I supported Chick-fil-A by helping organize Southwestern Seminary’s purchase of 250 sandwiches. I also ate breakfast, lunch, and dessert after dinner there on Wednesday. In fact, today, I have already eaten at Chick-fil-A twice, but it’s time to move past financial support and discuss the more important issue. It’s not about chicken sandwiches or even about the definition of marriage as important as that is…the key issue is religious liberty.
I used to say, “it’s a free country” with regularity. Nowadays, elected officials tell companies not to bring their jobs to town if their leaders hold certain beliefs. Government overstep seems to be removing the “free” from speech.
Let’s look at a little history. In the 1600s, the Anabaptists gave their lives standing for religious freedom. A few crazy people aside, most Anabaptists were pacifists who simply wrote to defend their beliefs. You should read “On Heretics and Those Who Burn Them” by Balthasar Hubmaier if you haven’t. Hubmaier defends not just his own religious freedom, but the right for heretics to believe whatever they like without persecution.
In 1801, the Danbury Baptist Association wrote a letter to Thomas Jefferson. Many quote Jefferson’s 1802 letter as the document that established the wall of separation between church and state, but I want you to notice a section from the Danbury Baptists’ inquiry.
“Our sentiments are uniformly on the side of religious liberty–that religion is at all times and places a matter between God and individuals–that no man ought to suffer in name, person, or effects on account of his religious opinions.”
Mr. Cathy should have the freedom to state his religious beliefs without any suffering. Similarly, those who protest today have the right to state their religious beliefs without any suffering. Evelyn Beatrice Hall’s summarized Voltaire’s “Essay on Tolerance” by writing, “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend your right to say it.”
As one of my professor’s used to shout, “That’s the Point!” Will we one day find out that our “free speech” has been classified as “hate speech” when we defend the biblical view of marriage?