Rick Warren on religious liberty

Warren: There is an even bigger issue at stake right now than who sits in the White House. It is the crumbling of our constitution’s first guaranteed freedom – the freedom of religion. This issue is more significant and has far greater implications for America’s future. People have forgotten that America was founded by people who came here to escape religious persecution. Freedom of religion is America’s FIRST freedom. It’s #1. It is the first freedom mentioned in the Bill of Rights – before freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom to assemble, and every other freedom! America was the first and probably the only country to be founded in order to give every individual the freedom to practice his religion and follow his conscience without governmental constraint. And yet today, at the city, the state, and the federal levels, government bureaucrats are daily trying to limit that freedom, impose restrictions, and stifle expressions of faith on campuses, in hospitals, and in businesses. There are widespread attempts to redefine the first amendment to simply mean “You are free to believe anything at your place of worship but you are not free to practice your conscience elsewhere.” So now we’ve had the Justice Department suing a religious university for wanting to hire only teachers that share their faith and convictions. Fortunately, the Supreme Court overruled them, but religion is being zoned into a little box. We’ve had the government forcing confessing Catholics to violate their convictions, cities zoning out churches, Muslims forbidden to wear head scarves, and businesses banned because of the religious views of the owners. There are literally hundreds of examples of freedom being squelched. The constitution doesn’t just guarantee your freedom to worship; it guarantees you freedom from government intervention in your daily living out of what you believe. That’s why we’ve chosen to host a Civil Forum on Religious Freedom in September instead of the presidential forum. It’s a fight for the constitution, not a personality.

Interview can be found here.

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