In a conference call at an Iowa forum with Family Research Council, an organization that calls itself a “Christian public policy ministry,” Mike Huckabee warned of dire times ahead for America’s Christians.
“I think it’s fair to say that Christian convictions are under attack as never before. Not just in our lifetime, but ever before in the history of this great nation. We are moving rapidly toward the criminalization of Christianity.”
The Christian convictions that Huckabee claims are under attack include: watching gay people exist, get married, buy cakes, eat food, and have or adopt children. And he’s not alone. At the same conference, Governor Scott Walker stated that America should be “the shining star” of religious freedom.
The United States is a majority Christian religion, and every single one of its presidents has claimed to be practicing Christians. “In God We Trust” is printed on all of our currency (because what’s more Christ-like than wealth?) and the Ten Commandments hang outside many a courtroom, often accompanied by Christmas trees during the winter holiday season. Prayer meetings are held with regularity before political or school meetings, especially for sports!
The first amendment guarantees every American’s right to freedom of religion, and you would be hard-pressed to find any examples of Christians not being allowed to practice their religion. Religious freedom is the ability to freely practice your religion. In 2007 The Center for Religious Freedom found that the United States ranked fourth for religious freedom, topped only by Hungary, Ireland, and Estonia.
A lack of religious freedom isn’t when your nation accepts marriage equality. Countries that ranked in the bottom of religious freedom laws included China, Vietnam, and North Korea.
In North Korea, it is estimated that between 50,000 - 70,000 Christians are imprisoned in labor camps. In Vietnam, religions cannot officially register with the government unless they have worshiped for 20 years without disturbing the government. And while evangelical conversion rates are rising in China, you cannot be a member of the ruling Communist party if you are a Christian.
That is a lack of religious freedom. America is nowhere near criminalization of Christianity, but we are only years removed from criminalization of homosexuality. And until political leaders can understand that, we will not be able to have meaningful conversation about religious freedom in this country.