Mark Tooley, Russell Moore, and Franky Schaeffer on Religious Liberty

Mark Tooley is President at the Institute on Religion and Democracy. (Photo credit: Institute on Religion and Democracy)
Mark Tooley is President at the Institute on Religion and Democracy. (Photo credit: Institute on Religion and Democracy)

This past Summer chronically angry Franky Schaeffer, the “atheist who believes in God” who’s made a career of denouncing his late theologian father Francis Schaeffer, issued an “open letter” to Evangelicals imploring them to abandon their defense of religious liberty.

Opposing the Obamacare HHS contraceptive/abortifacient mandate and defending religious groups’ ability to uphold theological and moral standards were really just “a bad set of choices they were duped into making in order to serve a purely political agenda masquerading as a ‘religious liberty’ issue,” Schaeffer claimed. “They’ve been had,” having been “manipulated” and “duped by neoconservative Roman Catholics and a few others, into a war where they’re just cannon fodder in a larger political battle.”

Evangelicals “have now become willing co belligerents of the far-right GOP leadership seeking to discredit Obama,” Schaeffer explained. “That is all this ‘religious liberty’ shtick has really been about.” For Schaeffer, and others, preventing the state from dictating moral and theological standards to religious institutions is only “shtick” over which clueless Evangelicals are politically exploited.

Schaeffer’s cynical claim was in my mind this evening as I listened to Southern Baptist public policy advocate Russell Moore, speaking to the Christian Legal Society here in Boston, observe that “most of our opponents [on religious liberty]…don’t really believe that people are motivated by religious conviction.” Instead they “assume there must be some motivation of economic benefit or political power.”

Moore noted the “Gospel informs us that there are limits to every earthly power including the power of the state.” And a government that claims to be “final arbiter of conscience is TOO big and can do ANYTHING.” There needs to be a generation that “fears God more than political and economic marginalization,” Moore implored,” not “wringing our hands with fear and worry.” After all, Jesus Christ remains alive “no matter what the U.S. Supreme Court does.”

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SOURCE: The Christian Post
Mark D. Tooley

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