Why More Talk about ‘Freedom of Worship’ Really Isn’t a Good Thing

Barb Wire

By Heather Sells 

Jay Sekulow, Chief Counsel for the American Center for Law and Justice is warning Americans that “freedom of worship” isn’t as good as it sounds.

He told CBN News that he’s very concerned about the Left’s growing use of the phrase.  “They are using code language,” he said, “when they say we need to protect your ‘freedom of worship’ they are not protecting freedom of religious liberty.”

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Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton used the phrase in aDeseret News op-ed last month explaining “everyone has the right to worship however he or she sees fit,” but then added “I’ve been fighting to defend religious freedom for years.”

Most experts trace the shift back to 2010 when President Barack Obama and then Secretary of State Clinton began substituting the “freedom of worship” phrase regularly in place of “freedom of religion.”

The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) said in 2010 that the change could have serious policy implications.  It noted “freedom of worship is only one aspect of religious freedom and a purposeful change in language could signify a much narrower view of the right.”

This year, at the prompting of Sen. James Lankford (R-OK), the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services changed the wording on its naturalization exam to reflect the distinction.  When immigrants answer the question “what are two rights of everyone living in the United States?” the correct answer will no longer include “freedom of worship” but “freedom of religion.”

Thomas Reese, the current chair of the USCIRF disputes any notion that there’s a leftist conspiracy to promote the phrase “freedom of worship.”  In a recent essay he noted that the first public draft of the Democratic Party platform this August included the phrase, but that he requested the change to “freedom of religion” and met with no resistance.

The Republican Party platform has a lengthy section devoted to religious liberty and conscience rights.

Report via CBN News

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Barb Wire.

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