Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Religious Freedom in the Workplace: Statement on Amicus Brief Filed at U.S. Supreme Court

As responsible citizens who love Jesus Christ and love our country, we want to express our deep conviction on matters of our faith and expression. No one ought to be compelled to so amputate their belief that it is meaningless except in private.

The faithful Christian cannot separate his life into sacred and secular, worship and work. A Christian does not cease to worship the Lord when he or she goes to work or opens a family business. Romans 11:36 says, “For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be the glory forever. Amen.” As Christians we are called to do all things to the glory of God, including – perhaps especially – our work. This amicus brief – which includes my signature – was filed at the U.S. Supreme Court on behalf of Protestant theologians in support of the appeals by Hobby Lobby Stores and Conestoga Wood Specialties, and demonstrates how the holistic nature of the Christian faith extends to a believer’s vocation.

Sadly, over the years, the Christian faith has been targeted by a rabid secularization and evicted from any or all public expression. The encroachment upon our civil liberties is frightening and we ought to take a stand. The cases of Hobby Lobby and Conestoga highlight the extreme dilemma that results when Christians are forced to choose between violating the government’s regulations and violating his or her sincerely held religious beliefs in the workplace. These beliefs are planted in our conscience.

This is another example of the increasing problems of privatization in our society, which is the socially required and legally enforced separation of our private lives and our public personas. Privatization insists that issues of ultimate meaning be relegated to our private spheres, so as individuals we are forced to keep our moral and religious beliefs private and never express them in public. Secularism is also a belief on ultimate things. Why is it that the secular thinker is not asked to keep his or her secularism in private as well? We know that the premise of privatization is flawed, because that which is sacred to you in private is also sacred to you in public. It is not at all surprising that meaninglessness and hopelessness have become the hallmark of the millennial generation that has been indoctrinated into absolutizing relativism and a valueless belief system. Evidently some lawmakers have not seen this breakdown and the connection.

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