Archive for the ‘religious liberty’ Tag

God Damns It   10 comments

God didn’t promise Christians a thorn-less rose garden. American Christians have somewhat forgotten that because we’ve been a couple of centuries without overt persecution. That’s the exception rather than the rule world-wide. In most societies, Biblically-faithful Christians are very much marginalized if not outright persecuted.

Society has cycles and the wheel is turning. Here in the US, our society doesn’t like to think of itself as a bunch of tyrannical persecutors. It prefers to think of itself as fair and welcoming, inclusive.

Yeah!!! Dream on, people!

Masterpiece Cake ShopGortz HausHands-On OriginalsArlene’s Flowers & Gifts, Liberty Ridge Farm, and Elane Photography (now out of business) are just a few examples of Christian businesses who politely refused to provide services for gay weddings and subsequently found themselves being ordered to reeducation classes, paying thousands of dollars in fines and in several cases closing their doors.

Let’s be very clear about this. If you actually research these cases, you will find that in no case did these business refuse services to homosexuals because they were homosexuals. Nobody screamed “Get away from me, you have kooties.” What these Christians did was refuse to provide wedding-related services that sanctify what the Bible defines as sexual immorality.

In other words, they refused to participate in someone else’s sin, to have their name associated with that sin and to appear to be encouraging that sin. They stood firm on what they believe the Bible teaches about sexual immorality and for that, they will lose their businesses, be fined into bankruptcy and in some cases do jail time.

I don’t agree with Indiana’s religious freedom law because I don’t think it should be necessary. “Congress shall make no law … restricting the free exercise of religion.” That should be clear enough. If a neighbor asks me to participate in sin, I have the right to peacefully refuse. Thomas Jefferson and Ben Franklin would have agreed with me on that. “Whatever does not pick my pocket or break my leg is no concern of mine,” Jefferson wrote.

None of the gay couples in these cases were harmed in any way. Someone doesn’t agree with their lifestyle and won’t encourage them in it How does that harm them other than to perhaps hurt their feelings?

Yet, the bigoted anti-Christian crowd in this country is using it as an excuse to very much pick the pockets and break the legs of Christian businesspeople who have the audacity to live their faith.

We all know where this is headed. In a decade, possibly less, pastors will be required to perform gay ceremonies and churches will be required to host them. Why? Because this is not about the “rights” of homosexuals to be full members of society. This is about forcing an anti-Biblical agenda upon Christian churches and coercing Christians into participating in sin. Only by our seeming to approve of their behavior can they feel that they’ve finally arrived in the world.

Pay no attention to the metaphorical gun pointed at the heads of the baker, florist, musician, pastor, and venue manager. We’re happy, God damn it, and you must be happy with us.

I used God’s name technically in vain for a reason. What homosexuals do in their bedrooms is their own business, but when they require that I attend their commitment ceremony, they make it mine. God very much does damn sexual immorality and Christians who participate in it, even when required by our government, will have to explain their participation to God. If you’re not a Christian, you may think that’s no big deal, but for all of us familiar with Acts — we’re being called now to stand with Peter and John and say “We will obey the Lord” and accept the consequences.

But, hey, American society — you’re shredding the 1st Amendment. Are you sure you want to go there? What happens when society decides YOUR beliefs are the incorrect ones? What happens when society decides YOUR opinion must be silenced?

You see, that wheel — turns. When you base law upon the flavor the decade zeitgeist, you end up on top some decades and crushed under the wheel in others. The secret to America has always been that the law of liberty remained steady. We could disagree, but it didn’t matter because we didn’t have the power to control one another.

But, of course, that’s no longer the case. Are you sure you want it that way?

 

This started a series. See Part 2.

Is Religious Liberty Safe Now?   Leave a comment

In looking at the risk to the 1st Amendment from a convention of the states, I had to admit that there are some risks already aimed at freedom of speech, the press, religion and assembly. Forget about a potential amendment of the amendment, our liberty is at risk without the Constitution even being touched.

The Constitution of the United States acknowledges pre-existing liberties that are founded on something greater than the Constitution. It doesn’t grant us these liberties. It was meant to protect those liberties. And, it’s not working anymore in that capacity.

Congress may not make any laws that restrict our religious liberties, but by redefining what is religious in nature, it has gotten around the “shall not” language. Moreover, the Administrative State has no such constraints and Congress delegated most of its authority to that extra-constitutional “shadow” government a long time ago.

Almost immediately upon his 2009 inauguration, President Obama set aside the hiring protections of religious organizations that had been acknowledged by prior administrations. Hiring protections allow religious organizations to hire those employees who hold the same religious convictions as the organization. They are not forced to hire those who disagree with their beliefs or values and who would work against their mission. Hiring protections are inherent within the 1st Amendment’s guarantee for religious liberty and right of association and was additionally established statutorily in Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, declaring that any “religious corporation, association, education institution or society” could consider the applicants’ religious faith during the hiring process. The Supreme Court upheld hiring protections in the 1987 case Corporation of the Presiding Bishop of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints v. Amos and Congress has included these protections in numerous federal laws. In 2007, when the Democrats regained control of the House, they began to remove these protections for faith-based organizations, starting with organizations that wished to provide Head-Start services. In 2009, the White House announced its Agenda to Combat Employment Discrimination and committed to passage of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, which would (if it passes the House in 2014) fully repeal faith-based hiring protections related to Biblical standards of morality and behavior, directly attacking the theological autonomy of churches, synagogues and religious organizations by not allowing them to choose whether to hire homosexual onto their ministry staffs.

Of course, it has far wider ramifications than that because the redefinition of liberty always starts small and builds up size and speed from there. Our religious liberties are already endangered because of a lack of commitment to the 1st amendment.

As I’ve said, I don’t think a convention of the states would pass a proposed amendment that would undermine religious liberty and, if they did, I trust that at least 13 separate legislative bodies at the state level would refuse to ratify such an amendment.

I think the value of a discussion of the 1st Amendment in such a venue is worth exploring. None of us today signed onto the Constitution. Most of us couldn’t quote the 1st Amendment and Jay Leno has shown Angelinos can’t enumerate what it protects. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could? A convention of the states, voting to keep the 1st Amendment as-is, may give us just the reason to claim those protections as our own. Rather than endangering the rights we possess because we live, a convention of the states may provide us with the means of, once more, acknowleding that those rights exist whether Congress or the President wants us to have them or not.

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