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Reproductive Rights vs. Religious Liberty

For some time I have been warning you that the Obama administration has elevated so-called “gay rights” at the expense of religious liberty.

That may sound like an extreme statement, until you remember that Secretary of State Clinton has said “gay rights are human rights, and human rights are gay rights.” And she and other officials repeatedly use the term “freedom of worship” (a private act) versus “freedom of religion” (which the Constitution protects, which is the freedom to live out one’s faith in public).

Administration officials have also said that in a contest “between religious liberty and sexual liberty,” sexual liberty triumphs.

Archbishop Timothy Dolan of New York, seeing this trend, is predicting “a national conflict between church and state of enormous proportions and to the detriment of both institutions.”

Friends, I wish I could tell you that gay rights were the only front in this threat to religious liberty. But as you know, the second front was opened up by Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, who decreed that, under ObamaCare, Catholic institutions will have to violate their religious beliefs and pay for contraceptives, sterilizations, and abortion-inducing drugs for their employees.

When Catholic leaders expressed outrage over this clear violation of the First Amendment, the administration hurriedly and unilaterally announced an “accommodation.” Well, Catholic leaders say the moral entanglement remains. And they are right.

Why on earth would the White House take such an extreme position? Let me give you an answer that has nothing to do with politics. Our ministry aims to help folks see today’s issues and trends through the lens of a thoroughly Christian worldview. We don’t advocate for or against specific candidates.

But we will point out the obvious: These recent events are consistent with the president’s own record and the record of many of his own advisers, when it comes to the sanctity of human life, at least when it is in conflict with sexual ethics.

Back when he was a state senator in Illinois, Mr. Obama voted against a law to rescue newborn infants who had survived botched abortions. On the campaign trail four years ago, he said he wouldn’t want to see either of his beautiful daughters “punished” with a baby if they made a mistake using contraceptives.

In one of his first acts as president, he rescinded the Mexico City policy, allowing federal dollars to go to organizations that promote abortion overseas, like Planned Parenthood. In the budget showdown with Republicans last summer, the president warned House Speaker John Boehner that he would allow the government to shut down rather than cut Planned Parenthood’s funding.  And now, of course, the right to a contraceptive is being advanced over religious liberty.

Again, the question is why? I think Catholic scholar George Weigel has put his finger on it: “What began as a movement to liberate sexuality from the constraints of moral reason, custom, and law,” Weigel says, “has become a movement determined to use the instruments of law to impose its deconstruction of human sexuality and its moral relativism on all of society.” I urge you to read Weigel’s piece.

Friends, this is a clash of worldviews. Whether it’s “gay rights” or “reproductive rights,” the forces of secular liberalism are choosing sexual license over our religious liberty regarding human sexuality.

As Christians, we simply cannot go along.

Chuck Colson's daily BreakPoint commentary airs each weekday on more than one thousand outlets with an estimated listening audience of one million people. BreakPoint provides a Christian perspective on today's news and trends via radio, interactive media and print.

Publication dateMarch 1, 2012

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