I’m hearing our president and other important national leaders frame our religious freedoms by using the term “freedom of worship.” That phrase is restrictive and narrow.
Our First Amendment ensures us of this:
“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.”
Those who have an agenda to rewrite history will push to privatize our Faith so that our rights will only be preserved for what takes place within the walls of our houses of worship or in our homes – but not in the public square.
I believe our First Amendment gives us these rights and more:
Establishment Protection – our Government will not sponsor a state run Church or give preferential treatment to any one religious group over others. Most of our original colonies had a state run church and taxes paid the salary of the clergy of that state sponsored religion. This was wrong.
Extrinsic Protection – If you do not feel a part of a religious group or dominant religious faith in your country, county, or community – no government entity can force you to attend, give, or participate against your will. It was against the law to NOT attend church in some of our early colonies and fines, jail time, and banishment was meted out to the dissenters.
Evangelism Protection – We are not truly free unless we have the freedom to share our ideas and beliefs in the market place, media outlets, and through personal relationships.
Our religious freedoms were hard won and it took many years for our founding fathers to realize that the hands of government had no business in the control or jurisdiction over the affairs of religion.
As America loses its moral compass and wanders in a postmodern desert, these freedoms and protections can be lost in one generation as new generations of Americans forget the history that forged these blessings.
© Ron F. Hale, June 28, 2013