The Challenges Facing Religious Freedom
by Edwin Meese III, Former U.S. Attorney General
Edwin Meese III served as a senior Counselor to President Ronald Reagan from 1981-1985, then as the 75th Attorney General of the United States from 1985-1988. Among those who served with him at the Justice Department was a young Assistant U.S. Attorney named Alan Sears, whom Mr. Meese appointed to serve as Executive Director of the Attorney General’s Commission on Pornography.
Mr. Meese is now Ronald Reagan Distinguished Fellow in Public Policy and Chairman of the Center for Legal and Judicial Studies at the Heritage Foundation, and a Distinguished Visiting Fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University.
We are facing crucial challenges to religious liberty today from organizations hostile to religion – the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the so-called People for the American Way (PFAW), and Americans United for Separation of Church and State (AU) – that are perverting the history and traditions of our country to silence people from bringing religion into the public square.
Another major challenge comes from those advancing the homosexual legal agenda, who are seeking to impose their ideas of morality upon the rest of the country. It is not enough that they want the freedom to practice their own perverse ways; they want to have that condoned by the rest of society.
They are seeking to indoctrinate young people, and more and more schools seem to be acting in a way that promotes homosexual activity, and that directly interferes with the cultural and moral teaching of most families in this country.
That brings us to a third problem: those in government and the schools who are allowing these anti-religious groups to intimidate and coerce them. As a result, the majority of our citizens end up catering to a small, highly vocal, highly forceful minority.
What would have happened in the past if Americans had not been willing – or allowed – to speak out against those things which the Scriptures tell us are evil?
Three things have contributed to the present state of affairs. One is the erroneous interpretation of our laws by the U.S. Supreme Court, beginning in 1947 (Everson v. Board of Education), to exclude religion from the public square.
Second has been the rise of the homosexual legal agenda and it’s permeation of much of our public life, and particularly the blatant attempts to affect how laws are written and the way they are perceived by the public.
And third is a weakening of the three institutions – the clergy, the media, and the academy – that are designed to preserve culture.
For all of these reasons – at a time when our country needs strong legal organizations to support the Constitution, to defend religious liberty, and to speak up and support our moral values – we are fortunate that the Alliance Defense Fund is a leader … because of the quality of its work, the methods that it uses, and its ability to bring people together in support of its work.
ADF is so effective because it brings together a variety of organizations, leaders, and people who have real concerns about religious liberty and moral values – providing a way in which these groups, some of which have different ideas on some aspects, can agree and strategize together on the moral values and basic concepts that ADF supports. In doing so, it emphasizes the important things – coordinated effort, the application of large amounts of resources, the training of lawyers – and brings them all into a single combined effort which is particularly effective in achieving the results of preserving religious liberty and moral values.
All of these are why ADF is so successful in courtrooms all over America, and why it is not only a very effective organization, but one dedicated to excellence.