JEFFERSON CITY – Missouri Southern Baptists stand on the shoulders of their Baptist forefathers like colonial period pastor John Leland in championing the cause of religious freedom, Pathway Editor Don Hinkle told about 375 people attending the June 8 “Stand Up For Religious Freedom” rally held on the steps of the State Capitol.
The event was one of 160 such rallies held that day in cities nationwide, giving voice to people of faith concerned about the ObamaCare mandate forcing religious institutions to provide surgical sterilizations and abortion-inducing drugs through their health plans, regardless of religious or moral convictions.
“More than 200 years ago Baptist minister John Leland of Massachusetts championed religious liberty among the colonists and served as the inspiration for James Madison to pen the First Amendment to the United States Constitution,” Hinkle told the crowd. “It is on the shoulders of leaders like Leland that Missouri Southern Baptists stand today. It is in that noble tradition that we stand with each of you here today in defiance of tyranny known as the Health and Human Services Mandate in the Obama Administration’s Affordable Care Act, also known as ObamaCare.
“The Obama administration’s ‘contraceptive mandate’ requiring health plans to provide contraceptives and abortion-causing drugs and devices is a blatant assault on faith,” Hinkle said. “By requiring faith-based organizations and individuals to pay for these services, the Obama administration has declared that it has the authority to determine when faith is entitled to protection from governmental interference. This is the very kind of tyranny our Founding Fathers intended to prevent when they passed the First Amendment.”
Hinkle said no one should misunderstand what this issue is really about. “While the offense to us is abortion, and to others it is contraception, the real issue is governmental trampling of faith. The Bible is clear about the sanctity of human life. Those of us who take its teachings seriously understand that God expects His people to protect life whenever possible. To be required by government to participate in the destruction of life that God calls us to protect is a direct attack on our faith.
“Government cannot be allowed to tell people of faith when they can and cannot live out the values of their faith. We must not render to government what is God’s. We must not allow government to take from us what is God’s.”
Hinkle urged the crowd to “serve the Lord Jesus first,” that it is Jesus who has provided the basis for freedom of religion in Matthew 22:21 when He said, “Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” In this statement, Hinkle noted, Jesus established the principle of a distinct realm of “things that belong to God,” that should not be regulated or constrained by government (Caesar). Although Jesus did not specify what things belong to this realm that is outside of Caesar’s control, certainly “the things that belong to God” must include decisions and actions regarding worship and doctrinal belief.
“This means that people’s religious convictions and religious activities should clearly be an area in which government gives citizens complete freedom,” Hinkle said, citing theologian Wayne Grudem. “We will keep our consciences clear before Him despite any threats and punishments,” he added. “To do anything less would be to declare government God – and this we will not do.
“We will not bow to government or any other power that seeks to insert itself between us and our God. We refuse to comply with this mandate, and we stand with all those whose consciences will not allow them to comply as well,” Hinkle continued. “We call on everyone who believes that God, and God alone, is the Lord of the conscience to join us in stopping the Obama administration from pillaging the soul with this God-defying, unconstitutional assault on religious freedom.
“May America bless God,” he said.