The Governmental Persecution of the Church Has Begun

Posted on September 29, 2015 in Public Policy, Religious Freedom by

Church doors chained shutIf I were to ask you whether churches would ever lose their tax-exempt status (or be sued) for refusing to support homosexuality, what would you say?

Can you imagine a time in our nation when a church would be forced, under penalty of law, to accept something that it believes is sin? That is the question many people are currently wondering. In light of the earlier Supreme Court ruling in the Obergfell case, political analysts are speculating that it is just a matter of time before churches are in one way or another forced to support homosexuality and same-sex “marriage.”

In particular, commentator Bill O’Reilly said he thinks it’s “just a matter of time” before churches are sued for refusing to perform same-sex weddings. In a video after the Supreme Court decision he said:

“It’s just a matter of time before lawsuits are filed against churches and religious organizations, trying to strip them of their tax-exempt status if they don’t toe the line on gay marriage and other progressive causes.”

Let’s be honest here, it has always been religious people that have stood in the way of liberal causes. When you think of the primary opposition to abortion, homosexuality, and other liberal social ideas, it is Christians and those with deeply held religious convictions that stand opposed. For this reason people of faith are a target, an obstacle to be removed in order to achieve some liberal idea of a utopian society.

Just look at the cases from around that country that have become high-profile: the photographer in New Mexico, the florist in Washington, the baker in Colorado, and now the clerk in Kentucky. Each of these people voiced a religious opposition to performing a service for a same-sex wedding and each of them was threatened, prosecuted, fined, or jailed.

But, and this is extremely noteworthy, when a gay person refuses service to a heterosexual person, it barely creates a blimp on the media radar. In fact, it’s almost as if most mainstream media do their best to cover it up. Further highlighting the hypocrisy is when a Muslim person refuses service on religious grounds and everyone shakes their head in agreement as if to say “of course, that makes sense.” But when a Christian does the exact same thing suddenly it is “discrimination,” or “bigoted” behavior.

These few incidents give clear indication that a bias against evangelical Christians has been created. By allowing homosexuals and Muslims to engage in a specific behavior, then to call that behavior “discrimination” when a Christian engages in it is evidence of discrimination by our own government. This is a plain example of selectively applying the law to one group while allowing another group(s) to live above the law.

Even our own president has suggested that Christians should “overcome their religious convictions.”

“I know that Americans of goodwill continue to hold a wide range of views on this issue…Opposition in some cases has been based on sincere and deeply held beliefs…But today should also give us hope that on the many issues with which we grapple often painfully real change is possible…Shifts in hearts and minds is possible. And those who have come so far on their journey to equality have a responsibility to reach back and help others join them.”

What President Obama is saying is that those of us with sincerely held religious convictions against things like homosexuality and abortion are behind the times. We need to be dragged (kicking and screaming if necessary) into the future so we can move forward as a country. This statement is a clear indication that our president does not, in fact, respect our religious convictions and desires to see them changed, dropped, or simply forced out of existence.

The idea that there is coming a day when churches are not just pressured but forced to accept homosexuality in order to retain their tax-exempt status is more believable than ever. If the government is content to prosecute individual Christians for refusing to support homosexuality why is it inconceivable that they will do the same to churches?

And what will be the impact of such a decision by the government? If they strip churches of their tax-exempt status what will the long-term fallout be?

Removing the tax-exempt status means that money donated to churches can and will be taxed. This means that rather than retaining most of their money, the church will have to give most of it to the government in the form of taxes. Smaller, struggling churches will no longer be able to afford to keep a paid minister and will see further decline and potentially be shut down. Larger churches will have to end social and community programs in order to simply continue paying their staff and bills. New church plants will struggle further and many will not survive; and the effort to plant new churches will be severely hindered.

What does all this mean? It means the reach of churches, the influence in their communities, will be hindered as churches figure out ways to simply keep the doors open. It’s almost as if the government knows that stripping the tax exempt status of churches will decrease the influence of the church while increasing the influence of government.

This also shows that the government doesn’t truly care about people. It is churches and religious non-profits that carry out most efforts in a local community to feed the hungry, and offer help and services to the poor. In fact, if the government was doing such a great job at that, there would be no need for church ministries. And yet thousands of programs offered by churches exist.

So ultimately what we see is an effort by our government to increase their own power and influence while eliminating the one prevailing influence that is standing in their way. Perhaps 50 years ago it seemed improbable. Today it seems likely.

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