Online Bible Commentary
No First Amendment Rights for Christians
Ezra 6:6 Now then, Tattenai, governor of Trans-Euphrates, and Shethar-Bozenaiand you, their fellow officials of that province, stay away from there. 7 Do not interfere with the work on this temple of God. Let the governor of the Jews and the Jewish elders rebuild this house of God on its site. 8 Moreover, I hereby decree what you are to do for these elders of the Jews in the construction of this house of God: The expenses of these men are to be fully paid out of the royal treasury, from the revenues of Trans-Euphrates, so that the work will not stop. 9 Whatever is needed--young bulls, rams, male lambs for burnt offerings to the God of heaven, and wheat, salt, wine and oil, as requested by the priests in Jerusalem--must be given them daily without fail, 10 so that they may offer sacrifices pleasing to the God of heaven and pray for the well-being of the king and his sons…12 May God, who has caused his Name to dwell there, overthrow any king or people who lifts a hand to change this decree or to destroy this temple in Jerusalem. I Darius have decreed it. Let it be carried out with diligence. (NIV)
King Darius of Persia issued this decree forbidding anyone to interfere with the rebuilding of the temple in Jerusalem, after the Israelites had been returned to Judah from seventy years of captivity in Babylon. Persia had conquered Babylon and their territories, including Judah, and the Israelites were freed to return to their country.
Darius not only decreed that no one should interfere with the building of the temple (vv. 6-7) but also that the Persian government should pay all of the expenses to rebuild it (vv.8-9). Darius recognized that the worship of God would benefit the country as a whole, and the king and his sons specifically (v.10). His decree also called for God to “overthrow any king or people who lifts a hand to change this decree or to destroy this temple in Jerusalem” (v.12).
Darius did not even share the religion of the Israelites. However, he recognized the benefits of allowing freedom of religion. He recognized the power of prayer for the nation and its leaders. Even Darius recognized the power of the God of the Bible. He recognized that God puts people in positions of leadership and therefore He can “overthrow” them and replace them. He recognized that a nation and its leaders flourish, not by the efforts of the people and their leaders, but by the hand of God.
Today in this country we have a situation that is the opposite of that in Judah during the reign of Darius in the 500’s B.C. We have a president, courts, and many in Congress who are systematically persecuting the religion of the God of the Bible, Christianity. Our leaders and many of our people no longer believe that nations and leaders flourish by the hand of God. They no longer fear God. Our leaders do not believe that they are in positions of leadership by the hand of God and that they can be overthrown by the hand of God.
Our wise fore fathers knew these things. That is why the First Amendment to the Constitution was written thusly: “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.”
Our leaders deny these constitutional rights to Christians. They persecute Christians by interpreting laws and handing down Executive Orders that force Christians to support sexual sin. Christians are forced to recognize as normal and even support sexual sin, even though it is contrary to the teaching of the Bible and their religious beliefs.
Christians are persecuted by being required to go through training, using brainwashing techniques, just so that they can keep their jobs or remain in the military, giving their lives for a country that spits on their religious beliefs. Christians are persecuted by not being allowed to pray in the workplace or in the military. Christian military chaplains are persecuted, being prosecuted or relieved of duty for teaching the Bible. Christian business owners and corporations are persecuted by being prosecuted for refusing to be a part of a celebration of sexual sin. Christian kids are persecuted by not being allowed to use a book, the Bible, in class even though any other book, no matter how smutty, is allowed. Persecution of Christians already runs rampant in our country, with a possibility of more to come.
The First Amendment applies to everyone but Christians. Christians are not allowed the “free exercise” of their religion and are not allowed “freedom of speech.” Christians are being singled out for persecution. Our leaders are not as wise as King Darius and our fore fathers. They no longer fear God, to their detriment and to the detriment of our nation.