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Thursday, July 3, 2014

Independence Day United States

"Yes, days are coming, says the Lord GOD, when I will send famine upon the land: Not a famine of bread, or thirst for water, but for hearing the word of the LORD." Am 8:9-10

Unfortunately, independence rarely comes to individuals or nations without violence. Because people often want to possess others as if they were slaves, people feel compelled to fight for their freedom. This was the case for the pilgrims who came to the United States from England.

Seeking religious liberty, the pilgrims left their homeland in order to live in a place that would respect and protect their desire to live and worship as they chose. First settling in the Netherlands, eventually, in order not to lose their English language skills, they came to America because, like the people about whom Amos wrote, the Pilgrims were experiencing, "Not a famine of bread...but for hearing the word of the Lord."

Regrettably, however, the Pilgrims did not extend religious liberty to others in the New World, and their rigidity was mirrored throughout the early colonies. The state of New York, for instance, banned Catholics from holding public office until 1806, and while Maryland offered Catholics full civil rights, Jews did not enjoy the same privilege. In other words, the freedom that we celebrate of the fourth of July each year had to evolve over many generations before it became the law of the land, and when we forget this, we imperil everyone's freedom.

Today, celebrate religious freedom and pray to end violence in the name of religion.

What happens when people don't respect one another's religious beliefs?

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