America Looking More Like China on Religious Liberty

There are two major stories whose trajectories are coalescing toward a permanent loss of religious liberty in the United States. The first story is the on-going saga known affectionately as Obamacare. The second story is more subtle, under the radar, but perhaps more damaging in its scope. It is the story of code enforcement. Let me explain these in order.

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) was passed in June 2010. Certain provisions did

Obama Signing Healthcare Law Obamacare into effect

President Obama Signing Obamacare Law

not take effect immediately. One of those delayed provisions was the Health and Human Services mandate for contraceptive coverage. Now that this mandate is in effect, businesses and other entities nationwide are suing the federal government to demand an exemption on the basis of conscience.

The latest business to join in the lawsuits is Hobby Lobby. They are the first evangelical Christian business to join the fray, but hopefully they will not be the last. In all, there are 27 different lawsuits in the courts on this issue.  The objection is to the mandate’s insistence that all companies (and Christian schools) provide insurance coverage (without co-pay) for abortifacient drugs like the morning after pill or the week after pill.

The Obama administration is arguing two basic points germane to religious liberty. First, they argue that Christians must abandon their religious liberty when they choose to enter the commercial marketplace. This argument is based on their second argument, which is that religious liberty extends only to official houses of worship, not to individuals in their diurnal affairs. In other words, religious liberty (according to the Obama administration) means an American can go to a facility on Sunday and do his worship thing there without government interference (except for the aforementioned tax code restrictions), but he mustn’t think his liberty extends beyond the building.

The Obama administration clearly does not believe in religious liberty at all.  Instead, they believe in restricting religious liberty to “houses of worship” only.  Arguing for this view of religious liberty would be like arguing that a prisoner is actually free because he can do whatever he wants (inside his cell).  This is a radical departure from American history and reflects more of a communist view of religious freedom than an American one.

Communist Chinese flagIn China, for example, Christians are “free” to join the public, Three-Self Patriotic Church and worship there—in that “house of worship.”  They are not free to gather in homes or worship elsewhere. They certainly are not free to carry their Christianity into the workplace or the university. The defense of the Health and Human Services mandate of Obamacare rests upon such a demolition of religious liberty.

In addition to the Obamacare drama unfolding, there is a second stream of American stories all pointing to the same enslaving end. There is a rash of code enforcers around the nation taking aim at house church gatherings. We have seen instances of this in Illinois, California, Arizona, and now it has come to Florida as well.

Brad Dacus, president of the Pacific Justice Institute, is representing the Florida couple who is being threatened with a $250/day fine for having a small group (6-10) in the home for a Bible study.

Dacus says, “They are having a specific problem with this family solely because they are having family and friends over to read the bible and pray.  That may be fine in some tyrannical parts of the world. That is not okay in the United States of America.”

The idea behind the code enforcers is the same as the idea promoted by President Obama: Keep your Christian God in a box. Go to your church building and do the Christian thing, but don’t bring the subject up at your work or your home. This is a Communist view of freedom, which, of course, means this is no freedom at all.

Code by code, insurance plan by insurance plan, America is shutting out its Christian past and killing the concept of liberty and justice for all.

Another Down Day for Life

Like the rest of the country, we wonder whether each day will be an up day for the stock market or a down day.  If we were to look at indicators for life rather than indicators of wealth, we would have to conclude that yesterday was a down day.  According to this article, a new drug is on its way to foster more abortions.  Notice (once again) that the drug is called by a deceptive pseudonym: “emergency contraceptive.”  What kind of twisted concept is “emergency contraception”?  Hurry, do something, before you “contract” a baby?  This nonsense makes childrearing out to be H1N1, something to be vaccinated against. Or, as some would see it, a punishment.  A down day for life indeed!

I Could

According to this story, Jim Wallis, president of Sojourners, in conjunction with a few Democrat lawmakers, is proposing Christian support for a new bill ostensibly designed to reduce the number of abortions. 

“Helping young people to delay sexual activity, preventing the pregnancies that people don’t want, economically supporting low-income women to give them real choice about having a child, and encouraging adoption all will reduce abortion in America; and who could be against any of that?” the progressive Christian leader [Wallis] added.

The answer is, “I could.”  I could very easily see opposing such a piece of legislation and being against some of the provisions in this proposal.  First, I would most likely be in favor of the first provision–delaying sexual activity–if that means delaying until monogamous, heterosexual marriage.  If that is not what the provision intends, then I might could say I am against it.

Second, I could definitely be against “preventing unwanted pregnancies” if that means, as it did under the last democrat President, passing out condoms in schools.  That will not prevent unwanted pregnancies; it will rather encourage more of them.  Indeed, the category of “unwanted pregnancy” is pernicious at best.  I suspect this provision is actually a full-scale “birth control” program which might include RU 486 but probably does not emphasize abstinence.

Third, I could easily oppose some plans of economically supporting low-income women to give them the choice of having a child.  I certainly could not oppose helping needy women or men.  However, welfare programs that do not encourage work or responsibility tend only to hurt women and destroy families.  So, on this provision, I could oppose such legislation if it encourages and rewards promiscuity while dimishing responsibility.  I’m not sure what a “real choice” about having a child means.

Finally, when it comes to adoption, I am completely on board.  I do think adoption is a much better choice than abortion.  I agree that adoption should not be opposed.  Though I could possibly oppose three out of these four provisions, I would support fully the last one.  So, the bill is clearly only one-fourth of a pro-life bill.

Psalm 127 and RU 486

Sadly, we live in an RU 486 world, where children are viewed as an interruption to an otherwise carefree sexual lifestyle. Just the other day, courts ruled that the “Plan B” abortion pill would be available to 17 year olds over the counter (see here). 

We can rest assured that sexual promiscuity comes with a great price, not the least of which is kindling the wrath of God. More important, perhaps, for us to remember is the mercy of God in giving us order and command in relation to our sexuality and in relation to the natural consequences of sexuality—children. “Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward,” declares Psalm 127.

Now, nations around the world are understanding the significance of God’s plan for families. China is struggling with how 1 adult worker is supposed to provide for his own needs plus the needs of 2 aging parents and 4 elderly grandparents. In Russia, the de-population dynamic has the government begging for Russians to return home (see this article). 

And Europe? All over Europe the depopulation vacuum is leaving space which must be filled by someone. Turns out, Muslims are more than happy to oblige. They never bought in to the promiscuity “Plan B” mentality of depopulating families. So, they have lots of children and grandchildren and are still having babies. In Lyons, France, for instance, Muslims are the majority in the maternity ward, having more babies than native Frenchman (See Mark Steyn’s America Alone). 

Dr. Mohler recently blogged on this important topic (see here),  and he recommends this book as an important resource.  I will simply point out that the man is blessed who fills his quiver with children.