26 Feb Legal Rights That Christians Have: Ultimate Guide
An Ultimate Guide to The Legal Rights of Christians
As Americans, we have been taught to protect our rights. In recent years, many Christians have felt disheartened at what seems to be an attack on religious rights and freedoms in our country. But is this an appropriate response? What legal rights do we really have as Christians in America? These are important questions we must ask as we continue to experience various changes in our society and the world as a whole.
What legal rights do Christians have? Christians, along with members of other religions, have the right to religious freedom. This is protected by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. Our legal rights include the right to religious speech, voluntary Bible study in public places, religious expression, and evangelism on public property, to name a few.
So, what happens when we feel as if our legal rights are compromised? Should Christians defend their legal rights or accept changes that threaten our religious freedoms? In this post, we will take a closer look at the legal rights of Christians in America. We will also share some practical advice on the topic of defending our legal rights.
First Amendment Rights for Americans
Our Founding Fathers understood the need for freedom and liberty within our nation. As they were establishing our country, they outlined these important freedoms through the United States Constitution and the following Amendments. The Amendments to the U.S. Constitution provided further clarification and insight into issues that were essential to the freedoms we hold so dear.
The First Amendment to the United States Constitution reads as follows, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
Through this important Amendment, our freedom of religion is protected from the government’s oversight. As Americans, we have the freedom to exercise our religion through free speech, assembly, and public expression. The government can only involve themselves in expressions of religion if they are harmful to others, or if they are morally wrong.
The Legal Rights of Christians in America
As Christians in America, we have perhaps the most religious freedom of any other nation. While this is an incredible privilege and blessing, we take it for granted far too often. In many other nations, our brothers and sisters face constant persecution for exercising their religious beliefs – even in private settings!
We have been blessed to experience religious freedom that is protected by law since the foundation of our nation. However, we must realize that this may not always be the case. There may be a time when our legal rights as Christians are compromised through changing laws and legislation.
It is important that we educated ourselves and others on our legal rights as Christians in America. Doing so will allow us to more effectively protect our rights and ensure that we continue to live in a nation that provides equality, liberty, and justice for all.
Let’s take a closer look at a few of the many legal rights we have in America today.
Private Religious Speech & Voluntary Bible Study in Workplace
As an employee in a workplace, you have the legal right to participate in religious speech with other members of your workplace. Any conversation between two or more individuals that occurs voluntarily is not subject to oversight by their employer or government officials.
However, it is important to make the distinction between private conversations and conversations in which others are forced to participate. You can not have a religious conversation in which other members of your workplace must participate in against their will.
As Christians, we also have the legal right to hold a voluntary Bible study in the workplace as long as it does not take place during normal working hours. For example, you could hold a Bible study with your co-workers over an unpaid lunch break or on company property once you are finished with work for the day.
Religious Expression in the Workplace
Religious expression in the workplace includes things such as private prayer time, the wearing of religious apparel, or other forms of religious expression such as Bible study or devotionals. As a member of the workforce, you have the legal right to practice religious expression during times when you are not being paid. For example, you can pray or read a devotional on your lunch break. You can also engage in these activities if you are off the clock at the beginning or end of the workday.
Additionally, you have the legal right to wear religious apparel or accessories so long as they do not violate the dress code of your workplace. For example, if you are allowed to wear jewelry to work, you have the legal right to wear a cross necklace.
Sharing Your Faith in Public Places Through Evangelism
Our right to the freedom of speech also protects our ability to witness and share our faith in public places. Evangelism is protected through the freedom of speech as outlined in the First Amendment. It is important to note that this same right may not apply to private property.
However, on the public streets and sidewalks of the United States, Christians have the legal right to share their faith through speech or the distribution of religious materials.
Private Religious Speech & Voluntary Bible Study in Schools
One of the biggest topics of debate and contention in our society today is the implementation of religious freedoms in the school. Of course, this does not apply to private or Christian schools as they are not overseen by the government.
However, in the public school setting, religious rights and freedoms are a topic of great debate. The legal rights and religious freedoms of teachers, administration, and students are protected while on public school property. Teachers, staff members, and students can participate in private religious conversations and voluntary Bible studies on public school property.
It is important to note that, like the workplace, these activities and conversations can not take place during working hours. However, it is the legal right of every American to participate in religious conversations while on their lunch break or school property before or after the school day.
Religious Expression in Schools
Students, teachers, and administration also have the legal right to religious expression on public school property. This includes prayer, reading of the Bible or devotionals, and the wearing of religious apparel or accessories. Unless it is directly preventing learning or causing harm to other individuals, the school can not legally restrict religious expression.
You can learn more about if Bibles are allowed in public schools here.
Should Christians Defend Their Legal Rights?
Christians in America have had the blessing of experiencing many legal rights associated with religious freedom. However, we know that this may not always be the case. Even in our society today, religious freedoms and acts of religious expression seem to be under attack. How are we to respond when we notice these patterns in our daily circles?
Should Christians act in defense of their legal rights? There are a few things we must keep in mind when it comes to this topic.
Remember That Religious Freedom is Not a Biblical Promise
Far too often, Christians in America associate the God-given blessing of religious freedom as a right granted in Scripture. Nowhere in the Bible does God promise us religious freedom. In fact, much of the world experiences some form of religious persecution or restriction. As we begin to experience changes in our legal rights and freedoms of religion in America, we must remember to not take these blessings for granted.
Is It a Matter of Personal Preference?
As with every other matter that we believe is conflicting with our religious beliefs, we must carefully determine whether our legal rights are truly in violation or if it just a matter of personal preference. Christians have a calling to submit to the authority that God Himself places over us.
This does not guarantee that that authority will act in a way that aligns with our religious convictions and beliefs. It is important to stand up for our convictions. However, we must carefully ensure that something is truly in conflict with Scripture and not just our preferences.
Standing Up for Your Legal Rights
So, how do we stand up for our legal rights as Christians in America? Perhaps the most important thing we can do in this area is to educate ourselves and others on what is at stake. Research various laws and legislations that may threaten our religious freedoms. Support lawmakers and authority figures who uphold our legal rights as Christians.
Finally, be fervent in prayer for our country. We know that a time will come when we do not experience the legal rights and religious freedoms we have today. It may not be in our lifetime. We must equip and train future generations to stand firm in what they believe.