Religious Freedom Day 2014

Church congregation singing hymns in churchJanuary 16th is Religious Freedom Day. Our religious beliefs are at the very core of our being, so religious freedom is one of our most precious freedoms in the US.

Unfortunately, we see that freedom eroding for Christians as more and more institutions—from the courts to private businesses—fear offending someone. I haven’t read anywhere in the Constitution that we have freedom from offense, but I do read that we have freedom of religion. If we want to continue to enjoy the protection of the First Amendment, we must be vigilant. Speak out when a business decrees that employees can’t wear a cross around their necks. Support companies fighting laws that require them to violate their Christian beliefs. Stand with Christians who lose their jobs or are demonized for expressing Biblical truths. Insist on the right to say “Merry Christmas” and “Happy Easter” in season. Study candidates’ positions and vote for candidates for office who support freedom of religion.

Of course, just as we insist on the right to freely practice our Christian faith even if offends others, we must support freedom of religion for those with whom we have profound disagreements. They should be allowed to practice their religion as freely as we want to practice our religion. As long as they don’t attempt to force us to follow their religious rules, they should be able to follow their own religious rules to the extent they don’t violate the rights or safety of others.

While we must stay alert to protect religious freedom in this country, many countries throughout the world do not offer religious freedom. Christians are persecuted and even killed simply for believing the Word of God. We should support organizations that serve the persecuted church, and most importantly, we must pray for persecuted Christians. Imagine being put in prison just because you accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior! God bless those Christians who risk their life to practice their faith.

That it may please thee to strengthen such as do stand; and to comfort and help the weak-hearted; and to raise up those who fall; and finally to beat down Satan under our feet;

We beseech thee to hear us, good Lord.

That it may please thee to succour, help, and comfort, all who are in danger, necessity, and tribulation, especially those who are persecuted for thy name’s sake;

We beseech thee to hear us, good Lord.

Lord, have mercy upon us.

Christ, have mercy upon us.

Lord, have mercy upon us.

~ adapted from 1928 Book of Common Prayer

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