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church and stateCarol Soelberg

Wednesday, January 16, commemorates the adoption of the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom drafted by Thomas Jefferson back in 1786.  That document declared the freedom of religious choice and religious free exercise all thought to be “natural rights of mankind.”

Fast forward to today.  Pres. Obama issues a statement of commemoration all the while efforts are underway all around to undermine that fundamental freedom.

Some of the most recent affronts to religious liberty include:

  • The ObamaCare mandate that requires businesses and organizations provide sterilizations and contraceptives – including drugs that can cause abortions.  They are required to do this in spite of religious and moral objections or in the case of businesses like Hobby Lobby, face a million-dollar-a-day fine.  Yes, you read that number right.  Hundreds of  individuals and companies have now filed lawsuits against the healthcare mandate.
  • New York high school science teacher, Joelle Silver, was told by school administrators that she had to remove Christian items from her room and desk.  Silver is the adviser for the school’s Bible Study Club and kept a prayer request box in her office, used scripture post-it-notes, and had quotes from Ronald Reagan and First Corinthians hanging in her classroom.  All were deemed unacceptable.  (Seems it’s OK to display rainbow flags and quotes on environmentalism and social justice, but anything relate to Christianity and traditional values have to go.)
  • Walter Tutka, a New Jersey substitute school teacher, was fired because he offered a student a Bible.  Tutka’s troubles began when he quipped to a tardy student, “Remember son, the first shall be last and the last shall be first.”  Later, the student asked Tutka the source of the quote and then the student sought out Tutka while in the school cafeteria and asked for more information.  Tutka showed him the source and the boy replied that he didn’t have a Bible at which point Tutka offered him his own.  Now Tutka is looking elsewhere for employment.
  • Rev. Louis Giglio, an evangelical pastor, was asked to withdraw from the invitation he received to give the benediction at Pres. Obama’s second inauguration.  Why?  Because Rev. Giglio maintains the position that homosexual behavior is wrong and should not be promoted.  As Janice Crouse explains:  “By disinviting the clergyman announced as the choice for giving the second inaugural benediction, the inaugural committee established a beachhead of moral rebellion that prohibits the presence of representative of Christian doctrine in the public square of America.”

So on this day of commemoration, let us all recommit to stand up for our religious heritage and freedoms and not be cowed by those who have concluded that government is required to champion secularism.

“What the Supreme Court and American elites have failed to recognize – once religion is removed from the schools what is left is not a tone of neutrality between religion and secularism.  What is left is simply secularism….  Thus removing religion from the public square and from public schools also violates the norm of governmental neutrality, since government is then indirectly and implicitly favoring secularism.”  – The Challenge of Pluralism; Church and State in Five Democracies

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