Hillary says “religious beliefs. . .have to be changed”

Hillary Clinton says that “religious beliefs. . .have to be changed” when they interfere with “reproductive health care” (that is, abortion).  And pro-abortion laws “have to be backed up with resources and political will.”

Notice that she doesn’t say “religious beliefs have to change.”  That would arguably be bad enough, but it allows for religions to change themselves, from within, perhaps over time.  Instead, she said religious beliefs have to “be changed.”  The passive construction here means  that religious beliefs have to be acted upon from the outside.  Nor did she say, “religious beliefs should change,” expressing a moral opinion. No, they “have to” be changed, an imperative, as in giving an order.  Then when she throws in that line about “political will,” the language is clearly that of government suppression.

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What happened to the wedding cake bakers

You know the Christian bakers who refused to make a wedding cake for a gay marriage?  That was back in 2013, but it sparked a growing outrage against people exercising their religious liberty to disapprove of gay marriage.   Last Friday an Oregon labor panel ruled on their case.  The husband and wife who ran the bakery were found guilty of discrimination.  They were fined $135,000, which is to go to the lesbian couple for their pain and suffering.

A crowd sourcing site raised $109,000 towards the fine in less than 8 hours, but protesters pressured the site to shut down the fundraising effort.  No one will be allowed to help the offenders, who must bear their own punishment and somehow come up with the money themselves. [Read more...]

Our established religion

Yuval Levin says that the religious liberty issues raised by the response to the Indiana Religious Freedom law involves not just the First Amendment’s right to the “free exercise” of religion, but maybe even more so to the clause forbidding the “establishment” of religion.  What we have today being imposed is a single, authoritative religious ideology, equivalent to a state church:  that of progressive liberalism.

Levin then delves into James Madison on this subject and contrasts his position to that of John Locke, who advocated “toleration” of different views on the part of individuals but would not allow their institutional expression, since that had to be limited by the ideology of the state church. [Read more...]

What Is Religious Freedom, anyway?

Think-tanker Joseph Backholm cites some of the absurdities and posturing in the controversy over the Indiana Religious Freedom act–such as Apple threatening to stop doing business in Indiana, while still doing business in Saudi Arabia where gays can be executed, and a governor banning state travel to Indiana even though his state has a broader Religious Freedom statute than Indiana’s.

But then he gets to the underlying issue:   People have different understandings of what religious freedom means.  Is it just the freedom to attend worship services?  Does it just apply to internal beliefs but not to actions?  Does it only apply to individuals and not to what those individuals do when they operate a business?  He gets into the history of the issue  and the legal precedents in a way that people on all sides of the issue need to understand.  He also shows how the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act has actually been used. [Read more...]

The Crusades, the Inquisition, and Protestants

President Obama told the National Prayer Breakfast that Christianity, like Islam today, has been used to justify violence, mentioning particularly the Crusades and the Inquisition, historical episodes that are always being brought up against Christians.  It’s kind of strange, though, for us heirs of the Reformation to be blamed for those particular incidents. [Read more...]

If religious liberty is THE political issue for Christians. . .

My post on Russell Moore’s contention that religious liberty needs to be THE political issue for Christians in the upcoming elections is approaching 500 comments, and the discussion–despite a few fights that broke out–has been quite good.  But there are some misconceptions I want to address and some implications that I want us to think about. [Read more...]


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