Like so many, President Trump is a bad man who sometimes does good things. While some of those good things put the lie to certain false accusations against him, my thoughts here don’t center on the President but on religious freedom, a good thing, and the fact that the President has done some good things in that arena. Recently, he addressed the annual Values Voter Summit where he said, “We believe that every American has the right to live by the dictates of their conscience and the teachings of their faith. We believe in the right to free exercise of religion.”
There are certain things that Christians need to be reminded of and think thoughtfully about on a regular basis. When we fail to do so, we forget not only the importance of those things but also the ground for them. We ignore them until they’re threatened, when they should never have been threatened at all. And perhaps they wouldn’t have been threatened had we been diligent. One of those massively important things is religious freedom.
Religious freedom is vital for a number of reasons, not the least of which is the reality that all other freedoms rest upon it. Without religious freedom, the freedom of speech goes out the window. Without free speech, it’s easy to see that certain political ideas would be banned along with the books, magazines, radio stations, or web sites espousing them. Next, it wouldn’t be long before certain common businesses would be banned. And we could go on.
The President further said that “our shared values are under assault like never before,” and he’s right. People need to be reminded that certain rights come from God, not the government. If murder is wrong, then there is an implied right to life. If stealing is wrong, there is an implied right to property. We could add more. The point is that government doesn’t grant rights but merely recognizes them. That’s why Americans have long held that certain of our rights are inalienable. Our government can’t take them away, because the government didn’t grant them; God did. Religious freedom is an inalienable right given by God to all persons. That doesn’t mean that all paths lead to God. They don’t. There is only one way to God and salvation: faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. But it does mean that God has given all human beings liberty of conscience, whether they’re right or wrong. As John Leland, the Baptist preacher instrumental in the adoption of the Bill of Rights declared, "Every man must give account of himself to God, and therefore every man ought to be at liberty to serve God in a way that he can best reconcile to his conscience. If government can answer for individuals at the day of judgment, let men be controlled by it in religious matters; otherwise, let men be free."
Dr. Dean and Christi Johnson invite you to learn more about God, His world, and yourself. Listen to their podcast, True Worldview, and find other helpful resources there as well.