The hedge of separation

John Garvey, the president of Catholic University, has written an op-ed piece in which he explains why his institution is joining scores of other Catholic groups in filing a lawsuit against the contraceptive & abortifacient mandate in Obamacare.  In the course of his essay (in which he mentions also the Hossana-Tabor case involving the LCMS school), Garvey discusses the “wall of separation of church and state,” finding the metaphor’s origins not in Thomas Jefferson (who wanted to protect the state from the church) but, earlier, in Roger Williams (who wanted to protect the church from the state):

When the Supreme Court first considered the issue of aid to parochial schools in the 1947 case Everson v. Board of Education , it invoked separation as a limiting principle. The court quoted Thomas Jefferson’s 1802 letter to the Baptists of Danbury, Conn.: “I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should ‘make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,’ thus building a wall of separation between church and state.”

Jefferson was a child of the Enlightenment, suspicious of organized religion. He believed that efforts to establish an official religion led to persecution and civil war.

The metaphor was not original to Jefferson, though. Roger Williams, who founded the colony of Rhode Island on principles of religious tolerance, used it in 1644. History has shown, he observed, that when churches “have opened a gap in the hedge or wall of separation between the garden of the church and the wilderness of the world, God hath ever broke down the wall . . . and made his garden a wilderness.”

Williams had different reasons than Jefferson for preaching separation. Jefferson thought that religion was bad for government. Williams thought that mixing church and state was bad for the church.

These two perspectives often give us the same results. They both warn against tax support for churches and against prayers composed by public school boards. But Williams’s theological metaphor may have been more influential than Jefferson’s political one in the adoption of the First Amendment.

via For the government, what counts as Catholic? – The Washington Post.

Not just a “wall” of separation but a “hedge” of separation.  The church is a garden.  The world is a wilderness.  Making a hole in the hedge is punished by God who turns the garden into a wilderness.  Powerful metaphors.  Apply them to current issues.

And yet, is Rogers’ formulation adequate?  He was a Baptist, so we see here elements of the doctrine of separation from the world.  Is the secular arena more than just a wilderness?

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • Quahog

    Williams was reacting to the theocratic rule of John Winthrop in the Massachusetts Bay colony, rather than government that is overtly hostile to Christian beliefs, as ours now apparently is.

    The principle remains the same, however. Both church and state benefit from a wall of separation. The reason is that the state wants to take God’s place as ultimate arbiter of right and wrong.

  • Quahog

    Williams was reacting to the theocratic rule of John Winthrop in the Massachusetts Bay colony, rather than government that is overtly hostile to Christian beliefs, as ours now apparently is.

    The principle remains the same, however. Both church and state benefit from a wall of separation. The reason is that the state wants to take God’s place as ultimate arbiter of right and wrong.

  • http://enterthevein.wordpress.com J. Dean

    Separation as defined how?

    If you mean that the church does not have the right to wield the sword or that the state does not have the right to compose the liturgy, then yes, there ought to be that separation.

    But inasmuch as it is possible, the church needs to be the conscience of the state.

  • http://enterthevein.wordpress.com J. Dean

    Separation as defined how?

    If you mean that the church does not have the right to wield the sword or that the state does not have the right to compose the liturgy, then yes, there ought to be that separation.

    But inasmuch as it is possible, the church needs to be the conscience of the state.

  • Gary

    “But inasmuch as it is possible, the church needs to be the conscience of the state.”

    Yeah, well, I’m not sure as an American voter or as a Christian, I actually want that.

  • Gary

    “But inasmuch as it is possible, the church needs to be the conscience of the state.”

    Yeah, well, I’m not sure as an American voter or as a Christian, I actually want that.

  • Norman Teigen

    Roger Williams is an overlooked but very important person in the development of American thought. He thought the state doesn’t have any business telling the church what to do because they have different spheres of influence. The church shouldn’t ask the state to do its work because this pollutes the church and its message.

    This is the dilemma which the LC-MS and other conservative synods are experiencing. By getting into the political arena the church diminishes its message. The church secularizes itself and this is against the specific command of Scripture.

    Of course, the whole dilemma for the bishops is based on a bogus hypothesis that the administration wants to force abortion on to churches and that religious freedom has been violated. These two misunderstandings have led many people astray.

    Norman Teigen, Layman
    Evangelical Lutheran Synod

  • Norman Teigen

    Roger Williams is an overlooked but very important person in the development of American thought. He thought the state doesn’t have any business telling the church what to do because they have different spheres of influence. The church shouldn’t ask the state to do its work because this pollutes the church and its message.

    This is the dilemma which the LC-MS and other conservative synods are experiencing. By getting into the political arena the church diminishes its message. The church secularizes itself and this is against the specific command of Scripture.

    Of course, the whole dilemma for the bishops is based on a bogus hypothesis that the administration wants to force abortion on to churches and that religious freedom has been violated. These two misunderstandings have led many people astray.

    Norman Teigen, Layman
    Evangelical Lutheran Synod

  • Bob

    ‘the state wants to take God’s place as ultimate arbiter of right and wrong.’

    And vice versa — substitute “the organized church” for “God’s place.”
    It likes to act as if it is God.

  • Bob

    ‘the state wants to take God’s place as ultimate arbiter of right and wrong.’

    And vice versa — substitute “the organized church” for “God’s place.”
    It likes to act as if it is God.

  • Booklover

    This HHS mandate is the greatest infringement on religious liberty in recollection. This mandate from Obama’s Department of Health and Human Services forces even religious employers to provide free contraceptives, sterilization, and abortion-inducing drugs through their health plans, with complete disregard for religious liberty and freedom of conscience.

    Here is an excellent video:

    http://video.lcms.org/archives/994

    In addition, there are “Stand Up for Religious Freedom” rallies, taking place in over 120 cities and towns across the United States on Friday, June 8, at Noon. These rallies protest this assault on religious liberty.

    I am eager to be there.

  • Booklover

    This HHS mandate is the greatest infringement on religious liberty in recollection. This mandate from Obama’s Department of Health and Human Services forces even religious employers to provide free contraceptives, sterilization, and abortion-inducing drugs through their health plans, with complete disregard for religious liberty and freedom of conscience.

    Here is an excellent video:

    http://video.lcms.org/archives/994

    In addition, there are “Stand Up for Religious Freedom” rallies, taking place in over 120 cities and towns across the United States on Friday, June 8, at Noon. These rallies protest this assault on religious liberty.

    I am eager to be there.

  • Susan

    These are very disturbing times and the separation or hedge between church and state is crumbling if not being torn down. It looks as though there is a deliberate effort to separate our churches into liberal and conservative political lines.

    http://campaign2012.washingtonexaminer.com/blogs/beltway-confidential/holder-brief-black-pastors-campaign-2012/567501

    Excerpt:

    “Attorney General Eric Holder, the IRS, and the liberal lawyers at the ACLU will brief several hundred pastors in the African American community on how to participate in the presidential election — which the Congressional Black Caucus chair expects will help President Obama’s campaign.”

    How can this be legal? Misspent taxpayer monies? If Romney did this with Mormons can you imagine the howls?

  • Susan

    These are very disturbing times and the separation or hedge between church and state is crumbling if not being torn down. It looks as though there is a deliberate effort to separate our churches into liberal and conservative political lines.

    http://campaign2012.washingtonexaminer.com/blogs/beltway-confidential/holder-brief-black-pastors-campaign-2012/567501

    Excerpt:

    “Attorney General Eric Holder, the IRS, and the liberal lawyers at the ACLU will brief several hundred pastors in the African American community on how to participate in the presidential election — which the Congressional Black Caucus chair expects will help President Obama’s campaign.”

    How can this be legal? Misspent taxpayer monies? If Romney did this with Mormons can you imagine the howls?

  • Bob

    #4 Norman Teigen +1

    Susan,

    Examine the source as well as the way this is written. No objective journalist would use “liberal” in front of ACLU, for one thing. The way this is written is really shifty and biased. The Examiner is
    conservative and owned by a conservative billionaire.

  • Bob

    #4 Norman Teigen +1

    Susan,

    Examine the source as well as the way this is written. No objective journalist would use “liberal” in front of ACLU, for one thing. The way this is written is really shifty and biased. The Examiner is
    conservative and owned by a conservative billionaire.

  • Susan

    Thanks, Bob. I think the question should be whether the story is true not whether it was written by a conservative paper owned by a conservative billionaire. N’est ce pas?

  • Susan

    Thanks, Bob. I think the question should be whether the story is true not whether it was written by a conservative paper owned by a conservative billionaire. N’est ce pas?

  • Bob

    Susan,

    The first paragraph which you pulled from, is very poorly written
    and misleading.

    The real “nut graf,” or nub of the story, is the 2nd paragraph.

    The first graf is written giving the assumption that the ACLU and Holder are addressing the black pastors on how to participate in the upcoming election. Then in the same sentence, they say:

    “– which the Congressional Black Caucus chair expects will help President Obama’s campaign.”

    That source is not verified, and putting it in the same sentence with what came before it gives a totally false impression.

    All papers contain crummy writing sometimes, true. But this is pretty egregious.

    Again, the word “liberal” behind ACLU is a tipoff that it’s not fair reporting. The AP Stylebook, the editor’s Bible, says to just call them “ACLU.”

  • Bob

    Susan,

    The first paragraph which you pulled from, is very poorly written
    and misleading.

    The real “nut graf,” or nub of the story, is the 2nd paragraph.

    The first graf is written giving the assumption that the ACLU and Holder are addressing the black pastors on how to participate in the upcoming election. Then in the same sentence, they say:

    “– which the Congressional Black Caucus chair expects will help President Obama’s campaign.”

    That source is not verified, and putting it in the same sentence with what came before it gives a totally false impression.

    All papers contain crummy writing sometimes, true. But this is pretty egregious.

    Again, the word “liberal” behind ACLU is a tipoff that it’s not fair reporting. The AP Stylebook, the editor’s Bible, says to just call them “ACLU.”

  • Susan

    @Bob,

    I’m sorry you continue to be bothered by the writing. It seems to be a common problem for much writing no matter which side of the political aisle. Nevertheless, if the story is true, it is worth noting.

  • Susan

    @Bob,

    I’m sorry you continue to be bothered by the writing. It seems to be a common problem for much writing no matter which side of the political aisle. Nevertheless, if the story is true, it is worth noting.

  • Daniel Gorman

    Booklover #6, “Here is an excellent video:

    http://video.lcms.org/archives/994

    No, your referenced video is a horrible example of the confusion of two kingdoms that permeates the entire leadership of the LCMS. When the LCMS (which is not a church and has never claimed to be a church) goes into the health insurance business (Concordia Plans Service), its vocation is Christian businessman not minister of the gospel. LCMS’s health insurance company is not a church and should not claim any religious exemption from government insurance law.

    If Concordia Plans Service cannot honorably market its health insurance under existing state law, it should petition the government for a change to the insurance law governing all like businesses or go out of business. Disobeying the government or claiming a religious exemption based on the first amendment are options forbidden by Christ’s doctrines of the church and of the two kingdoms.

    The learned directress of LCMS Life and Health Ministries does not know what even a seven year old child knows about the nature of the church (Smalcald Articles, III, VII ). The marks of the church are “the pure doctrine of the Gospel, and the administration of the Sacraments in accordance with the Gospel of Christ” (Apology to the Augsburg Confession, VII) not marketing health insurance.

  • Daniel Gorman

    Booklover #6, “Here is an excellent video:

    http://video.lcms.org/archives/994

    No, your referenced video is a horrible example of the confusion of two kingdoms that permeates the entire leadership of the LCMS. When the LCMS (which is not a church and has never claimed to be a church) goes into the health insurance business (Concordia Plans Service), its vocation is Christian businessman not minister of the gospel. LCMS’s health insurance company is not a church and should not claim any religious exemption from government insurance law.

    If Concordia Plans Service cannot honorably market its health insurance under existing state law, it should petition the government for a change to the insurance law governing all like businesses or go out of business. Disobeying the government or claiming a religious exemption based on the first amendment are options forbidden by Christ’s doctrines of the church and of the two kingdoms.

    The learned directress of LCMS Life and Health Ministries does not know what even a seven year old child knows about the nature of the church (Smalcald Articles, III, VII ). The marks of the church are “the pure doctrine of the Gospel, and the administration of the Sacraments in accordance with the Gospel of Christ” (Apology to the Augsburg Confession, VII) not marketing health insurance.

  • fws

    daniel gorman, bob, and norm teigen.

    +++++1

  • fws

    daniel gorman, bob, and norm teigen.

    +++++1

  • fws

    in our confessions there are two kingdoms
    God rules everything but he rules in, with and under in two ways.

    Law (the law always accuses and kills):
    the kingdom that is about all we can see and do. The earthly kingdom. Law. this kingdom will die.
    It fully includes all we can do in the 3 governments of marriage, society, and…… the church! Preaching of Law and Gospel will perish with the earth that happens in that earthly Law Government called the Holy Catholic Church.

    Gospel. Faith in the Works of Another alone.
    then there is that other , heavenly kingdom that is alone faith in Christ. It cant include anything at all we can do. not even baptizing and preaching. Why not? those things that we can do are already all included in that other Kingdom. This is the Communion of Saints.

    Apology art VII and VIII

  • fws

    in our confessions there are two kingdoms
    God rules everything but he rules in, with and under in two ways.

    Law (the law always accuses and kills):
    the kingdom that is about all we can see and do. The earthly kingdom. Law. this kingdom will die.
    It fully includes all we can do in the 3 governments of marriage, society, and…… the church! Preaching of Law and Gospel will perish with the earth that happens in that earthly Law Government called the Holy Catholic Church.

    Gospel. Faith in the Works of Another alone.
    then there is that other , heavenly kingdom that is alone faith in Christ. It cant include anything at all we can do. not even baptizing and preaching. Why not? those things that we can do are already all included in that other Kingdom. This is the Communion of Saints.

    Apology art VII and VIII

  • fws

    that is to say that there is no such thing as a Lutheran doctrine of separation of church and state. Two Kingdoms is not that doctrine.
    Lutherans did not consider having a state church a sin that was to be renounced as such. Why don’t we see that today?

    Because we have perverted Two Kingdoms into an earthly carnal doctrine that is about who has what power and authority to do what.

    Two Kingdoms is clearly just a variation of the Doctrine of the Proper Distinction between Law and Gospel. Nothing more and nothing at all less than that.

  • fws

    that is to say that there is no such thing as a Lutheran doctrine of separation of church and state. Two Kingdoms is not that doctrine.
    Lutherans did not consider having a state church a sin that was to be renounced as such. Why don’t we see that today?

    Because we have perverted Two Kingdoms into an earthly carnal doctrine that is about who has what power and authority to do what.

    Two Kingdoms is clearly just a variation of the Doctrine of the Proper Distinction between Law and Gospel. Nothing more and nothing at all less than that.

  • Joanne

    For the first time, I am starting to understand Frank on this subject. Of the two kingdoms, most of us have assumed that the earthly kingdom of physical sword power, will be non-Christian and will treat all religions the same, and will keep itself out of the business of the Kingdom of Heaven.

    Until of course the prince become a Christian Prince who then as a Christian has now a whole new set of vocational realities. In the year 313 for the Edict of Milan and in 1530 at the Diet of Augsburg, we have people in charge of what is going to happen to the church and dealing intimately with the concerns of the Kingdom of Heaven who have that special vocation of christian prince. Luther often talks to the princes about this vocation, i.e., “Address to the German Nobility.” Luther’s response to Henry VIII’s “Defense of the 7 veils.”

    To see how completely merged the worlds of state and religion were at Luther’s time, see his “nice” letter to Henry VIII of Engliand:

    TO KING HENRY VIII. OF ENGLAND

    This letter was written by request of the fugitive King Christian of Denmark. September 1, 1525.

    Grace and peace in Christ our Lord! Most Serene King. Although I might well fear to write your Majesty, having deeply offended you through my little book hurriedly written at the instigation of people unfriendly to your Royal Highness, still I am impelled to do so by your natural goodness of heart, which I hear daily praised, and also knowing that your Majesty, being aware he is mortal, will not keep an undying enmity, and over and above, I am informed by trustworthy people that the little book against me, so far beneath the dignity of the King of England, issued under your Majesty’s name, was not really written by you, as those crafty sophists dare affirm. They surely do not know the danger of thus dishonoring your royal name, and bringing into notice that monstrosity, hated of both God and man, the Cardinal of Eborack, the destroyer of your Majesty’s kingdom.

    And through shame I can scarcely raise my eyes towards you for having been swayed by such wicked people against so mighty a potentate, compared to whom I am a very worm.

    Further, contemptible as I am, still I am prompted to write, because your Majesty was well disposed to the gospel to begin with, which news was a very evangelium to my heart, that is, tidings of great joy.

    Therefore, I throw myself at your Majesty’s feet with my writings, entreating forgiveness for the sake of Christ’s sufferings, and to be told how I have offended you, even as Christ commanded us to forgive one another. And in the next place, if your Majesty be agreeable, I shall issue another book to the honor of your name in contradiction of the last.

    For, although I am a mere nobody compared to your Majesty, still I feel it would be no injury to the gospel, nor to the glory of God, were I to write on gospelsubjects to His Royal Grace of England.

    etc., etc, etc……..

    Amen. If it please your Majesty, I await a favorable answer. Your Majesty’s obedient, MARTIN LUTHER .
    http://www.godrules.net/library/luther/208luther2.htm
    It’s letter number 123.

    Link to Luther’s “deeply offended you… little book.”
    http://anglicanhistory.org/lutherania/against_henry.html

    I enjoy reading collections of the letters of Luther as they give us something of a mise-en-scène into that world.

    Christian princes since Constantine I onward have had a very special vocation and Luther often talks about what a good Christian Prince ought to do, such as “do not burn heretics” but do banish them as there should only ever be one religion within a state.

    In North America, the Puritans understood that concept very well and established a one-religion state. And, I believe it was they who insisted on the “shall make no law concernng an establishment of religion” be included in the document of union with the other states so that the federal government thereby could not meddle in any way with the already established religions in the various states.

    I might add that the only Baptist state I can think of off the top of my head was the Anabaptist takeover of Muenster in Germany in the early 1500s. That went very badly for them. That Baptists plead toleration is because they have yet to establish a viable state for Baptists only. Once they do get the power of the state backing the decisions of the church, it will be like an addiction to crack cocaine. No church has been able to completely avoid the sirene call of obtaining state power.

    Even the Altenburg Debates center around whether this forlorn, lost colony in the boonies of Missouri, has any authority to establish itself as a church in the wilderness without recourse to its old state church back in Germany. Orthodox Lutherans are not your go to people for favorable thinking on the ideas of the Enlightenment.

    America is the gift of the Enlightenment and we are still working out what that means. I’d be OK with Massachusetts being such a gift, but for Louisiana it’s been more like a straightjacket than a gift.

  • Joanne

    For the first time, I am starting to understand Frank on this subject. Of the two kingdoms, most of us have assumed that the earthly kingdom of physical sword power, will be non-Christian and will treat all religions the same, and will keep itself out of the business of the Kingdom of Heaven.

    Until of course the prince become a Christian Prince who then as a Christian has now a whole new set of vocational realities. In the year 313 for the Edict of Milan and in 1530 at the Diet of Augsburg, we have people in charge of what is going to happen to the church and dealing intimately with the concerns of the Kingdom of Heaven who have that special vocation of christian prince. Luther often talks to the princes about this vocation, i.e., “Address to the German Nobility.” Luther’s response to Henry VIII’s “Defense of the 7 veils.”

    To see how completely merged the worlds of state and religion were at Luther’s time, see his “nice” letter to Henry VIII of Engliand:

    TO KING HENRY VIII. OF ENGLAND

    This letter was written by request of the fugitive King Christian of Denmark. September 1, 1525.

    Grace and peace in Christ our Lord! Most Serene King. Although I might well fear to write your Majesty, having deeply offended you through my little book hurriedly written at the instigation of people unfriendly to your Royal Highness, still I am impelled to do so by your natural goodness of heart, which I hear daily praised, and also knowing that your Majesty, being aware he is mortal, will not keep an undying enmity, and over and above, I am informed by trustworthy people that the little book against me, so far beneath the dignity of the King of England, issued under your Majesty’s name, was not really written by you, as those crafty sophists dare affirm. They surely do not know the danger of thus dishonoring your royal name, and bringing into notice that monstrosity, hated of both God and man, the Cardinal of Eborack, the destroyer of your Majesty’s kingdom.

    And through shame I can scarcely raise my eyes towards you for having been swayed by such wicked people against so mighty a potentate, compared to whom I am a very worm.

    Further, contemptible as I am, still I am prompted to write, because your Majesty was well disposed to the gospel to begin with, which news was a very evangelium to my heart, that is, tidings of great joy.

    Therefore, I throw myself at your Majesty’s feet with my writings, entreating forgiveness for the sake of Christ’s sufferings, and to be told how I have offended you, even as Christ commanded us to forgive one another. And in the next place, if your Majesty be agreeable, I shall issue another book to the honor of your name in contradiction of the last.

    For, although I am a mere nobody compared to your Majesty, still I feel it would be no injury to the gospel, nor to the glory of God, were I to write on gospelsubjects to His Royal Grace of England.

    etc., etc, etc……..

    Amen. If it please your Majesty, I await a favorable answer. Your Majesty’s obedient, MARTIN LUTHER .
    http://www.godrules.net/library/luther/208luther2.htm
    It’s letter number 123.

    Link to Luther’s “deeply offended you… little book.”
    http://anglicanhistory.org/lutherania/against_henry.html

    I enjoy reading collections of the letters of Luther as they give us something of a mise-en-scène into that world.

    Christian princes since Constantine I onward have had a very special vocation and Luther often talks about what a good Christian Prince ought to do, such as “do not burn heretics” but do banish them as there should only ever be one religion within a state.

    In North America, the Puritans understood that concept very well and established a one-religion state. And, I believe it was they who insisted on the “shall make no law concernng an establishment of religion” be included in the document of union with the other states so that the federal government thereby could not meddle in any way with the already established religions in the various states.

    I might add that the only Baptist state I can think of off the top of my head was the Anabaptist takeover of Muenster in Germany in the early 1500s. That went very badly for them. That Baptists plead toleration is because they have yet to establish a viable state for Baptists only. Once they do get the power of the state backing the decisions of the church, it will be like an addiction to crack cocaine. No church has been able to completely avoid the sirene call of obtaining state power.

    Even the Altenburg Debates center around whether this forlorn, lost colony in the boonies of Missouri, has any authority to establish itself as a church in the wilderness without recourse to its old state church back in Germany. Orthodox Lutherans are not your go to people for favorable thinking on the ideas of the Enlightenment.

    America is the gift of the Enlightenment and we are still working out what that means. I’d be OK with Massachusetts being such a gift, but for Louisiana it’s been more like a straightjacket than a gift.

  • Booklover

    I don’t know anything about the inner workings of LCMS politics, or about its leadership. It is an infringement of religious liberty for the government to tell religious employers what they must offer in their insurance plans, and these people were expressing the same belief. The move that Obama’s administration made is a violation of the First Amendment to the Constitution. That is the point I was trying to make. I wasn’t arguing LCMS politics or theology. Abortion is wrong, and the HHS mandate violates the Constitution. Those were the first principles.

  • Booklover

    I don’t know anything about the inner workings of LCMS politics, or about its leadership. It is an infringement of religious liberty for the government to tell religious employers what they must offer in their insurance plans, and these people were expressing the same belief. The move that Obama’s administration made is a violation of the First Amendment to the Constitution. That is the point I was trying to make. I wasn’t arguing LCMS politics or theology. Abortion is wrong, and the HHS mandate violates the Constitution. Those were the first principles.

  • fws

    Booklover @ 17

    May I suggest that this is an infringement on liberty and not religious liberty?
    And Government is not wrong to infringe liberty per se. It is what they are supposed to do. You do it, in governing your children, every day. No difference.
    This is not to infringe religious liberty. That simply cannot be done. Christ did not say “baptize and teach and incorporate, under state and federal law , to sell insurance plans”.
    When Churches do such things they place themselves under the same laws as any insurance company. Why should they get special treatment there?
    Abortion IS murder. Ok.
    Question: I know the person next door to me is an abortion doctor and on the other side of my house lives a woman who is going the next day, to that doctor, to have an abortion. What is my duty here? What force am I mandated by God to use to protect that baby?

    I suggest nothing. You would say that the government should do something. It is murder after all. I agree.

    But then there is this: Our government has decided to revert back to the position of the Roman government of St Paul’s time and leave the authority for such decisions to be up to the head of house. And they now define head of house as the pregnant mother. Granted they do not apply this rule in any consist way to other social issues and that is another problem. But still..,….

    If my frame of view is correct, then our scope of action would look exactly as did the scope of action of those early Christians.

  • fws

    Booklover @ 17

    May I suggest that this is an infringement on liberty and not religious liberty?
    And Government is not wrong to infringe liberty per se. It is what they are supposed to do. You do it, in governing your children, every day. No difference.
    This is not to infringe religious liberty. That simply cannot be done. Christ did not say “baptize and teach and incorporate, under state and federal law , to sell insurance plans”.
    When Churches do such things they place themselves under the same laws as any insurance company. Why should they get special treatment there?
    Abortion IS murder. Ok.
    Question: I know the person next door to me is an abortion doctor and on the other side of my house lives a woman who is going the next day, to that doctor, to have an abortion. What is my duty here? What force am I mandated by God to use to protect that baby?

    I suggest nothing. You would say that the government should do something. It is murder after all. I agree.

    But then there is this: Our government has decided to revert back to the position of the Roman government of St Paul’s time and leave the authority for such decisions to be up to the head of house. And they now define head of house as the pregnant mother. Granted they do not apply this rule in any consist way to other social issues and that is another problem. But still..,….

    If my frame of view is correct, then our scope of action would look exactly as did the scope of action of those early Christians.

  • Joanne

    Although I’m sure that the Roman Impire as it was at St. Paul’s time had every effective abortion instruments and abortifacients, still the risk to the life and/or health of the mother and the monetary cost was so high that the preference was to birth the unwanted child, then to expose it to the crows and wild dogs, hogs, eagles….

    And as we all know the Christians then as now considered abortion and abandonment/exposure for death, to be murder and a grave sin. The Christians claimed all abandoned/exposed children as their own children and gathered them from the crossroads and fields and rasied them as Christians. It could be that that alone could account for more growth of the Christians church than adult conversions, till the Christian Roman Imperors wiped out the murderous practice.

    Christians don’t just accept the status quo when the government sanctions the murder of infants. We do very concrete things to ameleorate and then to end the horror.

    Can you imagine Luther’s deepy offensive little book if Henry VIII’s “Defence” had actually been about support of abortion? Knowing Luther, he would have called on the other nobles to oppose Henry even to the point of war.

    Give to Ceasar what is Ceasar’s (a coin). Give to God what is God’s. But do not worship Ceasar and do not obey him when he tells you to desert your Christian faith or promotes the use of public and private money to pay for infanticide. Can you imagine St. Paul’s and St. Peter’s christians response to paying an infanticide tax.

    Like mental health, it’s the appropriate flexibility, that indicates health. In Christian belief and action, life is the ability to tell the difference between a head tax and an infanticide tax, just as easily as we can tell the difference between obeying Caesar and worshiping Caesar.

  • Joanne

    Although I’m sure that the Roman Impire as it was at St. Paul’s time had every effective abortion instruments and abortifacients, still the risk to the life and/or health of the mother and the monetary cost was so high that the preference was to birth the unwanted child, then to expose it to the crows and wild dogs, hogs, eagles….

    And as we all know the Christians then as now considered abortion and abandonment/exposure for death, to be murder and a grave sin. The Christians claimed all abandoned/exposed children as their own children and gathered them from the crossroads and fields and rasied them as Christians. It could be that that alone could account for more growth of the Christians church than adult conversions, till the Christian Roman Imperors wiped out the murderous practice.

    Christians don’t just accept the status quo when the government sanctions the murder of infants. We do very concrete things to ameleorate and then to end the horror.

    Can you imagine Luther’s deepy offensive little book if Henry VIII’s “Defence” had actually been about support of abortion? Knowing Luther, he would have called on the other nobles to oppose Henry even to the point of war.

    Give to Ceasar what is Ceasar’s (a coin). Give to God what is God’s. But do not worship Ceasar and do not obey him when he tells you to desert your Christian faith or promotes the use of public and private money to pay for infanticide. Can you imagine St. Paul’s and St. Peter’s christians response to paying an infanticide tax.

    Like mental health, it’s the appropriate flexibility, that indicates health. In Christian belief and action, life is the ability to tell the difference between a head tax and an infanticide tax, just as easily as we can tell the difference between obeying Caesar and worshiping Caesar.


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