Apart from a miracle from God, I have little faith that the federal government won’t continue to become increasingly antagonistic toward Christians and Christian values. State governments, on the other hand, will most likely be on the front line of the widening cultural divide in this country where the ideological battles are waged and victories are scored — for both sides. For example, some states are busy protecting pre-born humans. Other states, like Washington, are doubling down on their support of murder by requiring churches to pay for abortion.
SB 6219 was signed into law last year by Washington Governor Jay Inslee and requires churches to cover abortions in the health care plans offered to their employees. Obviously, this law forces Christians to act in direct violation of their conscience. One church, Cedar Park Assembly of God of Kirkland, Wash., chose to fight the new law and hired the Alliance Defending Freedom.
In a lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court Western District of Washington at Tacoma, the ADF spells out the protections enacted by the federal government over the last few years to protect churches and religious organizations from being forced to act against their beliefs. Mentioning the Church Amendments, the Public Health Service Act, and the Hyde Amendment, the lawsuit makes it clear that the federal government, as of now, has declared that religious convictions are to be protected. However, as the lawsuit spells out:
How times have changed. In 2018, the State of Washington acted in concert with Planned Parenthood—the nation’s largest abortion provider—and NARAL Pro-Choice Washington to draft, promote, pass, and implement SB 6219, which requires all Washington employers to provide abortion and abortifacient coverage in their employee health plans. SB 6219 contains numerous exemptions; but none of those exemptions are available to churches or any other religious organization. Indeed, churches like the Plaintiff Cedar Park are now obligated to provide and pay for a health plan that covers abortions. Even when the federal government was requiring religiously-motivated private businesses to offer health plans that covered abortion, it exempted churches. Not so the State of Washington.
No one can know for sure, but the ADF will undoubtedly prevail this time in having the part of the State of Washington’s bill that requires churches to pay for abortions overturned, even if the case has to go all the way to the Supreme Court. Make no mistake, though: this is just the tip of the leftist iceberg intended to destroy Christianity and religious freedom in this country. As alluded to above, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see the federal government overturn those protections in the coming years.
The fight for their right to live by their religious convictions by churches in the state of Washington raises an interesting yet troubling question: at what point should Christians consider moving from states that force them to disobey God?
That question exists for Christians in America because, unlike Christians who lived in the Soviet Union or in China, to list just two examples, Christians in this country have the freedom to move to states that are receptive to their faith. I would imagine that Christians in California are beginning to look longingly at states like Texas and Arkansas and South Carolina.
However, the opposite side of that question is: what about Jesus’ command to preach the gospel throughout the entire world? Would Christians abandoning states that are openly hostile to Christianity amount to disobedience?
These are questions that Christians will increasingly grapple with, and there are no easy answers. We have the freedom in Christ to move our families to different locations, but we want to make sure that we’re doing so for God’s glory. One thing that’s certain, though, is that we should be praying for our brothers and sisters in Christ in places like Washington who are being forced to violate God’s commands.