Be Afraid of Tennessee’s God-like Republican Legislature, Very Afraid

Apr 9, 2021 by David Fowler

Be Afraid of Tennessee’s God-like Republican Legislature, Very Afraid
A bill coming up next week in the Tennessee legislature should send a strong signal to Christians and conservative, small-government Republicans (e.g., those concerned with COVID mandates) that they have much to be concerned with when it comes to what a number of Republican legislators appear to believe. It is shockingly sad to me, and it points to the extreme failure of the sanctified humanism that masquerades under the name evangelicalism.

Civil Government Is Here to Create the Baby You Want.

Senate Bill 425 /House Bill 1379 is sponsored by two Republicans and co-sponsored by at least 25 more. It mandates that private insurance companies cover infertility treatments so that any “enrollee” in the insurance plan can have a baby with “an individual covered under the enrollee’s plan of health insurance.”
In other words, the government would require that insurance providers cover procedures designed to bring about a child even if made from the gametes of two unmarried adults. You read that correctly; there is no requirement that the enrollee and covered individual be married.
In fact, the bill’s language allows for sperm donation and embryo implantation even if the enrollee and covered individuals are, say, two women. The fertility industry that supports this bill isn’t stupid; it knows where the fertile future of its income stream is.
In sum, this legislation would apply State power to facilitate the creation of children outside a family with a married mother and father.
Apart from those terrible ideas, and even if coverage were limited to married man and woman, I hope you understand the jurisdictional issue at play here: The State is asserting jurisdiction over human reproduction by regulating and requiring that private insurers pay for the creation of human life through technological means divorced from the conjugal relation of husband and wife.
In essence, the bill presupposes children are products for demand and purchase with the aid of infertility service providers. And the State of Tennessee would force insurance companies to pay the invoice, effectively meaning you and I would pay for it through increased premiums.
By making policy of this sort, the legislature would be promoting, though I hope unintentionally, a view of human beings as autonomous self-creations and conveying an instrumental view of children as an accouterment to further their own view of what makes for dignity, happiness, human flourishing, and the like. God is presumably irrelevant to that. The God who gives life to us and even opens and closes wombs is apparently not the source of any of that, which leads to my next point.

The Connection Between These Two Bills and Roe v. Wade.

Until I started thinking about this proposed legislation, I had never quite put my finger on the real underlying problem with Roe v. Wade. It is not just that an unborn child, one made in the image of God, is killed. The real problem, which required a mother be able to kill her child, is that the Court rejected in toto any belief that there are publicly recognizable and real creational norms as to what it means to be human. I understood that regarding the unborn child, but not in relation to what it means to be a woman and a mother. In Roe the Court undid what it means to be a woman and a mother who, as a mother, owes duties to her child. 
According to Roe, the real, public female persona is a de-sexed, non-familial monad whose highest calling is to participate in the workforce or otherwise live an unhindered and self-directed existence, needing unlimited choices secured to her by the State’s power to protect her against evils such as duties to spouse and child. 
In other words, at the heart of Roe is not the killing of an innocent, unborn human being, but a rejection of the belief that all created things are under the authority of a God who, through no lack or need in Himself, created all things (gave them being) outside of Himself (i.e, not pantheism) and for the highest and greatest end for which they could therefore exist, to reflect the glory of such a God.
This God assigns meaning and purpose to all reality, including such realities as mother, motherhood, child, and family, and the Roe Court would have none of that idea.
Of course, with God dethroned, the Court could begin to redefine everything else. In 2003, it did so in Lawrence v. Texas, protecting autonomous adults from laws disapproving of homosexual sodomy, and again in 2015, when it said two people could come together to redefine marriage to give themselves “dignity.” Last summer it infused gender identity into the word “sex” in Title VII, because that word, too, must be void of any publicly recognizable meaning that would limit human autonomy, particularly sexually.
These Republican legislators, whether intentionally or unsuspectingly, have bought into Roe’s view of the world and the human person.
If you want to create a life that God has not chosen to create in you and make other people pay for it, then civil government is here to help you do so. We will sponsor and vote for Senate Bill 425 /House Bill 1379.
Will saying this offend some of my legislative friends? Probably, but not those Christians among them who pause long enough to consider that God calls the wounds of a friend faithful and says the flatterers who gravitate to them are not true friends.

The Connection to COVID Mandate Concerns

For those small-government Republican voters who could care less about those things and are frustrated by the way legislators have responded or failed to respond to their concerns about governmental overreach regarding COVID (as my Senator and Representative have done), you need to understand why the foregoing matters. 
When legislators act as if there are no creational, divinely given meanings to words like mother, father, husband, wife, and marriage, and, therefore, no divinely instituted jurisdictional limits pertaining even to marriage and procreation that government must respect, then complaints about governmental overreach during the COVID outbreak can only be “counted as nothing” in their eyes (Isaiah 40:15-17).

The Failure of Evangelicalism

What makes me sad is that this is really the byproduct of modern evangelicalism. In that sense, I do not fault these legislators (except for wanting to create babies with no married mother and father); they are probably working out of the same type of evangelical “gospel” I was raised on.
It was to this form of gospel that I dedicated the February 19th episode of God, Law & Liberty in which I discussed with P. Andrew Sandlin the difference between Genesis 1 and 2 Christians and Genesis 3 Christians. This idea was further developed in the March 26th episode with Dr. George Grant.
But here is the sum of it:
When the promised salvation prophesied in Genesis 3:15 is divorced from the creational context of Genesis 1 and 2, Christians have unwittingly said creational mandates, creational laws, or laws regarding the nature of all things, however you want to say it, do not really matter as long as your soul is saved.
I believe this form of Christianity is what makes possible our disregard for creational norms and the truths that arise from a belief that God is actually the author and giver of life, who “opens” some wombs and not others.
Assuming Genesis 3:15, ripped from its creational context, is even the Gospel and not a form of Gnosticism, it is an emasculated Gospel with no cultural content to it. It is the denial of God’s eschatology, Genesis 1:28 (God, Law & Liberty, March 5th episode). It is mankind freed to build culture his own way.
When the God of Creation is ignored in the teaching of the church and in the proclamation of the Gospel, then fallen human beings, aided by well-intentioned “soul-saved” Christians, will fill and form the world based on their own wisdom, not on the wisdom of God and the laws He wove into the created order.
This human wisdom is “foolishness to God” (1 Corinthians 1:25, 3:19), and the “end thereof is death” (Proverbs 14:12, 16:25, Romans 6:21, 8:6).
In sum, it pains me to say it, but I believe evangelicalism is reaping the death that comes to a culture and nation in which the hermeneutic and preaching of so many of its Christian leaders begins not with a solid doctrine of God (Genesis 1:1) and the glory of God as the beginning and end of all things, but with a desire to help people find a solution to their problems (Genesis 3:15).
But here is our real problem: we all have fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23) and only by seeing the glory of God will we see the real nature of our problem and treasure above all things the solution a loving God has provided in Christ. Anything else is, as was said in the podcast with Dr. Grant, is just “sanctified humanism.”

Podcasts Mentioned:

February 19th- Cultural Worldview
March 5th- God’s Eschatology
March 26th- The Importance of One’s Understanding of God to Understanding Everything, Including Politics

David Fowler served in the Tennessee state Senate for 12 years before joining FACT as President in 2006. 

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