The Religious Test of Orthodox Christians in America

The trend in American culture seems to be a growing intolerance for the outward expression of orthodox Christianity.

It is no wonder those holding to orthodox Christian beliefs are being tested – both in the public and private spheres of society. The Constitution protects the free exercise of religion and prohibits a religious test to qualify for public office, but as long as the worldviews of two distinct belief systems remain in diametric opposition to questions concerning the actuality and potentiality of humanity, the orthodox religion will be tested, called to surrender, and compelled to conform. In this sense, Christians have always understood — and have always expected to have — our faith being tested.

 

Sen. Dianne Feinstein is concerned that orthodox Christianity will influence a potential judge’s worldview; Sen. Bernie Sanders believes the orthodox Christian view of the exclusivity of Christ for eternal salvation is both hateful and disqualifies one for serving in the Office of management and budget; legislators, judges, and activists increasingly believe that the orthodox Christian conscience must surrender in the public squares of commerce and policy, and instead be held captive by the pluralistic dogmata of a post-modern culture.

The trend in American culture seems to be a growing intolerance for the outward expression of orthodox Christianity, and an insisting that the free exercise of religion is only a Constitutional right insofar as the exercise never escapes the confines of an individual’s mind, house, or place of worship.

The reader will notice I have included the adjective “orthodox” to the label “Christianity,” both in the title and the body. This is because, by and large, the consciences of the heterodox Christians and the heretical professing Christians are not under attack. The confidence tricksters of the prosperity gospel may be opposed – or even brought before the bar — on practical matters like fiscal fraud, but their worldview is largely left untouched, and is sometimes promoted in the mainstream. Heterodox professors that have rolled over and played dead at the feet of people like Immanuel Kant, Friedrich Schleiermacher, Ludwig Feuerbach, and Hans Küng, gladly submit to the secular spirit of the times and embrace a mutable God that is susceptible to subjective progress.

But it is the orthodox Christian – that Christian who dares to defend the infallibility of the scriptures and the importance of the creeds; that Christian who still seeks to prioritize the eternal will and laws of the creator over the ephemeral will and laws of the creature – that is being tested today.

The public queries into the faith of Amy Barrett and Russel Vought are significant, in that they signify a crescive willingness among the population to challenge the free expression and exercise of orthodox Christianity. The state’s continued encroachment on the freedom of conscience in the marketplace signifies that people augmentedly believe that state and church are patron and client, and that cliens conscientia may only buy or sell (or refuse to buy and sell) by the consent of patria patronus.

In the secular world, religion as a practical matter is fine, so long as it serves as a bromide or salve to the existential angst of an individual or group – it is a psychological means to an end that helps to extinguish guilt, and make people feel better about their existence and contributions to society. So long as it does not offend another, Christianity is just fine.

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