One of our favorite organizations is Alliance Defending Freedom, founded January 31, 1994 to give the church an arm of engagement in the public square. As stated at their web page,
With that launch [of the ADF], the Christian community gained growing awareness that the threats to its freedom were multiplying. The legal system, which was built on a moral and Christian foundation, had been steadily moving against religious freedom, the sanctity of life, and marriage and family. And very few Christians were showing up in court to put up a fight.
Through their Blackstone Legal Fellowship, ADF has trained “over 2,100 law students from more than 225 law schools in 21 different countries.”
ADF invited the Archbishop of Philadelphia, Charles Chaput, to be the keynote speaker at their July 9 Freedom Summit in Dana Point, California. Archbishop Chaput addressed a timely and much-needed subject, building a culture of religious freedom. He contrasted three Americas: the one founded on a Judeo-Christian foundation, the America of modern culture, and the America emerging from the postmodern culture. His words are well worth reading:
The America of memory is not the America of the present moment or the emerging future. Sooner or later, a nation based on a degraded notion of liberty, on license rather than real freedom – in other words, a nation of abortion, sexual confusion, consumer greed, and indifference to immigrants and the poor – will not be worthy of its founding ideals. And on that day, it will have no claim on virtuous hearts.
But we can change that. Nothing about life is predetermined except – for those of us who are Christian — the victory of Jesus Christ. We create the future. We do it not just by our actions, but by what we really believe, because what we believe shapes the kind of people we are. In a way, “growing a culture of religious freedom” should be the real theme for this talk. A culture is a living creature, rooted in fertile, living soil that’s more than simply dirt. It grows organically out of the authentic spirit of a people – how we live, what we cherish, what we’re willing to die for.
If we want a culture of religious freedom, we need to begin living that culture here, today, and now. We live it by giving ourselves wholeheartedly to God — by loving God with passion and joy, confidence and courage; and by holding nothing back. God will take care of the rest. Scripture says, “Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain” (Ps 127:1) . In the end, God is the builder. We’re the living stones. The firmer our faith, the deeper our love, the purer our zeal for God’s will – then the stronger the house of freedom will be that rises in our own lives, and in the life of our nation.
For the entire speech, go here.
Thank you, ADF and Archbishop Chaput for reminding us of the roots of free societies.
– Darrow Miller