Pastor Robert Jeffress calls freedom from religion a ‘perverted idea’
Megachurch Pastor Robert Jeffress on Wednesday night claimed the First Amendment did not protect non-religious Americans in the same way it protected religious Americans.
The pastor of the First Baptist Church in Dallas appeared on The O’Reilly Factor to discuss a school in Arkansas that canceled an Easter Egg hunt due to religious concerns.
“I think the reason people aren’t standing up and fighting back — many Christians think it is un-Christian to stand up and fight for your rights,” Jeffress said. “I’ve reminded thousands of pastors this last year that the Apostle Paul spent two years fighting against the Roman legal system to preserve his right to speak freely. We need to do the same thing as well.”
“The other problem is a lot of Christians have bought into this perverted idea of the First Amendment,” he continued. “They don’t understand the First Amendment simply says Congress can’t establish a state religion, it has nothing to say about Easter Egg hunts. I mean, the Easter Egg hunt is not a state religion.”
“Part of it is this Freedom From Religion Foundation, they say — and many Americans have bought into this — that somehow there is a freedom in the First Amendment from religious expression,” Jeffress added. “That you never have to see a nativity scene or hear a prayer at a graduation or participate in an Easter Egg hunt. There is no such guarantee. It is a freedom of religious expression that the First Amendment promises.”
The U.S. Supreme Court has long held the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment prohibits the government from endorsing or promoting religious beliefs, including public school-sponsored activities that advance a particular religion. “The First Amendment mandates governmental neutrality between religion and religion, and between religion and nonreligion,” Supreme Court Justice Abe Fortas explained in the 1968 ruling Epperson v. Arkansas.
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