Moral and Religious Coexistence

It is famously recognized that freedom of speech should not include freedom to yell “fire!” in a crowded building. Similarly, while supporting separation of church and state (religion and government), I recognize limits to that separation. Government cannot be separated from morality. And morality is defined by religion. Government laws against murder, theft, kidnapping, and a host of evils are based on morality. There’s no end to cries that “there oughta be a law” against some immoral behavior.

Recently some have judged that for a business person to refuse to help facilitate a homosexual celebration is immoral. However, Biblical religion begets Biblical morality which recognizes the immorality of homosexual behavior, thereby motivating a Christian to separate himself from the celebration of homosexual behavior. Can Biblical religion peacefully coexist with a religion that approves homosexuality? Current events indicate they are mutually exclusive.

I need not know which version of Islam is true Islam or which version of Hinduism is true Hinduism. What is obvious is that there are religions which advocate the killing or harassment of Christians. Can Christianity peacefully coexist with these forms of anti-Christianity? Is long-term, deep, peaceful religious co-existence a reasonable expectation? I’m doubting it.

It seems such coexistence is always relative, partial, and transitory. Americans never had religious neutrality. The Pilgrims were not tolerant of all religions; they intended to be guided by one. The constitutions of our early colonies prescribe Christianity as the source of moral consistency. In 1892 a Supreme Court judge stated that “this is a Christian nation” (that is, a big tent form of Christianity). Religious neutrality is not natural; nations are unable to create and preserve it. Partly because Christianity is more tolerant than some religions, the transition from big tent Christianity has been slow. Americans have tried hard to accommodate Judaism, atheism, cults, and Islam. Some campaign for freedom from religion. It doesn’t exist. Even living according to the supposition that there is no God or that God can be ignored have major religious and moral implications. The inevitable clash of different religiously based moralities is increasing. Because the United States is moving away from Christian morality, Christians should expect decreasing accommodation. More and more we will not fit with the culture and its laws.

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