By Raul Lopez
June 10, 2017
LGBT activists, radical feminists, and others love to claim their cause is “the civil rights issue of today”—invoking historical comparisons between their group and the persecution Black Americans faced during the height of Jim Crow America. In fact, many of these groups have gone a step further to claim that Dr. King and other prominent civil rights leaders would readily join their side in supporting same-sex marriage.
But a more careful reading reveals that this issue is a lot more nuanced than progressives would have us believe. In fact, the truth is that Dr. King and other highly respected religious leaders in the movement held traditional views on marriage. Letters, speeches and sermons left behind reveal that the civil rights leaders who fought so valiantly for equality actually held conservative positions on many social issues.
All of this leads one to believe that if Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. were still alive, it’s likely that he would be standing up for another cause – a cause that was truly near and dear to his heart: religious liberty.
Religious liberty is a term that gets tossed around a lot these days, but it essentially means that everyone in this country is afforded the freedom to worship God how we choose. This important concept is a cornerstone of the American republic. It is irrevocably intertwined in the history and founding of our nation.
Influential Latino evangelical leader Reverend Samuel Rodriguez has said religious freedom will be the Civil Rights issue of the next two or three decades.
Shining a light on the threat of religious persecution isn’t alarmist. Recently, the state of Texas successfully passed legislation to protect pastors in the pulpit, after the city of Houston subpoenaed sermons of five pastors who opposed the city’s “anti-discrimination” ordinance on moral grounds.
The passage of this law in Texas was a huge victory for religious freedom and all of our constitutional freedoms. Texas’ defense of faith leaders and communities of faith was also a great boon to the millions of church-going Hispanics in the United States.
As Rev. Rodriguez explained, a heightened “sensitivity to religious liberty” among Latinos may be due to the fact that “many of the people in our immigrant churches come from totalitarian nations, where regimes muzzled the voice of conscience.”
As the Executive Director of Latinos for Tennessee, an organization that is committed to protecting and promoting faith, family, freedom and fiscal responsibility, I can affirm that religious freedom is incredibly important to our community. In a recent research paper, the well-respected Pew Hispanic Center found that Hispanics attend religious services more frequently and are more religious than the general public.
This is why we held a faith and religious freedom conference a couple of years back with more than 100 pastors and faith leaders gathering from all across the state to learn and strategize how to effectively influence public policy in order to protect religious freedoms. We have every intention of holding other events like this in the near future.
We support the Tennessee Pastors Network in their recent statement encouraging Tennessee legislators and gubernatorial candidates to embrace Texas’ move to protect pastors’ sermons from subpoenas issued by state courts.
We extend this support because we know that many Americans fought and died to establish and protect our liberties.
Now it’s up to this new generation to protect these liberties and ensure their survival for future generations.
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Raul Lopez is the Executive Director for Latinos for Tennessee, a statewide organization that is committed to protecting and promoting faith, family, freedom and fiscal responsibility. For more information, please visit: http://latinosfortn.com
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