Religious Freedom or Integrity

The United States is one of the youngest of the world super powers, yet our influence in terms of culture, economics, industry, science and religion has had world-wide impact. Our nation was founded on the concept that individual rights outweigh supreme authority. Especially if that authority is corrupt and bias. So, we formed a nation of government by the people, for the people, and of the people. The two most important questions are “Who is the official voice of the people?” and “Do the majority know what’s really best?”

Our founding Fathers revolutionary cry was “freedom from totalitarian rule.” Emerging from a world view that mandated and controlled individual freedom, People all over the civilized world of the 1600-1800s rebelled and fought for equality in wealth and social status.  They wanted freedom from dictatorship in society and religious oppression from the Church. So with Bible in hand, pilgrims came to the new world to start a new way of life. America’s rally cry was “We Chose.” We chose what we believe and we chose how we live. The problem is the nation does not always choose the “God of Christianity.”

Today, those cries echo into several concerns and needs an abundance of clarity. Take the statement, “freedom of religion,” that means nobody may tell you what to believe or what to disbelieve. Nobody may forbid you to spread your own brand of Christianity or any other religion. Everyone has a right to believe and practice whatever they want. Supposedly, it is not fashionable to shoot down questionable doctrines or ethical standards. The main thing is supporting my choice even if it offends yours. The focus is to accept my choice as my right to choose how I live and tolerate what you don’t agree or accept.

In our nation, to defend the Faith of one religious body over another is to violate our own constitution of “freedom of religion.” Yet religious freedom is really not at the heart of it, but religious integrity. How can we remain true to the faith, when we can’t even be true to each other (Luke 18:8)?  Remaining true to the Faith of Christianity is to advance the teachings of the early apostles by expressing the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus as the only source of salvation. The essence of truth is not a matter of choice, but a matter of grace. It is more important to be truthful that just have the truth. Many cry for the truth, but are not truthful themselves that is not integrity.

Christianity has always been a movement of a society within a society. It was never mandated to change the world order of its’ day. It defended the governments and rulers of the societies Christians lived in and called people out of darkness into the light of a new coming world order. The Church in essence, has been called to create its’ own society of Faith, while living in the corruption of the world. Jesus prayed to the Father, regarding the disciples, not to take them out of the world, but to keep them in the world.

Pauline theology mandated that believers accept dual citizenship. The church has been called out of sin into a supernatural kingdom, while we exist in a physical world. Living in a society where we obey the laws of the land, but never the laws of life. The church has been called on to be morally strong and ethically pure as we secretly await the changing of the guard for our new world order.

The United States is a melting pot of cultural diversity. In our New York Harbor stands a symbol of our belief in cultural freedom (The Statue of Liberty). All who come to this nation are given the opportunity to make a fresh start and a new life. In fact, we have various celebrations to practice our cultural inheritances. Our President is not a “Christian President,” and we do not live in a “Christian” nation. No, he is a multi-cultural leader that has a mandate of government of the people, by the people, and for the people. Our moral compass has always been the Christian bible but we have been misdirected in thinking that a Christian moral code will result in a Christian society.

If the moral code (The Ten Commandments), which birthed the Jewish nation given by the finger of God, could not maintain Israel in cultural or religious purity, why do we think that the laws of the Bible will today force a nation to live by Christian standards? In the past, nations culturally practiced and maintained customs and religions that defined a nationality or people. But sad to say, there is no nation today that is culturally pure. Diverse groups of people live in different lands and practice different customs and worship different gods.

It is not the laws of the Bible we need to defend, it is the Spirit of God we need to receive. As Paul stated, we don’t need people to conform to Christian standards, we need them to be transformed by the power of God.  Transformation to Holiness will result in maintaining pure Holiness. Our assignment is not to change laws but change minds. To pray for and with people who need a change of mind and will be brave enough to live with that change of mind.

Today, when a government of one country has a lot of citizens travelling or living in another country, or wants to maintain a presence in that country, it puts up an Embassy; an isolated place of refuge where citizens of one country are exempt from the rules of another country as long as they can get to the place.

The Church in essence is like a government “Embassy.” We are living in a foreign country with dual citizenship in Heaven. We have been called out to maintain a presence. To gather like-minded people who want to change their citizenship while they are living in a foreign land and create a society within a society of new thinkers that love the Lord above all else. Citizens who are brave enough to “market” a new way of living while walking on the same old dirt.

Remember, The greatest teaching of Jesus was not to show who was politically or religiously accurate, but to show love in spite of social conflict. To show love where even unity can’t be glued; to express love even in hostile environments in the home, society, and even in the church. So, yes men will fail us, even wrong ideology will lead us astray, but the one enduring quality that will never fail us is “love”  (I Cor 13:8-10).

Comments

  1. Jim Hickey says:

    Great article!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: