Because a mind is a terrible thing to waste
Today we may need a new ad-campaign:
Because a conscience is a terrible thing to lose
Unless I am convinced by the testimony of the Scriptures or by clear reason (for I do not trust either in the pope or in councils alone, since it is well known that they have often erred and contradicted themselves), I am bound by the Scriptures I have quoted and my conscience is captive to the Word of God. I cannot and will not recant anything, since it is neither safe nor right to go against conscience. May God help me. Amen.We owe much to his bravery to stand up to the powers as he was branded a "heretic" and had a bounty put on his head for anyone to collect. He was given refuge by a German nobleman who agreed with his teaching and lived in his castle attic for many years while he took on the work of translating the Bible from Latin into German. His willingness to stand up for his conscience freed many more like him who also no longer agreed with the Catholic churches teachings.
A conscience is a very personal thing. It is at the very heart of our Freedom of Religion and to have our own set of beliefs to follow. It was once said that,
"If you can't live with yourself then who CAN you live with?".
A dead conscience will eat you alive from the inside like a maggots eating rotting flesh of a deceased person. A conscience drives us each to do what is right in our own eyes despite the opposition. We've all been there at some time in our lives. We were in a position to speak up for someone or some group and we chose to be silent. We remember those times vividly as we play it over and over again in our minds. We agonize over our choice knowing we chose wrong and the repercussions of us doing so were obvious. It's a difficult thing to do. Often it is occurrences like these that cause so many our war-weary-soldiers so much depression and guilt that it incapacitates them and prevents them from rejoining society.
Today, people around our country are being asked to go against their consciences as well. For example, people who own bakeries are told they MUST make wedding cakes for weddings they do not agree with. You may not like their position any more than the Catholic church did not like Luther's. But at odds is their conscience verses your insistence that they bow to your edicts that gay marriage is no different than traditional marriage. Should they stuff their conscience away and never listen to it again? What kind of country will we become if we force all of our citizens to ignore their consciences when they go counter to the governments or the majority's wishes? Should they only care what the government believes is right and follow orders? Should such people be jailed for having a difference in opinion or view? Should they be put out of business for their faith? Should the churches they attend be taxed or fined since it was those institutions that undoubtedly influenced them to have such a narrow view of marriage?
Another thing to consider when you decide to use the blunt force of the government stick to get people to do your wishes is you build increasing amounts of anger and animosity towards you group rather than acceptance. Of course you can force their physical bodies to perform the deeds you asked for, but their hearts and minds will be forever against you. This will only require you to use increasing amounts of force over time to move the pendulum further to your side of the room. But watch out for the day will come that you will not be able to push it any further and the pendulum will swing the other way and all that pent up energy will be released in ways that can be very destructive. Other countries have witnessed this in their own countries (mostly African countries where one tribe rules another for so long and then it flips on them). In South Africa this almost happened against the whites after the blacks gained control of the country and only by the grace of God through the work of Nelson Mandela did it get diffused.
I am glad to see people of reason from the other side standing up for people of conscience and telling their people to "knock it off!" in attacking these people in the court of law and also the court of public opinion. We need more of these people to come forward and I hope and pray they do. I believe they recognize the value of a conscience and how it is one of our most basic rights as human beings to be nurtured and protected. After all, a society of citizens whose consciences have been numbed will be a terrible place to live.