WINDHAM — Where is God? Where did he go?

Not visible in schools, stores, public spaces, sports. No longer honored in homes, activities, holidays or holy days.

I recently was in a situation where someone had placed a large Buddha statue in a public space that was also being used by Christians. I asked that we be able to put up a Christian statue of the same size, creating a lovely “faith-filled garden” for those who enter. Result: Request denied and Buddha removed.

This is sad to me. Why are we so afraid of God? Why can’t we place worship as the first priority in our lives, and encourage others to do the same, even if it means accepting that others have different views of God? That is how our country was founded, on religious freedom (yes, freedom of religion, not just freedom of worship), and as a result we have enjoyed the most peaceful and fruitful country in the world … until now.

Somehow we have decided that our Creator is insulting or hurtful in some way, so we exclude Him as best we can. No God visible; no talk of God allowed. Maybe worship is OK, but only behind closed doors. And whatever you do, don’t display your love for God, don’t talk about God’s rules for our lives and certainly don’t live as though God is real and matters. In other words, we are now expected, and often mandated, to censor God.

Where might we end up as a result? Well, we may see lawlessness, with everyone for themselves; the endorsement of the philosophy that “the end justifies the means”; increased suicides and mass shootings; disrespect for our country; the rejection of poor immigrants; the murder of our unborn for sake of selfishness and calling it “choice”; and the murder of our elderly for sake of convenience and calling it “dignity.”

Oh, wait – this is where we are today! This is our society: Reject God; reject rules; hurt others who disagree with you; manipulate voting to gain control; insult or lie about people to keep power; increased anxiety, suicide, abortion and euthanasia; and children killing children in mass shootings. You see, when we take away God, we are down to the “might makes right” mentality.

And then we have the nerve to ask, “How could a good God allow senseless suffering or such negative consequences?” – ignoring the fact that these consequences are to a people that have insulted God, rejected God or made choices to ignore God’s rules. When we see these consequences, what we should instead ask is, “How can we get right with God again? How can we pursue His rules for holiness, sacredness of life and compassion for others?”

Don’t be afraid of God. God is good; God is love. Seeking God is seeking good for others as much as, if not more than, for ourselves … in other words, the opposite focus of many group and individual behaviors of today.

What would our world look like if everyone truly sought to follow a loving God’s rules, instead of excluding God and selfishly imposing our own? The answer is clearly visible in history: Compare those countries that set up houses of worship and accepted God’s rules with those socialist, communist or other authoritarian regimes that rejected God and imposed their own rules. And then, sadly realize that we started our country as the former and are potentially moving toward the latter.

So please, I beg each of you, find a religious institution that offers God’s love as a foundation, and then seek to create an environment around you that visibly embraces God’s love. You cannot imagine the peace that will overflow you and the blessings you will receive when you do. Our religious institutions will never be perfect, because we are not perfect, but living with God as a priority will always lead us to a better life and country. I promise you that you will be a happier person, and our country will be restored to its glory, to the extent that we all seek God.

Where is God? Please go find Him, and when you do, shamelessly put Him first!