Thursday, June 04, 2009

Time for a Religious Freedom Tea Party?

Almost every day I receive something in my inbox from someone regarding attacks on religious freedom in the United States. I hate to say it, but I generally glance and discard most of them as I get thousands of emails a day and just don't have time to read them all.

However, the increasing numbers and the similarity in tone and topic have finally saturated into the brain matter. Now I'm starting to pay attention.

This morning I saw this column by Chuck Norris and it greatly concerned me. His column (below) focuses on an incident in California where a Bible Study group is being told to "cease and desist" the "religious gathering". If they are to continue they must get a "major use permit" of some sort.

Living in Fayette County, Georgia, it seems rather far-fetched that there might be a problem with gathering in a home for a Bible study. At least on the surface almost everyone in this community respects the Church and religious freedoms. After all, we're in the so-called "Bible Belt".

Gathering in homes for Bible Study occurs every day across the nation and probably (hopefully) across the world. Almost all, if not all, churches have groups that meet in homes for prayer and study. Youth groups meet at church member homes. Women's groups meet at church member homes. Prayer groups meet at church member homes.

Now, to be fair, I can understand a neighbors concern if once a week 30, 50, 100 cars park on the street for a Bible study. It could get pretty aggravating week after week. However, if you read the article, this appears to step way over a parking concern line... and around 15 people were meeting.

In the California incident, the "law" asked the home owners if they said "amen", if they said "Praise the Lord" to determine whether to force them to stop or get a permit. They got a lawyer.

So tell me, how many of you have regular swimming parties at your house for your kids sports team? How 'bout those of you who meet in homes for Bunco or cards regularly? What about all the candle, makeup and kitchen container sales that sell via home parties? Why were they trying to stop a Bible study?

It's not just religion that's under assault these days. It's capitalism. It's our legal system. It's the election integrity (did you read where the Department of Justice has said that Georgia can't stop illegal aliens from voting????). It seems that ever value and every aspect of the Constitution and the foundation our country was built upon is being nipped at and in some cases, shredded.

The Tea Party "movement" shows that there are those who are making a stand. The growing number of blogs and emails protesting various attacks shows that more and more are waking up to what's going on in our country. However, it seems we may be in the midst of the "perfect storm" when it comes to American values and freedoms.

It's not just a matter of awareness now, we need action. We need more voices. We need to be working together. We need to do it quickly, loudly but peacefully.

Here in Fayette County, where we're in a nice warm cocoon, it's especially important for us to pay attention. The attacks may not be happening in our back yard, but there is a big "YET" that should be added to the end of that statement. We can't afford to be complacent.

We need to put feet to our prayers. We need to watch the news, watch those emails and get involved. Churches across the spectrum of denominations need to reach across those technical divides and hold hands to fight any attack on religious freedom. Maybe we need to start considering having a different kind of tea party, one that openly, prayerfully, protests the erosion of religious freedoms.

Got Your Permit To Study the Bible?
By Chuck Norris

Recently a California pastor and his wife were required by San Diego County officials to obtain a permit to hold a Bible study in their home.

"What?! Is this a joke?" I wondered as I heard the news for the first time. It was no joke. Rather, it's a First Amendment nightmare and possibly a foreshadowing of what's to come.

Are you prepared for a future in which you hear, "Got your permit to study the Bible?"

On April 10 (Good Friday), a county code enforcement officer visited the home of David and Mary Jones after receiving a complaint about their Christian gatherings. The Jones' attorney, Dean Broyles, president of The Western Center for Law & Policy, conveyed in disbelief, "The county asked (Mrs. Jones), 'Do you have a regular meeting in your home?' She said, 'Yes.' 'Do you say "amen"?' 'Yes.' 'Do you pray?' 'Yes.' 'Do you say "praise the Lord"?' 'Yes.'"

The officer then warned the family to "cease and desist" the "religious gathering" or they would face weekly fines. A few days later, the county delivered a citation claiming that the Joneses were guilty of "unlawful use of land" and mandating them to "stop religious assembly or apply for a major use permit."

Click here to continue reading Chuck Norris' column

1 comment:

Grace Explosion said...

They did get that overturned. However, it's a bad harbinger that they were asked these things and told they needed a permit to begin with.

This country has gone off the deep end. Did you also hear that the army commanded Bibles to be burned that were privately owned by military personnel??

(This happened a year ago. I figure if our troops cannot freely practice religion and proselytize in a nation - they should not be deployed to that nation. There is no excuse for violating our individual rights to freedom of religion - or why are we fighting in these foreign lands in the first place?? Troops must have unlimited to proselytize on their OWN TIME no matter where they are. That's American freedom of religion.)

Military burns unsolicited Bibles sent to Afghanistan Story Highlights
Unsolicited Bibles sent by U.S. church were confiscated about a year ago

The Bibles were printed in two most common Afghan languages

Military feared they could be used for proselytizing, which is forbidden to troops