On Wednesday, Oct. 18, NRB General Counsel Mike Farris presented a keynote address to the inaugural Religious Freedom in America Conference, hosted by Amb. Sam Brownback’s National Council for Religious Freedom (NCRF) in Washington, D.C.
The summit featured numerous convening partners with a shared interest in advancing and defending the free exercise clause of the First Amendment. With keynote addresses from Farris, Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah), and Coach Joe Kennedy, and several informative panels on religious freedom in healthcare, government, education, the military, corporate America, the conference provided an outstanding forum for relationship-building and collaboration to advance religious liberty in America.
An excerpt from Farris’ remarks as prepared for delivery is below.
Neither the Nazis nor the Soviets were the first to invent tyrannical persecutions. Nor were they the first to believe that neither religious freedom nor parental rights imposed any barrier for those who wish to ensure that children believed the creed, worldview, curriculum, or philosophy favored by the governing elites of these and countless other regimes.
Not every religious freedom issue involves children. And religious freedom is far broader than the mere freedom to worship as you will. But every regime that has ever fought against the freedom of its people to believe and practice their faith has always included the indoctrination of children as a priority.
This brings us to today.
I hate to admit that I never know exactly how to react when I hear my fellow Christians begin prayers thanking God for the freedom that we have to come together to worship.
Thanking God is always the right thing to do, of course. “In everything give thanks for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”
But given my vantage point gained from 43 years of full-time Christian legal ministry, I would not describe our current condition as possessing a robust form of religious freedom. In fact, religious freedom is under far greater challenge today than at any time in my life. . . .
The plain fact is that there is a concentrated effort to keep Christian voices off social media outlets, to deny them financial services, to cut off their insurance, to kick them off web hosting platforms, and more.
In short, this is an effort to utterly silence anyone who dares to challenge the belief system of the progressive movement.
They are the high priests of a new religion and like all false religions they know that they cannot compete against the truth. Therefore, coercion, silence, and violence are the tools they employ like every other totalitarian movement in history.
But I bring good news.
We won NIFLA. We won Hobby Lobby. We are going to win more victories in all the areas I outlined.
Here’s the call to action. Every time we win, the other side redoubles their attacks. We must continue to return the favor with our unmatchable weapon: “Greater is He that is in us than he that is in the world.”