June 19, 2013
Jun 17 - Marilyn Pasek
Never before in America’s history has our First Amendment religious right - the right to publicly exercise one’s faith without government interference - been so jeopardized.
Religious liberty is one of our most foundational freedoms, but today this God-given right to freely exercise religious faith is under increasing attack by government at all levels.
Government leaders at the federal, state & local levels have joined forces with radical atheist groups such as the Freedom From Religion Foundation to eliminate religious beliefs from the public square.
Liberty Institute, the largest legal organization focused on protecting and restoring religious liberty in the United States, cites the following examples of attacks on religious freedoms in their book, Survey of Religious Hostility in America. Following are some religious liberty attacks prior to 2013:
- Freedom From Religion Inc. v. Obama, 641 F.3d 803 (7th Cir. 2011): The Freedom From Religion Foundation sued to have the National Day of Prayer declared unconstitutional. The district court held that declaring a National Day of Prayer violates the Establishment Clause and enjoined such declaration. The Seventh Circuit reversed the ruling.
- County of Allegheny v. ACLU, 192 U.S. 573 (1989):
The ACLU filed a lawsuit against the county stating two of the counties holiday displays were unconstitutional. One of the displays was a Nativity scene at the county courthouse. The other display was a menorah placed alongside a Christmas tree at the City County Building. The Supreme Court held that a menorah in front of the City County Building for seasonal display did not violate the Establishment Clause, though the Nativity scene in the county courthouse did.
Liberty Institute’s website cites some of the following current religious liberty attacks in the public arena:
- On Tuesday, May 21, Liberty Institute attorneys visited Coos Bay, Oregon to deliver a report & recommendation on the constitutionality of a Vietnam Veterans Memorial that has stood for 41 years in Mingus Park. Upon arriving, their attorneys received the unfortunate news that the memorial - honoring those who bravely served our country - had been vandalized.
Earlier this year the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) sent a letter to Coos Bay City officials demanding the removal of the memorial’s cross claiming it violates separation of church and state.
- A German homeschooling family faces deportation after the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the Obama administration’s decision to deny them amnesty.
This devout Christian family, the Rameikes, fled to the United States for a chance to freely homeschool their children, something that isn’t allowed in their native Germany. In 2010, a judge granted this family asylum, but the Board of Immigration Appeals overturned that decision in 2012.
According to a press release issued by the Homeschool Defense Association, the Court did acknowledge that the U.S. Constitution recognizes the rights of parents with the education of their children, but it refused to concede that the hard treatment of religiously & philosophically motivated homeschoolers in Germany amounts to persecution within our laws on asylum.
More recent issues continue to develop and make headlines in our current news:
- Details continue to emerge in the IRS targeting of conservative religious groups.
- The military increasingly breeds an atmosphere of religious hostility.
- The Boy Scouts decision to allow openly homosexual members could bring lawsuits against churches as many of them begin to drop their charters.
One of the best ways to protect our religious liberties is through our states’ legislative processes. In the story of Nehemiah, he extended an invitation to his people, saying, “Let’s rebuild the walls of Jerusalem.” The people responded favorably, and the work began.
We are in time of reformation, and as the church, God’s legal representatives on earth, we have authority to protect America’s religious liberties. Even though Nehemiah’s enemies taunted, ridiculed & intimidated them, Nehemiah was immune because of His service to the peerless One, His God. Also, his prayers called for judgment on the enemies of God’s cause. Nehemiah reminded the people to not be afraid, remember the
Lord, imprint Him on their minds, take courage from Him and fight for their brethren & families. God frustrated the enemy’s plans, and everyone returned to their work. The people worked with one hand and held weapons in their other hands. Finally, the walls of Jerusalem were finished.
For such a time as this, God is calling the Body of Christ for our involvement in the reformation of America’s religious liberties. Through our own involvement, like Nehemiah, we will experience religious liberty freedoms in return, when we each put our hands to the wall.
1. Believers have a responsibility to be involved with our communities’ governmental affairs. In Texas, there is a non-profit organization, Texas Values, who preserves and advances a culture of family values. They send “Action Alerts” emails to inform citizens of how to express their views. Through some research in your state, look for similar grassroots and non-profit organizations. Contact the organizations and inquire as to your state’s legislative process and pending bills.
2. It’s time to take action in your state for religious freedom. Ask questions, learn the process of your state’s legislative bills & express your support. Contact your state Senator and state Representative, and express your views on pending bills.
1. Be in prayer for your state’s governmental leaders & make a commitment to be involved in your state’s governmental issues. (1Timothy 2:1-4)
2. Pray for God’s direction & revelation regarding your state’s legislative issues in process.
3. Ask Lord for your assignment for reformation for your state’s governmental issues.
1. Liberty Institute. The Survey of Religious Hostility in America. Plano, TX. Liberty
2. Texas Values. “Action Alert Emails.” http://www.txvalues.org./about/ Austi.n,Texas
June 11, 2013.
3. Liberty Institute. “News.” June 6, 2013.