Worship the State – or Else: How Should the Church Respond?

By Eric Metaxas

It’s astonishing that Christians are being forced to defend a right spelled out in the Constitution — and yet, we are.

An important mark of a free society is the willingness of its citizens to respect those with different religious beliefs, even if they deeply disagree with them.

It’s a right Americans have protected, albeit imperfectly, since our founding. But now, this right is being trampled on, by judges, mayors, and college administrators. Astonishingly—for America—we are now going a step further: We are, in effect, facing a demand that citizens worship false gods—or pay a high price.

One of the people most concerned about this is former Congressman Frank Wolf, now the senior distinguished fellow of the 21st Century Wilberforce Initiative. Wolf recently gave a speech at Harvard University outlining the loss of religious liberty in America.

For many Americans, Wolf notes, “Our most deeply held religious values … are generally what inform our conscience and our behavior.” The story of the Pilgrims is “a narrative which upholds the preeminence of religious freedom as the cornerstone of all other human rights,” Wolf adds.

It was a right so important that even during the American Revolution—a time of great national peril—the Continental Congress protected the right of religious pacifists to refuse to bear arms. In so doing, Wolf explains, the Congress properly recognized “the role of the state as it relates to conscience.”

“Quite simply,” he adds, “our conscience is not ultimately allegiant to the state, but to something, and for many people, Someone, higher.”

Yet “today,” Wolf warns, “the authority claims of civil society, or of the state…are expanding well beyond what Americans have historically accepted.” He labels it “an insidious trend.”

Wolf is of course not the only leader to recognize this…


Worship the State – or Else: How Should the Church Respond?