Chuck Colson, founder of Prison Fellowship and BreakPoint, spoke in a 2009 Breakpoint broadcast about religious liberty. His words apply even more today.
Allow me to make a very direct statement. I believe it is time for the Church in this country to stand up for religious freedom.
Especially over the course of the last few years, we have seen repeated efforts — in the courts, in state legislatures, in Congress and on Pennsylvania Avenue — to erode what has been called the first freedom: religious liberty.
It isn’t hard to cite numerous cases where Christian organizations and individuals have been singled out and punished for adhering to their faith.
In New Jersey, a Methodist camp lost its tax exempt status for refusing to hold a same-sex civil union ceremony. In California, Christian doctors were successfully sued for refusing to offer in-vitro fertilization procedures for a lesbian couple. Catholic Charities in Boston had to shut down its adoption services because it was being forced by the state to place children with same-sex couples.
Colson goes on to remind us that freedom of religion is the first freedom for a reason. Without it, no other freedom can stand.
Perhaps more than anything else, it was this understanding of individual freedom that turned me into the kind of patriot who would willingly give his life for his country. It was the words of the Declaration of Independence that inspired me to join the Marines: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”
So this question of human freedom goes to the very heart of who we are as Christians and as Americans.
Read all of Colson’s commentary at The Stream.