CONCERNED WOMEN FOR AMERICA OF WASHINGTON
THE BIBLE AND RELIGIOUS LIBERTY (PART 2)
“It is impossible to rightly govern the world without God and the Bible.”
—George Washington, Farewell Address, 1796
Dear CWA Member,
When I was in college, I worked for a professor who had written a book about an early U.S. newspaper and part of my job was to check references for that book, which meant spending hours in the university’s library searching for quotes in Congressional records, diaries, etc. I learned to appreciate U. S. history while I checked out those references and especially learned to respect the complicated process through which our country was born. President Washington and other founders were simply men and women like us, and they knew that without sound moral principles the new nation would not long survive. If you’re curious to read more about America’s first principles, beyond reading the Declaration of Independence, the U. S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights, then pick up William Federer’s America’s God and Country and explore our nation’s foundations.
In the last action alert, I asked and discussed two points from my speech on “Life Without Religious Liberty”: What is religious liberty? Why does religious liberty matter? In this alert, I’ll discuss two more questions from that speech: Why did the founders specify that particular subject? Is our religious liberty threatened?
Why did the founders specify the particular subject of religious liberty in the First Amendment? Our founders clearly understood the importance of religion and morality to the success and definition of the nation they envisioned. In the last alert, I cited John Adams, James Madison, John Quincy Adams and Ronald Reagan. For those quotes, please go to wa.cwfa.org.
Thomas Jefferson said in 1774: God who gave us life gave us liberty. Can the liberties of a nation be secure when we have removed a conviction that these liberties are the gift of God?
We’re hearing more and more that our Constitution is a living document and must be interpreted in light of current culture. Does God as named by Jefferson and Washington change to reflect the culture or does a belief in God help shape the culture? God made us to be complete beings with a heart-mind-conscience connection. The center of our moral, spiritual and intellectual life which includes the conscience, will, mind and affections is usually represented by the word “heart”. “What does your heart tell you?” “This breaks my heart.” In addition, what defines us determines what we do, how we live and how we think. It is impossible to compartmentalize our religious and moral beliefs
So our religious beliefs reflect our heart, i.e. the essence of our moral and intellectual convictions or the unified aspect of our inner natures. Is it any surprise that the Founders in their collected wisdom gave such importance to religious liberty? Without religious liberty, we are unable to be whole human beings.
Is our religious liberty threatened? What do you think?
Consider the consequences of state-endorsed atheism to see what life is like without religious liberty. Communism and fascism are two of the past century’s most violent examples of totalitarian worldviews that eliminated religious liberty. On the other hand, state-endorsed religion, specifically militant, radical Islam, calls for extermination or punishing taxation of anyone outside that particular worldview, in particular “people of the Book”. All three of those worldviews are in violation of our First Amendment.
Around the world, Christians are being threatened, tortured and murdered for their faith under completely intolerant governments. Look up the following U. S. citizens and you’ll understand life without religious liberty: Kenneth Bae from Lynnwood, Washington, imprisoned in North Korea and Pastor Saeed Abidini from Boise, Idaho, imprisoned in Iran.
The Affordable Care Act continues to demand that citizens of sincerely held religious convictions against abortion sacrifice their pro-life values at the altar of government-run healthcare. Should the government define what is and is not a violation of a person’s religious beliefs? Read CWA Legal Counsel Mario Diaz’ article on “What Obamacare means to Little Sisters of the Poor” and other related articles at www.concernedwomen.org.
Please remember to pray for the Stormans, owners of an IGA with a pharmacy in Olympia, who have refused to stock or provide abortion-causing drugs. There are pharmacies within a short distance that will fill prescriptions for abortifacients, but in spite of that fact and the Stormans’ sincerely held moral and religious belief that abortion is infanticide, the state sued them under Christine Gregoire’s administration, even firing members of the Pharmacy Board and appointing like-minded members to promote the government’s pro-abortion agenda.
The national debate continues on marriage as well with a zero sum gain when it comes to religious beliefs and religious liberty versus same-sex marriage. What happened to that first part of the First Amendment in this debate: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof? The number of Christians being punished for their sincerely held religious beliefs about marriage is on the rise: Elane’s Photography in New Mexico, the Kleins in Gresham, Oregon, who chose not to bake a wedding cake for a same-sex couple, Baronnelle Stutzman, owner of Arlene’s Flowers in Richland, who chose not to participate in a same-sex wedding. The claim is that homosexuals’ civil rights are being violated, but what about the violation of the First Amendment’s religious liberty right? Who determines which rights prevail? Again, remember to pray for these Christians as they stand up for their First Amendment rights.
Other egregious examples are out there as well: nurses forced to help with abortions or be fired, military chaplains told not to pray in the name of Jesus, public school students not allowed to sing Christian songs in talent shows or thank God in class exercises about what they are thankful for, a Christian student at a Missouri university threatened with having her degree withheld because she refused to write a letter to the state’s legislature asking them to support adoptions for homosexual couples, Christian holiday celebrations and prayer banned in the public schools, while pro-Islam curriculum is allowed in Texas and California public schools.
This state has chosen sides in the current abortion and marriage debates and persecutes anyone who dares to run their private businesses contrary to the state’s opinions and according to their First Amendment rights. But how would this state respond if a black printer refused to photograph a skinhead rally? Or a Muslim photographer refused to document San Francisco’s “Folsom Street Fair” rift with nudity and homosexuality?
Those supporting these lawsuits claim discrimination against them. I believe those sued can well claim the discrimination is actually against them and they are victims of an effort to change or ignore the intention of the First Amendment, thus violating that first principle protected in the Bill of Rights, as well as making Paul’s warning to Timothy ring true: “In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.”
The costs of losing religious liberty are very high indeed: not only our personal freedom to develop and live by our personal moral code, but one’s business, the means to support your family, your reputation and your bank account will come under attack from those who do not respect your right to your individual conscience.
I realize these are very troubling words, but we live in a very serious time. Applying our Biblical faith to our lives and to public policy is a challenge we need to meet boldly with all the spiritual armor God’s provides in His word. Thank you for standing with Concerned Women for America as we promote and protect Biblical values in a world losing its plumb line. Please consider starting up a CWA Chapter in your community. We need all the prayer we can muster!
Ronald Reagan said it so well: “If we ever forget we are one nation under God, then we will be a nation gone under”. Without God, the giver of our freedom, we will no longer be free. Without religious liberty, we lose the opportunities to draw others to Him. What are you willing to do to preserve and protect such a precious liberty?
In His Service,
Maureen Richardson, State Director
PO Box 143 Woodinville, WA 98072