|Religious Pluralism - An Inalienable Right Given by God?|
These words from the beginning of The Declaration of Independence are among the most well known and revered in all of history. While holding a special place in the hearts of people within many nations of the modern world, in no place are they held higher and closer than within the hearts of American Christians of most stripes.
I found out just how closely they are held and how highly thought of these words are yesterday in a conversation on Facebook. After being invited to the page of Ben Bush Sr, my Father by the way, I posted the following;
- "I've been asking this question for several years and have never received a response other than silence, even when the question was asked face to face. The question is this. ..........."If certain signs, symbols. words and phrases on government buildings and documents are to be considered legitimate evidence for the United States being a Christian Nation, what are the many more pagan signs, symbols, words and phrases on government buildings and documents to be taken as evidence of?"
The issue I want to point out regards Final Authority: Who or What is your Final Authority? This vital question has traditionally been answered by resorting to The Bible, self-identified as "The Word of God," as the final arbiter of beliefs and practice for all professing a relationship with God through faith in the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
The above conversation, though, is a stark example of what takes place when the people of God attempt to interpret History, especially American History, without a prior acknowledgment of The Bible's statements about God, secular politics and the relationship of God's People to each one.
So, here's the rub. The Declaration espouses the particular tenet that all rights, inalienable rights specifically, come from God. That includes the Freedom of Religion, the right to worship God, to exercise their religion according to the dictates of a person's own heart, specified in the First Amendment to the Bill of Rights.
It must be made clear that to believe this is not a problem. For this issue to be a matter of law is not a problem. The problem begins with the fact that God is identified as the origin of this right and approves of a person worshiping Him in any manner that person desires or chooses. The problem is consummated by the fact that the Bible can never be the source for this supposed right originating from and being approved by God. In fact, the Bible reveals just the opposite.
5 Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me;
6 And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.
Soon after the giving of the Commandments to the children of Israel, they put YHWH's Word to the test when they became impatient from Moses' long stay on the mountain with YHWH. They took the matter of worship into their own hands and Aaron made the golden calf for their "feast unto the Lord". (Exodus 32:1-5)
|The Golden Calf - Unapproved Worship of YHWH|
We can see that worship is a serious matter with God. In no way is the manner of worship left to the thoughts of men. God specifically addresses all aspects so that nothing is left to conjecture. In fact, God specifically mentions the style and type of worship of the pagan nations surrounding them as being prohibited. Furthermore, God saw fit to put it in writing for the Nation of Israel and the rest of the World to know.
Even Jesus said that they that worship God must worship Him in spirit and truth. There is a right way and a wrong way.
So, we can see that God in no way sanctions His Worship in any manner seen fit by man to choose. God has set the standards for men to approach Him in worship.
So, it can be seen that in worshiping the God of the Bible in truth, YHWH neither approves of nor agrees with the First Amendment Freedom of Religion according to the dictates of a man's heart. YHWH alone dictates how to worship Him.
For those who may be worried that the Founding Fathers of the United States were mistaken in their assertion that the inalienable rights of the Constitution, specified and unspecified, are given by God, the Bible does provide a certain amount of enlightenment.
The Prophet Ezekiel tells us how YHWH deals with a people, a nation that despises His judgments and walks not in His Statutes. Chapter 20, verse 25 tells us that, "Wherefore I gave them also statutes that were not good and judgments whereby they should not live."
So, when the Bible is allowed to speak, it tells us that the inalienable right of Freedom of Religion as articulated in the 1st Amendment to the Constitution of the United States is nothing more than the judgment of God upon this nation. It's given to a people that have rejected the Law of God in their lives. In this case, it is given by God as a law, an inalienable right, that is "not good" and one whereby we should "not live." Contrary to the thoughts of many, it is not given as a blessing from God, nor is it to be taken as a positive. The only way this right can be declared, as the Founders articulated in the Declaration, as one of the "Laws" of "Nature's God" is as the judgment of God.