Pastor Ron Harvey  

 

The First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America reads: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof..."  It is worthy to note that the very first right identified in the Bill of Rights was the freedom of religion.  This came before freedom of the press, freedom of assembly, or even freedom of speech.  It was deemed that important by our Founding Fathers.  Indeed, it is a huge deal!

 

Here's the problem: In recent years secularists have sought through legal means to encroach upon religious liberty by limiting the meaning of "the free exercise thereof" to nothing more than worship in a house of worship.  They would say you are free to exercise your faith within the confines of your church building but not in the public square.  But that is not what the amendment says nor how the Founding Fathers intended it. 

 

Everybody knows that (sounds like a Geico commercial).  But not everybody wants to accept it.  Some progressives believe the Constitution is an evolving document and it is whatever present culture wants it to be.  Present culture can ignore the rule of law and disregard the intention of the law.  Thus religious liberty must bow to the whim of political expediency.  That is what progressives would say-

 

Congress, more than 20 years ago, realizing the danger of losing our religious freedom by such a limited view of the 1st Amendment,  sought to rectify the problem by passing into Federal law the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 (RFRA).  This was passed in a by-partisan vote of the House and Senate with only 3 dissenting votes.  It was then signed into law by President Bill Clinton.  It guaranteed Americans the right to live their faith in public life.  It affirmed what the Founders of our Nation codified into law in 1791 and it is that Americans have the freedom to live out their faith and act according to the dictates of their own conscience outside their house of worship.

 

Thankfully, the Supreme Court's decisions this week in favor of Hobby Lobby Stores and Conestoga Wood Specialties reaffirms the legal ground won by the RFRA and guarantees, at least for now, that a person does not lose the right to exercise their faith if they choose to own and operate a business.  This was a major victory for religious liberty!

 

On this 4th of July, we have another reason to celebrate our freedom!  I plan to do so.   But let us remind ourselves how we must stand vigilant and be active in the political process if we are to preserve the victory of our liberty.

 

God Bless America!

Pastor Ron

 

P.S. Voter registration information is in the Garden Room this Sunday!
 
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