Morality in America
When studying the founding of the United States, you can’t help but encounter the faith of the nation’s forefathers. Time and again they recognized God’s hand in the shaping of America. You will find Him repeatedly mentioned in their words and documents. And you will find Him having an active, vibrant role in the country’s early history.
Today, God continues His work in America – but it’s in a nation that has clearly lost its moral compass. Every week, “Morality in America” will address the myriad of moral concerns facing the United States and undermining its Godly heritage. After you read, remember to intercede in prayer for America – that this nation will return to the Christian standards that once defined it.
Freedom of Religion or Freedom of Worship?
Is America following Russia's lead?
By Bill Noles, Jr.
Is America in jeopardy of losing its freedom of religion?
In July, Russian President, Vladimir Putin, signed into law new anti-terrorism regulations which restrict Christians from evangelizing outside of their churches.
“The ‘Yarovaya package’ requires missionaries to have permits, makes house churches illegal, and limits religious activity to registered church buildings, among other restrictions,” according to Christianity Today. “Individuals who disobey could be fined up to $780, while organizations could be fined more than $15,000.”
Foreigners who disobey would be deported.
“It’s a very infamous provision of Soviet law they’re basically re-enacting, and it’s problematic because there’s no legal clarity,” said Tanya Lokshina, the Russia program director for Human Rights Watch. “It’s clearly designed for selective implementation.”
“We don’t know yet how these laws will be implemented, but it is already clear that they are achieving their goal of creating an atmosphere of fear and suspicion within society, while allowing the government to restrict freedom in violation of the Constitution and international norms,” stated Mission Eurasia President Sergey Rakhuba in the ministry’s official reaction. “Believers will soon need to make a very important choice: whether to obey God or these new Russian ‘laws.’”
According to the Evangelical Alliance UK, Release International chief executive Paul Robinson said, “We need to pray for Russian brothers and sisters now, as it’s possible the doors may well be closing on the freedoms the church in Russia currently enjoys.”
Russians have freedom of worship but not freedom of religion.
Many countries and governments allow freedom of worship but not freedom of religion. Cuba has ‘freedom of worship’ according to Rafael Cruz, the father of former GOP presidential candidate Senator Ted Cruz, who has raised alarms about the issue.
“Most Christians don’t realize the danger of freedom of worship,” Rafael Cruz said in a recent interview on “Hagee Hotline” with pastor Matthew Hagee. “Freedom of worship is not the same as freedom of religion. Every Communist country around the world has freedom of worship. What freedom of worship means is you can worship inside a house of worship.”
Cruz is the author of the new book, A Time for Action: Empowering the Faithful to Reclaim America, in which he warns that a change to “freedom of worship” would be devastating for America if the policy and practice follow the words.
Cruz explained that even in his native Cuba a person can share the gospel inside a church. However, anyone who tries to spread the gospel outside the church building goes to prison.
“So freedom of worship is to try to keep our message of the gospel just locked up inside the four walls of the church and remove any message of Christianity from the civic society,” Cruz said. “That will destroy the moral fiber of America, and that’s what’s happening in America today.”
“The Obama administration routinely has cited ‘freedom of worship’ as a right protected by the U.S. Constitution instead of ‘freedom of religion,’” WND.com reported. “It was early in Obama’s tenure that Catholic Online and other media outlets reported what appeared to be a deliberate misdirection regarding what the Constitution requires.”
“Catholic Online noted that in President Obama’s June 2009 speech in Cairo, Egypt, he spoke of a Muslim America and the nation’s ‘freedom of religion,’ but by the November 2009 memorial for the Fort Hood soldiers gunned down by a homicidal Muslim, he was terming it ‘freedom of worship,’” the report stated.
From that point, “freedom of worship” has become the term of choice by the Obama Administration.
Senator James Lankford of Oklahoma charged last year during a congressional hearing that the government was “misrepresenting” the First Amendment. “We in the United States actually have freedom of religion, not freedom of worship,” he said.
Sarah Torre of the Heritage Foundation said the difference is significant. In practice, the “freedom to worship” seldom has been challenged or even questioned. But “freedom of religion” is under direct fire.
Catholic Online said: “Let’s be clear … language matters when it comes to defining freedoms and limits. A shift from ‘freedom of religion’ to ‘freedom of worship’ moves the dialog from the world stage into the physical confines of a church, temple, synagogue or mosque. … It … could exclude our right to raise our children in our faith, the right to religious education, literature or media, the right to raise funds or organize charitable activities and the right to express religious beliefs in the normal discourse of life.”
If America continues on its current course, it very well may lose its “freedom of religion.”
This week pray:
- For Russian laws to be changed to allow freedom of religion.
- For America’s leaders to push for freedom of religion.
- That God’s hand will be upon the nation as America chooses its next leader.
Bill Noles Jr. is a former Christian newspaper publisher, an entrepreneur, author and writer. He and his wife Diann live in Albany, Oregon.
The following expressions and comments are from our members and do not necessarily represent or reflect the biblical, world views or opinions of the Presidential Prayer Team
To Add - Enter Below