The Gospel Coalition blog recently rounded up some evangelical leaders' calls for civil disobedience. Requiring religious employers to provide health insurance that covers contraception (regardless of who actually pays for it), is effectively forcing pro-life Christians to violate their conscience. These evangelicals claim that some of the drugs to be covered are abortifacients.
Such violation of religious liberty will not stand. These men, along with the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, are so concerned about human life that they will not tolerate even the most remote connection to birth control that results in the ending of even the most basic forms of human life. Innocent, defenseless lives are at stake here.
Chuck Colson says he loves his country, "but I love my God more . . . I've made up my mind---sober as that decision would have to be---that I will stand for the Lord regardless of what my state tells me."
Rick Warren so bravely proclaimed, "I'd go to jail rather than cave in to a govement mandate that violates what God commands us to do."
Richard Land and Barrett Duke wrote an impassioned call to Christians to oppose this measure, which is an "affront to all people who are pro-life" (emphasis added).
I'm in my last semester of law school, and have been trained to impeach witnesses up on the stand because of a little something called a "prior inconsistent statement." Our justice system is so concerned with the credibility of witnesses that we have carved out an exception to hearsay rules, which normally prohibit out-of-court statements, so that those words can be used against witnesses if they make previous inconsistent statements. Once the witness is confronted with the inconsistency, she is impeached and her word is no longer credible.
To me, Colson, Warren, and Land have lost credibility based on their prior inconsistent statements about their support of innocent, defenseless human lives and whether they would put the state before their faith in God.
In 2003, when the Bush administration was preparing to pre-emptively invade another country, many evangelical leaders offered their support, or at least helped justify, this military action, which resulted in over 100,000 documented Iraqi civilian deaths. When allegations later surfaced that the U.S. military was using an especially heinous form of torture on prisoners of war, some evangelical leaders again stepped up to help justify torture.
Chuck Colson reasoned that "if a competent authority honestly believed that [torture] was the only way to get information that might save the lives of thousands, I believe he would be justified." Yes, this is the same Chuck Colson that you just read about above, who proclaimed that while he does love his country, he wouldn't let his state get in the way of his stand for the Lord.
Rick Warren, in 2008, performed some post-hoc rationalization for the Iraq invasion, despite the Bush administration's later-disproved reasons for invading in the first place: "whether or not they found weapons of mass destruction in Iraq is beside the point." Yes, this is the same Rick Warren who valiantly rails against a government who makes us violate God's commands.
Richard Land stated in 2006 that the Iraq war "was just; I think it was one of the more noble things we've done." Yes, the same Richard Land who, as we saw above, so passionately protested against government action that is an affront to people who are pro-life.
None of these men offered such an unequivocal statement in support of innocent, defenseless human lives when the U.S. decided to invade Iraq and later sanction torture. No one called for civil disobedience when reports started pouring in of civilian deaths, or of the U.S.'s best and brightest being blown up by roadside bombs, or of those same best and brightest being driven to suicide once they're home, or of the estimated 900,000 Iraqi women who are now widows.
Such duplicity disgusts me. I know no one is perfect and that stances change, and I'm certainly not claiming to be perfect. But such pompous calls for civil disobedience simply make my stomach turn. I can't help but think of the death and destruction in Iraq that was abetted by some U.S. evangelicals. The juxtaposition doesn't sit well with me, and I have a feeling it doesn't sit well with many other people in my generation.
If you want to make valiant, impassioned, public calls to put your faith in God before your obedience to the government, at least be consistent. Because if not, even an inexperienced law student would have you impeached on the stand in a heartbeat.