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The Bible and Religious Liberty

The Bible and Religious Liberty
By: Maureen Richardson - 3/21/2014

Dear CWA of Washington Member,

I recently spoke on “Life Without Religious Liberty”.  While organizing that speech, I had to ask myself some serious questions.  I’ll share two of those in this alert, but first I want to thank you for your prayers for CWA as well as for our state legislators.  We had more volunteers praying for the latter during the 2014 session than ever before.  While we didn’t see some very important issues/bills proceed, several dangerous ideas presented as legislative bills were stopped thanks to the prayers and actions of CWA members and the proactive coalition CWA works with in WashingtonState. The 2014 session may have ended last week, but we as believers must continue to pray for a spiritual revival in this state and the nation in order to preserve our Biblical foundation and traditions.  The other side does not rest, and we must stay alert through our prayers, awareness, and acting when needed.

Back to living life without religious liberty – The first two questions I asked myself were: “What is religious liberty and why does religious liberty matter?”  However, even before dealing with those questions, I considered the words of Saint Paul to Timothy, his disciple: “In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.” (2 Timothy 3:12)  I also recalled the words of a neighbor who immigrated with his Russian family specifically for religious liberty to the United States in the late 1980’s after President Ronald Reagan forced the USSR to open their iron curtain:  “My family came here seeking religious liberty, and we have no other place to go.”  He then paused, pointed his finger at me, and finished with, “And neither do you.”  That conversation has resonated with me over and over again.

Here is the portion of my speech that addressed those two questions above:

I.  What is religious liberty?

  1. As one of our core issues, Concerned Women for America supports “the God-given right of all people to pray, worship and express their beliefs without fear.”
  2. Simply put, religious liberty means the ability to hold sincere religious beliefs and to live one’s life according to those beliefs.

II. Why does religious liberty matter?

  1. The very first part of the First Amendment to the U. S Constitution states:  “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech”. Given the historical fact that the Pilgrims risked their lives to immigrate to this continent from England and Holland because of the persecution and lack of religious liberty in those countries, our founders wisely included that liberty as a first principle.  WHY?
  2. Our founders clearly understood the importance of religion and morality to the success and definition of the nation they envisioned.

 

In a speech to the military in 1798, President John Adams said:

We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion.  Avarice, ambition, revenge, or gallantry, would break the strongest cords of our Constitution as a whale goes through a net.  Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people.  It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”

With those statements, Adams recognized the significance of religion and morality to a civilized society and nation and thereby recognized that religion does indeed matter.  While the First Amendment grants freedom to all religions, Adams and the other founders were particularly aware of the connection between faith in God and man’s liberties, thus stating in the Declaration of Independence:

 We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.—That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

Regarding the Christian religion’s influence on the founding of this nation, founder James Madison stated in 1778:

We have staked the whole future of American civilization, not upon the power of government, far from it.  We’ve staked the future of all our political institutions upon our capacity…to sustain ourselves according to the Ten Commandments of God.

On July 4, 1821, John Quincy Adams stated:

From the day of the Declaration … they (the American people) were bound by the laws of God, which they all, and by the laws of The Gospel, which they nearly all, acknowledge as the rules of their conduct.

 Patrick Henry is attributed with this statement:

It cannot be emphasized too strongly or too often that this great nation was founded, not by religionists, but by Christians; not on religions, but on the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  For this very reason peoples of other faiths have been afforded asylum, prosperity, and freedom of worship here.

Clearly, from just those quotes, securing religious liberty under Biblical principles was understood by the founders as vital for both the birth and the continuance of this new nation.  Your prayers are so needed and so vital to preserving this, the greatest nation on God’s green earth, so firmly founded on His Holy Bible.  As President Ronald Reagan said:

If we ever forget that we are One Nation Under God, then we will be a Nation gone under. 

The time has come to turn to God and reassert our trust in Him for the healing of America … our country is in need of and ready for a spiritual renewal …”

In the next alert, I’ll share three other questions from that speech.  Please prayerfully consider what our founders envisioned and do your part to preserve the nation they birthed.

EVENTS

NATIONAL DAY OF PRAYER:  Thursday, May 1, 2014.  There are events scheduled around Washington State that you can locate at this website: https://nationaldayofprayer.org/events/

If there is no event in your area, please pray about planning one.  It can be as simple as gathering around the town center’s flag pole and praying or you can plan a breakfast or lunch in your home or church or even invite a speaker.  Please do something and join prayer warriors around the nation!

LEGISLATURE

The 2014 Washington State Legislature adjourned on Thursday, March 13, as scheduled.  The two bills CWA of Washington opposed (HB 2148 re: abortion insurance mandate and HB 2451 re: reparative therapy ban for minors) died in committee, thanks to your prayers and contacts with your own legislators.  The parental rights bills (HB 2174/SB 6247, HB 2133) made very little progress, but with your help, they can return in 2015.  Please continue to pray that our legislators will honor the Biblical philosophy that promotes freedom and dignity for those made in His image and that our religious liberty will be guarded and preserved by lawmakers as well as God’s people.

We need YOU to step up and become a CWA leader in Washington. Please consider leading a Prayer/Action Chapter in your community or educating others as a Home Team Captain. Attached is a leadership application as well as a membership application to update your status as a member of Concerned Women for America, in case you have not yet done so for 2014.  Your membership is important as it adds another voice to our chorus of citizens who will stand as part of CWA’s “WILLING” campaign:

By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us.  And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. 1 John 3:16

In His Service

Maureen Richardson
State Director
Concerned Women for America of Washington
425-869-1923
P.O. Box 143
Woodinville, WA98072
director@washington.cwfa.org

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