|A Semi-Regular Publication Ministry of FBC Farmersville||February 2012|
This year could witness the gravest clash of our lifetimes over the question of religious liberty. Keep on reading to learn more.
|Religious Liberty Under Assault|
| ObamaCare Undermines the First Amendment|
The President of the United States is violating the First Amendment. Without even asking Congress or getting the opinion of the Supreme Court, he and Kathleen Sebelius (Director of Housing and Human Services) have decided to force the entities of the Southern Baptist Convention to buy abortion-causing drugs for women. This is a direct assault on the religious liberty that our ancestors won and defended for us, and we have no choice but to oppose it.
It grieves me to send this newsletter to you for several reasons. First, I never want to be unnecessarily controversial through the official publication channels of this church regarding political matters. We all have our own opinions about what is happening in the world around us. Those opinions should arise out of our Christian faith, but we realize that an excessive attention to political matters can displace a church's focus on the gospel.
Second, I want to show respect for the office of the President of the United States. Just as I have prayed for every president of my adult lifetime, I have prayed for this president, and I have publicly instructed you, the members of my church, to pray for this president and to treat him respectfully. That task is most difficult when the time comes to disagree respectfully, and that is the task that I undertake today.
If any other good choice presented itself, I would not send you this email. In the months to come, leaders of the Southern Baptist Convention may find themselves being prosecuted for violation of federal law. You need to know what's going on before you hear about it from the secular media. I believe that you must be notified of what is happening around us, and I believe that your pastor should be the one to let you know.
It all comes down to this: By the end of this year, President Obama will require that our church fund chemical abortions or face the penalties of breaking the law. This is patently unconstitutional. I'm sure that none of us expected that we would live to see such a thing in this nation that has been a refuge of religious liberty for people all around the world, but it is happening.
The President has sworn an oath to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States of America. Instead, he is throwing the First Amendment under the bus in order to accomplish his unconstitutional policy objectives.
| When the President Says "Contraceptive"...|
This is not about contraception. This is not solely a Roman Catholic issue. The President is deliberately lying to the American people about both of those things. This is about the Constitution. This is about abortion. This is about religious liberty.
Although Obamacare does not yet force our church to pay for surgical abortions, it will soon force our church to pay for chemical abortions. With Orwellian flourish, President Obama refers to drugs such as "ellaOne" as "emergency contraception." Sometimes people refer to them as "morning after" pills. EllaOne, however, is effective as many as five days after sexual intercourse to end a pregnancy. After five days, conception has already taken place. If an egg is going to be fertilized, it can be fertilized a quickly as thirty minutes after sexual intercourse. In fact, expert sources suggest that conception almost never takes place as late as five days after intercourse.
Contraception means preventing sperm from fertilizing eggs. These drugs don't do that. Everybody agrees about that. These drugs, once a human being has been conceived, makes certain that she doesn't survive.
I realize that people may not agree about whether it is abortion to stop the life of a four-day-old child, and there is a grave risk at this point in this newsletter that this may devolve into a discussion about the right to life and the problem of abortion. But although abortion has been taking place in this country for forty years, this is the first time that a president has dared to override the Constitution to force churches to pay for them. Even people who are pro-abortion don't expect to fund abortions through donations to churches, do they? How can we let any of God's money be spent to stamp out life that He has created? We can't.
|Aren't Churches Exempt?|
|ObamaCare's Begrudging, Insufficient Exemption |
Your offerings to FBC Farmersville fund our church's ministries, but our ministries extend far beyond the walls of our church. Southern Baptist churches cooperate with one another to fund a number of denominational ministries.
Through our state convention, the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention, we provide some funding to at least two colleges: Jacksonville College and The Criswell College. At the national level, the Southern Baptist Convention funds six seminaries, two mission boards, the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, a publishing house (Lifeway), and Guidestone Financial Resources.
ObamaCare does exempt the direct employees of our church. You will not have to provide coverage for chemical abortions to our staff members and their families. But what about these other ministries beyond the local church level? What about all of the Baptist hospitals, soup kitchens, orphan-care ministries, and retirement ministries around the country?
Perhaps you saw on the news this week that President Obama has decreed a "compromise" in an attempt to resolve the First-Amendment flaws of this totalitarian, statist piece of legislation. Why was a compromise needed? It was needed because the exemption for our church does not extend to the cooperative ministries of our church. We have entities that employ non-Southern-Baptists and that minister to people beyond the Southern Baptist Convention. Most of the media coverage stressed Roman Catholic opposition to this attack upon religious liberty, but Southern Baptists have stood steadfastly in opposition, too.
Did the presidential "compromise" fix everything? Not at all. President Obama declared that abortifacient medicines would be provided, not by religious institutions, but by insurance providers. This is problematic for two important reasons. First, insurance providers do not give anything away for free. As the years go by, whatever cost is associated with the provision of these abortifacient drugs will be passed on as a covert component in the insurance premiums of the religious providers. They will still be paying for these drugs; everybody will simply refuse to call it what it is.
Secondly, and most importantly for us as Southern Baptists, a great many denominations of Christianity, including our own convention, do not use outside insurance providers. Guidestone (formerly The Annuity Board of the Southern Baptist Convention), IS our insurance provider. Obama's directive does not exempt these church-related insurance providers. And so, although Lifeway or the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission will not have to pay directly for chemical abortions for its female employees, Guidestone, another SBC entity, WILL have to do so under this horrible, unconstitutional law.
Either way, our church and churches like ours will be funding the murder of babies with God's money if we do as the President commands. Although Guidestone does not operate on Cooperative Program dollars in the same, direct way that is true of our seminaries and mission boards, Guidestone certainly survives off of the Cooperative Program indirectly. Our seminaries and mission boards buy insurance from Guidestone, as does our church and so many other churches. Practically every dollar of Guidestone's funding started out in an offering plate in a local SBC church.
The President is entirely aware of this problem. He just doesn't care. He speaks of "balancing" the competing "principles" of religious liberty and the provision of abortifacient drugs to all women free of charge. Of course, these are things that he has sworn not to "balance" in his oath of office. Religious liberty is a constitutional mandate, provided in the First Amendment. The provision of abortifacient drugs to women free of charge isnt in the constitution at all; it's just a policy goal of his own. Personal policy goals and constitutional mandates are not to be "balanced." It is President Obama's job--sworn duty--to "preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States." Where his personal policy goals conflict with the Constitution, rather than "balance" the two it is his job to abandon his policy goals in respect of the Constitution. President Obama is derelict of his duties and is acting in contradiction of his oath.
|What's Going to Come of All This?|
Civil Disobedience on the Horizon
So, what will Guidestone, our seminaries and mission boards, and our churches do?
It's just this simple: We're not going to comply with this law. Dr. O. S. Hawkins, President of Guidestone, has already said so. All of our entities are in agreement on this point. I am hopeful that the vast preponderance of our Southern Baptist churches will stand alongside them. Will we face prosecution? Will we go to jail?
I hope not. Legislators are talking about rallying Congress to take the wind out of President Obama's sails. The best solution is Senate Bill S.1467. Even if none of these solutions should pass, there is always the hope that a legal conflict, if it takes place, will find a sane resolution in our court system.
Nevertheless, if these hopes do not materialize and if President Obama is able to set aside the First Amendment by Executive Order, I have to remember my forefathers who went to jail and suffered persecution, who died in military service or risked everything in times of desperation, just to protect our liberty to practice our faith. I'm confident that America cannot remain "the land of the free" unless it remains "the home of the brave."
It is a time for God's people to be those brave citizens. It is a time for us to "be strong and very courageous." Will you pray for Dr. O.S. Hawkins, Dr. Richard Land, and our other Southern Baptist leaders to be brave in this hour? They've been exemplary so far. I'm so proud of them. Pray for their strength to fail not under the tremendous pressure that may come.
Will you even go so far as to contact the White House and express your extreme displeasure with President Obama's refusal to comply with the First Amendment? Separation of Church and State is only feasible if the State doesn't intend to take over every aspect of society. God has given us the privilege and responsibility of having a voice in our government. Now is the time to stand up and be heard.
I believe in the separation of church and state. Apparently, the President of the United States does not. He believes that he has the authority to order our church to fund abortion contrary to our convictions. He believes that he has the authority to threaten us if we do not. Separation of church and state is, for him, a one-way street.
But he doesn't have the authority. Our Constitution says he doesn't. The President swore to defend the Constitution, but he isn't doing so. Who will? Will you? Will we?
Thank you for listening. Please commit to pray about these things.
First Baptist Church of Farmersville