This devotional was written by my son, Clark Wrather, who is the pastor of the First Baptist Church of Yukon, Oklahoma.
I have seen some commercials running about the election where people claim they are an energy voter or a peace voter. The commercials are an attempt to motivate people to vote based upon a personally held value instead of voting based upon the likeability of a candidate. The ads did cause me to think about which primary value I would carry with me to the polls. In this election, I will be a religious freedom voter.
Religious liberty is the cherished principle behind most of our nation's founding documents. It is seen throughout the pages of the Bible, but was not articulated well in the secular sphere until Martin Luther in the 1500s. His book, On Secular Authority, was a passionate expression of the principle: Liberty of Conscience. "Liberty of conscience" is the principle that forbids human authorities from coercing people's spiritual beliefs. We might call it religious freedom. In this book, Luther insisted that God requires voluntary religious beliefs. Compelled or coerced faith is insincere and must never be allowed. Luther insisted that "liberty of conscience" was one of Jesus Christ's principles. According to Luther, the civil government's role is simply to keep outward peace in society. The civil government has no business enforcing spiritual laws. "The laws of worldly government extend no farther than to life and property and what is external upon earth," Luther insisted.
Luther continued, "God has ordained the two governments: the spiritual, which by the Holy Spirit under Christ makes Christians and pious people; and the secular, which restrains the unchristian and wicked so that they are obliged to keep the peace outwardly...The laws of worldly government extend no farther than to life and property and what is external upon earth. For over the soul God can and will let no one rule but himself. Therefore, where temporal power presumes to prescribe laws for the soul, it encroaches upon God's government and only misleads and destroys souls. We desire to make this so clear that every one shall grasp it, and that the princes and bishops may see what fools they are when they seek to coerce the people with their laws and commandments into believing one thing or another."
The greatest assault upon religious freedom since our nation's founding is happening as we speak. Provisions in the Affordable Care Act mandate and require people to violate their deeply held religious beliefs and spiritual convictions. This is an encroachment upon the realm of the King of Heaven. Civil government has overstepped its bounds. Religious companies and institutions will be required by the Affordable Care Act to provide insurance to employees that make contraceptives, sterilizations, and abortifacients freely available. Religious universities, parachurch ministries and Christian family owned business are affected by this legislation.
While we may differ on our beliefs with Catholics, they are being required to ignore their deeply held religious beliefs and provide contraceptives and sterilizations. If this was as far as the legislation went, I would have a problem with it for causing some people to violate and deny their religious convictions, but the legislation goes even lower. It requires employers to provide the morning after pill and the week after pill that causes a pregnancy in its initial stages to terminate. The federal government's own birth control guides say, the drugs prevent implantation of a fertilized egg in the womb. This is abortion by any definition, not contraception.
A prominent company from Oklahoma, Hobby Lobby, is also affected by this legislation. The family has deeply held Christian convictions that will have to be violated in order to meet the requirements of this mandate. This is soul tyranny and it is why our forefathers fought a bloody revolution. The company has filed a law suit against the federal government and their attorney had this to say, "What the petitioners need to hear immediately is that the government cannot use health care reform as an excuse for trampling on religious rights."
In this election you can be an education voter, an energy voter, a peace voter, an abortion on demand voter, a free birth control voter, and many other things. I will be a religious freedom voter and stand with my forefathers against tyranny of the soul.