One Reason Why Religious Liberty Is In Jeopardy

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  • R. Scott Clark
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    R.Scott Clark is the President of the Heidelberg Reformation Association, the author and editor of, and contributor to several books and the author of many articles. He has taught church history and historical theology since 1997 at Westminster Seminary California. He has also taught at Wheaton College, Reformed Theological Seminary, and Concordia University. He has hosted the Heidelblog since 2007.

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  1. Not sure of this context, but I have already seen the undermining of a person’s liberty to refuse participation in certain acts deemed immoral or against their faith; they are other Christians (more specifically SOME 2-K people). Some Christians have clearly articulated a position against a pharmacist that refuses to hand out abortion inducing drugs, or the nurse that refuses to participate in an abortion procedure; the solution they provide at times is for the employed Christian to seek other employment and suffer the loss. I am fairly sure that you, are at least others, are aware of this.

    • Alberto,

      The diversity is because asking about the twofold kingdom (Calvin’s language) is a question not an answer. People are going to answer the question (how do we live in a twofold kingdom) differently.

    • Ok, but the way it is explained at times (the different possible ways of answering) comes across as a kind of relativising of morality or what is considered good. Related to this is the notion that because an argument can be made, then it is a viable option even when another argument is superior and undermines the other. It is as if what is true and good in an absolute sense is beyond our grasp.

      I also don’t think it’s a coincidence that those from whom I’ve heard such a position also affirm a 2-K position. I wasn’t too surprised to have one person respond to a question on abortion by saying that he didn’t want unsafe abortions to be done, hence his seemingly siding with a pro-choice kind of position. Don’t misunderstand me, I am sympathetic and tentatively affirm 2-K thinking; I just don’t want to be grouped with certain 2-K people whom I don’t trust with my liberty.

      My main point however is that those same Christians, along with Christian supporters of homosexual marriage, have provided the means to undermine the present concern over homosexual marriage and the refusal to provide a service. If I were a lawyer, I would be mining blogs and other lit. (particularly someone with a Ph.D next to their name or an elder in a church) and use that in a court of law to provide the evidence of why a business/employee should submit to the current trend or seek other employment. In fact, I hope there are such lawyers doing that right now, because I am curious to see reactions and how far some Christians are willing to take their positions of denying someone their liberty in this regard.

    • Don’t misunderstand me, I am sympathetic and tentatively affirm 2-K thinking; I just don’t want to be grouped with certain 2-K people whom I don’t trust with my liberty.

      Neither do I. For some, ‘2 kingdoms” is actually “1 kingdom.” Such people never would’ve rebelled against the tyrannical governments the Reformers rebelled against, nor had the courage to speak against them.

  2. A great comfort to all those Christians who’ve trained as bakers I’m sure. Just retrain and get another job! Become an engineer! It should be understood that when you begin study as a baker or florist, the job description is really “bakers and florists who perform services that violate their consciences.”

    This analogy is absurd as it is heartless. From someone who’s never struggled to find employment or make ends meet, no doubt.

    • This is why we’ve got to re-think the way title II of the 1964 Civil Rights Act has been applied.

      I’m not sure how even Title II requires a florist or a baker to cater a gay wedding.

      42 U.S.C. §2000a (a)All persons shall be entitled to the full and equal enjoyment of the goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, and accommodations of any place of public accommodation, as defined in this section, without discrimination on the ground of race, color, religion, or national origin.

      42 U.S.C. §2000a(b) (b) Each of the following establishments is a place of public accommodation within this title if its operations affect commerce, or if discrimination or segregation by it is supported by State action: (1) any inn, hotel, motel, or other establishment which provides lodging to transient guests, other than an establishment located within a building which contains not more than five rooms for rent or hire and which is actually occupied by the proprietor of such establishment as his residence. (2) any restaurant, cafeteria, lunchroom, lunch counter, soda fountain, or other facility principally engaged in selling food for consumption on the premises, including, but not limited to, any such facility located on the premises of any retail establishment, or any gasoline station;

      (3) any motion picture house, theater, concert hall, sports arena, stadium or other place of exhibition or entertainment; and (4) any establishment (A)(i) which is physically located within the premises of any establishment otherwise covered by this subsection, or (ii) within the premises of which is physically located any such covered establishment and (B) which holds itself out as serving patrons of any such covered establishment.

      42 U.S.C. § 2000a(c) (c) The operations of an establishment affect commerce within the meaning of this title if (1) it is one of the establishments described in paragraph (1) of subsection (b); (2) in the case of an establishment described in paragraph (2) of subsection (b), it serves or offers to serve interstate travelers or a substantial portion of the food which it serves or gasoline or other products which it sells, has moved in commerce; (3) in the case of an establishment described in paragraph (3) of subsection (b), it customarily presents films, performances, athletic teams, exhibitions, or other sources of entertainment which move in commerce, and (4) in the case of an establishment described in paragraph (4) of subsection (b), it is physically located within the premises of, or there is physically located within its premises, an establishment the operations of which affect commerce within the meaning of this subsection. For purposes of this section, “commerce” means travel, trade, traffic, commerce, transportation, or communication among the several States, or between the District of Columbia and any State, or between any foreign country or any territory or possession and any state or the District of Columbia, or between points in the same State but through any other State or the District of Columbia or a foreign country.

      42 U.S.C. § 2000a(e) The provisions of this title shall not apply to a private club or other establishment not in fact open to the public, except to the extent that the facilities of such establishment are made available to the customers or patrons of an establishment within the scope of subsection (b).

      42 U.S.C. § 2000a-6(a) Whenever the Attorney General has reasonable cause to believe that any person or group of persons is engaged in a pattern or practice of resistance to the full enjoyment of any of the rights granted by this title, and that the pattern or practice is of such a nature and is intended to deny the full exercise of the rights herein described, the Attorney General may bring a civil action in the appropriate district court of the United States by filing with it a complaint (1) signed by him (or in his absence the Acting Attorney General), (2) setting forth facts pertaining to such pattern or practice, and (3) requesting such preventive relief, including an application for a permanent or temporary injunction, restraining order or other order against the person or persons responsible for such pattern or practice, as he deems necessary to insure the full enjoyment of the rights herein described.

      42 U.S.C. § 2000a-6(b) * * * It shall be the duty of the judge designated pursuant to this section to assign the case for hearing at the earliest practicable date and to cause the case to be in every way expedited.

  3. I become more libertarian each passing day. No double standards just freedom and the freedom to share Christ.

  4. What is concerning to me is that it seems more and more businesses are coming out aggressively in favor of the gay agenda, and putting pressure on their employees to wholeheartedly sign-on to their “diversity” agenda without question or else risk termination of employment. Not only are traditionally-orthodox Christians who are pharmacists, florists, bakers, and nurses being put in positions where they face increasing pressure to violate their consciences, but I suspect Christians in many other trades and professions will soon be feeling the pressure to bow to the secular orthodoxy or find their employment (and thus their ability to provide for their families and support their churches) at risk.

    It seems clear to me that many aggressive secularists today will not be content until orthodox Christians are reduced to a secularist-imposed dhimmitude, resulting in many nominal Christians caving in to the demands of the totalitarian left in order to avoid hardship and persecution, and also resulting in a faithful remnant who are denounced, demonized, marginalized, and reduced to poverty and permanent unemployment. We may very well see challenging days ahead. But perhaps our risen and reigning Lord is using these trends and events to purify His church, and to separate the wheat from the chaff?

  5. Didn’t see where to reply to Dr. Clark’s question above – certainly there are good libertarians at publications like The Federalist who are stalwarts in defense of religious liberty. But the libertarian vanguard – see publications like Reason – have been uncomfortably silent.

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