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 to Pray
Praying at home shouldn't be an offense
By Linda Gilden
In recent years, more persecution and ridicule of those who choose to pray and express their faith in public has arisen. But few believers ever considered the time might come when they had to worry about practicing their faith in their own homes. Think about it. Have you ever been harassed for practicing your faith in your own home? When you close the door behind you, do you worry that the police will be at your door asking you to let them into to your home for no apparent reason?
For Mary Ann Sause, a retired Catholic nurse, her answer to those questions changed several years ago when her freedom was threatened by a loud knock on her door. Terrified because the people outside the door did not identify themselves, Ms. Sause ignored it until they went away. She breathed a short-lived sigh of relief. A short time later the knocking resumed and the police identified themselves and demanded to be let in.
Once inside, the officers harassed and threatened her with jail time without giving her a reason for being there. She asked to pray and one officer granted her request. But when the other officer came back into the room, he ordered her to get up off her knees. Citing the Constitution’s declaration of freedom to exercise her religion and picking up a copy of the document from her table, Ms. Sause referenced her right to pray in her home. The officers scoffed at her and called the Constitution "just a piece of paper" that didn’t work in her situation. It wasn’t until very late in their conversation that the policemen informed Ms. Sause that they were there to answer a complaint about her radio being too loud.
Just a piece of paper? The Constitution of the United States was written to provide Ms. Sause and other residents with certain rights and freedoms. The first clause of the First Amendment clarifies exactly what that means in regard to praying in your home. "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof."
Ms. Sause filed a complaint with the local police department in Louisburg, Kansas. She also enlisted the help of First Liberty Institute to defend her First Amendment rights.
"The police are supposed to make you feel safe, but I was terrified that night," Ms. Sause says.
The government’s position was that the First Amendment only protects one’s right to choose a religion. However, freedom to exercise one’s chosen religion is also part of that.
"Prayer is essential to Ms. Sause’s faith and everyday life," said Stephanie Taub, Associate Counsel for First Liberty Institute. "The government’s argument that the First Amendment only allows an individual to choose a religion, but not to fully exercise that faith, is a blatant misstatement of the law."
This story has many elements but the foundational principle of freedom of religion is paramount. The walls of one’s home have always been hallowed as long as the homeowner is not suspected of doing something illegal.
Jesus instructed you to go into your private places to pray and not make a public show of your faith. "But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you." (Matthew 6:6)
Prayer time alone is sacred and should be practiced in a place free from interruption and criticism. Communing freely with the Father should not be violated. Believers in this country need to band together and pray that freedom to practice their faith will be held sacred and not be infringed upon. Join with other believers to pray for:
- Your country. To be told you cannot pray in the privacy of your own home seems unheard of. But the possibility becomes more real as the government seemingly has less tolerance to those practicing their faith.
- Your new president. His position gives him tremendous power. Pray for President-elect Donald Trump to seek wisdom from God as he upholds the laws and protects the freedoms of this country.
- Your world. Intolerance among those of different faiths is high. You know the answer for the world is found in Jesus Christ but many others do not. Pray that many will believe in 2017.
Linda Gilden directs writing programs for a popular Christian communication organization. She not only writes full time but also directs two writers’ conferences, speaks, edits, and enjoys encouraging writers to fulfill their writing dreams. Linda and her family live in South Carolina.
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
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