Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Religious Freedom

I have seen a lot of Christian folks talking about defending our freedom of religion lately.  And while there are certain things I totally agree with, I don't know if that is the point.  For example, requiring religious organizations to pay for healthcare coverage that includes abortifacient contraception and abortion is odious.  And on the surface, it makes perfect sense to fight this with every means available.

But I wonder if, as people of faith, we have put too much stock into the idea that we have a right to expect religious freedom in this world?  Is there ANY scripture describing Jesus or the disciples defending their rights?  And aren't those rights basically man-made laws to begin with?  Jesus himself did not promise us rights.  In fact, he promised abuse, torture, and death in his name.  He promised that we would take up our cross daily if we wanted to follow him.  Our reward is a different kind of reward.  Our life is one that comes, not from the government or elected officials, but from Christ himself.

So, what am I suggesting here?  That we just meekly comply with the outrageous laws that are being passed?

Nope.  Not at all.  I am suggesting that we refuse to comply... and risk jail, fines, and everything else that attends it.

What if, for example, Georgetown simply refused to comply with the law?  What if all the Catholic hospitals, Christian ministries, and other like-minded organizations simply refused to comply?  What would the government do if some of the greatest institutions of learning and medicine in our country simply refused to comply with a law that is obscene?

In Toronto there is a grandmother who has spent YEARS in jail because she has refused to comply with the laws requiring a designated perimeter around abortion clinics.  Linda Gibbons wants to pray on the sidewalk outside the clinic and is regularly carted off to jail because she refuses to stop.  She'll serve her time, get let out and the next day is right back at the clinic, on the sidewalk (which is, incidentally, public property) and gets hauled back to court and thrown back in jail.  She is NOT in court fighting the rules to try and make is safer for her to pray.  She just prays.

I am still really grappling with all this and invite comments on the issue, especially from Christians who may disagree with me.

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