Over the last year or so the Western idea of "religious liberty" has taken hold of the church in America in an unprecedented way. "Religious liberty" was always just sort of assumed when Christianity was the dominant cultural institution but now that we perceive a threat from the government (as if this is the first threat or even in the top 100 gravest threats from government) we suddenly are so very concerned that our religious culture might be under assault. So concerned are we that we find Roman Catholics and evangelicals banding together to file lawsuits against the demonic force known as Obamacare.
It has been remarked, somewhat tongue in cheek, that what the Reformation tore asunder Obamacare has brought back together. How sad indeed that after hundreds of years we find common ground in a political dispute rather than in the truth of the Gospel and the simple community of believers united for a common mission. How ironic indeed that two groups that descend from traditions that formerly persecuted those who disagreed with them and killed one another over those disagreements suddenly find themselves in solidarity without a hint of irony based on a single provision in a single law in a single country.
Let me be clear that I find Obamcare to be a reprehensible overreach of Federal power, not just in the birth control mandate but at the very core. It is risible to imagine that any vision of the founding fathers would have included Obamacare. Of course the same is true for Social Security, Medicare/Medicaid, food stamps, a huge standing army and navy, farm subsidies and pretty much everything else we take for granted from our benevolent overlords in Washington, D.C.. We are awfully selective about the things we get outraged about and usually that selectivity is based on how it impacts our pocketbook and convenience.
Obamacare, bad law though it certainly is, even with the mandate to provide birth control coverage to employees that choose to use it, is not a Kingdom issue. Jesus commanded the Pharisees to render unto Caesar (a topic for another upcoming post) even when paying taxes to Caesar, an ancient equivalent of Obamacare perhaps, meant subsidizing a repressive regime and even by proxy paying the salaries of the soldiers and the cost of the nails that crucified Jesus Himself plus countless of His followers. Rendering to the modern equivalents of Caesar, even when those equivalents are people we vote for or against, is something we are called to do and has really no impact on the mission of the church. The notion of the church going to Caesar's courts to sue Caesar over how Caesar spends a denarius is ludicrous.
Perhaps we would be better serving our King by telling the lost about Him rather than suing pretender kings over "religious liberty".