Threats To Religious Liberty (Has It Really Come To This?)

Dr. Dan Nelson | Pastor
First Baptist Church, Camarillo, CA

We ask ourselves in the midst of people reshuffling the thinking about morality like a deck of cards: How did it come to this? Why have people taken positions on immorality today that would have been a slam dunk to be against several decades ago? Politicians have even changed their views so immediately on moral issues that it makes your head spin. What is even more amazing is the veracity of which they defend their new position and castigate others who still cling to their old position.

The culture war has been engaged by adherents of this radical departure from biblical values. It has been stoked by factors we have listed earlier. The culture has become more increasingly secular. Although it has never been this way before many are content for it to be that way without any morality imposed upon it but its own.

Those who cling to biblical values are viewed as out of touch with reality. New ways of silencing them have been thought up to keep Christian influence out of government and culture while keeping people of faith mouths shut.

Homophobes, hate speech, bigots, and bullies are just a few choice terms that they use to systematically destroy dissenting voices to their immoral behavior. The civil rights card has been played seeking to enlist ethnic groups to go against the authority of scripture and common sense of not allowing immorality to have an unrestricted check on the minds and behavior of a gullible public and particularly our children. An immoral lifestyle demanding civil rights is the precedent today that seeks approval in every quarter.

The last remaining opposition to their attacks seems to be churches that still hold to the Bible as authoritative and those who will act according to what it says and not what culture tries to change. Not even every conservative Bible believing church is on board to protest this onslaught on biblical morality in our culture. For some believe any involvement in seeking to influence culture in the matter of morality is not what God has called us to do. So they are silent on these issues when they need to be more vocal than they ever have been before.

If people don’t see they are sinners, then they will never see their need to repent of their sin and come to Christ. That is something every Bible-believing church ought to believe in. Actually, some churches and Christians are just plain afraid and have been intimidated by the voices designed to silence the right of free speech. They think it is their battle instead of God’s.

The most basic question we must ask ourselves is one of reason and common sense: When do Bible-believing Christians get what they believe from those who are opposed to what the Bible says? Another way of phrasing this question is: Since when is the right or an assumption of Non-churched, immoral folks to think they have a right to bully us into what they think we are supposed to believe particularly about moral values? It is an arrogant assumption that they could stand against the moral absolutes of scripture and be applauded for it. Even worse they are given a platform to propagate these views.

I was never called by God to preach His word until it became unpopular. We are never to change what we believe now because someone did a poll saying our moral views are in the minority. If we follow the culture in every prevailing opinion we will turn into chameleons that get caught in a strobe light. It is the height of presumption to think that the unchurched and immoral can bully people of faith and biblical moral values to change their view simply because they are viewed as outdated, out of touch, and unpopular—even discriminatory. A whole new issue here is what is discrimination? Does God discriminate when he decides who goes to heaven on the basis of those who have or haven’t trusted His Son’s sacrifice for their sins? But that is a whole other issue.

The simple truth is that Christians are taught to love all people which every Bible-believing Christian should do. The call to love everyone though is a call to truth. The most loving thing one can do for someone else is to tell them the truth even though it may not be popular or even if it offends them. Religious liberty never should be silenced because it offends people. Instead it is the way of testing if we are still a free people allowing free speech while allowing us to practice our faith without restriction.

If another person’s physical life is threatened (such as keeping a baby from having a blood transfusion, Sharia law permitting abuse and punishment of women) not in accordance with common decency it is another issue. We would then be dealing with issues of public safety. There are exceptions to practices that should be prevented. Religious liberty does not impinge on the physical life of others. But words, convictions, and practices of a faith that only acts in accordance with moral values they believe should never be restrained.

We have been told, even by Christian leaders, to not be vocal on these issues. They instruct us to stay silent to attract more people. Silence at such a time when our basic values are under attack, is not golden but “yellow.” If anyone has a guaranteed right to come out of the closet and speak truth to error and sin it is people of faith who believe in the biblical values of scripture.

If you believe what you say and do is bound by government edict you are dead wrong. Don’t let the culture set the ground-rules for what you can believe and say. Let God do that so that people may know the truth and not be swept away by sin. That premise is the foundation of our guaranteed religious liberty in this country. It must never be taken away, but strongly reinforced in this day of testing and decision making about what is right and wrong.