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Right under your noses too

Three ways the secular left is trying to make Christianity illegal in America, and having some real success


By —— Bio and Archives--August 14, 2017

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The secular left cannot get a law through Congress that makes it illegal to practice Christianity. It would if it could. It can’t because it’s not politically plausible - at least not yet - and it would immediately be struck down by the Supreme Court if it could ever pass. At least as the Supreme Court is populated today and hopefully will be for a very long time.

But that does not mean there is no threat to the ability of Christians to practice our faith legally. There is, and it’s not distant or merely theoretical. It’s clear and present. In fact, to some degree the legal prohibitions against the practice of Christianity are already in place.

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To understand this, you need to recognize three legal strategies the secular left is undertaking - right now, right under our noses - that making it difficult to practice Christianity without running afoul of the law. It is not an outright ban on the faith, but it could end up having the same effect by putting everything that’s central to Christianity in conflict with laws created ostensibly for other reasons.

These three strategies are:

  1. Establishing legally protected classes whose special rights force Christians to choose between our faith and the law.
  2. Permitting major employers to create “inclusiveness” policies that put belief in the Bible at odds with company personnel policies and make it grounds for dismissal.
  3. Expanding the involvement of the state into so many areas of life that “separation of church and state” serves as a de facto ban, since the state is everywhere, which means the church can’t be anywhere.

Let’s look at each of the three in some detail. The establishment of protected classes seems innocuous at first, since it’s presented as merely protecting people who are at heightened risk of discrimination. Early on these groups were mostly categorized by race, although in some cases women were also a protected class. But in recent years the secular left has moved to add new groups to the list, and these groups are set apart not by their background or ethnicity but by either a) their sexual behavior; or b) the declaration of “identity.”

More to the point, we’re talking about homosexuals and “transgender” people. By establishing these groups as protected classes, the law makes it extremely difficult for anyone to resist when a member of said protected class makes a demand, or if someone else makes it on their behalf. “Bake me a wedding cake! Come to my wedding and take pictures!” Decline and you can face legal consequences, including massive fines and the loss of your business.

Or say you’re an athlete and the media get in your face and demand to know if you would “accept a gay teammate.” If your answer even makes reference to biblical teachings on homosexuality, you can be sent to sensitivity training. You will be pressured to donate money to gay advocacy groups.

We talked some weeks back about how public accommodation laws are now being expanded to take away people’s artistic freedom, such that you can’t draw a line and refuse to engage in artistic expression that violates your faith - because it’s “discrimination” in the eyes of the law.

The more privileges the law grants to protected classes, the less freedom others will enjoy if they disagree with the agenda of the protected class - even to the point where the law may force you to engage in advocacy on their behalf. This seemed unthinkable a mere few years ago, but we’re already see it happen on a widespread basis. And attempts to protect religious freedom by passing laws that shield Christians from such compulsion are met with widespread rage and derision, even from corporate leaders who fear running afoul of LGBTQ activists.

And needless to say, these laws are widely denounced by the media, which regard them as “licenses to discriminate” rather than seeing them as protecting individuals’ right to free association. You can no longer choose not to associate with a member of a protected class. The secular left’s moves here are finding surprising success in the political and judicial realms, and it’s boxing Christians into a corner. You don’t have to seek to discriminate against anyone. They will come to you and make demands. You must meet their demands, or the law will punish you.

Now let’s consider the role of corporate America. Two years ago, when Indiana passed its Religious Freedom Restoration Act, it was threats from major corporations to move facilities and cancel convention plans that got Indiana’s attention and prompted the quick repeal of the law. When North Carolina passed a law refusing to allow “transgender people” to use public bathrooms they should not be using, the state backed down after the National Basketball Association threatened to move its All Star Game, which had already been awarded to Charlotte. Now the National Hockey League is making a similar threats against Texas.

Why do corporations take positions like this? And why do they adopt “inclusiveness” policies that require Christians to keep silent about their belief in biblical teachings on marriage and sex? The truth is corporate executives don’t care one way or the other about these moral issues. What they care about is avoiding trouble, and they know perfectly well that LGBTQ activists have adopted a strategy of pressuring the business community to embrace its agenda. This is the reason Target adopted its ill-fated transgender bathroom policy. They have to bow to the gods of LGBTQ “inclusiveness” or face protests, demonstrations and unwanted media coverage. That’s why all corporations do these things.

So elected officials may want to pass laws protecting the freedom of Christians to practice their faith, but if they do, they’ll be threatened with economic harm by corporate executives who don’t want to risk the ire of LGBTQ activists. As a result, states have gotten the message that passing these laws brings far too much trouble to be worth doing, even though passing them is the right thing to do. Politicians hate trouble, pressure and negative publicity even more than corporate executives hate it.

And the pressure coming from corporations is just as great internally, as the recent experience of James Damore at Google demonstrates. I don’t know if Damore is a Christian, but I know that he challenged the left-wing orthodoxy that guides the thinking of Google executives and has become the only acceptable expression of thought permitted by Google employees. Questioning left-wing orthodoxy about “discrmination” and “inclusiveness” is deemed harmful and contrary to corporate policy. And to make sure people stay in line, corporations like Google subject employees to mandatory diversity training. You will be taught, among other things, that 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 is unacceptable for you to agree with. Do not successfully complete the training and you cannot keep your job.

Now let’s take a look at how the secular left is using “separation of church and state” to essentially push the church out of just about everything. The First Amendment says Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion, nor prohibiting the free exercise thereof. In other words, Congress is not going to establish a religion on behalf of the country or the government. You pick your own, and practice it on your own, to your heart’s content.

But this is not how the secular left wants the First Amendment understood. It wants every intersection between religion and the public sector, however inadvertent or cursory, forbidden. Now you might think you could avoid any problems this might create by avoiding entanglement with the government. But the left doesn’t want to let you do that. The left wants the government’s hands in so many things that it essentially becomes impossible to practice Christianity because, in one way or another, you’re dealing in taxpayer money.

Consider the impact of the Johnson Amendment, which restricts what pastors can say in the pulpit for fear that they will lose their tax exemption. The Johnson Amendment mainly concerns pastors endorsing political candidates, and personally I don’t think that sort of thing belongs in the pulpit. But that’s not the point. If the government can use the tax code to restrict what you say about Topic A, it can restrict you on Topic B or on any other topic. In Canada there are now legal consequences for pastors who preach that homosexuality is a sin. There are left-wingers in this country who would sympathize with that position and would favor using the tax code to put it into effect here.

Ideally, churches would not need tax exemptions. Because the nature of the tax code is such that it would be extremely difficult for most churches to operate if the formed as for-profit corporations and had to pay the corporate tax rate. If we changed the tax code to eliminate this problem, perhaps many churches would choose to forego the tax exemptions so they wouldn’t have to justify what they do to the IRS. As you might imagine, the left opposes any such changes. They like the idea that people and organizations - but especially churches - have to come to the IRS for tax exemptions and must agree to the IRS’s demands in order to qualify.

Consider also the ubiquitous nature of government funding for just about everything, from schools to playgrounds. The left was aghast in June when the Supreme Court ruled that funds for playgrounds - available to all other schools - could not be denied to some schools simply because they were run by churches. This was an important legal victory for Christians, but it also illustrated a larger problem. When everyone is dependent on state funding for basic things they want to do, the state has that many more opportunities to claim that churches cannot be included because of “separation of church and state.” The left lost the legal battle in this case, but they will be back to fight again. They want the state everywhere, because that gives them political power to make everything “fair” and “equal” and whatever else, as they define it.

And first and foremost in that effort is the secularization of just about everything.

So let’s review: You can’t refuse the demands of protected classes, because that’s discrimination, even if it violates the principles of your faith. You can’t have laws passed to protect your religious freedom because politicians are afraid of the backlash. You can’t be secure in your job if you speak out about your faith, because it might come in conflict with corporate “inclusiveness” policies and you can be fired. And you can’t operate without the favor of the IRS, which you can’t have if you say things the IRS doesn’t want you to say.

What is the solution to all this? For one thing, we need to make sure the judiciary doesn’t affirm this nonsense. That’s one of the reasons it was so important for Christians to support Donald Trump, for all his flaws, over Hillary Clinton. Trump’s appointment of Neil Gorsuch to maintain the conservative Supreme Court majority was only the beginning. He will also have the opportunity to appoint judges all over the country at every level of the federal judiciary. Hillary Clinton would have appointed left-wing judges who affirmed the actions of the secular left against Christians. Trump’s choices may not be perfect, but for the most part they can be expected to favor religious freedom under the First Amendment. And Trump is certainly not perfect, but he does not have an agenda of hostility toward Christianity.

Second, we need to fight back against left-wing narratives of Christians as “haters” and “bigots.” Just because I don’t agree with everything you do doesn’t mean I hate you, but that’s the narrative the left has established with the full support of the news media. Christians have to learn to be more effective at countering these narratives.

Third, and this one is harder: Where politicians and judges force us to choose between the law and our faith, we must choose our faith, and boldly proclaim that we’ll accept the consequences if that’s what it takes to be true to God. That doesn’t mean you don’t oppose these injustices. We should fight them as much as we can. But if we lose, we can’t meekly capitulate and give the secular left what it wants. We must be true to God, no matter the price we pay.

Fourth, we have to learn to be more effective in the areas of business and entrepreneurship so we have more economic independence, and don’t rely on the favor of the political class to live or function.

Fifth, we have to be more effective engaging in the realm of culture and entertainment. I’ll talk more about this at a later date.

And sixth, we have to listen to God so we understand what He’s telling us to do in the midst of this storm. I already know the outcome of this battle and God’s going to win. Don’t bail on Him and give up your share of the prize because you lost your nerve, or got intimidated, or valued the approval of men more than your commitment to the truth.

Don’t go wobbly and don’t have a persecution complex. Yes, we’re under attack. Don’t whine. Don’t be a victim. People who are headed to destruction have no reason to be smug in dealing with the heirs to the throne - unless, of course, we forget who we are.


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Dan Calabrese -- Bio and Archives | Comments

Dan Calabrese’s column is distributed by HermanCain.com, which can be found at HermanCain

Follow all of Dan’s work, including his series of Christian spiritual warfare novels, by liking his page on Facebook.


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