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  • Season of Scorn for Religious Liberty

    As we mark Good Friday and Passover this year, Americans’ religious freedom has become palpably dearer. Religious expression is enduring a season of scorn from public and private sources alike.

    The most blatant abuse has come from the Obamacare Health and Human Services mandate that religious employers provide insurance coverage for abortion drugs and contraception, even if it conflicts with their beliefs.

    Then there’s the New York City policy prohibiting churches from meeting in vacant public school buildings on weekends—despite the fact that other groups are allowed to do so. Allowing churches to meet in government-run schools, ACLU lawyers argue, would send the message that the state endorses their religion. For now, a temporary court order lets the churches stay while the lawsuit proceeds.

    Meanwhile, an exodus of Christian student groups from the Vanderbilt campus is underway. The private university has decided that its diversity policy doesn’t have room for any religious club that requires leaders to uphold the group’s beliefs. Rather than abandon their convictions to remain “registered student organizations,” five groups have decided to meet outside the confines of the campus.

    Despite students’ admirable handling of the situation, Barry Lynn of Americans United for the Separation of Church and State told reporters that Christians at Vanderbilt should “stop whining” and suggested the groups “meet with students not in a club room somewhere in the university, but in those home churches that kept Christianity alive during the darkest days of communist China.”

    That’s an appalling sentiment—for what it implies about the future of our country, as well as about present China. By one estimate, 3,000 “home church” members in China were beaten or detained in 2010. Shouwang Church in Beijing—one of the largest Christian churches in China that is not approved by the Communist government—has been forced to meet outdoors for a full year, hassled regularly by disruptions and detentions, with church leaders undergoing house arrest. The church will celebrate its second homeless Easter this weekend.

    Last May, pastors in China signed a petition arguing for religious freedom as a fundamental right, the recognition of which would contribute to China’s stability and prosperity.

    The Chinese pastors’ aspiration is what Americans have enjoyed for more than two centuries. Increasingly, though, American believers are forced to defend the fundamental importance of religious freedom against erosion, and to explain that religious practice is the ally of liberty, an important fount of a flourishing society.

    On Good Friday, Christians remember Jesus’ sacrificial endurance of suffering and scorn. But the Christian story is not complete without the Easter victory that introduced “life more abundantly.” Safeguarding the freedom for such faith to flourish—and the larger community served by it—was the remarkably exceptional vision of America’s founders. We can ill afford to lose sight of it.

    Posted in Featured [slideshow_deploy]

    6 Responses to Season of Scorn for Religious Liberty

    1. Hobbes says:

      I agree that we must safeguard RELIGIOUS FREEDOM, not just for Christians, but all religions including Islam. Judging from the Christians' outrage over the "Ground Zero Mosque," many Christians want liberty ONLY for Christianity. Our government in the U.S. can only guarantee religious liberty by refraining from the appearance of endorsing any religion, but let them survive on their own without taxpayers assistance. If any religion cannot survive on its own, it does not deserve to survive.

      Religious zealots of all shades should read The Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom, written by Thomas Jefferson. It is the document from which the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment was crafted, and it explains in eloquent detail why the government must stay out of the religion business.

      Religious diversification has survived in America BECAUSE the government, by an large, has remained neutral. No government organization and no private organization should be allowed to inculcate children with religious beliefs contrary to the wishes of their parents.

      May all the Christians and Jews enjoy their sacred weekend, and thank our quasi-secular government for allowing it.

    2. Hobbes says:

      I agree that we must safeguard RELIGIOUS FREEDOM, not just for Christians, but all religions including Islam. Judging from the Christians' outrage over the "Ground Zero Mosque," many Christians want liberty ONLY for Christianity. Our government in the U.S. can only guarantee religious liberty by refraining from the appearance of endorsing any religion, but let them survive on their own without taxpayers assistance. If any religion cannot survive on its own, it does not deserve to survive.

      • Bobbie says:

        adorable face. too bad a face like that is unable to assume reality! Islam is all over this country hiding behind the President, taking liberties away from everyone else as the President supports them while endless complaints and history of deadly tantrums forces their way! The American President even goes out of his way to draw attention to show sympathy and how everyone should bend over to build their self esteem? while attacking the Christian faith with rules and regulations that make jealous religions happy!? How pathetic and intolerant. Direct indication Islam is of no good to well being. If people can't mind their own business and pull up their own pants, they need to go where their pants are pulled up for them.

        Christians don't sympathize with people that want it, looking for it and/or beg for it! Christians respect and value people much more than that and know that inner strength can be gained when encouraged. Obviously that's not the goal of Islam faith who needs to sneak and hide and attack while holding government hands!

    3. rmgdnnow says:

      One gets the idea that people like B.Lynn not only dislike the Christian religion (I don't know his opinions about Islam) but want to make it difficult for believers to meet for worship and fellowship. It bodes ill for Christians. We have already lost the ten (six) Commandments not only in the Media but also in the behavior of U.S. citizens. Murders almost every day here in Michigan. The future is not pretty; and that seems to bother Lyn et al not at all. Could he have a hidden agenda?

    4. dougindeap says:

      While some may well oppose the laws policy of promoting the availability of medical services they find objectionable, the law does not put employers in the moral bind you suppose. Many initially worked themselves into a lather with the false idea that the law forced employers to provide their employees with health care plans offering services the employers considered immoral. The fact is that employers have the option of not providing any such plans and instead simply paying assessments to the government. Unless one supposes that the employers religion forbids payments of money to the government (all of us should enjoy such a religion), then the laws requirement to pay assessments does not compel those employers to act contrary to their beliefs. Problem solved.

    5. Jeanne Stotler says:

      When in 8th grade, the Nun who taught us said that in our lifetime we will again see persecution of Catholics and Christians. That was 1945, today I think aout what she said and see the media tear our beliefs apart. If as a Catholic, you decide not to abide by the laws of the Church, that is between you and your Priest and God. I bore 10 children and do not regret it one bit, I conser each and everyone a gift from God, we were not wealthy but we did support ourselves with the premises that "God will provide", he did and continues to do so. Our forefathers belived in this and they prayed faithfully, that is the reason we are here today. Whe the prayer was taken out of school and God eliminated from lives, that's when this untry started going down hill.

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