Veterans Day proved to be an appropriate setting for the Religious Liberty Day Assembly on Friday, Nov. 12, at the Maranatha Gymnasium.
The event began with the presentation of colors by the Maranatha ROTC chapter’s color guard. Current and former military personnel were asked to stand and received a long ovation from the crowd of students, faculty, staff, and visitors.
“This is a celebration of religious freedom, but it’s also a celebration of those who have sacrificed to give us those religious freedoms,” Maranatha President Dr. Marty Marriott said.
The keynote address was given by Wisconsin State Supreme Court Justice Michael Gableman. His speech was preceded by the Pledge of Allegiance and National Anthem, several patriotic musical selections from the College’s combined choir, and a violin solo by Music Department faculty member Betsy Pabon.
Bible Department faculty member Dr. David Saxon narrated a multimedia presentation that focused on the views of religion held by the country’s founders. Quotes from John Locke, George Washington, Patrick Henry, Samuel Adams, and others demonstrated that religious freedoms were a priority with those who helped establish America.
Gableman’s address focused on how the First Amendment protects religious freedoms, how judges and justices should properly interpret it, and why this issue is an important one for young adults.
“The founding fathers took great pains to get this one right,” Gableman said. “That is one reason why it is the role of the judge or justice to apply the plain language of the law.”
Gableman decried judicial activism and took issue with the notion of giving “human dignity” priority over the strict interpretation of the existing language of the law.
“The First Amendment broadly protects the rights of the people who created the government,” Gableman said. “It directly relates to your life, your school, and your faith.”