King heard an inner voice saying, "Martin Luther, stand up for righteousness. Stand up for justice. Stand up for truth. And I will be with you, even until the end of the world." At that moment, King was called to lead a movement that transformed America.
King recognized the importance of conscience and taught, "If you haven't found something worth dying for, you aren't fit to be living."
Madison would see King's faith as the basis of a right; Mason, Scalia and Obama would see it as the basis of a mere privilege to be granted or taken away at the whim of government.
Religious conscience has been transformed from a right to a mere privilege. No right remains secure in a world in which the most sacred of all rights — possessions — can so easily be disregarded.
The only answer is to restore Madison's view of religious liberty by overruling Employment Division v. Smith judicially or, if necessary, by ratifying a constitutional amendment protecting religious conscience.
Rodney K. Smith is a First Amendment scholar who serves as a Distinguished Professor of Law at the Thomas Jefferson School of Law. This article also ran in the Christian Science Monitor.
- Facts about the Boy Scouts of America
- My view: MMR vaccine caused my son's autism
- Dan Liljenquist: IRS scandal is an assault on...
- In our opinion: Utah's caucus system needs...
- Michael Gerson: Common Core standards are not...
- Letters: Dismantle IRS
- Letters: No welfare, ever
- Commentary claims liberals are shocked by...
- Letters: No welfare, ever 77
- Letters: Move to the center 37
- My view: Why moderates lost the caucus... 33
- Tolerance and the same-sex marriage debate 33
- Dan Liljenquist: IRS scandal is an... 32
- Richard Davis: Abortion laws should... 28
- Robert J. Samuelson: Can Americans stem... 21
- Letters: The buck stops here 21