BREAKING: Mike Pence claims on Fox News that there is no such thing as “freedom from religion” in America because the “Founders” never intended such a thing and “generations of Americans” never “fought to defend” such a concept. RT IF YOU BELIEVE IN FREEDOM OF RELIGION!
— Occupy Democrats (@OccupyDemocrats) October 27, 2022
Mike Pence declares that Americans have no right to 'freedom from religion'
That sounds exactly like something a Talibangelical Terrorist leader would say
— THE SAD TRUTH (@SmnWeekly) October 27, 2022
That post linked to a Salon.com article published on the same day it was shared, titled “Mike Pence says Americans don’t have a right to freedom from religion.” That piece addressed at length various historical writings and material from the Founding Fathers of the United States; it began:
Former Vice President Mike Pence claimed during a Wednesday [October 26 2022] appearance on Fox Business that the First Amendment to the United States Constitution does not protect Americans from having other people’s faiths forced upon them.
“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,” [the First Amendment to the Constitution] states.
In fact, there are no references to a supreme being anywhere in the Constitution, because the Founding Fathers were adamantly opposed to centralized religious power as well as requiring individuals to subscribe to any particular denomination.
Several paragraphs in, an embedded tweet included video of the remarks in question. Pence appeared on Fox Business, responding to host Larry Kudlow’s claim that “these lefties want to scrap religion”:
Fox Business' Larry Kudlow: "These lefties want to scrap religion."
Former Vice President Mike Pence: "The good news is, that after four years of the Trump-Pence administration, I'm confident that we have a pro-religious freedom majority on the Supreme Court." pic.twitter.com/GO1uW6FdPP
— The Recount (@therecount) October 26, 2022
Several sites transcribed Pence’s remarks on whether Americans have “freedom from religion.” After Kudlow spoke, Pence said:
Well, the radical left believes that the freedom of religion is the freedom from religion, but it’s nothing the American founders ever thought of or generations of Americans fought to defend. You know, I said today here in Houston that the source of our nation’s greatness has always been our faith in God, our freedom, and our vast natural resources.
And the good news is, that after four years of the Trump/Pence administration, I’m confident that we have a pro-religious freedom majority on the Supreme Court of the United States.
And I’m confident that come Election Day, November the 8th , you’re gonna see that freedom majority around the country turn out and vote pro-freedom majorities in the House, and in the Senate, and in statehouses around the country, so stay tuned, Larry, help is on the way.
It was fair to say that Pence’s phrasing — “the radical left believes that the freedom of religion is the freedom from religion, but [that notion is] nothing the American founders ever thought of” — disputed the concept that Americans inherently had a right to be free of any sort of religion.
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) maintained at least two resources on freedom of or from religion, one of which explained religious freedom:
The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution states that “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.” As enshrined in the First Amendment, religious freedom includes two complementary protections: the right to religious belief and expression and a guarantee that the government neither prefers religion over non-religion nor favors particular faiths over others. These dual protections work hand in hand, allowing religious liberty to thrive and safeguarding both religion and government from the undue influences of the other.
A separate page further addressed the scope of religious freedom, describing why and how freedom from religion was, in fact, a deeply rooted American right:
WHAT IS RELIGIOUS FREEDOM EXACTLY?
The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution says that everyone in the United States has the right to practice his or her own religion, or no religion at all.
Our country’s founders — who were of different religious backgrounds themselves — knew the best way to protect religious liberty was to keep the government out of religion. So they created the First Amendment — to guarantee the separation of church and state. This fundamental freedom is a major reason why the U.S. has managed to avoid a lot of the religious conflicts that have torn so many other nations apart.
The Establishment Clause of the First Amendment prohibits government from encouraging or promoting (“establishing”) religion in any way. That’s why we don’t have an official religion of the United States. This means that the government may not give financial support to any religion. That’s why many school voucher programs violate the Establishment Clause — because they give taxpayers’ money to schools that promote religion.
The Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment gives you the right to worship or not as you choose. The government can’t penalize you because of your religious beliefs.
Social media posts on October 26 and 27 2022 indicated that former Vice President Mike Pence said Americans don’t have a “right to freedom of religion.” The claims centered around an October 26 2022 Fox News appearance. During that segment, Pence made the false claim that “[only] radical left believes that the freedom of religion is the freedom from religion,” citing the Founding Fathers and “generations of Americans” for his claim. “Freedom from religion” is an apolitical basic American right, and the Establishment Clause does in fact prohibit the United States government from favoring any specific religion — or religion itself.