October 16, 2013

Consistency in Our Liberties

By In C.Jay Engel

Denny Burke cites USA Today to inform us that,

Southern Baptists are suing the federal government over Obamacare’s contraception mandate. Guidestone Financial Resources is a division of the SBC that provides health benefits to Southern Baptist churches. When the law goes into effect on January 1, it would require Southern Baptists to foot the bill for insurance that covers contraceptives and abortion-inducing drugs.

And then he concludes with:

I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again. Obamacare’s contraceptive mandate is an egregious violation of religious liberty.

Good for the SBC.  And good for Burke for drawing our attention to this matter.  It is very true that Obamacare’s mandates violate religious liberty.  The so-called “Christian Right” are ususally spot on in these matters.  I do hope though that we should begin to see some more consistency from many of these Christian political commentators.  For example, when my tax money is used in Iraq and Afghanistan against my own Christian conscience, is this or is this not a violation of my “religious liberty?”


More generally speaking, I hope that the Conservative base begins to realize the importance of individual liberty, even beyond the specific category of “religious.”  Bush’s economic fascism and expansionary welfarism was a disaster and a grievance against almost every type of liberty.  To the Christian Right: “let’s be consistent!”

Written by C.Jay Engel

Editor and creator of The Reformed Libertarian. Living in Northern California with his wife, he writes on everything from politics to theology and from culture to economic theory. You can send an email to reformedlibertarian@gmail.com
  • RA Jameson

    My frustration with Burke, which I have expressed to him on his blog, is his (and the SBC’s) gross hypocrisy.

    How can the same group fight FOR religious liberty in one debate (Obamacare) then be AGAINST religious liberty in another (gay marriage)?

    • cjayengel

      Well, since marriage is defined as one man and one woman, gay marriage does not exist. And it’s not really a religious liberty. What IS a religious liberty issue is the fact that the State should not demand to be party to the institution of marriage.

      • RA Jameson

        Just curious, where is marriage defined as one man and one woman? And the freedom to associate with whom you like, and to label that association, is in fact a religious liberty.

  • RA Jameson

    Ummm, all over the place? Was Jacob’s marriage to Rachel less legal or meaningful than his marriage to Leah? Was David’s marriage to Bathsheeba and Abigail and on and on and on less meaningful and legal than his marriage to Michal? Are we really using the Bible as the authoritative definition of what constitutes marriage? Clearly David and Jacob, and a whole host of others, are the not example that should be set regarding marriage…but the point is the Scripture is rather silent in defining the relationship.

    Obviously same-sex marriage is not a marriage recognized by our God, but it is recognized by their god. And in that it sense, it is a religious expression and one that Christians need not worry themselves with. I am far more interested in seeing homosexuals converted by the grace of our Christ than I am in fighting over whether or not their shared bed AND shared bank account AND shared values somehow discredits their ability to label that sharing as “marriage”.

    Yes, marriage by Christians (there really is no such thing as ‘Christian marriage’) does in fact model (in theory, more so than in practice) Christ and His bride. But that is the problem. Homosexuals (unregenerate, unrepentant) are in fact not part of the bride/body of Christ and thus have MUCH MUCH MUCH larger issues than what they call their intimate companions. Our focus should be on helping them realize the gravity of their situation and NOT on their silly labels. When we engage at that level, we become symptom solvers rather than problem solvers.

    • cjayengel

      There is a very clear disagreement here between us once again RA. I assume that I won’t be able to convince you, but here is my posisition on this simply so that you are aware. The implications of the institution of the man and woman’s relationship at creation indicate a one man/ one woman relationship. The bride of Christ is referred to as singular as well. The fact that God in the Old Testament allowed some polygamous relationships does not mean that it meets God’s standard anymore than his allowance of Israelis in slavery.

      Is same sex marriage recognized by their god? Perhaps, but the Christian God created marriage so it is up to him to define it. Much in the same way that Machen refused to let the liberals define “Christianity.” The apostles get to define Christianity, since they were the first followers of Christ.

      “I am far more interested in seeing homosexuals converted by the grace of our Christ than I am in fighting over whether or not their shared bed AND shared bank account AND shared values somehow discredits their ability to label that sharing as “marriage”.” —-Me too. But this doesn’t mean I have to give up my definition.

      “Are we really using the Bible as the authoritative definition of what constitutes marriage?” —Yes. It provides the authoritative definition on all things created by God.

      Besides, just because I mentioned to you my definition of marriage, does not mean that I walk around telling the homosexuals that their “marriage” is not marriage. I do tell them that homosexuality is sinful though.

      Do I care what they call their relationships? Sure, but I put up with it. They can call it whatever they want. But that doesn’t mean I must accept their definition.

      • RA Jameson

        A dear friend went on a missions trip to Africa. He, after many trips to a local tribe, was able to lead the tribal chief into a real relationship with the living God. The tribal chief prayed for mercy from his sins and placed his trust in Christ. By the way, the chief had 6 wives. What is your advice?

        American Christianity, a brand that is so very concerned with moralism (not you my friend, I speak ‘with a broom’) often times makes enemies with those whose behavior repulses them rather than offer healing balm to help them. I look at our Christ, and over and over and over he refuses to make the immoral His enemies, but rather the moralizing religious establishment topped his list of enemies.

        Here is a quote, ‘The sinner whom Christ denounces, is he who has done nothing; the priest and the Levite who passed by on the other side; the rich man who allowed the beggar to lie unhelped at his gate; the servant who hid in a napkin the talent entrusted to him; the unprofitable hireling who did only what it was his duty to do.’ Christ’s villains are the men who sin against the Person and the Precepts of the Most High; he scarcely notices the men who violate the Prohibitions.

        I offer that His church has completed inverted our Lord’s model. Again, I want to be abundantly clear that I this is not directed towards you C.Jay. The Law of God is a clear standard and violation of that standard is a horror that is beyond description. Homosexuality was rampant in Rome, and Paul called it as such, but nowhere did we get from him the vitriol that the conservative American church preaches.

        Homosexuality is a symptom. A symptom of a fatal disease. And too often I see the Church calling attention to the symptom with no real intention to actual get dirty and apply the needed healing ointment. Burke repeatedly behaves this way. Which is who this and my previous criticism is directed. He is inconsistent in whom he offers religious liberty to. The liberty to associate is a religious liberty. One that Burke is fine withholding from a certain segment of sinners.

        What if Burke and the others were able to completely eliminate ‘same-sex unions’? Then what? Sinners are still committing abominable things. Oh, but our lives would be easier, less messy.

        Back to the tribal chief. I think we preach Christ and allow the Holy Spirit to work in his heart on what to do with the 6 wives. American pulpits preach moralism, not the Cross of Christ.