Here in the United States, we have enjoyed almost 250 years of religious freedom. We have the freedom to worship and the freedom to share our faith in public. Even in the workplace, we can share our faith and pray as long as we do not discriminate against anyone. Is there really Religious Freedom in the Marketplace?
The Heritage Foundation says:
“Religious freedom protects people’s right to live, speak, and act according to their beliefs peacefully and publicly. It protects their ability to be themselves at work, in class, and at social activities. Religious freedom is more than the “freedom to worship” at a synagogue, church, or mosque. It makes sure they don’t have to go against their core values and beliefs in order to conform to culture or government.” (March 12, 2023)
But these freedoms are under attack.
At the January 25 Global Forum on Religious Freedom in the Marketplace, held by the Nehemiah Entrepreneurship Community, survey respondents indicated:
- 47% believe the media criticizes anyone defending traditional family values or lifestyles.
- 18% are concerned that government regulations will restrict my free speech rights to express my beliefs only within my home or place of worship.
- 35% indicated that they are concerned that expressing their faith may soon be considered hate speech.
Yet, Scripture instructs us to comply with the laws where we live.
Religious Freedom in the Marketplace
Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore, whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval. – Romans 6:1-3 (NKJV)
The Forum’s keynote speaker, Nathan Estruth, former president and CEO of Proctor and Gamble subsidiary, IMFLUX, reminded us that gentle words in stressful situations, showing genuine concern for the wellbeing of our co-workers, and showing gratitude for life’s blessings are ways to draw people into conversations that allow you to share your faith, even in the workplace.
Forum Panelist Shannon Royce, President of the Christian Employer Alliance (CEA), explained how the CEA has resources available to assist businesses that want to develop policies and practices that protect their rights to be genuinely Christian in the way they manage their business.
So, with the help of the Lord, our task is simple: “. . . be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.” (1 Corinthians 15:58)
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