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.
It seems as though every time you turn around, someone, somewhere is being denied or hindered in their ability to exercise their religion, freely. (i.e., students being denied the ability to create a bible study group on school grounds; a church or religious group being denied the 501(c)(3) tax exempt status designation; etc.)
Students, at the high school level, are usually minors and have limited rights; however, they do have the right to freely express themselves (under many circumstances) and have the right to endeavor in a religious activity. Consider what is happening right now during the shutdown of the Government…Chaplains have essentially been told they cannot have services for the troops and risk an Article 15 for disobeying an order if they do so. Odd, despite the rank they hold in the military service they are there to aid and bolster the moral and welfare of the service men and women. Even though they are in the military, they have certain rights and their religious belief and expression happens to be one of them.
A church, on the other hand, does not have to be a corporation. Matthew 18:20 “For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.” Since the Christ was equated to the head of the church, there is no need for a physical building, because of the statement by Jesus in Matthew 18:20. However, when a church becomes a corporation, it loses some flexibility and rights. A corporation is a fiction of either the federal or state government and therefore is bound by many laws that a constitutional church is not obligated to uphold. A corporate church, regardless if you believe it or not, if asked for any list of people that attend are required to comply, because they can say it is a fiction of the state and that is a privilege and they refused our request; hence, they loses their corporate status. A constitutional church made up of the people still possess the rights to donate with tax write-off , but more importantly are not obligated to yield that same information if requested. Although, most churches are corporations are so for legal protections, others are so to protect their wealth. All rights within the first 10 Amendments of the US Constitution are individual, not collective. A constitutional church is a group of individuals exercising their right of freedom of religion under the First Amendment protections.
Many people are under the misunderstanding that the United States was created as a Christian Nation. Make no mistake about it; the colonies were created due to the religious persecution of the people in England. However, this nation was created with the idea that the leadership could freely express their religions, not necessarily Christianity. The majority of the Congress and leadership were either Deists or Masons. The best way to make my point would be one of the initial treaties of the United States, the Treaty of Tripoli of 1797,:
As the government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian Religion, — as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion or tranquility of Musselmen, — and as the said States never have entered into any war or act of hostility against any Mehomitan nation, it is declared by the parties that no pretext arising from religious opinions shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries.
I believe, foundationally, we are a Christian nation; however, if we were to be a strict Christian nation we would be creating a nation as that which we left…one which demanded you change your religion when the head of state decides he wants to change the religion, or worse yet, becoming a theocracy!
Thomas Jefferson once stated:
“I never told my own religion nor scrutinized that of another. I never attempted to make a convert, nor wished to change another’s creed. I am satisfied that yours must be an excellent religion to have produced a life of such exemplary virtue and correctness. For it is in our lives, and not from our words, that our religion must be judged.”
I, for one, agree that it is our life’s work, speech, and actions that our religious tenets can be gleaned. It is this freedom that makes our Country so great!
Sorry it took so long, I intended to get this out last week.
The Hidden Faith of The Founding Fathers (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xU24fJ4NQxo)