Declaration of Independence

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. - That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

Sunday, June 24, 2018

Faith and Religious Freedom

            The topic of discussion for this Constitution Monday concerns the freedom to live our lives in accordance to our faith. Freedom of Religion is under attack because more and more people are disregarding the commandments of God. People of religious persuasion are being pushed to the side as different groups strive for more rights of freedom, and the loss of this freedom is damaging the integrity of the United States of America.

            President M. Russell Ballard, Acting President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, delivered some remarks at a gala hosted on June 2, 2018, by the BYU Management Society at the Marriott Crystal Gateway Hotel in Arlington, Virginia. He spoke about the way that voices from the religious sector of our nation are being pushed out of the public debate. 

Preserved religious liberty, shared values, and a strong civil society are essential to providing a countervailing force and nudging people toward charity, compassion, cooperation, civility, duty, and ultimately toward God.

Without religious freedom and without an ability to express faith in the public square, our ability to influence the world to be better is diminished; it limits our opportunities to strengthen and nudge one another toward kindness, goodness, duty, and civility.

            Continuing his remarks President Ballard said that “perhaps the best way to preserve our first freedom is to live our faith – let others know what we believe and be examples of that belief in word and deed.” Saying that a leader’s integrity must be without question, President Ballard continued with these instructions.

This means adhering to a higher standard than society requires. In his famous 1978 Harvard commencement address given before the fall of the Soviet Union, the distinguished Russian intellectual and Soviet dissident Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn said, “I’ve lived my life in a society where there was no rule of law, and that’s a terrible existence. But a society where the rule of law is the only standard of ethical behavior is equally bad.”

We have an obligation to demonstrate our faith beyond the four walls of our homes and churches. We have a responsibility to set an example and to inspire others beyond our faith traditions. This is the mark of great leadership.

If we act ethically in our homes with our families, in our church and business dealings, those we associate with will likely be more inclined to do the same. We live in an age in which too much of the popular culture and too much of corporate culture nudge us away from genuine spirituality.

            According to President Ballard, the way we live our faith is critical to maintaining our freedom to do so. We must live the principles of our religion to the best of our ability. Then we must make our voices heard – both vocally and by example – in order to influence those around us to live their lives on a higher level.

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