Ronald Reagan once said, “Freedom prospers when religion is vibrant and the rule of law under God is acknowledged.” What powerful words for us to consider as we confront the Culture of Death and its poisonous impact upon our world.
We gaze out and see religious freedom under attack throughout the world while promoters of the Gospel are vilified. Instead of encouraging citizens to live their lives acknowledging the rule of law under God, many governments inaugurate legislation to the contrary. Government officials choose to threaten citizens for striving to live under God. Although he was a secular leader, I believe Ronald Reagan understood the risk of losing “true freedom.” He understood the cost, consequence and ultimate outcome, as well as the difficulty of reclaiming it. I also believe he understood the possibilities of greatness for a nation whose citizens choose lives of authentic religious virtue.
Last Sunday I invited a gathering of pro-life supporters and leaders in Baton Rouge, Louisiana to consider the consequences of following the agenda of the Culture of Death and its root cause: the rejection of God’s dominion over creation. In Saint John’s Gospel we read, “I am the vine and you are the branches. Apart from me, you can do nothing” (John 15). Guided by the Holy Spirit, Saint John shared the message of our Savior with every generation who would listen: a soul alienated from God leads to a path of destruction. Life is only found in God.
Our nation is on a dangerous path – one that if not altered may lead to its demise. Sadly, many have sacrificed true freedom for slavery: slavery to unbridled passion, greed, gluttony and power. Saint Paul tells us in Romans 6, “When you were slaves of sin, you felt no obligation to righteousness, and what did you get from this? Nothing but experiences that now make you blush, since that sort of behavior ends in death” (Romans 6:20-21). Like the branch cut off from the vine, death is the consequence of abandoning God’s law.
We see the same problem on a wider scale in governments that knowingly lead others away from living under God’s law. This corruptive behavior is happening more than most people know or want to believe.
For example, the European Union (EU) issued a statement this week threatening to take action against Hungary because of its new constitution which defines marriage as being between a man and woman. In the wake of Roe v. Wade and other impositions of unjust laws, in the United States we don’t have to merely imagine a political body imposing upon people a law that contradicts the commands of God. I admire the people of Hungary, especially those political leaders who had the courage to inaugurate the new Constitution with its common sense definition of marriage. Now we must encourage Hungarians and pray that they are able to stand firm against the EU’s predictable abuse of power. We must raise our voices and join with all who defend “true freedom.”
The situation in Hungary is but one among many examples of exploitation, corruption and aggression among political systems and wealthy nations who choose to undermine the Culture of Life and those promoting Life among their fellow citizens. You may recall in November of last year that Great Britain threatened to remove financial aid from those African nations who defended the traditional family (see here and here). It is unconscionable to think that anyone would ask of another to embrace death, but this is exactly what promoters of the Culture of Death are asking. Moreover, the anti-life and anti-family agenda only becomes more aggressive everyday as it gains increasing ideological and financial support.
The answer to these issues is simple yet difficult to achieve because it demands a defense of true freedom. This requires people of vibrant and authentic religious practice to stand in solidarity against the Culture of Death and its promoters; people of Faith who freely embrace the commands of God promote a harmonious society where authentic peace is achieved and Life safeguarded.
Genuine faith can move mountains. We can change the momentum when we stand in solidarity for Life and for the dignity of all people. Let us become actively involved in the Culture of Life on every level possible – in our families and communities, as well as local, state and federal government. Let us engage the political scene with respect and courage while promoting the Culture of Life, and let our political representatives know we are opposed to the funding of abortion here and abroad, and to using American funds to redefine marriage or impose any unjust laws on our brothers and sisters around the world. Let’s stand for true freedom!