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Rules for Religion

Rules for Religion
Recently, the attorney general of Louisiana released a document that outlines the rights of students to practice their religious beliefs on school grounds and at school events. He is attempting to clarify what is acceptable religious behavior in a public school setting. The guidelines are in response to a lawsuit against a local school district that alleges that the administration and teachers are pervasively promoting religion in their classrooms and activities.

Although the idea of defining the rights of religious expression sounds good, legislation often leads to the long-term consequence of limiting people's inalienable rights. History is replete with examples of governments that have sought to support religion yet ended up repressing religious groups that hold alternate views. Even groups like those fleeing to the shores of America, looking for freedom from religious persecution, were often guilty of discriminating against those who held different beliefs within their own communities.

In addressing the issue of religious freedom, Jesus made it clear to religious leaders of His day that our responsibility to God is separate from our duty to our fellow man. "He said to them, 'Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's' "(Luke 20:25). When governments attempt to make any rules regarding religion, they are entering a realm not in their jurisdiction.

Thomas Jefferson said, "The subject of religion, a subject on which I have ever been most scrupulously reserved. I have considered it as a matter between every man and his maker, in which no other, and far less the public, had a right to intermeddle." And in relation to the need for religious legislation, he felt that "truth will do well enough if left to shift for herself."

As believers navigating the current religious and political issues, we should follow Christ's example to "to be wise as serpents and harmless as doves" (Matthew 10:16). At sabbathtruth.com, you can find an amazing resource that reviews the history of the conflict between the church and the state and outlines the future of religious freedom in our country. Click here to read it now.
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