If you followed the news lately, you know that one of the recurring headlines has been the issue of religious liberty. Several states have sought to pass legislation that tries to navigate the rocky waters where efforts to prevent discrimination collide with issues of religious freedom. Admittedly the issues are complex, especially when you try to codify it into law. I am grateful that there are folks far smarter and insightful than I who can speak to and into these issues. Where I have to deal with it in my world, I will just keep asking God to give me the wisdom to hold onto all the Truth I can and exercise all the grace I can.
But I must say I have my own set of concerns regarding religious liberty. I have no doubt that when push comes to shove a pretty good number of people will balk at any suggestion that they should be required to provide a service that might violate their spiritual conscience. But there is something in all of that which makes me sad. My opinion is that many of those who would “rally” to the support of religious freedom are the same ones who neglect their religious freedom. In a land where it is lawful for them to worship frequently, read their bibles daily, gather with others for prayer, and actively share their faith they have little or no interest in doing so.
That is sad enough in itself but there is something that makes me even sadder. As long as Christians continue to “rally” mainly about issues that they oppose, they and the Church will be known for what they are against. In a world sliding deeper into darkness, it is inevitable that Christians and the Church will not be able to support all that the world wants to celebrate. But what grieves me is that there isn’t any way to be the Light of the World and the Salt of the Earth if we are simply known for what we are against. The power of the new life is most clearly displayed in the things we are for: feeding those who are hungry, educating the poor, defending the weak, loving the unlovable, visiting the prisoners, the sick and widows, for great generosity, and just in general glorifying our Father in all we do, say and even think.
May we, living in the light of the Resurrection, be the Light of the World and the Salt of the Earth.