Degraded Free Exercise? by J. L. Johnson

Degraded Free Exercise?

The Rise of Judicial Secularism & the Loss of Religious Freedom

The tendency to treat the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, guaranteeing freedom of religion, as an outmoded commodity to be tossed overboard at the first opportunity was on display in the Virginia House of Delegates on February 11, 2020, when Dr. Robert M. Grant, Jr., who happens to be black, led the assembly in an opening prayer. According to articles in the Western Journal and Virginia Mercury, the prayer went peacefully enough—until the preacher "stopped praying and went to meddling" by interjecting biblical principles into his supplication:

"I pray that you [delegates] may understand that all life is precious and worthy of a chance to be born. God is a giver of life and people have no right or authority to take life," Grant said. "The unborn has rights, and those rights need to be protected. I pray that this chamber will uphold the Virginia family. That the bills and laws being passed will always protect the biblical traditional marriage as God instructed the first man and the first woman in the Bible."


J. L. Johnson is a U.S. Navy veteran who holds a BA (magna cum laude) in Bible and Biblical Languages from Oklahoma Christian College, and has served as a pulpit minister and teacher for churches in Oklahoma, Louisiana, and Texas. He also holds an MS in Communication Disorders from the University of Texas at Dallas, and before his recent retirement, he worked as a speech-language pathologist. He has written discipline-specific articles for various publications, and has published articles of a more general nature in The American Thinker and Human Events.

Print &
Online Subscription

Get six issues (one year) of Touchstone PLUS full online access including pdf downloads for only $39.95. That's only $3.34 per month!


Get a one-year full-access subscription to the Touchstone online archives for only $19.95. That's only $1.66 per month!

bulk subscriptions

Order Touchstone subscriptions in bulk and save $10 per sub! Each subscription includes 6 issues of Touchstone plus full online access to—including archives, videos, and pdf downloads of recent issues for only $29.95 each! Great for churches or study groups.

Transactions will be processed on a secure server.

more on America from the online archives

30.5—Sept/Oct 2017

Passions' Republic

The Christian Cure for What Ails Modern Politics by David Bradshaw

29.4—July/August 2016

Deep Roots

Russell Kirk: American Conservative by Bradley J. Birzer by Hunter Baker

29.2—March/April 2016

Family Phases

The History of Family Strength in America May Reveal Good News by Allan C. Carlson

more from the online archives

27.3—May/June 2014

Sex & the American Experience

Facts versus Stereotypes About Love & Marriage in the Land of the Free by Allan C. Carlson

18.8—October 2005

Vanishing Sea of Faith

European Islam & the Doubtful Future of Christian Europe by William Murchison

11.6—November/December 1998

Rediscovering Advent

by Thomas S. Buchanan

calling all readers

Please Donate

"There are magazines worth reading but few worth saving . . . Touchstone is just such a magazine."
—Alice von Hildebrand

"Here we do not concede one square millimeter of territory to falsehood, folly, contemporary sentimentality, or fashion. We speak the truth, and let God be our judge. . . . Touchstone is the one committedly Christian conservative journal."
—Anthony Esolen, Touchstone senior editor

Support Touchstone