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We are experiencing ‘the greatest assault on religious freedom’

Religious freedom
Religious freedom supporters hold a rally to praise the Supreme Court's decision in the Hobby Lobby, contraception coverage requirement case on June 30, 2014, in Chicago, Illinois. Oklahoma-based Hobby Lobby, which operates a chain of arts-and-craft stores, challenged the provision and the high court ruled 5-4 that requiring family-owned corporations to pay for insurance coverage for contraception and abortion-inducing drugs under the Affordable Care Act violated a federal law protecting religious freedom. |

My Faith Votes recently sat down with Brad Dacus to discuss his views on the troubles we currently face in America.

Brad is the Founder and President of the Pacific Justice Institute (PJI), a legal defense organization providing representation in matters involving the exercise of religion and other civil liberties. Mr. Dacus received his Juris Doctorate from the University of Texas, School of Law, and has served to protect religious freedoms and parental rights for over 25 years.

This conversation has been edited for clarity and length. You can watch the full conversation at My Faith Votes here.

These days, religious freedom is in jeopardy. What is PJI facing in this realm?

Over the past year, we have seen the greatest assault on religious freedom in my lifetime. It was unthinkable to conceive of a time when churches all across the nation were being told they couldn’t open their doors for service. Yet, this was the reality.

Immediately, we stepped in and provided Zoom counsel to pastors, church executives and private schools across the nation on how they could open their doors much faster. We made a lot of progress despite the mandates of some of the blue-state governors who wanted to keep them closed for much longer, and unfairly so.

In a very strategic case filed against California Governor Gavin Newsom, we filed a complaint in federal court arguing that churches must be treated equally to the other venues that were allowed to be open. The federal court ended up ruling against our clients and us. Unsurprisingly, so too did the 9th Circuit court when we appealed the initial ruling. Our last option was to file an emergency injunction appeal to the United States Supreme Court. It's not easy to get this kind of injunction granted. Just getting the Supreme Court to hear your case is like a Hail Mary pass to a stadium across town. But, by the grace of God, that's what happened. We filed this appeal and the Supreme Court granted our emergency injunction in just three days, sending ripples across the nation to other governors like Gavin Newsom.

Along with legal advice, you also offer resources for people who wish to challenge laws independently, like the federal COVID vaccine mandates. What is your hope in providing these resources?

We live in a world different from anything I ever imagined. No one could have dreamed that in the United States of America, our vaccination status would potentially limit what we’re able to buy and sell or where we can travel. It's a radical liberty issue, and we want to educate people on what they can do where they are and empower them to stand up to this.

This movement has awoken many Americans, churches, and pastors to the growing threats of assault on our freedom and liberty. Being involved is no longer just a hobby or a personal interest. It's a matter of survival and preserving our ability to follow the calling of God in the United States of America.

Even with this re-awakening of Christians, we still have people of faith saying they won’t participate in elections. What is your response to those people?

If people are wanting to save America and to have a spiritual revival, voting is not at the top of the list of priorities, because, at the end of the day, Jesus Christ is a savior. Only changing the hearts of people throughout America is what's going to change this nation. It's a spiritual warzone.

But, as to why people should vote, I have a few reasons. First, Romans Chapter 13 commands — not suggests, but commands — us to be good citizens. It's indisputable that good citizenship involves voting and voting responsibly.

Second, and even more important than voting, is living out our testimony. If the church is filled with the love of Jesus, people are going to care about people outside their church walls. They're going to care about the preborn and the sick. And voting is an obvious manifestation of having a genuine love of Christ and being concerned for others. It's an inherent part of our testimony in the free world. That testimony is crucial for the light and love of Christ to shine through us.  

If you have a Christian biblical worldview, the massive amount of abortions in the country is itself a compelling reason for all of us to register to vote.

My Faith Votes is a nonpartisan movement that motivates, equips and activates Christians in America to vote in every election, transforming our communities and influencing our nation with biblical truth. By partnering with national faith leaders, My Faith Votes provides resources to help Christians Pray, Think, and Act to create an America where God is honored in the public square. Learn more at MyFaithVotes.org.

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