Religious freedom means nothing if religion means nothing, by Star Parker

In August 1790, President George Washington visited Rhode Island, which a few months earlier had ratified the American Constitution.

Among those who welcomed the new president was the Hebrew Congregation of Rhode Island, founded in 1763. Now known as the Touro Synagogue, it is the oldest standing synagogue in the country.

The synagogue representative wrote to the president, expressing gratitude that the Jews of Rhode Island, in the newly formed United States of America, had lived, unlike their co-religionists in other parts of the world, with “rights invaluable as free citizens”.

Washington wrote to the congregation: “May the children of the stock of Abraham, who dwell in this land, continue to merit and enjoy the good will of the other inhabitants; while each shall sit in safety under his own vine and his fig tree, and there will be no one to scare him.”

Just over a year later, the guarantee of religious freedom would be formally enshrined in the Constitution with the ratification of the Bill of Rights, including the First Amendment saying, “Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of a religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof. »

Now, in a sad twist of irony, the religious freedom of observant Jews is being threatened not by “other locals,” but by their own co-religionists.

Yeshiva University, the only Orthodox Jewish university in the country, has been sued by gay students at Yeshiva University for refusing to sanction an LGBTQ club.

A New York State court ruled in favor of the students, and now Yeshiva University has suffered another setback from the Supreme Court. The Supremes, who Yeshiva University appealed, refused to block the state court’s decision requiring the university to allow the LGBTQ club to operate.

Yeshiva University’s position is clear. The Torah – the five books of Moses – explicitly forbids homosexual behavior. To officially accept the LGBTQ club as part of the university would negate and undermine the very mission and identity of the university.

Religious freedom is an integral part of American identity.

Historically, religious persecutions have come from those of other religions.

But today we have a new phenomenon.

The threat to religion does not come from those who worship other gods. The threat comes from those who worship no god and refuse to allow Christians and Jews to practice their religion as their scriptures teach.

An interview with one of the gay students clearly shows what is going on. She disputes that Judaism actually prohibits homosexuality.

But the prohibition in the Torah is absolutely clear and explicit.

To accept her and her argument is to ask Yeshiva University to deny her very existence.

How did Yeshiva University come to this situation? As I Googled background information on this story, it became clear that the problem with gay people on the Yeshiva University campus has been going on for years.

The LGBTQ club now seeking official sanction operates informally.

Could it be that Yeshiva University was not sufficiently clear and aggressive about its position on this issue, and that this lack of clarity led to this destructive situation?

I think it’s time for religious organizations to stop being intimidated by threats from those whose real goal is to destroy what they stand for.

Certainly, America must remain strong as a free society. Everyone should be able to live as they wish.

But Americans of faith should be proud and clear about the precepts of their religion and aggressively push back against those who use the title of toleration as a pretext to undermine and destroy the precepts of Scripture.

Let’s wake up that religious freedom means nothing if religion means nothing.

We are already seeing our nation implode as our sacred principles so essential to life go out the window. Those who still live by these principles must remain strong and inflexible towards those who want to destroy them.

Star Parker is president of the Center for Urban Renewal and Education and host of the weekly television show “Cure America with Star Parker.” To learn more about Star Parker and read articles by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at

Photo credit: alisonupdyke at Pixabay

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