It’s ludicrous, really, the way some Believers carry on in this nation about being persecuted. You know the type. They can be heard most often on talk radio or some cable television channel whining about how their religious freedoms are being infringed upon.They yammer incessantly about their First Amendment Rights and how the world is going to hell in a hand basket.
Given the way Congress has been misbehaving lately, it probably is.
Let me just say this about Congress before I move on: You employed them. You. Me. We employ Congress. We can fire them if we so choose. We can boss them if we decide to. We can and should tell them exactly what it is that we expect of them.
Why, then, does everybody and her live-in act so damn helpless when it comes to Congress?
It’s like Miz O always says: Don’t give away your power.
I am so weary of hearing people, yes, even you, my beloved NPR hosts, yattering about how little Congress is doing and how badly they are doing what little they are doing.
The question isn’t what is Congress going to do about all our problems. The question is what are we going to do about it? We are the boss people here. Why then aren’t we doing something more than taking to the airwaves and complaining?
We are only powerless to do something because we choose to be powerless. Because we like the former King Edward have abdicated our right to rule, to have voice, for a mistress of our choosing: Facebook, television, Twitter, video-poker and/or porn.
We are so confused about our First Amendment Rights. Seems we have mistaken the right to petition for redress of grievances as the right to bitch and moan.
It isn’t the same thing people.
As written, the First Amendment requires action on our part. As lived out currently, it is regarded as permission to whine about the inaction of others.
It is this misuse and abuse of the First Amendment that has me all fired up.
Rachel Held Evans sent me a link to a blog post she wrote: How [Not To] Respond to Abuse Allegations: Christians and Sovereign Grace Ministries (SGM).
In it Rachel (rightly) takes Tim Challies to task for making allowances for SGM to abuse the First Amendment in his post Thinking Biblically About Sovereign Grace Ministries.
As the Huffington Post reported SGM is trying to skirt around ongoing allegations of child abuse by invoking their First Amendment Rights. It’s a misuse of power and a misunderstanding of the First Amendment.
Challies called for Believers to be slow to judge the allegations of abuse. Evans did an excellent job in her blog post of highlighting why Challies was wrong in his approach, so I won’t belabor the wrong-headedness of all that.
While there will always be ongoing debates about the freedoms ensured by the First Amendment, freedom of religious practice and belief does not allow for harm to the life and liberty of others. Invoking the First Amendment does not mean a person can get away with human sacrifice as an acceptable religious practice. Similarly, any church practices that would not sufficiently protect children from sex abuse is certainly not protected from civil court scrutiny by the First Amendment.
Those who complain about being persecuted in this world for being Christian often fail to realize that the problem isn’t their faith.
It’s that they aren’t behaving Christian enough.
The world isn’t angry with Christians for believing in God. They are angry because so many Christians act like the Devil all day long.
How much more ungodly can a church body get than to try and invoke the First Amendment to avoid litigation over allegations of child abuse by its members?
Karen Spears Zacharias is author of A Silence of Mockingbirds, the true crime story behind Karly’s Law. She teaches First Amendment Rights at Central Washington University.