When did we lose the freedom of worship

What is really going on, Georgia?  What religious liberty has been trampled?  Has the government stepped in and forced churches to disband?  Can you not go and worship as you please on any given day of the week at any hour of the day?

I understand the idea of trying to protect religious freedoms and all, but these bills do far more than that.  I don’t see where anybody’s right to express their religion has been affected, altered, or compromised in this state or this country.  Churches are still being formed daily.  TBN and other religious channels are still broadcasting their programs without interference or interruptions.  There has been nothing done that affects religious life and practice in this country.

What these laws attempt to do is bring those religious mores and practices into secular America.  That should not happen nor should it even be contemplated because of the complex issues that arises.  Our founders wisely chose not to champion a national religion and ensured that we all could freely worship as we choose.  To try to legislate religious freedoms into secular America would almost necessitate us to pick a national religion.  Otherwise, what religious beliefs do we legislate?

This country is majority Christian, but there are also Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, Jews, and other religions represented in the fabric of our society.  How do you choose which religion decides what practices are tolerated in everyday life?  Would all women be required to cover their hair as to not offend Muslims and protect their religious freedom?  Would the slaughter of cows and the sale of any beef or cow related products be banned to avoid clashing with Hinduism and the followers of that religion?  It may seem trivial or even impossible to fathom, but this is the Pandora’s Box that I think would be open with the passage of these laws.

What would a Christian boycott of Delta, Coke, and Home Depot accomplish?  If Christians decide to not fly Delta, how many Christian missionaries that travel to Africa are going to choose to make a 2 day trip with several connections to get there instead of a direct 16 hour flight from Atlanta to Johannesburg just to make a point?  Even better, how many are going to spend that much more money to have to connect elsewhere on travel when Delta dominates the flights in and out of Atlanta?  How many Christians are willing to boycott these companies and risk their fellow Christians jobs, homes, and family lives just to make a point?

When do we just decide to live as a Christian and love everyone as our neighbors instead of loving to go into battle with our neighbors?  That’s what being a Christian is all about.  When Daniel was thrown into the lion’s den, he didn’t go into battle against his accusers the next day when he came out.  God is love, and as a Christian, I was taught to love everyone, sinners included.  On that same line of thought, people with different belief systems may have different definitions of what constitutes a sin.  If someone commits what a Christian considers a sin, then that doesn’t give you the right to treat them like garbage, you’re supposed to treat them with the same love that you would treat anyone else.

And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.

–Matthew 25:40

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12 thoughts on “When did we lose the freedom of worship

  1. “Can you not go and worship as you please on any given day of the week at any hour of the day?”

    Last I checked, yep. It was quite interesting to read Kyle Wingfield, AJC’s conservative columnist, trying to both assuage fears that this proposed law wasn’t any big deal, just something that they already had in other states, etc., while making the case that we actually needed it, or something like it. He got a lot of flak not just from the usual dirty fookin’ hippies but from his more libertarian-leaning regulars as well; the general vibe was “this seems like a law in search of a problem.”

    Me, I’m just heartened at the backlash, deserved or not (and I of course think it probably was richly deserved.) Perhaps we’ve turned the corner, just a bit, on the whole notion that Christians are a persecuted class of people in this country; perhaps we’re growing up an eensy weensy bit.

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    • I’ve tried to understand the whole persecution thing to no avail. Not one time in my life have I ever felt that my ability to worship has ever been threatened by anyone including the government. I personally think that the persecution complex is driven, in part, by the projection of the scared few who fear change that will bring about a true equal society. The fear of retribution for past indiscretions is a powerful emotion.

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      • The gay community cannot help being who they are anymore than I can help having brown eyes. They were born that way and you can’t pray that away. God made us all in many different forms, ask yourself why. Could it be that He wanted to teach us something? Like understanding, tolerance, and finally acceptance. We are all of one race. The Human Race.

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        • I feel that God made us all the same. He sees no difference in us, and it is we who try to differentiate between us all. As long as we see differences between us, then there will always be something that divides us. I may be darker in skin tone than you, but I see no difference between us at all.

          That’s just my perspective as I think we should focus more on things that unite us if we want to rid ourselves of the negative things. Those who read and believe in the Bible should know the story of the Tower of Babel. We were all one until we thought we were bigger and better than God. Hubris has and always will be the downfall of mankind.

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  2. I have to disagree and agree. If your relationship with God is as I suppose it to be, it would be very personal and private. Private being the operative word. Religions are a negative energy give to intolerance, bigotry, narrow mindedness, and un-enlightenment. Cults for self minded people.
    Unnecessary middle men. What I agree with is your assessment of “the problem is the people who use religion for selfish gain”, but if there was no religions, there could be none of that.

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    • We agree far more than you realize. I wholeheartedly believe that any relationship with God is personal. This is the best and only way I feel one can communicate directly with God. The physical church is a place for like minded people to congregate and share their beliefs, but that doesn’t mean they should force their beliefs onto those who do not share them.

      The sermon that made the strongest impression on my belief system was one in which a preacher described the purpose of the physical church. I can’t remember who it was or which church I was in at the time, but he said the church is like a hospital where people come to get healed. It’s not a place for the saved. If one is to follow the lessons of religion, we should always be in search of betterment for ourselves. I don’t agree with or associate with the idea of using religion to denigrate or discriminate against others.

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    • Thanks. This is just how I see it. I don’t push my beliefs on others, and I won’t allow others to do that to me. I understand the desire to put religious beliefs into the public, but I don’t think our society is set up to allow religious beliefs to be injected into it. That would only work if we all believed the same thing and lived in a theocratic society.

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  3. The problem with these bills is that they set religious belief above the law. They would allow people to say with impunity, “I choose not to obey that law.” I think lawmakers should be respectful of religious points of view when they are deciding what practices to regulate and how, but once the decision is made, the law should be the law for everyone.

    In practice, we all decide to disobey laws from time to time because we’re in too much of a hurry to stick to the speed limit or whatever, but we’re all equally subject to consequences if we get caught. And that’s as it should be. You can decide not to take your child to the doctor because it’s your sincere belief that prayer can cure diabetes, but when the child dies, you’ll be punished the same way parents who simply neglected their child would be punished.

    When Jay wrote about HB1023, the conservatives who posted on his blog were certain that even though the bill said nothing about gays or insurance, the courts who interpret the law would know that the intent was limited to those cases (and any future cases that arise where a law falls afoul of someone’s interpretation of Christian belief). They would not allow the law to be used to permit plural marriage, animal sacrifice, honor killings, or any other practices sanctioned by some religions but outlawed in Georgia. To me, that certainty is a) misplaced, because judges are human and frequently come out with unexpected and sometimes even incorrect rulings, and b) offensive, because it posits that the only religious beliefs that will now be above the law are Christian beliefs.

    These bills were indeed a solution looking for a problem. Religious freedom is not under attack, especially here in Georgia.

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    • I read your dialogue with them over at Jay’s, and I completely agree with you. That’s a sign of short term thinking that ignores long term consequences. That logic is why America appears to be in such a mess nowadays.

      These kind of laws are not necessary at all, and the only purpose that I can see them serving is to increase voter turnout at election time by using dog whistle politics.

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