Tuesday, June 5, 2012

The Litmus Test

Religious Liberty: The Litmus Test for all Human Rights

Freedom of religion has has always been the hallmark of our American way of life. Our Founding Fathers migrated to the shores of the New World primarily to seek religious freedom, fleeing as they where the religious persecution they suffered in England. The Founding Fathers were seeking the freedom to live according a conscience based on their religious beliefs, and to live according to the moral and spiritual order based on a foundation of adherence to God's Word.

Their right to religious liberty was a litmus test for all human rights. Religious rights were to become the very foundation for all the rights and freedoms we have enjoyed in the United States, and for which we've been known throughout the world. When religious rights are protected, prosperity, participation in cultural, and peaceful coexistence for all is guaranteed. When religious rights are protected, the Church is free to be involved in the social and political life of the nation. But when religious rights are threatened, all other rights become vulnerable.

Central to religious freedom is the freedom to follow one's conscience. When religious freedom is reduced to freedom of worship, and religious leaders are expected to remain silent in the face of national debate, basic religious freedom is threatened. The government is more than happy to welcome the social and charitable aid of the Church, and happy that we help the homeless, feed the hungry, and operate hospitals that meet the needs of society. Yet the government would limit the religious freedom of our faithful to operate these very institutions according to a moral and religious conscience that has been formed within the life of the Church, and based on an adherence to the moral teaches of historic, biblical Christianity.

When the government forces court clerks and other civil servants to sign legal documents authorizing same sex marriages, or doctors to make referrals for abortions, and pharmacists to sell abortifacients, religious freedom is compromised.

Certainly there are far more violent persecutions of Christians in other countries, such as the massacre of Coptic Christians in Egypt, and the terrorist attacks on Christians in Nigeria, but when our government would dismiss Christian clergy from the sphere of public debate, and relegate religious freedom to nothing more than private belief, we will have seen the beginning of the end of freedom of religion. 

Individual Christians who oppose laws that violate their consciences, and who are therefore marginalized by a government that would limit religious freedom to freedom of worship, have no religious freedom. That said, I am in no way suggesting freedom of conscience should be denied those who do not agree with me, or with the Church's stand on moral issues. Protection for same-sex unions, in my opinion, is between them and the government. However, to call such contractual relationships marriage, and to demand State employees who disagree because of their religious views with such contractual relationships act as agents of the State, goes against religious freedom, and must be resisted.

Love in Christ,
Abbot Tryphon

click on photo to enlarge
Tuesday June 5, 2012 / May 23, 2012
Third Day of the Holy Trinity. Tone seven.
Fast-free Week. Fast-free

Venerable Michael the Confessor, bishop of Synnada (818).
Uncovering of the relics (1164) of St. Leontius, bishop and wonderworker of Rostov (1077).
Synaxis of All Saints of Rostov and Yaroslavl: Bishop Leontius (1073), Bishop Isaiah, wonderworker (1090), Bishop Ignatius (1288), Bishop James (1391), Archbishop Theodore (1394), Metropolitan Demetrius (1709), Archimandrite Abraham the wonderworker (1073-1077), Monk Irinarchus the Hermit (1616). Prince Basil ( 1238), Peter, Tsarevich of Ordynsk (1290) Blessed Isidore, Fool-for-Christ (1474) Blessed John of the Hair-Shirt (the Merciful), Fool-for-Christ (1580); Yaroslav Wonderworkers: Princes Basil (1249), Constantine (1257), Theodore (1299) and his sons David (1321) and Constantine (XIV); Pereslavl Wonderworkers: Monk Nikita the Stylite (1186), Monk Daniel the Archimandrite (1540), Prince Alexander Nevsky (1263), Prince Andrew of Smolensk (15th c.); Uglich Wonderworkers: Monk Paisius (1504), Monk Cassian (1504), Monk Ignatius of Lomsk (1591), Prince Roman (1285), Tsarevich Demetrius (1591); Poshekhonsk Wonderworkers: Monk Sylvester of Obnora (1379), Monk Sebastian (1542), Hieromartyr Adrian (1550), Monk Gennadius of Liubimograd and Kostroma (1565).
Venerable Euphrosyne, princess of Polotsk (1173).
Venerable Paisius, abbot, of Galich (1463).
Martyr Michael "the black-robed" of St. Sabbas' Monastery (9th c.).
Holy Myrrh-bearer Mary, wife of Cleopas.
Martyr Salonas the Roman (Greek).
Martyr Seleucus (Greek).
Venarable Damiane (King Demetrius) (1157) (Georgia).
St. Ioannicius I, archbishop of Serbia (1270).

By the blessing of His Holiness, the most holy Patriarch of Moscow and all Rus', Kirill, the Commemoration of the "Vladimir" Icon is transferred from Sunday June 3 / May 21 to this day.

You can read the life of the saint in green, by click on the name.

Our organic vegetable garden.

Our thanks and gratitude to all of you who have contributed to the monastery through your generous contributions. May God richly bless you for your kindness, and support, of this monastery.
With love and blessings,
Abbot Tryphon

Donations can be made directly to the monastery through PayPal, or you may send donations to:

All-Merciful Saviour Monastery
PO Box 2420
Vashon Island, WA 98070-2420 USA

Romans 1:1-7


1 Paul, a bondservant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated to the gospel of God which He promised before through His prophets in the Holy Scriptures, concerning His Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who was born of the seed of David according to the flesh, and declared to be the Son of God with power according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead. Through Him we have received grace and apostleship for obedience to the faith among all nations for His name, among whom you also are the called of Jesus Christ;
To all who are in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints:
Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Romans 1:13-17

13 Now I do not want you to be unaware, brethren, that I often planned to come to you (but was hindered until now), that I might have some fruit among you also, just as among the other Gentiles. 14 I am a debtor both to Greeks and to barbarians, both to wise and to unwise. 15 So, as much as is in me, I am ready to preach the gospel to you who are in Rome also.

The Just Live by Faith

16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. 17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “The just shall live by faith.”

I invite my readers to listen to my Ancient Faith Radio podcasts.

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