A Muddy Definition of Religious Liberty



At Religious Liberty News, we hold it to be a self-evident truth that every soul should be:

  • left perfectly free to worship God according to the dictates of his or her own conscience,
  • left free even to violate his or her own conscience, if they so elect.

Religious Liberty News denies the right of any human authority to require any man or woman to do even that which he or she believes to be his duty toward God.

Let us recall our Creator’s own words:

“Render to God the things that are God’s.”1

The Creator has not authorized any man to exact from his fellows that which is due to Him. To all who would attempt such a thing he says,

“Who art thou that judgest another man’s servant?”2

It may be said that there is no one in America, or but a mere handful at least, who are still insistent on coercing anyone in matters of religious faith or practice.  But this is a foolish error.  There are more than you realize – much more.  Human nature is just the same as it has ever been.  Human beings are naturally-born intolerant, and given the power and the opportunity, this intolerance will manifest itself in some form of self-serving despotism and persecution for opinion’s sake.

Says Buckle, in his History of Civilization in England:

“There is but one protection against the tyranny of any class, and that is to give that class very little power. Whatever pretensions of any body of may be, however smooth their language, and plausible their claims, they are sure to abuse power if much of it is conferred upon them. The entire history of the world affords no instance to the contrary.”3

Nor is this the only reason why such a blog as Religious Liberty News is necessary.  Very many who, if they were asked if they believe in religious liberty, would promptly answer, yes.  But when pressed for more detail as to what it may mean or why, will have only a limited idea of what they have just carelessly uttered.

Cardinal Gibbons, in his book, The Faith of Our Fathers, declares in favor of “religious liberty,” but cleverly redefines it as the Roman Church sees fit.  Carefully consider his brief, but candid definition of religious liberty below :

“A man enjoys religious liberty when he possesses the free right of worshiping God according to the dictates of a right conscience, and of practicing a form of religion most in accordance with his duties to God.”4

“According to a right conscience?”  Hmmm.  What earthly authority is able determine  what constitutes a “right conscience” or the correct “practicing a form of religion?”

This muddy definition reminds me of a rather unfortunate caving adventure I participated in.  An adventure that required one very large spelunker friend of mine to “squeeeeeeze” his body through a very narrow, restricted opening.   He tried in vain, and ended up very stuck in the process.  To get the poor fellow back out required a team of four men to remove his soiled clothing down to his skivvies, and begin the laborious process of pushing and pulling his mud-greased body from both ends.  After thirty exhausting minutes he finally popped out, feet first, back into the warmth of day-light, where he could put his garments back on.  Needless to say, his caving adventure had to end where it began – which is where Gibbons should have been – back at the beginning – the beginning of the Bible.

The great Biblical principles embedded within genuine religious freedom cannot be forced into the narrow philosophical hole of any church – no matter how popular it may be.  There is much more to biblical-based, religious liberty than meets the eye. It means that no man or set of men (no matter how supreme they may claim to be) shall have any power to define a “right conscience,” and to enforce that restricted definition on anybody by any sort of civil back-lash whatsoever.  The Roman Church system as well as other Protestant sects have historically over stepped their proper role. Being as gracious as possible, I would say that the papacy is a disingenuous new comer, as it proudly touts “religious liberty” issues, whether at home in America or else where.  As a religio-political system, she has had little positive experience as a true expositor and supporter of religious liberty.  Most of her current, “scholarly” writings ( most crafted by Jesuit Theologians) on “religious freedom” and “conscience” are self-serving, cleverly designed for general public consumption.  Frankly, it’s an insult to those untold numbers who have lost their lives for true religious liberty.

The “Right Of Conscience” and Usurping God’s Law
Despotic men are altogether too prone to assume the right not only to circumscribe the law of God and human duty under that law, but to enforce their own interpretation of both law and duty – worse yet, claiming even to change God’s Law.

Let our dear readers be tenderly reminded of other false assumptions and flagrant papal claims below:

Pope Leo XIII
Pope Leo XIII

“We hold upon this earth the place of God Almighty.”  And all must yield “complete submission and obedience of the will to the church and to the Roman Pontiff, as to God Himself.”5

Also, the Roman “Decretalia,” an authentic work on Roman ecclesiastical law, says of this presumptuous power of popes:

“He can pronounce sentences and judgments in contradiction to the right of nations, to the law of God and man… He can free himself from the commands of the apostles, he being their superior, and from the rules of the Old Testament.”  “The pope has power to change times, to abrogate laws, and to dispose with all things, even the precepts of Christ.” Decretal, de Translat. Episcop. Cap.

These claims are still in force today, enacted in many legislatures of the world by leveraged political arm twisting.  They are a mockery of true Christianity.

It has been rightly said that:

“Among all the religious persecutions with almost every page of modern history is stained, no victim ever suffered but for violation of what government denominated as the law of God.”6

My advice, as a preventative, then, of all such persecution and beguiling claims in the future is four fold:

  1. Keep government on a strict starvation diet of 100% pure “civil” rule by being well informed and voting carefully in local elections.
  2. Deprive government of the intoxicating religio-political wine and sophistries of church systems that have forgotten who their Master is.
  3. Turn the T.V. off (or get rid of it completely and read, read, read the Word of God; thoroughly study Daniel and Revelation; and especially the life of Christ and prayerfully observe His ways and the roads He walked – and “follow the Lamb” where ever He goes.  Your eternal life depends on this.
  4. Become self-educated.  Don’t fully trust the higher educators of today’s society. Most have an agenda. Get rid of novels and fictional books that waste your time and carefully study the authentic past records and actions of human history. Become familiar with those old history books that have been thrown out of most libraries, but are still available digitally. Compare them to Bible prophecy.

In summary, absolutely all authority to define in any manner the Law of God, or of religious liberty should be left up to Him who gave both to us.


1  Mark 12:17

2  Romans 14:4 

3  Henry Thomas Buckle, Introduction to the History of Civilization in England, 1904, ed.

4  Cardinal James Gibbons, The Faith of Our Fathers:  Being a Plain Exposition and Vindication of the Church Founded by Our Lord Jesus Christ, p. 186, 1917 ed.

5  Pope Leo XIII,  Great Encyclical Letters, p. 304, 193

6  David Staats Burnet, The Christian Baptist, vol. 6, p. 537, 1835, ed.

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