Words matter, both in God’s law and in man’s. The framers of our Constitution drafted the First Amendment to read:
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.
Those are among the loveliest words ever penned in the English language. Now let’s edit out one of them: “no.” Go read it again, with “no” crossed out. Suddenly, you live in a completely different country, some place more like Iran, or Venezuela.
An infamous printer’s error in 1631 resulted in thousands of copies produced and sold (before someone noticed) of the “Wicked Bible,” in which Exodus 20:14 reads, “Thou shalt commit adultery.”
Well, the Obama administration has just issued the “Wicked Constitution.” As The Daily Signal reports:
A Republican senator from Oklahoma pressed Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson at a hearing Wednesday about why the U.S. is “misrepresenting” Americans’ First Amendment right to freedom of religion to immigrants who are applying to become U.S. citizens.
“We in the United States actually have freedom of religion, not freedom of worship,” Sen. James Lankford, R-Okla., told Johnson yesterday during a Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs hearing.
New York Times columnist Frank Bruni wrote an Op Ed piece he titled, “Your God and My Dignity – Religious Liberty, Bigotry and Gays,” in which he states, “I support the right of people to believe what they do and say what they wish — in their pews, homes and hearts.” Bruni goes on to say that when Christians use the freedom of religion as guaranteed by the United States Constitution, then they must contend with him. Lest you think this is simply an isolated incident blown out of proportion by a paranoid Christian (as we are constantly being portrayed by Hollywood and the left), one has only to look at the governmental enforcement of this new religion limiting ideology. For example:
Shawano Community High School in Shawano, Wisconsin, has punished a student who expressed his Christian beliefs.
The State of Colorado has officially approved discrimination against Christians.
The city of Atlanta, Georgia fired its Fire Chief because he dared to quote the Bible and express his Christian beliefs in a self-published book.
The Sacramento Country Public Law Library has displayed anti-Christian propaganda, calling it “art.”
The State of New Hampshire and a District Court Judge have taken custody of a child simply because the mother is a Christian and was teaching her daughter Biblical values and morals.
The United States Navy is punishing at least one Chaplain (and likely more) for expressing their Christian beliefs.
The State of Virginia denied religious freedom to several Christian Chaplains, and fired them because they prayed in Jesus' name. The Virginia State Senate then killed a bill that would allow Christian Chaplains to pray in Jesus' name when in public.
The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that prayers during city council meetings that ended in Jesus' name will be banned.
The State of Colorado has actually made the possession or display of the Bible illegal in certain areas.
There are dozens more examples of state sponsored limitation and even denial of the Constitutionally guaranteed right of religious expression, and these types of incidents will not stop, as long as governmental entities are allowed to engage in them without regard for the law. As Sen. Lankford explained in the video above, freedom of worship is only part of our Constitutionally guaranteed right to freed of religious expression. Accepting only that portion of religious expression serves to limit our religious beliefs to home, heart and church, and no where else. We are all under the threat of punishment at the hands of our own government if we attempt to engage in religious expression outside of the government approved areas. Accepting this illegal limitation is akin to cutting off an arm and throwing away the rest of body, and then claiming the arm is a human being, rather than only part of a human being.
This is not just a question of semantics, as Zmirak points out, it is an intentional whittling away of our Constitutional rights. I'll close this off with Zmirak's 2011 warning:
It is only by the thinnest of threads that the Church still has the right to teach the biblical doctrine on sexuality and practice it in its institutions. In Britain, Catholic adoption agencies had to close because the Church’s teaching doesn’t measure up to Leviathan’s standards. If it weren’t for the political muscle of Evangelical Protestants, we’d face the same situation in America. We may soon, anyway; higher courts have upheld the San Francisco Board of Supervisors’ official denunciation of Catholic teaching on homosexual adoption. How many Democratic appointments to the U.S. Supreme Court will it take before the First Amendment ceases to shelter us? As former senator Rick Santorum warned in his talk last month at the Harvard Club, influential voices like Hillary Clinton’s are already switching the language in which they describe the First Amendment. Instead of “free exercise of religion,” Clinton has started speaking of “freedom of worship.”