The Shifting Definition of Religious Freedom

Why We Can’t Bow to the New Established Religion

The First Amendment prohibits the establishment of a state religion in America. But is a newly-established religion already in place?

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Eric Metaxas

It's almost become a part of the weekly news cycle: American citizens publicly tarred and feathered for professing their sincerely held religious beliefs.

Just this month, we watched a family-owned pizzeria close its doors after its owners received hate mail and death threats from around the country. Their offense? Giving the wrong answer to a question about whether they'd cater a gay wedding. Keep in mind that the restaurant had never actually turned down a gay customer. They were hammered for holding the wrong beliefs about a hypothetical scenario!

Major corporations are getting into the bullying act, as well. At least two state governments have now backed down or modified religious freedom legislation in response to pressure from companies like Walmart and Salesforce. Keep that in mind next time you think about shopping at Walmart.daily_commentary_04_13_15

And this culture-wide search-and-destroy mission is only accelerating. As Princeton's Robby George writes in First Things, activists for the new sexual orthodoxy are “giddy with success and urged on by a compliant and even gleeful media.”

The message is clear: not only should Christians remain silent about gay marriage if we know what's good for us, but we must be made to agree with and even celebrate what Scripture calls sin. As Ana Marie Cox recently said of Christians on MSNBC, “you're going to have to force [them] to do things they don't want to do.”

But gay columnist Frank Bruni recently took it to the next level in the New York Times, writing that it's time Christians get with the program and “take homosexuality off the sin list.” The lived experience of same-sex couples ought to trump what he calls the “scattered passages of ancient texts” condemning his lifestyle. Wow.

As for freedom of religion, Bruni suggests a new definition: “freeing . .  . religious people from prejudices that they . . . can indeed jettison, much as they’ve jettisoned other aspects of their faith’s history, rightly bowing to the enlightenments of modernity.”

Yes, he actually wrote “rightly bowing.”

I'm reminded of a scene from C. S. Lewis' “The Last Battle,” in which Shift the Ape explains to the poor creatures of Narnia why they're being shipped off to the Calormene salt mines.

“You think freedom means doing what you like,” says Shift. “Well, you’re wrong. That isn’t true freedom. True freedom means doing what I tell you.”

Writing at National Review, Yuval Levin says what we're witnessing isn't so much the suppression of free exercise of religion as it is the establishment of a new national religion; the religion of secular liberalism. And dissenters must be forced to worship at its altar and affirm its creed of anything-goes sexuality.


Given the likely outcome of this summer's Supreme Court case on same-sex marriage, Rod Dreher asks what will it be like to be a Christian in our brave, new society—and what will become of orthodox Christianity now that the price of professing it could be our credibility and livelihoods.

The answer, Dreher says, will depend a great deal on us. Will we hold fast to biblical teaching and refuse, in a manner of speaking, to burn incense to Caesar?

Friends, the fight for religious liberty is far from over. And as John Stonestreet and I have been saying again and again, it’s time for the Church to wake up, to pray, and to publicly defend our religious rights and our brothers and sisters under assault for their beliefs.

Please come to BreakPoint.org, click on this commentary, and I’ll link you to these important articles by Robert George, Rod Dreher, and Yuval Levin. Please read them and share them!

Further Reading and Information

The Shifting Definition of Religious Freedom: Why We Can’t Bow to the New Established Religion
Eric is right: believers need to wake up, pray, and be prepared to defend our religious liberties. This is our opportunity to boldly and lovingly stand for the truth of the Gospel of Christ in the public square. Check out the articles and websites linked below for practical ways to do just that.


The Church of the Left
Yuval Levin | National Review | April 3, 2015

Who Will Stand?
Robert George | First Things | April 5, 2015

The Post-Indiana Future for Christians
Rod Dreher | American Conservative | April 3, 2015

Organizations defending religious liberty

Alliance Defending Freedom

The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty

American Center for Law and Justice


redefining marraige
What we are hearing today from all corners is the voices of those to whom the Gospel has been preached to for the past 40+ years that began in Costa Mesa when God to Chuck Smith to preach the Word. If the Gospel hasn't been preached to the whole world, certainly the better part of it has been reached. Those who received the Grace God extended to them and accepted Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior and fellowship where the whole counsel of God and His Word are taught are the backbone of the Church. Those who rejected God's offer of Grace have become tired of hearing the same thing from the pulpits and the Holy Spirit to the extent that they are now violently antagonistic and DO NOT want to even hear the NAME of Jesus Christ ever again. But not even hearing the name of Jesus again will stop the flood of conviction. Just seeing a Christian with the Holy Spirit emanating out from within is enough to set them on edge. This new 'religion' of sexual liberalism has been around since the 60s, I know, I grew up with it. Then it was innocent, sort of. Now, it is part of an all-out attack upon anything of God or Christ. Much like the Hydra, the multiple heads of sex, pride, money, Islam, power, environmentalism, and don't forget selfishness are all out to devour the Christian individually and the Church Body of Christ collectively. But.....in the end it is the Hydra that is judged and confined to 1000 years in solitary. After he breaks parole he is sentenced to eternal life without parole in the lake of fire, him and all those who followed him. From the rapid escalation of the attacks we can know that the time is short, so beg and plead with your neighbor to accept Christ as Savior. Judgment is coming, if it isn't already here and beginning.
If Jesus Were A Baker
I enjoyed Eric's article today. Very cogent in his observations and remarks. It isn't so much that our culture has gone anti-Christian as it is that they have turned pro-Secular Humanism which defines the policies of the liberal thought police. For an interesting blog on this conversation, including how even Christians see it from radically different perspectives, check out this blog:
Hyperbole weakens the argument
Terms like "tarred and feathered" and omitting the fact that the pizza place received $800,000 in support adds to the image that Some Christians overplay the victimization card. We are supposed to be a society of secular laws, but I do support, on personal liberty grounds, the right not to provide personal services to an event in which one would respectfully prefer not to participate.
Other sinners
Cory, in regards to doing business for other sinners,as the Paul tells us we are all no good not even one. With that being said its one thing to serve sinners its another to actively participate in the sin. When someone who tells lies asks for a pizza they are not asking you to lie for them..ext...
Here is my understanding, by way of an answer to your question, for whatever that is worth. While it is your right to refuse service to anyone (as I see on signs at businesses all the time), provided you don't use that right to discriminate on the basis of race, creed, etc. as outlawed by Civil Rights laws, that is not what is being defended here. The issue is this: if a homosexual or any other sinner enters your store and wants to buy a product you stock as part of your regular product line (or a service), go ahead and sell it; but if they ask for a special product (or service) not part of your product line because it would cause you to participate in what you consider a sinful event, such as a wedding cake with figurines of two grooms or two brides on top, you may refuse to make it.
While I completely agree with this commentary I have a question that perplexes me. How do we stand up for our religious freedom in a loving manner? Does this mean that as a business owner I shouldn't do work for homosexuals? What about other sinners?
I don't even begin to have an answer for this question, I just wonder what others think is correct.
Underlying the Gay Rights Agenda
Perhaps this perspective will help our understanding of this battle: Since God has written right and wrong on each of our hearts, gay activists insist on forcing enough affirmation from society to drown out their inner voice telling them their actions are unnatural, therefore wrong (sin).