Religious Freedoms Under Attack

Freedom to win children to Christ, to preach and distribute gospel tracts in public, and a redefinition of "hate speech" will be some of the issues facing soul winners in the next century, according to the February, 1999, Christian Law Association newsletter.

"As America moves into the next century, the battle for continued religious liberty for Bible-believing Christians is at a watershed moment," writes Attorney David C. Gibbs, Jr.

With the proliferation of religions in the U.S., the chances are increasing that a Muslim or Hindu parent will be very upset when their child is won to Christ in a Sunday school or Vacation Bible School.

Or the parents may just be against all religions, and threaten to sue the church. Pastors have even been told by parents, "I would rather have my kid on drugs than for him to be a Christian fanatic!"

Pressure is also building to pass more restrictive "hate" laws. With recent widely publicized cases of violence against blacks and homosexuals, there is an increasing clamor to make "hate speech" illegal. If this happens, it is only a small step to arresting bold pastors for speaking biblical truth against sin.

"Once a pastor speaks from a Bible-based position which he is not willing to negotiate or compromise, in today's climate he is often considered a 'dangerous extremist,'" writes Gibbs. There is a legitimate risk that the definition of 'hate speech' could be expanded to include Bible preaching on abortion, homosexuality, or any other politically sensitive issue which may arise."

Soul winners who preach or pass gospel tracts in parks and public streets are being increasingly harassed. Gibbs gets calls from preachers whose sound equipment has been confiscated and church groups who have been arrested for being "too noisy" as they distributed tracts in front of casinos and bars and at the entrances to fairs.

Other occasions where CLA is often asked for help include children forbidden to give gospel tracts to fellow students, workers forbidden to read their Bibles at break time, and attempts to tax churches.

In some cases, churches, who try to help alcoholics and drug addicts, find themselves in conflict with the government's attempt to control social services. They could conceivably be charged with practicing medicine without a license since alcoholism and drug addiction are deemed to be medical diseases.

Gibbs foresees an increase in these and other issues such as same-sex marriages, and child custody judges ordering parents not to share Christ with their children.

What can the Bible believer do to forestall these restrictions? The battleground is the attitudes of our local communities. Government can restrict freedoms only if the governed allow it.

We must speak out on these issues, making sure that everyone understands God's point of view. One effective way is to salt your community with gospel tracts. Spreading biblical truth will tend to inoculate your neighborhood against the propaganda of the those with an evil agenda.

If we roll over and play dead, the homosexuals, humanists, and false religions will spread their anti-biblical philosophies and behaviors. In time it will be too late to do anything about it.

To obtain copies of the CLA newsletter or get help in a situation involving religious freedom, write to Christian Law Association, PO Box 8600, Mason, OH 45040. Their phone number is 1-888-252-1969.

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