Ken Connor

"The only foundation for . . . a republic is to be laid in Religion. Without this there can be no virtue, and without virtue there can be no liberty, and liberty is the object and life of all republican governments." -- Benjamin Rush

Conservative Christians like myself love quotes like this, and the nice thing for us is that there are so many to choose from. While the Left is quick to point out that it was the Enlightenment, not Christianity, that influenced the formation of our country and our constitution, our Founding Fathers did not for a moment suppose that the American experiment could succeed without the aid of religion -- hence the plethora of quotes like the one above.

Unfortunately, in recent decades religious liberty finds itself under siege. Progressive elites in academia and government insist that religion has never contributed anything positive to society and are doing everything in their considerable power to marginalize the role of faith in public life and narrow the definition of religious liberty to such a degree that it is effectively rendered void. This campaign to undermine the role of religion and its constitutional protections has been ratcheted up to new heights under President Obama.

During the 2008 presidential campaign, candidate Barack Obama gave a speech in which his views about the role of religion in society and religion's relationship to government were made clear. Regarding the challenge of taking his message to blue-collar, rural, and industrial sectors of the electorate he said the following:

"But the truth is that our challenge is to get people persuaded that we can make progress when there's no evidence of that in their daily lives. You go into some of these small towns in Pennsylvania, Ohio -- a lot of small towns in the Midwest, the jobs have been gone now for 25 years, and nothing's replaced them. And they fell through the Clinton administration and the Bush administration. And each successive administration has said that somehow these communities are going to regenerate. And they have not. So it's not surprising then that they get bitter, and they cling to guns or religion, or antipathy toward people who aren't like them, or anti-immigrant sentiment, or, you know, anti-trade sentiment [as] a way to explain their frustrations."

Ken Connor

Ken Connor is Chairman of the Center for a Just Society in Washington, DC.