Fighting for the Future of Religious Liberty

By   •   October 5, 2018

"I believe the Lord has given us a very brief window in this country to repent from our wicked ways, confess our sins—personal and corporate—and thank Him for His fresh mercy and grace that forgives, heals and restores when we humbly turn to Him," Franklin Graham said.

I recently had the privilege of attending an extraordinary meeting of evangelical Christians invited to the White House by President Donald Trump and his wife, Melania.

In just two years, his administration has accomplished more than any other president in decades to defend religious freedom, turn the tide of the Supreme Court and protect ordinary Americans who have been under siege for practicing our Christian beliefs. Not only did we have the opportunity to hear personally from the president, but he took time to hear our concerns and join us in prayer.

“America is a nation of believers,” President Trump told us. “We know that faith and family, not government and bureaucracy, are the center of American life. And we know that freedom is a gift from our Creator.”

Franklin Graham shakes hands with President Donald Trump at the dinner in celebration of evangelical leadership Aug. 27 in the State Dining Room of the White House. Photograph: Official White House photo.

You can imagine how encouraging it was to hear those words! I’ve had the opportunity to meet every president since Lyndon Johnson, but I’ve never seen a moment like this, where the leader of the free world celebrated our religious liberty and godly values as the bedrock principles that our nation is built upon.

When you think about what has happened over the past two years, it’s incredible how the entire federal landscape has changed from a previous administration that was openly hostile to people of faith, to the one today that not only welcomes evangelicals but aggressively fights to protect our religious liberty.

“In recent years, the government tried to undermine religious freedom,” the president told us. “But the attacks on communities of faith are over. We’ve ended it.”

One reason the president has been so successful is that he has been supported in Congress. That could change in November, when midterm elections are held across the nation.

Although religious liberty should be encouraged by both major parties, experience is showing that, currently, only the Republicans have been friendly toward people of faith on matters of religious liberty. They hold a slim, two-seat majority in the Senate and a 44-seat majority in the House. Just a slight shift in the makeup of either House or Senate could endanger some of the major victories the Trump administration has made to defend and protect our religious liberties.

Just a few months into his term, President Trump signed an executive order to safeguard religious freedom. “It shall be the policy of the executive branch to vigorously enforce federal law’s robust protections for religious freedom,” the order stated. “Federal law protects the freedom of Americans and their organizations to exercise religion and participate fully in civic life without undue interference by the federal government.”

Amen!

That was such a huge and decisive course correction from the previous administration, under which emboldened state governments, working hand in hand with liberal courts, prosecuted believers like Washington florist Barronelle Stutzman and bakers Jack Phillips of Colorado and Melissa Klein of Oregon, who declined to use their businesses to celebrate gay marriage. Even the personal Bible study notes on God’s design for marriage and sexuality by Atlanta Fire Chief Kelvin Cochran became the ground for removal from his job.

Organizations like the Little Sisters of the Poor were punished by the federal government when they tried to defy an Obamacare mandate to offer birth control and even abortion-inducing drugs as part of their employee health plan. In March, a federal judge reversed that ruling—another important step for religious freedom.

Nothing, however, has done more to promote and protect religious liberties than Trump’s nomination of conservative justices to the Supreme Court. In 2017, Neil Gorsuch was nominated by the president to fill the seat of the late Justice Antonin Scalia. Justice Gorsuch has played a stellar role in defending fundamental religious rights, including his vote to uphold Jack Phillips’ right to operate his bakery based on Biblical values pertaining to same-sex marriage.

After Justice Anthony Kennedy retired this summer, President Trump again fulfilled his campaign promise to nominate conservatives to the nation’s highest court with the selection of Brett Kavanaugh, who by every account will vigorously defend the First Amendment rights of Christians to freely exercise their faith without government interference.

As I write, the social progressive forces are doing all they can to foil Judge Kavanaugh’s appointment, and we want to see him confirmed before the midterm elections.

I don’t know that I have ever seen such hatred and vile behavior toward a president or his cabinet, a number of whom are committed evangelical Christians. The sole purpose, it appears, is to remove obstacles to a social progressive agenda that seeks to promote the immoral, ungodly lifestyle of unlimited sexual freedom, abortion on demand and assisted suicide, while silencing any religious voice.

It’s impossible to watch a late-night television talk show, read the editorial and opinion pages of newspapers or magazines or just scan digital news stories without coming across a slew of abhorrent attacks on conservatives.

Those who foster this kind of repulsive behavior simply hate what this administration stands for in the moral arena—marriage between a man and woman, the rights of the unborn child and the protection of religious liberties for all citizens.

That’s why it is urgent this November for Christians to turn out in record numbers to vote for candidates who wholeheartedly support the work of religious liberty and who have pledged to do all they can to continue the amazing advances that have been made on this front in such a short period of time.

For the first time since the Bush administration, our country has a commander in chief who cares about the rights of Christians and has taken bold steps to protect our God-given freedoms.

I believe the Lord has given us a very brief window in this country to repent from our wicked ways, confess our sins—personal and corporate—and thank Him for His fresh mercy and grace that forgives, heals and restores when we humbly turn to Him.

In this moment, we must do all we can to proclaim the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ to as many as we can. While the door is open, it’s imperative that followers of Christ take maximum advantage to bear witness to the Good News of God’s saving power and grace.

I’m not going to tell you how to vote. But you need to vote. The engagement of Christians in the political process is critical.

The Bible says that “the night is coming when no one can work” (John 9:4). I don’t know how long it will be before Christ returns to claim His own, but let’s seek first the Kingdom of God in all we do, and be godly salt and light in all our encounters.

Let’s lift up the Name of Jesus and never be timid or embarrassed to share the true and lasting hope of the Gospel. “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes” (Romans 1:16).
©2018 BGEA

Scripture quotations are taken from The Holy Bible, New King James Version.

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6 Comments

  1. Sampson Mante says:

    We support your agenda. May God protect you and bless you. Stay blessed.

  2. Leslie Moore says:

    In full and entire agreement with remarks made by Mr. Graham.

  3. Jacob McConnell says:

    Nice.

  4. Marcus says:

    Great word! Let’s get out and vote the Bible!!!

  5. Kevin Relyea says:

    God’s people need to be the salt and light they’re called to be.

  6. Carolyn Brown says:

    Thank you! God bless you always!