When the founding fathers looked at the laws of the Bible and recognized that it created a safe society for growth and exploration. It supported the family, who are literally the building blocks of society. It taught men to respect the rule of law. To lead a people who governed themselves. They saw something great, a people who didn’t need coercion, but a people who took pride in their land and their God. They realized they didn’t need huge government because they had the huge impetus of a Holy God.
They didn’t need more control, because they had a higher authority that taught men to be self-governed. But there comes a point when freedom begins to eat itself. People discovered they not only wanted their cake but also demanded eating it too. When we reach the point of demanding our own license over the good of the country, we realize that those assumed lines of demarcation – the Bible – now need to be thrown off. God needs to be gotten rid of so we can truly pursue freedom because of feelings of the individual.
It is no longer what you can do for your country, but the other way around.
When we moralize this way we continue to strip off morality entirely. We keep what sounds good without recognizing that we hold to is a residual morality from a foreign authority. The difference being when you throw off God’s authority you have only the authority of the state. When people will not rule themselves, they invite, almost demand, the government come rule them with force. Eventually when the whims and desires of the people begin to infringe on the government, then they will come and take even that away.
In the past, people were free to disagree with basic opinions, but now that is being challenged. Thankfully, the Supreme Court has upheld an essential tenet of not only Christianity but of America herself: The freedom to exercise religion. The Masterpiece Cake fiasco is over and the court ruled that the government can’t force a business to operate his dealing against his religious convictions. Or…well, they seemed to make the caveat that in this situation the man should be protected because the Colorado commission was too harsh. This is great for him but sad that they were even discussing whether to allow the constitution to function as written. Which it turns out they weren’t. I am not so relieved, as this wasn’t judged on the merits of freedom but on how he was specifically treated. It is not so much a victory but a delay tactic. I see the obvious next target as churches themselves, rest assured this will come around again.
Being free of God is not being free of tyranny, but the very opening of the door to it.
If we want to have a moral based society where people actively govern themselves then let’s have a serious discussion about it. Why, where they come from, how to do it, what it might look like? But if not, then let’s get rid of the moral speak and adopt a purely utilitarian model and see where that leads.
In God, we trust, because he allows us the freedom to choose? When we get rid of him we have nothing but our own ways of thinking, and that is going to rub someone the wrong way. Then we have to decide, whose way of thinking is best and whose way of thinking will be silenced. Sounds good huh? Oh, except that others have to live here also. A forced utopia–whose freedom will ring in that instance?
Some may say “Well that is what we had with God’s morals!” I would say no it was not. Here is why – People were free to obey God’s laws or not. Religion encouraged people to follow the law of the land, because of a greater responsibility than our feelings. But with God pushed away from society, we now have to spell out every form of permission and tolerance so that someone doesn’t get upset. Unless it is the Christian of course or those with opposing moral fortitude. Without a higher law, the government will decide religious practices and religious convictions.
But America is great because the law limits the government from infringing on the populace, not the other way around. It used to be encouraging towards God’s good standards, with only needing the government to step in during the criminal. Now we keep seeing the government stepping in to redefine and enforce on everyone for a growing number of issues. Funny, this is what God warned the Israelites about when they wanted a King and essentially rejected God.
10 So Samuel spoke all the words of the Lord to the people who had asked of him a king. 11 He said, “This will be the procedure of the king who will reign over you: he will take your sons and place them for himself in his chariots and among his horsemen and they will run before his chariots. 12 He will appoint for himself commanders of thousands and of fifties, and some to do his plowing and to reap his harvest and to make his weapons of war and equipment for his chariots. 13 He will also take your daughters for perfumers and cooks and bakers. 14 He will take the best of your fields and your vineyards and your olive groves and give them to his servants. 15 He will take a tenth of your seed and of your vineyards and give to his officers and to his servants. 16 He will also take your male servants and your female servants and your best young men and your donkeys and use them for his work. 17 He will take a tenth of your flocks, and you yourselves will become his servants. 18 Then you will cry out in that day because of your king whom you have chosen for yourselves, but the Lord will not answer you in that day.”
Now I realize this is about setting up the government, but the point still stands that freedoms are taken away when we rely on men to rule over us. We lose what was natural before God. We essentially take on a new master. This is the point for the Christian–goodness is found in the character of God. God has not been found wanting in his character. Some may want to question his nature because they want to extinguish his authority. But are subjects subject because they approve of all the decisions? Subjects are subjects because there is a King in the land.
If there is a King in the land, then his laws supersede the laws of men. This is tragically where Christians are pushed when the government forgets its place. When those over us forget they were to foster a free society and instead try to rule. This will push God-fearers away. Now, this sounds scary until you realize that God’s laws say “I will not do this.” It is a self-governing morality. Christianity does not encourage fanaticism, it curbs it. Christianity does not encourage rebellion, it typically discourages it, unless men overstep themselves. Christianity is accountability. It is not about taking control from others. It is not “You must do this” This is not Islam, it is not coercion.
But when the laws of men compel sin, a Christian says “No”. Now, I don’t even think that baking a gay cake is necessarily a sin, but I certainly want all individuals to live by their God-given consciousness. That is what Romans 14 is about. If men forget their rights end with other people, at their time and possessions, then we will have conflict. That was the point: government coercion. When people courageously stand against oppression, is when the government learns that they do not possess control, but are merely granted it by its citizens. The constitution was to grant guarantees to the people, not the other way around. At least that is the way our government is supposed to work. Some have rightly said that religion is the conscious of a society. When a society throws it off, the conscience does not go away, it is simply viewed as a bigger nuisance. It is not the conscience that has changed, but the people.
For now, we have a victory, but the victory is always the Lord’s. The supreme court may have ruled in the direction of the constitution, but there may be a time when they do not. So we must speak the truth, whether it is popular or not. We speak the Gospel, whether it is welcome or not, and we stand for God whether we are allowed to or not.