Thursday, 27 November 2008

Be Thankful Today For Religious Freedom

Religious freedom in the United States was never planned by the colonial settlers; it was something that just happened. Nonetheless, said Rev. Charles Weaver, assistant to the bishop of the United Methodist Church's Florida conference, religious freedom is something for which we should be grateful.

Weaver, a Sebring native and UMC minister who majored in history before he went to seminary at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, was the guest speaker at the Daughters of the American Revolution, Annuttaliga Chapter, monthly meeting earlier this week at the Brooksville Country Club.

His presentation was titled "Religion in Colonial America."

"The First Amendment states Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion," he said. "We as Americans take this for granted because that's the way it's always been."

Weaver said freedom of religion was a revolutionary concept in colonial times as it is now.
"Other governments, unless influenced by the American concept, tend to support one religion or have an established church," he said.

Weaver wasn't referring to countries like Saudi Arabia, which has Islam as the state religion - he was talking about Europe.

"England has the Anglican church, Scotland the Presbyterian church and Sweden the Lutheran church as tax-supported churches," he said.

The plus side to a tax-supported church might be not having to hold a bake sale when the water heater needs to be replaced, but there is a tradeoff.

"Governments that give money to churches expect some degree of control," Weaver said. 

"Americans are more religious (than Europeans) - does that tell you something? We basically have a free-market approach." Read more
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1 comment:

Peter Kirk said...

The Church of England is tax-supported, it is? Is this something I missed in the latest budget? It would be really great if we Anglicans no longer had to do fundraising "when the water heater needs to be replaced". But it seems that here we are trying to give control to a government which doesn't really want it, as a tradeoff for nothing!