When the people of America came to the shores of this great land, it was their intention to ensure that all future generations would not have to endure the religious discrimination and the suppression of religious liberty that they were forced to endure in England.
For this reason, the First Freedom that was guaranteed to individuals under the United States Constitution was the freedom to worship God according to the dictates of their conscience, without interference or prohibition by the government.
If I asked you to make a list of the things that are most important in your life you would list them in the order of their significance. Those that are of the highest priority would be placed first, with others to follow. The framers of the Constitution placed Freedom of Religion first on their list.
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…”
According to Cornell University Law School: “The First Amendment guarantees freedoms concerning religion, expression, assembly, and the right to petition. It forbids Congress from both promoting one religion over others and also restricting an individual’s religious practices.”
The Johnson Amendment came about by a bill that Senator Lyndon B. Johnson proposed in July 2, 1954. H.R. 8300 is a bill with a provision in the U.S. tax code that prohibits all 501(c)(3) non-profit organizations from endorsing or opposing political candidates. This amendment has shackled pastors from expressing religious opinions regarding political candidates and engaging in political activities which could risk the loss of their tax-exempt status if violated.
On Thursday, May, 4, 2017, President Trump signed a “Free Speech and Religious Liberty Executive Order,” to free pastors and churches to express their opinions in all political matters. This order further allows the free exercise of religion in the political arena without the former restrictions that have been placed upon it. It was never the intention of the First Amendment to place a “Wall” between religion and the state, which would restrict those of faith from expressing their religion in the political arena. If a wall exists, it was intended to keep government out of religion, not religion out of government. There is no establishment of religion by simply allowing people of faith the express their faith on public property, government offices, schools, universities or any other public place.
Tax exempt status was given to Churches with the thought that there is no surer way to destroy the free exercise of religion than to tax churches who contain citizens who practice their religion.. If the government was allowed to tax churches or place restrictions upon it, the people who are a part of these churches would soon lose the right to freely exercise the right to practice their religion.
“Tax exemptions of different types were common in the Colonial period. After the Revolution and the ratification of the Bill of Rights, most states retained these exemptions. State and local governments continue to exempt churches from local taxation. In 1913 the federal government embraced this trend by exempting churches and other religious organizations from federal taxation in the modern federal tax code.
Under the federal scheme, all nonprofits that abide by certain regulations
are exempt from federal taxes. Donations made to such groups are likewise tax-deductible for the donor. Churches and religious organizations receive these and some other benefits. For example, churches are not required to file tax returns or apply for tax-exempt status. The Internal Revenue Service automatically considers churches exempt (though many churches file anyway in an effort to assuage concerns of donors.)” —John Ferguson, First Amendment Center
Equally, pastors and those who sincerely practice their religion, should have the right to express their opinions regarding matters that have a long and well established history in their ancient scriptures. For example: the controversy over gay rights and the practice of this lifestyle was well known and widely spoken about in the pages of the Old Testament scriptures, as well as the New Testament narrative. The Bible is very clear that the practice of homosexuals and lesbians, as well as those who practice transgender lifestyles, are contrary to the laws of God. This opinion does not come from the church, nor those who inhabit their buildings, it comes from the ancient Hebrew and Greek Scriptures. Christians and Jews have the right to speak in support of what God has said in His word and they should not be suppressed from doing so.
The Founding of America as a Christian Nation
Transgender Rights and the Constitution
The United States Constitution And Gay Rights
Sodom and Gomorrah: The Gay Marriage and Same-Sex Controversy
When America Abandons God: The Signs And The Consequences
In order for the LGBT community to coexist with Christians, there must be mutual respect between both parties. Current law in the United States protects the rights of those in the LGBT community. These individuals have the right to express their opinions; equal rights should also be given to Christians to express their opinions. Expression of free speech is not limited to subjects that are free of controversy, in fact, controversy necessitates the need for free speech.