" . . . Other early leaders expressed similar views regarding religious liberty.
Thomas Jefferson, the drafter of Virginia's Bill for Establishing Religious Freedom, wrote in that document that civil government
could interfere in religious exercise only "when principles break out into overt acts against peace and good order".
In 1808, he indicated that he considered "government of the United States as interdicted by the Constitution from intermeddling
with religious institutions, their doctrines, discipline, or exercises." 11 The Writings of Thomas Jefferson 428-429."
" . . . The right to free exercise was a substantive guarantee of individual liberty, no less important than
the right to free speech or the right to just compensation for the taking of property. See P. Kauper, Religion
and the Constitution 17 (1964) (Our whole constitutional history . . . supports the conclusion that religious liberty
is an independent liberty, that its recognition may either require or permit preferential treatment on religious grounds in
some instances . . . )". As Madison put it in concluding argument of his "Memorial and Remonstrance":
"The equal right of every citizen to the free exercise of his Religion according to the dictates of his conscience is
held by the same tenure with all our other rights . . . It is equally the gift of nature; . . . it cannot be less dear
to us; . . . it is enumerated with equal solemnity, or rather studied emphasis." 2 Writings of James Madison, at
" . . . Curry, The First Freedoms, at 219 (quoting Continental
Congress); see Adams & Emmerich at 72 ("The Founders . . . acknowledged that the republic rested largely on
moral principles derived from religion"). To give meaning to these ideas -- particularly in a society characterized
by religious pluralism and pervasive regulation -- there will be times when the Constitution requires government to accommodate
the needs of those citizens whose religious practices conflict with generally applicable law."
" . . . The Religion Clauses of the Constitution represent a profound commitment to religious liberty. Our
Nation's Founders conceived of a Republic receptive to voluntary religious expression, not of a secular society in which religious
expression is tolerated only when it does not conflict with a generally applicable law."
. . . Given the centrality of freedom of speech and religion to the American concept of personal liberty, it is altogether
reasonable to conclude that both should be treated with the highest degree of respect."
Sandra Day O'Connor, in her dissent, walked us through a history of legally perceived and enforced Free Exercise of Religion
rights, afforded every American, based upon the First Amendment right, for the first 210 years of the nation's history.
Words of Comfort:
1 Corinthians 15:3 - 9: "For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our
sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures,
and the he appeared to Peter, and then to the Twelve. After that he appeared to more than five hundred of the
brothers at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James,
then to all the Apostles, and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born." (NIV)
Galatians 3:13-14: "Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written:
"Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree". He redeemed us in order that the blessings given to Abraham might
come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that by faith we might received the promise of the Spirit." (NIV)
Ephesians 1:3-10: "Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly
realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and
blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with
his pleasure and will -- to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. In Him
we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God's grace that He lavished
on us with all wisdom and understanding. And he made known to us the mystery of His will according to his good pleasure,
which He purposed in Christ, to be put into effect when the times will have reached their fulfillment -- to bring all
things in heaven and on earth together under one head, even Christ. " (NIV)
2:8-10: "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith and this not from yourselves, it is the gift
of God -- not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works,
which God prepared in advance for us to do." (NIV)
2:13-15: "When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with
Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us
and that stood opposed to us; he took it away, nailing it to the cross. And having disarmed the powers and authorities,
he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross." (NIV)
2 Timothy 3:16: "All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in
righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work" (NIV)
Titus 3:4-7: "But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared,
he saved us,not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us though the washing of
rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that having
been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life." (NIV)
and our Faith:
The philosophical movement of those academic, media, and political figures, who share the belief that
there is no God, no sin, no need for the Lord Jesus Christ's death on the cross for our transgressions, no Satan or hell
or demons, ("Social Constructivists"), has been culturally very challenging for the Christian Community.
have, in fact, attempted to push their viewpoint that there is no God and that our Lord Jesus Christ never existed or,
conversely, was not the Son of God. The well known and respected Jewish Historian, Josephus, who lived in the 1st
Century A.D. wrote in "Jewish Antiquities", Book 18, Chapter 3, paragraph 3: "Now there
was about this time Jesus, a wise man, if it be lawful to call him a man; for he was a doer of wonderful works, a teacher
of such men as receive the trust with pleasure. He drew over to him both many of the Jews and many of the
Gentiles. He was (the) Christ. And when Pilate, at the suggestion of the principal men among us, had condemned
him to the cross, those that loved him at the first did not forsake him; for he appeared to them alive again the third
day, as the divine prophets had foretold these and ten thousand other wonderful things concerning him. . .
. .". Recorded by the well respected Jewish Historian, Josephus, (1st Century A.D.), as an account
of our Lord. "Social Constructivists" have attempted to disprove the Exodus of the Jewish nation from
Egypt, citing lack of proof. There is only lack of proof, if you ignore historical events such as the expulsion
of peoples/nations from Egypt. One such event was the expulsion of the Hyksos people from Egypt (1486 to 1469 B.C.),
a well documented historical event. Social Constructivists have also tried to dismiss the flood. In recorded history,
the catastrophic breach of the Bosporus Straits by the Mediterranean Sea into the basin which became the Black Sea, occured generally
around 5600 B.C.. The Black Sea is 168,496 square miles. The combined square miles of the states of
New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Rhode Island, and Maryland
is 154,835 square miles which is 13,661 fewer square miles than the size of the Black Sea. No floods found in
recorded history? The Lord always leaves evidence of His presence.
Other Resoureces to Consider:
Another recent presentation by Os Guiness: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Eq-DThOTTI
The Apostle Paul states
in Ephesians 6:12: "For our struggle is not against flesh and blood but against the rulers, against the authorities,
against the powers of this dark world, and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms." The Lord
Jesus Christ stated in Luke 10:18 and 19: "I saw Satan fall like lightening from heaven. I have given you authority
to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you". We
know who our ongoing battle is ultimately against.