Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Secular Progressive Andrew Sullivan Denounces "Contempt For Religious Freedom"

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In an interesting turn of events, well known secular progressive and writer Andrew Sullivan is calling on his secular progressive colleagues to back off a bit on their crusade against religious freedom.

Sullivan has been an ardent supporter of President Obama and his policies.

Has he changed his beliefs?

In his recent column he denounced what he calls "general illiberal contempt" for religious freedom in the country.

In fact he says what bothers him is what he believes to be a form of bigotry itself in the "causal dismissal of sincerely held religious beliefs" that relate "to contraception, abortion and civil gay equality."

He is asking his peers to restrain themselves in their assault on religious freedoms and "The liberal left's contempt for people of faith."

Interesting words from a far left leader, affirming what many in the faith community believe to be true---contempt, not tolerance toward biblical beliefs and an all out war to undermine religious freedom in America.

Many of us see this assault on religious freedom as the most important social issue faced by Christianity in America. To suppress biblical morality in the marketplace is to suppress the Christian faith itself.

Why is Andrew Sullivan advocating for a little more tolerance toward people with whom he disagrees and has nothing in common?

And in a related matter, I'm happy to report that the National Religious Broadcasters (NRB) is calling on pastors and religious broadcasters to get over their timidity and speak biblical truth to the issues of our day.

Sullivan's article, "Liberalism vs Religious Freedom" has created some push back within his own progressive community---his peers, because he publicly disagrees with most of them on this subject.

In doing so he is also giving credence to those of us who say there is in fact a war against religious freedom, although he certainly does not agree with our beliefs.

I am not going to summarize his complete column because you can read it in its entirety through the link above. However, he addresses 2 very important issues: The issue of how Obamacare is undermining the religious freedom of the Catholic "Little Sisters of the Poor" organization by mandating they violate their conscience in the matter of abortion and abortion pills.

He concludes that even Obama's "solution" to the issue forces the sisters to violate their conscience and their pro-life belief.

He also says, "There is a deep theological narrative and argument behind Christianity's and Judaism's and Islam's anathematization of homosexuality that cannot be reduced to bigotry."

Why is he taking this position?

One reason he admits is that "it is vital that the gay rights movement is not co-opted once again by the illiberal left's contempt for people of faith."

Fear of cultural backlash.

And speaking of backlash. It's happening.

While the general public is awakening to the fact that their culture is being "remade" into an image they do not know or want, Christian leaders and some leaders in Judaism are committing to become more pro-active in advancing biblical morality and in the case of evangelical Christians, the message of the gospel---without compromise.

Life Way Research has found that most Americans believe their religious freedom is on the decline. They found that 70% of protestant senior pastors believe it is and 54% of all Americans see religious freedom being attacked and on the decline.

There is no doubt religious liberty is under attack.

Even the definition of religious liberty is under attack by the Obama administration as they have dropped the term "religious freedom" in favor of "freedom of worship" suggesting to many of us they may tolerate our biblical views as long as they are kept inside the church building and spoken of at services, but they are not welcome in the public marketplace or in the culture.

Dr Jerry Johnson was recently elected, unanimously, as the new President and CEO of the National Religious Broadcasters.

This past Saturday he told Christian broadcasters and pastors from across the nation our religious freedoms are under attack.

He said, "We need to get back to Christianity as a faith rooted in history, in fact, in reality," adding that "many today do not know the full story behind Jesus Christ and that He died for people's sins."

He said free speech is also under attack by our government.

He identified 3 central tenets of the Christian faith that are specifically under attack:

  1. Jesus is the only way to God.
  2. Marriage is solely between a man and a woman.
  3. All life is sacred at any stage.

I was an active member in the NRB for more than 20 years. I have never been more encouraged than by this current stance.

Johnson's words to the broadcasters and those pastors in attendance were words for all of us.

He said there is a great temptation to be quiet, and not to talk about the important issues in our church community, but warned "that such a strategy will not work for long."

He said, "I urge you to preach and teach the whole council of God. The temptation to be quiet is there, to be cool and to be hip---and we want to be loving, and we want to be relevant, and we don't want to be obnoxious---but if you take the quiet approach, they will pull your head out of from the sand one day and tell you to comply."

Dr. Albert Mohler, Jr., President of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, also spoke to the several thousand in attendance.

He echoed many of the same sentiments expressed by Johnson. He said, "Most of us recognize that we are living in one of the turning times in human history. We're in one of those moments where everything that came before can offer little guidance to what is going to come next."

He made, what I believe, is one of the most important points that we must understand and act upon in this present culture of darkness.

He said, "Vast millions of Americans feel no need to reject Christianity---they have no contact with it whatsoever. It's so distant from them: they even lack the seeming responsibility to accept it or reject it."

Mohler told the broadcasters and the pastors in attendance, "I don't believe that we could possibly be where we are right now if Christian ministries had stood without question on the inerrant and infallible Word of God."

He said, "Many church leaders choose to keep quiet on important issues rather than risk being offensive."

I believe we are now standing at an historic threshold. Much hangs in the balance.

I do not believe, as some do, that we have "lost" the culture war, but the battle rages and the call to action is sounding.

In Daniel 11:32 the anti-Christ is defined as someone who seduces with flattery, while the true people of God are defined as those who stand firm and take action or "do great exploits."

Be Vigilant. Be Informed. Be Discerning. Be Prayerful. Be Pro-Active. Be Blessed.