Treasuring Religious Freedom

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Model used for illustrative purposes only

President Obama has declared January 16, 2017, to be Religious Freedom Day.  This day marks the anniversary of the passage, in 1786, of the Virginia Statute of Religious Freedom – a statute that its author, Thomas Jefferson, was extremely proud of.  Moreover, this day gives us an opportunity to further appreciate the United States Constitution and its Bill of Rights, including the First Amendment, which declares the government cannot prohibit the free exercise of religion in our country.

Voices as diverse as Congressman Mike Quigley from Chicago and Ann Romney, wife of former Presidential candidate Mitt Romney, have defended and advocated the religious freedom of everyone.  Quigley has stated, “Protection of religious freedom means considering the faiths and beliefs of everyone involved.” And Romney said, “I think we recognize as Americans there are certain things that are just primary to the freedoms and liberties that we enjoy here, and religious freedom is one of the most important things we as Americans cherish.”

Throughout Illinois, and particularly in my community of Naperville, there are many religious traditions that cherish the religious freedom we enjoy in this country.  St. Peter and Paul is a lovely historic Catholic church in downtown Naperville; the Jewish synagogue is next door to my son’s school; and I pass the Islamic Center each morning on my daily walk.  Throughout this city, there are many different congregations cherishing their unique views of God,  including my own – First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Naperville.

As a Christian Scientist, I particularly value the freedom to pray and practice my religion that this country affords.  I am grateful that I can read the Bible, go to church and practice spiritual healing.  These are freedoms that I do not take for granted.  I am grateful that I can speak to others freely of my love for God, His Son Jesus Christ, and the woman who discovered Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy.

In 1866, Eddy’s recovery through prayer from the effects of a near-fatal accident, led her to deepen her study of the Bible.  Through this study and her practice of what she was learning, she concluded that spiritual healing–turning understandingly to God and His healing Christ in prayer–is an effective way to combat disease and illness.  For over 140 years, individuals all over the world have found healing of sickness possible through Christian Science.

Christian Scientists live under no church mandate to choose prayer for the treatment of disease.  They have the freedom to decide on what they will rely in any given situation.

Speaking from my own experience, I have chosen Christian Science treatment because it has answered my questions about God and helped me feel closer to Him, and also because I have found it works!  For example, one afternoon I was working in my home office when the kids came in from school.  They were hungry.  As I was preparing snacks, an acute pain went right through my head.  I lost control of the left side of my body and was glad I was next to a chair, as I collapsed into it.  My phone was in my hand.  I called my wife and asked her to call a Christian Science practitioner – a professional Christian Scientist who prays for anyone willing to turn to God for healing.

I managed to get back into my home office near the kitchen, and the kids went off to play.  I told my wife she need not come home, feeling sure that if I just had some quiet time with God, I would be fine. As I sat in my chair, I began to pray for myself by remembering some great advice about prayer from Mary Baker Eddy in her book Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures.  Referencing Psalm 46, she writes, “Step by step will those who trust Him find that ‘God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.’”  I spent this quiet time turning to God, acknowledging His ever-presence and omnipotence, and striving to learn more of His healing power.

I could feel God, the embrace of divine Love, answering my prayers and the prayers of the practitioner.  In a short while, I felt well.  Not just better, but well.  By the time my wife came home from work, I was up and making dinner.  I was healed.  It is proof like this of the value of religion that makes me even more appreciative of the freedom of religion this country upholds.

How grateful we can be for our country’s Founding Fathers who provided for this freedom in our Constitution’s Bill of Rights and for the countless individuals who work not only to protect religious freedom, but also practice their religion.  The blessings of individual religious practice spill over into collective good as love and joy develop into good works, unselfishness, charitable acts and spiritual healing that benefit whole communities.

Happy Religious Freedom Day!

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6 Responses to Treasuring Religious Freedom

  1. Marcia Cook says:

    Thank you so much for sharing!

  2. Lori says:

    Thank you for your heartfelt illustration of the benefits of religious freedom

  3. Nancy Stevens says:

    Thank you so much for listening to God’s message, and sharing this wonderful healing.
    Nancy

  4. sandi says:

    Thank you also for the opening paragraphs explaining the background and current support for Religious Freedom Day.

  5. margaret powell says:

    Beautiful Tim. Will have some of this in our Reading Room display today.
    Grateful for your on-going blogs and so lovingly crafted article so for publication for the public.

  6. Pingback: When the world seems dark or you feel lonely, these are precisely the times to acknowledge the presence of God by Thomas Mitchinson (CSB/COP). – Seeker of Truth

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