The ancient Romans had a phrase about winning and losing. In Latin, “Vae victis” meant “woe to the conquered.”
Within the last five years, conservative Christians have known all too well the feeling of being conquered, being on the losing side of many cultural battles. From the unhindered advance of so-called “gay marriage” to the normalization of once looked down upon things like pornography and marijuana use, the Christian view has slipped into a minority in America.
Just days before we celebrate Independence Day, however, the United States Supreme Court delivered Christians a decisive victory, upholding our first and most important freedom through its court ruling about Hobby Lobby.
Baptist Messenger readers will be familiar with the court case at hand, in which the Hobby Lobby owners, the Green Family, objected to paying to certain forms of abortion-inducing drugs required under President Obama’s Affordable Care Act (ACA). Standing on the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993, the Court ruled in Hobby Lobby’s favor, 5-4.
The stakes were high, which makes the victory all the more important. This is not just a victory for the Green family though. As Ethics & Religious Liberty President Russell D. Moore pointed out, this is not even just a victory for Christians. This is a victory for everyone. After all, a government big enough to override our religious convictions is a government big enough to take away other liberties, too.
This case also is a victory for the unborn. Because of their courage to stand, many companies and Christian institutions will not be forced to provide funds for abortion-inducing drugs. Even if this does not stop one scheduled abortion or one person from using such medicines (though there is good reason to believe it will), we will not be made partners in the action to it.
All that being said, this is no time to gloat or believe a political or judicial solution is going to reverse all of our troubles in this country. Indeed, it will only be by God’s grace that we will see revival in the land and a Church with a renewed vision for reaching the lost.
Trevin Wax of LifeWay resources elaborated on this concern in his piece “The Supreme Court agrees with Hobby Lobby, but your neighbor probably doesn’t.” Wax wrote, “The culture class today is less about the role of religion in business or politics, and more about which vision of humanity best leads to flourishing and should therefore be enshrined in or favored by law.
“As evangelicals, we can’t rely on the courts; we have to be in conversations,” Wax continued. “Not the kind of conversation where we debate the merits of a particular case or where we seek to back opponents into a corner, but the kind of gentle persuasion that rises from a joyful exuberance in one’s faith and a hopeful confidence for the future.”
Fortunately, if religious liberty is protected, we will have a more level “playing field” in which to advance the Gospel. Sure, Hollywood and public opinion will be contrary to Christian beliefs and the Gospel. But such has it always been.
What this case better represents is a check on Caesar’s greedy grasp for more power over conscience. For this we celebrate. For this we are grateful to reside in America, still the home of the free and the land of the brave.