Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Election 2016: Voting First For Religious Freedom

It is amazing to me to see so many Christians stretching and squirming to defend their vote for a flagrant criminal. It is likewise amazing to watch them stretch to support candidates who openly support abortion and the taxpayer funding thereof. It is amazing to watch Christians wrestle with voting for a narcissist. But, the thing that is most astonishing and the opposite of redeeming is watching Christians vote against religious freedom. Religious freedom is by far the highest ranking issue on the ballot this November, period and hands down. Yes, abortion is important, Israel is important, immigration is important, the economy is important. But, what should be the most important issue to those who claim religion to be their driving passion? Religious freedom is the number one issue this election season for the Christian. And, everything else is secondary.

Religious freedom is the first of the Constitutional Amendments that we call The Bill of Rights. All other freedoms begin with religious freedom. It is the foundation of religious freedom that has guaranteed all of our other freedoms in America. In fact, freedom is another word for liberty which is what our Constitution is meant to secure. The First Amendment reads, “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 is our first priority Constitutionally. All else is secondary or worse. For those who fight for voting rights and abortion as the “law of the land,” neither of those are actually mentioned in the Constitution. But, religious freedom is the first of the Bill of Rights. It is the first of all civil rights, aside from life. And, it is the very basis that America was founded upon. Thomas Jefferson even called religious freedom “the most inalienable and sacred of all human rights.” If it were not for our insatiable desire to freely worship, there would probably be no United States of America. Therefore, especially in days where it is most threatened, once again, it is the most important issue. Can you think of any issue that is more important to God than religious freedom? As you answer that question, remember that God is the Almighty Father of Christians and He does all that He does to make His children free, much like a good Earthly father (especially free to worship). What on this Earth could He value more in the political realm? With that backdrop, let’s examine together where the major candidates stand on what is most important to God.

Hillary has expressed clear opposition to religious liberty. A few of her many quotes are as follows:

  • Regarding abortion, “Laws have to be backed up with resources and political will. And deep-seated cultural codes, religious beliefs and structural biases have to be changed.”
Interpretation: You better change what you believe or we will change it for you.
  • Regarding Obamacare unconstitutionally forcing Catholic organizations against religious conviction to provide free birth control to women, she said, “Every woman, no matter where she works, deserves birth control coverage.”
Interpretation: Free birth control for women is more important than the First Amendment.
  • She has explicitly opposed every Religious Freedom Act passed at the State level, including the one passed by her own husband.
Interpretation: Clinton does not believe in providing people of Christian faith reasonable accommodation, while she believes people of every other belief should absolutely be accommodated.
  • Conclusion: The Christian voting for Hillary Clinton is committing religious suicide.

While Gary Johnson is not a major candidate (Libertarian), he is no better, if not worse, on this issue. A few of his many quotes are as follows:
  • Johnson said that he “believes it's the government's duty to prevent discrimination" and said that "giving exceptions based on religion ‘will open up a can of worms.’”
Interpretation: Petty interpretations of discrimination (like baking a cake for a gay wedding) should trump the First Amendment. And, religious freedom is a “can of worms.” In other words, the First Amendment is a can of worms.
  • His analogy: “Why shouldn't somebody be able to shoot somebody else because their freedom of religion says that God has spoken to them and that they can shoot somebody dead?”
Interpretation: Do we really need to interpret this one? In other words, extreme examples that never happen and are never litigated are enough to deny Christians their conscience.
  • Johnson concluded by saying he saw "religious freedom, as a category, of being a black hole."
Interpretation: the First Amendment is a black hole. The very issue that our nation was founded upon is a black hole. No comment.
  • While Johnson believes in not getting involved in the wars of others, he went on to say that he does "not believe Iran is a military threat" and "would use all my presidential power to prevent Israel from attacking Iran.”
Interpretation: So, as a Libertarian, it is wrong to get involved in the wars of others, except he will do everything in his power to prevent Israel from defending itself from Iran. He does not see the threat of Iran. But, he sees the threat of Israel as worthy of denying his conviction to stay out of conflict.
  • Lastly, Johnson is a staunch advocate of “gay marriage” and abortion.
Interpretation: Gay marriage and abortion are allowed to impede on the rights of Christians but not the other way around. In other words – contradiction.
  • Conclusion: How ironic that the “Libertarian” candidate is not libertarian on the chief issue of liberty in our Constitution?

Ironically, while not perfect on the issue, the only major candidate running that is courageously bullish and outspoken on preserving religious liberty is Donald Trump. Of the three candidates that this post highlights, his stated views are the closest to Constitutional and that with which Christians should align. To illustrate, here are a few of Trump’s quotes on the issue:
  • “A week doesn’t go by where there’s not some negative ruling on something having to do with Christianity. I’ll be fighting on the other side much stronger than anybody else that you have up there fighting, because I think it’s really outrageous.”
Interpretation: Trump will fight for the First Amendment, unapologetically.
  • “We will protect the right of churches to speak their minds on political matters, free from intimidation.”
Interpretation: Trump will fight for the freedom of speech and religion that emanates from the pulpit.
  • “We will restore faith to its proper mantle in our society, that’s what we have to do and we have to do that soon. We will respect and defend Christian Americans.”
Interpretation: Trump is in favor of religion playing the role that it played from the beginning of the American founding. This is in perfect keeping with the First Amendment (a.k.a. the law of the land).

Jesus gave examples of His view towards religious freedom as in Matthew 19:16-23. And, even in the Old Testament, we have the famous quote from Joshua regarding religious freedom in Judges 24:15. Also see more from Jesus in John 8:32 and 36. But, the clear message of the Gospel and the entire Bible is God’s message of freedom borne of faith, hope and love. In fact 2 Corinthians 3:17 says, "Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom." Freedom of religion is the most important civil liberty to be voting upon this election and every election where it stands in question. If you disagree, look God in the face and tell Him, "I don't think your children should be free and I will oppose their freedom." Our freedom of religion has never been more threatened since the Constitution was penned than it is today.

In conclusion, the culture wars are all but lost. The monstrously growing government remains as the single biggest threat to our remaining freedoms. Our last line of defense, and our most important line of defense, is that of religious freedom. If there is a litmus test for voting today, that is it. Vote wisely. But, if you vote against religious freedom, please don’t claim that you do so for God. The Heavenly Father to Christians and such a vote are not aligned.

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