By: Deborah Dewart
On the 4th of July, we light up the sky
Firecrackers poppin’ way up high
Happy Birthday, America!
Today is time for a birthday party. Celebrate freedom! America threw off the shackles of a government that strangled freedoms we now take for granted—rights to worship, speak, and associate. God blessed America for decades, but Christians now face a multitude of challenges. Attacks on liberty multiply faster than bunny rabbits. Atheists are not satisfied to be free of government coercion. They file lawsuits to purge the public square, assaulting religious displays, legislative invocations, and even the National Day of Prayer. Others want to redefine marriage and family under the guise of “tolerance”—and silence opposing voices through crippling legal penalties. The right to life, a cornerstone of our Declaration of Independence, has been eroded—babies are no longer safe in their mothers’ wombs. Lawsuits sprout like weeds.
What does this mean for Christians? We have plenty to say. As a First Amendment lawyer, I constantly scour the news for cases where I can write briefs defending life and liberty. I love to give those courts my “two cents worth.” I wrote the book, Death of Christian Nation, to help believers understand the current legal climate.
Free speech is both a right and a responsibility. Taking the “P.L.E.D.G.E.” can help our speech honor God and edify others:
PRAY! My first brief about legislative prayer was also my first adventure in the federal circuit courts. At the eleventh hour, I had to get admitted—literally overnight—in the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals. After a series of mini-miracles, I remembered gratefully that my law practice was a permanent fixture on the church prayer list.
LISTEN. My head was in the “Christian sand” for years, oblivious to current events. We can’t change America unless we listen—to the news and our adversaries. Listen respectfully, praying for wisdom before you respond.
EDUCATE yourself and your children. If you understand the pressing issues of our times and the history behind them, you’ll be ready to engage the culture in fruitful discussions—and “give an answer” for your hope in Christ (1 Peter 3:14).
DEFEND. The First Amendment says “Congress shall make no law…abridging the freedom of speech.” No matter how godly or responsible your speech is, activists may try to squelch it. If so, defend your right to speak and help keep America free for others. If necessary, contact a legal organization like Alliance Defense Fund.
GLORIFY GOD. People are watching to see if we “practice what we preach.” Pro-life advocate Abby Johnson was formerly director of an abortion clinic, but the kindness and love of Christian protesters provided a safe refuge when she was overcome with the truth about what her clinic was doing.
EDIFY: Only God can change hearts, but our gracious speech can help build bridges. Ephesians 4:29 tells us, “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.”
Won’t you join me and take the P.L.E.D.G.E. today?
Deborah J. Dewart is a practicing attorney in both North Carolina and California and the author of Death of Christian Nation. She’s a member of Harvest Presbyterian Church in NC. When not writing briefs defending religious liberties, she travels throughout the US sharing the Gospel as a Christian ventriloquist. http://www.resurrectionrabbit.com