June 14, 2012
As of last week, it can no longer be disputed that the governments of the United States and Canada are hostile to the religious liberties of Christians. And the time, which was a long time coming, has come for Christians to ask themselves:
Have you finally had enough?
In the USA, which was founded on religious freedom—by Christians!—the Obama Gang is trying to force churches to fund abortions: the Catholic Church in particular, but all churches are affected. And last week an appeals court in New Mexico ruled that a mom-and-pop photography business, owned and operated by Christians, committed a crime by refusing to photograph a lesbian pseudo-wedding. The case will be appealed to the state supreme court, but as of this writing, the Christian photographers have been ordered to pay a fine of $6,600 and change. For a business this small, such a fine can lead to ruin. The message is clear—do what the lesbians want, or lose your livelihood. In the eyes of the state, the lesbians’ feelings are of more value than the religious liberties of Christians.
In Canada last week, the Ontario Legislature passed a law forcing Catholic schools to have “gay-straight alliances”—homosexual clubs—on their premises. As usual, this act of statist tyranny was cloaked in an “anti-bullying” crusade. But it is the Catholic Church in Ontario that is being bulled; and the bishops, so far, are taking it lying down.
Remarks by a judge in the New Mexico case show where this is headed. The judge said the photographers “must accept the reasonable [sic] regulations and restrictions imposed on the conduct of their commercial enterprise despite their personal religious beliefs [emphasis added] that may conflict with these government interests.”
With a stroke of the pen, he shoves the Christian religion into a sealed-off ghetto from which it dare not venture without incurring penalty. The only reason such a judge still allows for freedom of private, personal belief is because he has no way to ban it! So he is content to confine it to the private and the personal. It was a bad day for America when that judge was born.
Note also that photographing weddings for a living is not quite the same as selling hardware. The photographer’s trade is a form of artistic expression. Anyone can walk into a hardware store and buy a paintbrush. Maybe he’ll use it to paint a swastika somewhere, but the store owner has no way of knowing that. But to demand that the Christian photographer shoot an event celebrating a violation of God’s law is to demand that he, personally, take part in the celebration—which he can only do if his Christian faith is privatized and marginalized, and not allowed to have any bearing on his actions.
This is to make the Christian faith a sham Christianity in which the freedom-eating state, not Christ, is king.
Meanwhile, the Ontario bishops are trying to weasel out of a tight spot by saying, sure, they’ll allow homosexual clubs in Catholic schools, no problem, as long as those clubs don’t conflict with Catholic teaching. What kind of pusillanimous double-talk is this? But the “gay” activists won’t let them get away with it: they’re already threatening to take the Catholic schools to court if the bishops, in the words of one activist, “try to play games.” The bishops are only putting off the day of reckoning until September.
Have you had enough yet?
There isn’t much room left for Christians to retreat. The Ontario bishops will lose their case in court. Then what will they do? It’s possible the New Mexico photography case will go all the way to the United States Supreme Court. It’s even possible the Christians, and the First Amendment, will win there… for the time being.
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But how much more ground can we give up? The state seeks to separate us from our God, by forcing us to do things which God has forbidden. What will we do when they tell us, “You must celebrate same-sex ‘weddings’ in your churches; you must ordain clergy according to standards set by the government; you must pay for abortions, and counsel women to have them; and you must not preach from parts of the Bible that conflict with the government’s position”? Will we give up that ground, too? Where shall we stop?
Either Christ is king of all, or He is king of nothing. We can’t have it both ways: no man can serve two masters. If the state is under God, all’s well. If God is under the state, all’s hell.
Once upon a time, Americans would defend religious freedom. But now? Is there any line beyond which the statists in Ottawa and Washington dare not go?
If a man-made law conflicts with God’s law, it is no law, and Christians have no duty to obey it. The Bible’s injunction to us to “live peaceably with all men” is preceded by the words, “If it be possible.” (Romans 12:18)
It is up to the government, not to us, to see that this is possible.
� 2012 Lee Duigon - All Rights Reserved
Lee Duigon, a contributing editor with the Chalcedon Foundation, is a former newspaper reporter and editor, small businessman, teacher, and horror novelist. He has been married to his wife, Patricia, for 34 years. See his new fantasy/adventure novels, Bell Mountain and The Cellar Beneath the Cellar, available on www.amazon.com