(NY Episcopal Bishop) Mark Sisk—Religious Liberty in a Pluralistic Society

Posted by Kendall Harmon

From the religious perspective there can be little doubt that the bargain our founders struck with history paid off. Religion has flourished in America as it has in few other places in the western world.

However, there can also be little doubt that the number of Americans for whom religion is an important element in their lives is decreasing; ours is an increasingly secular society.

Many of us are saddened by this slow drift. I, for one, believe that it does not portend well for our nation. We as a people need the insights and sensitivities that religion, at its best, can provide. However, I fear that the religious community has squandered a good portion of our credibility by becoming allied with one or another particular political position.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch History* Culture-WatchHistoryReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

Posted March 29, 2012 at 6:30 am

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The URL for this article is http://www.kendallharmon.net/t19/index.php/t19/article/41983/

1. Br. Michael wrote:

“Furthermore, religious communities need to exercise the greatest care when seeking for themselves “special” exemptions.”

In other words religion is fine when isolated and in the sanctuary; there you can believe what you want, but when you enter the secular world you must conform to secular rules even if those rules are contrary to your beliefs.
Sorry, this is freedom of worship not freedom of religion.  How often are Christians taught that you don’t stop being Christian once you leave the church and you are Christian 24/7?  Christians don’t have one worldview for Sunday and another for the rest of the week.

And neither do other religions and neither do secularists.  Yet this article and the secularists are demanding that others do what they themselves do not do.  They are demanding an offical state worldview, their own, to be observed by all who enter the public sphere.

March 29, 8:09 am | [comment link]
2. TomRightmyer wrote:

“However, I fear that the religious community has squandered a good portion of our credibility by becoming allied with one or another particular political position.”

We see this on left and right. I receive notes from the Episcopal Church Washington office that say the same thing as liberal Democrats, and I hear fundamentalist Christian Tea party members. In NC we have church folks on both sides of a proposed constitutional amendment forbidding gay marriage.

March 29, 10:22 am | [comment link]
3. Daniel Muth wrote:

The most current example of a church/state confrontation, the contraception mandate, represents, not the “muffling of religious speech”, in the rather stunted terms of Bishop Sisk, but a direct assault on Christian conscience.  He might have done better to make some mention of the latter.  I am certainly willing to extend +Sisk benefit of doubt and assume that he is not simply issuing a note of veiled opposition to the Roman Catholics. 

Certainly, the unvarnished Leftisms of TEC’s current leadership have hampered our church’s credibility and it would go a long way toward its restoration were, say, GC12 to come out in support of something - anything - that wasn’t drooping from the port side of the Democrat Party platform.  It’s too much to expect TEC’s current leadership to adopt a recognizably Christian view of the abortion license or same-sex “marriage”.  Perhaps some acknowledgement that one can show compassion for the poor without adopting any particular view on tax rates or that our cultural environment is vulnerable to damage in much the same way as the natural environment and so perhaps our enthusiasm for cultural upheavals such as the sexual revolution might stand for some muting. 

Maybe pigs will fly.  Nevertheless hope should be sought in whatever the Christian’s eye beholds and I would like to think there’s some hope in this little note.  One ought always to hope.

March 29, 12:21 pm | [comment link]
4. Grant LeMarquand wrote:

Br Michael,
on : “Furthermore, religious communities need to exercise the greatest care when seeking for themselves “special” exemptions.”
Bp Sisk may have a point here - should we in the ‘west’ give special exemptions to all religious groups. A major issue discussed often a few years ago was the refusal of Jehovah’s Witnesses to give their children life-saving blood transfusions. Now we might well ask whether Muslims (and some Mormons) should be able to ask for exemptions to American marriage laws so that they could marry
more than one wife. This issue is not as tidy as it might seem if by ‘religious’ one thinks only of the ‘rights’ of Christians.

March 29, 4:01 pm | [comment link]
5. Br. Michael wrote:

4, that’s true Grant.

March 29, 6:58 pm | [comment link]

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