NRB Panel with Star Parker: Safeguarding Religious Liberty

Star Parker, founder and president of the Center for Urban Renewal and Education (CURE), participated on a panel Tuesday at the premiere conference for Christian communicators, the National Religious Broadcasters Conference (NRB).

Other participants on the “Safeguarding Religious Liberty for Christian Organizations and Nonprofits” panel included Alliance Defending Freedom General Counsel Kristen Waggoner, and Kelly Shackelford, President/CEO/Chief Counsel at First Liberty Institute.

College student Joshua Martin reported on the panel for NRB.

Churches have been embattled during the COVID-19 pandemic. The government seized “emergency” powers to shut down religious houses, set capacity limits, and in some cases, ordered congregants not to sing or chant during worship services. Courts have been siding with churches that filed lawsuits.

For example, the U.S. Supreme Court found that Gov. Andrew Cuomo unfairly singled out houses of worship for COVID-19 restrictions and blocked enforcement. But what happened during the pandemic should serve as a dire warning of what can and will happen in the future.

Despite such vindications for religious liberty, the Supreme Court, with two of President Donald Trump’s appointed justices sitting on the bench at the time, ruled in Bostock v. Clayton County (2020) that a funeral home owner violated the Civil Rights Act of 1964 when he dismissed an employee who wanted to present as a woman at work. What does this case mean for Christians?

For example, under this decision a religious organization could be sued for refusing to hire someone because of their transgender identity, even though that would go against their religious beliefs. The court has yet to state whether religious entities would be an exception to this case.

While these cases above seem to be outliers, they are slowly but forcibly integrating into American society. Kristen Waggoner, General Counsel for Alliance Defending Freedom, explained that public schools are redefining gender identity and marriage. A biological boy could change his gender identity and dominate in a high school sports competition.

Closson mentioned a case where a high school fired a football coach for saying a 15-second prayer alone in the middle of the field after a game, which violated not only his freedom of religion but also his freedom of speech.

Star Parker said that one day, it could be illegal to be a part of the body of Christ. The Gospel itself could also become illegal, and Christians will have to go underground and smuggle in Bibles. Ten years ago, such statements would have sounded ridiculous. How do they sound now?

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