Monday, February 19, 2018

How Religious Liberty Really Dies

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Last week I wrote about the all-out attack on the personal faith of Vice President Mike Pence by the women on ABC's "The View " ---mocking him because "he talks to Jesus, and believes Jesus speaks to him."

The co-hosts affirmed among themselves that surely Mike Pence is suffering from mental illness.

However, there is an even greater, more sinister attack on religious freedom---in particular---the biblical orthodox Christian faith.

When Jocelyn, a school teacher in a Catholic school, "married" her girlfriend last week, she got fired.

Every biblical Christian should be aware and informed as to how the public, many parents, and the media reacted toward the Catholic school.

This is how religious freedom really dies.

The Miami Herald reported on February 9, then updated the story on Feb. 13, that "parents at a Miami Catholic School are demanding answers after a beloved teacher was fired just days after marrying her partner."

"First grade teacher, Jocelyn Morffi, lost her job at Sts. Peter and Paul Catholic School on Thursday," the Herald says, "the day after she returned from her wedding in the Florida Keys."

Morffi said, "This weekend I married the love of my life and unfortunately I was terminated from my job as a result."

And she said, "In their eyes, I'm not the right kind of Catholic for my choice in partner."

This could have been said by a Protestant who broke his or her agreement with a Protestant Christian institution as well. The result could have been the same.

Churches and other Christian institutions that embrace long-held biblical orthodoxy in their beliefs are increasingly coming under the attack of public opinion.

Public opinion is becoming a kind of a "lynching mob of biblical Christianity."

Whether it's the Vice President of the United States, a Catholic school in Florida, or a church or other institution in your community, politically correct vigilantes roam the culture with what they believe is the moral authority to lynch those with whom they disagree.

Here's how it works.

The Miami Herald immediately began interviewing parents, reporting, "Parents learned of the firing in a letter they received from the school on Thursday evening"...and, quoting parents: "We were extremely livid," "they treated her like a criminal," "they didn't even let her get her things out of her classroom," we don't care about her sexual preferences," "this woman by far was one of the best teachers out there," etc., etc.

It apparently doesn't matter to many parents and the general public that Morffi had signed an agreement with the religious school agreeing to a moral turpitude clause in her teaching contract. A clause that would have resulted in her firing had she committed adultery or been living with her boyfriend out of wedlock, or any number of biblically immoral decisions.

The media then picked up the stories and the lynching began.

TIME: "Catholic School Fired Gay Teacher Because She Got Married."

NEWSWEEK: "Gay Teacher Fired After Posting Wedding Photos On Facebook."

NBC: "Openly Gay Teacher Fired After Posting Wedding Pictures On Social Media"

All of these stories are written in a way to undermine the Catholic institution while disregarding the fact that the teacher has publicly broken her contractual agreement with the institution.

While Christians and Christian organizations are deeply engaged---as we should be---in protecting our religious freedom from government intrusion, public opinion, the point of the spear of religious discrimination, is being driven through the heart of religious liberty. Particularly as it relates to biblical Christianity.

David French, writing for the National Review says, "Suddenly, the school can face a threat to its very identity without a single government official lifting a finger. Most religious schools operate on small margins, so the loss of even a few families can plunge them into financial crises. Capitulate to the angry parents and the traditionalist families may leave. Stand firm in the face of media pressure and the progressive families may start to bail. It takes moral courage and deft diplomacy to emerge intact."

And it doesn't work.

You cannot serve two masters.

French notes that "The Christian community and Christian service that people love are ultimately inseparable from the entirety of the Christianity faith that spawned them. Carve out the doctrines that conflict with modern morals and you gut the faith. When you gut the faith, you ultimately gut the church."

He's right, and this is why the mainline denominations are dying. Without the eternal truths of the Christian faith, the church becomes another social club.

Why would people give their time and money for one more social club and another, at best, little motivational speech that you can get from professionals who are much better than most local pastors.

Here's the interesting dynamic of the church in 2018.

Some of the casual Christians who have fled the dead mainline churches for a more meaningful "church" experience in the more biblical ones are joining in without changing their beliefs, because they are not being challenged with biblical gospel messages.

They don't become theologically orthodox---or biblical---in moral and social beliefs, but like the environment of churches that still hold to those beliefs.

Once in the comfort of their new pews, or folding chairs, or whatever, and once comfortable and acquainted, they begin to assert the same pressure for cultural conformity that helped kill the church they left.

The same thing is happening politically. Liberal progressives grow tired of the oppressive laws and policies, high crime, loss of jobs and the rest of the decline that results from far left leadership in typically "Blue" or Democrat states, and they move to so-called "red states" that are generally much more livable because of the conservative policies and leadership. Once there, they begin to elect and advocate for far left progressives beginning the evolution toward the very thing they fled.

East King County in the Seattle area is an outstanding example of a region that is evolving toward the left. Away from the conservative policies and leadership that made it desirable in the first place.

In the political sense, it's a matter of livability.

In the spiritual sense, it's a matter of eternal consequence.

Legal victories preserving our religious freedoms only go so far---and ultimately can become meaningless if the social pressure is such that it pressures the Church to a dreary, depressed intellectual, then spiritual, conformity to the world.

When the Church fails to cave to the pressures of the "world," it becomes stronger in faith. When it compromises, conformity wins and it becomes weakened.

French says when this happens, "religious freedom is further circumscribed, and we learn once again that politics is far downstream from culture."

We also learn what Hillary Clinton was talking about when she told the Women in the World conference in 2015: "All the laws we've passed don't count for much if they're not enforced. Rights have to exist in practice not just paper. Laws have to be backed up with resources and political will. And deep-seated cultural codes, religious beliefs and structural biases have to be changed."

Be Faithful. Be Informed. Be Vigilant. Be Bold. Be Prayerful.