First Amendment

The First Amendment of the United States is under attack once more. Before you cover your ears and question whether a church should have anything to say on this issue, because it is political, read the First Amendment. It says:

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

Although it was not ratified until December 15, 1791, this nation was founded on the principles of the First Amendment, as Christians left England because of religious persecution. Our churches are established on the First Amendment. As a people, we are allowed to attend whatever church we choose, free from government persecution.

As Christians, when you hear anything politically about the First Amendment, you better listen up and make sure someone is not trying to alter or overturn it. Your right to assemble and worship the Lord rests on the First Amendment.

With that said, we need to be aware. A vote is coming up in the Senate to amend the First Amendment. Two Supreme Court cases are at the heart of this amendment: Citizens United vs. the Federal Election Commission and McCutcheon vs. FEC, which said the government cannot impose limits on corporate spending on politics-related communications or limits on what people can contribute as individuals.

According the Supreme Court, the amount of money people choose to donate to a campaign is freedom of speech, as the funds are used in campaign ads to either support a candidate or oppose a candidate.

Campaign funding seems like an issue for politicians and not the average person, but think about the implications of Congress controlling political donations. It would be like putting the fox in charge of the hen house. Something is very wrong with this proposal. We the people would no longer be able to support the candidates we believe stand for biblical principles. Our freedom to affect an election would be controlled by the politicians already in office.

According to Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. in regards to the McCutcheon v. FEC case, “If the First Amendment protects flag burning, funeral protests, and Nazi parades, despite the profound offense such spectacles cause, it surely protects political campaign speech despite popular opposition.”

This vote has even greater import for Christians in this country. We have seen a wave of persecution against the Christian church over the past few years, with the government even using the IRS to come against Christian organizations like Samaritan’s Purse. This move to amend the First Amendment, which protects the freedom of religion, is imperative to our freedom as Christians. If we stay silent while politicians attempt to amend the one amendment which protects us, we open the door to even greater infringements upon the First Amendment.

We need to take to heart the words of Paul the Apostle to the Galatian Christians: Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage (Galatians 5:1).

Our freedom, our liberty is in Christ Jesus. He has made us free from sin and the bondage of sin. We cannot stay silent when men would seek to silence us and put us into bondage. Remember what Peter told the High Priest when he was ordered to keep silent and not speak of Christ: But Peter and the other apostles answered and said: “We ought to obey God rather than men.”

Today, we have the freedom to speak and preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ. If we remain silent, while people work to alter and change the First Amendment, the time may come when we no longer have the freedom to speak the name of Jesus Christ. If we remain silent, we will have no one to blame for the loss of our freedom of religion but ourselves.

— Staff Writer