Petition Closed

Defend Public Freedom of Religion

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Think about September 11, 2001. Think about mass shootings and contemporary persecutions, of the molestation and rape of citizens, of the bullying in schools and the workplace, of the degeneration of the family unit and the devolution of society that the world is suffering nowadays. In times like these, people of faith look to the church, to the temple, to God, for guidance and safety. They look to God for sanctuary when they are in desperation and do not know what else to do. Churches have a special room in the building called the "sanctuary". I have been in this situation, and I have stood and sat outside the doors of the churches in my area with a desire to seek an audience with The Lord of Hosts in his house. Each time I have done this, I could not enter the sanctuary because the doors to the church were locked. When society is in desperate times and people turn to God, is God willing to let them stand and sit outside, or is he willing to provide sanctuary? Now who is to say when a person is to be allowed sanctuary and when they are to be disallowed sanctuary?

I am calling for the revocation of non-profit organization status of every religious place that locks its doors to the public. Additionally, a mandate that states that a religious organization may not hinder access to its sanctuary.

Whenever I go to church to pray, I find the doors locked and cannot enter. If I see someone inside, they ask me what I want but refuse to let me in. When I pray after the church service on Sunday, I am kicked out by maintenance after a few minutes. When I ask church leaders for permission to share some wisdom that I have learned from God during my lifetime before the congregation for 5 minutes, my requests are vehemently refused. In fact, all of my attempts to civilly resolve these problems have been rejected and have resulted in an enormous amount of abusive and hateful responses against me by church leaders, to my great dismay; this legislation is now my last option. For being a Christian and desiring to exercise freedom of religion and freedom of speech, I am shown great disrespect by just about everyone, from public officials, police officers, and human rights organizations, to family, friends and just about everyone else who has ever known or met me. I have a lifetime of anecdotes which proves this, and yet no one with whom I have spoken is willing to acknowledge or respect me or my dilemma of my basic human rights being violated.

I need to be allowed to exercise freedom of speech and freedom of religion. My beliefs dictate that I share with other people the blessings that God has given me. Currently, the public is prevented from doing this in religious places, and religious places are not the sanctuaries they claim to be.

Therefore, I want a new law to be made:

"The request for sanctuary in a religious place must be honored for all people, by all people."

In order to enact this, every public official must immediately allow a person who says that they want sanctuary in church or the temple or other religious place to go there, either on their own or to be brought there by the public official. Because it is impractical to issue every person a key to the doors of a church building or temple, all churches and other religious places must remain unlocked at all times, so that everyone may find sanctuary therein. The safety of the house comes from the one who dwells therein. Everyone should respect the fact that people need The Lord. And about non-believers, it should be recognized that not everyone yet knows what they themselves need. God and Jesus Christ dwell within the Christian; that is where the safety of the believer is found, and the Kingdom of God is found within the spiritual heart of the believer in Jesus Christ. He, rather than locks on doors, constitutes their safety, their salvation, their being kept safe from the harm of spiritual death. Whoever trusts God should have no qualms about this.

Surely, some will argue that the state does not have the right to legislate religious actions. I am a natural-born citizen of the United States of America. It is illegal to deny a natural-born citizen his rights: freedom of speech and freedom of religion. Certain religious organizations are denying these basic human rights and claiming their actions to be part of the religious beliefs. No valid religion denies basic human rights. It is not part of the religion to put locks on doors to prevent people from entering the church to pray. Rather, that is a perversion of religion and a prevention of justice: the public is prevented from seeking The Lord. But it is a state mandate that a church receives non-profit organization status as a result of its general nature of being a public service. But my argument is that it is instead a private club house that affords nothing of substance to the public. The substance of a religious place is sanctuary before The Lord. Sanctuary is not afforded to the public, because the public is not allowed to go there to pray; the doors are kept locked so that only a few specific people can enter it. Rather, there is a distinct discrimination and bias against non-members -- people who do not routinely pay the tithes, which are the equivalent of the Biblical "temple tax" -- and against anyone who cannot pay money to use the building. In every way, operations are private and for-profit, seeking to build the church rather than the community or the Kingdom of God.

I sympathize with church leaders. It is not easy to manage a church. But what is more important than the building is the sanctuary therein. And what is more important than the sanctuary is the one who dwells therein. And what is important to the one who dwells therein is that the building remain unlocked so that people can come to him.

"Do you light a lamp and then put it under a bowl?"

"I will have mercy upon whom I will have mercy. I will have compassion upon whom I will have compassion."

It is not for us to decide who receives mercy and compassion; it is for God to decide this. And we must not in any way hinder God from showing compassion to those upon whom he desires to show compassion, or we will be fighting against God and losing his favor.

When I prayed in church last Sunday, he said to me, "The Lord takes care of his own, wherever they are."



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