What does religious freedom mean to you?

Does it mean you have the absolute right to practice your faith without restriction by the government?

If so, and you live in Illinois, you are in for a rude awakening.

Last week, Gov. Rod Blagojevich signed into a law a bill that would force churches and synagogues to hire those openly practicing sins characterized by both Christian and Jewish scriptures as “abominations” – heinous transgressions in the sight of God.

So, as I read this law, if a church or synagogue had a policy, based on its holiest, divinely inspired doctrines, to avoid hiring pastors who were adulterers, practitioners of group sex, homosexuals, bisexuals, “transgendered,” cross-dressers, advocates of incest or child sex or even those partial to bestiality, that institution would be in violation of the law.

In signing this legislation into law, Blagojevich clumsily and ironically suggested he is wiser than those who subscribe to the ancient teachings of Moses and Jesus:

What we’re doing today is older than Scripture: Love they neighbor. It’s what Jesus said when he gave his Sermon on the Mount: “Do unto others what you would have others do unto you.”

Notice Blagojevich says the “Golden Rule” is older than Scripture. Is he right? If so, why not cite the original source of this wisdom? Apparently, Blagojevich and his colleagues in the Illinois Legislature believe Jesus was commanding followers to tolerate – even condone – sin.

Here’s what Jesus actually said, as recorded in Matthew 7:12: “Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.”

I can assure you He was not suggesting that we reward sin. I can assure you He was not advocating we excuse sin. I can assure you He was not saying we should ignore sin.

People who want to celebrate sin can only cite the Bible as justification if they take its message out of context. The Bible – Old Testament and New Testament – is crystal clear and very specific in its condemnations of sexual sin.

When Jesus said “Love thy neighbor,” he was not suggesting buggery. He was commanding believers to spread His good news about redemption from sin.

But that’s not the way officials see it in Illinois, where sponsors of this chilling legislation say the new “non-discrimination” law should be enforced on churches.

“If that is their goal, to discriminate against gay people, this law wouldn’t allow them to do that,” said Sen. Carol Ronen of Chicago. “But I don’t believe that’s what the Catholic Church wants or stands for.”

An Illinois law firm that analyzed the measure pointed out:

While many such municipal prohibitions on sexual orientation discrimination expressly exempt religious organizations from their coverage, the new amendment to Illinois’ Human Rights Act does not.

This puts the Illinois law on a collision course with the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which safeguards as an inalienable right the free exercise of religion.

What do you think is more important – the right to worship God as we see fit or the desire to practice illicit sex without condemnation or consequence?

In Illinois, the people, through their Legislature, have decided the latter is more important. It is an astonishing development. If the Legislature erred in its interpretation of the will of the people in that state, residents there need to take corrective action immediately. They need to recall the governor and the legislators who violated their trust and approved a law so blatantly in violation of the spirit and letter of the U.S. Constitution.

This is a disturbing development. Around the world, Christian pastors are being jailed for speaking out against sexual sin as they are commanded to do in Bible. Could this happen tomorrow in Illinois?

It will if this law is not overturned and those who approved it not thrown out of office.

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