The Religion Caesar and Obama Have in Common

This week the President clarified for America his religious beliefs and who his god truly is. And like August Caesar and his successors, Obama showed that he is as dedicated to protecting those beliefs and his god by quashing the religious views of all dissenters.

The act of the President to which I refer is the executive order he signed that imposes on federal contractors the essential requirements of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA). This is an act that Congress has failed to pass for almost twenty years.

The order requires all federal contractors, many of which are charitable religious organizations ministering to the poor, to set aside, as a protected class of employees, those who express in the workplace their gender confusion and those who engage in homosexual acts.

Noticeable by its absence was any exception for those contractors who, based on their long-established religious beliefs, have a different view of human sexuality than that of President Obama. The absence of any such exception is what makes clear the President’s religious beliefs.

The logic goes like this. That which is the basis for the determination of right and wrong, good and evil, is an individual’s god. It determines what that person will tolerate. Similarly, to find a culture’s god, we can look at who or what finally and ultimately determines what will be tolerated in that culture.

Consequently, by the lack of any religious exemption—for any religion—President Obama has made clear the god of his religion. The state is his god; it declares all of what is right or wrong. And its declarations are not to be challenged. No exceptions are allowed.

That is why the President, and those like him, cannot tolerate the orthodox, historic Christian belief that sexual intimacy was designed for marriage and was designed for marriage because the union of two complementary sexes capable of producing children is a reflection of the very nature of the Triune God.

That God—the Christian God whose nature and character are the final arbiter of good and evil, right and wrong—is unwelcome, except perhaps where that God agrees with the state. That God is a threat to the god of the state.

This has set up an inexorable conflict between those who believe as the President does and those who understand sex and marriage as a reflection of the triune nature of God. For the latter group, there is a law higher than that of the state that the state cannot cross. That is why Martin Luther King Jr. said that the church was to be the conscience of the state.

For those with this view of God, sexual intimacy and marriage are as “written” into the order of things as the principle of buoyancy is written into the order of the physical universe.

For them, neither a person nor a culture would build its sexual ethic, which includes marriage, on a foundation that disregards the immaterial (moral/spiritual) laws of the universe any more than an engineer would build a ship without regard to the physical law of buoyancy.

For President Obama to ask such people to deny their understanding of sex and marriage is to ask them to embrace that which they believe to be dangerous to human flourishing and cultural stability. It would be the moral equivalent of asking them to tell people to board a ship of state that is too structurally unsound to survive the winds and waves to come.

We should note this kind of conflict is not new. The Roman government would not allow obedience to any god but Caesar, who represented the state. Allegiance to anything higher than the state was treason against Caesar and vice versa.

The suffering of Christians in Rome, who said there was no god but the God of heaven, was significant and horrible in the short run, but history tells us which God ultimately prevailed. They were the ones of whom it was written, “The world was not worthy.”

So, to those who fear the coming conflict, remember this: When people like the President say those with a biblical sexual ethic are on the wrong side of history, they have most likely forgotten the history of Caesar.

David Fowler served in the Tennessee state Senate for 12 years before joining FACT as President in 2006. Read David’s complete bio.

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