Monday, July 7, 2014

Encroachment of Religious Freedom in the US

The search for religious freedom is what brought the Pilgrims to what is now the US in 1620.  As William Bradford wrote in his History of Plymouth Plantation, they were determined, "whatever it might cost them, to shake off the anti-Christian bondage."  

Still, the colonies, and later states, persecuted believers of other sects.  For example, Baptists in Episcopalian Virginia who preached, did not pay taxes to the state church, or failed to baptize their infants were jailed, beaten with bludgeons, whipped, stoned, tortured, shot, or accused of child abuse.  Rhode Island was founded by Roger Williams after he was exiled from Massachusetts for his divergent Christian beliefs.  Maryland was founded as a safe haven for Catholics who were banned from various other colonies.  
A Virginia Baptist pastor is waterboarded in 1778 by Episcopalian church-state authorities.
The Founding Fathers, descendents of those who fled persecution in Europe, saw firsthand how religious establishment worked in their own states and determined to take extreme diligence and care to ensure the federal government would not make any laws concerning religious establishment or encroach upon religious freedom.  They considered this right so important they defended it in the First Amendment: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof..."

Hence, it is unlikely that freedom of religion in the US will ever be attacked blatantly and directly.  Instead, freedom of religion today is insidiously attacked through attrition.  Two of the most egregious encroachments apparent to me are through:
The Establishment of Statolatry
Tithes to the Established Deity of State  


The Establishment of Statolatry
To be morally sound, government must be very limited.  The religion of statism (and it is no exaggeration to call it a religion, as religion is defined as "the belief in or worship of a superhuman controlling power") makes the state god itself, instead of giving it its rightful place as the instrument of God's justice.  

Originally the federal government was limited as it should be, however its role has increased to the point where it is now a god, mother, and provider.  Under the innumerable laws of this deity, all have sinned and are in danger of the judgment.  

Tithes to the Established Deity of State 
If my neighbor wants to worship the state, what would I care other than my Christian concern for his soul?  In Thomas Jefferson's words, "It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg."  Sadly though enough of our fellow citizens have decided to worship the state that the religion of statolatry is established in spite of the establishment clause of the 1st Ammendment.  Consequentially, our taxes (or shall we say tithes) go to support the deity of state and everything for which it stands.

If the government were the instrument of the true God solely to establish justice and peace in the nation, who would object in paying taxes to support it?  Where Statolatry is established, tithes are paid to support a myriad of causes.  

Thomas Jefferson wrote that to compel a man to furnish contributions of money for the propagation of opinions which he disbelieves and abhors, is sinful and tyrannical. Whether you personally do or do not support the following causes which (except for the last example) U.S. tax dollars fund, I am sure you will agree that many taxpayers have religious objections to them.
  • International Initiatives to Advance the Human Rights of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Persons (read the Presidential Memorandum here).  The U.S. government promotes homosexualism throughout the world.
  • Planned Parenthood's budget comes 45% from taxpayers.  In 2011 Planned Parenthood performed nearly 334,000 abortions.  
  • Public education where children are taught to have the government-approved beliefs on the topics mentioned above as well as evolution.
  • Welfare to support the habits of chronically poor individuals who spend the money received on drugs and alcohol.
  • Foreign military aid: fighter jets, tanks, etc to often tumultuous Middle Eastern countries. (these are not used as museum displays).  
  • The celebration of pedophile and statutory rapist Harvey Milk on U.S. postage stamps. (The USPS is not directly supported by taxpayer funds, and people are free to boycott these stamps.)
I'm sure many Americans, myself included, would like to choose our own charitable and humanitarian causes to support instead of being forced to pay tithes to support the causes which the establishment deems most important.   

Would the Virginia Baptists of 1778 consider being forced to pay taxes to support abortions more objectionable than being forced to baptize their infants?  Would they consider paying taxes to support an establishment that promotes homosexualism, teaches evolution, provides arms to tumultuous nations, and celebrates a pedophile and statutory rapist as a hero, worse than supporting the Episcopalian church?  You decide.

While a dissenter today may not be waterboarded, I don't encourage practicing dissent. Tax evaders face large fines and jail time--and it's not very easy to live a life of liberty in prison.  But I am starting to wonder what was so bad about a three cent tax on tea. 

2 comments:

  1. Wow, this is extremely well written! I never gave deeper thoughts to the "pre-decided" organizations that are paid through taxes other than how flabbergasting they were. Nowadays distribution to morally wrong causes is seen as just and right, and to disagree or protest these choices is seen as hateful and inequitable... As you said, it is through attrition that religious freedom is still possible in the U.S today, but it won't be long until the government finds a way to divert the law or invent new ones to stop any kind of freedom whatsoever...

    Matthew 24:21-22 "For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been from the beginning of the world until now, no, and never will be. And if those days had not been cut short, no human being would be saved. But for the sake of the elect those days will be cut short."

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  2. Thanks Noemie! Very true--good verse!

    nfkb001 (whose comments I have not published), this is my personal blog where I express my views, and I do not want it to be used as a political debate forum any more than you would want your front yard to be used as a forum with opposing sides placing their political signs there.

    I do however appreciate your feedback, and would have liked to reply to your comment privately or at a forum, but since you provide no way to contact you, so far this has proved impossible.

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