Religious Freedom Rallies Bring Christians Together

Christians rallied from one end of the country to the other this past Friday to let Washington hear loud and clear that we will not allow our religious freedoms to be trampled on without a fight. There were at least 160 coordinated rallies held on the anniversary of the introduction of 12 proposed amendments to the United States Constitution. James Madison introduced the amendments on June 8th, 1789 and by December of 1791 ten of the amendments had been ratified by two-thirds of the states and became known as the Bill of Rights.

The first amendment states clearly, "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 people peaceably to assemble and to petition the government for a redress of grievances." The HHS mandate currently being contested in 12 lawsuits filed by forty-three Catholic groups would require employers to provide employees free abortion-inducing drugs, sterilization and contraceptives through their health plans beginning in August of this year. The mandate flows from President Obama's landmark 2010 healthcare law, which is currently under review by the U.S. Supreme Court. It is a law that was recklessly rammed through Congress over the objection of a vast majority of Americans and the ramifications of that law now threaten one of our most sacred rights.

But Christians from every walk of life and every religious persuasion are declaring in one voice that we will not be ruled by an out of control, bloated bureaucracy intent on taking our freedom. Christians will not go quietly into the dark night of despotism. We will not cower before government power when, according to our Constitution, "we the people" are the ones who empower the government.

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Christians who gathered on June 8 gathered to send the message that the Constitution, particularly the Bill of Rights was written to protect "we the people" from those who believe they can simply impose their will because they occupy the halls of power. The rallies were an exercise of our constitutional right to resist unconstitutional laws. They reflect the commitment of millions of Americans to work together through the legislative process to set us free from the heavy hand of those in government who do not respect the First Amendment.

In his excellent book, We Still Hold These Truths, Matthew Spalding recalls the dedication of the National Archives building in Washington, D.C. The year was 1952 and the speaker was then President Harry S. Truman. Truman's warning concerning our liberty echoes through time. It reaches our ears today reminding us how precious and how tenuous our liberty truly is. Referring to all of the founding documents housed in the new building Truman said, "Liberty can be lost, and it will be if the time ever comes when these documents are regarded not as the supreme expression of our profound belief, but merely as curiosities in glass cases."

In his book Now or Never, Senator Jim DeMint defines freedom as, "what occurs when millions of people make their own decisions about what they value and what they do. America began as an experiment in freedom, and it is our characteristic reverence for liberty that has made us great. Returning to decentralized political power and individualism will restore freedom… and this restoration of freedom will help rebuild America's greatness." Senator DeMint is right to point out the link between the decline of collectivism and the rise of individualism as the route to a restoration of our freedom. Only God has the power to transform the masses into individuals with the character traits that are essential to self-government. People who want to live free must exhibit personal responsibility, self-restraint, a commitment to family, charity, an ethic of hard work, sacrifice, and delayed gratification. These characteristics must rise from within because they cannot be legislated from any government body.

In 1835, Alexis De Tocqueville wrote, "Despotism can do without faith, but liberty cannot. When a people's religion is destroyed then not only will they let their freedom be taken from them, but often they will actually hand it over themselves."

We need to remember that our Founding Fathers were not Atheists, Deists, Taoists, Maoists, Fatalists, or Socialists. They were men of God who realized our form of government would fall if our faith in God failed.

So how do we rescue our Republic as it teeters on the brink of tyranny? I believe we must look to the example of Joshua and Caleb from the book of Deuteronomy. After spying out the land of Canaan with 10 others they returned with a report that the land was plentiful and although giants also occupied it living in great fortresses God had already given them the land.

But the people were afraid. They refused to enter the land and God punished them for their lack of faith and lack of action. God caused them to wander in the wilderness for forty years until the doubting generation died out.

We are faced with a similar situation today. God has given us this great land. He raised it up as a beacon for freedom and as a platform for the spread of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We must have the courage and faith of Joshua and Caleb to move forward and take the land by voting our convictions. If we fail to speak up and act in the face of what seems to be impossible odds we will suffer the same fate as those who wondered in the wilderness until their generation died out.

This is our time. It now falls to our generation to rekindle our passion to relearn our history and to protect our heritage of freedom. We must lift the principles of liberty from the glass case of history and enshrine them afresh and anew in our hearts.

Dr. Tony Beam is Vice-President for Student Services and Director of the Christian Worldview Center at North Greenville University in Tigerville, South Carolina.

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