by John Carey
“Cities like Charleston, Morgantown, Huntington, and others are passing legislation that will lead to the same kind of restrictions on religious liberty as Christian photographers, wedding cake crafters and others are experiencing around the country.”
A meeting was held recently in Beckley to explain the need for Christian leaders to take a stand in defense of religious liberty. Pastors, legislators, and homeschool parents had an opportunity to watch the film, One Generation Away. Following the movie, Delegate John O’Neal moderated an informative panel discussion with Speaker of the House Tim Armstead; Ken Carpenter, the director of the film; and Allen Whitt, President of the West Virginia Family Policy Council. Much was learned in the few hours we met.
This captivating film underscored the many threats to religious liberty around the country and the need to take a stand. We were able to hear first-hand the struggles that Christians are enduring across America and the price being paid by caring individuals who simply want to practice their faith in their businesses, chosen vocations, and in the public sphere.
Dangerous momentum is building to redefine the concept of “freedom of worship,” aimed specifically at restricting that freedom to what Christians do in the four walls of a church on Sunday. Once in the realm of business ventures or career pursuits, Christians are encountering more and more laws which remove legal protections for the freedom to practice their faith in the public arena. Such laws are being created right here, right now, in West Virginia.
Cities like Charleston, Morgantown, Huntington, and others are passing legislation that will lead to the same kind of restrictions on religious liberty that Christian photographers, wedding cake crafters and others are experiencing around the country. Through homosexual special rights legislation, religious liberty protections are being devalued by City Council members who dismiss or disregard the concerns of Christian business owners and others who cherish the freedom to practice their religion. The city of Martinsburg will be considering such legislation soon.
Christian leaders were reminded that no significant legal protections such as the Religious Freedom Restoration Act have been put into place at the state level. In order to confront the opposition that is expected from out-of-state organizations, strong and immediate support for this legislation is vitally needed.
While Ken Carpenter anticipated opposition for creating One Generation Away, what he did not expect was how much of that opposition would come from pastors. He reported that many are afraid of being controversial.
Truth – God’s Truth – is controversial, for when it is embraced, it sets people free! Religious liberty is precious, and many have sacrificed much to maintain it. We need only look across the pond to Europe to see where America is headed if we do nothing. Fortunately, here in West Virginia we have a sympathetic legislature and others on the local level that care and are willing to act on behalf of freedom.
Past experience teaches that to remain silent means further loss of liberty. Only by speaking up for what is right in the Lord’s sight can we work together for positive change. Please pray and consider what part God might have your family play in protecting your freedoms right where you live.
“The ultimate test of a moral society is the kind of world that it leaves to its children.” ― Dietrich Bonhoeffer
Editor’s comment: While CHEWV is not leading on this issue, we know that many of our member families are deeply concerned that the secularization of our society has grave implications for the continuing freedom of parents to direct the education and training of their children. We are therefore glad to add our voice in support of that freedom.