Church… I mean Religious Liberty is great except when it’s inconvenient

Earlier this week Albert Mohler interacted with what I believe reflects a grow perspective on religious liberty, the perspective that religious liberty is fine as long as it doesn’t get in the way of something else.  It’s easy to see why the culture has this attitude when so many in the church live their lives with this cavalier attitude toward the church.  How many times do you hear of families missing little league, school, dance class, etc. because they are worn out or because they have family in town? How many times to you hear these as excuses for missing church? If professing Christians think that church is great except when it’s inconvenient then why are we surprised when the culture thinks religious liberty is great except when it’s inconvenient. 

Anyway, Mohler rightly diagnoses the intent of Columnist Nicholas Kristof of The New York Times:

Like so many, including the White House, Kristof does his best to describe the controversy over the birth control mandate as a Catholic issue. In his “Beyond Pelvic Politics” column he wrote of “Catholic universities and hospitals,” “Catholic institutions,” and “a majority of Catholics.” The fact that so many evangelical Christians share this concern and outrage is never mentioned.

After asking his most pressing question, “After all, do we really want to make accommodations across the range of faith?,” he makes this amazing statement:

“The basic principle of American life is that we try to respect religious beliefs, and accommodate them where we can.”

That sentence caught the immediate attention of many. Could someone of Nicholas Kristof’s influence and stature really write and mean that?

When President Obama spoke February 10, announcing his administration’s modifications to the birth control issue, he at least spoke of religious liberty as “an inalienable right that is enshrined in our Constitution.” The President then made the error of speaking as if an “inalienable right” is to be accommodated to a matter of policy. That was bad enough, and very revealing of the President’s worldview and constitutional perspective. Nicholas Kristof’s statement is light years beyond the President in disrespect for religious liberty.

Where would we find what Kristof describes as “the basic principle of American life,” when he goes on to state that principle with language as chilling as “we try to respect religious beliefs, and accommodate them where we can”?

The language of accommodation is almost as old as the Constitution itself, but it was never framed as Kristof frames it — certainly not by the founders who spoke of “inalienable rights” granted to human beings by the Creator’s endowment.

Can you imagine any of the founders speaking as Kristof writes, of an intention to “try to respect religious beliefs”?

Mr. Kristof is a serious man, and he raises serious issues in this column. But with this one simplistic and condescending sentence he throws religious liberty under the bus and reveals what makes sense to so many in the secular elite.

They will try their best, they promise, to respect our religious beliefs, and to “accommodate them where we can.”

That’s it. Don’t dare ask for anything more.

Given the caustic columns Nicholas Kristof has written in the past, it is hard not to laugh at his pledge to “try to respect religious beliefs.”

A few years ago he wrote this:

“Yet despite the lack of scientific or historical evidence, and despite the doubts of Biblical scholars, America is so pious that not only do 91 percent of Christians say they believe in the Virgin Birth, but so do an astonishing 47 percent of U.S. non-Christians.”

He followed that sentence with this amazing line: “I’m not denigrating anyone’s beliefs.” Does The New York Times still employ editors?

When it comes to human rights around the world, Nicholas Kristof remains rightly influential, and for good reason. But when it comes to human rights at home, Mr. Kristof reveals a horrifying blind spot. The continuing controversy over the birth control mandate reveals that he is by no means alone.


You can read Mohler’s article HERE