In an interview with PJ Media, Christian speaker and author Eric Metaxas warned that the LGBT agenda is driving the federal government to do the very thing the First Amendment forbids — establish a religion, and a religion fundamentally at odds with American liberty.
“We’re in a very dangerous place as a nation because religious liberty is at the heart of our liberties and … you have [an] activist government effectively establishing a religion … by taking very strong positions on ultimate questions like the human person, on sexuality,” Metaxas declared.
Metaxas spoke with PJ Media about his new book If You Can Keep It: The Forgotten Promise of American Liberty. He argued that the new LGBT restrictions on religious liberty effectively establish a religion because they elevate some approaches to human identity over others.
“When the government is taking positions that are at odds with the position of people — let’s say of Christian faith — they are picking winners when they need to be agnostic, they need not to do that,” he declared.
The author also praised Republican nominee Donald Trump on the issue of religious liberty. “I think he understands it infinitely better than Hillary Clinton, that much I’m convinced of,” Metaxas declared. “Even if he were utterly ignorant of it, he would be better than Hillary Clinton because she seems desirous of eliminating what I think of as real constitutional religious liberty.”
But the author does not think Trump ignorant of the issue — in fact, he said The Donald has “shocked me in a good way” on this issue.
Trump has brought up the Johnson Amendment, which caused churches to fear losing their 501c3 tax-exempt status and “has effectively muzzled pastors in the pulpits.” To Metaxas, “that reveals an amazing level of understanding of the issue that most people like me don’t have.”
“I’ve never heard any Christian, any zealot for religious liberty ever suggesting that,” the author admitted. “So Trump once again is you know ahead of the curve — it’s very positive, shocking to me.”
Religious freedom is central to American freedom, Metaxas argued. He presented the “Golden Triangle of Freedom,” the idea that freedom fosters faith, faith undergirds virtue, and virtue makes true freedom possible. This notion of freedom was central to the Founding Fathers, and Metaxas wrote the book to educate people about it.
“When you look at the Founders, they have a vision of America which is monolithically pro-virtue, pro-faith, and pro-freedom,” the author explained. “If you think you can achieve the same ends by different means, I’m interested, but the geniuses who put together the Constitution … they didn’t see any other way.”
American liberty is a true world historical feat, and it is slipping away from our grasp, the author argued. “I think it’s our job to teach these things to each other, to kids especially, to let them know this is what the Founders gave us — this is a treasure.”
He chillingly added, “We’ve got to appreciate how fragile it is, and we’ve got to understand that it’s going away very quickly unless we begin to take it very seriously.”
Next Page: Surely conservatives understand the problems, right? Not so fast, Metaxas says.
“I don’t think conservatives have understood this well enough,” Metaxas declared. He pointed to President George W. Bush’s approach to freedom in Iraq as a strong example.
The author attacked Bush’s naiveté, “going into war and saying that freedom is our natural state … and therefore the people in Iraq are going to suddenly … they’re gonna put on tricorn [sic] hats and start penning fiery pamphlets like Thomas Paine.”
“That doesn’t happen,” Metaxas stated, flatly. “You need a virtuous, religious population roughly speaking or it doesn’t happen.”
He argued that neither liberals nor conservatives understand just how fragile and tenuous American freedom really is. “If we understood it, he would have gotten pushback on this. He didn’t get pushback on this.” Instead, liberals accused Bush of lying about WMDs, something completely besides the point.
“The point is — yes, everyone deserves freedom, but not everyone can handle freedom,” Metaxas argued. “They need to be prepared for freedom.”
His book carefully distinguishes between the ancient versions of freedom — Athens’ democracy and Rome’s republic — and America’s hard-won experiment. Athens and Rome (along with all other societies besides medieval Europe and the modern West) had slavery, and did not include women. America expanded its freedom to include everyone.
Chillingly, he warned, “We in America are no longer prepared for freedom.”
“We are losing the freedom because we have ceased to know how to keep it.” This is why Metaxas wrote his book: to explain the real nature of American freedom, why it depends on religious liberty, and how we can preserve it for the future.
Metaxas did not offer unequivocal praise for Trump, but he did emphasize a key difference between The Donald and Hillary. “Trump, you can say anything you like about him but in the end I do believe he cares about America and loves America.”
“I get the impression from Hillary Clinton that [she] is all about power and social engineering, that she’s sort of at war with the Founders’ view of America,” he declared.
“I worry about my country, and I don’t worry about my country because it’s my country, I worry about my country because it’s a country that God put in the world to bless the other nations of the world.” Metaxas emphasized that many around the world see America as a beacon of liberty.
He quoted Lincoln, who “was so religious and so enamored of the Founders’ vision that he called us the ‘almost chosen people.'” Like the Jews, God chose Americans to bless the world: now with a new understanding of Himself, but with a new understanding of freedom.
If Americans do not rediscover the secret of American liberty, they will be unable to bring its light to other countries. “We will not be able to spread it around the world if we don’t have it ourselves.”