9/2/2014 - September 2014 SLI Newsletter
Dear Friends and Supporters,
Religious liberty is at the heart of America’s freedom and prosperity. In this month’s Educational Update, we mention that the liberal dissenters on the U.S. Supreme Court do not understand religion. Their idea, essentially, is to remove religion from the public square. If we do so, we remove the freedom to believe as our consciences dictate.
With the Middle Eastern wars, viz., Israel and Hamas, I.S.I.S., Iraq, Syria, etcetera, we see religious motivations and the clash of religious values. Principally, this is due to Islam’s belief that church and state do mix.
A very good article in the July 31, 2014 The Alabama Baptist discussed the history of religious violence. The conclusion of the historians is that when religion was separated from the state, religious toleration emerged and violence in the name of religion diminished. Throughout the early church persons of various faiths were persecuted. Beginning in the 1100’s, inquisitions began to purge the church of heretics. The church was not killing the Christians, but once a person was declared a heretic, then the state would execute him.
Growing out of the Reformation came the ideas for separating church and state and for official tolerance of various religious beliefs, but not of establishment of an official state religion. We have opined for years that America has succeeded and has blessed its citizens because of its Judeo Christian heritage. That heritage has been under a threat for several decades and is increasing even more. It is not because the state is adopting religion, but because the state is attempting to eradicate religion. That makes us more like Russia and China, being governed by the dictates of an all-knowing government. When that happens, we reach the other extreme and that is violence by the government without the strictures of religious belief and conscience.
We must continue to pray for our brothers and sisters in the Middle East, at the same time as we are praying for the future of America. We must pray for religious tolerance. In the free marketplace of ideas, we do not doubt the power of the Gospel.
Thank you for your continuing prayers and support. With personal regards, I am,
Yours very truly,
A. Eric Johnston
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