The concepts of religious liberties which were the basis for the earliest foundations of our country are now at the center of American thought whether most Americans realize it or not. It creates a conflict that we all must understand in order to right the course of the country.
Some of the things that I’m about to write may sound non-Christian. Those who know me are aware that my faith is at the heart of everything I do, making this “reality check” challenging to post. For the sake of this faith and the future of America, it’s important that we defend the freedoms that made this country strong. That means that the fight to protect our rights to properly practice Judeo-Christianity requires us to protect the rights of all religions, even those that are in conflict with our own.
Technically, that would be all of them.
Let’s first take a look at what brought us to where we are today.
Abusing the Christian Majority
If one were to look back at the recent history of the country with an honest lens, it’s easy to see that intolerance found its breeding grounds in the churches. It wasn’t too long ago when Christianity was the dominant driving force for many aspects of American society. One doesn’t have to be too old to remember a time when people still said “merry Christmas” instead of “happy holidays.”
This gave us strength, but that strength was abused. It created a form of Christian elitism that left very little room for opposing thoughts. We existed in a comfortable setting for the faithful as well as the majority of people who were inwardly secular but who thrived in a Christian atmosphere. One can view the latter group as the “convenient Christians” who weren’t actually true believers or Bible-reading faithful but who used Christianity as an interpersonal vehicle and the church as a social setting.
Many of the things that emerged from the country’s Christian elitism were on the wrong side of freedom. The Cross was used as a consolidator and even justification for hatred and violent opposition to anything outside of the group. Racism, anti-semitism, misogyny, and violent intolerance were often driven by people who claimed to hold their Christian faith in the highest regard. These people were hate-driven, not faith-driven, but they were clouded in their judgments in ways similar to today’s Westboro Baptist Church.
The hateful use of faith as justification is just the tip of the spear. There has also been a Christian complacency due to our perception of strong numbers that made even the truly faithful look in the wrong directions. This helped to establish an atmosphere of passive intolerance. One did not have to burn crosses on lawns or attack homosexuals to perpetuate a subtle superiority that quashed outside thought. The attitude allowed other faiths to be practiced however they needed to be practiced as long as it wasn’t public. It was this double standard of freedom that built anger in non-Christians. Today, we’re seeing this anger manifest in militant politics.
One can make a case that the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) grew to the juggernaut it is today because of the passive intolerance practiced by Christians in the 20th century. In essence, we helped to empower our own worst enemy.
Protecting Christian Freedoms Starts with Protecting All Religions
It’s easy to understand how the anti-Christian and anti-religion facets of society were able to sneak into prominence. Too few saw it coming due to the complacency I described before. I’m guilty of this myself.
The wake up call came as a result of the country’s gay marriage sentiment. In less than six years, over 20% of the country had shifted its perspective. Seeing this made me realize that we’re not seeing the subtle shift that has been brewing for decades. We’ve seen a veritable blitzkrieg of anti-Biblical mindsets infiltrating acceptable perceptions. America was hit by a tidal wave of liberalism.
We can see this clearly in the political atmosphere at every level. The scary part is that this is not an event. It’s a trend. The momentum shifted dramatically in favor of those opposing freedoms and if it’s not halted and reversed very quickly, we will be lost as a country.
There’s a silver lining to this trend: discernment. Now that the enemy’s gameplan has been unleashed, we can wake up from our ease-induced lull and realize that the forces of liberalism and anti-Biblical apostasy are at play. Now is the time to focus, to turn to the Bible for guidance in all that we do. That means learning, practicing, and spreading the Word of God. To do this, we have to acknowledge that all religions must be protected from a political perspective.
Unless we were to become a true Christian nation, we cannot fight other religions politically. That’s to say that the protections that allow Christians to share the Gospel are only possible if we also defend the freedoms to share other perspectives. Until the day comes when the truth is revealed loud and clear to the whole world in the form of Christ’s reign, we have to work on an individual and institutional level rather than on a corporate level. The freedom to practice what Jesus Christ taught is the same freedom that allows others to practice what Muhammed or Christopher Hitchens taught.
To paraphrase Evelyn Beatrice Hall, we may not believe in what others are preaching but we must defend to the death their right to preach it. Religious liberties are a hot topic for some in the current political world. As a country, we have to hold onto these freedoms for as long as they’re available. The machinations of the principalities and powers of this world are already at work to remove those freedoms. This fight, which not too long ago seemed to be impossible to conceive, is here in present day America.
America as a Free Religious Zone
The forces against us both politically and spiritually are trying to reverse the core of the country that is protected by the First Amendment. They are attempting to shift the country away from “freedom of religion” into a country of “freedom from religion.”
Instead of America being a free religious zone, they want it to be a religion-free zone.
Just as the play on words is a small but significant shift, so too would the shift in policies be represented by small shifts. What we once perceived as a protective wall for our faith can very easily be turned into a wall that keeps us from practicing our faith. Again, we saw this in the gay marriage ruling where a slight change in definition was enough to turn the entire concept upside down. The definition of marriage has been shifted from being between a man and a woman into being between two people. Everything else effectively remained the same, but changing a handful of words was enough to turn marriage away from being Biblical to being defined as anti-Biblical.
Popular sentiment has changed. The “convenient Christians” that I mentioned before are the most powerful tools being used by the adversary. They are making it appear as if it’s possible to be a Christian and still espouse the secular beliefs of modern society. We see this in gay marriage, of course. We see it in the change of abortion from being the killing of human life to being the right of a woman to choose what to do with her body. We see it in the notion that black lives matter rather than the truth that all lives matter.
As a country, we’re starting to marginalize the importance of Biblical truths. It’s not being done by other religions. It’s being done within professed-Christianity itself. We aren’t losing the battle because of the attacks of non-Christians. We’re losing it because Christians are allowing their views to be liberalized based upon acceptable secular perceptions.
Bringing Faith to the Forefront with Our Actions
The only way for this destructive trend to turn around is to fight as individuals and unify as a group. The adversary is stronger than most ever imagined in the recent past.
As individuals, it’s important to proceed properly. If you are a Christian, then it’s time to make your faith the cornerstone of all that you do. This is seemingly hard in a world with iPads, hundreds of television channels, and other outside influences changing our perceptions and guiding us to a secular mindset, but as long as we recognize these influences and allow the Holy Spirit to guide all of our actions, these negative forces can be easily overcome. I’ll discuss this further on a future post.
Unifying as a group is something that needs to happen at every level. On the smaller levels such as within the family or community, we must fight the good fight without taking away from others’ rights. Those who believe that our faith is righteous should embrace an open forum. Not doing so was the mistake that so many of us made in the past that has brought us to where we are today. The forums are closing and it’s partially our fault for keeping them closed. Now that society has shifted mindset, we have to embrace the open forums in order to have venues to share the Gospel. This, too, is a much more complex idea than what can go into a few paragraphs, so I’ll discuss it in a future post as well.
The unification that must happen immediately is getting behind the right Presidential candidate. Before President Obama proved me wrong, I believed that the personal doctrines of a politician could not dramatically affect the doctrines of the masses. We’ve seen that clearly happen in America over the last seven years.
Now, with our eyes open, we must embrace a leader who will bring back a Biblical doctrine. No, this is not my call for a theocracy nor does it mean that I think policy in Washington DC can be driven by the Bible. It’s about the guidance of values within the country that starts at the top. President Obama did not have to pass laws in order to shift perspectives. He was able to change the worldview of the country in millions of people through his examples, his words, and the way he operated the country.
I’m not going to use this article to endorse an individual, though it should be known that we have endorsed Ted Cruz for multiple reasons, not just his faith. What I will call on people to do is to look very closely at the faith of all of the candidates and use your understanding of their faith as one of the primary (if not the biggest) reasons to support them. Do not fall into the trap that most have done in the recent past by allowing a candidate’s faith to be secondary to their policy. The office of the President of the United States is not a religious position but the doctrine’s that guide the administration greatly influence the spiritual direction of the country. Again, we’ve seen this very clearly with the current President.
Now is not the time to push our faith down in the hierarchy of our political decision-making. We will lose more than the battle for religious liberties. If we don’t unite very soon, we will lose the country itself.