The bigger government gets the more likely it is that religious freedoms will be limited. This may appear to be a sweeping generalization, but take an historical look at any major civilization and the more government involved itself in the everyday affairs of its people, the more personal and religious freedoms have been limited. A test case in this country would be parental rights vs. school jurisdiction. More and more government is deciding what is best for our children, not parents. For example, consider that text books in California promote homosexual orientation as normal, even though many parents have protested this blatant sexual propoganda and promotion in public schools. Yet parents have no right to refuse that their children receive teaching (in public schools) from pro-homosexual literature. Another such example are the recent felony charges brought against Colleen Hauser because her son Daniel, who has a form of Hodgkins lymphoma, refused to undergo chemotherapy for his treatment. There may certainly be ethical and moral considerations in this particular case of more significance than I have time to discuss, but the point is this: Is it the right of the government to determine whether or not a person can and should receive medical treatment, particularly when the patient is refusing such treatment, and the guardian consents?

The most recent example of how the government is encroaching more and more upon our personal liberties happened this week in San Diego, California. Pastor David Jones and his wife Mary have been told that they cannot invite friends into their home for bible study – unless they are willing to pay tens of thousands of dollars to San Diego County. The reason: their gathering is a violation of county codes that require permits for religious assemblies. They received a citation for “unlawful use of land” and are now considering a lawsuit in federal court.

The First Amendment states that the government may not prohibit the exercise of freedom of religion. This bible study is in the Jones’ home – on property that they own. I seriously doubt that if they were hosting a large social gathering on a weekly basis there would be any such complaint from the county. This is certainly a situation to watch with interest, because how it unfolds will have far-reaching implications in the future for all home religious gatherings.