Is Religious freedom Free
�Religious Freedom or freedom island halong bay from Religion?�
by Terry Dashner, Senior Pastor
Faith Fellowship Church�PO Box 1586�Broken Arrow, OK�74013�918-451-0270
I�m concerned about American citizens who take religious liberties for granted. Every God-fearing American who is indifferent to his right of legal assembly, who�s indifferent to the support of a church or synagogue by attendance and tithes, and who neglects to pray daily for the continuance of religious freedom is unwittingly placing America�s religious liberties in jeopardy. By his failure to participate actively in religion, he�s sending a message to American lawmakers, and to the world at large, that worship by free expression and free assembly is not very important. It�s interesting that most Americans claim to be Christian. If we are, then why aren�t our Churches and synagogues reflecting these numbers of supporters? Americans must use or we will lose our First Amendment right to religious liberties. These precious rights are privileges, not mandates.
There is a frightening spin manifesting now in other countries that claim religious tolerance. Religious tolerance for them is not like America�s religious tolerance. Their tolerance is in name only. What they practice is tolerance for one-state religion. All other religions must comply with the state-preferred religion or suffer persecution. This is scary because it could happen in America if we don�t support our religious rights. If we don�t use our right to worship we will lose our right to worship.
Cal Thomas, a leading American columnist, writes articles worth reading. I read one of his articles the other day that stated the following information. The Institute for Religion and Democracy (IRD) in Washington says Sharia law discriminates against women and Iraq�s small (estimated at 2 percent) Christian population. In a statement, IRD says that if a Christian man converts to Islam, he could divorce his Christian wife and she might lose custody of her children, who would be officially decreed Muslim. Anyone converting to another faith from Islam is considered an apostate and, under some circumstances and interpretations of the Koran, could be executed.
In his book, Islam, Muhammad and the Koran, Dr. Labib Mikhail, an Egyptian who moved to the United States in 1973, notes: ��The Koran commands Muslims to fight non-Muslims until they exterminate all religions so that Islam will be the world�s only religion.�� In the Koran, Surat Al-Baqarah 2:193 says, ��And fight them until there is no more Fitnah (disbelief and worshipping of others along with Allah) and (all and every kind of) worship is for Allah (alone). But if they cease, let there be no transgression except against As-Zatimun (the polytheists and wrongdoers).�� To a devout Muslim, a polytheist is a Christian, who believes that God is three persons in one.
While we are exploring this topic, we must not overlook the persecution of Pentecostal congregations in many European countries. France has many Catholics and Protestants, but France, as well as Germany and other European nations, is a secular society. France�s Revolution in the 18th century forced the religion of Enlightenment on the country and trivialized Christianity. Today, if you go to a secular European country to start a Pentecostal mission, you won�t find religious tolerance for the Pentecostal faith. Most likely you will be harassed and badgered by the secularists to comply with the norm or you will become discouraged and probably leave the country on your own.
America�s Constitution protects all religions throughout our Nation, even those that are different from mine. This is a great liberty that many God-fearing Americans take for granted and ignore through indifference. I�m concerned, and I know that you are too. That�s why I�m honored to network with you through e-mail for encouragement and prayer for America. Please pray for the Body of Christ around the world also. Will you continue your support of religious assembly by supporting a church or synagogue of your choice? Remember this, if you don�t exercise your right to worship, you may lose it. Someone might tell you someday by authority of law how or what to worship. May this never happen in America.