Sunday, June 28, 2015

Freedom of Worship vs. Freedom of Religion

Amendment I
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.

Notice the word used in First Amendment - religion. The government is barred from establishing an official religion, or prohibiting the free exercise of religion.  The amendment protects Freedom of Religion.This is very different - a much broader and Higher concept - than mere freedom of worship.

Freedom of Religion is the right to worship (or not) as you please, AND it is the right to live your life according to the dictates of your religion. Freedom of Religion means you have the right to pray and worship in any style you wish. It also means that you have the right to live your entire life according to the beliefs, principles, and teachings of your religion.

Freedom of Worship is a much watered-down concept, applying to only your worship and not to any other aspect of your life. It is limited to acts of worship only, and even then is further limited to the four corners of the church building and maybe the privacy of your home.

Let's make this simple: Freedom of Religion guarantees that government cannot force a Christian baker to make a cake for a gay wedding. On the other hand, forcing a Christian baker to make a cake for a gay wedding does not violate the baker's freedom of worship, so the government is free to force the baker to do so.

Under Freedom of Religion, Christian parents (or Jewish, or Hindu, or whoever) are guaranteed the freedom to teach their religion, including its values and beliefs, to their children. This is not guaranteed under freedom of worship, because the act of teaching those values and beliefs is not considered an actual act of worship by the State. Under the concept of freedom of worship, the State is permitted to dictate what can or cannot be taught to your children.

Given the recent SCOTUS ruling on gay marriage, this difference between freedom of worship and Freedom of Religion looms very large. Under freedom of worship, the State may dictate to parents that you are no longer allowed to teach your children that homosexuality is a sin. Such a dictate would be a violation of the much broader and Higher concept of Freedom of Religion, but does not violate freedom of worship because the State does not consider the act of teaching to be a protected act of worship.

Needless to say, this difference has ramifications in many areas of life, not just the teaching of your children. 

You might be thinking that this is all theory, that the government will not try to water-down Freedom of Religion into freedom of worship. Actually, it already has literally replaced the concept of Freedom of Religion with freedom of worship. On example is on the US Citizenship test, where the phrase "freedom of worship" is now used instead of "Freedom of Religion" (see the articles New U.S. Citizenship Exam Shreds 1st Amendment and Watering Down Religious Freedom to ‘Freedom to Worship’).

It should also be noted that the First Amendment does not GIVE us Freedom of Religion. Freedom of Religion is a Natural Right that is given to us from the Creator of All (you may know Him as God). Therefore, Freedom of Religion is a Higher Law (higher than any man-made law, including the US Constitution) and thereby cannot be either given or taken away by any form or law of government. The First Amendment only guarantees, in writing, the intentions of our Founders for the new federal government to respect and obey the Higher Law of Freedom of Religion.

Freedom of Religion is greater than freedom of worship. To hear anyone, especially a politician or bureaucrats, speak of freedom of worship instead of Freedom of Religion should send chills down the back of any religious person. Freedom of worship is a direct assault on our Freedom of Religion. Insist that our government and its politicians respect the Higher Law of Freedom of Religion. Do not let them water it down to mere freedom of worship.

Please help teach others about this incredibly important topic. Talk to you priest, pastor, or rabbi about Freedom of Religion vs. freedom of worship and make sure they are fully aware of why it is important. If you are part of a bible study or prayer group, bring up this topic for discussion. Likewise, make sure your children are fully aware of this topic (they are likely being taught only freedom of worship in school). Lastly, make sure your elected officials understand the difference and respect the importance of Freedom of Religion.

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