This article will be informative but not relevant to my readers in countries outside the USA. This Devotional will be to share information about our religious rights in the USA. I’m writing this because of the wanton cowardice of many Christian denomination Pastors within the United States of America. Fear has gripped the Christians, who should be fearless. Fear has paralyzed our right to assembly. Fear has made us push forward with virtual church assembly or parking lot services. Fear has forced us to relinquish our rights provided by the Constitution of the United States of America. Fear has allowed us to cower under dictatorial executive orders from state and local leadership. Fear has made us cower from a virus in a way that is utterly unprecedented in the history of the world. But FEAR is not a Biblical doctrine.
The Constitution of the United States of America – Amendment I
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.
The Free Exercise Clause of Amendment 1
The Free Exercise Clause maintains the right of American citizens to accept any religious belief and engage in religious services. The Free Exercise clauses of state constitutions that protect religious “[o]pinion, expression of opinion, and practice were all expressly protected” by the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment. The Clause protects not just religious beliefs but activities made on behalf of those beliefs. More importantly, the wording of state constitutions suggests that “free exercise envisions religiously compelled exemptions from at least some generally applicable laws.” The Free Exercise Clause not only protects religious belief and expression, but it also seems to allow for violation of laws, as long as that violation is made for religious reasons.
Religious Freedom in the United States Being Stripped Away
Let me write this first; the virtual Church has experienced an unprecedented upturn. This online viewership is primarily because of people staying out of Church but still seeking the preached Word of God. That being said, it is the only good that has come from the ridiculous closing of churches. I call it ridiculous because we have never stopped religious services in the United States since it was founded in 1776 and many decades before. This country has lived through much more vicious pestilences before but has never closed the churches. But the current epidemic is not the SARS-2 virus that causes Covid-19. No, this pestilence comes from powers and principalities. Ephesians 6:12 (KJV) says, “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.”
Religious Freedom in the United States and the Cowardly Church
During this “crisis,” the Church has responded with increased online virtual religious offerings. I will give them that. Church closures during that first 3-4 weeks of shutdowns I can understand too because the predictions of deaths were staggering. But then we found out that this virus is not deadly to most people. It is also not as contagious as first stated. Because this virus singles out (for the most part) people 70 or older with disease processes that weaken their immune system. Therefore, as soon as we knew that we should have immediately opened church doors for regular services. Oh, but what about the stay at home orders? They are unconstitutional, and we have the right to violate those executive orders under the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment of our Constitution.
This unconstitutional action by principalities, powers, and the rulers of the darkness of this world are keeping us from our right to assemble freely. Now, the first rebuttal of this statement will be, “but it’s to protect lives.” I'm sorry, but that boat sailed as soon as we knew the actual death rates of this ordinary virus. We should not be wearing masks unless we are around vulnerable people, and vulnerable people should stay home. We should be holding regular services at Church without restrictions. Again, those that know they are susceptible to infection should use common sense and stay home.
Religious Freedom in the United States and the Wanton Cowardice of Many Churches
In the good old USA, we have rights that are being violated by our power-mongering State Leadership. Not every state, but primarily the Democrat Party controlled States. I happen to live in one of those unfortunate states with a power-hungry dictator infringing on our rights. And again, you may say, “oh, but what about Romans chapter 13?” We are to obey lawful orders that do not contradict God’s Word. God’s Word says, “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.” And trust me, we are seeing the Day of the Lord approaching at breakneck speed. We are to assemble as a local body of Christ. The Israelites and Christians are ordered to assemble throughout scripture, and we should assemble too.
My Challenge to Pastors
Do not forsake the assembly and feed your lambs. Do not give in to the unconstitutional restrictions on assembling and feed your sheep. Obey man’s law but obey God’s law first and foremost, and feed your sheep!
I love you, Pastors, so please don’t give in to this satanic attack on the Church. Feed Christ’s flock. Come under the obedience of Christ and the Bible, God’s Holy Word. You have not only the right but the responsibility.