Prayer Targets: "Rights of Conscience Inalienable"; Equality Act; Caravan; Military Transgender Policy
November 28, 2018
Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage. (Galatians 5:1)
Dear Praying Friends,
Born and raised in Massachusetts, little-known Elder John Leland (1754-1841) was a key figure in the history of American religious liberty. Self-educated, he received a "sign from God" and set out as a traveling evangelist, becoming a Baptist. In 1776 he was called to Virginia to preach and became a leader in the struggle for religious liberty from Virginia's Anglican establishment. He is known for his influence on both Jefferson and Madison and his role in ratifying the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights. He returned to Massachusetts in 1791 and labored to de-establish Congregationalism and win religious liberty for Baptists and others. An opponent of slavery, he was elected to the Massachusetts legislature in 1811. His 1831 autobiography makes little mention of politics, instead emphasizing his mission as an evangelist. These excerpts are from his widely read sermon, "The Rights of Conscience Inalienable" (NEW LONDON, CT 1791):
There are four principles contended for, as the foundation of civil government, i.e. birth, property, grace, and compact [constitution] -- Birth: hereditary monarchies; Property: aristocratical government by wealthy landholders who have sole rule over their tenants; Grace: kingdoms with religious identities where religious tests qualify subjects for political participation; Compact (constitution) representatives, meeting in assembly make laws -- all power is vested in and derived from the people... the law rules over rulers, and not rulers over the law... every law made by the legislators inconsistent with the compact [constitution] is usurpation and not binding on the people... Whenever government is found inadequate to preserve the liberty and property of the people they have an indubitable right to alter it to fulfil those purposes... Legislators in their legislative capacity cannot alter the constitution, for they are hired servants of the people to act within the limits of the constitution...
The question is, "Are the rights of conscience alienable, or inalienable?" The word conscience signifies "common science," a court of judicature that the Almighty has erected in every human breast; a censor of morals over all his actions. Conscience will ever judge right when it is rightly informed and speak the truth when it understands it... "Does a man upon entering into social compact surrender his conscience to that society to be controlled by the laws thereof, or can he in justice assist in making laws to bind his children's consciences before they are born?" I judge not, for the following reasons:
1. Every man must give an account of himself to God, and therefore every man ought to be at liberty to serve God in that way that he can best reconcile it to his conscience. If government can answer for individuals on the day of judgment, let them control men in religious matters; otherwise let men be free.
2. It would be sin for a man to surrender to man that which is to be kept sacred for God. A man's mind should be always open to conviction, and an honest man will receive that doctrine that appears best demonstrated. Even the best men change their minds. Such are the prejudices of the mind, and such the force of tradition. A man who never alters his mind is either very weak or very stubborn. How painful for an honest heart to be bound to observe the principles of his former belief after he is convinced of their imbecility? This will ever be the case while the rights of conscience are considered alienable.
3. But supposing it was right for a man to bind his own conscience, yet surely it is very iniquitous to bind the consciences of his children; to make fetters for them before they are born is very cruel. Yet such has been the conduct of men in almost all ages; their children have been bound to believe and worship as their fathers did, or suffer shame, loss, and sometimes life; and at best to be called dissenters, because they dissent from that which they never joined voluntarily…
4. Finally, religion is a matter between God and individuals, religious opinions of men not being the objects of civil government nor any ways under its control... Friends of religious establishment by human laws, [believe] that no state can long continue without it; that religion will perish, and nothing but infidelity and atheism prevail... [But] did not the Christian religion prevail during the three first centuries, in a more glorious manner than ever it has since, not only without the aid of law, but in opposition to all the laws of haughty monarchs?
When one creed or church prevails over another, being armed with (a coat of mail) law and sword, truth gets no honor by the victory. Whereas if all stand upon one footing, being equally protected by law as citizens (not as saints) and one prevails over another by cool investigation and fair argument, then truth gains honor, and men more firmly believe it than if it was made an essential article of salvation by law. Truth disdains the aid of law for its defense -- it will stand upon its own merits...
It is high time to know whether all are to be free alike, or whether ministers of state are to be lords over God's heritage. Here I shall ask, whether, when men choose their [representatives], they mean to surrender to them their rights of conscience and authorize them to make laws to bind their consciences. If not, then all such acts are contrary to the intention of their power, unconstitutional and antichristian. (Elder John Leland,"The Rights of Conscience Inalienable," Political Sermons of the American Founding Era, Vol. 2 (1789-1805), edited excerpts)
This question is highly relevant today as more and more state and federal legislators advocate for laws that spring from the profane view of a popular secular culture, which amounts to a synchronistic secular religion with dogmas and tenets that, using Elder John Leland's term, amount to "imbecility." I say "synchronistic" because it is made up of many different secular ideologies and religions, including humanism and atheism and a devotion to sexual practices that former generations would have viewed as perversion and a threat to society. They find themselves as spiritual bedfellows in a religious war against Christianity. Oddly, like certain denominations in early America that felt they could not succeed without state establishment, they seek to impose their religion upon all the citizens of their state and ultimately the nation, by law -- and if not by duly enacted law, then by court rulings that are revered as equal to law.
Merriam Webster defines religion as: "the service and worship of God or the supernatural; commitment or devotion to religious faith or observance; a personal set or institutionalized system of religious attitudes, beliefs, and practices; scrupulous conformity (archaic); conscientiousness; a cause, principle, or system of beliefs held to with ardor and faith."
With our public schools indoctrinating many of our children in this secular religion and our university professors and cultural leaders promoting this secular religion in one form or another, we who believe have a challenge on our hands. But the fledgling church in the first few centuries, even without freedom of religion, won the world for Christ. Those who embrace this secularism have little love or concern for the religious liberty of Christians. Just the opposite. They see the preaching of the Gospel as a threat to the tenets of their secular faiths and practices. Their goal is to eliminate vital Christian doctrines, one at a time. They want sin to be specifically protected by law, and laws that protect Christianity to be repealed. They reject altogether the idea that the Founders were mostly professing Christians, and their adherents have produced a vast library of books that deny our Judeo-Christian heritage. Popular culture, along with the liberal media and its fake news are the daily bread in this secular religion, and they are ubiquitous.
Enter: a Bible-believing Christian remnant -- a growing army of men and women and boys and girls who are praying, fasting, obeying God, sharing their faith, and living it out in the public square -- people who are not satisfied to be private believers, but who are pledged to obey the Great Commission and who are committed to preaching and teaching obedience to the Gospel to all people in every nation, beginning in their own land. They are exemplary citizens, taking a stand to use and uphold the wondrous features of our U.S. Constitution and to advance, defend, and preserve full religious liberty in America -- not just for the benefit of Americans, but the entire world. Leland's question is relevant to every American today, "Are the rights of conscience alienable, or inalienable?"
The "Equality" Act -- The Democrats, who won control of the House of Representatives, voted today to elect Nancy Pelosi as Speaker. The liberal Democratic party leader will be second in succession to the President, after Vice President Mike Pence. Pelosi has a reputation for toughness. Despite the checks and balances of a 53-seat Republican majority in the Senate and President Trump's veto power, Pelosi will still have a great deal of power. In fact, Pelosi promised back in October that the introduction and passage of the Equality Act that was introduced in 2018 with 198 co-sponsors (which included two Republicans) would be a top priority in 2019 and would be introduced early. The Equality Act would amend the 1964 Civil Rights Act to include "sex," "sexual orientation," and "gender identity" among expressly-recognized "non-discrimination" categories in "public accommodations," require employers with 15 or more employees to recognize the claimed "gender identity" of those who identify as transgender, and require employers to allow those who identify as transgender to "access" opposite-sex restrooms, locker rooms, and dressing rooms. LifeSiteNews writes, "Conservatives believe its real purpose is to force religious Americans such as venue hosts, photographers, florists, calligraphers, and bakers to participate in same-sex 'weddings.'" The bathroom provision intrudes on the privacy of women and girls and puts them at risk of assault.
- Father, please open the eyes of all Americans to understand that religious liberty, which our original 13 states demanded be included as our first freedom in the Bill of Rights, must be honored above behavior which is immoral. Lord, expose the underlying intent of this effort -- to punish Christians and others with a biblical view of marriage and human sexuality, and so to set a precedent from which to expand their persecutions under the guise of law. Deliver us, O God! (Ex 20:3; Ps 86:6-10; Dan 3:16-18; 6:10; Mt 5:10-12; Gal 5:1,13; Eph 4:1-6; Jude 3-25)
Finally, please add these items to your prayer list: 1) The Caravan confrontation at the border is now underway, including violent conflict with troops and border security; a federal judge intervened to limit the president's authority; pray for those who are financing and coaching the group, which consists of 80 percent men and reportedly contains 600 known criminals; 2) The federal judges who have delayed implementation of President Trump's order to cease admitting transgender recruits into the military; The DOJ's unusual appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, a bellwether for the new, more conservative court (see Military Clash Causes Massive Power Outage and Trump transgender policy is simple and scientific: 'Sex' means biological sex); 3) The New York Times features the brokenness of those with gender dysphoria who choose to have sex change operations and the sad decision too many make; 4) A new Pew survey reports that Americans say that family (69 percent) provides them with a sense of meaning, followed by career (34 percent), money (23 percent) and spirituality and faith (20 percent) (watch Tony Perkins debate the findings with editor of "Friendly Atheist"); 5) 650 Obamacare State Exchange Plans Cover Abortion on Demand in 2019; 6) The HHS has proposed to reverse Obama-era policy and reinstate the meaning of "sex" to refer to male and female, not the Obama policy that included in the definition of "sex" a panoply of transgender identities. They are getting expected blowback, with some from scientists who accept the unscientific Obama theory as fact; 7) Twitter has permanently banned a feminist for writing "Men Aren't Women" and a combat vet and Congressional candidate for no stated reason at all (he has since been unbanned); 8) Breitbart says the global persecution of Christians is even greater than previously estimated; 9) Yet another public school has banned all Christmas songs that mention Jesus, e.g. "Silent Night" and "Joy to the World." These are just a few of many matters that need our attention in prayer.
Thank you for praying!