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Religious Freedoms

December 21, 2015

At this time of year it’s important that we reflect on, and give thanks for, the involvement of God in our lives and in the formation of our nation. 

Benjamin Franklin summarized several points which he felt were the “fundamental points in all sound religion.”  “Here is my creed. I believe in one God, . . . [t]hat governs [the universe] by his providence.  That he ought to be worshipped.  That the most acceptable service we render to Him is in doing good to his other children.  That the soul of man is immortal, and will be treated with justice in another life respecting its conduct in this.”

[It is important to note that Franklin (and other founding fathers) used the word “religion” to refer to a belief in a divine being who had a direct impact upon the lives of people and nations alike.]

Of God’s importance in society, Washington wrote, “of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports.”  God was not UNIMPORTANT but in fact essential to the welfare of freedom. 

What they defended was the right of choice.  Madison argued, “There is not a shadow of a right in the general government to intermeddle with religion.”  Madison and Jefferson were especially vocal in defending all types of religion, Christian, and non-Christian.

It’s the principle of safeguarding the freedom to express religious beliefs that needs to be protected.  Interestingly, many of the founders felt differently about the nature of their God with whom they worshiped.  Some were deist, others traditional Christian, others believe in even other forms.  What was common among these founders was their witness that there were heavenly powers who had aided them in times of grave danger and circumstance to the extent that they could not provide for themselves.  This God granted them both protection and knowledge from which a free nation could begin.

At times, this Nation has struggled with embracing this religious freedom.  This struggle continues today.  One Presidential Candidate either carelessly, or without understanding, called for a complete banning of immigration based solely upon their religious belief.  Continuing he stated,  “And by the way, many, many, most Muslims are wonderful people, but is there a Muslim problem? Look what’s happening. Look what happened right here in my city with the World Trade Center and lots of other places.”  Do we favor establishing a religious litmus test for immigration?  No! Do we want a thorough vetting of all prospective immigrants?  Yes and yes absolutely!

We find the attacks upon the practice of religious freedoms dangerous.  Limiting the practice of religious freedoms is not within the Spirit of our time proven and heavenly granted rights and privileges of this nation’s history nor is it conducive for protecting freedom.  

So, as we celebrate the virgin birth of the Lord Jesus later this week, consider the roll that God has played in our lives and the life of our nation and give thanks!  Merry Christmas to all!

Mark, Bill, and John







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