February 17, 2016
Below is the text of Dr. Piper’s recent address at the Kansas Religious Freedom Rally
It may seem a bit pedantic, but words mean something. They have definitions. Words like green and gay, left and right, change and choice, right and wrong, up and down, good and evil, male and female, moral and immoral—all words mean something. As thinking human beings and thoughtful moral agents, we know what the definition of “is” is, and we also intuitively know something else very important: changing and manipulating the meaning of words is called lying and lies inevitably bear negative consequences. As we are told by the prophet Isaiah, “woe unto him who calls evil good and good evil, darkness light and light darkness, bitter sweet and sweet bitter…” Lying about words and with words – turning them upside down – is always wrong. As self-evident as it should be to all of us, I remind you today—Words mean something!
Many who stand against us in the fight for religious freedom do so in the name of “tolerance.” But is their objection really tolerant? When the say they can’t tolerate your intolerance, that they hate you hateful people, that they are sure nothing is sure, that they know nothing can be known, and that they’re absolutely confident that there are no absolutes; it makes your head spin. It is as if we are watching a dog chase its tail.
This is refuting nonsense: Pabulum and politics at its worst. It is anything but a principled, cogent argument. Any school boy can see that the premise posed by progressives is really not about tolerance. It never has been. To the contrary, these self-styled advocates of “openness and peace” are really more interested in tyranny and power. At every turn we see them on our campuses, in our courts, and in our culture, masked in angry red faces, as they shout, “You must agree with us! You must celebrate everything we do! You must believe everything we believe! You must watch and you must applaud!” Tolerating anything they find intolerable is of no interest to them. In the end, their worldview isn’t grounded in coexistence; it is a poster child for contradiction.
No – today’s end goal for these postmodern pedagogues isn’t tolerance or freedom, but rather, fascism, pure and simple. A fasces was a Roman bundle of sticks bound together so tightly in commonality that its strength could not be broken. Today’s neo-fascism is likewise an unbreakable bundle of power. It is group of people bound together tightly in unbroken compliance. No dissent! No differences! No diversity! It is the rule of the gang. Unquestioned and unchallenged power is their clear goal and their only rule. The call to arms of these modern day Jacobins? “You shall submit!”
The question we face today is clear: do we want to be ruled by ideological fascism or enjoy religious freedom? Should our government have the power to force religious syncretism on its citizens or do we have freedom to believe and behave in accordance with the dictates of our conscience and unimpeded by government hubris?
Ask yourself: should the government have the power to force a Jewish owner of the meat processing business to process pigs? Should the government have the power to force the Muslim owner of the local newspaper to print Charlie Hebdo cartoons? Should the government have the power to demand that a Catholic owner of a convenience store to sell bread and wine to a Satanist church for their mock Eucharist? Should Washington D.C. be able to force an Anglican owner of a billboard company to sell his services to someone who wants to mock Christmas or Easter? If your answer to all the above is “no”, then how can you possibly think that the government should have any power to force the owner of a flower shop in the state of Washington to participate in a religious service that directly violates a sacrament of her faith? How could anyone who believes in freedom of thought, freedom of expression and the separation of Church and State suggest otherwise?
Should nine unelected men and women in black robes, sitting in the seats of power, have the power to force a Catholic order called the Little Sisters of the Poor to buy an insurance product that includes contraception they don’t want and won’t use? The Little Sisters are Catholic and they are nuns. They are celibate! Don’t these women understand their church, their faith, their bodies, and their vows a lot better than the government? Shouldn’t these Sisters, as well as the pro-life Christian women at Oklahoma Wesleyan University, have the right to make their own decisions on what pills they do or don’t’ want in their health insurance? And how is it possibly pro-women to suggest otherwise?
Forced agreement is Totalitarianism. It is not tolerant. Requiring women to submit to the whims and wishes of a male-driven government hegemony is not feminism. It is misogyny. This is ideological fascism and not intellectual freedom. It is a clear example of the government establishing what religion is acceptable and what religion isn’t, and, then, prohibiting the “free expression” of beliefs and behaviors in disagreement with it.
Words mean something. Hang on to your words. Define them and defend them. Honor freedom and fight fascism. Stand for toleration and fight tyranny. Stand for love and fight hate. Stand for the rights of women and fight against their subjugation. Stand for liberty and liberation. Fight licentiousness. Remember the words of Bonhoeffer – They mean something! “Not to speak is to speak and not to act is to act. Silence in the face of evil is evil itself. God will not hold us guiltless.” Remember the words of Christ: “You shall know the Truth and the Truth shall set you free.”