||2017-06-12 17:00:27, 조회 : 575, 추천 : 71
Voting as a Christian
Freedom of Religion
Chapter 7 (Part 1)
Last week, we finished our discussion about the freedom of speech. We learned that freedom of speech is an unalienable right that is given to us. However, we learned that this right is being violated in our society and does not allow us to exercise it in public platforms like college campuses and radio shows. Unfortunately, because of this, it has become common not to speak on matters such as political, social and religious issues. Without these vital discussions, it has affected areas like college campuses (where discourse such as these allows for students to understand the real world). Today, we will begin our discussion about the freedom of religion and explore the biblical and constitutional backgrounds on this matter.
In Matthews 22:21, Jesus states, "Render to Caeser the things that are Caeser's, and to God the things that are God's." While this may seem like a simple statement, Jesus gives us the entire basis for freedom of religion. Jesus makes a distinction between the "things that are God's" and the "things that are Caeser's." While Jesus did not list the things that belong to Caeser's and God's, it can be understood that the things of God must be things that cannot be controlled by Caeser, such as "worship and doctrinal beliefs." Therefore, people should be able to decide and have the freedom to choose their religion and activities associated with that religion. An example of how the Bible supports the freedom of religion is in the matter when Apostle Paul states, "We cannot but speak of what we have seen and heard" (Acts 4:20) and "We must obey God rather than men" (Acts 5:29). Therefore, the government should not compel religion, because it is the decision of the citizen.
Our forefathers recognized this as in the First Amendment to the US Constitution states, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the exercise thereof..." The First Amendment clearly states the boundaries and limitations for religion and for the state. Unfortunately, later on there was a Supreme Court ruling that tampered with the original meaning of the First Amendment. Prior to this, the government was able to freely express their religious opinions and there are many example of this:
1) George Washington's first proclamation:
WHEREAS it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, toe grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor; and whereas both Houses of Congress have, by their joint committee, requested me " to recommend to the people of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceable to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness..."
2) Abraham Lincoln's proclamation following the US senate request in 1863:
It has pleased Almighty God to hearken to the supplications and prayers of an afflicted people and to vouchsafe to the Army and the Navy of the United States victories on land and on the sea so signal and so effective as to furnish reasonable grounds for augmented confidence that the Union of these States will be maintained, their Constitution preserved, and their peace and prosperity permanently restored. But these victories have been accorded not without sacrifices of life, limb, health, and liberty, incurred by brave, loyal, and patriotic citizens. Domestic affliction in every part of the country follows in the train of these fearful bereavements. It is meet and right to recognize and confess the presence of the Almighty Father and the power of His hand equally in these triumphs and in these sorrows..."
3) Franklin Roosevelt offers prayer on 1944 for the soldiers on D-Day:
And so, in this poignant hour, I ask you to join with me in prayer: Almighty God: Our sons, pride of our Nation, this day have set upon a mighty endeavor, a struggle to preserve our Republic, our religion, and our civilization, and to set free a suffering humanity..."
These examples show us how the original meaning of the First Amendment allowed for the free exercise of religion. However, the Supreme Court has decided that religious expression from the public square should be excluded. Therefore, this new term "separation of church and state" has become prevalent stating that in any governmental functions, there is no place for religious expressions whatsoever.
What then does it mean for the separation of the church and state? If the original authors did not practice this? The constitution did not legally require this, as many people like to claim. So where did this myth come from? Grudem tells us that this myth originated because of Supreme Court cases such as Everson v. Board of Education (1941). This case was brought up by a taxpayer against a tax funded school district. He argued that by reimbursing the taxpayers for children who attended private religious schools "violated the Constitution" in which it states "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion." Another case is in Lemon v. Kurtzman (1971). This case was brought up to say that the Pennsylvania's Nonpublic Elementary and Secondary Education Act was unconstitutional because this allows for the reimbursement of private Catholic schools. Unfortunately, due to the verdict of these cases it has led to other controversies such as prayers before highschool graduation ceremonies or from speeches.
Last week we learned that our freedom of speech has been violated and we see today that our freedom of religion has also been violated. Without understanding our basic rights, it can easily be taken from us. Therefore, we will continue to discuss about our freedom of religion by zooming into how religious expression in the public square today.
1) What does Jesus say about the freedom of religion? How must we interpret this?
2) What does our forefathers think about the freedom of religion?
3) What do you think about the separation of the church and state? Do you agree? Why or why not?
4) How did this myth appear? How do you think this has permeated in our society?