Our cultural landscape in the United States of America is sometimes bewildering. Are we in good shape or is America going to Hell in a handbasket? The question is so vast and the data so variegated as to make daunting the task of giving a simple answer.
Nowhere is our culture's complexity more pronounced in my mind than as it regards the health of religious liberty in the United States of America. On the one hand, our multicultural society fares much better than its predecessors in handling some forms of religious liberty. A Mormon is receiving serious consideration as a candidate for the highest elected office in the land! A Muslim congressman was sworn in on the Qur'an. Significant conflict still ripples out from the government's invasion and occupation of the realm of education, but otherwise we've made great strides in providing equal access to our nation's liberties for people of all faiths.
On the other hand, an alarming intolerance for biblical Christianity rears its ugly head every in our government every so often…just enough to raise some serious concerns.
Jim and Linda Dawkins came to First Baptist Church of Farmersville not too long ago. Gregarious and passionate about their faith, these two quickly engaged themselves into the fabric of our congregation. Jim is Linda's second husband—her first husband, Gene Vallow, ended their marriage after he renounced his former profession of faith in Jesus Christ, departing orthodox Christianity. He had been very faithful and active in church throughout his courtship and engagement with Linda. His repudiation of our Lord was a complete shock for her.
Having previously been a very active Christian, Linda's ex knew all of the intricate doctrines of the Christian faith, and he determined to try to use them against her in the battle for the custody of their son, Will. He alleged that a Christian upbringing would turn Will against him because it would teach that Gene is destined for Hell. A Dallas-area court agreed, awarding sole custody to Gene simply because Linda believes the Bible and wants the freedom to teach it to her son.
Linda has a website and a blog. I hope that you'll visit Fighting for Will (and the Fighting for Will blog here) and offer her your encouragement. Her religious liberty has been violated at the hands of the state, and not over some trivial matter, but by abducting her son from her. I'm praying that God will raise up some modern day Williams or Leland to right this injustice.