Thoughts in my mind today…Religious Liberty-what is it?
On this Election Day, I wanted to discuss what Religious Liberty is, and what it is not. Government is constantly trying to impinge on the rights of the people, and often in such subtle ways that they don’t realize it until it’s too late. Look at taxes, for example, but that’s another topic. Today, the government of our country is trying to reinterpret what our Founding Fathers meant by Freedom of Religion, the First Amendment. Protestants may be happy that they are provided with freedom TO worship, but that’s not what the First Amendment says.
It says, in it’s entirety
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.
So, Congress cannot establish a religion, and Congress cannot prohibit the free exercise thereof. So what does this mean. What is “free exercise”? Well, it doesn’t mean only that you can go to Church whenever you want…Free exercise is the freedom to adhere to the tenents of your faith. If the state can tell you which of those beliefs you’re ok to believe, then you cannot freely exercise your religion. Faith is not just going to Church to worship. It’s going out afterwards and living according to those laws and covenants. Catholic priests and bishops have died for just this reason, their refusal to relinquish the faith they claim to adhere to.
Reading 1 Maccabees 2:1,15-28,42-50,65-70 ©In those days Mattathias son of John, son of Simeon, a priest of the line of Joarib, left Jerusalem and settled in Modein.The king’s commissioners who were enforcing the apostasy came to the town of Modein to make them sacrifice. Many Israelites gathered round them, but Mattathias and his sons drew apart. The king’s commissioners then addressed Mattathias as follows, ‘You are a respected leader, a great man in this town; you have sons and brothers to support you. Be the first to step forward and conform to the king’s decree, as all the nations have done, and the leaders of Judah and the survivors in Jerusalem; you and your sons shall be reckoned among the Friends of the King, you and your sons shall be honoured with gold and silver and many presents.’ Raising his voice, Mattathias retorted, ‘Even if every nation living in the king’s dominions obeys him, each forsaking its ancestral religion to conform to his decrees, I, my sons and my brothers will still follow the covenant of our ancestors. Heaven preserve us from forsaking the Law and its observances. As for the king’s orders, we will not follow them: we will not swerve from our own religion either to right or to left.’ As he finished speaking, a Jew came forward in the sight of all to offer sacrifice on the altar in Modein as the royal edict required. When Mattathias saw this, he was fired with zeal; stirred to the depth of his being, he gave vent to his legitimate anger, threw himself on the man and slaughtered him on the altar. At the same time he killed the king’s commissioner who was there to enforce the sacrifice, and tore down the altar. In his zeal for the Law he acted as Phinehas did against Zimri son of Salu. Then Mattathias went through the town, shouting at the top of his voice, ‘Let everyone who has a fervour for the Law and takes his stand on the covenant come out and follow me.’ Then he fled with his sons into the hills, leaving all their possessions behind in the town.Soon they were joined by a community of Hasidaeans, stout fighting men of Israel, each one a volunteer on the side of the Law. All the refugees from the persecution rallied to them, giving them added support. They organised themselves into an armed force, striking down the sinners in their anger, and the renegades in their fury, and those who escaped them fled to the pagans for safety. Mattathias and his friends made a tour, overthrowing the altars and forcibly circumcising all the boys they found uncircumcised in the territories of Israel. They hunted down the upstarts, and managed their campaign to good effect. They wrested the Law out of the control of the pagans and the kings, and robbed sinful men of their advantage.As the days of Mattathias were drawing to a close, he said to his sons, ‘Arrogance and outrage are now in the ascendant; it is a period of turmoil and bitter hatred. This is the time, my children, for you to have a burning fervour for the Law and to give your lives for the covenant of our ancestors. Here is your brother Simeon, I know he is a man of sound judgement. Listen to him all your lives; let him take your father’s place. Judas Maccabaeus, strong and brave from his youth, let him be your general and conduct the war against the pagans. The rest of you are to enrol in your ranks all those who keep the Law, and to exact vengeance for your people. Pay back the pagans to the full, and hold fast to the ordinance of the Law.’ Then he blessed them and was laid with his ancestors. He died in the year one hundred and forty-six and was buried in his ancestral tomb at Modein, and all Israel mourned him deeply.
Please don’t believe government when they try to erode your rights to worship. Giving in to government sponsored abortion and contraception, is an impingement of religious liberty.