More and more we are hearing the phrase "freedom of worship" coming from the White House. Few see the danger in this subtle change of words by our current administration from the traditional "freedom of religion."
Freedom of religion assures me the freedom to practice my religion and follow my beliefs in the public arena without fear of reprisal. When we begin defining this fundamental freedom as "freedom of worship" what we are doing is taking away the rights of religious institutions and individuals and redefining our fundamental freedom in this area as a private matter that must be kept private.
Having now redefined the right, the government is free to step in and say in effect as they have done on the Obama-care plan, "Our health care policies trump your moral convictions; you have a right to believe that privately, but you can't act on it publicly; you must tow the politically correct line."
In a Breakpoint Commentary given on August 20, 2010, Chuck Colson commented on this shift stating, "What's at stake here is more than rhetoric: 'freedom of worship' and 'freedom of religion' are not interchangeable, no matter what the administration or its defenders maintain.
"As Tom Farr, the former head of the International Religious Freedom Office at the State Department, put it, 'Those of us in the business of sniffing out rats know that this is a rhetorical shift to watch.' 'Freedom of worship' does not necessarily include the rights to raise your own children in your faith... elect your religious leaders or evangelize. It provides no guarantee that you will be able to have religious education or seminary training.
"It simply means that you will be able to attend services, although as Christians in places like Egypt can tell you, it says nothing about being able to build and maintain a place to do so."
It is time we wake up and smell the coffee. English historian E.R. Norman wrote, "Pluralism is a name that society gives itself when it is in the process of changing from one orthodoxy to another."
Dr. Erwin Lutzer, in his book "Exploding the Myths That Could Destroy America," commenting on this statement by Norman said, "This explains why those who speak most loudly about the need for pluralism are often the most desirous of excluding religious values from the public arena."
The Bible warns in Isaiah 17:10-14 that forgetting God leads to ruinous consequences. It was true in ancient Israel and it is true today.
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, speaking on the Great October Socialist Revolution (Bolshevik Revolution) and the atrocities and ruin which followed it said, "If I were asked today to formulate as concisely as possible the main cause of the ruinous revolution that swallowed up some 60 million of our people, I could not put it more accurately than to repeat: 'Men have forgotten God; that's why all this has happened."
Make no mistake about it -- we may clamor for a day when we will enjoy freedom from religion. Secularists are working earnestly to denounce Christianity every chance they get, and our unsuspecting populace applauds these efforts, never suspecting that along with the demise of God comes the demise of morals, the demise of human dignity, and the demise of freedom.
B.F. Skinner understood correctly that if a man is the product of evolution, having evolved through the animal world, he has neither freedom or dignity.
In the last century, Nazi Germany is the prime example of the logical conclusion of a belief in mere naturalism. On the wall next to the gas ovens of Auschwitz, are the words of Adolph Hitler, "I want to raise a generation of young people devoid of a conscience, imperious, relentless and cruel."
A world without God? Be careful what you wish for; I don't think it will be as rosy as you may think.
Dr. John Pearrell is pastor of Gateway Community Church in Covington. For more information, visit the Gateway website at www.gatewaycommunity.org.