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Celebrating Our Religious Freedom

posted Jul 1, 2014, 10:31 AM by First Baptist

 

 

In a recent poll, only 29% of Americans believe that America is the greatest country on earth. Evidently, 71% (a sizable majority) don’t believe that to be the case. I wonder where they would rather live.

 

Count me among the 29% who believe America IS the greatest country on earth!!

 

One of the reasons for our greatness, of course, is our right to religious freedom. This right is guaranteed in our Constitution:

 

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,…”

 

A victory for religious freedom was achieved yesterday when the Supreme Court upheld the right of Hobby Lobby and other family-held corporations to exclude coverage for abortion-inducing drugs in their employee health plans. That these drugs be included is a feature of Obamacare. (Actually, as I understand it, including these drugs isn’t in the Law itself, but  were required by the bureaucrats who are writing the regulations.)

 

Despite yesterday’s victory, the trajectory in American society is still in the direction of the EROSION of religious freedom as Government control (and power) continues to expand and our citizenry becomes increasingly secularized.

 

In an August 2011 sermon, I shared with you the 5 stages of religious persecution that societies tend to go through.

 

Stage 1 – IDENTIFICATION (the general public forms a mostly negative opinion about the practitioners of a particular religion).

 

Stage 2 – MARGINALIZATION (the practitioners are perceived as out of the mainstream and no longer listened to with respect to public issues).

 

Stage 3 – VILIFICATION (practitioners become the target of abusive statements and accusations, calling into question their worth and significance).

 

Stage 4 – CRIMINALIZATION (laws are enacted to “protect” society from the practitioners and/or their views).

 

Stage 5 – TERRORIZATION (practitioners are intimidated through acts of violence).

 

With regard to evangelical Christians, America today is most certainly in Stage 2, with increasing evidence of Stage 3.

 

Why does God allow this? I Peter 1 tells us:

 

“These have come [referring to suffering & persecution] so that your faith – of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire – may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.”

 

Pastor Dan

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