The Battle for Freedom of Religion
The First Amendment and Separation of Church and State
The battle over religious rights is escalating to new heights. It seems everywhere we look, some Atheist group is trying to force a Christian organization to stop an assembly outside of the church or to take down a symbol that shows and speaks of their faith. However, this is a strike at Freedom of Religion.
I feel, that if you allow such groups to successfully remove our Freedom of Religion, whatever it be Judaism, Christianity, Hindu, even Non-theism, you will open the door to decimate the rest of our First Amendment Rights.
The Constitution guarantees every American The Freedom of Religion. The First Amendment states the following:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;.......
This means, in short, that our government, not a single branch of it, including the Judicial, can make a single religion, the religion of the United States, and force Americans to worship. It also means that our government, not a single branch, including the Judicial system, can stop a religious person to from practicing that faith, in the manner that is in accordance with it.
In other words, as a Christian, my Bible is my book of faith and practice. In it, I am told to go out and make disciples of the Lord. I am to speak of Jesus and HIs love. Becuase this is one of the ways I am told to practice my faith, no one can tell me no. They can kindly tell me that they would appreciate not hearing anything about Jesus, at which point, we are told to shake off our clothes.
We are also, by The Constitution, given Freedom of Assembly and Speech. Also, in the First Amendment:
Congress shall make no law respecting......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.
This means, that as an American Citizen, we are allowed to gather together, for any reason, even if it means to pray, so long as it is peaceful, without interference. This cannot be interfered with, by the Government, or any other person.
Our liberties in the First Amendment are reinforced, by the Fourteenth Amendment:
All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction there of, are citizens of the United States and of the State where in they reside. No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws. (Thomas Jefferson)
This means no US Citizen can be discriminated against, for exercising their rights, including their religion.
So why, then, do so many organizations seek to strip Religious groups, especially Christians, of their Religious Liberties, just because they disagree, and do not want to hear it? They claim Separation of Church and State. Unfortunately, as you can see in their social media arguments, they just through that phrase around without knowledge of its meaning and history.
Separation of Church and State came about when Thomas Jefferson wrote a letter addressing a Colonial Baptist Church in Connecticut. HE was trying to assure them, that unlike Great Brittian, the United States would NEVER force a religion on them. There would never be a Church of the USA.
"I contemplate with sovereign reverence that acts 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 & State." (Thomas Jefferson)
Many Americans, today, misinterpret this meaning that there can be no religion in Government, therefore, no Religion outside of the closed doors of a person's home or church. This interpretation is absolutely wrong, which is clear when reading the whole passage. To understand this more fully, one must read this passage as well:
We have solved, by fair experiment, the great and interesting question whether freedom of religion is compatible with order in government and obedience to the laws. And we have experienced the quiet as well as the comfort which results from leaving every one to profess freely and openly those principles of religion which are the inductions of his own reason and the serious convictions of his own inquiries.(Thomas Jefferson)
It is clear to anyone who takes the time to read, that our First Amendment Right of Freedom of Religion is backed by the Separation of Church and State. WE must endeavor to educate those who misunderstand that the two are in fact one statement.
You see, if you take away the Freedom of Religion, you are beginning the act of taking away the Freedom of SPecch, and Assembly. IF you allow those Freedoms to go, then the whole basis of our Constitution can be pulled apart and destroyed. Is this what we want? Think about it.
God Bless you, and the United States of America