Last week, U.S. Representative Chris Smith, a Republican from New Jersey, presented H. Res. 597 “A resolution urging the Government of the People’s Republic of China to respect the freedom of assembly, expression, and religion”.
Certainly, the people of China should have freedom of assembly, expression, and religion. Few Americans would argue with that. But then, U.S. Representative Smith and his colleagues don’t have jurisdiction over China. They have the power to enact policy in the United States.
So, how well does Congressman Christopher Smith stand up for the ideals of freedom of assembly, expression, and religion here in the United States?
Recently, when Representative Smith was put to the test, he failed to defend the ability of his constituents to exercise these rights.
Just a few weeks ago, a thin majority on a sharply divided Supreme Court ruled in the case of Greece v. Galloway that local governments in the U.S.A. should be allowed to practice discrimination against religious minorities. The Supreme Court decided to allow the Town of Greece, New York to continue to give official government support only to Christian religious rituals.
In the Town of Greece, government won’t support the right of non-Christians to equal powers of assembly in public meetings. The Town of Greece won’t give non-Christians equal rights of expression of their views. The Town of Greece gives its Christian residents special elite freedom of religion, while forcing everyone else into the status of second class citizens. That’s obviously contrary to the Establishment Clause in the First Amendment of the Constitution, which promises to protect citizens from government establishment of religion.
So, what did Congressman Chris Smith do when the Supreme Court endorsed this program of religious discrimination here in the U.S.A.? He didn’t do a thing. He didn’t lift a finger.
Representative Smith seems to have a double standard when it comes to religious freedom. He demands that foreign countries grant freedom of religion, but is happy to allow freedom of religion to wither in the United States.