I’ve just started reading through this forum put on by the ERLC and was struck by this quote from Rick Warren:
The first phrase of the first sentence of the first amendment of the Constitution is freedom of religion. In our constitution, freedom of religion comes before freedom of the press. It comes before freedom of speech. It comes before freedom to assemble. It comes before the right to bear arms. Why? Because if I don’t have the freedom to believe and practice my beliefs, I don’t need the freedom of press. If I don’t have the freedom of conscience to live as I believe God is telling me to live, then I don’t need freedom to assemble. If I don’t have the freedom to think and believe and act on those beliefs, I don’t need freedom of speech or freedom of the press or even any of these other freedoms. This is America’s first freedom because it is fundamental. Now, if the Constitution is redefined, which is what is happening today, to be only about freedom of worship, then that means you don’t have the freedom to actually practice your belief, and we are seeing that today.
A bit later, addressing the issue of civil liberties vs. liberties of conscience:
I stand in 100% solidarity with the Catholic Bishops Conference saying you have a right to not offer contraceptives. It’s not like they are illegal. You can get them anywhere; they are even free, so why would you force somebody who has a conviction against it to sell it. But it’s not illegal. For instance if they made a law that said every Jewish deli in Manhattan now has to sell pork, I would be down there with that Rabbi protesting because he has a…pork is not illegal. You can get it anywhere, okay, so why are you forcing a guy who says it’s immoral for him to do it? For instance, Muslims don’t drink any alcohol. If they made a law that said Muslims must now sell alcohol at all of their restaurants, I’m going to be there with the Muslim helping that guy because if it is them today, it is us tomorrow. So that’s an important thing to realize we are really in this together.