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Why Religious Liberty Is a Gospel Issue

(NOTE: The Colson Center’s Warren Cole Smith delivered this debate on Oct. 9, 2017, to the second annual Values Ethics Conference at Louisiana College in Alexandria, Louisiana. The thesis of the eventuality was “Religious Liberty: A National Treasure.”)


In 2009 Chuck Colson, Robert George, and Timothy George drafted The Manhattan Declaration to attest “the sanctification of life, normal marriage, and eremite liberty.”

At that time, scarcely 10 years ago, many Christians had no difficulty bargain because life and normal matrimony were transparent biblical principles, and because they indispensable fortifying in the open square. But “religious liberty”: Lots of Christians could not (and still cannot) contend seemingly what it is, and because it matters. Is it really as critical as life and marriage? And is it really in danger?

The answers to these questions then, and now, are “yes” and “yes.”


In 2009, critics of the Manhattan Declaration focused on its call for larger eremite autocracy protections. A Los Angeles Times editorial called stories of eremite autocracy infringements small “anecdotes of the arrange radio speak show hosts purvey.”

However, reduction than a decade later, we see the disproportion of the Manhattan Declaration as prophetic. The ability of Christians to live out their beliefs in their vocations and in the open block is under assault. As Alliance Defending Freedom’s Greg Baylor has already said, the authorised cases are so many and so different that it would be insane to call this groundswell merely the accumulation of “anecdotes.”

But we find that many Christians are still under-informed about these threats to eremite liberty, and because they are important. In fact, we hear many Christians ask: Isn’t eremite autocracy really a domestic question? Why should Christians, who should be about swelling the Gospel, caring about eremite liberty?

Freedom in all its forms is at the core of the biblical story. God gave Adam the leisure to select in the Garden of Eden. Moses told Pharaoh, “Let my people go!” Isaiah 61:1 says God’s people are to “proclaim leisure for the captives.” Galatians 5:1 tells us, “It is for leisure that we have been set free.” Jesus Himself said, “You shall know the law and the law shall make you free.”

Freedom in Christ means much some-more than domestic or mercantile freedom. It means loyal devout freedom. But the summary of the Gospel is one of emancipation and replacement and has surpassing implications for the way we live together as human beings. The Gospel sets people free. Christians, of all people, should mount for leisure in all forms.

I would also make this point: Religious leisure does not merely meant Christians are free to believe, to preach, and to ceremony in the ways they see fit, yet it does positively meant that. It also means Christians can live their lives in suitability with the Gospel.

If the supervision with one palm says that a person can confirm for himself what is or is not a defilement of his conscience, but on the other tells a person what is or is not excusable behavior, then it is the supervision that has determined its own religion, and it is the citizen’s sacrament that is thereby abridged.

That’s because we wish to share a few things you can do to make a disproportion in your communities per eremite liberty.

Read the Manhattan Declaration. It is still one of the best brief statements on the significance of eremite liberty. More than a half-million people have sealed it, and it stays one of the best brief statements we have on eremite liberty. You can find it here.

Know the contribution about eremite autocracy cases. The Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) is a good source for news and contribution about eremite autocracy cases. They post almost daily updates on critical eremite autocracy cases at www.adflegal.org.

Know the Jack Phillips case. It is generally critical to know the contribution of the Jack Phillips case. Jack Phillips is the Colorado cake baker whose case the Supreme Court will hear this fall. Because the Supreme Court of the United States will hear this case, it will be a partial of the open review for the next few months. He and his ADF profession Kristen Waggoner recently seemed on the TV show “The View.” While we routinely don’t advise “The View,” we do advise holding a demeanour at this clip. You can find it here.

Get involved. Chuck Colson was lustful of observant that “politics is downstream from culture.” Judges and inaugurated officials are people, too. They review newspapers, watch television, and listen to the radio. They need to hear the voices of eremite autocracy advocates. So write letters to the editor, support organizations that strengthen eremite liberty, and attend events that promote eremite autocracy in your community. The comedian and filmmaker Woody Allen once said, “Eighty percent of success in life is just showing up.” He’s right. Showing up matters.

When Chuck Colson, Robert George, and Timothy George wrote the Manhattan Declaration in 2009, they accepted that eremite autocracy is not merely a domestic issue. It is a Gospel issue.

That’s because we close by quoting from the Manhattan Declaration itself: “The right to eremite leisure has its substructure in the instance of Christ Himself and in the very grace of the human person combined in the picture of God—a dignity, as the founders proclaimed, fundamental in every human, and comprehensible by all in the practice of right reason. Christians confess that God alone is Lord of the conscience. Immunity from eremite duress is the cornerstone of an unrestrained conscience. No one should be compelled to welcome any sacrament against his will, nor should persons of faith be banned to ceremony God according to the dictates of demur or to demonstrate openly and publicly their deeply held eremite convictions.”

As Christians we should faithfully, even joyfully describe unto Caesar what justly belongs to Caesar. But we should never, under any circumstances, describe unto Caesar what justly belongs to God.

Thank you. God magnify you.

Image pleasantness of freedom007 at iStock by Getty Images.

Warren Cole Smith is an inquisitive publisher and author as good as the Colson Center clamp boss for goal advancement.

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