You have probably observed the recent firestorm of publicity responding to the changes proposed by the Obama administration concerning contraception and religious institutions other than churches. Chuck Colson has written that the issue of contraception is in fact only a symptom of a greater root issue:
Because what's really at stake here is whether or not there is any limit to government power. That's the point made by Daniel Henninger in his excellent piece . . . in the Wall Street Journal. "The American Catholic Church," he writes, "is now being handed a lesson in the hierarchy of raw political authority." But the question for all of us, Henninger writes, "is whether anyone can remain free of a U.S. government determined to do what it wants to do, at whatever cost." Friends, the answer to that question depends on whether we the people, and especially we Christians and people of all faiths will rise up and say, "Enough! You may not intrude on our religious beliefs, you may not prohibit us from living out our faith."I join the chorus of voices that are grieved and outraged at the current proposal and the implications therein for people of faith. It signals an unprecedented shift in the relationship between government and religion that should be vigorously resisted through written persuasion, the voting booth, and if necessary, civil disobedience. Much has already been written along these lines. (See here, here and here.) In no way should we minimize the current controversy. In my estimation, the current response from many thoughtful writers is warranted---indeed, necessary. But with any potential crisis that looms on the horizon due to the collision of Christianity and secular culture, we have centuries of church history to inform and perhaps, temper our response. Reflecting on church history does not censor our response but should define the tone.