Recently we learned that our government has been granted access to over 100 million phone records by one major phone company. Then the Washington Post ran a story about a government program called ‘Prism’ that collects content from personal websites and email accounts from nine major Internet companies.The government justifies these actions by saying they are looking for terrorists. But their zeal seems somehow misplaced given the fact that our president’s public pronouncements indicate he is winding down the war on terror.
At the same time the IRS is under scrutiny for targeting conservative political and religious groups. Franklin Graham announced that his organization received an IRS audit after they ran an ad supporting the traditional family. Pro life groups have been told they will not receive tax exempt status if they picket abortion clinics. Others have been told they must divulge the content of their prayers. Still other groups have been told to supply their donor lists. These lists were then forwarded to left wing media outlets that ran hit pieces on their contributors. This begs the question, “Is the information the government is collecting really for combating terrorism or for targeting its enemies?”
Despite the rapidly increasing assaults on our religious and political freedoms, we hear nothing from our pulpits. Our preachers won’t take the time to interrupt their precious sermon series to address the decay in our culture and rising oppression of people of faith. These are perils that we cannot address on an individual basis. They require diligent effort by the entire body of Christ acting in concert. We need one another’s support to stand up to an increasingly tyrannical and ever growing federal government.
To those who say the church should not be involved in politics, I would say that much that is moral and ethical in nature has been politicized today. Sexual immorality has been codified into law as gay rights. Infidelity has been legitimized by no fault divorce. Right to life for the most vulnerable has been deprived in the name of reproductive freedom. Did the founding fathers ever intend that the government they created should legislate these matters?
Should the church should refrain from commenting on moral and ethical matters just to preserve a precious tax exemption? Government largesse always comes with strings attached. If we accept their favors, then we must accept their terms. For conservatives, that means refraining from the national debate about the values we hold dear.
Maybe we should stop accepting hush money under the guise of separation of church and state and begin to boldly speak up for our values the way pastors of liberal churches do. I once had to listen to a half hour tirade against Newt Gingrich in my next door neighbor’s African Methodist Episcopal Church. If our pastor lambasted Barack Obama from the pulpit, we would most likely be audited. If we don’t start to speak up soon, we will see our religious freedoms gradually erode away.