People have been bothering me a lot lately. I suppose I should qualify that statement. People who don’t like that the establishment clause, and the free exercise clause of the first amendment cut’s both ways. Many of my old friends, and the religious right, and tea party members, (for some reason those three things seem synonymous when it comes to the friends I grew up around went to college with and even worked with fresh out of school and in the ministry for the first time), want a figurative interpretation of our countries most important document, preferring to interpret it through the language, ideas, beliefs, and customs of the day it was written. The issue is many of them want a literal interpretation of another historical work, that I would maintain is infinitely more important that the constitution of the United States, but also needs to be studied and applied with the same type of scrutiny.
I do not feel that Christianity is under attack in our country any more than any other religion. But all religions are subject to attack in our country, a function of a society that allows free speech. I am happy with the fact that churches can be built, sermons can be preached, outreach can be made, by the church that I pastor, I don’t think the government should compel a Church to provide birth control for it’s employees if doing so violates their conscious or interpretation of scripture. I think that churches and pastors should have the freedom to choose who they are willing to marry and not, and as much as I hate to say it churches just like any other private organization have a right to exclusive membership if that’s what they want to have. I will say that any church that bars someone from entering, and worshiping with them based on age, race,sex, sexual orientation, or religious affiliation is stupid. If we have the truth that we say we have, and if we believe that that truth is able to make a difference in peoples lives, why keep people away?
All of these things I am glad for. A few things we need to realize,
1. We are not persecuted, not by a long shot.
2. No one is going to tell you you can’t worship on Sunday or Saturday or whatever day you choose.
3. Christians are supposed to pray for their leaders.
4. The final mandate given by Christ upon leaving this earth was not go into the center of town, and get involved in politics. It was not lobby for your rights, it was not champion the cause of capitalism.
When we point to things like the Hobby Lobby verdict as Godly, we miss the point. Scratch the surface of Hobby Lobby’s financial records and you find things that contradict their stand. Most of the stuff that they purchase comes from China where abortion runs rampant, they invest in companies that manufacture the drugs they refuse to provide because doing so violates their religious beliefs. What bothers me is they are not a church, they are not even a hospital or school affiliated with a church, they are a for profit company, attempting to leverage their religion as a way to help the bottom line.
If christians really believe that without a relationship with Jesus people will die and go to hell, how can they take the time to worry about these things. Why is it so important to win the right to refuse contraception coverage, or strike a blow for sanctity of marriage in the courts, or voice their opinion on the minimum wage, or stand up with the NRA because we have the right to bear arms. Why are American christians so concerned about their rights. How do they have the time to devote to all of these political causes?
In 1 Corinthians 9 Paul lays out all the reasons he has rights, and then gives them up. If that’s not enough in Matthew 5:39 – 42 Jesus shows us clearly that what’s fair, that our rights really don’t matter when it comes to people who are lost.
As best as I can figure out 2 Timothy 3:5 is at play here, at least when it comes to some of the more prominent religious and political leaders of our day standing up for the rights of christians. It makes them look good, it makes them seem holy, but in the end…