This blog today was written by my Pastor, Dr. Tony Smart. He was the chaplain of the Save America foundation. I published one of his earlier this year and it was well received. If you want to actually hear the words of a true patriot preacher, a former Airforce veteran, you are welcome to meet him and my family at Victory independent Baptist Church at 6202 S MacDill Ave, Tampa. 33611. The main service starts at 11:00 a.m. sharp on Sunday’s. Enjoy this blog today.
The Relevance of Religious Liberty!
One of the great events in the history of mankind occurred on December 15, 1791. It was on that day, in the dawn of the American Republic, that the Congress ratified the first ten amendments to the Constitution. This document became known as the Bill of Rights. It is in my opinion the greatest legal document ever created by human hands. It was designed to protect the citizens of this country from the abuses of power that was commonly practiced by the governments of Europe against their own people.
It is true that all Americans have not always enjoyed the protection of the Bill of Rights over the last two hundred and fifteen years, however, it remains a standard for freedom and justice that is unsurpassed in the world today. It is enjoyed by freedom loving people and it is also the enemy of tyrants who would seek to abolish it. The Truth about religious liberty.
The First Amendment to the Constitution declares 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.”
Before its creation, church leaders from Baptist congregations in Virginia lobbied Congress for the inclusion of a religious freedom clause in the Constitution. Their concern was the loss of their freedom to worship God according to the mandates of their own conscience.
The prospect of some future government trampling on this freedom and instituting a state church was cause for alarm in the late 1700’s and remains a motivation for vigilance today. Religious freedom is our first freedom under the Constitution. The president and all other elected officials are under oath to defend this freedom. Each time someone enlists in any branch of the Armed Forces he pledges to defend this freedom. When soldiers are killed fighting against an enemy of the United States, they die defending this freedom. All law enforcement officers at the local, state, and federal level are to defend this freedom. Educators must understand and teach the importance of this freedom. Legislators must never pass laws abridging this freedom. Judges are never to interpret the law in any way that would limit this freedom.
All people everywhere are born with this right. Freedom of religion is our first freedom and it is granted by God alone. The Triumph of religious liberty. Each week when I see people flocking to their place of worship at the appointed time without fear or trepidation I praise God that we live in a country that enjoys religious freedom. When I open my Bible and see my congregation follow the reading of Holy Scripture, raise their voices in song, pray, give, and make public decisions for Christ I know that we are part of something especially blessed.
It must not be taken for granted.
We can establish ministries, churches, and support missionaries around the world not because our government says it is permitted, but rather because we believe it is pleasing to God. We believe in the liberty of the human soul to worship our God in spirit and in truth and even respect those who choose not to worship. Governments that guarantee this freedom are truly operating in the interests of its citizens. The leaders themselves may take advantage of this freedom and humble themselves before Almighty God. As a result they become and remain the servants of God and of the people. The Threat to religious liberty. Wherever there are free people there will be someone trying to enslave them.
When Hitler rose to power in Germany as leader of the Nazi party one of the first freedoms to be extinguished was the freedom of religion. The Nazis sought to exterminate the Jews and silence the church. Church leaders that joined the Nazis or compromised with them and failed to speak out against the slaughter of the Jewish people lost their dignity and their credibility as a moral voice throughout the world. Marxist-Socialist governments are hostile to religious freedom because any individual who is free to choose the intellectual and moral convictions by which he will govern himself becomes a threat to the socialist state which seeks to control his belief system as well as his behavior.
Such was the case in the USSR. It is still the norm in communist states like China, Cuba, and North Korea. In Islamic nations like Saudi Arabia and Iran there is no religious liberty. Islam is their state religion and it will not tolerate competition from other belief systems. It is ironic that US military forces are sent to protect the Saudi kingdom, but the very state they may die protecting does not allow them to freely express their faith in Jesus Christ. I believe it is immoral to ask a soldier to give his life defending a government that represses Christianity. A soldier should only be sent to fight for principles that are just and true.
The greatest threats to our religious liberties are the improper use of the first amendment to promote a purely secular (without God) society and Christians that do not defend or spread their faith. The Treasure of religious liberty. The pilgrims believed that securing religious freedom was so important that they braved the Atlantic Ocean and sailed to a new land in order to obtain it. They did not know that they would be laying the foundation for a future world power. They did know that the church should not be controlled in any way by the government. Men cannot be trusted to exercise restraint or good judgment when they are given power over other men.
The church, being the body of Christ on earth, is governed by its Head of whom the apostle Paul said, “in all things he might have the preeminence.”(Colossians 1: 18) Thus the argument of separating the church from the state is valid only to safeguard the treasure of religious liberty. No one should be forced to marry a person he does not love. Likewise, no man is forced to embrace the Christian faith or worship our God. Neither should we be denied the right of expressing our faith in the places we worship, work, engage in business, or study.
©Pastor Dr. Tony Smart. All rights reserved.