The Duty

John Adam's words give insight into what the founding fathers thought about religious liberty.

"It is the duty of all men in society, publicly, and at stated seasons, to worship the SUPREME BEING, the great Creator and Preserver of the universe. And no subject shall be hurt, molested, or restrained, in his person, liberty, or estate, for worshiping GOD in the manner most agreeable to the dictates of his own conscience; or for his religious profession or sentiments; provided he doth not disturb the public peace, or obstruct others in their religious worship." John Adams, 1776

Jesus was asked what He thought about paying taxes, to an all powerful government.
15-17 That’s when the Pharisees plotted a way to trap him into saying something damaging. They sent their disciples, with a few of Herod’s followers mixed in, to ask, “Teacher, we know you have integrity, teach the way of God accurately, are indifferent to popular opinion, and don’t pander to your students. So tell us honestly: Is it right to pay taxes to Caesar or not?”

18-19 Jesus knew they were up to no good. He said, “Why are you playing these games with me? Why are you trying to trap me? Do you have a coin? Let me see it.” They handed him a silver piece.

20 “This engraving—who does it look like? And whose name is on it?”

21 They said, “Caesar.”

“Then give Caesar what is his, and give God what is his.”

22 The Pharisees were speechless. They went off shaking their heads. (Selection of Matthew 22 quoted from The Message)

When asked what He thought was the most important command in God's Word, Jesus responded with the prototype for the construction of His Church.

34-36 When the Pharisees heard how he had bested the Sadducees, they gathered their forces for an assault. One of their religion scholars spoke for them, posing a question they hoped would show him up: “Teacher, which command in God’s Law is the most important?”

37-40 Jesus said, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence.’ This is the most important, the first on any list. But there is a second to set alongside it: ‘Love others as well as you love yourself.’ These two commands are pegs; everything in God’s Law and the Prophets hangs from them.” (Matthew 22: The Message)

The words of these two founders, one for a country, and the other a church, serve as two essential pillars for religious liberty. Disregarding either one of them, leads to the collapse of the structure.

King Solomon said, "Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a disgrace to any people." Proverbs 14: 34 (New American Standard Bible)

Fools destroy a nation, by weakening the foundation, upon which is was built. What a leader of a nation initiates in moderation, the people perpetuate in excess. Sin has been described as blasting through life politely ignoring God. The result is personal and corporate disgrace, in the eyes of God. The fall of a nation begins, when fools do what is wrong, and confuse it with their rights. Before a nation falls on its face in disgrace, wise leaders will humble themselves, and fall to their knees, and pray for God's direction, protection and correction.

God said, "My people...humble themselves and pray." 2 Chronicles 7:14

Prayerless people are prideful. stiff-necked people. Unless they admit they are heading to a fall, on their face, they will never fall to their knees, and ask God for help. Bent knees have a way of adjusting a stiff neck. The Wise go to God for regular adjustments.