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‘Do No Harm Act’ a threat to religious freedom

By August 17, 2016

USA (MNN) — The 1993 Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) in the United States allows Christians and people of faith to claim exemption from government mandates that conflict with their religious beliefs.

However, Life Matters Worldwide’s statue of liberty-usa-united states-pixabayTom Lothamer says a new bill introduced in May called the Do No Harm Act could change everything.

“This new act, which is the Do No Harm Act, would unleash even greater federal control over our freedom to believe and act according to our biblical beliefs. So the act basically says if it’s a government mandate or a government law, then you cannot come under the umbrella of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act for protection because that no longer applies. Basically it would strip that law of any meaning whatsoever.”

The bill was introduced by Reps. Joe Kennedy III (D-Mass.) and Bobby Scott (D-Va.) as an amendment to RFRA. The Do No Harm Act is currently at a standstill in Congress and has yet to be passed.

An example of RFRA in action was the Supreme Court case of Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores Inc. Two years ago, the Supreme Court ruled that Christian-owned Hobby Lobby was exempt from providing abortifacient drugs in their employee healthcare coverage.

Life Matters Worldwide - Cropped

(Logo courtesy of Life Matters Worldwide)

Lothamer says, “Now this new [Do No Harm Act], as an example if it were passed, could undo that and Hobby Lobby would be required to have abortifacients or pay for abortions within their medical care.”

You can see where this is going. Employers opting out of abortifacients coverage, doctors refusing abortion procedures, pastors declining from marrying homosexual couples, and more would be in jeopardy.

Christians simply want the freedom to live out our faith according to what God has ordained through His Word — not have to ‘check our beliefs at the door’.

“We recognize all people are made in God’s image,” says Lothamer, “whether they’re people that believe as we do or they believe the opposite of what we believe, they’re still image-bearers and because of that, we show respect as human beings and we pray for them. However, in interacting with them or discussing these issues, we do that in the context of compassion and mercy and respect, but we stand firm on what we believe.

“Now let’s say, for instance if the act takes place, then there’s going to be some choices we may have to make as believers. Do I participate in that, even though it violates my deeply-held biblical beliefs, or do I take a stand? We’re not there yet, but we could get there, and especially as those of us who believe in the sanctity of human life in respect of life and abortion, euthanasia, and assisted suicide, and some of these other areas, we may be forced to take a stand that might put us in direct confrontation with the federal government.”

(Photo courtesy of Wycliffe Associates)

(Photo courtesy of Wycliffe Associates)

The players currently taking the stage in the U.S. government will be key influencers of where we as a nation will land on the issues of religious freedom.

“Whoever is elected this next election to the presidency, and also we remember that all of the House seats are up for grabs this election, and a number of Senate seats, if by some way, what I would classify as the more liberal element would take control, this act would pass very quickly and be imposed upon all of America.”

There are a few things you can do. First of all, Lothamer encourages political engagement.

“It’s imperative for us to prayerfully consider who we should vote for, and voting for those people who uphold the constitution, who stand for the sanctity of human life in all places, not just the presidency, but the congress and the state level and even the local level. So we participate in that election by voting especially, not sitting back and saying, ‘Well, I don’t like who’s running, so I won’t vote.’ That’s not a proper way to think about it.”

Lothamer says you can also call your government representatives. “I would encourage [readers] to call their congressmen or women and ask them questions about [the Do No Harm Act], what do they think, and encourage them first of all in finding out what really the whole law entails. Then talk intelligently with them in how they can encourage them to vote against such a law.”

But really, in the midst of political involvement and raising awareness, Christians cannot allow defensiveness to overrule mindfulness of God’s commission to make disciples, have compassion on those who are lost, and reach out to those who need Christ’s transformation and love.

“It’s going to require that we as Christians, regardless of what happens, are going to continue to have to seek out and reach out to people with needs and sharing the Gospel and ministering to people in need. That’s not going to change.”

The most imperative thing to remember is our God is still in control, and He has a plan that is playing out the way He intends for the achievement of His sovereign purposes.

And that should give us the greatest confidence and hope.

“No matter what happens, God is still sovereign, and we are okay. Like my pastor said, ‘It’s going to be rough, but for us who believe in Christ and who actually are waiting for His return, it’s not terminal.’”

Click here to learn more about Life Matters Worldwide and their work to promote compassion towards the sanctity of human life.

7 Comments

  • Dean L says:

    It is true, the powers of darkness are rushing in like a flood. But as Tom said, “The battle belongs to the LORD”.

  • Gail says:

    I agree though that we really must pray offensively and contact our representatives-spread the news also. Our government is “we the people”.it’s not “them” it is “us”.

  • Helena says:

    Our Inter Varsity U.S.A. campus groups need to make young students aware of these difficulties. Please help prevent suicides and all bodily harms and help eligible USA college students learn all Christian values while they are still learning. Do No Harm applies to all training including financial values to a family. Children in colleges are there to learn not to be lobbyists for the world.

  • master says:

    Let God be God in everything. He is our controller always and pfovider

  • Anne Green says:

    “Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s..” Matthew 22:21.

    Don’t like homosexuals? Don’t become one.
    Don’t like abortions? Don’t have one.

    Your religious freedom pertains to yourself and the choices you make for yourself. It does not pertain to how Caesar spends his money or whether or not Caesar approves of gay marriage or who he says can use the bathroom stall next to you. Your freedom ends where another person’s begins.

    I am completely in agreement with the “Do No Harm Act”. Live as an example, evidenced by the fruits of the Spirit. Not as a dictator.

  • Kellee Byrd says:

    As a non-Christian who can trace my ancestors in America back to the early 1700s and as a veteran whose family family has served in every war since the Revolutionary War – I will vote to assure that the Do No Harm passes.

    The Founding Fathers were a group of progressive liberals who saw a better way, they wrote a Constitution and a Bill of Rights that guaranteed everyone the right to worship as they pleased – they had seen what having a “National Religion” could do to a country and the insane amount of bloodshed in the countries they had come from and they did not want that for us.

    They wrote protections into those founding documents guaranteeing that we would never have a theocracy, there wouldn’t be an official national religion. It’s called Separation of Church and State. It’s intended purpose was to ensure that future politicians could not pass laws based on the Bible or any other religious text or set of beliefs.

    In the above statement you say, “It’s imperative for us to prayerfully consider who we should vote for, and voting for those people who uphold the constitution, who stand for the sanctity of human life in all places…” there is a glaring error in your thinking and philosophy. The Do No Harm Bill is absolutely, 100% Constitutional and the right-wing Christians are bearing false witness when they push this false narrative that liberal or progressive leaders are somehow un American and ‘shredding the Constitution’ when in actuality the exact opposite is true.

    Nowhere in any Founding document does it state that adherents of one faith may violate the rights and freedoms of another person in the name of their God. And that’s what you are trying to do. I have seen proponents of your ideology – far-right Evangelical Christians post on social media about a Muslim flight attendant that they said ‘Should find another job if she objected to serving alcohol’. So, you are not advocating that everyone should be able to refuse to do their job based on their deeply held beliefs. NO, you are advocating that Christians should be given a blank check to do whatever they want, to who ever they want. In Islam, these types of laws are called Sharia Law.

    We Americans will never allow Sharia Law to be implemented in this country and we will fight with every fiber of our being to ensure that you will not be able to strip us of our Constitutional rights in your push to force us all to live under Biblical Law either. I am neither Muslim or Christian – I would never, in my wildest dreams, try to force those around me to follow my beliefs, let alone force them to live under my interpretation of faith. As for sanctity of life, you conveniently forget that there are Bible passages that advocate FOR abortion. Your Bible also states the life begins at birth when God gives the child birth.

    So you are not only trying to force all Americans to live as Christians – you are twisting the words of your own God and your own religious text of beliefs to build a false narrative and misrepresent your own God’s words. It’s blasphemous and absolutely unconstitutional. Until every Christian begins to live by your laws – all of them, not just the ones you cherry-pick – you have no right to inflict your beliefs on others.

    In fact once you Christians decide what you all actually believe in, it’s the epitome of entitlement to try to enact laws that even other Christians abhor. I would say that any legislation that even vaguely seems to be based on “Christian Moral Values” you should make sure that EVER single Christian supports it before you try to force non-Christians into compliance – perhaps take your own advice. If you only want to serve Christians – then do not open a public business. Work out your homes and serve only those from your parish.

    It seems to me that I learned that love, acceptance and tolerance for our fellow man is one of the most important lessons Jesus taught us, but the supreme level of hypocrisy that I saw between what Christians say and how they actually live is why I found a faith that honors basic truths and stopped identifying as a Christian. I’m not alone either, polls show that many people are leaving the church for much the same reasons.

  • Lee Larson says:

    “This new act, which is the Do No Harm Act, would unleash even greater federal control over our freedom to believe and act according to our biblical beliefs.” When your beliefs lead you to behave in a way that inflicts harm upon others, then the state must absolutely intervene in order to protect them. Defining that which is good and that which is harmful must be done objectively; religious freedom does not apply exclusively to Christians.

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