Design of the Week – Free to Pray

September 21, 2011 at 11:14 am | Posted in Designs of the Week | Leave a comment

This week’s design is called Free to Pray.

The design is a lot like our Freedom to Preach design. It is the result of efforts in my hometown to squelch student led prayer before a high school football game. The First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution states:

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 the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

The First Amendment was added (along with the rest of the Bill of Rights) to ensure that the liberties that the Americans had just fought for would not be taken away from them by their newly elected officials. One of the main reasons that many of the colonies of our country were started was the freedom to practice their religion. The majority of the people who came here did so from the British Isles. Most of them were Protestants who were fleeing the oppressive reign of the Catholic kings in their homeland. As the colonies grew, the UK began to set boundaries on what they could and couldn’t do. When our nation finally won it’s freedom from the UK, it set about laying out a foundation of checks and balances to prevent any one person or group from gaining power over the others. They left much of the power of the nation to the people and the states in which they lived. Most of the people of America just wanted to live their lives with as little government intrusion as possible. This is how the government was set up.

When the Constitution was created, it was done so with this in mind. Through long arguments, the founders set up the basis for the government that still rules our nation today. When the Constitution was sent to the states to be ratified, it was stalled until the Bill of Rights was added. These 10 Amendments to the Constitution protected the liberties of the people from the power that was possible if the government ever grew too big. The first of these amendments prohibited the Federal government from establishing a national religion. It also prevented the Federal government from prohibiting the free exercise of religion. It is important to keep in mind that the religion the Amendment is talking about is (for all intents and purposes) Christianity. When it talks about religions, it is referring to the different denominations within Christianity and not necessarily to other religions.

Since the founding of our nation, the first amendment has been twisted and torn from it’s original context and misused by those who wish to erase God from our country. Many say that this amendment’s purpose was to erect a wall of “separation between church and state”. The problem with this is that this phrase is not found anywhere in the Constitution. It is from a letter by Thomas Jefferson to the Danbury Baptists. The letter Jefferson wrote is in response to one that the Danbury Baptist Association wrote him. In it, they congratulated him on his election to the presidency. They also expressed concern about their religious liberties. They said that religion is between God and man and felt that the government had no power to extend its control to whether or not someone practices religion. They specifically expressed concern that  those in power would try to remove the liberty to practice their (Baptist) faith or cause suffering, harm, or reproach for that same practice.

In his response, Jefferson talks about a “wall of separation” being made between church and state by the first amendment. The sad irony of this is that the way Jefferson saw it was the wall was there to prevent the very things that are happening today. The separation of church and state (still not in the Constitution by the way…) was to prohibit the state (federal) government from interfering with the freedom to practice religion. In other words, in Jefferson’s view, the “wall” kept the federal government hemmed in instead of keeping the freedom of religion out. This is not what’s happening today. Now, the federal government and the gross abuse of power by the courts has all but erased the free practice of religion where Christianity is concerned. For other religions, like Islam and atheism, there are seemingly no bounds. You can do whatever you want without care or fear of the government stepping in and silencing you. Schools in Michigan are moving their football practices to 4AM to accomodate Muslims practicing prayer and observing Ramadan. Where is the uproar? Atheism is all but mandatory in schools under the guise of scientific objectiveness and not one thing is said (in case you’re unaware, that’s what evolution is touted as…objectiveness…in reality, it’s just the proselytizing of children into atheism/secular humanism with your consent). However, if you even think of mentioning the name of Jesus or talking about the God of the Bible, there is a threat of lawsuit and the federal government comes down like the Gestapo.

The sad thing is, all of this is thinly veiled under the desire for tolerance. The people trying to rid America of Christianity and its Christian foundation are doing so in the name of tolerance. It only proves that they have no understanding of what true tolerance is. It also shows that they really don’t understand Christianity. If they did, they would realize that Christianity is the most tolerant of all religions. They would realize that it is because of Christianity and the doctrines therein that they even have the freedoms they enjoy now. Our nation was founded on Judeo-Christian beliefs. Those beliefs are essential to our nation staying the nation that it is, whether you practice those beliefs or not. The foundation of our nation was built on the freedoms and liberties given to us, including the freedom to pray…to pray for our nation, its leaders, and even those who hate our God and our beliefs in public and without fear.

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