Washington, DC - The U.S. is still a religious country despite a new report that there's been a nearly eight percent decline over the past seven years among those who hold religious beliefs. More than 70% of the population say they believe in God, according to a new survey by the Pew Research Center.
"There are still more Christians in America than in any other country on the planet. But their religious rights are being tested by political ideologues who focus on issues such as same sex marriage and greater access to abortion," Dan Weber, president of the Association of Mature American Citizens said.
He cited the current Supreme Court case which seeks to give same sex marriage Constitutional validation and recent comments by presidential candidate Hillary Clinton suggesting that Americans put their religious beliefs aside for the sake of things such as abortion rights.
Clinton made her remarks at a rally in New York where she expressed her support for extended abortion rights for woman. She said that in order to achieve that objective, "laws have to be backed up with resources and political will. And deep-seated cultural codes, religious beliefs and structural biases have to be changed."
The case before the Supreme Court would make same sex unions the law of the land. The issue of religious rights comes in because if same sex marriage were to become a Constitutional right, the question of whether a church could deny gay marriage on religious grounds arises. Beyond that, there is the issue of whether a religious university, for example, could lose its tax exempt status for denying on campus housing to a "legally married" same sex couple.
Weber, who describes himself as a staunch advocate of religious rights, said that the Supreme Court's decision will determine whether a new reading of the Constitution will undermine the first amendment right granting freedom to practice one's religion according to the tenets of that religion.
"It's worrisome at best. At worst, it could signal a victory for those who believe that progressive ideology trumps an individual's religious beliefs as Hillary Clinton has suggested," Weber argued.