Posts Tagged ‘rights of conscience’

Why the Left Loathes Religious Liberty

April 9th, 2015 1 comment

moral collapse (1)

The Rights of Conscience

Have you ever wondered why the Left has so little regard for religious liberty and the rights of conscience? How can a group so committed to “equality or all” and “an America free from discrimination” have no problem using fines and other means of coercion to force others to violate their most deeply held convictions?

Secularists have a nasty habit of taking words we commonly use in the context of a Christian worldview and then gutting them of all their original meaning. Words like freedom, liberty, justice and beauty are powerful and inspiring because they point us to something Transcendent. They direct our attention to the existence of a good, holy, wise, just, all-powerful and eternal God Who sets the objective standard for these transcendent values. When you remove God from everyday life like the secularists do, the words become meaningless. They lose their weight and substance.

Perhaps this is why the Left rabidly fights for the unbridled freedom of sexual expression, while caring little for protecting the “rights of conscience.” You see, our English word conscience comes from the Latin word conscientia. The prefix con means “with” or “together.” The verb scire means “to know.” So the word literally means “to know with or to know together.”

We must ask the question, “With whom we are “to know together?”

Herein lies the problem for secularists. The conscience was designed to agree with God concerning matters of right and wrong. God Himself, His character and standards, is our benchmark. Thus, the conscience is a God-given moral compass which helps us determine right from wrong. It has been called “a law we cannot not know.”

The conscience is that part of every person which, willingly or unwillingly, responds to the universal moral law of God. The Apostle Paul writes, “Even Gentiles, who do not have God’s written law, show that they know his law when they instinctively obey it, even without having heard it. 15 They demonstrate that God’s law is written in their hearts, for their own conscience and thoughts either accuse them or tell them they are doing right.”
(Romans 2:14-15, NLT)

Our conscience bears witness to our actions. When we examine our actions what does our conscience say? It is trying to give you an accurate witness of how you measured up to God’s standards.

This is why the Apostle Paul said, “I always strive to keep my conscience clear before God and man.” (Acts 24:16)

Perhaps this explains why there is so little zeal from the Left to defend the rights of conscience. When you have little use for God, then why would you care about the rights of conscience? In fact, without God, how does one even define “conscience rights?” What is a “conscience?”

America’s Uniqueness

America is an exceptional nation. Our Founding Fathers gave us a political society unlike any other in the history of the world. The Founders considered religious liberty to be our “first freedom.” It was the foundation stone upon which all other freedoms rest.


Because one’s religious faith was the foundation for morality. Morality was the foundation of virtue. Virtue was the foundation of liberty.

This explains why religious liberty has been protected by our civil law. James Madison, one of the chief architects of our American understanding of religious liberty, puts the point well:

“The Religion then of every man must be left to the conviction and conscience of every man; and it is the right of every man to exercise it as these may dictate. This right is in its nature an unalienable right.”
-Memorial and Remonstrance

Madison argued that it is an “arrogant pretension” to believe that “the Civil Magistrate is a competent Judge of Religious Truth.”

But here’s where the rub comes in.

Madison, like the rest of our Founders, acknowledged the existence of God and the duty of every man to worship Him. He wrote:

“What is here a right towards men, is a duty towards the Creator. It is the duty of every man to render to the Creator such homage and such only as he believes to be acceptable to him. This duty is precedent, both in order of time and in degree of obligation, to the claims of Civil Society.”

Did you hear that last phrase? The duty toward God takes precedence to the claims of government. Madison went on to say:

“Government exists primarily to protect our natural, God-given rights: “Government is instituted to protect property of every sort. . . [and] conscience is the most sacred of all property.””

Government exists for the purpose of protecting property and the most precious of all property is the human conscience! How far we have fallen from the biblically immersed worldview of our Founding Fathers.

The Bible predicted the day would come when people would be “lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God.” (2 Timothy 3:4) We are living in such a time. If we fail to demonstrate the superior pleasure of knowing and loving Christ (Psalm 16:11) our most cherished liberties will vanish before our eyes.

The Founders & the Rights of Conscience

October 12th, 2011 1 comment

Those who framed our great nation were not secularists or atheists. They all, from the most devout to the least religious, shared a common belief in a Creator God. They were not evolutionary atheists. On the contrary, each believed humans were created in the image and likeness of God. They acknowledged the fact that God has written His law upon the human heart, with our conscience acting as a built in moral compass teaching us the difference between right and wrong.

And since the conscience was placed within each of us by God, our Founders recognized it was out of the reach or authority of human government.

This is why Governor William Livingston (a devout Christian and a signer of the U. S. Constitution) declared:

“Consciences of men are not the objects of human legislation.”

John Jay (an author of the Federalist Papers, original Chief Justice of the U. S. Supreme Court, and President of the American Bible Society) likewise rejoiced that:

“Security under our constitution is given to the rights of conscience.”

Thomas Jefferson (a signer of the Declaration and a U. S. President) repeatedly praised America’s protections for the rights of conscience:

“No provision in our Constitution ought to be dearer to man than that which protects the rights of conscience.”

”Our rulers can have no authority over such natural rights only as we have submitted to them. The rights of conscience we never submitted.”

James Madison (a signer of the Constitution, a framer of the Bill of Rights, and a U. S. President) similarly affirmed:

“Government is instituted to protect property of every sort. . . . [and] conscience is the most sacred of all property.”

According to our Founding Fathers, the final authority rests in the Author of our being – not in human governments. This conviction laid the philosophical foundation for the idea of “rights of conscience” and provided a safeguard against governmental tyranny.

No Conscience, No Liberty

October 10th, 2011 No comments

Liberties do not arise from a vacuum. Rather, they are attached to and nurtured by deep philosophical roots. When the root is severed, all you have left is an empty concept. Eventually you lose both the idea and the freedoms once associated with it.

This is where we find ourselves today. Secularism is philosophically committed to severing every root that links us to our deeply Christian heritage in America. As a result of fifty years, or so, of rabid secularism we now find ourselves cut off from the philosophical well-springs of liberty.

Perhaps this is why our “rights of conscience” are currently under siege by the Obama administration. Let me explain.

Ideas have consequences. If we reject God, as many secularist do, it impacts our view of humankind. It follows that we are not created in His image and likeness, since He doesn’t exist. If no God, then we have no transcendent Law. If no law, then God’s commandments are not inscribed within the human heart. If this is true, then the idea of “rights of conscience” do not exist because we have rendered the whole idea of “conscience” null and void.

Secularism places government as the absolute authority and therefore has no hesitations about trampling the religious beliefs of the people when they do not line up with the official religion of the “Almighty State.”

The end result of the State’s rejection of God is TYRANNY.

This is not the view of our Founders. We’ll delve into their thoughts on “the rights of conscience” in my next blog.