Attacking Religious Freedom Is Attacking Civil Society

By: Tia Johnson 0 Comments   12/29/2011

This year has been an aggressive year for those that hate Jesus and the religious freedom that allows us to not only worship him but live out His commands and enjoy the rewards that result. 

This year homosexual activists have aggressively called on PayPal to cut the flow of funding to some Christian groups.

Included on their list: Family Research Institute and the Catholic-based American Society for the Defense of Traditional Family and Property, among others.

If PayPal gives into their request, it may disenable some donors from giving to their cause.

This incident is not just rude. It has punched religious freedom in the gut.

Thankfully, this Christmas we have been able to worship freely without government restriction. Yet the more our nation embraces government aid and control, the higher risk we take in losing freedom. And any restriction on religious freedom translates into no freedom, really. As suggested below, loss of religious freedom also denigrates society.

"Decades of sociological research provide evidence of the connection between religious practice and a strong and vibrant civil society," wrote Collette Caprara for the Heritage Network.

Caprara wrote that those who frequently attend religious services are more likely to donate to charities, make larger donations, and are more likely to volunteer, boosting the non-profit organizations in our country, which better society.

She referred to charts by familyfacts.org which showed a direct correlation between church attendance and amount of volunteering done. Financial donations made to charities had a similar correlation.

Unfortunately, religious freedom has been attacked not just via PayPal. The ability for faith-based groups to hire based on religion has also been questioned.

According to The Church Around the World, a bulletin insert published by Tyndale, a group of lawmakers are trying to overturn Bush's policy made in 2002. That policy prohibited organizations which receive federal funds from denying to help people based on religion, but protected their ability to hire and fire employees based on religious beliefs. Representative Bobby Scott of Virginia called the latter portion of the policy "shocking" and wants to overturn it.

Even more shocking, though, would be the impact on society if these largely effective faith-based groups are cut in funding and faith-driven workers. The only reason these organizations exist is because of their freedom to run their organization by their religious conviction.  Almost every organizations that helps society does so because of their religious conviction and their freedom to act on them.  

Caprara also mentioned religious freedom attacks regarding where adoption agencies can place children. Also, many medical practitioners have had to fight for their right to say no to aiding in an abortion procedure.

Seems strange that these incidences have occurred within a country that at one time depicted a consistent resilience in the defense of religious freedom, which was defended as the highest priority.

Yet as culture has drifted away from morality, religious messages have more often become "rude" or offensive, and some have been riled enough to do something about it.

The homosexual activist group All Out is one of those who has been offended by religious beliefs. All Out is the group mentioned above which has attempted to cut some groups' funding via PayPal.

PayPal is a popular online service which acts like a middle-bank. Its users can transfer money from their real bank accounts through PayPal to pay for purchases and donations made online. PayPal has more than 100 million active accounts, according to Wikipedia.

So far, because of the pressure of All Out, a few groups have been cut off from PayPal, like Dove World Outreach Ministries. Also, Americans for Truth about Homosexuality, a resource "devoted exclusively to exposing and countering the homosexual activist agenda," can no longer accept donations via PayPal.  This is a tragety.

Unless our nation realizes where this is headed, biblical messages will continue to be labeled offensive. How many more non-profit ministries will be impacted by radical crusades like All Out's?

"Religious freedom is what guides and motivates people to take unselfish actions to give their time and money to help others," wrote Curt Ophoven. "The donations that feed and clothe the poor and needy come from religiously motivated individuals who willingly give up what they could have to help those who do not have."

Ophoven said Americans have donated the largest amount of time and money to feed the world, largely because of their religious convictions. What will happen if religious freedom continues to fall under attack?

"No government can ever replace the impact of religious freedom," he said.

"The majority of Americans strongly believe in God, and many choose to act on that faith through volunteering, charitable giving, and living according to their consciences," Caprara wrote. "Vigilance is required to ensure that those individuals can freely live according to their beliefs."

"Religious freedom is under attack, but few seem to realize that attacking religious freedom is attacking civil society.

What is even more disturbing is that perhaps those that are attacking religious freedom realize what they are doing and don't care because they are willing to embrace discrimination and trade the blessings of religious freedom for the silencing of the gospel.

Religious discrimination and censorship are protected by the U.S. Constitution.  But by controlling electronic funds in the digital age they have found a way around the U.S. Constitution", Ophoven said 

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