“This is an unsettled and unsettling time for religious liberty,” Hatch said in a speech at Brigham Young University Sunday night. “Both at home and abroad, religious liberty is under attack. What was once a broad consensus here in the United States that religious freedom deserves special protection has recently crumbled.”
Hatch said America’s past is deeply rooted in religious freedom. “For nearly two centuries before the founding of this Republic, one religious community after another came here to live their faith,” he said. “Puritans, Congregationalists, Roman Catholics, Jews, Quakers, Baptists, Presbyterians, and Methodists all found refuge on these shores.”
He said that history makes religion a “special and prefer value” in the United States, one that is a reason for America’s existence, and one that enjoys special protections in the Constitution.
But Hatch warned that the decline in knowledge about the Constitution is weakening that protection. “Citizens cannot understand, let alone defend, what they do not know,” he said.