RELIGIOUS FREEDOM, From the Beginning
“America is great
Because she is good,
If America ever ceases to be good,
America will cease to be great!”
Alexis De Toqueville
In the book “Speeches by our Founding Fathers for a Nation in Crisis” the voices of our forefathers strongly supported what had been denied them in Great Britain: freedom to worship God as they saw fit. Catholics, Puritans, Pilgrims and anyone else rejecting the Church of England were persecuted for their beliefs. Many in the first colonies were various denominations of protestantism and not of the Church of England. Only Maryland welcomed Catholics. Early American Catholics suffered much discrimination within the original 13 colonies.
Early on, Sam Adams noted that “the civil magistrate has everywhere contaminated religion by making it an engine of policy (ie State Religion) and freedom of thought in matters of conscience...directed their course to this country.” Some came to these shores for political reasons, or to grow their wealth or even escape imprisonment but in the early years it was freedom to worship that drove many to risk their lives to cross the Atlantic.
The educated and the wealthy landowners slowly began to shape politics and trade through the first 100 years. But as Britain stopped treating colonists as British citizens and merely as a cash cow for the crown, while their voices were not heard. Representatives sent to England got nowhere in presenting the voice of the colonies.
When people are subjugated to injustice, poverty, loss of income and freedoms along with unreasonable taxes without a voice, rebellion is to be expected. Learn from history!
John Adams: “Our liberties are not the grants of princes and parliaments, but our original rights established... even before parliament existed!” Thomas Jefferson: “Freedom of religion
is the most inalienable and sacred of human rights.” That’s pretty strong language.
In the end it was written into the United States Constitution. “Congress shall make no. law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” In other. words, Congress cannot establish a state or national religion and neither can the government prevent you from practicing your religion of your choice. It does not say freedom FROM religion as some modernists want to promote. This may well be why some churches were defiant of the government lockdown on places of assembly during COVID and held religious services anyway. Oh and that’s another constitutional right, freedom of assembly.
In recent memory there have been many attempted infringements on the religious conscience of both individuals and corporations. Chick-fil-A and religious affiliated schools suffered lawsuits over their moral position on LGBTQ policies as well as health insurance dictates. Hobby Lobby suffered health insurance law suits over government regulations on employee health insurance polices which violated the Christian policies of a Christian business.
The Little Sisters of the Poor were similarly attacked. Town clerks lost their jobs for withholding marriage licenses from same-sex couples because they objected to the policy and were not permitted to have someone else manage the transaction. Rigid, harsh policies! No exceptions for conscientious objectors any more. Roe-v-Wade is another bit of legislation that holds a lot of moral weight for individuals but especially those in the medical and counseling professions. Parents cannot even protect their children in some states! It would appear that the State is taking over decision-making for parents, including vaccinations.
Even small business owners have been penalized for their religious convictions and have been persecuted and been victims of hate crimes against their person and their business establishments.
James Madison stated, “that the civil rights of none shall be abridged on of account of religious belief.” Thomas Jefferson went so far as to say, “to compel a man to furnish the contributions of money for the propagation of options which he disbelieves or abhors, is sinful and tyrannical!” Yet forcing employees to pay for abortion or contraception coverage, which they abhor, through their insurance coverage with no option for exception would seem to be equally tyrannical action by insurance agencies. The rights of one group or individual should not deny others of their rights. That is not justice but tyranny.
Catholics in America are much to passive. Our Bishops and clergy have not organized and protested against immoral legislation (maybe for fear of losing their tax-exempt status?) Christians should be walking the higher ground. People of all faiths need to bond together on issues of common ground and stop the umbrella polices that violate conscience. Evil prevails because good people do nothing. Those who dare to preach on immorality of contraception, abortion and LGBTQ acts violate the Judeo/Christian and Moslem moral tenets are too often silenced or cancelled!
America used to be about the majority rule, but it appears that he who shouts the loudest, does the most violence or pays for more air time, gets what they want. Sounds more like spoiled children than mature thought.
Am I being judgmental? YES! It is right and just to pass judgement on immoral actions, unjust or evil behaviors but not on the person who may have engaged in such. No one knows the circumstances that brings someone into the behavior we see. Only God does. He is merciful to the repentant. “Forgive us our trespasses AS we forgive others”. Judge not the person but lead him/her to another option rather than voicing condemnation and shunning. Jesus never condemned the sinner. The Catholic Church is a hospital for sinners in which all can be forgiven,healed and restored to full membership through the sacraments.