“Defending Religious Liberties”
by Layne Bangerter
As a Latter Day Saint with deep connections with people of other faiths, I share the common goal of bringing others closer to Christ. We live in a Country that permits us to exercise our faith and teach our doctrine to others. The opportunity to serve my fellow men and women is a privilege and right. This very freedom has been increasingly under attack by politicians and our current Executive Branch.
We’re being told that the Mormons are in a dilemma; they feel that they must choose between their moral compass as opposed to the decision of who is better fit to run our country. While the candidacy of Donald Trump might have pushed some Mormons to pause their support; the fact remains that he, along with Mike Pence, is the only valid candidate who will fight for our religious freedoms and uphold The Constitution.
I know Donald Trump, who can be summed up in just one word: Freedom.
America has never been in as dire position as it is now with our Constitutional rights and liberties under barrage from the current leadership in Washington DC. Democrats have continuously pushed through policies that lead our great nation further away from the principles on which it was founded. Americans are caught in the battle to retain our freedoms.
Recently the LDS Church presented a letter, signed with other faiths, to President Obama, with regard to the report, “Peaceful Coexistence: Reconciling Nondiscrimination Principles with Civil Liberties.” Donald Trump stands by and endorses the aforementioned letter and will defend these policies as he has defended the core principle of the First Amendment – the “free exercise” of religion. In a Florida Rally, he stated “Without Religious Liberty, You don’t have liberty.” This is a powerful statement of solidarity aligned with our Christian values.
The report, which was submitted to the United States Coalition of Civil Rights in September of this year, has alarmed many with how harshly it condemned our modern day religious liberties. In the Report Democrat Martin R. Castro, appointed “USCCR” chairman by president Obama, makes the statement:
“The phrases “religious liberty” and “religious freedom” will stand for nothing except hypocrisy so long as they remain code words for discrimination, intolerance, racism, sexism, homophobia, Islamophobia, Christian supremacy or any form of intolerance.”
He goes on to threaten our modern day practices by adding: “Today, as in the past, religion is being used as both a weapon and a shield by those seeking to deny others equality.”
With the threat of a Hillary Clinton presidency, comes the loss of religious freedoms as we know it. A recent article by The Washington Post reveals Clintons feelings toward what many of us hold so dear. “Hillary Clinton made a stunning declaration of war on religious Americans. Speaking to the 2015 Women in the World Summit, Clinton declared that “deep-seated cultural codes, religious beliefs and structural biases have to be changed.”
The overwhelming media bias has shown it’s willingness to support a Clinton presidency which will allow our rights and privileges to be stripped away. As a Latter Day Saint, it is my obligation to stand with other faiths in promoting our ideals and values and I have done so as a citizen and as an ecclesiastical leader. I have found that I do not stand alone in these convictions. My fellow Christians have stood strong by my side. The Evangelical leadership and their patrons are supporting the Trump presidency in historical numbers. We are now being watched by all denominations to see if we stand as strongly to defend religious liberties as other Christians. We are now down to one choice if we are to retain our religious liberties and that is by supporting the Trump Presidency and his associated policies and resolve to defend us. I know the love he has for this country, his desire for America to become prosperous again; to become safe again; and to become united again. Donald Trump’s message is the great message of our time.
Society has been consumed by an overwhelming need to judge and condemn others for their past. I believe it is the path that we are currently on and the future ideals that we strive toward that sing the true character of a person. Human redemption and forgiveness is of the utmost importance.
“To forgive is the highest, most beautiful form of love. In return, you will receive untold peace and happiness.”
-Layne Bangerter is an LDS bishop in Idaho and serves as a senior policy advisor for Trump/Pence Campaign.