Wherefore, honest men and wise men should be sought for diligently, and good men and wise men ye should observe to uphold; (D&C 98:10)

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Freedom and Religion

These two quotes from Mitt Romney's "Faith in America" speech point out important connections between freedom and religion.

Freedom requires religion just as religion requires freedom. Freedom opens the windows of the soul so that man can discover his most profound beliefs and commune with God. Freedom and religion endure together, or perish alone.
We separate church and state affairs in this country, and for good reason. No religion should dictate to the state nor should the state interfere with the free practice of religion. But in recent years, the notion of the separation of church and state has been taken by some well beyond its original meaning.

Today's generations of Americans have always known religious liberty. Perhaps we forget the long and arduous path our nation's forbearers took to achieve it. They came here from England to seek freedom of religion. But upon finding it for themselves, they at first denied it to others. Because of their diverse beliefs, Ann Hutchinson was exiled from Massachusetts Bay, a banished Roger Williams founded Rhode Island, and two centuries later, Brigham Young set out for the West. Americans were unable to accommodate their commitment to their own faith with an appreciation for the convictions of others to different faiths. In this, they were very much like those of the European nations they had left.
It reminds me of the story of Captain Moroni and his call to defend their rights and religion, if necessary by the sword. "Behold, whosoever will maintain this title upon the land, let them come forth in the strength of the Lord, and enter into a covenant that they will maintain their rights, and their religion, that the Lord God may bless them" (Alma 46:20).

There is a proper balance of spirituality in public life. It is between two extremes. "Freedom opens the windows of the soul so that man can discover his most profound beliefs and commune with God." (Mitt Romney). Freedom also allows the person who does not believe in spirituality. No man should be forced to join a religion. In contrast faith should not be forced from the public square. The freedom to chose these things should be defended with our might.

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