If you are one of the six in every ten Americans, you make New Year’s resolutions at least some of the time. I’m sure many of you made resolutions this New Year and you might still be on track or have already broken them. According to the website Statistic Brain, the top five resolutions made by Americans are: losing weight, getting organized, spending less and saving more, enjoying life to the fullest, and staying fit and healthy.
Don’t get me wrong, those are all fine resolutions, although they are all pretty self-directed. But if you are making resolutions for 2015, I would like to urge you consider an old one that hardly ever makes anyone’s list.
I am not a huge resolution guy. I am goal-oriented and I think it is important to set goals for yourself so you can push yourself to be the very best person you can be. I am just a believer that is should be a year round thing and not something you do once a year just because the calendar says it is time to do so.
This year however, I have had something on my mind a bit lately and it has led me to making a resolution this year. I would like to share that resolution with you and if you are so inclined, maybe you could make it one of yours as well.
My resolution for 2015 is:
To support and pray for religious freedom in 2015.
Religious freedom is simply about freedom of conscience and giving everyone the opportunity to exercise a faith of their choice, or no faith at all if they choose not to.
Religious freedom is something that is a problem all over the world, but I think we as Americans tend to think it is a big issue in other countries, but not so much in the United States. As I have learned over the past year however, it is becoming more and more of an issue right here in our country.
Just think of all that has happened to undermine religious freedom in 2014. Think of all the businesses and organizations who were told to support “same-sex marriages” or face fines and ruins and the loss of their careers. Now I want to be very clear on this so you don’t misunderstand me. I am not saying I am opposed to gays and lesbians or their getting married, but the idea of forcing people to accept this, even if it goes against their religion, is just plain wrong however you look at it.
Let me give you a few examples so you can better understand what I am talking about:
At Gordon College, a well-regarded evangelical institution, the college is facing the possible loss of their accreditation for its biblical beliefs about human sexuality. College President Michael Lindsey, signed a letter requesting that President Obama include a religious exemption in an executive order that would prohibit discrimination in hiring and employment on the basis of sexual orientation or “gender identity.”
Wheaton College, located in Illinois, is facing the same issue and is currently fighting for its beliefs in court.
Think of the owner of Hobby Lobby, a Christian-run company, or the Catholic Little Sisters of the Poor, who are being told by the Obama administration that they must provide their employees with drugs that can induce abortions.
All of these things are going on right in front of our eyes, yet most of us, including me, go about our lives as if nothing is really happening, as if all is well. Well, guess what? Everything isn’t fine.
Religious freedom is the oldest right known to man and we need to protect this right at all costs. I want to make it clear that I’m concerned about protecting this old, fundamental right for all Americans, not simply the Christians. We all have a right to believe what we want to believe and no one, especially our so-called democratic government, has a right to tell us what we need to believe, especially when it comes to our religious beliefs.
This whole thing makes me think of Jonathan Swift’s classic satire Gulliver’s Travels. Remember the scene the sleeping giant Gulliver is being tied down by the Lilliputians? At any moment, Gulliver could awaken and easily tear through the ropes and crush the Lilliputians. But as Gulliver continues to sleep, the Lilliputians are putting one small rope across him followed by another. If Gulliver doesn’t wake up in time, eventually there will be too many ropes, and he will not be able to get up.
Gulliver is like the church in America, who is at the moment asleep to what is happening around them. The Lilliputians are like our culture, which is trying to restrict our freedom of action and beliefs. If the church would wake up and make a stand against what is going on right now in our country, we could put a stop to what is happening; the destruction of our religious freedom. But if the church continues to let our religious freedoms be taken away from us, eventually they will be unable to stop what is happening and our religious freedom will be gone and maybe for good.
My question is whether this will be the year when the church, and for that matter, all of us Americans, finally realizes that although our situation may not be as dire as Bonhoeffer’s and the German church during the reign of the Third Reich, the principle is exactly the same. When the state tries to impose its values on a sleeping nation and all of its churches, it will succeed and will eventually neutralize our voice completely. Everything we have ever fought for as a country will be lost. All of those men and women who have given the ultimate sacrifice to defend our freedom, will have died in vain.
Let’s make 2015 the year we wake up and start fighting back to protect our religious freedom. After all, without religious freedom, I would not even be able to write this blog in the first place. So maybe this is the most important resolution we could ever make.