Pinch of Incense
 
Pinch of Incense
Written By Oliver Perry   |   07.07.16

Obamacare is a complex regulation mandating universal insurance coverage. It also contains deliberate offense against Christians, requiring that everyone purchase insurance having “contraceptive coverage.” All employer health plans must provide this coverage. In practice this means plans that provide abortifacient products like IUDs and Plan B pills. [i]

But never fear, your religious objections will be catered to. An employer can avoid providing these products. All it must do is to fill out a little four page form. After that the contraceptive products are provided directly by the insurers and the employer is no longer in the loop. [ii] Everybody happy?

The Little Sisters of the Poor, which provides charitable services to elderly people, saw through this scheme right away. They recognized that they were still indirectly authorizing the provision of the abortifacients. They saw that they weren’t being allowed to select an insurer that itself wouldn’t provide them. The Little Sisters still felt culpable for possibly supplying abortifacients to its employees. So they objected both to providing the products and to filling out the little form. Their legal objection has gone all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, which has asked for the parties to try again for a compromise solution. [iii]

What is this form, seemingly so unobtrusive and yet so objectionable? It’s a modern version of the pinch of incense offered to Caesar. Through it you affirm that your beliefs aren’t substantial enough to materially affect the world about you. After all, we can’t have religion affecting government policy, can we?

This is just another round of the fight about who will rule, Christ or Caesar. Compared to the troubles that Christians face in the Middle East or in Asia our troubles seem trivial. Yet these forms, the legal rulings against florists or proclamations about restrooms point the way to larger troubles. What can we do to keep our leaders from asking us to choose some invented “government compelling interest” [iv] over Christ?

First and always we must pray for national revival. Its coming will be God’s doing and His timing.

Next, remember that these are still the United States. Christians are not second class citizens, prohibited from advocating in society for Christ and his people. We can educate, petition, vote, organize, march, rally and otherwise tell and show our officials where they are stepping on our religious rights. We can also file lawsuits, just as the Little Sisters did, when the government demands an unrighteous obedience. Remember that judges also read election returns.

The church is already called to enlighten the world. We are a lamp set on a hill – not self-setting but put there by the Lord – providing light to all who are around it. [v] How will society know what is right or wrong unless we approve the right and admonish the wicked?

The U.S. Constitution encourages our advocacy. The First Amendment doesn’t say “separate your religion from politics”, it says “government, don’t interfere with religion”. [vi] Government must not favor a denomination but otherwise must get out of the way. This reading might shock you but it is what the amendment says.

If we don’t want to give to the government the things that are God’s then we will have to tell our politicians and judges – again – what they can’t touch. Telling them over and over again is a good start to reclaiming the public square for Christ. [vii] 


Footnotes:

[i]       One provision in the Obamacare law mandates that health insurance cover “additional preventive care and screenings” for women, as specified in regulations to be issued by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA).  PPACA (not in service at this moment) 2713, (a)(4) The contraceptive mandate is result of HHS regulation.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patient_Protection_and_Affordable_Care_Act#Coverage_for_contraceptives

[ii]      HHS administrative rules provides for birth control services even if the employer doesn’t want to directly provide them.  https://newrepublic.com/article/100636/obama-announces-contraception-accommodation-bishops-catholic-hospital-exemption

[iii]     The Little Sisters case before the Supreme Court was sent case back to Appellate Court to negotiate a compromise.  http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/435446/little-sisters-poor-just-beat-obama-administration-supreme-court

[iv]    Obama administration policies have asserted a compelling interest in reproductive rights. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/andrew-woodman/hobby-lobby_b_5029820.html

[v]     Matt. 5:14-16

[vi]    First portion of text: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, …

[vii]   James 2:26

Oliver Perry
Oliver has lived in Illinois for decades.  He wasn’t born here, but got here as fast as he could.  He found his bride at church and still adores her.  Together they’ve raised three children to successful adulthood. Oliver sees that even today the Bible speaks authoritatively on society, its government and its laws. He hopes that through these articles you will be encouraged to also think along these lines....
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