We can’t demand the world accept and respect our religious freedom while simultaneously disrespecting and denying freedom to others (unless we believe hypocrisy to be a good thing). Those who are only interested in preserving the freedoms that they personally consider worthy can't truly say they value freedom.
I stand ...and I will fight for my religious freedom, but I do not feel that my freedom should dictate society or circumvent the freedom of others. Not for nothing, but our trying to do so, seems to me, to be one of the biggest reasons Christianity is losing ground in America.
Freedom is at the core of our identity as human beings. Were it not so, we wouldn’t fight so hard against being enslaved. Not only do we naturally resist it, but our very spirit withers and dies under the weight of slavery imposed on us no matter where it comes from.
The thirst for freedom is born the moment babies realize they have the power to wiggle across the floor on their own accord. Watch any toddler being prevented from the freedom they feel entitled to and you’ll see a brand of rage unmatched by any other emotion. Our entire childhood is the evolution and discovery of our freedom and the boundaries that must go with them.
God, most of all, values our freedom. Whether we believe it or not, we live under His sovereign control though, in His infinite wisdom, He rarely exerts His control above our free will. If having slaves were His desire, every man, woman and child on the planet would be at His feet. But it isn’t slaves He desires, it’s children. Children who are free to love Him or not. To serve Him or not. To choose Him or sin. His desire is that in our freedom – we would choose to love Him and live according to His will. His will, ironically, is that we would not be enslaved by our sin.
Two thousand years ago, church leaders perverted God’s word in an effort to control the culture. They had strayed so far from the ways of God that their desire for holiness had been completely replaced by their desire for human power and greed. But despite their arrogance, God didn’t abandon them. He sent His son to draw them back to the path He intended for His people. Not with more laws or threats of destruction if they didn’t obey- but with irresistible love and unreserved forgiveness.
Christ came to show us the way to please God and restore our relationship with Him. It wasn’t imposed on us. To this day we remain free to reject Him. Without freedom, following God has no meaning. Without freedom it is impossible to glorify God.
It baffles me to no end that so many in the Christian Community are fighting for laws that will force their version of Godly standards on the whole of society whether they know and love God or not. It would be one thing if they used their energy to instruct Christians to be better people and better examples of Christ’s love -but that’s not what’s happening. Arguably, if we used half the energy demanding that Christians conform to godly standards as we do demanding the world outside the church does, we might solve more problems than we cause.
Have we have become as self-serving and hardhearted as the ancient Pharisees? Why, in the midst of a society fraught with brokenness and need are we best known for our determination to force others, by law, to conform to our standards? It’s an ever increasingly ugly battle with untold casualties. At the end of every day, we stand bloody and battle worn… with nothing GOOD to show for it.
If the Church is in decline we have only ourselves to blame. We should not be using our religious freedom to circumvent the freedom of others. It’s time to stop waging war with society and take up the fight for righteousness among the people of God. Christ won people over using the law of attraction and so must we. He said "the world will know you are my disciples by your love".
If laws were the answer- Christ died for nothing. Human power will never build the Kingdom of God. Only hearts transformed by the love of Christ can further the work of the Gospel and change this world for the better.
You may be able to fight fire with fire, but you can’t protect religious freedom in the United States by denying the freedom of others.
In His love and service,