Sunday, February 6, 2011

Today's Spiritual Message & 400th Post: Preserving Religious Freedom

I'm glad to see my 400th post coincides with an issue I am deeply concerned about:  preserving religious freedom.

I'm uncertain if I have directly spoken on this issue, before.  On the other hand, back in September, 2010, I made reference to two addresses given by Elder Dallin H. Oaks about the divine influence in our U.S. Constitution.

On February 4, 2011, Elder Oaks spoke at the Chapman University School of Law on preserving religious freedom.  You can read a news article discussing it, here.

It is time to stand together in defense of religious freedom.
Elder Oaks pointed out that religion has had an essential role in the establishment of our great nation.  For example, John Adams declared
we have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. Avarice, ambition, revenge, or gallantry, would break the strongest cords of our Constitution as a whale goes through a net. Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people.  It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.
Some might ask then, "So, where and what are the great encroachments upon religious freedom?"  In response to this question, and with Elder Oaks, I quote James Madison:
There are more instances of the abridgement of the freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments of those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations.
Rather than engage in a drawn-out discussion here, I will simply note my concern that a variety of forces are quietly (often quite vocally -- through forceful letters, pickets, or protests) and systematically combining against religion to silence it or force it out of the public square and into the secluded corners of "freedom of worship."  Whether these voices and movements are coordinated or even intentional, I'm alarmed at the chilling effects they could have on the "free exercise of religion" (which is the first right included in the Bill of Rights).

I strongly encourage you to read the transcript of Elder Oaks' address and watch an interview he gave, discussing the same subject:

Click the image above, scroll to the bottom of the page, and then click on the play button image.
This is what the play button image will look like.


Tim said...

For an interesting insight on this, check out the Supreme Court decision, Employment Division v. Smith. It's interesting which justices supported religious practices and who didn't. The answer might be surprising.

Elder Oaks, by the way, addressed that case as a representative of the church, and told members of Congress that he would prefer that the Supreme Court reverse that decision.

Cougar Abogado said...

Yes, I remember you mentioning this, and I appreciate the follow-up. I'm also disappointed that Justice Scalia seems to have thrown religious minorities under the bus.

I also remember the part about Elder Oaks' involvement and am glad to see the Church exercise it's right to stand up for religious freedom.

Cougar Abogado said...

Make that *its* right. I say how hardcore I am about grammar, today . . .

Tim said...

Good. Just like to remind people that conservatives aren't always our allies.

Cougar Abogado said...

I appreciate the reminder. :)