that the government must accommodate people’s religious practices when it can, and gives citizens their day in court when they believe the government has violated their rights.

It’s been a bulwark when religious Americans have had to fight in court in major First Amendment cases of the last ten years, including the landmark triumphs for religious freedom in U.S. Supreme Court cases like Burwell v. Hobby Lobby (2014) and Little Sisters of the Poor v. Pennsylvania (2020).

In the context of today’s fierce battle over COVID and religious freedom, RFRA protects the fundamental right of Americans to determine for themselves whether or not they will partake in vaccinations based on their religious beliefs.


Why is the Religious Freedom Restoration Act so important to your First Freedom?

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Of course, now that we’re in the midst of a health crisis, radical secularists and opponents of religion will seize the first available opportunity to gut RFRA.

As we confront the threat of a tyrannical culture that seeks to stomp on the rights of religious communities, it’s worth going back to what U.S. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito said in Obergefell v. Hodges (2015):

“Those who cling to old beliefs will be able to whisper their thoughts in the recesses of their homes, but if they repeat those views in public, they will risk being labeled as bigots and treated as such by government, employers, and schools.”

This is exactly what’s happening to people of faith across America in the face of the current constitutional crisis, and the recent assault on RFRA is just the latest piece of evidence.

Plain and simple, the secular Left wants RFRA gone because it doesn’t believe religious Americans like you should enjoy the same accommodating standard as everyone else, and that if you have any religious objections to a vaccine, then you’re automatically guilty of spreading CV-19.

RFRA was created precisely for such a time as this, when the secular Left no longer even pretends to tolerate other viewpoints and wants to coerce people of faith to conform to the orthodoxies held by the popular majority. When religious views are unpopular and inconvenient, RFRA stands in the way of the government forcing believers of all faiths to abandon their religious convictions.

Gutting RFRA would be an affront to our country’s promise of religious freedom for people of all faiths. Regardless of political views or religious differences, we should all celebrate the protections RFRA provides.

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