For a decade now, the exam that prospective immigrants must take to become U.S. citizens has altered the Constitution in a dangerous and freedom-limiting way.
The test now refers to “freedom of worship” as one of the rights which belong to “everyone who lives in the United States.” But that’s not what the Constitution guarantees at all.
The words of the Founders were much more expansive. What the Constitution guarantees is the “free exercise of religion.” What’s the difference? Easy. The right to the free exercise of religion is something we possess 24 hours of every day, seven days of every week. Freedom of worship is a right we possess for only one hour a week, from 11 to noon on Sundays.
The left has been on a crusade to limit religious liberty whenever and wherever it can. What better way to shrink it than by convincing newcomers as well as American citizens that religious rights can only be exercised 60 minutes out of every week, and only inside the four walls of a church building?
Homosexual activists believe in this constricted view of freedom with a venomous passion. During my time as a pastor in Idaho, I once had an angry lesbian activist get up in my face declaring (and this is virtually verbatim), “I don’t care what you teach inside your church, what you do inside your church, or what you believe inside your church, as long as you keep it inside your church. Your church belongs to you. But the public square belongs to us.”
The Constitution’s guarantee of the free exercise of religion, however, means that religious cannot be constitutionally confined within the four walls of a building. Christians are guaranteed the right to live out their faith not only in their homes but also in the way they run their businesses, whether that business is a bake shop or a floral shop. They have the right to the free exercise of religion in school settings, in work settings, in city council chambers, in state capitols, and in the halls of Congress.
But by amending the Constitution to read “freedom of worship,” immigration officials have strangled the life out of this fundamental liberty.
President Obama is fond of this linguistic obliteration of the Constitution. In essence, the president has said to the American people, “You have the right to freedom of religion one hour a week, but the other 167 hours belong to the bureaucratic minions of the federal government.”
This is not the America the Founders bequeathed to us. It’s long past time for America to reclaim the religious liberty which is ours by providential grant and secured for us in the Constitution. And one of the places to begin is by teaching newcomers to America the actual words of the Constitution instead of the words President Obama wishes were there.
(Unless otherwise noted, the opinions expressed are the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the views of the American Family Association or American Family Radio.)
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