Religious intolerance is un-American

Published 8:24 am Wednesday, August 21, 2019

By Dan Weber
Vice President Mike Pence stirred up quite an uproar over his remarks claiming prejudice against people of faith is on the rise. But, as Professor James Finck of the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma, noted in a recent Opinion Article: “What is most interesting about religious intolerance today is that it is the last socially acceptable form of intolerance.”
Remarks by progressives in Congress certainly appear to underscore the validity of Mr. Pence’s warning that “it’s become acceptable, and even fashionable to ridicule and discriminate” based on an individual’s belief in God.
Remember when Senator Dianne Feinstein, D-CA, told Amy Coney Barrett during her circuit court hearings that “The dogma lives loudly within you, and that’s of concern,” implying that her religious beliefs might make her unsuitable to serve.
And then there was the incident last December when progressive Democrats, Senators Kamala D. Harris and Mazie Hirono, targeted judicial nominee Brian Buescher for his faith based convictions.
The growing acceptance of religious bigotry is a global issue of concern. But, it has a particularly disquieting impact in the U.S. at a time when it is becoming trendy to promote ideologies such as socialism as a viable alternative to our constitutional federal republic.
Some conspiracy theorists might perceive the newfound love of a godless socialist system of government as designed ultimately to put the progressive left in charge of America’s future. But, the fact is that the anti-religion movement got started when Americans began losing faith, something that has been happening for some time, according to Pew Research. In a report released a year ago Pew noted that the number of Americans who “have doubts about God’s existence – or that they do not believe in God at all” continues to grow.
A number of other recent surveys seem to confirm that more than half of Americans don’t consider religion important to them anymore. Just 43% of Americans viewed religion as a core component of their identity in 2018.
Meanwhile, anti-Semitism is on the rise in America. The Anti-Defamation League’s Center on Extremism released new data recently, noting that 2018 was the third-highest year on record for attacks on Jews and Jewish institutions. There were 1,879 such incidents representing a dangerously dramatic increase in such hate crimes.
Finally, in what is perhaps one of the most blatant assaults on Freedom of Religion, a bill has been introduced in the California Senate, SB 360, that seeks to directly interfere with an historic religious tenet. It would require a Catholic priest to report what a penitent reveals to him during confession. Confession is one of the most important sacraments in the Catholic faith. And, its confidential nature has been well recognized throughout history.
It might appear to be a one-off piece of legislation that would not impact the general right of Americans to practice their religions, whatever their beliefs. But the proposed law has insidious, more profound implications for all religions, according to Father Pius Pietrzyk, a professor of canon law. As he put it an Opinion Article published in USA Today: “If this bill passes, no religion is safe. If a core principle as deeply ingrained in Catholic tradition and doctrine can be wiped away this easily by the state, no fundamental rights of religion or conscience are safe.”
(Dan Weber is president of The Association of Mature American Citizens [AMAC] is the nation’s largest Conservative senior advocacy organization with some two million members.)

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