By now, you’ve likely heard about U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders’ comments implying that Christians are unfit for public office because they believe that Jesus is the only way to salvation. If that’s you, then you are “not someone who this country is supposed to be about.”
There has been outraged reaction after outraged reaction about these comments (as there should be), but is it really so surprising?
Sanders’ comments indicate a much larger problem. That is, the idea that Christians are free to believe, but only if they practice those beliefs in private. And if their beliefs conflict with what they are asked to do at school, at work, or in the public square, they must leave those beliefs at home. If they can’t, then maybe they are in the wrong place—or in the wrong profession—or on the wrong side of history.
Take Jaelene Hinkle for instance. Hinkle is a soccer player on the U.S. Women’s Team. She was called up to play on the national team, but recently announced that she would be withdrawing from two upcoming games for “personal reasons.”
While she hasn’t said what those personal reasons are, there has been plenty of speculation that Hinkle, an outspoken Christian, didn’t feel she could wear the LGBTQ Pride jerseys that the U.S. Men’s and Women’s soccer teams would be sporting this month. On social media, she had previously stated her belief in what the Bible teaches about marriage, that it is a union between one man and one woman.
Hinkle earned her spot on the team. But if speculation is to be believed, she was faced with the choice between sitting out games or promoting a message that violates her beliefs. And she chose her faith.
It’s a choice Christians are increasingly asked to make.
Christian business owners who provide expressive works for weddings are told they must use their artistic talents to celebrate same-sex weddings – or leave the wedding industry altogether. Nurses are told if they do not perform abortions, they could be fired. Counselors are told if they do not affirm their patient’s same-sex relationships, they should get out of the field. Adoption agencies and adoptive parents are told if they oppose gender ideology and affirm that God has created children either male or female, they are excluded from adoption opportunities.
At Alliance Defending Freedom, we defend a number of Christians who have been given a choice – your beliefs or your livelihood. Their answer is always obedience to Christ.
But they also don’t sit back. They understand that religious freedom should not be confined to the four walls of your house or your church. And that the freedom to believe is not confined to your mind. They have the courage to stand up for their rights.
It should deeply concern us when the government can punish individuals for peacefully living according to their beliefs. Governments and cultural winds change. It may be these beliefs today, but it could be your beliefs tomorrow.
So, we must continue to stand for the rights of all people to live according to their beliefs. Otherwise, those rights are in jeopardy for us all.
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