Friday, October 24, 2014

religious freedom

In recent years, "religious freedom" has taken on new meaning in the United States. People twist the phrase, even going so far as to form a group called "Freedom from Religion" whose unspoken yet evident purpose is to attack Christianity. There are even those who try to argue that our Founding Fathers were not intending to establish a Christian nation.

The thing is, no matter how people try to twist it, the Truth never changes.

The signers of the Declaration of Independence knew what it would take for a new nation to survive and thrive. As the authors of Under God stated, "In declaring their independence from earthly power and authority, out Founding Fathers declared their dependence upon the Almighty God: 'with firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence.'"

Samuel Adams said, "We have this day restored the Sovereign, to Whom alone men ought to be obedient. He reigns in heaven and... from the rising to the setting sun, may His Kingdom come."

Today, society has twisted things so much that it is starting to be okay to practice any religion--
      as long as it is not Christianity.
Private business owners are consistently attacked for standing up for their personal belief in the biblical definition of marriage.

Christians are depicted in mainstream media as being full of hatred.

Secular ideas have replaced Christian morals and values on screen, even when Hollywood has taken on accounts from the Bible such as Noah.

Most recently, the mayor of Houston has issued a subpoena demanding the sermons of a group of pastors who dared to make a stand.

Since the founding of our nation, the United States has historically been a place where followers of Christ were free to follow Christ. President Reagan once said, "Indeed, it is an indisputable fact that all the complex and horrendous questions confronting us at home and worldwide have their answer in [the Bible].

Those of us who live in the United States have been greatly blessed, and we have not faced the persecution that so many of our brothers and sisters around the world face on a daily basis.

Now, it would seem that is beginning to change.

I have a bracelet my husband had made for me, and on it is a quote from Doctor Who: "I am and always will be the optimist. The hoper of far-flung hopes and dreamer of improbable dreams."

In this, I am still an optimist. I still believe our country can get back on track, however far-flung that hope may seem. As God told Israel, "if My people, who are called by My name, will humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and will heal their land." (2 Chronicles 7:14)

I've always been taught, though, to hope for the best but prepare for the worst. In that, my prayer is that we in the United States will learn from the persecuted Church, our brothers and sisters in chains.

May we have the strength of the children who are being told to deny Christ or die--and who are choosing death.

May we be able to stand firm in the face of imprisonment, as those in Iran, China, North Korea, and countless other countries do.

May we be able to keep the "peace which passes all understanding" if we face torture, like our Christian brother Kamal in South Sudan:

It is possible that our freedom to practice our faith in God will be taken from us in the not so distant future. It is possible that even here in the United States we will soon face the persecution that followers of Christ have faced since Jesus Himself was crucified.

We need to take a stand. We need to remember the words of Nehemiah 4:14b, "Don't be afraid of them. Remember the LORD, who is great and awesome, and fight for your brothers, your sons and your daughters, your wives and your homes."

If--when--the day comes that we face persecution, my prayer mirrors the words shared by Dr. Inch once:
"And may you be able to say
that when all is gone but God,
He is enough."

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