Washington Examiner | Nicole Russell | Dec. 31, 2019
When five people were stabbed at a Hanukkah celebration in New York on Saturday, it was just another reminder that the recent string of vicious anti-Semitic attacks on Jews shows no signs of abating.
And sadly, new research shows that there’s been an uptick in attacks on religious liberty freedom in general. In light of this disturbing trend, it’s vital we understand how foundational religious liberty is to the American way and why it must remain a priority for all — not just Jews and Christians. The core value of religious tolerance stems from our nation’s very founding.
In 1630, Puritans came to America in search of one thing: religious freedom. Frustrated with the Church of England and the king’s persecution, they began an exodus to the New World, a place where they could speak and worship freely. For Puritans, the freedom to worship anchored the rest of the freedoms we now see in the First Amendment: freedom of speech, the press, assembly, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances. The Puritans helped shape American politics, culture, and government, but religious liberty remained the heart of their purpose.
Fast forward nearly 400 years, and religious liberty issues have ebbed and flowed in terms of intensity and attention.
Even though attacks on religious liberty have increased in the last decade, the liberal media often overlooks many lawsuits between church and state, such as one case challenging whether it’s the government’s right to intervene with religious school choice, or another case detailing a Chabad’s fight in federal court just to build a synagogue. Comparatively speaking, little attention is given to landmark cases of religious liberty importance, even if they affect workplaces and schools, not just the right to worship freely.