American Religious Liberty is an endangered right. Worship the State, or Else!
The US Supreme Court ruling in November 2020 may be only a temporary reprieve from government assault on faith.
In totalitarian countries, governments suppress religious worship. That’s because dictators believe citizens should worship them as the highest authority and not a Higher Authority. They view religion as a threat to their power and position.
In the United States, the threat to religious liberty has been under attack for some time. The U.S. Supreme Court decision in November 2020 may be a temporary reprieve from the government’s assault on faith. The narrow 5-4 ruling is a warning the threat is not over.
The court majority ruled that NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo overstepped his authority and the U.S. Constitution. During the COVID-19 pandemic, he ordered that worship services must be limited to an arbitrary number he created out of whole cloth.
What causes so many Americans to place their faith in government over faith in God, or even faith in themselves? False gods of wood, iron, bronze, and gold could not answer ancient people’s prayers. When government does not answer the “prayers” of so many, why do people continue to put their faith in it?
When the government sets itself up as the ultimate authority on all things, including the right to gather and worship freely, other liberties can quickly be at risk. If the First Amendment is to be challenged, even watered down when it comes to faith and practice, why not impose stricter controls on speech and the press, as is done in totalitarian states? Once the principle that government endows rights, it is a short step for the government to take them away.
In China and elsewhere around the globe, dictators view God as a challenge to their rule. They demand total fealty. Those who look to go over their heads with appeals to Heaven must be arrested, jailed, and murdered to preserve the almighty state.
One of the founding principles that brought Pilgrims from England to America was the freedom to worship God as their consciences dictated. The Constitution guarantees that right. In more recent years, the term “separation between church and state” penned by Thomas Jefferson in a private letter to a friend, has come to mean the right of the government to define the meaning of “church,” restricting the practice of faith to one hour on Sunday morning and in the case of Mr. Cuomo and some other governors and mayors, dictating how many people can gather to worship Someone other than them.
A Wall Street Journal editorial commenting on the court’s decision got it right: “The Court explains that New York’s order treats houses of worship more harshly than what Mr. Cuomo considers ‘essential’ businesses. Those include liquor stores, bike shops, acupuncturists, lawyers, accountants, and more.”
Sermons I have heard over the years have noted that in the eyes of God, when one has broken one of the Ten Commandments, one has broken them all. Breaking one law, they have noted, defines one as a lawbreaker.
It is a good analogy when considering our liberties. If one is threatened, all are potentially at risk. President-elect Joe Biden promised to name more liberal judges to federal benches. If he succeeds, expect more challenges to religious freedom and other constitutional rights, including the right to life and the right to keep and bear arms. The runoff election in Georgia in January 2021 must elect two Republicans so that a Senate majority can block challenges by the new administration, not just to religious liberty but to other freedoms as well.
Via Cal Thomas, Washington Times