Are We About To Lose Religious Freedom In America?

The appearance of Governor George W. Bush at Bob Jones University has generated an unprecedented storm of controversy and criticism of a Christian Institution, and that has to raise some serious and disturbing questions in the minds of all those who cherish religious freedom. If a political candidate gave a speech at a Jewish institution, would he be expected to condemn all the teachings of Judaism that he disagreed with or found politically incorrect? If the same politician appeared to speak at a Muslim college, would he be expected to condemn the Islamic religion for their beliefs that are not considered politically correct? What religious institution would ever invite a politician if a condemnation of their theology or general beliefs and practices was expected as the norm? So why is it that a fundamentalist Protestant Bible-believing Christian University comes under such condemnation and scrutiny by politicians and the press because of their religious beliefs? Why is Protestantism any less acceptable than any other religion in the American forum?

Protestantism was founded some 400 years ago upon the belief that Roman Catholicism had fallen away from biblical teaching into apostasy, and this prompted the reformers to ultimately break away from it and form various denominations.  All of the reformers from that era were absolutely convinced that the Catholic Church was the harlot church of Revelation, and the papacy was the antichrist power that the Bible prophesied. Large numbers of Protestants were persecuted and even burned at the stake for their anti-Catholic beliefs, yet to be a Protestant today makes one a socially unacceptable bigot? Indeed the United States was largely populated by Christians seeking refuge from the Catholic persecution they had experienced in Europe. The fear of the revival of similar state sponsored persecution is what prompted the first amendment to the Constitution, which reads:

Amendment I

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

But now, U.S. Senator Robert Torricelli from New Jersey initiated a resolution to censure Bob Jones University for its distinctly Protestant religious beliefs:

Condemning the discriminatory practices prevalent at Bob Jones University.
(Introduced in the House)



2d Session

H. CON. RES. 261

Condemning the discriminatory practices prevalent at Bob Jones University.


March 1, 2000

  1. Mr. CROWLEY (for himself,
  2. Mr. CONYERS,
  3. Mr. BONIOR,
  4. Mr. KENNEDY of Rhode Island,
  5. Mr. DEFAZIO,
  6. Mr. BRADY of Pennsylvania,
  7. Mr. WYNN,
  8. Mr. CUMMINGS,
  9. Mr. JACKSON of Illinois,
  10. Mr. HASTINGS of Florida,
  11. Mr. WEINER,
  12. Mr. ROEMER,
  13. Mr. ACKERMAN,
  14. Mr. PALLONE,
  15. Mr. LAMPSON,
  18. Mr. ENGEL,
  20. Mr. DINGELL,
  21. Ms. JACKSON-LEE of Texas,
  22. Mr. MEEHAN,
  23. Mrs. MCCARTHY of New York,
  24. Mr. FORBES,
  25. Mrs. TAUSCHER,
  26. Mr. CAPUANO,
  27. Ms. ESHOO,
  28. Mr. ROTHMAN,
  29. Ms. BERKLEY,
  30. Ms. DELAURO,
  31. Mrs. LOWEY,
  32. Ms. VELAZQUEZ,
  33. Mr. GREEN of Texas,
  34. Mr. BALDACCI,
  35. Mrs. NAPOLITANO,
  36. Mr. LEWIS of Georgia,
  37. Mr. UDALL of New Mexico,
  38. Mr. NADLER,
  39. Mr. LARSON,
  40. Mr. UDALL of Colorado,
  41. Mr. RANGEL,
  42. Mr. DIXON,
  43. Mr. WEXLER,
  44. and Mr. HOLT)

submitted the following concurrent resolution; which was referred to the Committee on the Judiciary


Condemning the discriminatory practices prevalent at Bob Jones University.

Whereas the Congress strongly rejects the practices of racism, segregation, and intolerance based on religious beliefs;

Whereas the administration of Bob Jones University enforces a segregationist policy by prohibiting interracial couples on the Bob Jones University campus;

Whereas officials of Bob Jones University routinely disparage those of other religious faiths with intolerant and derogatory remarks;

Whereas officials of Bob Jones University have likened the Pope of the Roman Catholic Church to a `possessed demon', and branded Catholicism as a `satanic system and religion of the anti-Christ';

Whereas the website of Bob Jones University greets visitors with the University's belief that Catholicism and Mormonism are `cults'; and

Whereas senior officials of Bob Jones University have made openly racist remarks on many occasions regarding African Americans and Asian Americans: Now, therefore, be it

Resolved by the House of Representatives (the Senate concurring), That the Congress--

(1) condemns practices, such as those prevalent at Bob Jones University, that seek to discriminate against and divide Americans on the basis of race, ethnicity, and religion; and

(2) strongly denounces individuals who seek to subvert the American ideals of inclusion, equality, and social justice.

Text of all the resolutions are available online at
U.S. Congress Legislative Information on the Internet.
(Search for "Bob Jones University")

Can you believe it? In a land founded largely by Protestants on the principle of religious freedom, the government is now being asked to condemn a Protestant University for its long held and historical religious beliefs? That is precisely the kind of governmental religious intolerance that the first amendment is intended to prevent!

"Our land is in jeopardy. The time is drawing on when its legislators shall so abjure the principles of Protestantism as to give countenance to Romish apostasy. The people for whom God has so marvelously wrought, strengthening them to throw off the galling yoke of popery, will by a national act give vigor to the corrupt faith of Rome, and thus arouse the tyranny which only waits for a touch to start again into cruelty and despotism. With rapid steps are we already approaching this period. When Protestant churches shall seek the support of the secular power, thus following the example of that apostate church, for opposing which their ancestors endured the fiercest persecution, then will there be a national apostasy which will end only in national ruin."

Source: Spirit of Prophecy, Volume 4, by Ellen G. White, published in 1884, page 410.

If religious freedom is to survive in this country, then the government of the United States has no business condemning the religious beliefs of any denomination or religious institution. When governmental thought police think they can impose their standards of political correctness on any religion, and get away with it, then the inevitable result will be persecution, and the death of our long cherished religious freedom. Note the following statements from an interfaith organization:

"On behalf of concerned people of faith, I urge members of the United States Senate to denounce any association of bigotry, discrimination, and intolerance with religious faith. When a university, or any institution, in our society ties prejudice to spirituality, people of conscience must protest. For Bob Jones University to foment bigotry in the name of Christianity is the height of hypocrisy if not heresy." -  Rev. Dr. C. Welton Gaddy.

The Interfaith Alliance Supports Senate Resolution Condemning Bob Jones University

"Over the last ten years, officials at Bob Jones University have made statements regarding Catholicism and organized religion in general that we not only find to be hurtful but factually flawed and ignorant."

Statement of The Interfaith Alliance on Bob Jones University