No doubt, you’ve heard opponents of religious freedom use the idea of “separation of church and state” to promote all kinds of things. Things like removing prayer in public schools, erasing historical religious landmarks, and even blocking faithful Christians from public service.
But this isn’t what the “separation of church and state” is supposed to mean—far from it.
When the Founders drafted the First Amendment, they were more concerned about protecting believers from the government and not the other way around. As President Ronald Reagan put it, “the First Amendment was not written to protect people and their laws from religious values. It was written to protect those values from government tyranny.”
But, in some places, our religious freedom is under threat. Some government officials are using their positions of authority to control what churches teach, where they worship, or how they exercise their religious freedom.
Some states are even trying to force churches to pay for abortion. It seems unbelievable, doesn’t it? But that’s exactly what these two states are doing.
The state of Washington recently passed a law that would require all employers—including churches—to pay for abortions through their health care plans. For Cedar Park Assembly of God, this was a slap in the face.
Cedar Park doesn’t just talk about being pro-life. It puts those beliefs into action through several important ministries. It partners with a local pregnancy center and foster care provider, hosts an annual camp for children in foster care, prays for couples struggling with infertility, and even co-founded an adoption agency for frozen embryos remaining after in vitro fertilization.
Now, their state is demanding that they pay for abortion. This church is dedicated to fighting abortion—not paying for it. So, Cedar Park is challenging this law in court.
It would be bad enough if this sort of thing were only happening in Washington. But, unfortunately, this isn’t an isolated incident. In California, a state agency called the Department of Managed Health Care (DMHC) has issued a rule requiring churches to pay for abortion. What’s worse is that the DMHC made this decision after being influenced by Planned Parenthood.
Skyline Wesleyan Church, in the San Diego area, and Foothill Church, Calvary Chapel Chino Hills, and Shepherd of the Hills Church in the Los Angeles area, are all being forced to pay for abortions through this new rule. So both Skyline and Foothill, along with a few other California churches, have filed lawsuits to challenge this rule in court.
The Founders of our country protected the free exercise of religion because they were worried that the government would try to impose its agenda on churches.
This is exactly what officials in California and Washington are doing. They are forcing their pro-abortion agenda on churches and coercing people of faith to act against their convictions. This is a violation of the First Amendment, plain and simple.