On a cold and wet morning this past Saturday, hundreds of Texans packed the Lakewood Church of the Nazarene in Tyler, TX to take a stand for religious freedom and to educate and encourage pastors and their congregations to stay informed about important issue of faith. Local pastors and state and national leaders, including Liberty Institute’s President Kelly Shackelford, laid out how our religious liberty is under assault. The first amendment has rarely been attacked so openly and overtly like what we are seeing today. Just a few recent examples include: (1) the Obama administration’s HHS mandating that Catholic institutions and other religious organizations must provide abortifacents and birth control in violation of their own teachings and conscience, (2) the Obama administration challenging the right of churches to hire their own pastors and employees based on their religious beliefs at the U.S. Supreme Court, and (3) liberal activist groups like the ACLU trying to tear down crosses at our veteran’s memorials around the country.
Here is a video with some of the highlights from the rally:
The genesis of the God and Country movement in fact started here in Texas last December when an atheist group called the Freedom from Religion Foundation demanded that a Nativity scene in Athens be removed from the court house lawn. In an inspiring show of support for religious freedom and the true meaning of the first amendment, thousands of people gathered in Athens on December 17, 2011 to stand against the ever growing attacks on Christians and people of faith. As a result, the first amendment prevailed and the Nativity scene was not removed.
If there ever was a time, the time is now for people of faith to take a stand and for pastors to lead their congregations in engaging in the important issues of faith going on in our culture.
One of the most important ways they can do that is to inform and encourage people of faith to vote. As we are in primary election season, it is important for churches to know that they can register their members to vote, to pass out and encourage their members to use our voters guides, and for pastors to know that they can speak out on important issues like religious liberty as they feel lead to from the Lord.
As witnessed in the God and Country Rally, we are excited that people are starting to wake up and see what is at stake. We look forward to continuing to be part of the fight to reclaim and defend our religious freedoms, and it certainly will be one of our top priorities as we head into the next legislative session.