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-Religious Liberty or Government Enforced Morality?: Will Christians Stand Up or Hide?

by Dr. D ~ April 25th, 2015

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After what happened in Indiana and the onslaught of liberal progressive attacks from the media and members of the current administration against religious liberty, some are suggesting that Christians give up and go underground. After all, the entire world seems to be against us right now or at least it appears to be that way.

The left is ready to sacrifice the Constitution including religious liberty and free speech in the name of same-sex marriage and special LGBT civil rights. A new government enforced morality seems to be rising up under the auspices of the Obama administration, liberal academia, and the progressive main stream media. The truth no longer counts, the opposition must be completely silenced, and conservative Christians must be forced to comply and even participate whether they want to or not. Even if their religious beliefs are in opposition.

The left right now is in a ‘take no prisoners’ mode. It is not even good enough that same-sex marriage seems to be on the road towards becoming completely legal all across America, conservatives are now being asked whether they would personally attend SSM services even if their religious convictions oppose it. The implication is that there is a new public morality in America that should override any private religious convictions or liberty. All ‘good’ Americans must now be forced to publically comply and participate. Any contrary religious beliefs should be left at home or at church. In reality we are seeing the rise of a new government and media enforced morality when it comes to SSM and LGBT issues and religious liberty is being trumped and compromised.

Here are one writer’s conclusions about what we are now facing in America:

When the Left rejects the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, it invites compelled speech. When photographers are forced under threat of fines to shoot weddings or religious services that they believe are immoral, the assumption is that we are sometimes legally bound to participate in certain kinds of speech, and the state becomes the arbiter of what that speech is in specific instances.

… When the Left rejects the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, it invites the derogation of religious motives underpinning free expression. It allows the state to determine what beliefs are properly or improperly grounds for taking legal action.

Which leads to my final point. When the Left rejects the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, it invites the imposition of state-enforced morality. The Left requires obedience and punishes dissent. It insists that all citizens must, against their will, act only in a manner that liberalism judges to be accommodating and politic.

Read the whole article

So how should conservative Christians respond to the abrogation of our religious liberty? Some believe that Christians need to give up on the dominant American culture and put all of our efforts into the ‘true mission’ of the church without compromise. Rod Dreher calls his version of this tactic –the ‘Benedict Option’:

a limited, strategic withdrawal of Christians from the mainstream of American popular culture, for the sake of shoring up our understanding of what the church is, and what me must do to be the church. We must do this because the strongly anti-Christian nature of contemporary popular culture occludes the meaning of the Gospel, and hides from us the kinds of habits and practices we need to engage in to be truly faithful to what we have been given. As Jonathan Wilson has pointed out about the New Monasticism movement (a form of the Benedict Option), the church must do this not to hide away as a pure remnant — the church would be unfaithful to Christ if it did so — but to strengthen itself to be the church for the world.  …

First, it should have worship that is heavily embodied…

Second, it should be disciplined, and ascetically oriented, because asceticism trains the passions.

Third, it should have a strong pastor, a strong creed, and enforce it. Communities with weak pastor, weak creeds or weak corporate commitments to creeds will be too feeble to stand up.

Fourth, it should demand serious, steady involvement. The community is going to have to be the center of your life, not just something you do on Sunday.

…Finally, it needs to be mission-minded…

<Read the whole article>

David French has responded to Dreher’s Benedict Option by observing that cultural conservatives including Christians have ‘just begun to fight’ and that now is not the time to give up but to stand up with the same intensity of the leftist opposition:

In reality, Christian conservatives have barely begun to fight. Christians, following the examples of the Apostles, should never retreat from the public square. They must leave only when quite literally forced out, after expending every legal bullet, availing themselves of every right of protest, and after exhausting themselves in civil disobedience. Have cultural conservatives spent half the energy on defense that the Left has spent on the attack?

<Read the whole article>

Response: So how shall we respond to the current battle over religious liberty? I see three major ways that Christians may chose to go:

First of all, cave in like several of the mainline liberal churches and turn our backs on 2,000 years of Christian history and the Bible and ‘modernize’ our thinking and theology to go along with the dominant culture and ‘progressive thinking. Accept that religious convictions should be solely a private affair contained in ones own home or church and not practiced in the public square. In the process, accepting the re-definition of freedom of religion to ‘freedom of worship,’ limited and assigned to only apply within the four walls of a properly zoned place of worship.

Second Choice, disengage from the dominant culture entirely and put all of our efforts into improving the church and following its true mission. Strengthen the church and the Christian community through a New Monasticism movement where we can practice our faith in peace within a limited counter culture.

Third, stand up for what we believe in and marshal all of our folks and resources.  Refuse to compromise our faith and our Constitutional rights to religious liberty. Refuse to go quietly into the night without battling all of the way.

In Conclusion: The first option will happen if things continue as they are. This is the direction that liberal progressives, including academia, leftist politicians, the Obama administration, and the main stream media, are pushing to go. Unless conservative Christians finally see the threat and stand up for their rights, religious liberty will be re-defined out of the public square.

This leaves the second and third options as the best choices for conservative Christians. I believe that the choice between the two is a matter of timing.  A ‘New Monasticism movement should only become an option if all else fails and traditional Biblical theology, education, and teachings of the Christian church are in danger of disappearing like it was during the dark middle ages.

Some of the second option supported by Dreher needs to be implemented regardless. We need stronger churches and Christian commitments that include all of life and not just a few hours on Sunday. The church does need to stop putting on an entertaining show and it needs to be more mission oriented. The church does need to change but not the teachings and Biblical beliefs like progressives want and not by caving in to the dominant culture.

I believe that the third option is the best choice for conservative Christians right now. There is still time to stand up for the freedom of religion in America and all of our people and resources need to be combined and put into action. Fact is, there are probably more of us who still believe in religious liberty, as it was originally designed and penned by the founders, than those who oppose it. Stand up now and be counted and do not let the liberals and media rob you of your hope, convictions, free speech, and religious liberties.            *Top

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