Researchers supplying President Obama with statistics that most Americans agree with contraception generally, and often use it, miss the sticking point. What riles up church leaders of all stripes and many of their followers is a different question.
It really is a matter of State intrusion into the tenets of the various church bodies. It would be helpful for our government to remember that the vast majority of Americans, Catholic to Orthodox to Anglican, Evangelical to Charismatic to main line Protestant, resent and are threatened when a secular government tells them what religious beliefs are proper and necessary. It is not just the leaders, but rather a substantial wound on the body politic.
Americans historically resist attempts to tell them what to do in their private lives. It is this which, to the surprise of Washington, generates the rising and continuing backlash. It will end only when Washington removes the massive thorn it has thrust into the national psyche.
Evangelical Leaders Call for Civil Disobedience Against U.S. Government
The Story: After the Obama administration’s announced that health insurance coverage would require the inclusion of contraception and abortifacients, several Christian leaders—including Chuck Colson, Richard Land, and Rick Warren—called on evangelicals to stand with Catholics in civil disobedience to this law.
The Background: In a special edition of his weekly video segment, Chuck Colson said:
We have come to the point—I say this very soberly—when if there isn’t a dramatic change is circumstances, we as Christians may well be called upon to stand in civil disobedience against the actions of our own government. That would break my heart as a former Marine Captain loving my country, but I love my God more . . . I’ve made up my mind—sober as that decision would have to be—that I will stand for the Lord regardless of what my state tells me.
On the same day, Saddleback pastor Rick Warren wrote on Twitter:
I’m not a Catholic but I stand in 100% solidarity with my brothers & sisters to practice their belief against govt pressure […]
I’d go to jail rather than cave in to a govement mandate that violates what God commands us to do. Would you? Acts 5:29
And Richard Land and Barrett Duke wrote in an op-ed:
The Obama administration has declared war on religion and freedom of conscience. This must not stand. Our Baptist forebears died and went to prison to secure these freedoms. It is now our calling to stand in the gap and defend our priceless First Amendment religious freedoms.
Why It Matters: Because opposition to contraceptives is most closely associated with orthodox Catholics, media have portrayed the current controversy as a Roman Catholic issue. But as these evangelical leaders make clear, the direct assault on freedom of conscience should be a grave concern for all believers.
Acts 5:20 records a profession of Peter and the apostles that all evangelicals should heed: “We must obey God rather than men.” In almost all cases, Christians are required to obey the laws of the state. But when we are forced to choose between obedience to God or obedience to man, we have no other recourse but to disobey the magistrate and obey King Jesus.