The “Reverend” Barry Lynn’s Assault on Christianity

Jul 1st, 2014 | By | Category: Weekly Washington Updates

Exclusion:  During debate Barry Lynn, who claims t0 be an ordained minister, attacks  Biblical fundamentals

by Andrew E. Harrod

“Threats to the Christian majority” in America “are few, far between, and sometimes, frankly, untrue,” Americans United for the Separation of Church and State (AU) director Barry Lynn recently stated in submitted testimony to a congressional committee.  Lynn’s comments reflect a disturbing, highly truncated understanding of a Christian faith surrendering moral claims to the sexual revolution in America’s culture war.

Lynn’s statement decried a “strategic effort…to dramatically redefine religious liberty” during a June 10, 2014, House of Representatives Judiciary Committee hearing on “The State of Religious Liberty in the United States.”  While AU defends a “right…to worship,” demands for “sweeping exemptions” from contraception and abortion mandates under Obamacare “deny…fundamental rights to make lawful moral choices.”  Such currently litigated claims by corporations like Hobby Lobby would cause “great harm to women…denied coverage for critical medical care.”  The “voluntary commercial activity” of these corporations moreover does not equal “directly religious activity” deserving of exemption from generally applicable law.  The government, meanwhile, is “responsible for finding third-party birth control coverage at no cost” for objecting noncommercial religious entities in Lynn’s address to the committee.

"Rev.." Barry Lynn insists Christians lie about persecution

“Rev..” Barry Lynn insists Christians lie about persecution

A “growing sense of fundamental fairness in America” also entailed a “rejection of old prejudices,” even if derived from “organized or idiosyncratic religious beliefs” according to Lynn’s submission.  Thus the “right of LBGTQ citizens to be served at the lunch counter” or the “courthouse just like everyone else” also goes beyond wedding “cakes and photography” Lynn argued while invoking implausible scenarios of individuals denied coffee because of sexuality.  A “direct and offensive insult to their very dignity as human beings” would occur to these individuals if, for example, a hotel refused them a room, Lynn elaborated to the committee.  For faithful conscientious objectors this entails no “religious burden, let alone a burden that is greater than the harm to the opportunities and dignity caused to the gay customer” the submission concluded.

State and federal Religious Freedom Restoration Acts (RFRA) under which these recent religious freedom claims had arisen intended “to be a shield for religion…not a sword to harm others.”  RFRA therefore foresaw shielding communion wine, kosher food, and student yarmulkes from dry communities, meat inspectors, and public school regulations, religious practices not affecting third parties.  Lynn’s view of the First Amendment religious freedoms is the “most consistent with both the historical intent and the future aspiration of most Americans.”  

By contrast, a “war on Christianity” both in America and “literally costing lives” abroad appeared to the American Center for Law and Justice’s (ACLJ) Matthew Clark at the June 19-21 Road to Majority Conference.  Testifying alongside Lynn, the Christian Legal Society’s Kim Colby concurred.  “For the first time in nearly 300 years,” her submission quoted religious freedom expert Douglas Laycock, “important forces in American society are questioning the free exercise of religion” as a “bad idea, or at least, a right to be minimized.”

“The threat to religious freedom has reached unprecedented levels,” Liberty Counsel’s Matthew Staver agreed in his submission, and is now targeting religious “core values” such as human life, he addressed the committee.  Obamacare fines for corporate refusal to provide contraception and abortion drugs seek “to literally crush an employer,” Staver said, fines Clark later called “far in excess” of other Obamacare penalties.  A “totalitarian agenda” likewise aimed to prohibit all opposition to homosexuality in areas like marriage, Staver’s submission added.

Religious freedom does “not stop at the exit door” of a house of worship, committee member Representative Trent Franks argued in rejecting Lynn’s denial of religious freedom’s application to commerce.  “Religious liberty is not a cost of doing business in America,” Clark later agreed.  “Congress plainly did not declare that RFRA claimants automatically lose whenever third party interests are implicated,” stated the submission from Alliance Defending Freedom’s Gregory Baylor.  Even Lynn admitted a “good colorable claim” in law for a Christian gas station owner refusing to open on Sunday despite inconvenience to travelers under questioning by Representative Randy Forbes.

A “shockingly narrow religious exemption” under Obamacare excluding entities such as hospitals meanwhile received Baylor’s scorn.  Under the exemption “neither Jesus nor Mother Teresa would qualify.”  Merely “accounting gimmicks” under Obamacare sought to delude these religious entities of Lynn’s “no cost” contraception in Clark’s description.  “No-cost payments” exist solely in the “twilight zone or a world without logic” the ACLJ wrote online.  “A religious objection to taking human life is not satisfied by hiring a third-party…to do the job,” Colby’s submission observed.

Additionally, extending contraception access, “already widely available,” would be “clearly more economical, easy, and efficient for the government itself,” i.e. with tax credits.  “Virtually all state contraceptive coverage mandates,” Baylor’s submission meanwhile noted, “include comparatively broad religious exemptions.”  Colby’s submission also noted various federal abortion conscience clauses allowing, for examples, federally-funded hospitals to abstain from abortions.

Although admitting being “offended a hundred times a day by something” to Forbes’ inquiry into a “right not to be offended,” Lynn showed particular concern for “LGBTQ” individuals taking offense.   How then would Lynn have reacted to Staver’s colleague Matt Barber speaking “truth prophetically to a dying culture” at the Road to Majority conference?  “Sodomy-based marriage…boggles the mind” and manifests the “Oprahfication of America,” Barber stated.  Churches “will answer for these grave sins” of supporting “paganism under the shroud of Christianity” and “apostasy.”  “You can’t run with evil” agreed televangelist Richard Lee while condemning these “anti-Christ” churches and an America “legislating immorality.”

Individuals like Lee and Barber take offense at all manner of sexual and lifestyle behavior supported by Lynn on their behalf and God’s.  Not surprisingly, Lynn supports the “Obama Administration’s flippant willingness to fundamentally abrogate America’s priceless religious freedom in the name of leftist social engineering” described by Franks.  Lynn, for example, echoes the Administration’s “continually replacing freedom of religion with freedom of worship,” as described the Catholic Association’s Ashley McGuire at Road to Majority.

Under Lynn’s understanding, religious freedom can encompass religious rites such as kosher food or communion wine, but dare not harbor any disapproval of new-found rights to sexual liberation.  Not any truce in America’s culture wars as grudgingly offered by Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels, only complete capitulation to Lynn’s leftwing agenda will suffice.  The choice for Christians between a fight in the public sphere and flight into an obscure private sanctuary condescended by Lynn and others is clear.

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