Rick Plasterer is a staff writer for IRD concerned particularly with domestic religious liberty. He attended Eastern Mennonite College (now University) receiving a B.A. degree in history and sociology, and an M.S. in library science from Drexel University.
A religious institution primarily serves God, not the state or its clients. For Christians in particular, the “good work” of providing medical care is part of the exercise of their religion. So for certain purposes, such as abortion, a Catholic or other religious pro-life hospital is really not in the picture. This is another attempt to prevent religious social service as part of a general attack on the independence of the intermediate institutions (such as families, churches, and charities) in society. Without these intermediate institutions, society will be left with the individual standing alone before the state, and the morality its elites imposed on society in the name of health and well-being.
The logic of the antidiscrimination regime assumes that organizations serving the public exist primarily for their stated secular purposes: schools to teach, hospitals to care for the sick, secular charities to attend to the indigent, etc. Reasonably they then function on secular principles. The principle purpose of religious service organizations on the other hand, whether educational, charitable, medical, broadcasting and publishing, or whatever, is to serve God, not principally to provide the social services they offer.
The anniversary of the Edict of Milan comes at a time when the Christian world … is struggling to maintain the integrity of Christian life against the Enlightenment and its consequences. The hard persecutions of the French Revolution and the much more ominous
and overwhelming threat of communism seemed to have been decisively overcome in 1989. But the Enlightenment’s de-Christianization has returned in the attempt by secularists to legally eradicate religion from public life, and to legally require acceptance of the sexual revolution.
American journalists [are] “well to the left of the public on a whole range of issues” … operating “within a very narrow range of liberal beliefs” … journalists are not “antagonistic,” rather “they are just ignorant about Christianity, or conservative ideas, or who good conservative spokespeople would be.” As a result of this, it is extreme, isolated, but striking rightist voices that the news media quotes, while from the left, spokesman who make arguments attuned to the mainstream are presented as representative. Extreme leftist voices (which may in fact be driving controversy) are not prominently mentioned.
In contemporary western democracies, the consequence of the state as final authority without a transcendent basis is that all institutions of society, such as families, churches, businesses, or other associations, have no rights beyond what the state deems correct in its current understanding proper social relations … Christians today need to be “Nehemiahs,” working with each other in society to defend their right to live in obedience to God, and advance an understanding of proper, transcendently based rights and duties
Advancing a clear and consistent idea of religious freedom that covers the whole life of the believer is key to defending it against the current intense secularist assault.
Christians must continue to engage in reasoned argument with an increasingly hostile post-Christian culture that is attacking the freedoms they have historically enjoyed in order to continue to have legal protection for religious freedom.
The expanding federal role in American life, already most evident in medical care, may also soon effect major changes in education, reinforcing and eventually politicizing deficient public education systems and working to the detriment of private and religious education.
Christians who intend to remain orthodox in faith and morals, having aspired in the last generation to recover America as a Christian society, must learn to live as a “prophetic minority” in a post-Christian society that is in considerable measure hostile. That was the message of Russell Moore, President of the Southern Baptist Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, at the Faith and Law lecture on Capitol Hill on Sept. 13.
The wide ranging assault on religious freedom occurring in America under the Obama Administration, and mirrored throughout the western world,currently focuses on the HHS contraceptive/abortifacient mandate, requiring religious institutions that are not houses of worship and businesses owned by objecting religious proprietors to supply goods that violate their consciences. But another area of assault, which […]