WASHINGTON – America celebrates religious freedom every January, but many in the faith community worry this liberty is increasingly coming under attack.
Religious freedom has been pretty much a sacred right to Americans for hundreds of years because of something President Donald Trump noted when he proclaimed Jan. 16 "Religious Freedom Day."
"Our forefathers seeking freedom from religious persecution believed in the eternal truth that freedom is not a gift from government but a sacred right from Almighty God," the president said.
How to preserve that right was the topic of a broadcast Tuesday at the Family Research Council (FRC) in Washington. Guest Ryan Bomberger of the pro-life and pro-marriage Radiance Foundation sees an increasing amount of attacks on that sacred right from private citizens to politicians to courts.
"I think we have a public who doesn't actually understand what's going on behind the scenes," Bomberger told CBN News.
"They don't understand that there are judiciaries who are deciding to ignore the Constitution, ignore the first right enumerated, which is religious freedom, and coming down on the side of I guess you could say persecution," he explained.
FRC taking what it considers a biblical stand that marriage must be one-man-one-woman might have got the organization's president, Tony Perkins, and many others there killed.
"What we're doing is simply adhering to a biblical view of marriage and human sexuality," Perkins explained.
"For that we have organizations like the Southern Poverty Law Center that attack Christians, demonize them, marginalize them – and inspire people like Floyd Corkins who came in here with a gun. You can still see the holes in the wall where he shot one of our team-members," he said.
Bomberger pointed out people like Masterpiece Cakeshop baker Jack Phillips, who has paid dearly for his religious view that he can't celebrate gay marriage. Phillips has lost 40 percent of his business, half his employees and has been forced to undergo "re-education" in his state of Colorado.
"We see the attacks happening all across the country, especially with creative professionals, from floral designers to bakers to photographers to all kinds of different artists who are being told by the government, 'You know what? We're the ones who are in control here. We're going to dictate how you use your creative expression," Bomberger said.
In his Jan. 16 proclamation, Trump expressed concern about such attacks, warning, "These incursions, little by little, can destroy the fundamental freedom underlying our democracy."
Because of Obamacare's rules, Perkins and the FRC were forced to choose between defying the law or helping fund abortion for workers. It pitted their religion against their government in their everyday life.
"That means the marketplace," Perkins stated. "That means outside the walls of your church, outside the walls of your home and education, so all those things have been affected by the loss of religious freedom."
Bomberger hopes Christians will take notice and fight for their religious freedom.
"I see it getting worse when I see Christians being complacent about what's going on and not being concerned, not realizing that what affects someone else is going to eventually directly affect you," he said.
Thomas Jefferson helped make religious freedom a right for Americans with the First Amendment. He later stated, "No provision in our Constitution ought to be dearer to man than that which protects the rights of conscience."
President Trump concluded his proclamation, saying, "Faith breathes life and hope into our world. We must diligently guard, preserve and cherish this unalienable right."