Santorum: Religious Liberty is Slipping--But Media Doesn't Report It

By Rudy Takala | February 5, 2015 | 2:39 PM EST

 

Former Sen. Rick Santorum (R.-Pa.)

(CNSNews.com) -- Former senator and presidential candidate Rick Santorum says that Americans’ First Amendment religious rights are in serious jeopardy.

“I think a lot of people just simply don’t know how much is happening, how things are slipping because the media simply doesn’t report it,” Santorum told CNSNews.com Wednesday.

Santorum made the remark after the Family Research Council (FRC) and EchoLight Studios, where Santorum is CEO, co-hosted a screening of the docudrama “One Generation Away.”

The film’s title is a reference to the idea that Americans may only be one generation away from religious persecution. The filmmakers travel throughout the United States and Europe to gauge the state of religious freedom in the West today.

They talk to people like Aaron and Melissa Klein, an Oregon couple facing $150,000 in fines for refusing to make a wedding cake for a gay couple, and Julea Ward, an Eastern Michigan University student who was expelled for refusing to counsel gay couples because it contradicted her religious beliefs.

After the simulcast, which was broadcast to over 200 churches nationwide, CNSNews.com asked Santorum about the political fight to maintain religious liberty today.

CNSNews: “Many people think that Republicans could be doing more to fight for religious liberty by doing things, like at the state level fighting for religious freedom restoration acts, or at the federal level fighting to do more, for example, to defund ObamaCare. Do you think Republicans could be doing more, and if so what?”

Santorum: “I absolutely believe they should be doing more. In fact, the reason we’re doing this tonight was the idea of going to state capitals and getting churches in the state capital to host not just their members of the church, but to host legislators from the state capitol to let them know what’s going on in the assault on religious liberty.

“I think a lot of people just simply don’t know how much is happening, how things are slipping because the media simply doesn’t report it. So it’s hard to get people wrapped up about something, particularly legislators who have a million issues in front of them, if they don’t think there’s an immediate crisis.

“And I think what we’re trying to do here is paint the picture that there’s a problem that needs to be solved, and one of the things that they can do at the state level for sure is fight for a religious freedom restoration act.”

The Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) requires the federal government to state a “compelling interest” before it limits an individual’s religious practices. The act was passed by Congress and signed by President Bill Clinton in 1993, but does not apply to the states.

However, 19 states have since passed similar laws, and there are efforts to pass an RFRA law in Georgia and North Carolina this year.

Related: Tony Perkins: 'Religious Liberty Has Been Placed on a Collision Course With Sexual License'

Related: Becket Fund: Government is a Main Source of Religious Freedom Violations