The Case for Religious Liberty in America
Dr. Dan Nelson | Pastor
First Baptist Church, Camarillo, CA
Religious liberty and the rights of people of faith are under attack like never before in our country today because of several factors.
The biggest reason is secular progressives (liberals) are in control of most of the thought producing communication. Entertainment, network news, educational institutions have a pathway to social engineering that calls for a radical overhaul of social mores. Women’s rights to unrestricted birth control, gay rights, and the freedom from religion have been reinforced by all these venues. It is not only reinforcement; it is cheerleading for these causes.
This decline is coupled with a generation of youth that have grown up without Bible reading or prayer in schools. Evolution is taught as fact and social engineering has been championed by teachers unions. They want our children, and youth’s, minds reformed regarding morality in America. They have been fairly successful since we see a decline in children, youth, and young adults attending church. Social acceptance of not attending church and being against what they called “organized religion” has weakened the influence of Bible-believing churches and Christians who have also bought into the lies against organized religion.
The attack on religious liberty has begun and will not let up. We have seen it rear its head with politicians who would dare let religious people exercise their conscience in matters of morality. Many of us feel the push to accept what the Bible calls immorality as an attempt to do full court press on people of faith. We see it as an attempt to endorse perversion and we feel our rights are trampled on. This push is foreign to how the founders or our country perceived the role of religion and protection of religion in America.
The president has sided with these liberals who bully and will continue to bully people of faith. His recent remarks contrasting the crusades with Isis is an ignorant attempt, on his part, to put people of faith on the same playing field as Isis. Recently he said Christians don’t display love to those who want to ram their lifestyles down our throats without any protest. The president does not understand that the greatest display of love is to tell the truth and not lie about sin. It is to let people know that if they live their lives in a manner against God and His Word it will only lead to destruction. Love is not an endorsement of evil or acceptance of immorality.
At worst Christians and people of faith who disagree with the attempts to accept what used to be rejected as legitimate would expect the same rights as labor unions, teachers, Hollywood stars, etc. who express their opinion to be granted to us. We want the liberty to express our opinion even though you disagree with it. We have the right to live how we want to, as those who are pushing for this want to do on the other side. We want to live and teach our children what we perceive to be right and wrong from a Biblical perspective with the Bible as our source of authority and truth. We express and live in opposition to these attempts to redefine views of morality and we expect those rights to be protected.
If we are recriminated against because of our views and conscience we are no better than communist countries and Islamic countries under Sharia law which suppress women and punishes those who are not Muslim. If we cannot be granted this freedom then we are no better than Nazi Germany, Red China and Stalin’s regimens which punished people for their words and thoughts. If we are not better than this we cease to have democratic government but are instead controlled by one, which becomes the thought police for their liberal viewpoint that will allow no other opinion to be legitimate and is quickly labeled as hate speech.
At best our freedom to practice our faith extends further than to go to which church we want to. The first amendment clarifies that Congress shall not favor one denomination over the other. It shall neither prohibit the free exercise of religion as has been done recently by those who protest our freedom of conscience and say you have to believe their way or we will boycott, protest and practice hate speech against those who disagree with their thinking.
Our country was founded upon the premise that there is a God. He has granted us responsible freedom. Our laws are based on His immutable truths. These should be kept on the forefront of all we do in the government and in all our institutions. They should not be swept aside and disregarded as out of place and unwanted in our day. If we can’t respect this viewpoint then we are relegating our country to the ash-heap of other failed nations. The choice is up to us. No one should violate my rights to act in accordance with my deep held beliefs. If you restrict these, you have trampled the constitution under your feet and you are far more guilty of discrimination than you would ever accuse me of being.