Should Religion Be Private?
Some people believe faith is so personal that it is has to be private and some believe religion is OK for others, but it shouldn’t influence or guide their thinking about cultural issues or general morality or governmental decision making. So what’s the answer to the question, Should Religion Be Private?
From the Christian perspective, the Bible teaches that religion, faith, a moral worldview, was never meant to be private. In the Old Testament, we read “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path” Psalm 119:105, NIV.
If a person’s religion or faith, is their guide or standard for thinking and living then that religion or faith will be evident publically in many ways. How you vote, what you believe is right or wrong, what should be done in a given situation or what are the options and what should not be done.
Jesus said, “You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven” - Matthew 5:14-16, NIV.
Jesus also said, “If anyone is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels” Luke 9:26, NIV.
So it is impossible and disobedient to keep one’s religion, especially the Christian faith, private, it is part of who we are as followers of Christ and to keep it private would to compartmentalize one’s life, home life, work life, play life, vacation life. The reality is wherever you go your religion, your faith goes with you and how you live will say volumes about your religion.
The 1st Amendment of our U.S. Constitution says this, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech”.
The Christian religion or faith is private because it is personal and voluntary, but the Law of the United States of America allows for it to be publicly expressed and that’s how it is intended to be, respectively.