The Freedom of Religion

While searching for something else this morning, I ran across my little pocket-sized copy of The Constitution of the United States. I brought it back to my recliner and started looking through it. I’d forgotten how dry and detailed some of it is. My hat is off to anyone specializing in the study of Constitutional law.

This small booklet opens naturally to the very middle, which is where the Amendments to the Constitution begin. As I hope most of you already know, the first ten are the Bill of Rights.

After reading some of the dry detailed other parts of the Constitution, the first amendment  was wonderfully straight forward:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peacefully to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

What too many people don’t realize is that the statement regarding freedom of religion was included for a very specific reason. Several of the colonies had a state-dictated religion. The founders of my church, Winn’s Baptist Church, had been beaten or jailed during colonial days for preaching illegally here in Virginia, where only the Anglican Church was recognized and tolerated.

So the framers of the Bill of Rights were making certain that Congress would not be guilty of establishing a state church the way England had done with the Anglican church. And Congress wouldn’t prevent people from worshiping freely at their choice of churches.

Did you notice the key word in that amendment? Congress. The Constitution of the United States doesn’t say anything about protecting people from religion, a concept that has become a real thorn in the side of this country and of the various states. Neither does it prohibit the practice of religion, even in government meetings or schools. It certainly doesn’t forbid the display of nativity sets in public places or the placement of the Ten Commandments (upon which all law is based) in courtrooms or anywhere else.

Yet our First Amendment rights are under attack daily. How can that happen when the meaning of the First Amendment is so clear?

The Supreme Court is largely to blame, although Congress and “We the People” have allowed the Court to do it. The Constitution originally contained 4,543 words, including the signature of the signers. The addition of the amendments brings the total to 7,591. Decisions made by the Supreme Court have expanded its interpreted meaning to many hundreds of pages.

The Harvard Law Review published a scary article called “The Constitution Means What the Supreme Court Says It Means.” And too many Supreme Court Justices openly ignore the text of the Constitution and apply their own biases to create meanings that are completely contrary to the Constitution. When liberal justices are in the majority, that happens more and more.

Several months ago I wrote that the most important reason for Americans to vote in the November election was to select a president who would appoint only conservative justices who are committed to upholding the Constitution. The president-elect has promised to do that. Appointing a conservative to the bench will result in a conservative majority–one we can count on to uphold the Constitution and make decisions based on it.

I pray daily that God will enable that to happen.

This is a controversial subject, but your comments are welcome.

NOTE: Various people have complained about not being able to find or leave comments. Go all the way to the bottom of this post, beneath my “Best regards, Roger.” On the very bottom line of that last section just above the previous post you’ll see “Leave a Comment” if yours will be the first or “X Comments,” where  X denotes the number of existing comments.

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I’ll be back again on Sunday. If you’d like to receive my posts by email, go to “Follow Blog via Email” at the upper right.

Best regards,
Roger

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Growing More Conservative (Final Part)

I believe more strongly than ever in the morality of the Bible. Any society that ignores biblical teachings about right and wrong will slip further and further into decay. How much further can we slide before God decides to wipe His hands of us?

I don’t hate homosexuals. Although I don’t understand them, I am not the least afraid of them. My wife and I attended a large gay expo in New York City a few years ago to visit a gay friend and see his dance group perform. He’s someone I enjoyed talking with and I didn’t feel the least uncomfortable being around. Does that sound like fear or hate?

But the Bible says that the practice of homosexuality is a sin. It lists a number of other sins, too. Anything that can be described as “my way” rather than “God’s way” is a sin.

What too many people ignore is the fact that God didn’t create a chart giving sins an acceptability rating. He doesn’t view one sin as more acceptable or less acceptable than another. Anything that separates us from Him is sinful–equally sinful.

Addictions like smoking, drugs, and alcohol abuse that “sinners” have a difficult time breaking their dependence on is bad enough. But how many sins do people not even want to resist and sometimes stubbornly insist on holding on to?

Any number of sexual sins fall into that category, including the practice of homosexuality.  And adultery. But so does overeating, something God has helped me to overcome. But not until I’d already developed diabetes.

The Bible refers to the one and only unforgivable sin–and the practice of homosexuality isn’t it. Neither is overeating.

Jesus commands Christians to love one another–and to love their enemies as well–with God’s kind of love. Sacrificial love. So they ought to love gay people just as they would anyone else.

Condemning homosexuals is–in my understanding–unbiblical. At the same time, Christians shouldn’t go against the Bible by accepting the practice of homosexuality as biblically acceptable.

I’d like to say more, but I’ll leave it at that. I’ve tried to make my points without being insensitive or offensive. But I can’t deny my conservative faith in the Bible any more than people who’re different from me will deny who they are.

Please don’t expect me to.

If you want to comment about this post, please do so respectfully–of both sides. God loves us equally.

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I’ll be back again on Sunday. If you’d like to receive my posts by email, go to “Follow Blog via Email” at the upper right.

“On Aging Gracelessly” is only one of my two blogs. I post lyrics of the Christian songs I’ve written over the last fifty years on  “As I Come Singing.” Check it out HERE if you’re interested.  Free lead sheets (tune, words, and chords) are available for many of them. View the list HERE.

If you enjoy my writing, you’ll find a number of things to read on my website.  Also music to listen to and music-related videos to watch.

My newest novel, The Devil and Pastor Gus, is available online at Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Go HERE for links to those places.
Tentative-Front-Cover
Best regards,
Roger

Growing More Conservative (Part Two)

Politics and religion are two other areas in which I’ve grown more conservative over the years.

I once wanted to be a high school civics teacher. I gave that idea up after attending my first political rally.

I’ve never lost my belief in or my appreciation for the Constitution, though. The older I get, the more I see its values being trampled at every level of government–from the Presidency down. The founders of this nation knew what they were doing, and they abided by the laws they’d established. They knew what would happen if the Constitution was ignored. I can only picture their tears of outrage if they were alive today to see how far we’ve fallen.

I used to be more moderate in my Christian beliefs. Although I’ve always believed that a true Christian should accept certain basic doctrines–the virgin birth, Jesus’ miracles, His death and resurrection, and His ascension back into Heaven–other things seemed less important

Like whether God created the world in seven earthly days or seven periods of time. And whether He created Adam outright or used evolution to build up to the first “real” man. And whether some biblical teachings related only to the culture of the day and not to today.

I’ve been sliding slowly but surely further into the conservative camp on those issues, too. If the Bible is true–and I believe it is–it must be accepted as true from cover to cover. No one has the ability to say that we should obey this, but ignore that.

So when Christ said that He was the Way, the Truth, and the Life–the only door to God–He was saying that Christianity is the only true religion. I believe Jesus’ claim, and that makes me uber-conservative. So I have no choice but to reject the claim that all religions are equal.

If you want to comment about this post, please do so respectfully. God loves us even when we disagree with Him.

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I’ll be back again on Wednesday. If you’d like to receive my posts by email, go to “Follow Blog via Email” at the upper right.

“On Aging Gracelessly” is only one of my two blogs. I post lyrics of the Christian songs I’ve written over the last fifty years on  “As I Come Singing.” Check it out HERE if you’re interested.  Free lead sheets (tune, words, and chords) are available for many of them. View the list HERE.

If you enjoy my writing, you’ll find a number of things to read on my website.  Also music to listen to and music-related videos to watch.

My newest novel, The Devil and Pastor Gus, is available online at Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Go HERE for links to those places.
Tentative-Front-Cover
Best regards,
Roger