Word From the Center: Friday, June 1, 2018

Welcome to “Word from The Center” FRIDAY, a Two-Kingdom, practical reflection on the issues of the day from the Lutheran Center for Religious Liberty. I’m Gregory Seltz. Today’s issue…

The Weaponizing of Politics – silencing not protecting dissent

One of the disturbing trends of our modern society is the notion that government is the best arbiter and final authority to virtually every moral disagreement. A Two-Kingdom, public engagement strategy, while it notes the importance of the state, politics, and the courts, it is also very aware of the limitations of such entities to solve the ultimate moral questions of culture merely by force or policy alone, especially because such power rests in the hands of sinful people. As such, citizens should be wary of positions that compel the state to silence dissent, or to curb dialogue just because various groups disagree. But that is exactly what is happening in so many areas of public policy today. Rights are asserted, rights are demanded, and law is manipulated to coerce agreement and to silence dissent.

One can see this “spirit” in the article from Horn News where students in the California Public University System are demanding unfettered access to abortions on campus at no cost to themselves. (See the beginnings of this already in California Senate Approved Bill 320). These students, who obviously disagree with the pro-life position, are not merely demonstrating to get their position “out there” for others to hear. Nor are they demanding a free, fair, and open dialogue on the issue. No, they demand the that the government solve this issue by fiat. They are demanding unlimited access to abortion services at no cost to themselves. They assert their right to abortion as fundamental. They assert the notion that their health and health care are not their responsibility but a right to be given to them as a gift. But here is the nefarious part. They demand that others not only acknowledge this “right,” but that others agree with it and even bear its cost. Their strategy is to use the coercive force of government not merely to create the freedoms necessary to promote the fair and unfettered discussion of such an issue, but to use the coercive power of government to decide the issue, to grant access by fiat to this abominable practice and to make others pay for it.

There are a host of reasons why we at LCRL believe that these students are wrong. They take no responsibility for their sexual practices. They demean the sanctity of life when a baby gets in the way of their sexual practices. And they take out their aggression on the most vulnerable in our society, unborn children. LCRL believes that people of goodwill should defend the sanctity of life for all, especially the most vulnerable in our society. But, even if you don’t share that position, a person of goodwill must resist this new misuse of politics. The weaponization of politics to silence dissent, or even worse, force the dissenters to bear the cost of the opposing practice is the quickest route to tyranny and the de-humanization of others. As Christians, we know that a civil society will contain viewpoints and practices with which we disagree. The issues of tolerance and civility go both ways, especially in dealing with issues of life, liberty, and marriage.