Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Another Caution on Global "Religion"

Former UK prime minister Tony Blair
Yesterday, I posted on the rather outrageous push by the mayor of Houston to intimidate Christian pastors by subpoena. Today, I am going to take up a call made recently by former UK prime minister Tony Blair for "religious respect." You can read the BBC story here.

As usual, the devil is in the details. If we're talking about mutual "tolerance" and "respect" in the genuine sense of the word, great. However, if said "respect" really means censoring what faiths teach, then it's not so great.

The two separate stories are really related if you think about it. Houston's mayor wants to intimidate and censor pastors from preaching against homosexuality—something clearly condemned as sin by the Bible, which is the source of authority for the Christian faith. This is a clear violation of religious freedom and the U.S. Constitution. But the pressure for churches to shut up about homosexual sin is under the guise of "tolerance." It really means anything can be tolerated except biblical Christianity.

So when global or national politicians talk about tolerance and respect, let's question them very closely on what they really mean by those words. Religions by their very nature disagree about truth and ultimate meaning. And that's fine. People need to be able to discuss their differences, and the very essence of religions discussing their values is to persuade others. To be sure, there are some faiths that aren't really out in front sharing their beliefs in an evangelistic sense, but the ability to do so is at the heart of freedom of religion AND freedom of speech. Also included in those freedoms is the right not to believe, nor to be compelled to believe. If the government—national, state, local, or global bodies such as the UN—desire to compel religious believers into silence, then there is a problem. An enormous one. Especially in a Constitutional republic such as the United States, where freedom is written into our DNA.

We have unalienable rights granted to us by God. Let's not allow them to be stolen away from us in the name of "tolerance" and "respect."

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