Practice of Religious Freedom
Question: What does it look like to support the religious freedom of others?
Answer: Showing true tolerance and the love of Christ in the public forum, especially in the work force and public schools, is highly challenging. The key to remember is that we are called to, like Jesus, invite people to a better life under God, not coerce (see Jesus with a young man in Matthew 19:16-23). Also, keep in mind that religious freedoms are not the norm in this world, and may become reduced in Canada in the near future.
1. With Family: As Christians, it is our responsibility to train up our family in God’s ways and help them know how to respond to the world when it contradicts the Bible (Ephesians 6:4; Deut. 6:7-9). It is not the job of the schools to prepare your child for living in this world, but yours as parents. The schools are good resources and necessary in our culture for teaching the basics of reading, writing, math and science. Even job skill training. However, when it comes to faith, spiritual disciplines, mental disciplines and physical disciplines, it is up to parents to ensure their children are being trained properly according to God’s Word (Proverbs 1:7; John 8:32; 2 Timothy 3:16).
2. With School: As has been stated, the primary educators are parents and the schools are resources and necessary components. Many Christians have pushed to see Bible taught in public schools, which has both pros and cons. It is nice to teach biblical principles in an elective learning atmosphere, but this should never replace the teaching of those principles in the home or at the church (kids club, youth group). It is also a dangerous precedent and slippery slope, as we should then allow or even encourage other faiths to be in the schools giving optional classes as well. How much do we want of this in the schools?
3. With Work: It is always tricky living and sharing your faith in the work place, especially if your boss or manager is not a Christian. Supporting religious freedoms has also become tricky with all the law suits going around, but we should remain positive and strong in supporting managers and CEO’s in making decisions that promote freedom of worship and expression for any faith. We need to demonstrate that the stereotype of Christians is wrong: we are not about pushing people into the kingdom of God, but rather inviting them to it. We are called to serve in such a way as to draw people to Christ (Galatians 5:13; 1 Peter 2:16).