Skip to comments.What Religious Freedom Requires of Us: Part 6 in a Series on Religious Freedom
Posted on 07/03/2012 11:37:16 AM PDT by greyfoxx39
The Obligations of Religious Freedom
There is a paradox to religious freedom a genuine gain arising from an apparent loss. The dilemma goes something like this: If you want your religious beliefs to be protected, you must protect religious beliefs that fundamentally differ from your own. This does not require an endorsement of those beliefs, but it does require a certain respect for them. Competing claims of truth and belief dont easily coexist. However, religious freedom for me but not for thee cannot work, especially in a world as diverse as ours. Centuries of sectarian conflict have shown that such attitudes degrade the freedom of both. The way to ensure ones own freedom is to ensure freedom for everyone.
Religious freedom is as much a duty as it is a right, as much an obligation to give as a privilege to receive. Such responsibilities and benefits are not only the inheritance of a time-honored constitution. They shape the way we live our lives from day to day. The fruits of religious freedom depend on the continual hard work of communities in nurturing civility, respect and reciprocity the two-way street of civic virtue. Sustaining religious freedom is part of a just and free society.
This mutual obligation is founded on the inherent dignity of each person and the moral conscience that guides human agency. Keeping this obligation is the great test of a peaceful society. Having experienced persecution and intolerance in the past, members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints can relate with religious minority groups who suffer in similar ways. A spirit of solidarity inspired Joseph Smith, founding prophet of the Church, to affirm: It is a love of liberty which inspires my soul civil and religious liberty to the whole of the human race.
Civility and Its Consequences
Much of this reciprocal responsibility is simply a matter of how we, as citizens, treat each other. Our public interaction reveals who we are as a people and what kind of society we choose to build. This interaction continually defines our values. Constant care is required to cultivate the manners and freedoms of civilization.
The words we speak, and how we speak them, make all the difference. The need for civility does not require citizens to hide their beliefs or soften them into nice generalities. Meaningful discussion can be both humane and vigorous. Civility is a call to ensure that every voice is heard and respected, even if no agreement follows. Religious organizations and individuals are responsible to state their views reasonably and respectfully so they contribute to productive discussion. The intensity of pluralistic democracy needs to be tempered by mature discourse wherein differing sides express opinions without dismissing beliefs.
The discussion of competing ideas the sign of a healthy democracy teaches citizens to acknowledge and respect each others deepest differences. As fellow citizens we should always speak with compassion and show patience toward those who disagree with us. We foster tolerance and respect by giving it ourselves. No one should be denigrated for adhering to their moral conscience.
An Atmosphere of Goodwill
Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles has urged: As believers we should frame our arguments and positions in ways that contribute to the reasoned discussion and accommodation that are essential to democratic government in a pluralistic society. By this means we will contribute to the civility that is essential to preserve our civilization.
Striving to communicate and promote their values in ways that resonate with people in their communities, Latter-day Saints add to the multitude of voices concerned with the well-being of society. President of the Church Thomas S. Monson has captured this aspiration: As a church we reach out not only to our own people but also to those people of good will throughout the world in that spirit of brotherhood which comes from the Lord Jesus Christ.
As long as human beings continue to organize into societies, act on individual conscience and make claims about ultimate truth, there will be deep, sometimes intractable, differences. The paradox of religious freedom will continue to require that we fulfill the mutual obligation of civility. Upholding this freedom
Doubletalk from the sect that claims that the Christian faith is false and salvation is only gained by becoming a member and taking part in "covenants" that are supposed to bind God. A sect that teaches that God was once a man, a claim against all Christian belief.
Romney stands behind his faith 100%. WE have the "freedom" to reject that faith and to not only practice our religions, the freedom to SHARE our beliefs, and the freedom to vote our conscience in November without bowing to pressure by those who claim their own freedom to vote their conscience. This week is all about FREEDOM!
What CHRISTIANITY Requires of Us:
For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.Romans 16:17
I urge you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teaching you have learned. Keep away from them.1 Corinthians 4:17
For this reason I am sending to you Timothy, my son whom I love, who is faithful in the Lord. He will remind you of my way of life in Christ Jesus, which agrees with what I teach everywhere in every church.1 Corinthians 11:2
2. I praise you for remembering me in everything and for holding to the teachings, just as I passed them on to you.Ephesians 4:14-15
14. Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming.
15. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ.2 Thessalonians 2:15
So then, brothers, stand firm and hold to the teachings we passed on to you, whether by word of mouth or by letter.2 Thessalonians 3:6
In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, we command you, brothers, to keep away from every brother who is idle and does not live according to the teaching you received from us.1 Timothy 1:3-4
3. As I urged you when I went into Macedonia, stay there in Ephesus so that you may command certain men not to teach false doctrines any longer
4. nor to devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies. These promote controversies rather than God's work--which is by faith.1 Timothy 1:7
They want to be teachers of the law, but they do not know what they are talking about or what they so confidently affirm.1 Timothy 2:7
And for this purpose I was appointed a herald and an apostle--I am telling the truth, I am not lying--and a teacher of the true faith to the Gentiles.1 Timothy 4:1-2
1. The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons.
2. Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron.1 Timothy 4:6
If you point these things out to the brothers, you will be a good minister of Christ Jesus, brought up in the truths of the faith and of the good teaching that you have followed.1 Timothy 4:11
Command and teach these things.1 Timothy 6:3-5
3. If anyone teaches false doctrines and does not agree to the sound instruction of our Lord Jesus Christ and to godly teaching,
4. he is conceited and understands nothing. He has an unhealthy interest in controversies and quarrels about words that result in envy, strife, malicious talk, evil suspicions
5. and constant friction between men of corrupt mind, who have been robbed of the truth and who think that godliness is a means to financial gain.2 Timothy 1:13
What you heard from me, keep as the pattern of sound teaching, with faith and love in Christ Jesus.2 Timothy 2:15-17
15. Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.
16. Avoid godless chatter, because those who indulge in it will become more and more ungodly.
17. Their teaching will spread like gangrene.2 Timothy 3:16-17
16. All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness,
17. so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.2 Timothy 4:3-4
3. For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.
4. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.Titus 1:11
They must be silenced, because they are ruining whole households by teaching things they ought not to teach--and that for the sake of dishonest gain.Titus 2:1
You must teach what is in accord with sound doctrine.Titus 2:15
These, then, are the things you should teach. Encourage and rebuke with all authority. Do not let anyone despise you.Hebrews 13:9
Do not be carried away by all kinds of strange teachings.2 Peter 2:1-3
1. But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them--bringing swift destruction on themselves.
2. Many will follow their shameful ways and will bring the way of truth into disrepute.
3. In their greed these teachers will exploit you with stories they have made up. Their condemnation has long been hanging over them, and their destruction has not been sleeping.2 John 1:10
If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not take him into your house or welcome him.