Renewing the American Spirit

Patriot Week begins on 9/11 and ends on 9/17 (the anniversary of the signing of the Constitution (Constitution Day)) and renews America’s spirit by celebrating the First Principles, Founding Fathers and other Patriots, vital documents and speeches, and flags that make America the greatest nation in world history. Many of current holidays have become overly commercialized or have lost their deeper meaning. We need to invigorate our appreciation and understanding of America’s spirit. This blog is dedicated to keeping the spirit of Patriot Week - and America - alive all year long.....

Friday, February 15, 2013

Religious Liberty Secured in 313 AD: Alas, 1700 years later and what have we learned?

Western Roman Emperor Constantine the Great entered the Edict of Milan with Eastern Roman Emperor Licinius Augustus in 313 A.D.  The great Edict required Constantine to protect Christians and other religious minorities from persecution.  Christians, of course, had literally been thrown to the lions, and now they and others were safe to worship.  The unalienable right of the free exercise of religion was secured for citizens of the Roman Empire.

But not for long.  In 391 A.D., Emperor Theodosius made Christianity the state church, and the persecution of other religions started in full force.  Christians, who were once the persecuted, became the persecutors.  For thousands of years church and state were intermingled - and Christianity often warred among itself.  Religiously inspired insurrections, oppressions, and purges were the dominant reality.

Then something remarkable happened.  America's independence allowed a new thinking to take hold.  Led by Thomas Jefferson and James Madison, Virginia protected the free exercise of religion by eliminating its state support of an established religion.  Soon, with Madison's prodding, the federal government (and most states quickly fell in line) embedded in the First Amendment the protection of religious worship and the prohibition of a government church.

Unfortunately, that lesson is still not yet learned across the globe.  Iran, as just one example, is a theocracy of the most brutal order.

When you attend your next religious service (or choose not to do so), remember that the legacy of the Edict of Milan was short-lived, and so may be the First Amendment.  History ebbs and flows - just because we have the freedom today does not mean it shall always be so.  Work to preserve your liberty everyday.

For more about the First Principle of unalienable rights and the free exercise of religion, visit and

No comments:

Post a Comment