Although President Trump has done plenty of things I disagree with, I have to give him credit for continuing to shake up the Washington establishment — which is what he was elected to do in the first place.
Realistically, I suppose it would be impossible for Trump or any other mere mortal not to disappoint when given the Herculean task of cleaning the Augean stables. There are so many stinkpots in Washington, D.C., that it is reasonable to expect him to pick his fights — and to concentrate on getting “wins” where he can.
He and his administration have overturned numerous regulations imposed by previous administrations that had slowed the economy, lessened national security and increased the power of the federal government. Remember that just after taking office, Trump signed an order that required two regulations to be eliminated for every new one added. That was a stroke of genius.
Much of this regulatory relief has flown under the radar, but it could have long-lasting effects. One such change happened on Friday when Attorney General Jeff Sessions issued two memoranda on the topic of religious liberty.
It’s been mind-blowing to discover in the past decade how fragile the concept of religious liberty is — especially in an increasingly secular society where God is considered an illegal alien, and not one worthy of receiving “sanctuary”! People who follow their religious beliefs used to be held in high esteem; but today they are a threatened or even endangered species.
But through the unlikely ministrations of President Trump, that may finally change. Sessions issued a list of 20 key principles of religious liberty that are to guide the executive branch of the federal government going forward. The second of those principles restates what should have been obvious all along, but was instead ignored by the previous administration:
“The free exercise of religion includes the right to act or abstain from action in accordance with one’s religious beliefs.”
Wait a minute? Does that mean I can’t be forced to violate my personal moral and religious convictions by the government? I don’t have to perform actions that I find offensive?
Apparently so. Principles No. 3 and 4 spell it out pretty clearly:
“3. The freedom of religion extends to persons and organizations.
“4. Americans do not give up their freedom of religion by participating in the marketplace, partaking of the public square, or interacting with government.”
So does that mean I don’t have to bake a cake for a gay wedding if I believe traditional Christian teaching and consider homosexuality a sin? Again, apparently so. And who in their right mind could want it any other way? Would we ever consider forcing Muslims and Jews to roast pigs if they own a kosher or halal restaurant? Let’s hope not. Yet Christians have seen their rights of conscience dissipate to the point of non-existence.
Will the Sessions memoranda actually be able to counter the anti-religion crusade of the left and the left-leaning judiciary? I can’t predict the future any more than anyone else, but I suspect that, when words get out, more heads will be spinning in courtrooms than at a revival of “The Exorcist.”
If the Department of Justice follows through on the attorney general’s instructions, we can safely say that the First Amendment’s protection of religious liberty is being taken seriously for the first time in years.
Can I get an amen?