The other debate between law and faith

In the midst of last week’s debate between Catholic bishops and the Obama administration over insurance coverage for birth control pills for their employees, pastor Rick Warren posted the following tweet:
“I’d go to jail rather than cave in to a government mandate that violates what God commands us to do. Would you? Acts 5:29.”
In Acts 5:29, the apostles are quoted as saying, “We must obey God rather than any human authority.”
Warren’s comment went viral, quickly retweeted by numerous Alabama lawmakers and by millions around the nation.
Their point was clear. When a legal mandate conflicts with a religious mandate, the latter should win.
The Alabama lawmakers who applauded Warren’s message should take it to heart.
Many in Alabama believe the state’s immigration law violates religious principles. These religious beliefs prompted church leaders to challenge the law’s constitutionality in court. Churches and religious organizations are at the forefront of efforts seeking repeal of the law, and no wonder.
The law prevents fellow humans — many of them Catholics — from securing shelter, education or even water. It criminalizes the actions of citizens who, following the mandates of their faith, offer assistance to undocumented immigrants.
Recognizing the dilemma an insurance regulation was creating for some church-affiliated employers, President Barack Obama backed down.
Lawmakers who applauded Warren’s tweet — who believe that conservative restraint requires that governments avoid trampling on sincerely held religious beliefs — should be pushing for repeal of the state’s immigration law.

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Filed under Alabama politics, Health care, immigration, Religion

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