Is religious speech "second class?"

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By The Staff

For 88 years, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and its allies have fought for legal rulings that censor America’s Christian history and heritage to overturn our traditional values. Now it has taken this intolerant campaign to the next level by increasingly demanding jail for Christians who won’t comply.

In Tangipahoa Parish, Louisiana, a private individual prayed before a school event and the ACLU issued a startling threat. “Their refusal to comply, (the censorship of religious speech) should and must result in their removal from society.”

Another such threat occurred in Oconee County, South Carolina. The County Council had a tradition of beginning official meetings with a prayer. For that “violation” of the so-called “separation of church and state” it received the following warning from the ACLU. “Your sectarian invocations are blatant violations of federal law. Especially prayers to Jesus, if they continue to break the law, I want to say, the handcuffs are going to come.”

These are just a couple of examples of the extremes the ACLU will go to take their intolerant campaign to the next level by increasingly demanding jail for Christians who won’t comply with their opinions, not necessarily legal rulings. Christians lost so much of our culture and legal battles over the years, not because ACLU lawyers were better prepared, more skilled or even right, we lost because in countless cases we failed to show up to fight.

Now a unique ministry called the Alliance Defense Fund (ADF) along with 30 evangelical leaders has grown over the past 14 years to become the nation’s largest legal alliance dedicated to defending our first liberty – religious freedom. They are winning nearly three of every four cases, including 33 victories at the Supreme Court. The ACLU’s frustrations are beginning to demand jail time for all those who stand in their way.

The ADF couldn’t have come along at a more important time since the ACLU’s radical agenda, if successful, could spell the death of our nation the founding fathers secured for us. The ACLU and company rarely issue empty threats, through fear, intimidation and disinformation.

Some other actions brought about by the ACLU were having two men arrested for passing out Gideon Bibles on a street in South Florida. The ADF defended the men and won the case. If they hadn’t, it would have been exactly the type of legal precedent the ACLU wants, one in which religious speech and materials are defined as “second-class speech,” unprotected by the First Amendment.

It’s a razor’s edge religious freedom rests on. Five others were peacefully sharing a biblical message on a Philadelphia sidewalk when the “Pink Angels” tried to intimidate and silence their message. Police were called and the five were charged with ethnic intimidation, riot, criminal conspiracy and reckless endangerment and other felonies and misdemeanors that if prosecuted to the fullest could have led to prison terms of up to 47 years. The ADF defended them and won.

The message of intimidation against people of faith was heard loud and clear.

The ACLU, in addition to its war on religious freedom and expression, also conducts “search and destroy” missions against symbols of America’s Judea-Christian heritage. Two examples are the ADF protecting the Ten Commandments display at the Texas State Capital and the preserving of the Mount Soledad cross in San Diego honoring veterans.

In addition, the ACLU has filed lawsuits across the nation demanding judges fabricate same-sex “marriages.” So far the line has been held in every state except California and Massachusetts. Few Americans realize how radical the ACLU has become and the threat it poses to liberty.

Because “public life” now entails virtually every part of our lives, erasing references to God entirely from public life means virtually eliminating them from America. A few of the efforts being used in the concerted drive to remove all vestiges of Christianity from the celebration of Christ’s birthday include:

Public schools increasingly call Christmas vacation, something like “winter break.”

Christmas trees are either banned or called “winter trees.”

Public school Christmas programs are called “winter programs.”

Students and teachers are discouraged or prohibited from wishing each other “merry Christmas.”

Retail store employees are instructed to wish customers “happy holidays or seasons greetings instead of merry Christmas”

Public buildings such as city halls, fire and police stations featuring holiday displays with holly, reindeer and candy canes, but no manger scenes and no baby Jesus.

Some of the above are done by public officials who are hostile to Christianity and the Bible. Other officials secularize the public arena because they don’t want to offend anyone.

If religious ideas are prohibited in the public arena but secular ideas are permitted, then religious expression and viewpoints are placed at a distinct disadvantage. A lot of public officials falsely believe the argument that the First Amendment mandates an absolute separation of church and state, so they naively capitulate when, in fact, the federal courts have said no such thing.

However, radical separatists continue to argue that a public religious practice or display for a religious symbol endorses the religion of the majority. The Constitution does not say we will never have to see anything that offends us. In fact, exposure to that which offends us is in part the price we pay for living in a free society.

Let’s keep Christmas in our hearts, our homes and the public square. We must continue to defend against the war on Christmas. Let us proudly and joyfully say “merry Christmas” to all.

“To compel a man to subsidize with his taxes, the propagation of ideas which he disbelieves and abhors is sinful and tyrannical.” Thomas Jefferson.

Robert E. Beckner lives in Majestic Oaks with his wife, Sarah. He is a retired private investigator and insurance adjuster. He has also been a photographer and served with the Military Police in the Marine Corps.