Freedom of religion is many things to many people. To one, it is the right of a United States citizen to worship freely what they deem worthy of worship. To another, this right may entail sharing a personal belief with others. To everyone, it is what makes America great, the cornerstone to the democracy. Religious freedom is a basic right endowed to all humans, and a government that respects that right gains the respect of the people. However, this privilege is more than an expression of human rights, but a personal essential and a requirement of God.
Religious freedom is the most important right any human can hold. What a person believes dictates his thoughts, actions, and motives. Therefore, the basis of one?s faith is a key part of existence. In life, God is to be the center and foundation of that belief system. If God is the director of a person?s life, any law, or individual that attempts to hinder that divine control is contrary to God.
The freedom to worship God ought not to be granted by any government or institution; rather God himself has given any follower of Him the absolute right to freedom and liberty. The Bible states clearly in Galatians 5:1 that we are to ?standfast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free.? Therefore, it is not just the authority of man that is being infringed upon, but God?s command, when the right of religious freedom is threatened or limited. Yet, this liberty is not defined as limitless prerogative to do as one wishes with no consequences. Indeed, it is the freedom from sin and the fallen state of man. The religious liberty a Christian experiences allows him to have certain knowledge that God is sovereign and holy. Due to this everlasting hope a Christian is commanded and is led to worship the Almighty God.
God, having foreseen our compelling need to praise our Creator and Liberator has prepared specific guidelines concerning his acceptance of this praise. He has created song, prayer, service, and many other forms of worship that we might be able to show some form of thankfulness for what He has done. The word worship is derived from the Old English word ?worthship? meaning that something is worthy or deserving of praise. Considering the incomprehensible mercy and grace God has and is showing us He is entitled to adoration and honor.
Unfortunately, not everyone has experienced this salvation and God given liberty. Worship does not make sense to these people because God is not worth anything to them. They control their lives and think they have no cause to thank and praise God. When they see those who do have a cause for worship they misunderstand because they are looking through the eyes of bondage. Chained to sin these people know nothing else and cannot comprehend the joy of freedom through Christ Jesus.
The conflict between these two parties is very real. Naturally, the imprisoned masses of people who do not have cause to worship refuse to do so, and in some cases hinder those who do. The Bible says directly ?men love darkness rather than light? (John 3:19). Instead of desiring to break out of the jail cell of sin they enjoy the darkness of it and despise the shining light of liberty.
The book, The Gospel in Bonds, tells a thought-provoking story of a man?s life living in a country lacking this special freedom. A Russian pastor, Georgi Vins is sentenced to a total of thirteen years in prison for his faith in Jesus. He is treated even more harshly than the murderers and thieves, because of the pure hate the Russian Secret Police have for Christians. His imprisonment causes him to miss watching his children grow up. Yet, through it all Pastor Vins claims the promises of hope that God has made to all believers. He trusts in God?s ultimate authority and omniscience to do what is required to further the gospel. Pastor Vins writes that even in the darkest hour, ?God had, in an amazing way, upset the cunning schemes of His enemies. I felt completely secure, protected by God Himself? (The Gospel in Bonds, 78). Therefore, although a specific government had prohibited man?s idea of religious freedom, Pastor Vins had all the freedom he required just by trusting God alone.
It can therefore be concluded that although religious freedom is the corner stone to democracy due to the place it holds as a fundamental human right, God is the absolute authority on the matter of freedom. As a result, God can also be included as a foundation this nation has been built upon. God needs no boundaries because he is the author of freedom and He has no limits according to what the world defines as liberty. Religious freedom, as such an important part of who we are, should be no less that what God expects, an unwavering faith in Him.