The following is an excerpt from an excellent article written by Dave Miller at SBC VOICES, which can be read in its entirety by CLICKING HERE.
There has been a constant wave of news recently that has led some to opine that America is seeing a “war on religion” – that the current administration and liberal politicians and educators are seeking to limit the influence and power of religion in American culture. More to the point, the assumption made is not that “religion” is the problem, but conservative, evangelical religion.
Is there any evidence to support this charge? Well, several recent events have been marshaled in support of this theory.
1) The New York Schools exclude churches
In June of 2011, a federal appeals court ruled that NY schools could exclude churches from using their buildings for worship services. Of course, in NY, with the cost of building space, this has been a common practice. The appeals court ruled that the ban did not exclude religion expression but a type of activity – worship services. The US Supreme Court refused to hear the case, essentially upholding the ban. I am no lawyer, but this appears to be a departure from court cases that have consistently upheld equal access to public buildings by churches and religious organizations.
2) The Vanderbilt Exclusion
Recently, the Vanderbilt University administration removed protection of religious groups from their student handbook. In America, there has always been an assumed right for religious groups to exclude those who do not practice their faith from the organization. Vanderbilt has adopted an oppressive politically correct ethic here.
Any Christian group that holds to its convictions will run afoul of these guidelines. In a moment worthy of George Orwell, Vanderbilt calls their policy a “non-discrimination” policy. But there are four Christian groups that are the only ones who have been held to account under this policy.
It would seem that Vanderbilt is denying freedom of religion to groups that are convictional in nature.
SBC Today has run a series of articles on the Vanderbilt situation this week and is reporting tonight that the Vanderbilt Baptist Campus Ministry is now being pressured to accept non-Christians into its leadership.
Does that seem bizarre to anyone else? A Christian group is being told to let non-Christians be leaders in the Christian group.
So, what is the answer?
1) Do the work of the church. Proclaim the gospel whether the government supports us or persecutes us. We are unique in America in that we expect our culture and government to support our work. Most in history and in the world today do not have that expectation. We need to do the work of the church (essentially, the Great Commission) regardless of whether we are blessed or persecuted for doing it.
2) Voice your concerns. If there has every been a time for Christians to speak their minds, it is now. We must not let politics derail us from our chief gospel task, but neither should we sit back in silence and do nothing while basic liberties, which we believe are given to us by God, are taken away from us. Write your congressman. Speak to friends. Help people see that religious liberty is under attack.
3) Vote for people who support religious liberty. There is a difference between saying one is for freedom of religion and actually being for it.
This is new ground for me. I’ve always been more on the “the church is not about politics” side of things. I still think the gospel is our primary work. And I have always been suspicious of alarmists who have been predicting that the sky is falling during every election in the last 20 years.
But, listen to Chicken Little, my friends. The sky is falling. Religious liberty is at stake in America and if you don’t stand now, your children and grandchildren may not have that opportunity.