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Friday, September 18, 2015

Criminalization of Faith - The Vital Importance of Defending our Religious Freedoms



The protection of Religious Freedom must be foremost on our hearts and minds for all Christians -- particularly in light of the recent "laws" created by the Supreme Court. 

Watching the GOP debate, one conversation stood out for me. If you haven't had the chance to see it.  I offer it to you above. Governor Huckabee has been blasted for his comments by many sources on online media, so I, for one, want to cheer him on!  I thank God for his intelligence and for his articulation and defense of religious freedom!  

We, as a people, must grow in our understanding of our rights and duties as citizens and as people of God.  It is too easy to fall for the lies prevalent in our culture. These lies will certainly confuse and allure us unless we are rooted in the Truth and Wisdom of Christ.  If we do not grow in this understanding and in the courage and strength to stand up against anti-Christian laws -- I fear we may soon see all Christian principles stripped from our nation.

Before speaking about religious freedom and the rights and duties of Christians, I think it is important to first read Kim Davis' full statement -- whom Governor Huckabee is addressing.  In it, she expresses why she chose to disobey the "law" of the land regarding same sex unions:
"I have worked in the Rowan County Clerk's office for 27 years as a Deputy Clerk and was honored to be elected as the Clerk in November 2014, and took office in January 2015.  I love my job and the people of Rowan County. I have never lived any place other than Rowan County. Some people have said I should resign, but I have done my job well. This year we are on track to generate a surplus for the county of $1.5 million. 
In addition to my desire to serve the people of Rowan County, I owe my life to Jesus Christ who loves me and gave His life for me. Following the death of my godly mother-in-law over four years ago, I went to church to fulfill her dying wish. There I heard a message of grace and forgiveness and surrendered my life to Jesus Christ. I am not perfect. No one is. But I am forgiven and I love my Lord and must be obedient to Him and to the Word of God. 
I never imagined a day like this would come, where I would be asked to violate a central teaching of Scripture and of Jesus Himself regarding marriage. To issue a marriage license which conflicts with God's definition of marriage, with my name affixed to the certificate, would violate my conscience. It is not a light issue for me. It is a Heaven or Hell decision. For me it is a decision of obedience. I have no animosity toward anyone and harbor no ill will. To me this has never been a gay or lesbian issue. It is about marriage and God's Word.  It is a matter of religious liberty, which is protected under the First Amendment, the Kentucky Constitution, and in the Kentucky Religious Freedom Restoration Act. Our history is filled with accommodations for people's religious freedom and conscience.  I want to continue to perform my duties, but I also am requesting what our Founders envisioned - that conscience and religious freedom would be protected. That is all I am asking. I never sought to be in this position, and I would much rather not have been placed in this position. I have received death threats from people who do not know me. I harbor nothing against them.  I was elected by the people to serve as the County Clerk. I intend to continue to serve the people of Rowan County, but I cannot violate my conscience." http://www.lex18.com/story/29933844/kim-davis-releases-statement
Many people cite that Kim Davis has sworn to uphold the law, but what if the law is against the law of God?  
What are Christians to do then? 
Is this dilemma facing Christians today what our Founding Fathers envisioned for us?
A fundamental and important distinction must first of all be understood in all these discussions as we are bombarded with the constant false interpretations regarding the separation of Church and state. The true purpose of this principle is to assure the freedom of religion -- not the freedom from religion!  (How important are prepositions?!)
If the founding fathers truly wanted a true separation of religion, why is every fabric of our constitution and the bill of rights rooted in Godly principles, evident in our nation's motto?
"One nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all!"
A quote by Thomas Jefferson affirms our duty to oppose injustice by saying: 
"If a law is unjust, a man is not only right to disobey it, he is obligated to do so." 
Martin Luther King, Jr. also proclaimed:
“One has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws.” 
With this in mind, we must look at some of the guiding principles the Church teaches:
If the laws of the State are manifestly at variance with the divine law .... then, truly, to resist becomes a positive duty, to obey, a crime; a crime, moreover, combined with misdemeanor against the State itself, inasmuch as every offense leveled against religion is also a sin against the State.  (Leo XIII, Encyclical Letter Sapientiae Christianae, n. 10)
"Citizens are not obligated in conscience to follow the prescriptions of civil authorities if their precepts are contrary to the demands of the moral order, to the fundamental rights of persons or to the teachings of the Gospel. Unjust laws pose dramatic problems of conscience for morally upright people: when they are called to cooperate in morally evil acts they must refuse. Besides being a moral duty, such a refusal is also a basic human right which, precisely as such, civil law itself is obliged to recognize and protect. 'Those who have recourse to conscientious objection must be protected not only from legal penalties but also from any negative effects on the legal, disciplinary, financial and professional plane. It is a grave duty of conscience not to cooperate, not even formally, in practices which, although permitted by civil legislation, are contrary to the Law of God. Such cooperation in fact can never be justified, not by invoking respect for the freedom of others nor by appealing to the fact that it is foreseen and required by civil law. No one can escape the moral responsibility for actions taken, and all will be judged by God himself based on this responsibility (cf. Rom 2:6; 14:12)."  (Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, No. 399)
I know there is much left to be said and much more to be prayed about regarding these issues.

But, one final thought is vital to our understanding of these issues: 

Our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. Eph. 6:12
What we are experiencing in our nation and in the world is evidence that we are in the midst of a tremendous spiritual battle for our souls, the souls of our children and the soul of this very nation!  The Father of Lies, who is extremely adept at deception, has led many people astray.  Many, who I write about in another article, who beg Jesus to leave our nation!

This spiritual battle must be fought by:

1. Knowing and filling our minds with the Truth of Scripture in our families
2. Steadfast and ceaseless prayer that constantly places the Person of Jesus before our minds and hearts (as with the rosary)
3. Frequent repentance and turning toward God in confession 
4. Frequent reception of Holy Communion - the very Body of Christ! 
5. And Lastly, we must also fast, remembering Jesus' words: 
"This demon can only be cast out by prayer and fasting."Mk 9:29; Lk 17:21.
These are our best weapons!  These are immensely powerful weapons against the enemy who is as nothing against God! We must claim and uphold in our own life Christ's ultimate victory against satan and against the sin and death that he promotes!

Let us pray...
Dear Jesus, we consecrate ourselves and our country and our world to you.  We ask you to help us to rise above the evil that seeks to surround us with the Wisdom and Truth of a well formed conscience and the bravery and courage to exercise our religious freedoms, always "Obeying God, rather than man!" Acts 5:29.

Please God bless us and our Nation!

For further reading on this topic see http://www.catholic.com/magazine/articles/when-is-it-okay-to-disobey
See also: http://www.catholic.org/news/hf/faith/story.php?id=45255

Also, see another video featuring Governor Huckabee for an important understanding regarding the difference between discrimination and discretion, see:  http://video.foxnews.com/v/4148270730001/mike-huckabee-on-divisive-debate-over-religious-freedom-law/?#sp=show-clips

©2015 Janet Moore. All Rights Reserved.


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