Monday, July 1, 2013

July 2013 Freedom of Religion

Pastors Page The freedom of religion was very important to the early leaders of our country. They recognized that the confidence we had amid the trials of this world came from God. For this reason they were willing to proclaim that God was Lord over all. Yet, they also knew the danger of a government forcing people to acknowledge God. In fact, one of the reasons Lutherans came to America was to escape this type of religious persecution. The Prussian Government in old Germany, in order to establish peace, unity and harmony within the Church, established state religions. They made it law to worship a certain way. The problem is that religion is a matter of faith and confession. You cannot force people into unity by passing laws. True Peace, unity and harmony, come from faith in Christ. So after the United States was formed, one of the first things the Founding Fathers did was to add to the Constitution a law forbidding the making of a state church. All churches were to be independent of the government. All were to be allowed to worship God freely! Each person was free to acknowledge God’s Lordship in his own way. That was the original intent of separation of church and state. Unfortunately, some people wish to corrupt the meaning of this by saying there must be no mention of God by the government. People have gone so far as to ask the Supreme court to have the words “under God” in the American Pledge of Allegiance removed. This is a terrible corruption of the original intent of the separation of church and state. We were given the freedom to worship God, not to deny Him. In a desire to respect individual freedom, we are sacrificing our relationship with God. Individual freedom is important. But we must have priorities! For the Christian, these words, “under God,” have a very powerful meaning. It is not only a statement of God’s Lordship. To be “under God” is to also be under God’s love and protection. Like chicks under the wings of a mother hen who protects them from a storm, we are hidden under God’s protecting arm. That is what it means to be “under God.” This Fourth of July we celebrate the freedoms we have as Americans and the people who guard them. But we also remember the source of freedom – Jesus Christ.