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Religious Freedom?

Church-and-State.jpgI have been a Christian for more than fifty years. I grew up in the house hold of a preacher and when I was nine years old I transferred my trust to Jesus at Emmanuel Baptist church in Lake Charles Louisiana (on or near Resurrection Sunday). I was baptized (immersed) a week later. Since then I have not always walked with the Lord but I have always known that He had called me to walk with Him and follow Him. I began to study God’s Word in earnest when I was in my thirties and since that time I have come to understand just how far America has departed from God’s Word.

Recently, the Supreme Court of the United States upheld a ruling by a lower court striking down the States right to define the nature of marriage as being between one man and one woman. States voted on these laws to protect themselves from the tyranny of a federal government that has begun to cater to and promote atheistic beliefs that are contrary to the teaching of God’s Word. The people of these states wanted to take action to protect themselves from the very things that are now resulting because of the Supreme Court ruling.  People are now finding that their belief in God and their trust in God’s Word is beginning to result in persecution by the very “state” that is supposed to protect their religious freedom and the practice thereof.

God’s Word clearly defines marriage as being between a man and a woman. Mark 10:6-9 clearly states that God created man and woman and that He joins them in marriage.

“But at the beginning of creation God ‘made them male and female.’ ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.”

Further, God’s Word clearly teaches that homosexuality is a sin against God. In Leviticus 20:13 homosexual relations is described as “detestable” and in Romans 1:27 is described as “shameful.” While Jesus never mentioned homosexuality as displeasing to God here is what He did say with regard to the law in Matthew 5:18.

“For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law…”

The law here is the “Law of Moses” or the Pentateuch, which is the first five books of the Bible not simply the Ten Commandments. What Jesus was saying here is that God never changes and His Word remains constant. The ones who change are sinful people that wish to legitimatize the sin in which they participate, promote or condone. So what is the relevant information with regard to what the Supreme Court has done?

First, and foremost, the atheistic left-wing progressives define freedom of religion as whatever happens in “church” on Sunday. However, those things are to be practiced behind closed doors and are not viewed as permissible the remainder of the time. This perspective is rooted in the misnomer that “church” is a building where a religious organization meets on Sunday and further it is rooted in the phrase “separation of church and state” with the intention of keeping church out of state. This view could not be further from the truth.

While today’s religious institutions have promoted the notion of “church” being a building, God’s church is not, never has been and never will be a building or religious meeting. The modern term “church” comes from the word κυριακός (kyriakos) which means “of the Lord” or “special to the Lord.” This word is used twice in the Bible, but the word that most appropriately defines the church is the word ἐκκλησίαν (ekklēsian). The word ekklēsian is from ekklēsía, a compound word from ek, “out from and to” and kaléō, “to call” and literally means “called out from” the world and “to” God.  This is the word that Jesus used to define exactly what the church was to be. In Matthew 16:18 Jesus used a play on words to describe the foundation and future of His church.

Matthew 16:18 “And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.”

The play on words that Jesus used is very important because it clearly signifies the foundation of His church as being people. Jesus said “you are Peter” Πέτρος (Pétros), a pebble or small stone, “and upon this rock” πέτρᾳ (Pétra), bedrock, “solid or native rock, rising up through the earth “, “I will build my church” ἐκκλησίαν (ekklēsian).  The analogy is that of small pebbles forming a rock mountain that protrudes out of the earth. Pebbles like Peter, and us, would become a force against which the gates of hell could not prevail! In this scripture Jesus was clearly talking about His church which is all of Christianity, past, present and future. Not a building or a cathedral or a meeting, but people who have transferred their trust to Jesus past, present and future.

Now that we have cleared up that fact that the church is not a building or a religious meeting but the people of God, let’s move on to the First Amendment of the Constitution which reads:

“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.”

The thing that was the backdrop for this amendment was the fact that England had established and exercised control over the Church of England. While this amendment protects the people of the United States from a “state” established church it also affords them the right to exercise their religious beliefs freely. At the time this was written the church was “Christian” with few exceptions. In today’s world there are those who would say that this freedom should be afforded to those of every religion. But some religions promote the mistreating of women and take horrible positions with regard to those who do not believe as do they. I would submit that our founding fathers never intended to support the practice of such religions but that of Christianity which promotes love, forgiveness and personal responsibility.

The term “separation of church and state” is not even in the US Constitution or any Amendment thereof and has been used grossly out of context to support the position that “church” is to be kept out of state. But how did that come to be? Godless lawyers and politicians, long ago, began to use this as a means of defining government as separate from church and, more importantly, that church was to stay out of government. Where did this come from? It came from a letter written by Thomas Jefferson to the Danbury Baptists dated January 1, 1802 where Jefferson wrote:

“Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between Man & his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, & not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should ‘make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,’ thus building a wall of separation between Church and State.”

Was this statement, written by Jefferson, intended to keep church out of state or to keep state our of church? The latter is clearly what Thomas Jefferson intended to reinforce and he did so with clarity. The notion that church should not be involved in state or, more appropriately, that biblical principles should be kept out of governance processes is nonsense. If the politicians, who have now brought us more that 19 trillion dollars in debt, are literally smothering the American people with dreadful regulations and have now enacted legal rulings clearly contradictory to God’s Word, would have followed these principles there would be no national debt, people in this country would not be under the false notion that one must borrow their way to prosperity, that someone else is responsible for one’s lack of achievement and that everyone must blindly submit to anti-Christian rulings. Further, the latest court ruling not only violates God’s Word but clearly violates the tenant set forth in the First Amendment of our Constitution as well as the clarification of meaning of the First Amendment written by Thomas Jefferson more than two centuries ago.

Our government now under the control of left wing liberal progressives, who wish to abolish Christianity, is slowly beginning to take away the religious freedom, as well as other freedoms, that we have been given according to our Constitution. If we do not take action we will lose all of our right to religious freedom and be completely controlled by those who hate God and subsequently hate us because we Love God and believe His Word.

That being the case, I am begged to ask the question; “Do we really have Religious Freedom?” If we do we must take action to protect what God has given us. Write your Congressman and your Senators. Let them know.

God Bless!

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