The Federalist Party is a firm believer in defending the 1st Amendment, an important portion of which is freedom of religion. How the party views religious influence is very similar to my personal beliefs. I want to keep government out of the church at all costs.
Let’s look at the 1st Amendment:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
There are two parts here. The first is currently not in jeopardy, though it would be foolish to believe the government would never overreach to the point of establishing “acceptable” religions. It’s far fetched to us today, but things change. The second portion is the part that’s directly relevant because it’s under attack.
We hear about it every few days. “Discrimination” has become the most powerful political word of our time. If you can label anything discriminatory, everything else is pushed aside. That’s why colleges are accelerating their progressive indoctrination. That’s why the media is quick to attack anything related to Judeo-Christian values (while simultaneously slow on the draw when there’s a chance other religious beliefs are in play).
It’s why bakers are forced to bake cakes that go against their religious beliefs. It’s why churches are being bullied into choosing to start performing services that don’t match their doctrine. There’s discrimination that exists. I’m not naive. However, the tide has turned and many sins of the past are being repaid tenfold against conservatives and Christians, most of whom do not practice true discrimination.
This is where it gets sticky. I’m a Christian. On the surface it may seem unfaithful to defend the rights of atheists or Muslims or Buddhists or Pastafarians. In reality, the only way to defend my rights as a Christian is to stand by the Constitution word-for-word and demand that Congress not make any law prohibiting the free exercise of religion. My freedom to worship my God as I am commanded is too important to me to leave to the judgment of Congress or the Supreme Court.
When man’s judgment is at play, it will invariably be flawed in one way or another. The only solution is to take man’s judgment out of the equation, including my own. This wisdom from the founders helped them in their quest to not follow in England’s footsteps and it is just as relevant today.
In fact, it may be more so.
To do this, we must maintain a strict separation of church and state. That’s not to say we need to suppress our beliefs when making political decisions, but we cannot allow the establishment of restrictions. Common sense restrictions for preexisting laws should be maintained; if a human sacrifice is performed in the name of some “religious” belief, it’s still murder. However, “cake laws” (any laws that demand services be rendered by private businesses or citizens that go against their beliefs) cannot be allowed to stand even when the ACLU or their cronies invoke “discrimination.” Should a Muslim baker be forced to bake unleavened bread for Passover? How about an atheist baker who doesn’t want to bake a cake proclaiming praise to God? As private business owners with their own religious beliefs, the government has no right to force or fine them. The community can apply pressure through the free market system or through their right to peaceably assemble for protest, but that’s on citizens, not the government.
While most would agree because they don’t want the church to influence the state, the concept works in both directions. We need to keep that separation as wide as possible if we have any hope of protecting our religious freedoms. As a Christian, I use my beliefs to reach people and make disciples of the nations as we are taught. As a Federalist, I realize the only way to prevent a conflict between my religion and the law is to keep government out of the church altogether.
The key to maintaining our religious freedoms is to keep the government as far from the church as possible. The only way to do that is to keep government out of every church, even those who teach things against our own beliefs. Moreover, the freedom to practice religion as we’re instructed means we can change hearts and minds for our Lord. That makes this stance a win-win in my opinion.