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About the Theme of the Week
Each week on Colson, BreakPoint Radio and, and other channels we publish a great deal of new content around a vital theme. The ReSeries, John Stonestreet's video commentary, is often (but not always) the cornerstone of the weekly theme.

Theme of the Week: God Rather than Men


Religious freedom was one of the issues nearest and dearest to Chuck Colson's heart. So much so that he established The Manhattan Declaration along with Drs. Robert and Timothy George in order to call Christians to stand immovable on their right as human beings not only to worship God according to the dictates of their consciences, but to live out their faith in every area of life.

In this week's "Two-Minute Warning," John Stonestreet asks Jennifer Marshall for a status update on religious liberty and the HHS mandate.
More than any other time in generations, we're seeing the sacred liberties religious people in this country have long enjoyed suffering erosion. Under the HHS mandate component of "Obamacare," religious employers in both non-profits and for-profit businesses have had to face the prospect of participating in the distribution of drugs drastically incompatible with their beliefs regarding the sanctity of human sexuality and life. It is fundamentally wrong to force the leaders of organizations, whether explicitly religious or not, to choose between their most deeply-held convictions and keeping their doors open.

For months now, we have watched as the Department of Health and Human Services and members of the Obama Administration have ignored the threat to freedom inherent in the HHS mandate, and have offered non-solutions and "compromises" which amount to what John Stonestreet calls "accounting tricks," and "free lunch" mythology.

The latest, which was just announced a few days ago, modifies nothing in the actual law, but offers us a vague and non-binding assurance that religious non-profits will not have to participate in dispensing contraceptives and abortion-inducing drugs. In the view of Jennifer Marshall of the Heritage Foundation, this amounts to public relations damage control, rather than real policy change, on the part of  the administration.

As it stands, organizations not fitting the extremely narrow definition of "religious employer" outlined in the original HHS guidelines have no reason to expect they will escape the crushing fines for non-compliance with the mandate. Likewise, if arguments the Obama Administration has advanced in court offer any clue, Christian employers whose businesses are not explicitly Christian (such as Hobby Lobby) will be expected to kiss their religious liberty goodbye.

In this week's special edition of the "Two-Minute Warning," John Stonestreet sits down for the second time for a video chat with Jennifer Marshall, Director of Domestic Policy Studies at The Heritage Foundation, to discuss the recent developments in the HHS tug-of-war, and what the next step is for Christians determined to defend their most sacred liberty.
The Apostle Peter

Meanwhile, BreakPoint is also covering a far more disturbing infringement on religious liberty, this one thousands of miles overseas, in Iran. In the latest edition of "BreakPoint This Week," John Stonestreet interviews Naghmeh Abedini, wife of jailed American pastor Saeed Abedini, and Tiffany Barrans of the American Center for Law and Justice. The violations of religious liberty and international convention represented by the arbitrary arrest, imprisonment, trumped-up charges against, and recent sentencing of Pastor Abedini should appall Christians and non-Christians alike. Yet our own government and international bodies have done little to end the abusive captivity of this American citizen. Ultimately, Naghmeh Abedini believes her husband's imprisonment is retribution by an Islamist regime for his conversion to Christianity and charitable work in the name of Jesus.

According to Barrans, however, there is a lot we can do to help Abedini's situation, and The American Center for Law and Justice has prepared a spectacular list of action points for us to follow, as well as an important petition they hope all BreakPoint listeners and readers will sign.

Just as Chuck Colson looked to the example of Christians in the past who have stood their ground on religious liberty when he co-drafted The Manhattan Declaration, we can look to one of the greatest examples of all time, found in the book of Acts, chapter 5. In it, Peter and the other Apostles find themselves thrown in prison by the religious leaders and government officials for preaching the Gospel of Christ in Jerusalem. After an angel releases them during the night, they return to the temple court and continue to preach, despite strict orders from the authorities to desist. When the Sanhedrin confront them and ask why they have disobeyed direct orders, Peter replies without hesitation: "We must obey God rather than men."

Christians should be the best of citizens; submissive, subject to the ruling authorities and readily obedient to just and righteous laws. But when the government of any country seeks to compel us to deny or defy our faith in God, our answer must be the same as Peter's. We must appeal our case to the highest authority. We must obey God rather than men.

Explore This Week's Theme

tmw John Stonestreet interviews Jennifer Marshall of the Heritage Foundation regarding the so-called accommodations made by the Health and Human Services Department regarding the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (a.k.a. "Obamacare"). >>Watch now.
TalkingPoints In his most recent Talking Points, T. M. Moore challenges what he says is Christians' often too-small view of salvation. It's not only about our souls, but about the whole of creation. "Behold," says Jesus in Revelation, "I am making all things new!" >>Read more.
BreakPoint_Daily_Commentary_Generic In Tuesday's BreakPoint Commentary, John Stonestreet assesses the supposed "accomodations" recently tacked on to the HHS mandate, and why they amount to an accounting trick more than a protection for religious liberty. >>Read more
the_point In Thursday's Point Commentary, John Stonestreet takes a cue from Planned Parenthood. Could it be time to drop the labels "pro-choice" and "pro-life?" That depends on whether you value clarity in this vital debate. >>Read more.
BPTW_icon_small John Stonestreet interviews Naghmeh Abedini, wife of jailed American pastor Saeed Abedini, and Tiffany Barrans of the American Center for Law and Justice. >>Read more.