Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange told a group of college students from around the nation that the principles of free enterprise and personal freedom helped make America great, but urged them to remember the importance of religious freedom.
“Religious liberty is the civil rights issue of today,” he said at a First Principles of Freedom workshop session at Samford University.
About 50 students from universities across the country are attending the week-long program, which is sponsored by the Intercollegiate Studies Institute of Wilmington, Del., and the Alabama Policy Institute.
Strange said Alabama entered a petition in federal court objecting to federal legislation mandating that contraceptives be a part of medical care after the Eternal Word Television Network of Irondale, Ala., a Catholic organization, protested that the legislation impinged on its religious freedom. The case is in the hands of the court.
“The law is clear” under the First Amendment principles, he said.
“Issues come and go but principles are what matter,” he added.
Strange commended the students for taking the time to learn about principles of freedom.
“Too many young people would rather watch American Idol than be concerned with principles of freedom,” he said, quickly adding with a smile that he liked American Idol too.
“The rule of law has helped us create the greatest system ever devised on Earth,” Strange said. “But every time the state takes federal money, our freedom is limited.” He urged the students to debate the issues and listen to the viewpoints of others, but counseled against government that would grow even bigger.
“The choice is between independence and dependence,” he said.
On the immigration law issue, Strange said the federal government was not enforcing the law, leaving the states in a difficult position. “They can’t do anything and the federal government won’t,” he said.