(UnitedVoice.com) – With every new year, there’s a sense of hope and optimism that the coming year will be better than the one that’s left behind. 2020 saw a slew of challenges for the religious community under government pressures to control COVID-19. Americans experienced first-hand how civil liberties can be taken when leftist politicians and bureaucrats force shutdowns, close churches, and instill fear in the name of “safety.”
For almost an entire year, people of faith were told it wasn’t safe or responsible to gather to worship. However, it was okay to shop in your favorite stores with hundreds of people. It was even okay to participate in protests and riots with tens of thousands of people if it met the leftists’ objectives. Unfortunately, the pandemic was used against houses of worship to undermine constitutional liberties.
Challenges in 2020
During the spring, the Department of Justice got involved in numerous lawsuits with local officials that tried to harm worshippers through orders, intimidations, and even arrest because there was an emergency declaration. However, the DOJ rectified many of those cases.
Unfortunately, the court system moves slower than many would like. In October, the Supreme Court ruled against New York and California for restricting church gatherings. On December 15, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the Supreme Court rulings in a similar Nevada case.
However, a court order, or Supreme Court ruling, is only as good as it’s followed. The courts do not have enforcement jurisdiction. That belongs to the executive branch of each state and the federal government. There isn’t much a court can do to a governor or president who chooses to violate the Constitution.
There is no guarantee far-left elected officials or bureaucrats won’t try to do it again despite the court rulings.
So, what can you do to protect your religious rights in 2021 and beyond?
For too long, the religious community largely sat on the sidelines. However, every person of faith should make their voice heard. It starts by talking to your local, state, and federally elected officials in Congress. Ask them what they intend to do legislatively to protect religious rights and prohibit governors and local officials from overextending their authority in the future.
The key is never to let up. Touch base with your elected representatives once a month by calling their offices. They have call logs and catalog the concerns of constituents. Second, schedule a meeting once or twice a year to talk directly with them in person. Elected officials always like hearing from constituents who come to them with respectful concerns.
Third, consider mobilizing a group of people in your faith community to get involved in supporting a political candidate. Campaigns always need volunteer help stuffing envelopes, making phone calls, knocking on doors, or providing a host of other volunteer services. It’s a great way for you to get to know your candidate personally, and perhaps your elected official. It goes a long way in having a voice, and you help spread your message to the community.
Finally, if all else fails, the church has the right to assemble, protest, and call out your elected officials for wrongdoing. Expect and demand better of them, and hold them accountable. The number one thing every politician fears is losing an election.
If you’re engaged in the process, it’s the best way to ensure your rights are protected. It’s what our founding fathers did. We owe no less to ourselves.
Don Purdum, Independent Political Analyst
Copyright 2021, UnitedVoice.com