Pro-Life Religious Freedoms Under Attack Now More Than Ever

Opinion   |   Alan Sears   |   Dec 20, 2012   |   11:24AM   |   Washington, DC

The 19th century Russian writer Fyodor Dostoevsky once wisely said, “If God does not exist, then everything is permitted.”

Christians continue to wage a political and legal battle against a predominantly secular culture about the law and the meaning of life—both increasingly corrupted by what Blessed Pope John Paul II coined a “culture of death.”

Unfortunately, this deviant contemporary trend is determined to make God irrelevant and extinct from society. Dominating the national discourse, this atheistic worldview not only denies the existence of God and his social relevance, but is openly hostile to all people and things Christian.

This is contrary to America’s rich Judeo-Christian heritage. Our Founding Fathers believed in a free republic based on a Christian ethos, one in which man is created in the image and likeness of his Creator. Our American legal system is based on this understanding of God-given rights and individual freedom.

For two centuries, this conviction dominated the nation and its laws, shaping our understanding of the country and our role as citizens in this glorious republic.

But what was so naturally understood and believed even up until a few decades ago, is being denied and distorted, primarily through the judicial branch, resulting in a civil society our Founding Fathers would not recognize today.

Over the last few decades, we have abandoned natural law and disregarded human dignity. Destructive ideas have taken shape, morphing into a so-called “clash of rights” between prideful human sovereignty and God as the origin of life and all freedoms. As we have tried to eradicate God from society, the results have been devastating.

America now faces some of the most challenging threats to religious liberty and the family in our nation’s history–threats that have come directly from our own government, the very institution established to protect our liberties.

For example, under the guise of wanting to ensure all Americans receive “healthcare,” the Obama administration has implemented “Obamacare,” or as one commentator calls it, “Obamacide.” Its mandate violates the conscience of people of faith by forcing employers to provide “free” contraceptive and abortifacient drugs in the “healthcare” coverage of their employees.

Alliance Defending Freedom recently filed a lawsuit on behalf of the Newlands, a Catholic family in Colorado who own a very successful heating and air conditioning business called Hercules Industries.

When the HHS mandate was announced, the Newlands, who have operated their business according to their faith in the past, were now being forced to provide abortion-inducing drugs, contraception, and sterilization procedures for their employees through their “health” insurance or else be fined $100 per day–per employee–which would quickly put them out of business.

Knowing they could not violate their conscience, the Newlands are legally challenging the mandate as a violation of their religious freedom.

Soon after, a federal judge held that the abortion pill mandate could not be forced upon Hercules Industries, pending the outcome of their lawsuit, which may be ultimately resolved by the Supreme Court. The Obama administration has now filed an appeal in the case, contradicting its campaign claims of “unwavering” support for religious freedom.

More than 100 plaintiffs have followed the Newlands’ lead and are challenging Obamacare.

Recently, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia also ruled in favor of another one of our clients, Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., a Bible publisher, temporarily suspending enforcement of the mandate as the lawsuit continues.

Despite the positive ruling in the two aforementioned cases, more and more Christians who refuse to comply with the government’s anti-life agenda are being excoriated of their “rights.”

At the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, 13 nurses we represented in a pre-surgical ward were threatened with the loss of their jobs if they refused to help with elective abortions.

In New York City, a Catholic nurse, who we represent and who is esteemed by her own hospital administrators, was coerced into assisting with an abortion and was told she could lose her nursing license and her career unless she helped end the life of a healthy child in the womb.

In Wisconsin, a pre-eminent Catholic anesthesiologist at a leading university hospital, another one of our clients, risked her job and career to fight clandestine plans by her administrators to provide late-term, second trimester abortions.

In Montana and Washington, pharmacists we represent were told they were required, by law, to sell abortion pills in violation of their conscience – even though the same pills were available at other stores. In some cases, just a few steps away.

When fourth-year nursing students, including a young Catholic nurse, sought to apply for the women’s health nurse residency program at Vanderbilt University, they found a rude surprise on the application – a requirement that the students participate in an abortion as part of their “training.”

Each of these medical professionals – and many like them all over the country – find themselves ostracized and threatened with legal action simply because their personal faith calls them to recognize the premium God puts on the value of life.

Their opponents care more about the freedom to end lives and securing profits or “reducing costs” and eliminating the “unwanted” than they do for Americans who want to follow the dictates of their conscience.

They were willing to decimate the liberty of others so they can more easily terminate the lives of innocent children. They did not succeed. By God’s grace, all of these cases have been won and we must continue to fight on in the others to preserve their freedom.

But the Obama administration’s violation of religious liberty doesn’t just extend to life issues. People of faith who resist the administration’s push to redefine marriage and the homosexual legal agenda have also been targeted. For example, a young Christian photographer represented by Alliance Defending Freedom, was assessed thousands of dollars by the New Mexico Human Rights Commission for declining to use her artistic talents to photograph a lesbian commitment ceremony.

At Eastern Michigan University, a counseling student was kicked out of the Masters’ program and denied her degree because she dared follow standard procedure and asked a potential client wanting to improve their same-sex relationship be referred to another counselor.

At the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana, a university professor teaching a Catholic doctrine class was fired for explaining the Roman Catholic Church’s position on human sexual behavior.

And let’s not forget the ongoing war being waged on Christmas. Recently, in North Carolina, Western Piedmont Community College officials replaced “Christmas” with “holiday” in a student club’s announcement of a Christmas tree sale designed to raise funds for charity.

Also in North Carolina, an elementary school in McDowell County removed a sentence referring to “God” from a 1st-grader’s poem commemorating her grandfathers’ military service at a Veteran’s Day ceremony.

Sadly, these legal persecutions are becoming more pervasive across the country, infiltrating all aspects of society.

Americans have a lot at stake in this battle, as the government tries to destroy our nation’s rich heritage of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness that so many fought so hard to attain and preserve for future generations.

Edmund Burke is supposed to have famously said, “The only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.”



We cannot stand idly by. Our freedom depends on it.

Ronald Reagan wisely warned, “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same.”

Now is the time to take a stand and to defend life and liberty. God will bless us as we fulfill His call.

LifeNews Note: Alan Sears is a former federal prosecutor who held various posts in the departments of Justice and Interior during the Reagan administration. He is president and CEO of Alliance Defending Freedom. This originally appeared at the Human Life International Truth and Charity Forum and is reprinted with permission.