Freedom of Religion
May you have a safe and enjoyable Fourth of July. We are protective of our rights. That has come out in the news as people have said they have a right not to wear a mask, a right to go to church, a right to protest. And so we do. And this Fourth of July perhaps we should think a little deeper about our rights.
The right of Freedom of Religion. It may surprise you, but when the founding fathers drafted these rights for us the right of Freedom of Religion did not have the same meaning it does today. Jefferson and Adams were the primary authors and we know that Jefferson was very much anti-Catholic. Scholars looking and evaluating what was happening in the culture at the time are beginning to realize that Freedom of Religion actually was to keep the Church from telling the state what to do or how to manage the states affairs. There have been times in history where the church had great authority in political affairs. The authors of our Constitution did not want that happening in the fledgling United States.
Over time the meaning of the this right has evolved and developed into a deeper meaning. The individual has the right to worship as they understand what faith and religion are to them. And the state cannot interfere with their form of worship. Except as we have recently discovered, if for the common good of all people, the state can step in and issue regulations on how and when we worship. Still, as people of faith, we need to put God first. In making our choice to follow state regulations and guidelines we do so out of charity and love for others. We acknowledge the states directives as being for the common good of all people. As individuals we need at times to make sacrifice of our selves in order to protect others. And so we try, to the best of our ability, to comply with state regulations.
So far we have been doing well and I thank all of you for your participation and patience. As in all things we sacrifice it becomes a challenge to our will. We want so desperately to just have things the way we want them. But in keeping with the first commandment, to love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength, we focus on the common good of others. Knowing that we are helping others to get to heaven. And that should always be our first priority.
May the Lord bless you and your family, keeping you safe and providing for a well deserved break, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen
Fr Ed Anderson
St. Joseph Church – Rice Lake
Holy Trinity – Haugen
St. John the Evangelist – Birchwood
Our Lady of Lourdes – Dobie