I have written more than once at this site about the loss of religious liberty in America. However, the term religious liberty is a bit of a misnomer. It isn’t really religion that is under attack in America. It is the Christian religion. Practitioners of other religions have experienced no decline in their religious liberty. They are free to profess and practice their religions openly and without fear of harassment. Ironically, it is Christianity—the religion of America’s Founding Fathers—that secular humanists and atheists object most strenuously to and it is Christianity they attack most frequently. When it comes to the standing of Christianity in the public square, it’s as if First Amendment was never adopted.
Evidence of my contention that Christians in America are losing their religious liberty is everywhere. The Ten Commandments have been forcibly removed from courthouses, public prayer has been eliminated before athletic events, students are harassed or even disciplined for uttering Christian prayers during graduation ceremonies, military chaplains are being pressured to guard against offending atheists, secular humanists, and believers in other religions, public schools have long since disposed of Bible reading and prayer, and Christianity—the religion of Christ’s love—has even been labeled by some humanists as a hate group. Christians in America find themselves forced to adjust to being treated like lepers in a country that was founded by Christians and according to Christian principles. But the latest evidence that the religious liberty of Christians is on the wane comes from an unexpected quarter.
Craig James, a former NFL Offensive Player of the Year, was recently fired from his position as a football analyst for Fox Sports for expressing Bible-based reservations about same-sex marriage. What makes this case especially significant is that James made his offending comment not while broadcasting football for Fox Sports, but months before he was hired by Fox. He made the comment in question while running for the U.S. Senate from Texas. In other words, James was fired ex post facto for something he said in a completely different setting and well before he was an employee of Fox Sports.
In an interview with WORLD, James recounted what he actually said during his Senate campaign as follows: “I said marriage is between a man and a woman. I talked a little bit more about the moral fiber of our country, that we’re on a slide and we need people who will stand boldly for their beliefs.” According to James, a Fox Sports spokesperson told the Dallas Morning News that his Biblical beliefs concerning the definition of marriage would not fly at Fox Sports. Interestingly, 76 percent of Texans share Craig James beliefs concerning what constitutes a marriage, and he was running for the Senate from Texas when he made the now controversial comment.
In an interesting twist, even selected gay activists have spoken out on James’ behalf. In his interview with WORLD, James related that he had received an email from a self-described gay activist who said: “It’s dead wrong what has happened to you. The gay community has got to stop bullying people who have a different opinion. We’ve got to respect their ability to hold what’s dear to their hearts. We want the same tolerance coming our way.” This gay activist hit the nail squarely on the head. When advocates for the homosexual agenda resort to bullying those who disagree with them in an attempt to silence opposition, they put their own rights to free speech at risk. The First Amendment creates a two-way street. If I cannot say things that you disagree with then you cannot say things that I disagree with. If homosexual advocates continue to try to silence people like Craig James with bullying tactics, they run the risk of losing their most important weapon in the battle for the conscience of America: free speech. With the Constitution, there can be no double standard. It either applies to all of us equally or it applies to none of us.
Craig James plans to file a wrongful discharge lawsuit that will be based on the First Amendment. He was not fired for anything he said on the air. He was not fired for violating any written policies of Fox Sports. He was not fired for incompetence. He was fired ex post facto for simply responding to a question from a constituent who wanted to know his views on same-sex marriage. If you would like to let Fox Sports know how you feel about their questionable termination of Craig James, send an email to: [email protected]. It is hard to believe that the same network that carries Bill O’Reilly, Sean Hannity, and other standard bearers for conservative values would take such a politically correct action at all, much less on an ex post facto basis.