The term bellwether refers to the bells that are often attached to the lead sheep of a flock (a wether) which helps shepherds to track their movement even though they are unable to see them.
In the same way, the term bellwether is an indicator of ‘future trends’ and many believe the loss of religious freedoms is warning of growing political oppression in a country.
According to a recent poll conducted by Rasmussen Reports and Summit Ministries, most Americans agree, as 82% believe freedom of religion is very important (67%) or somewhat important (15%) for maintaining “a healthy American society.”
Only 9% of those surveyed had a negative view of freedom of religion, stating it is “not at all important” or “not very important” for a healthy American society.
What was equally curious, there was not a huge difference in opinion between Democrats and Republicans, with 79% of Democrats stating that freedom of religion is ‘very’ or ‘somewhat important’.
Though this reflects the broad-based opinions of Americans, it also tells us that the attacks on religious freedoms in America are being orchestrated by a small group of political elitists and left wing extremists who oppose religious freedom.
In the process, they are creating an ‘unhealthy’ American society.
Such as what happened to First Baptist Church in Augusta, GA that recently had offensive graffiti spray-painted on the walls of their church railing against God and Christians. This included phrases as “God is dead” and “Christians are the problem.”
It is one thing to disagree, but vandalism is an attempt to intimidate and silence those you don’t agree with.
In response to the vandalism, Pastor Will Dyer said they will be checking their CCTV cameras to see who was responsible, but added even if they find out, the church will not press charges.
Or the City of Boston, that allows other flags to be flown at city hall but refuses to allow a Christian flag to be displayed.
Or Colorado baker, Jack Phillips, who has been involved in an eight-year legal battle with the state because he was unwilling to create a wedding cake for a gay marriage in 2012.
Though he previously sold cakes to homosexuals, he felt creating and decorating such a cake violated his Christian beliefs. The US Supreme Court agreed, stating that Colorado had “clear and impermissible hostility” towards Philip’s religious beliefs.
And despite winning two court cases, Colorado has launched yet another court challenge against Phillips and Masterpiece Bakery over a transition cake.
Speaking about the most recent challenge, Alliance Defending Freedom, who represents Phillips, stated:
Every American should have the freedom to live and work according to their beliefs without fear of government punishment. Jack serves everyone; what he can’t do is create custom cake art that celebrates events or expresses messages in conflict with his religious beliefs. And now, he is once again being threatened with punishment for exercising this freedom. It is time to leave Jack alone.
In 2010, Chuck Colson commented on the remarks of University of Texas professor, Will Imboden, who was addressing a conference at Georgetown University, entitled ‘Religious Freedom and National Security Policy’.
Imboden stated that the erosion of religious freedoms in a country invariably paves the way for an erosion of other freedoms and human rights as governments become “increasingly intolerant and coercive.”
We see it happening in such oppressive regimes as Communist China that has been jailing and fining Christians for several years and then just this month closed down Hong Kong’s largest pro-democracy newspaper, Apple Daily, and charged five of its editors with treason.
It starts with oppressing religious freedom and then changes as the political elite begin to aggressively forcing their opinions on others.
READ: 82% of Americans say religious freedom is key to ‘healthy American society’: poll AND Church Walls Graffitied; Pastor’s Grace-Filled Response: ‘The Heart of Our Story is the Radical Love of God…’ AND After 8 Years of Legal Battles and 2 Wins, Jack Phillips is STILL Being Sued AND Religious Freedom and National Security AND Hong Kong’s biggest pro-democracy newspaper to close as Beijing tightens its grip