ERLC Leadership Summit, 04/21-04/23 2014

Far more than a political issue

NASHVILLE – “This is as close as a Southern Baptist gets to dancing in the streets for joy.”

That was how Russell Moore, the president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC), described the news that Hobby Lobby had prevailed in its fight against a government mandate that the company pay for abortion-causing drugs. Moore spoke to the media during a press conference after the June 30 Supreme Court ruling.

“A government that can pave over the consciences of the Greens can steamroll over any dissent anywhere,” Moore said. “Whether you agree or disagree with us about abortion, every American should want to see a government that is not powerful enough to set itself up as a god over the conscience.

Moore said the ruling also means faith can be exercised in public, not just at a house of worship.

“Our consciences are not held in a blind trust when we leave our church buildings on Sunday,” he said. “I hope this decision is a warning to the White House to stop such a cavalier disregard of religious liberty, seen both in this coercive mandate and, earlier, in their argument to do away with the ministerial exemption in hiring. More than that, though, I pray for churches that can raise up a new generation to prize freedom of conscience and religious liberty for all. We won this case, and now is the time to thank God. But who could have imagined just a few years ago that we would even have to take such a thing to the United States Supreme Court? We must teach our children what it means to be free people, and what it means to follow Christ whatever the cost. This is not just a political issue.”