Do you ever feel like the people we elect are out of touch with what people do? Do you feel lately that that as believers we need to pray in our hovels and never come out in public. It is the mother saying to the child, “Be seen and not heard.” That’s what I think it starting to feel like.
Rightful liberty is unobstructed action according to our will within limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others. I do not add ‘within the limits of the law’ because law is often but the tyrant’s will, and always so when it violates the rights of the individual.- Thomas Jefferson
Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-WI – the nation’s first openly lesbian elected to the U.S. Senate – addressed the Supreme Court’s Obergefell v. Hodges decision on June 27 on MSNBC’s Up with Steve Kornacki. I don’t mind that she had something to say, but I do feel that she needs a theology lesson and a history refresher.
So first this is what she said:
“Certainly the First Amendment says that in institutions of faith that there is absolute power to, you know, to observe deeply held religious beliefs. But I don’t think it extends far beyond that,I think there are clear limits that have been set in other contexts, and we ought to abide by those in this new context across America.”
This is what the first amendment says:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.
This is what it means:
The First Amendment guarantees freedoms concerning religion, expression, assembly, and the right to petition. It forbids Congress from both promoting one religion over others and also restricting an individual’s religious practices. It guarantees freedom of expression by prohibiting Congress from restricting the press or the rights of individuals to speak freely. It also guarantees the right of citizens to assemble peaceably and to petition their government.
Theologically this is what it means to be church:
The early Christian church had no buildings, at least not in the sense of what we would consider church buildings today. The invisible and universal church, however, refers to all believers everywhere and is one church, united in Christ, not many physical churches. Everyone in the universal church is a true believer. That means they believe in Jesus Christ savior and redeemer. They may have different ways to express the worship.I am not going into the bolts and nuts of worship here.The church is not a building, but a body of believers with a specific nature and purpose. These biblical roles or ministries of the church are foundational to it. A church fails to fulfill any of these key roles – worship, edification, evangelism.
She missed the boat on this one, like many others in political office.I think that constitutional jurisprudence now has moved in the direction of having a one-size-fits-all model of church-state relations that leans toward the more secular interpretation. That is certainly not what the founders would have envisioned.
It also sends a signal that the government is not just neutral on issues of religion, but hostile to interests of religion in general, and I think that is an impression the government should be careful not to make.