Freedom of religion is a freedom of conscience in practice, whatever you believe. We Christians, as exemplified by the wisdom of the comments from our founding fathers have that right as much as the next. How a narrow sighted ruling of the sort our Supreme Court can effect our free exercise thereof is by compelling by force of government power that I, as a pastor, be forced to conduct and condone something I do not believe in. This then is not about religion, but about the ability to live by freely exercising our very concsience and being forced by way of government to conform to a society set on a path at odds with the Christian conscience, a conscience I freely and willingly submit to God, and His word that guides me, His Spirit that convicts and teaches me, and His Son who saved me and lives through me. This government oppression took place throughout Europe as both Protestant and Catholic churches tried to force their own flavor of religion upon the Christians of the reformation.
Understand, not once did I say my conscience should be forced upon you for government cannot do that either, but that we both exercise this conviction in our lives and be able to have discourse concerning these convictions in a civil and cordial manner. This discourse should be welcomed as part of the human experience we call life. Only humans can have this discourse, only humans contemplate their moral character, only humans discuss the challenges of decision making and how to live life as a whole. This discussion should take place with zeal and civility but Satan has seen fit to make it a vitriolic hatred in practice and tyrannical oppression in function.
While only the despot attempts to quell discourse and debate as part of their desire for control and societal conformity, the Christian encourages and enjoys discussion. I can believe what I believe and you what you believe and both without bigotry with free expression thereof. You may think I am wrong, I may think you are misguided but neither of us should be forced to believe or practice the other’s conviction as part of our discourse in life, THAT is unconstitutional and smacks of tyranny. We are quickly spiraling into that pit of tyranny. During intellectual discussions, civility demands passion, but controls verbal abuse and degenerative verbiage. This respect we should have for one another has faded dramatically from our societal cohesion to develop and promote societal division.
Lest you think I may be a pro-theocratic, let me be clear. My faith and my beliefs have always been the most persecuted throughout time until (and even suffering persecution in them) our colonies were founded. Like unto John Jay, first Supreme Court Justice of our great nation, I would identify with the Heugonauts (Jay was a descendent of Heugonauts) of old, the Ana-baptists who were persecuted by the nationalized churches of Catholicism and Protestantism. Now, again as is a norm in history we will suffer through man’s hubris. Our period of repreave is over. We will and even now are again being thrown into the fires of judgment because God is turning us over to the sins of America and all it will bear fruit of in its fruition. (Romans 1:24, 26)
It is not theocracy, but freedom we want, on both sides. Without that freedom we as believers in Christ Jesus will be forced into prison just for saying you need salvation from your sins, just for beginning a discussion in an attempt to encourage reconciliation with God. Regardless, our love for mankind and our Lord runs deep and we will still reach out to share His gospel. Unfortunately for mankind, this gospel includes recognition of personal sin. We must share these truths. That this gospel convicts the soul and is rejected out of the desire to escape that conviction cannot be our concern, just as the unbeliever’s desire to share their conviction for what they consider to be “tolerance.” Pastors will be jailed or fined or both for refusing to perform weddings because of our beliefs. Businesses will be forced to tow an immoral line or not participate in the market place (Revelation 13:17). We will either conform to the religions of fascism, secularism, atheism and humanism or be ruined politically, financially and socially outcast.
In passion, we are not much unlike one another. We will stand by our convictions regardless the price and we may some day make this world a more tolerant place to be. However, the tolerance currently being forced upon the people of the world is one intolerant of diversity, the prevailing falsehood of relative truth.
Please consider, in responses to Christians the attacks are personal to the individual, or an identified group, christianophobic if you will, fearful. The Christian is only sharing God’s standards therefore the regular mistake made is in attribution. God in His word sets out the standards of life and living, the Christian only shares them and is not (or should not be!) the judge. But we are human and unfortunately not necessarily prone to the love we should exhibit in Christ. Yes, that means Christians, but especially unbelievers.
The Bible says we can love only because Jesus first loved us.
1 John 4:18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love. 19 We love him, because he first loved us.
In our early years we had a better opportunity for a perfect love as there were a greater portion ( I believe) of believers in our nation. Those numbers have dwindled and with it our capacity to love selflessly, honestly, completely.
Find the real Christ and His love, it will press out the hate for mankind in the inevidable discussion of faith and politics. Instead of being fearful of offending others, we are to welcome communication of all sorts. Instead of being angered at challenging beliefs, we should enjoy learning what others believe while standing fast on our own faith. I believe Christ’s loving salvation will free you from the chaotic tentacles of the world. Seek the Lord while He may be found, call upon Him while He is near.