Spring is here, the flowers and trees are unveiling their blooms, and signs of new life are beginning to emerge from their slumber. For many, this time of year brings a renewed sense of hope… for our families, our dreams, the freedoms we cherish, and our nation.
Countless millions all over the world celebrate this special week of the new season with humble adoration and gratitude, remembering the sacred events that transpired over 2,000 years ago and that are so deeply meaningful to their faith.
For Jews, this week marks the Feast of Passover as told in the book of Exodus. This beautiful story describes God’s deliverance of the Jews from their bondage in Egypt through the sacrifice of an innocent and spotless lamb, whose blood was sprinkled on the doorposts and lintels of their homes.
For Christians, this simple act of faith is portrayed through the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, who became the Passover Lamb of God, whose blood was shed for all humankind and deliverance from the bondage of sin.
On Sunday, Christians from all cultures and nations, and from across the political spectrum and every faith denomination, will unite to remember Christ’s Passion on the cross, as well as the hope and ultimate freedom represented by His resurrection.
From the First Continental Congress in Philadelphia in 1774, to our current President, government leaders have honored Holy Week and acknowledged the impact of our Judeo-Christian faith on America’s founding and enduring success.
In the same tradition, we are grateful for and celebrate the freedom to both privately and publicly honor the true reason for the season. James Madison, the fourth President of the United States, once said, “The future and success of America is not in this Constitution, but in the laws of God upon which this Constitution is founded.”
It is with gratitude that we acknowledge our Constitution that does not prohibit state action that facilitates religious expression, recognizes the faith-based character, history, and practices of its citizens or exempts individuals and organizations from generally applicable laws that might conflict with their religious observances and beliefs. In fact, the “Free Exercise Clause” of the First Amendment only prohibits laws that restrict the free exercise of religion; it does not, and never has, prohibited laws that favor religion and its exercise.
The beauty of our country is that no citizen can be compelled to worship God or participate in any religious act or function, but those who wish to can do so freely. That profound freedom is consistent with who we are as Americans… where individuals are allowed to have a faith and to live out that faith in every area of their lives according to the dictates of conscience. Likewise, people are free to have no faith at all if they so choose. That is a decision each American must make for him or herself.
From all of us here at the Congressional Prayer Caucus Foundation, we celebrate that He Has Risen… He has risen indeed!