The First Amendment
By: Jim O'Brien
Have you read the 1st Amendment lately?
"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances."
It's good to have an occasional, no a regular reminder of what the constitution and the Bill of Rights actually say. If we've learned anything in the past few weeks, it is that we have been deceived.
That's not a surprise to students of the Bible. The Psalmist writes, "Everyone lies to their neighbor; they flatter with their lips but harbor deception in their hearts" (Psalm 12:2). Was that written over 2,500 years ago-or last week?
When the disciples wanted to know what signs would signal the end of this age and His return, "Jesus answered and said to them: "Take heed that no one deceives you. For many will come in My name, saying, 'I am the Christ,' and will deceive many" (Matthew 25:4-5).
Deception is a major factor in the destruction of civilization and the decline of Christianity. Jesus continued in verse 11, "Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many." Not only will false prophets arise, but there will be men claiming to be Christ himself. Jesus said, "For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. See, I have told you beforehand" (Matthew 24:24-25).
This leads us back to the subject of deception that Americans have endured for the past several weeks. It is only the beginning. If one thinks he can avoid deception by listening to the press, he is self-deceived. The Founding Fathers understood that better than 21st Century scholars.
Just the sentence structure of the Amendment is a fascinating revelation. It is one sentence! It isn't a series of disjointed thoughts thrown together by a person with Attention Deficit Disorder. Freedom of the press can NOT be separated from religion. It's an expression flowing naturally in the middle of the thought. The writers of the constitution believed that Americans had the right, from God, to establish congregations, and to speak, publish and assemble for worship services to honor God as each saw fit.
For good reason! If one relies on the Press to provide answers to the current crisis, it is almost 100 percent certain the person will be deceived. Jesus told Pilate that He, Jesus, is Truth. He told the disciples that the world will hate you because it hated me first! (John 15:18).
These are not the words of a reactionary. If they were, we could call the Founding Fathers reactionaries. The first amendment was written to protect religious rights. Somehow, journalists have corrupted the intent of the writers-yes, they have perverted the words of the men who enumerated the precious freedoms our nation enjoys.
It's the FIRST amendment - not an afterthought that was included for sanctimonious effect. Freedom to worship God as one chooses is the core of freedoms in America. It supersedes all others. To get to freedom of the press, you have to twist a sentence out of the middle of the thought. The truth is that freedom of the press doesn't exist without freedom of religious expression.
So how did this get turned upside down? How is it that the press can use the First Amendment to deny American's the freedom to assemble? The freedom to speak against heinous sins? The freedom to abstain from performing abortions? The freedom not to perform immoral marriages?
The destruction of this sacred freedom of religion lies at the feet of the press itself. The press may be more responsible for the deception of America-with the possible exception of the American educational system that teaches aspiring journalists how to deceive the public.
The irony of all this, that the Founding Fathers-these deeply religious men, established the right for citizens to have freedom to worship God without infringement, and preach the Gospel without censorship-has been stolen from the nation while, in the name of freedom of speech, the press can deceive the public, pornographers can destroy the character of our children, doctors can murder our babies, politicians can deceive the citizens-all in the name of freedom of the press-a right established for sincere religious men to preach the Gospel.
It is time to pray for our nation - and for yourself - that you will not be deceived by the one who deceives the whole world (Revelation 12:9 - Satan the Devil).
Until next time,
Pastor, Church of God Cincinnati
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