Former GOP House Speaker Newt Gingrich said Tuesday he believes First Amendment religious protections are going to be under assault during President Joe Biden’s administration more than at any time since the nation’s founding.
“Well, I think that it is probably the most endangered that it has been since the Revolutionary War,” Gingrich, also noted for his grasp of history, told a panel forum hosted by Just the News’ editor-in-chief John Solomon.
The former Speaker and author of the “Contract With America” credited with Republicans winning control of the House in 1994 after about 40 years’ worth of Democrat control went on to note that during pandemic-ordered shutdowns of in-person worshipping, only a “handful of pastors” sought to push back.
Most Americans “subordinated their most profound personal beliefs to going along to get along, tolerating domination by a secular state,” Gingrich said. “So I would say you are as close to seeing the First Amendment lose its power to protect religious liberty as we have been at any point in our history.”
Gingrich went on to predict that the Biden administration will make it more difficult for Americans of faith to observe and practice their beliefs.
“Any reasonable view of where we are would suggest that the time has come for everybody who is truly religious to basically engage in some form of defying the police powers that are currently being used to crush religious people,” he said.
Other panel members agreed, including former retired U.S. Army lieutenant colonel, U.S. congressman, and current Texas Republican Party Chairman Allen West.
He said he believes that “the progressive socialist left” is “trying to separate us from our Judeo-Christian faith heritage.” He added, ”if they do that, then government with the little ‘g’ replaces God with the big ‘G’ as the ones who grant you your inalienable rights.”
Trump campaign attorney Jenna Ellis noted that “what freedom and liberty truly means is that we can’t be compelled by our government to either cede that the government is the head of the church or to cede any of our rights because government is simply claiming the power.”
Continuing, she said she believes “it’s really important that we the people not only understand the limitations of government but we also reclaim the identity of America as understanding that our founders specifically recognized that we have unalienable rights and the government has specific, very, very limited powers.”
Others are also concerned Biden will undo many of his predecessor’s religious protections. They point to one of the president’s first executive orders last week that expands access for transgender students in locker rooms and sports but does not provide for any objections on religious grounds.
“Early indications are troubling,” Prof. Edward A. Morse, a member of the board of directors of the Thomas More Society, told The Epoch Times.
“Tumultuous days lie ahead as we wait to see how quickly protections for [religious liberty] groups won by the Trump administration will be repealed and replaced by coercive measures insensitive to their concerns,” Morse, who teaches law at Creighton University, added.
He predicted that policies regarding healthcare would pose the greatest challenge to religious protections and freedoms.
“Not only for health care providers with religious commitments but also for patients who desire treatment from those who share their commitments and values,” said Morse.
“Schools, including private and religious ones, will also be within the target zone in terms of accommodations based on gender. Clashes between the coercive power of government that prefers other interest groups over the interests of religious citizens will be inevitable.”
Mike Berry, the general counsel at First Liberty Institute, told the outlet he also expects the Biden administration’s policies will have a negative impact on religious liberties.
“While campaigning, President Biden promised that his administration will seek to roll back many of the religious liberty protections the Trump administration advanced,” he said. We anticipate a much more hostile and intrusive government than we experienced during the past four years.”
Matt Sharp, the senior counsel and state government relations national director at the Alliance Defending Freedom, said he expects challenges to Biden’s plan to revive the Obamacare contraception mandate at the heart of legal battles waged by Little Sisters of the Poor, a Catholic charity that has long opposed it.
The U.S. Supreme Court has already ruled in favor of the organization, but Sharp believes the Biden administration may go ahead and try to reimpose the mandate anyway.
“This is a settled issue and any attempt by the Biden administration to restore this mandate will force the president to litigate a battle he already lost,” he told The Epoch Times.
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