There has been much talk in the news recently about government infringing on 'religious liberty." Clearly, if the government dictates to a church what it can or cannot do, that is tyranny; however, this argument is merely a red herring; completely avoiding defending an actual position. In fact, if "religious liberty" is the only criterion to look at when deciding whether government can stop an action that may be unjust, then this could very easily justify slavery; even Jefferson Davis thought so.
"[Slavery] was established by decree of Almighty God...it is sanctioned in the Bible, in both Testaments, from Genesis to Revelation...it has existed in all ages, has been found among the people of the highest civilization, and in nations of the highest proficiency in the arts." - Jefferson Davis
"The right of holding slaves is clearly established in the Holy Scriptures, both by precept and example." -Reverend R. Furman
"I give my daughter, Joyce Falkner, present wife of John Falkner, of the county of Fayette and State of Virginia, a negro girl by name of Gemima otherwise called Mima. I give her to the above Joyce together with said Mima's increase forever and for the only use of the said Joyce, to will and dispose of as to her seemeth fit, hereby revoking all other claims of right or title to the said Gemima alias Mima of her increase forever." -Toliver Craig's 1791 will.
For the southern pastors who thought African Americans should be treated as property, they could simply claim they were practicing their "religious liberty" based on the following verses:
"Slaves, obey your earthly masters with respect and fear, and with sincerity of heart, just as you would obey Christ. Obey them not only to win their favor when their eye is on you, but as slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from your heart. Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not people, because you know that the Lord will reward each one for whatever good they do, whether they are slave or free.
And masters, treat your slaves in the same way. Do not threaten them, since you know that he who is both their Master and yours is in heaven, and there is no favoritism with him."
"Slaves, obey your earthly masters in everything; and do it, not only when their eye is on you and to curry their favor, but with sincerity of heart and reverence for the Lord. Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. Anyone who does wrong will be repaid for their wrongs, and there is no favoritism."
1 Timothy 6:1-5,
"All who are under the yoke of slavery should consider their masters worthy of full respect, so that God's name and our teaching may not be slandered. Those who have believing masters should not show them disrespect just because they are fellow believers. Instead, they should serve them even better because their masters are dear to them as fellow believers and are devoted to the welfare[a] of their slaves.
These are the things you are to teach and insist on. If anyone teaches otherwise and does not agree to the sound instruction of our Lord Jesus Christ and to godly teaching, they are conceited and understand nothing. They have an unhealthy interest in controversies and quarrels about words that result in envy, strife, malicious talk, evil suspicions and constant friction between people of corrupt mind, who have been robbed of the truth and who think that godliness is a means to financial gain."
"Teach slaves to be subject to their masters in everything, to try to please them, not to talk back to them, and not to steal from them, but to show that they can be fully trusted, so that in every way they will make the teaching about God our Savior attractive."
1 Peter 2:18-20,
"Slaves, in reverent fear of God submit yourselves to your masters, not only to those who are good and considerate, but also to those who are harsh. For it is commendable if someone bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because they are conscious of God. But how is it to your credit if you receive a beating for doing wrong and endure it? But if you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before God."
As can be seen from the plethora of verses presented, if "religious liberty" is used as an escape, it deflects criticism from the institution of slavery itself. Instead of citing "religious liberty" as the easy way out, a more productive outlet would be to engage in the reasons for or against a particular position; and if a holy book is cited, then it is fair game to look at the entire piece of writing. So to use the Catholic church as an example, if there is no rational justification for being against contraception, then the position should be changed.
Religious liberity I guess is another way to say religious freedom. The freedom of religion to bless bombs and justify murder or killing for religious reasons. The freedom of the church to investigate and solve it's own moral problems without government interference. Christian freedoms and Religious freedoms are not the same concept. Christian freedom is about the freedom to be Christ Like and righteous. Religious freedom is about the freedom to read and understand the different religious books of the world as one see fit.What is needed is a real separation of church and state. The church should stay out of government business and government should not be involved in religion. The church pays no government tax, that is the only real separation from government that is ovious.
I don't mean I want the government heavily involved in religious affairs. It's just that, when a religious group takes an indefensible position, and the government tells them they can't do it, there are immediate cries of "attacks on religious liberty." They can't win the debate on the facts.
However, I don't believe the government should be some sort of thought police that is regulating religion. People can have private beliefs, and I have no problem with that. It's only when religion enters the public sphere and tries to push for specific policies that my problems begin to arise.
I'm in complete agreement with you Sooner. I'am saying what you are saying, in other words. Atlease that was my attention. Religious freedoms are ideas and practicies that are man-made and subject to be illegal or immoral and should be monitored by Government for the public good .I don't think the church should be allowed to play the god card for exemption of Government
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