From Lamb to Dragon: Religious Liberty in America

By Milo Jones | Posted August 28, 2023

“There’s no hope for any of us outside of having faith in Jesus Christ alone.”

In less than 24 hours, that tweet was seen by more than 1.5 million X (formerly Twitter) users—after it had sparked a fiery debate on religious freedom. 

After Lizzie Marbach, a communications director of a pro-life organization in Ohio, posted her comment on her personal X account, a congressman representing her state reacted: “God says the Jewish people are the chosen ones, but yet you say we have no hope. … This is one of the most bigoted tweets I have ever seen. Delete it, Lizzie. Religious freedom in the United States applies to every religion. You have gone too far.”

Had she gone too far?

Protected Speech

Surprisingly, a congresswoman scorned by many conservatives came to Lizzie’s defense. “No! Stating the core beliefs or principles of your faith isn’t bigoted as Lizzie did,” tweeted Representative Ilhan Omar. “[It’s] religious freedom and no one should be scolded for that. It’s also wrong”—actually, it’s contradictory—“to speak about religious freedom while simultaneously harassing people who freely express their beliefs.”

Minutes later, one of Omar’s nearly three million followers pushed back, suggesting that Lizzie’s comment might have crossed the line by claiming that salvation is restricted to Christians. Omar replied, “That’s her actual belief, you can disagree but it’s not bigoted for her to say what her beliefs are.”

In other words, Americans are free to express what they believe—even if it rubs some people wrong. 

Such speech is protected under the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which states, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

Notice that the freedom to practice religion is followed by the freedom to speak and write—because there’s no such thing as a religion that doesn’t express itself.

If Charlene Carter, a flight attendant for Southwest Airlines, had expressed her pro-life views using company time or resources, the airline would have acted appropriately when firing her in 2017. But she had expressed her beliefs on her personal time and social media. Thus, on August 7, 2023, a U.S. District Court ruled in her favor, stating that her First Amendment rights had been violated.

Compelled Speech

While the First Amendment protects our freedom to express what we believe, it also protects us from being compelled to express what we don’t believe. That means it’s unconstitutional for the government to force people to say or do things that contradict their sincerely held values.

Not everyone agrees, however. According to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), “Religious freedom in America means that we all have a right to our religious beliefs,” but that right can be overridden to protect people from so-called “discrimination.” Thus, while claiming to “defend religious liberty,” the ACLU uses litigation to “ensure that no one is discriminated against or denied services because of someone else’s religious beliefs.”

Services like designing a cake or arranging flowers for a same-sex wedding.

When Jack Phillips, owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop in Colorado, declined to design a cake for a same-sex wedding in 2012; and when Barronelle Stutzman, owner of Arlene’s Flowers in Washington, declined to arrange flowers for a same-sex wedding in 2013; their cases went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. Contrary to the ACLU’s “discrimination” label, both Jack and Barronelle had politely explained their convictions to their customers while offering to sell them any pre-made product in their shops.

Unfortunately, not every legal battle is a win for Americans who refuse to violate their conscience. Jack’s case was won in 2018, but Barronelle’s was settled out-of-court for $5,000 in 2021.

However, recent litigation shows that angels are still holding back the winds of persecution. In June 2023, the U.S. Supreme Court, in 303 Creative v. Elenis, ruled 6 to 3 in favor of Lorie Smith, a graphic designer in Colorado who makes wedding websites. After seeing how her state had targeted Jack Phillips, she filed a “pre-enforcement challenge” in 2016 to protect her own religious freedom.

Tomorrow’s America

There are two beasts in Revelation 13. The first has a crown on each of its ten horns (v. 1). The second, a lamb, has no crown on each of its two horns (v. 11). If the ten crowned horns represent the monarchies of Europe, then the two crownless ones represent “a church without a bishop … and a state without a king.”

They represent the religious and civil liberties that Americans now enjoy. Regrettably, as the prophecy says, the United States will speak as a dragon (v. 11) by repudiating its First Amendment principles (vv. 15‒17).

We can only guess how the current culture wars in America will lead to the final persecution described in Revelation 13:11–17. But one thing is certain: The issue that will divide the entire world into two distinct groups—those who follow the beast and those who follow the Lamb—will not be over a wedding cake. It will be over which day belongs to the Lord (Matthew 12:8) and which day belongs to “a man” (Revelation 13:18).

And those who keep all of God’s commandments (14:12) will probably be accused of bigotry and discrimination.

To learn more about America’s role in the final persecution, and how you can be prepared, check out our America in Bible Prophecy free offer.

Milo Jones
Milo Jones is a writer and editor for Amazing Facts International and lives in College Place, WA.

When you post, you agree to the terms and conditions of our comments policy.

If you have a Bible question for Pastor Doug Batchelor or the Amazing Facts Bible answer team, please submit it by clicking here. Due to staff size, we are unable to answer Bible questions posted in the comments.
To help maintain a Christian environment, we closely moderate all comments.

  1. Please be patient. We strive to approve comments the day they are made, but please allow at least 24 hours for your comment to appear. Comments made on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday may not be approved until the following Monday.

  2. Comments that include name-calling, profanity, harassment, ridicule, etc. will be automatically deleted and the invitation to participate revoked.

  3. Comments containing URLs outside the family of Amazing Facts websites will not be approved.

  4. Comments containing telephone numbers or email addresses will not be approved.

  5. Comments off topic may be deleted.

  6. Please do not comment in languages other than English.

Please note: Approved comments do not constitute an endorsement by the ministry of Amazing Facts or by Pastor Doug Batchelor. This website allows dissenting comments and beliefs, but our comment sections are not a forum for ongoing debate.