Declaration of Independence

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. - That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Freedom of Religion

                The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution guarantees Freedom of Religion to all Americans; however, this right is being threatened more than it has ever been.  Americans must open our eyes and see things as they really are instead of how we want them to be.  

           Americans are more protected than people in Iraq, but we must pay attention to what happened there.  When the Islamic Stateof Iraq Levant (Isis) took control of the northern Iraqi city of Mosul, an ultimatum was given to Christians:  convert or pay a tax by July 19 or be put to death.  There were many Christians who did not comply with the decree and were forced to flee from their homes.  Many of them were trapped in the desert or on the streets with no place to go.  Christians were simply disappearing; many of them, including children, were beheaded.  Finally, the Obama administration sent some fighter jets to help them.        

                Hannah Smith, senior counsel for the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, has been instrumental in the successful legal defense of several cases in federal and U.S. Supreme Court rulings on religious freedom.  A member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Ms. Smith encourages members of the Church to defend religious freedom for people of all faiths.  She reminds her readers that the Prophet Joseph Smith “declared he would die to defend religious rights of members of other denominations” and freedom of religion “remains a priority for church leaders today.” 

                Ms. Smith included quotes from both Elder Dallin H. Oaks and Elder Quentin R. Cook of the church’s Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.  “Elder Oaks said believers should `unite more effectively to preserve and strengthen the freedom to advocate and practice our
religious beliefs whatever they are.’”  She quoted Elder Cook as saying that one reason attacks on religious principles have succeeded is that people of faith have been reluctant to express their views.  `Extraordinary effort will be required to protect religious liberty.’”

                In her remarks at the Fair Mormon Conference,  Ms. Smith described “seven prominent areas of concern in what she called the `battle for religious freedom.’”  The seven areas of concern are:  (1) The government mandate that all employers must pay for contraceptives, sterilization and `emergency contraceptives.’  Even with the Hobby Lobby win, the problem continues for employers.  (2) “The effort to restrict the freedom of churches to organize and choose their own leaders free from government intrusion. “ (The Becket Fund fought this effort in 2012 successfully but the problem remains.)  (3) “Discrimination against faiths that want to use private property or to access public property on equal terms with secular groups”.  (4) “Government regulations that require pharmacists to dispense drugs that violate their religious convictions.”  (5) “Efforts to redefine anti-discrimination laws without sufficient corresponding protections for religious freedom.”  (6) “Efforts to expunge religion from the public square, like trying to eliminate the words `under God’ from the Pledge of Allegiance.”  (7) “Denial of religious rights to prisoners.”

                Ms. Smith suggests that anyone interested in protecting religious freedom should go to  and to a Facebook page supporting religious freedom.  I found numerous interesting articles about protection freedom of religion at both sites.

                Many Americans have a difficult time understanding that our freedoms are slowly being destroyed; many of them believe that events like the treatment of Christians in Iraq can  never happen in the United States.  I believe firmly that it could happen very quickly.  If you do not believe it could, look at the changes that have taken place in our nation in the past five plus years:  government taking over private businesses and firing the CEOs, a president refusing to obey the law, the Department of Justice refusing to enforce the law, the IRS targeting groups for political reasons, etc.  It can happen!  We must not allow it!  We must defend our religious freedom!

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