Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances. – The First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America
Is the Religious Freedom of the 74% of Americans (per gallup.com)., who proclaim Jesus Christ as our Personal Savior doomed to be sacrificed on the altar of Politically-motivated “Tolerance”?
The Christian Post reports that
Religious freedom champion and former Congressman Frank Wolf warned a Harvard audience that freedom of conscience is endangered in the United States and conservative Christians may have to engage in civil disobedience because their views are considered intolerant.
“When tolerance is demanded, when orthodox Christianity is deemed intolerant and when government and even society fails to extend tolerance to people of faith, we are headed down a perilous path,” he said.
His main point was that freedom of conscience has long been understood as important for religious freedom, but recently there has been a trend of violating the conscience protections of conservative Christians, particularly over the issues of abortion and marriage.
Citing a resolution passed by the Continental Congress to protect the conscience rights of pacifists, Wolf argued, “our conscience is not ultimately allegiant to the state, but to something, and for many people, Someone, higher.” And this is important “because if our conscience belongs to the state, the state can choose to violate it or compromise it at will.”
Recently, however, there has been a “subtle but insidious trend” in which the government is expanding into areas that are more likely to infringe upon conscience rights. This trend was “at the heart” of the recent Supreme Court case involving Hobby Lobby, a Christian-owned craft supply chain, and the Obama administration’s birth control mandate. While the owners of Hobby Lobby, the Green family, are pro-life, the Obama administration sought to require them to pay for health insurance coverage for contraceptive pills that could cause an abortion.
Citing a Yuval Levin article, Wolf argued “we are witnessing the imposition of a new state religion” called “progressive liberalism.”
Wolf also pointed to opposition to Religious Freedom Restoration Acts as part of the trend.
In particular, he pointed out the inconsistency of corporation leaders, such as Apple CEO Tim Cook, who opposed RFRA, a law to protect conscience rights, while exercising their own conscience rights. Apple removed from its products an app by the pro-life and pro-marriage group The Manhattan Declaration. Plus, Cook opposed Indiana’s RFRA over supposed “fairness” toward gays while doing business with Arab countries where homosexuality is illegal, and China, a nation that “has one of the worst overall human rights records.”
“Freedom of conscience is good for all,” he said. “If Apple and other companies want to protect their own rights, they ought also to protect those of others. If they wish to run their companies according to their conviction, they ought not deny other companies the same right.”
Wolf’s third example of religious conscience infringement was the trend of Christian groups on college campuses being forced to choose between leaving or remaining faithful to their beliefs.
“These legal realities and emerging policy norms, coupled with fears of compromised livelihoods and tarnished reputations, risk driving people of faith out of the public square,” he said.
Wolf hopes, though, that in the face of these religious freedom infringements, Christians will not “retreat form the public square” but “boldly stay, regardless of the cost.” He then recalled the “rich Christian tradition of civil disobedience in the face of unjust laws” exemplified by Dr. Martin Luther King.
After recalling the many biblical figures who were jailed for remaining faithful to God, and theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer, who was imprisoned and put to death for opposing Hitler, Wolf asked, “Is prison the fate of people today who dare to stand up for what their conscience, informed by their faith, dictates?”
Wolf ended by quoting the Manhattan Declaration’s implied promise of civil disobedience in the face of religious conscience violations: “Iwill fully and ungrudgingly render to Caesar what is Caesar’s. But under no circumstances will I render to Caesar what is God’s.”
Wolf is currently Distinguished Senior Fellow at the21st Century Wilberforce Initiative and Wilson Chair of Religious Freedom at Baylor University, a religious freedom advocacy organization he joined after retiring from Congress.
While in Congress, Wolf was one of the most outspoken defenders of global religious freedom. He authored the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998, which created the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom and the post of Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom within the State Department. The act also allowed for sanctions to be placed on nations that infringe upon its citizens’ religious freedom.
Recently, I have been involved in numerous “discussions” on Political Facebook Pages, concerning this issue.
Due to my adherence to my Traditional Christian American Faith, I have recently been called everything BUT a “Child of God”, by those whose “personal belief system” leads them to bow at the Progressive-built altar of Politically-correct Intolerance.
They argue that Christian American Small Business Owners have no right to practice their faith in their businesses and that Christian American Conservatives, as a whole, MUST accept homosexual “marriage” or we are not Christians at all.
Wrong. To state it bluntly, as Dr. Michael Brown did recently, in an article for The Christian Post:
…every law dealing with marriage and family, every positive example and precept, every illustration in the Bible about sexuality morality is based on heterosexual relationships (see, for example, Genesis 2:24; Exodus 20:12; Matthew 19:4-6; Ephesians 5:22-33).
That’s why there was not a need to condemn homosexual practice on every page. Everything in Scripture was against it. (To be perfectly clear, the Bible plainly teaches that God loves every human being, that all of us are fallen and in need of redemption, and that Jesus died for heterosexual and homosexual alike. The issue here is the meaning of marriage and the standard of sexual morality.)
Our Christianity as Americans does not and can not end at Noon on Sunday, as we shake the Preacher’s hand and walk out of the sanctuary.
As every Christian knows, the Triune God dwells within each of us, in the form of that “still, small voice”, the Holy Spirit.
Christians have to make a choice in these tough times.
The choice we each have to make is whether to “give to Caesar” that which is not his, our Christian Faith, or to listen to that “still, small voice” and love the homosexual enough to lead them to forgiveness of their sins and salvation through the Grace of Jesus Christ.
This is not a “Political Crisis” which we as Christian Americas are facing right now.
It is a battle of “Princes and Principalities”.
And, I stand with the King of Kings.
Y’see, I have read the back of The Book.
The Good Guys win.
Until He Comes,