Religious freedom is a concrete foundation of the United States, as proven in the First Amendment. Every religion is allowed to thrive in the country without government interference. It’s one of the things that made the United States different from other countries after being established. There’s no persecution of religious groups in the United States like there have been in other countries.
In recent years, however, the progressive left has been starting to challenge the First Amendment. In December 2018, Senator Kamala Harris and Senator Mazie Hirono questioned judicial nominee Brian Buescher on his membership to the Knights of Columbus, a Catholic organization dedicated to charitable service. Second Lady Karen Pence has been attacked for her work in a Christian school. In the eyes of many leftists, being a faithful Christian is disqualifying for holding public office.
The latest battle over religion is taking place in Wisconsin. Brian Hagedorn, a Court of Appeals judge, is running for Wisconsin Supreme Court. Elections for the Badger State’s highest court are a far cry from the intense campaigning seen in presidential and midterm elections. In last year’s Wisconsin Supreme Court race, less than 1 million people voted in the April election compared to over 2.6 million in the November midterms. The mudslinging is generally mild in these spring elections.
Liberals in Wisconsin have changed that this year, by looking to defeat the conservative-backed Hagedorn by attacking his Catholic faith. He and his wife helped found a Christian school called Augustine Academy. People supporting his opponent Lisa Neubauer pounced, declaring the school bans teachers and students from the LGBT community. The criticism is false. Augustine Academy’s personal code of conduct bans “any form of touching or nudity for the purpose of evoking sexual arousal apart from the context of marriage between one man and one woman.”
The school does not ban anyone from applying to work at the school. It forbids any sexual activity taking place on the grounds. Schools have a large concentration of minors and Augustine Academy is only interested in keeping them safe. That the school holds a traditional view of marriage is no surprise, since it offers Christian values.
Nevertheless, the liberal group One Wisconsin Now sent out a press release attacking Hagedorn for his educational and religious work. Executive director Analiese Eicher said the school “actively discriminates against the LGBTQ community.” The left turned up the pressure and forced the Wisconsin Realtors Association to withdraw its endorsement of Hagedorn.
While the left claims it is taking on bigotry, it engages in it by attacking a person’s religion. Hagedorn, like many conservative judges, has made it clear he only looks to the law when it comes to rulings. His personal beliefs play no role in the decisions he makes from the bench. Sadly, liberals are increasingly using ad hominem attacks on judicial candidates. A candidate strongly associated with Christianity is a candidate who should not hold any public office from their perspective.
Religious tests are not legal, but they are on the rise in the United States. The Supreme Court election in Wisconsin is set to be a showdown over whether attacking someone’s faith will prove to be successful. If the attacks fail and Hagedorn is elected, then it is victory for religious freedom. If he loses, then there’s no stopping the hostility against Christianity in future elections. The United States could be on the verge of losing a tenet of constitutionalism.
The views expressed in this article are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Lone Conservative staff.