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Can The Government Corrupt Your Faith?

February 12, 2012

It's been more than a year since the start of the series on Why the government can't save you. This time, the question goes the opposite way - can the government corrupt your faith - and prevent you from being saved?

The simple answer to this is - it depends.
It depends on things like whether we pay attention to what's going on -
whether we do a reality check on the implications of various rules and laws -
and how we respond to them.


First - do we pay attention to what's going on.

The big news right now would be the contraceptive policy portion of the new health care law. Just in case you haven't seen it - it's about whether or not religious affiliated institutions will have to cover birth control for their employees. At least that's the liberal explanation of it. From the conservative point of view - it's about whether or not religious affiliated institutions will have to provide the means to terminate the life of an "unborn" person - even though it's against the core beliefs of that religious institution.

So - is it a women's rights issue - or is it a freedom of religion issue?

I guess that depends on your point of view.


And that's where the second item comes in -
doing a reality check on the implications of various rules and laws.

So - let's look at this one.

Part of this is the morning after pill.
This begs the question - what does a "morning after pill" actually do?

Well - for one thing - it isn't just for the morning after.

For this - let's look at info from the Plan B One-Step web site, which is one of these "morning after pills".

It says things like -

You should not take Plan B One-Step® if you are already pregnant.

Well - that certainly sounds good.

Plan B One-Step® is not the abortion pill...

That sounds good too.

This isn't an abortion pill - so what's the big deal?

With Plan B One-Step®, you have up to 72 hours (3 days) to prevent a pregnancy.

Wait - three days?
It's not just the morning after?

Sperm can live in the female reproductive tract for 5 to 6 days.

So now the site talks about three different timeframes -

What's the deal here - why these different timeframes?

What's really going on?

For that - we turn to www.morningafterpill.org -

Proponents of "emergency contraception," as well as the Preven and Plan B websites, contend that emergency contraception does not cause abortion. They argue that emergency contraception prevents pregnancy and thereby reduces the need for induced abortion. However, they intentionally define the term "pregnancy" as implantation of a fertilized egg in the lining of a woman's uterus, as opposed to "pregnancy" beginning at fertilization.

Whether one understands pregnancy as beginning at "implantation" or "fertilization," the heart of the matter is when human life begins. It is important to keep in mind that scientists have confirmed that at the moment the sperm and the egg join (fertilization), a new human being is created who is completely different from his/her mother.

This is not a subjective opinion, but an objective scientific fact. Accordingly, any artificial action that works to destroy a fertilized egg (human embryo) is abortifacient in nature.


BTW - for those of us that didn’t know the exact definition of “abortifacient”, here it is - from dictionary.com

a drug or device used to cause abortion: a biochemical abortifacient in pill form.


So - what it comes down to - the proponents of the morning after pill argue that an abortion doesn't take place until after the fertilized egg is implanted in the lining of a woman's uterus.

What they don't say - the egg is fertilized before the implantation actually happens.

So now we see the real question - when does the life actually begin?
is it when the egg is implanted?
or is it when the egg is fertilized?


We could continue this as a scientific discussion - with "experts" on both sides to prove their position is the correct one.

But let's not do that.

Let's go instead to the One whose position is the correct one.


Let's go to a verse from the King James Version of the Bible that most of us are probably familiar with -

Ex 20:13 Thou shalt not kill.

In the NIV - this has been reworded to be -

Ex 20:13 “You shall not murder.

Maybe one could still argue the fine points of whether terminating a life or a fertilized egg is murder based on a scientific version of when life begins. After all - can you murder someone who isn't alive yet?


We can see where God considers life to start in the book of Jeremiah -

Jer 1:4 The word of the LORD came to me, saying,
Jer 1:5 “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,
before you were born I set you apart;
I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.”

Uh oh.

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you"

So much for the argument that one can define the beginning of life as the moment the fertilized egg is implanted.
This even calls into question whether the moment of fertilization is too late.

If God knew each of us before we were formed in the womb -
what does that mean as far as the implications of terminating, let alone preventing, a fertilized egg before it turns into what science would call a "living person".

It means that God knew each of us - before any of that.
It means that we were one of His creations before that.
It means that we are preventing one of His creations from walking on the face of the earth.

Going back to the question of whether or not it's possible to murder someone who isn't alive yet - It's pretty hard to see where that argument could succeed given that God knew each of His creations before they were formed in the womb.


While preparing for this article - I came across something in Thru the Bible with J. Vernon McGee - in Chapter 5, Introduction to the Sermon on the Mount. He was speaking with someone who was attending a short talk that he was about to give.
This person had apparently been swearing rather profusely before being introduced to McGee - and upon finding out what McGee did, proceeded to apologize to him for the language. The conversation then proceeded like this -

Finally, he said to me, “What’s your racket?” I told him that I was a preacher, and he began to cover up immediately. He apologized for his language. He didn’t need to apologize to me; he needed to apologize to God because God heard him all the time—which I told him. Then he wanted me to know that he was an officer in a certain liberal church, and he boasted, “The Sermon on the Mount is my religion.”

“It is?” I said, “Let’s shake hands. I congratulate you—you’ve got a wonderful religion! By the way, how are you doing with it?”

“What do you mean?”

“You said that the Sermon on the Mount is your religion. Are you living by it?”

“Well, I try.”

“That’s not quite it. The Lord said that you are blessed if you do those things, not if you vote for them. Are you keeping it?”

“I think I am.”

“Do you mind if we take a little test?”

“All right.”

“The Sermon on the Mount says that if you are angry with your brother you are guilty of murder. Are you keeping that one?”

“Well, that’s pretty strong, but I don’t think I have been angry enough to kill anyone.”

Then I quoted the one the Lord gave on adultery: “Whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart” (v. 28), and asked him, “how about that one?”

“Oh, I guess that would get me!”

“Well, I imagine that there are several things in the Sermon on the Mount that would get you. Apparently you are not living by your religion. If I were you, I’d change my religion and get something that works.”


Let's go in the Bible to the Sermon on the Mount - let's see what Jesus had to say about murder - from Matthew 5:21-22

Mt 5:21 “You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘Do not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’ But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment.


Still want to split hairs on when is the moment that life begins?

Jesus has said that even anger will subject us to judgment - forget about murder.


Going back to that J. Vernon McGee conversation -

“You said that the Sermon on the Mount is your religion. Are you living by it?”

“Well, I try.”

“That’s not quite it. The Lord said that you are blessed if you do those things, not if you vote for them. Are you keeping it?”


One would assume that all Christians would vote for the Sermon on the Mount.

Even a lot of non-Christians would vote for the 10 Commandments.

But - the real question -

Are you keeping it?


Before ending this article - I do want to address the third item from the beginning -

It depends on things like whether we pay attention to what's going on -
whether we do a reality check on the implications of various rules and laws -
and how we respond to them.

How do we respond to them?


Once we recognize that something is "against our religion" - do we just do it anyway? Do we blame the government and do what we know we're not supposed to do?
Let's face it - even if the government does give away free morning after pills - they cannot force anyone to actually accept them and swallow them - at least they aren't doing it yet. There's nothing in this law to force that.

What about the question of providing them?
There was an outcry against that - and one can see the result here - Obama revamps contraceptive policy -

President Barack Obama announced Friday that the administration will not require religious-affiliated institutions to cover birth control for their employees.

Capping weeks of growing controversy, Obama said he was backing off a newly announced requirement for religious employers to provide free birth control coverage even if it runs counter to their religious beliefs.

Instead, workers at such institutions will be able to get free birth control coverage directly from health insurance companies.

"Under the rule, women will still have access to free preventive care that includes contraceptive services no matter where they work. That core principle remains," he said from the White House briefing room.

"Religious liberty will be protected and a law that requires free preventative care will not discriminate against women," Obama added.


They backed off - the religious affiliated institutions will not be forced to provide things that are against their core beliefs.

However - for the individual - things that will violate their core religious beliefs will still be available to them - free of any charge to them.

And - since nothing is really free - we have to look at who's paying for these "free" pills that would violate one's core religious beliefs. That would be many of us - the taxpayers. We will be forced to pay for something that could violate our core religious beliefs. What does that mean?

I think it means that we do what the law provides as a remedy - like try to vote out those who would impose / continue this type of thing.

Beyond that - we can look to what Jesus had to say - in Matthew 22:15-22 - when He was asked by the Pharisees about paying taxes - taxes to one of the most notorious governments ever to exist -

Mt 22:15 Then the Pharisees went out and laid plans to trap him in his words. They sent their disciples to him along with the Herodians. “Teacher,” they said, “we know you are a man of integrity and that you teach the way of God in accordance with the truth. You aren’t swayed by men, because you pay no attention to who they are. Tell us then, what is your opinion? Is it right to pay taxes to Caesar or not?”

Mt 22:18 But Jesus, knowing their evil intent, said, “You hypocrites, why are you trying to trap me? Show me the coin used for paying the tax.” They brought him a denarius, and he asked them, “Whose portrait is this? And whose inscription?”

Mt 22:21 “Caesar’s,” they replied.

Then he said to them, “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.”

Mt 22:22 When they heard this, they were amazed. So they left him and went away.


So -
no - the government can't save us.
But -
it doesn't have to be true that the government can corrupt our faith either.


I was watching two political strategists on the news this morning talking about this turnaround in policy. The republican (conservative) said the administration caved on the issue. The democrat (liberal) said the administration reached a compromise that would support both religious freedom and women's rights.

For the republican to say they caved - that's an overstatement. They gave in to the large institutions - the religious affiliated organizations. But they did nothing to change the options presented to us - the individuals. They also did nothing to change the fact that we - the individuals - will have to pay for this. The war against our faith continues.

For the democrat to say that a compromise was reached - that's far closer to the truth. What came out of this was a way for us to compromise our beliefs. We are presented with a way to believe that there's really a realistic choice between (a) what the Bible has to say about a life that God knew before it was formed in the womb and (b) women's rights to have an abortion (or claim that it wasn't really an abortion). That's a choice between keeping our beliefs - or not keeping them. That 's a choice between compromising our beliefs - or keeping them intact.

You see - compromise has different meanings. Here are two from dictionary.com -

something intermediate between different things: The split-level is a compromise between a ranch house and a multistoried house.

an endangering, especially of reputation; exposure to danger, suspicion, etc.: a compromise of one's integrity.

In this case - the compromise isn't between a ranch house and a multi-storied house. It's an endangering of our integrity - or our beliefs.


So -
Don't fall for either trap -

pay attention to what's going on -
do a reality check on the implications of various rules and laws -
respond to them appropriately.

Live according to both of the things that Jesus said -


Mt 5:21 “You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘Do not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’ But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment.


Mt 22:21 ... Then he said to them, “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.”