Thursday, May 2, 2013

The Government and Freedom of Religion.


    The Pentagon has since put out a statement retracting the earlier statement about proselytization, but I feel that this article accurately describes the absurdity of making the proclamation of God's truth illegal in the United States.

            I awoke to the news on May 1st that if I continue to practice my religion in the military I could potentially be court-martialed for doing so. (read about it here) The news that pentagon officials are considering banning military member, including chaplains, from exercising their right to free practice of religion and free speech by banning so called “proselytization” has shaken me to my very core. The very fact that an American citizen might be barred from practicing a peaceful part of their religion is so abhorrent and anti-constitutional that it causes me to wonder just how far our country will fall into absolute idiocy before it gets a clue.
            The most famous settlers of the United States were the pilgrims; these religious refugees were fleeing persecution from the government-sanctioned Church of England. Theses persecutions included fines for not attending Government approved churches, imprisonment for leading alternative church services and in some cases execution for the leaders of illegal churches.
            When the founders of the United States wrote the Constitution and the Bill of Rights to guarantee the freedom of every American Citizen they made sure to start out the Bill of Rights with the words “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof”. The persecution of those who disagreed with the government sanctions including the government sanctioned church was something that these men knew a lot about, they had even seen the destruction that a governmental church can wreak on liberty when it happened in North America. Including the persecution by the very churches that had fled England’s persecution, which had led to many states passing laws against such persecution apart from the Bill of Rights. The founders of our country were well aware of the problem of elevating one system of beliefs above that of another and how quickly it can lead to tyranny.
            It’s sad to see this fundamental part of our country’s history become so easily forgotten or purposely cast aside. I have no doubt in my mind that these new proposals banning “proselytization” are elevating one system of belief over another. The secular humanistic viewpoint has become the normative viewpoint for the government and this possible ban is exerting the authority of that system of beliefs above the beliefs of other religions.
            As a Protestant Evangelical Christian it is my solemn conviction that there is no salvation apart from Jesus Christ, and that it is in him alone that man can be saved from their sins. Because of my strong convictions it has been and will be my desire to tell others about how God has offered forgiveness in Jesus Christ. I have served in the military for 5 years, had these rules been in place during those five years I could have been charged with a crime dozens if not close to a hundred times. Within the past three months had these rules been in place I could have been charged with at least six different instances of proselytization.
            This ban is a ban on the free exercise of my religion. In the New Testament Jesus himself commanded his disciples to “go and make disciples of all nations…” and he also said “repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in His [Jesus] name to all nations…” It is my duty to my God to carry out his commands including the command to proclaim the good news of forgiveness of sins to the entire world. While serving in the military I have seen the need for people within the military to hear this good news, and because of this need I had been planning on staying in the military in order to carry out this tenet of my faith and showing my love for my fellow military members. With this new anti-legislation I am effectively made a criminal and the free practice of my religion is made into a criminal act violating the very principles on which this country was founded. I am put in a position in which I have to choose between violating the laws of my country and violating the laws of God.

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