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Author and historian David Barton is the Founder and President of WallBuilders
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What The Bible Says Good Samaritan's Penny Pulpit by Pastor Ed Rice
By Evangelist Russell Kiddman
What The Bible Says - Good Samaritan's Penny Pulpit by Pastor Ed Rice
What The Bible Says Good Samaritan's Penny Pulpit by Pastor Ed Rice
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Contemporary debates over proposed legislation like the Equality Act and over COVID-19 church restrictions draw attention to the so-called “first freedom” listed in the Bill of Rights—religious freedom. This core right in the U.S. Constitution has been upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court and passed down to contemporary Americans intact.But as debates over how Christians and those of other faiths should live out their faith in the public square increase, questions about religious freedom will remain relevant. Understanding how religious freedom became a core value of the American Founders is critical to understanding its place in the United States today.Here are four reasons that Americans in the Revolutionary era valued religious freedom and protected it for future generations:1. The truth concerning religion is deeply important.In advocating for religious freedom, its proponents did not embrace moral relativism. Isaac Backus, a Baptist preacher, argued that it is precisely because there is objective truth concerning religion that every individual deserves the freedom to discover that religious truth for themselves. Backus wrote:The true liberty of man is, to know, obey and enjoy his Creator, and to do all the good unto, and enjoy all the happiness with and in his fellow-creatures that he is capable of; in order to which the law of love was written in his heart, which carries in its nature union and benevolence to being in general, and to each being in particular, according to its nature and excellency, and to its relation and connection to and with the supreme Being, and ourselves.For Backus and others of his day, part of the definition of liberty itself is the freedom for an individual to “know, obey and enjoy his Creator.” Thus, policies protecting the ability to seek religious truth were a natural extension of this understanding of truth and the freedom to pursue it.2. Respect for individuals’ consciences.Former diplomat Tom Farr argues that human nature “impels us to seek answers to profound questions about ultimate things. If we are not free to pursue those answers… we cannot live a fully human life.” Many of the American Founders understood religious freedom in much the same way.The Virginia Declaration of Rights, adopted by the Virginia Constitutional Convention in 1776, was drafted by George Mason and was influential when Tomas Jefferson was drafting the Declaration of Independence. The Virginia Declaration of Rights stresses the importance of religious freedom to each individual’s conscience:That religion, or the duty which we owe to our Creator, and the manner of discharging it, can be directed only by reason and conviction, not by force or violence; and therefore all men are equally entitled to the free exercise of religion, according to the dictates of conscience; and that it is the mutual duty of all to practice Christian forbearance, love, and charity toward each other.The declaration affirms the importance for all individuals to choose their religious beliefs for themselves, according to the “dictates of conscience.” This highlights how the lack of religious freedom is a very personal assault on the rights of every individual. It is wrong for the government to try to control what goes on in someone’s head, heart, or soul.John Leland, a Baptist minister, argued for robust conscience protections and asserted that the state had no right to be involved in religion in part because every individual must make himself right with God and no government can answer for the souls of men. In 1791, Leland said:It would be sinful for a man to surrender that to man which is to be kept sacred for God. A man’s mind should be always open to conviction, and an honest man will receive that doctrine which appears the best demonstrated; and what is more common than for the best of men to change their minds?Creating a political order with a state-established religion is not fair to the children and grandchildren who will come later because it may violate their conscience, which was not free to choose their faith since it was mandated by the government.3. Establishment of religion is harmful for religion.Many early American pastors were at the forefront of societal protests against the establishment of religion. They did so not for secular but religious reasons. Backus famously argued that a legally established religion or church corrupts “the purity and life of religion.”Many religious leaders promoted religious freedom not just because the freedom to believe affects the conscience of individual Christians, but because the state establishment of religion can have negative affects on the established religion itself. When a state forces religious practice, it waters down churches with individuals who do not truly believe but rather are practicing the faith externally because they are compelled to do so.Utilizing the force of government to require individuals to practice a religion is ineffective at making true religious believers. In 1675, William Penn said, “force makes hypocrites, ‘tis persuasion only that makes converts.”Religious persecution doesn’t only harm those outside the religious majority, it harms the authentic practice of the majority religion. This makes the establishment of a state religion not only pointless, but also oppressive and detrimental to the religion the government associates with.4. All people are equal under the law.George Washington affirmed the inherent natural right to freedom of religion in a letter to a Jewish congregation. While president, he told the congregation, “For happily the Government of the United States, which gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance requires only that they who live under its protection should demean themselves as good citizens, in giving it on all occasions their effectual support.” Washington strongly repudiates religious persecution and emphasizes the equality of all religious groups and believers under the law.***The embrace of religious freedom has contributed to what makes the United States unique in the world. Wherever religious freedom is not protected around the world, oppression and misery clouds society.The world is better off because of the successful example of religious freedom that the United States has set. America’s promotion of international religious freedom has released religious prisoners, rebuilt religious communities devastated by genocide, and offered hope to the oppressed. This serves as a reminder of the importance of maintaining religious freedom here at home. Our Founders enshrined robust religious freedom protections into law because they believed everyone’s right to seek the truth and live according to their beliefs was deeply important. This is worth protecting—for ourselves, for future generations, and for those around the world relying on our advocacy on their behalf.
Here are “The 7” top trending items at FRC over the past seven days:1. Update: Dems Race Awareness of Hypocrisy with Scott SmearThanks to Senator Tim Scott (R-S.C.), we finally found all of those racists Joe Biden keeps talking about. They’re on the Left, right under the president’s nose. After Scott’s inspirational response to the president’s speech, in one of the most vile displays of hypocrisy, Democrats have apparently decided that it’s okay to be prejudiced—as long as the black man is a conservative.2. Update: Voters Have a Vax to Grind with DemsThe New York Times wasn’t laughing at Joe Biden’s infrastructure plan. But the host of the paper’s podcast was laughing at how popular the president’s team thinks it is. In a sit-down with Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, the former candidate estimated that “20 or 30” Republicans might vote for the president’s $2 trillion joke of a public works bill.3. Blog: H.R. 1: A Religious Test for Redistricting?Tucked away in H.R. 1, a bill intended to enact sweeping election reforms, is a problematic religious test for public service—this time on redistricting commissions set up by the bill. H.R. 1 requires states to establish a nonpartisan agency in the state legislature. This nonpartisan agency will establish an independent redistricting commission to organize electoral districts.4. Blog: The Staggering Reach of Billionaire Transgender ActivistsThe first billionaire we have to thank for pushing trans propaganda on our children is a man named James Pritzker. Pritzker came out as transgender in his 60s and now goes by the name Jennifer. The Pritzker family has been on the Forbes magazine Top 10 list of “America’s Richest Families” since 1982. And now it’s the medical industry where the Pritzkers have staked a lot of their current investments.5. Washington Watch: Scott Perry, Tom Cotton, Andy Barr, Kelsey BolarTony was joined by Scott Perry, U.S. Representative for Pennsylvania, on President Biden’s proposed spending of more than $4.3 trillion. Tom Cotton, U.S. Senator from Arkansas, discussed foreign policy in the first 100 days of the Biden administration. Andy Barr, U.S. Representative for Kentucky, shared his call for an investigation into John Kerry after audio surfaced of him leaking sensitive intelligence. Kelsey Bolar, Senior Policy Analyst at Independent Women’s Forum, weighed in on the problems with President Biden’s daycare plan.6. Washington Watch: Mike Rounds, Paul Coleman, Greg Steube, George BarnaTony was joined by Mike Rounds, U.S. Senator from South Dakota, on a possible deal between the United States and Iran. Paul Coleman, Executive Director of ADF International, discussed a bishop in Finland who was charged for hate speech for sharing what the Bible teaches about human sexuality. Greg Steube, U.S. Representative from Florida, highlighted hostilities to religious expression here in the United States. George Barna, FRC’s Senior Research Fellow for Christian Ethics and Biblical Worldview, discussed worldview formation and what parents need to do to counter the indoctrination that is accelerating in our culture.7. Pray Vote Stand Broadcast: Praying For Our FoundationsOn the eve of the National Day of Prayer, Tony Perkins was joined by two top leaders in the Trump administration, Reince Priebus and Jennie Lichter, who worked to protect religious liberty, and Ronnie Floyd to lift up our nation in prayer and pray for President Biden and his administration, believing that the Lord can turn hearts toward Him.
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Family Research Council released today an issue analysis, "Prenatal Nondiscrimination Acts: Why They Are Essential." Prenatal Nondiscrimination Acts (PRENDAs) seek to prevent abortion being used as a tool of eugenics. These laws prohibit anyone from knowingly aborting an unborn child solely on the basis of his or her sex or disability. FRC's new issue analysis explains how these laws address the long shared history of abortion and eugenics in America; which states have passed legislation to ensure unborn children are not aborted on account of their race, sex, or disability; and the challenges these laws have faced in court....
Here are “The 7” top trending items at FRC over the past seven days:1. Update: A Word of Warming on the Border CrisisIt’s been blamed for everything, so it makes sense that if the White House needs a scapegoat on immigration, global warming would fit the bill! America’s supposed border czar, Vice President Kamala Harris, blamed the cause of the surge at the border not on Joe Biden’s ridiculous open-borders policy, but on the environment.2. Update: Red States Get Seat Revenge in CensusThere’s more than one way to get good government: move to it! According to the latest Census data, that’s what a massive number of Americans who are sick of higher taxes, lockdowns, and regulations are doing. Many are moving from states like California and New York, to freer, cheaper states like Texas.3. Blog: Big Money Is Driving the Transgender TrendThe children’s section in Barnes & Noble recently featured a display table of books written by or about “notable women.” Included in the display is the book I Am Jazz. Author Jazz Jennings is a transgender teen (boy) who authored a picture book to explain to preschool age children that their gender identity may not match their biological sex.4. Blog: Texas Takes a Stand for Religious BeliefLiberal states have been attempting to demand total adherence to their ideology for a while now. The Left is no longer interested in co-existing, but rather in demanding every person adheres to their views on sexuality and marriage. The latest target? Texas. But California should know better than to mess with Texas. The Lone Star State is fighting back.5. Washington Watch: Claire Culwell Emphasizes the Importance of the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors ActClaire Culwell, twin abortion survivor, joined Tony Perkins to discuss the importance of the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act in the U.S. House of Representatives. Check out Claire’s new book, Survivor: An Abortion Survivor’s Surprising Story of Choosing Forgiveness and Finding Redemption.6. Washington Watch: Michael Burgess, Ron Johnson, Roy Blunt, Jerry BoykinTony was joined by Michael Burgess, U.S. Representative for Texas, on President Biden’s address to Congress and Senator Tim Scott’s (R-S.C.) response. Ron Johnson, U.S. Senator from Wisconsin, discussed his assessment of foreign policy in the first 100 days of the Biden administration. Roy Blunt, U.S. Senator from Missouri, examined President Biden’s domestic agenda. And, Lt. Gen. (Ret.) Jerry Boykin, FRC’s Executive Vice President and former commander of the U.S. Army's Delta Force, broke down President Biden’s address to Congress.7. Pray Vote Stand Broadcast: Mike Pompeo & Dr. Ben Carson Reflect on Biden’s First 100 DaysPresident Joe Biden has now been in office for over 100 days. Tony Perkins, Mike Pompeo, Dr. Ben Carson, and Michele Bachmann reflect on Biden’s 100 days and the direction this White House is driving America’s policies, at home and abroad.
Here are “The 7” top trending items at FRC over the past seven days:1. Update: Troubled Waters: California Rep. Eggs on RiotersRep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) doesn’t represent the people of Minneapolis. In fact, when she stands in front of a crowd and spews dangerous rhetoric, she doesn’t even represent Los Angeles County. When she travels to Minnesota to tell the mob to “stay in the streets” and “get more confrontational,” she only represents one thing: the fringe Left.2. Update: A Border Boiling OverWhen the 10 Republican lawmakers arrived before midnight to tour the migrant holding facility in Donna, Texas, they were shocked by what they saw. In March, border guards encountered 172,331 unaccompanied minors, family units, and single adults on the southern border, and the flood keeps on coming. And yet, Democrats still insist: there is no crisis.3. Blog: Urgent Prayer Alert: Six Somali Christians Face Life-or-Death Trial for their FaithThe East African country of Somalia is infamous for many reasons, one if which is for hosting the vicious Islamist al-Shabaab terrorist group. And now, according to Open Doors’ World Watch List, Somalia is the third worst persecutor of Christians in the world.4. Blog: Terrible News for Nigeria’s Christians as Violence IncreasesThe stories that emerge from Nigeria are always terrifying and similar: heavily armed jihadis suddenly appear in the dead of night. They attack house after house, breaking down doors, shouting “Allahu Akbar.” They shoot the elderly and able-bodied men. Women are raped or murdered. They kidnap young boys and girls. Then they torch houses, schools, and churches.5. Washington Watch: Michael Waltz, Jeff Duncan, Ken Blackwell, Larry TauntonTony was joined by Michael Waltz, U.S. Representative from Florida, on President Biden withdrawing troops from Afghanistan; Jeff Duncan, U.S. Representative from South Carolina, on Major League Baseball removing the All-Star game from Georgia; Ken Blackwell, FRC’s Senior Fellow for Human Rights and Constitutional Governance and former Ohio Secretary of State, on concerns about violence ahead of the Chauvin verdict; Larry Taunton, Executive Director of the Fixed Point Foundation, on the Marxist takeover of big business.6. Washington Watch: Marsha Blackburn, Jason Johnson, Rand Paul, John McLaughlinTony was joined by Marsha Blackburn, U.S. Senator from Tennessee, on the annual report released by the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom; Jason Johnson, former Deputy Police Commissioner for Baltimore and President of the Law Enforcement Legal Defense Fund, on the verdict in the Chauvin case; Rand Paul, U.S. Senator from Kentucky, on the letter he and a group of GOP senators sent to the Department of Justice and the Small Business Administration urging an investigation into Planned Parenthood; and John McLaughlin, Pollster for McLaughlin and Associates, on his survey showing that 78 percent of all voters support voter ID requirements in elections.7. Washington Watch: John Boozman, James Comer, Quena Gonzalez, David ClossonTony was joined by John Boozman, U.S. Senator from Arkansas, on his legislation that increases penalties for those who attack law enforcement officers; James Comer, U.S. Representative from Kentucky and Ranking Member on the House Oversight Committee, on the U.S. House of Representatives approving D.C. Statehood legislation; Quena Gonzalez, FRC’s Director of State & Local Affairs, on recent state legislation impacting faith, family, and freedom; and David Closson, FRC’s Director of Christian Ethics and Biblical Worldview, on the media criticizing evangelicals for vaccine hesitancy.
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