Is Freedom of Religion Being Redefined?

Chuck Colson | BreakPoint | Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Is Freedom of Religion Being Redefined?


I hope every single BreakPoint listener has viewed my Two-Minute Warning video commentary on what I believe is the greatest threat to religious freedom in my lifetime.

If you haven't seen it yet, we will keep it up at ColsonCenter.org for all this week — because it is one of the most important messages I've delivered. And over 150,000 people have already watched it. Please, watch the video and tell your friends, your family and your acquaintances about it.

Here's why: I believe the administration is seeking to redefine the meaning of religious freedom, shrinking it to mean nothing more than the right to worship privately.

If successful, this would emasculate the first, and most foundational, freedom in the Bill of Rights. A freedom we get from God himself because religious freedom is rooted in the very nature of God.

As I said in my Two Minute Warning, Hillary Clinton, in a speech at Georgetown University, talked about "freedom of worship" being a priority of the administration. And this was no slip of the tongue. As Christianity Today reported, the president has used the term in several speeches. The State Department claims the two terms — "freedom of worship" and "freedom of religion" — are interchangeable.

But that's nonsense.

As Nina Shea at Freedom House told CT, mere freedom of worship "excludes the right to raise your children in your faith ... the right to ... elect your religious leaders, to carry out charitable activities, to evangelize [and] to have religious education or seminary training."

Even the Chinese allow freedom of worship. But if a Chinese pastor speaks out on political or cultural issues, prison -- or worse -- awaits him.

And, my friends, the same fate could await Christians here if we allow the government to head down this road.

I am not given to hysterics or to conspiracy theories. But I do understand the English language. And I know how government can use language to manipulate thought. I did a pretty good job of it when I was an assistant to President Nixon in the '70s.

Folks, please, see my Two-Minute Warning at ColsonCenter.org. But there is something else I need you to do for me. I want to hear from you. I was invited by my pastor to speak from the pulpit last Sunday about this threat. Folks came up to me afterward and admitted they had not understood the difference between freedom of religion and freedom of worship. And some still didn't get it.

I need to know: Do you understand what's at stake here? Do you see how redefining religious freedom could be a dagger to the heart of the Christian faith in this country?

Go to ColsonCenter.org or BreakPoint.org and click on "Speak Out with Chuck." Talk to me. Tell me you understand, or if you think I'm wrong, tell me why! And tell me: Have you seen examples at school or work where your religious rights — or those of others — are being violated? I need examples for future commentaries.

Will you join me in speaking out in defense of religious freedom? Like the Manhattan Declaration says, will you "fully and ungrudgingly render to Caesar what is Caesar's. But under no circumstances will [you] render to Caesar what is God's"?

Please, see my Two-Minute Warning at ColsonCenter.org. Tell others about it. Then talk to me. I want to hear from you.

Chuck Colson's daily BreakPoint commentary airs each weekday on more than one thousand outlets with an estimated listening audience of one million people. BreakPoint provides a Christian perspective on today's news and trends via radio, interactive media, and print.

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