Religious Freedom Day
Tomorrow, January 16th, is Religious Freedom Day.
As Americans, even though religious freedom is under attack, we enjoy abundant liberty to worship as we choose, while people in some parts of the world are persecuted, or even killed, as they seek to worship God as they believe.
In the Religious Freedom Day 2012 Proclamation, President Obama spoke briefly of our religious heritage in America:
"For nearly four centuries, men and women have immigrated to America's shores in pursuit of religious freedom. Hailing from diverse backgrounds and faiths, countless settlers have shared a simple aspiration -- to practice their beliefs free from prejudice and persecution. In 1786, the Virginia General Assembly took a bold step toward preserving this fundamental liberty by passing the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom, which brought to life the ideal of religious tolerance from the texts of the Enlightenment in the laws of state. On Religious Freedom Day, we celebrate this historic milestone, reflect upon the Statute's declaration that "Almighty God hath created the mind free," and reaffirm that the American people will remain forever unshackled in matters of faith.
"Drafted by Thomas Jefferson, the Virginia Statute formed the basis for the First Amendment, which has preserved religious freedom for both believers and non-believers for over 220 years. As our Nation has grown, so too has its diversity of faiths, cultures, and traditions; today, individuals of rich and varied beliefs call America home and seek to follow their consciences in peace. Our long history of religious tolerance and pluralism has strengthened our country, helped create a vibrant civil society, and remained true to the principles enshrined in our founding documents...."
What a wonderful blessing is ours! What an incredible price others have paid to pave the way!
Recently I watched a powerful documentary called Fires of Faith about the history of the Bible. It describes the courageous men who were willing to sacrifice everything, even their lives, to make the Bible available to the common people. Fires of Faith is online, and is divided into three parts, each lasting almost an hour. I hope you can watch it with your family. It gives a renewed appreciation of the enormous sacrifices made by others so we can have the Bible.
Part 1: Yearning for the Word
Part 2: Martyrs for a Book
Part 3: The King James Bible