Albert Mohler takes a hard-hitting look at Nicholas Kristof’s cavalier dismissal of religious liberty in the wake of the new healthcare mandate. Mohler’s critique is important because Kristof’s column is emblematic of a sentiment that has become quite common among the American left. For them, religious liberty is no longer an inalienable right, but something that can be abridged when it comes into conflict with the secular state.
Neither Kristof nor any other American liberal I know of supports throwing Christians to the lions (yet), but they are laying the intellectual and legal ground for it whether they realize it or not. That is why the President’s healthcare mandate deserves the continued attention of every American who cares about preserving religious liberty in this country.
It would be foolish for American Christians to write-off this controversy as just the latest chapter in the culture war. It is not. This is a watershed moment for religious liberty in our country that may cause our obligation to Caesar to collide with our allegiance to Jesus. If that happens there will be practical implications for all of us that will go far beyond the present controversy about the healthcare law.
Christians, I urge you not to take your eye off the ball in this discussion. The Lord commands us to pray for our leaders so that we “we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity” (1 Timothy 2:1-2). If we are going to pray to that end, we ought also to take up the stewardship we have as citizens of a democracy. In other words, we need to press our democratic privileges while we have them in order to roll back this mandate. That means staying engaged in the process, voting, writing letters to Congressmen, or speaking out in whatever public forum you have.
Don’t let the pundit class lull you into thinking this is an arcane dispute about contraception or the GOP horserace. That is a red herring. This is about whether or not our government will force Christians to obey a law that conflicts with their most deeply held beliefs. The stakes are really high in this one.
“First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, for kings and all who are in authority, in order that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity.” -1 Timothy 2:1-2