Posts Tagged ‘Character’
This is the kind of crap that the KGB would pull in Soviet countries. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.
On Thursday the Examiner provided an exclusive report indicating that the Obama administration had implemented a covert program beginning in 2009 that was intended to spy on conservative, evangelical Christian churches.
That program involved infiltration — sending in government operatives to join churches for the purpose of data collection. The government snoops would keep their eyes and ears open for criticism of the Obama administration, talk of Tea Party participation, conversations about gun ownership, and a number of other issues.
But a special report issued today by Fox News indicates that the program went far beyond infiltration and snooping. The IRS was used to harass Christian churches if they were identified as places where large numbers of anti-Obama citizens congregated for worship.
The Obama administration, according to the report, considered any public criticism of administration policies to be political in nature and should therefore impact whether or not these congregations were allowed to gain or keep their tax exempt status.
Daniel Blomberg and Eric Rassbach explain at Fox News:
What most people don’t realize is that the IRS has been acting as the speech police for decades. Ever since 1954, when then-Senator Lyndon Johnson pushed for a law enabling the IRS to punish non-profits who opposed him politically, the IRS has been in the business of government censor. What’s worse is that one of the biggest targets of this censorship has been religious people and houses of worship. In fact, one of the IRS’s first targets in the 1950s was Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who was subjected to a searching IRS audit because of his religious advocacy for civil rights for African-Americans.
The IRS of course has the crushing power to deny or revoke the non-profit status of a synagogue, church, or mosque if it says something the IRS decides is too “political.” But it can also put houses of worship and other religious organizations through the wringer of intrusive, costly, and time-consuming audits.
There are two ways the targeting works. One way is for an outside group, often one that is anti-religion, to file a complaint asking the IRS to investigate a church they don’t like. The IRS responds to the complaint by opening an investigation and asking the church often hundreds of questions about its activities, with the threat of revocation of non-profit status. This is what lawyers call “selective enforcement” and it is unconstitutional. No one should be singled out in this way, especially because of collusion between the IRS and outside groups with an ax to grind.
The second way the censorship starts is for IRS officials to take their lead from high government officials, including the President, to decide which groups to target for disfavor. This is apparently what happened to the “tea party” groups, but religious groups have also been targeted in this way.
Don’t believe it? Just ask Billy Graham. Last fall, the famed Christian evangelist publicly advocated on behalf of a ballot measure in his home state of North Carolina, taking a position that the President and other high government officials publicly opposed. The tax man was knocking at the door almost immediately. And while the expensive, time-consuming audit eventually ended without any finding of wrongdoing by Graham, a message was sent to every other religious group that might oppose government policy: the IRS can use its audit powers to harass you or shut you down simply for saying what you believe. That kind of intimidation is wrong–and unconstitutional.
Every year, the federal government spends well over a trillion dollars more than it takes in. As a result, it has racked up seventeen trillion dollars in debt, most of it in the last decade. In seven years at current rates, the U.S. will need almost a fifth of the GDP from the rest of the world just to finance our national debt.
Just two of our federal entitlements, Medicare and Social Security, have “unfunded future liabilities” of $46.2 trillion. Total liabilities are $86.8 trillion or more. Entitlements and other mandatory spending will burden more and more of the federal budget in the coming years. At today’s burn rate, before long no realistic amount of tax revenue will be able to service the debt and fund the government’s basic functions.
We need not worry about the federal government defaulting, since, unlike U.S. states or private citizens, it can print the money it needs to pay the bills. It can and will do so if we don’t make a course correction fast. Massive monetary expansion will ultimately devalue every dollar in circulation and trigger the sort of hyperinflation that flattens entire societies in short order. That’s bad enough, but when government borrows and spends for our supposed benefit, somebody else will have to foot some or all of the bill. If our faith applies to every aspect of life, then it must have something to say about this moral outrage.
[…] In the twentieth century, more than a hundred million people were murdered by their own governments. And that was just in communist countries. History and scripture agree: because of sin, governments with too much power become propagators of evil and destruction.
This speaks directly to government debt, since deficit spending is a symptom of government doing more than it can or should. The federal government now borrows and spends with such reckless abandon that it is careening toward a global economic catastrophe. If Christians can’t muster the courage to speak out against what Rep. Paul Ryan has called “the most predictable debt crisis in history,” we won’t deserve to be taken seriously after the collapse.
Sadly, many Christians don’t know how to disciple our nation to turn the tide because they’ve never studied God’s design for economics or the Biblical role of government. They can’t teach what they don’t know. The key to real reformation, says R.C. Sproul, Jr., is for Christians to understand and work to implement Biblical economic principles:
Christian author and teacher R.C. Sproul, Jr. told CBN News Anchor Lee Webb that he believes it’s time to return to the basics when it comes to economics.
“When we’re left arguing about whether or not we should have a marginal tax rate of 45 percent or 48 percent, and the conservative is stuck arguing for the 45 percent we’ve had an insufficient reformation in our thinking,” Sproul said.
Sproul believes that reformation will happen only when we return to scripture to see what God has to say about economics. That’s why he produced a video series called “Economics for Everybody.” It’s a compelling, even entertaining approach to a topic many find boring.
[…] Sproul provides historical evidence that nations most influenced by biblical Christianity are nations that, by and large, have prospered. They are nations marked by decentralized governments and free markets.
But nations that reject God are marked by centralized power, tyranny, and no free markets. Unfortunately, he said he has observed some of those troubling trends in America now.
“The United States is not a free market. It’s an interventionist economy that’s been moving closer to socialism for over a century now,” he said. “I am not optimistic about our nation’s future economically.”
“We live in a country in which the state forbids me to hire a man unless I promise to pay him X number of dollars,” Sproul explained. “We now live in a country where I can’t hire 50 men unless I promise to buy them all health insurance, including access to abortion.”
“This is not economic liberty. This is not free markets,” he said. “We’re missing the fact that we’re the frog and the water is boiling.”
That’s why Sproul believes it’s not enough to think conservatively. We must think biblically and train our children biblically.
“It’s my conviction that education is always and everywhere religious,” he said.
“And it’s not a surprise that when 80 percent of evangelical parents have their children in the government’s schools that they’re going to embrace the religion of the government which is the worship of the state,” he said.
Sproul cautioned Christians to avoid despair. One way to do that is by returning to the beginning, to the Creation Mandate and begin to see that our work is part of worship.
If you have never watched the “Economics For Everybody” series, I highly recommend it! We cannot teach what we do not know!
This afternoon, faith leaders and Oregon United for Marriage Chief Petitioner Jeana Frazzini turned in 2,000 sponsorship signatures on the Freedom to Marry and Religious Protection Initiative—twice the number of signatures needed to move into the ballot title process.
“With Oregon’s help, we did it,” Frazzini said. “We held 17 events across the state, mobilized hundreds of volunteers, and doubled our goal of 1,000 sponsorship signatures to advance the measure that will make it legal for gay and lesbian couples to marry in Oregon.”
[…] Over 70 clergy and faith leaders from numerous denominations signed the sponsorship petition, representing Protestant, Episcopalian, Lutheran, Lutheran-Catholic, Methodist, Jewish, Quaker, and Buddhist faith traditions.
Self-described “faith leaders” in Oregon recently published this “Faith Leader’s Declaration of Support of the Freedom to Marry.” It declares, in part:
We are Oregon & Washington clergy and religious leaders of many faiths, traditions, races, ethnicities, sexual orientations and gender identities. We represent religious institutions, organizations, and movements throughout our state.
We declare that our faith calls us to affirm civil marriage equality for loving same-sex couples. We come from different political parties and philosophies and now lift our voices in unity to speak a faithful word for freedom and equality.
Our religious traditions and scriptures teach us that wherever love is present, God is also present. One of God’s greatest gifts to us is our human capacity to love one another. The ability of two people to enter into relationships and form families of love and care is one expression of this gift. It is holy and good. We therefore affirm the right of loving same-gender couples to legally enter into such relationships on an equal basis with loving heterosexual couples. […]
“Wherever love is present, God is also present.” Actually, they have that backwards. Wherever GOD is present, true love is present, because God is love (1 John 4:8).
However, God’s definition of “love” is different than the many perversions of that word used by the world. Our culture uses the word “love” to describe everything from our favorite things, to adulation of celebrities, to outright lust. TRUE love is selfless and sacrificial. It wants God’s highest and best for the other person, and that best never includes condoning destructive and immoral behavior. True love encourages us to embrace God’s grace and forgiveness, not our sinful passions.
If they’re going to throw out God’s definition of love, and declare that sexual sins like homosexual relations constitutes “love,” why not adultery? Why fornication, incest, pedophilia, and bestiality? If “love is love,” and love is defined by sexual attraction, what’s the difference?
There is no scriptural justification for redefining love or marriage in this manner, which is why they don’t quote scripture…merely their empty, philosophical rationale. Paul warns us against this in Colossians 2:8: “See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ.”
Sadly, these “liberal Christians” haven’t heeded the warning:
Over the past several decades, liberalism has primarily defined itself by what it is not. Its message is “We’re not like those stodgy old traditionalists-we’re hip and accepting” (as long as they’re not asked to accept unchanging morality or the truth of Scripture). Liberal Christianity rejects the core tenets of Christianity, including the belief that Jesus is God, that all of mankind is guilty of sin and condemned to hell, that God sacrificed His Son to bear the punishment for our sins, that Scripture is the absolute, unchanging, perfect Word of God, and that the only path to salvation is through believing in Christ’s sacrifice and accepting His gift of eternal life by grace through faith.
In place of these tenets, liberal Christianity embraces a series of denials: Christ is not divine, mankind is not inherently sinful, the Scriptures are not authoritative and unchanging, heaven and hell are not literal, morality and theology are not absolute, and social mores do not flow from Scripture, but are an ever-changing product of our evolutionary enlightenment.
All of these beliefs allow liberal Christians to be more “comfortable” in the culture around them. The common message of the liberal Christian is that “God is love” and we need to speak to the rest of culture in the language of loving acceptance. “Love” here is code for the conviction that there is no absolute moral standard which humankind has violated. Hence, to believe in justice, morality, sin, punishment or an unchanging God is to be “judgmental” and “unloving.”
[…] Liberal Christianity undermines the Truth that has motivated so much good work. Liberal Christians reject the core tenets of historic Christianity. They have embraced the contemporary fancies of an ever-changing culture. They have nothing to live for, nothing to die for, and nothing to work for. For them, church is just another social club, devoid of power because it is not animated by transcendent truth and accountability for living in conformity with that truth. They have no authority for faith or action. They embrace a counterfeit Christianity, a pale image of the real thing, a hollow shell, a thin gruel that offers little sustenance for its followers or the culture at large.
As religious leftists, most of the “clergy” behind the gay marriage agenda are socialists, and have therefore already rejected what the Bible teaches about envy, theft, private property, debt, inheritance, and other principles of Biblical economics. Turning their back on God’s moral standard for sexuality and marriage is just the next step. They have traded sound doctrine for that which tickles their itching ears (2 Timothy 4:3).
I’m currently reading Bonhoeffer, about the battle between the Nazi-controlled state church which called themselves “German Christians,” and the Confessing Church, which stood for Biblical truth and urged Christians in Germany to reject the poisonous lies of National Socialism. Sadly, only 20% of religious leaders in Germany partnered with Bonhoeffer and the Confessing Church. 80% cooperated with Hitler, not realizing their mistake until it was far too late.
Millions of people were persecuted and killed because the German church went along with the prevailing lies of the surrounding culture instead of holding fast to the truth and being salt and light. The willful ignorance, willful blindness, apathy and inaction of much of the body of Christ is largely responsible for one of the darkest chapters in human history.
Have we learned our lesson? Sadly, it appears not. Religious leaders across America and Europe are once again allowing themselves to be guided by the culture instead of the Word, seduced by warm-and-fuzzy sounding arguments and a fear of being labeled a “bigot” if they don’t comply.
They launched the initiative on Valentine’s Day, of course.
It’s baffling to me how many clergy and religious leaders they have deceived into going along with this. They’re really going after the faith angle, twisting scripture and trotting out deceived people of faith to try and convince other believers to buy the lie.
It’s the CHURCH that needs to be turned back to its first love! How can we have walked away from such basic scriptural truth? Lord, bring your repentance and revival!
Daniel Smyth writes at the Washington Times about a new scheme in New York to use anti-discrimination laws to force pro-lifers to either compromise their convictions or go out of business:
New York could soon shut down Catholic and other health care providers for not offering or referring for abortions. Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo, with enough support in the New York state legislature, could sign a reproductive health act (RHA) this year. Among other actions, the act would declare that New York “shall not discriminate against the exercise of…[abortion] rights…in the regulation or provision of benefits, facilities, services, or information.”
The New York State Catholic Conference argues this “no discrimination of abortion rights” provision could “permit state regulators…to require support for abortion from any agency or institution licensed or funded by the state.” As the state grants medical licenses, New York could deny licenses to — and thus shut down — such institutions as Catholic and other hospitals or clinics that refuse to support abortion. New York could also deny these institutions Medicaid payments and other funding, which some of these institutions need for financial stability.
Other provisions in New York’s RHA would establish abortion on demand in New York. For instance, the RHA would permit abortions until birth, allow public funding of abortion and repeal the requirement of parental notifications for minors’ abortions.
Sadly, this is only the latest example in a larger agenda to attack and marginalize people of faith:
Catholic adoption agencies have been forced to close their doors in Illinois, Massachusetts and Washington, D.C., because their religious beliefs about marriage were deemed unacceptable by their jurisdictions.
A graduate student in Michigan was expelled from a counseling program because her religious beliefs about marriage were deemed unacceptable by school officials.
Christian pharmacists in Illinois were told to find other professions because their religious beliefs regarding when life begins were deemed unacceptable by the state.
Private business owners are facing enormous fines because their beliefs about when life begins have been deemed unacceptable by the federal government.
Pastor Louie Giglio did not deliver the closing prayer at President Obama’s inauguration ceremony because his religious beliefs about marriage were deemed unacceptable by the administration.
[…] Compared with others around the world, people of faith in America enjoy extraordinary freedoms. Our lives are not in danger. We do not face imprisonment or torture for holding unpopular convictions.
Yet when people of faith are restricted from fully participating in society — owning businesses, entering the medical profession or providing much-needed charitable services — an intolerable trade-off has occurred. The government has exceeded its boundary, and the figurative wall between church and state must be strengthened.
[…] The tide has turned, and we have begun to see the emergence of a state-created orthodoxy. It deems support for traditional marriage unacceptable. It discredits those who believe that life begins at conception. It disfavors their faith — held for centuries by their predecessors — and creates a regulatory framework to prevent them from fully participating in the public square.
When the government says, “You can believe whatever you want, but you will be penalized if you exercise those beliefs,” we have entered dangerous territory. We cannot allow a religious litmus test to determine who may participate in American life. We must defend the Constitution not only in form, but also in effect.
The radical gay left could give lessons in bullying, which is a shame, since I have several wonderful conservative gay friends who oppose this kind of behavior, and these disgusting tactics give the gay community a bad name.
Since the owner of “Sweet Cakes by Melissa” bakery in Oregon declined to bake a wedding cake for a same-sex ceremony, the bullies have been out in full force.
Trolls came in droves to spam the bakery’s Facebook page with hateful, threatening and pornographic comments and images (all in the name of “love” and “tolerance,” of course). They went after anybody who dared post comments of support. They harassed the bakery’s recommended vendors, family and friends, and spammed their Yelp and other business review pages with hate and slander.
They “doxed” the family – who have small children – by publicly posting their personal information where identity thieves and dangerous people could find it:
They sent activists after Aaron and Melissa’s personal Facebook pages to harass them:
Someone even created a fake impersonator page in an attempt to slander them, by posting a racist, homophobic quote and claiming that it was Aaron and Melissa who said it (warning, foul language):
The conveniently cropped screen shot has since gone viral, and a reporter at the Examiner gave false confirmation that the quote was real.
What they’re NOT showing you is the whole picture (click to enlarge):
Notice, the impersonator page only has 8 “likes,” while the REAL page had over 600. Notice also that under “Recent Activity,” it says “joined Facebook,” meaning that the impersonator page was only recently created, while the REAL page has been on Facebook since 2010.
The impersonator page, which used images lifted from their website, was only online for a couple of hours – long enough to post a couple of disgusting quotes and take screen shots to outrage the gullible.
The REAL page looks like this:
Several boycott pages have also been set up on Facebook, as well as one specifically designed to bully, called “Sweet Cakes by Melissa is run by Homophobes,” which uses the same photos as the real page in order to confuse people. Facebook insists the page doesn’t violate their terms of service and refuses to take it down.
Sadly, much of the bullying has come from Christians who blame this family for the treatment they’re receiving and claim that they deserve it. “Just bake the cake! What’s the big deal?” “Who are you to judge?” “People like you are why gays hate Christians!” “Jesus loves gays, and you should, too!” They compare the owner to the Westboro Baptist freaks, even though he NEVER said he hates gays or called them an “abomination,” or anything of the sort. He simply politely said, “I’m sorry, I don’t make cakes for gay weddings.” When they asked why, he explained it violated his faith. And now some Christians are harassing him for it. It’s really sad. There IS a balanced approach between the ridiculous claim that “God hates gays” and just caving to the entire leftist agenda.
This honestly has nothing to do with Aaron and Melissa or cake. They’re just the pawns these radicals needed to make a frightening example out of anybody that dared to stand in their way. I recommend that Christians and conservatives read Saul Alinsky’s “Rules For Radicals,” so they understand the playbook tactics that are being used against us. My friend Barbara Curtis, a former radical leftist who became a Christian author and mother of 12, did a book study to help Christians understand what we’re dealing with.
Most of us innocently living our daily lives have no idea how cruel and dangerous these people can be if you end up in their cross-hairs. I hope the church is waking up to the fact that the enemy we are dealing with is VERY real, and ignoring the problem is not the answer. Neither is throwing our own under the bus, as many Christians are apt to do to save their own hides. We can’t afford to be naïve and think, “If we just give them everything they want, they’ll leave us in peace.” No. They want to destroy us and everything our faith stands for. They don’t need a provocation to come after us. Our mere existence is a threat. That is the reality.
I hope the church is beginning to wake up and realize that we are ALL on the front lines of the culture war now. Even a small family bakery is no longer safe and off-limits.
Thankfully, this family is also receiving lots of support from Christians, conservatives and libertarians (some of whom are gay) who recognize that nobody should be intimidated by government and harassed by bullies for exercising their 1st Amendment conscience rights. Even if you disagree with their particular stand on this issue, it’s important to remember that someday YOU might be bullied and coerced because of YOUR convictions, whatever they are.
It’s also important to recognize that there are many people who support gay marriage who do NOT condone bullying of this sort. There are some people who are genuinely hurt and offended, who will probably show up to protest, and who just need to be reached out to with love and respect. It’s a great opportunity to start a conversation, but that can only happen in a civil atmosphere where both sides feel safe.
No wonder the left does everything it can to make sure that this debate is hyper-emotionalized and anything BUT civil.
Slew of online hate reviews plagues ‘Sweet Cakes’ bakery
A small, family-owned bakery in Oregon is being investigated for “discrimination” by the Oregon Department of Justice because their faith compelled them to refuse to bake a wedding cake for a same-sex ceremony.
A woman and her mother came into the bakery asking about wedding cakes. During the course of the conversation, the baker, Aaron, asked the groom’s name. He was told that there was no groom – rather, a second bride. At this point, he apologized and explained that he did not make cakes for homosexual weddings.
The woman apparently left in a huff, and her mother came back to give Aaron a piece of her mind. A few days later, Aaron discovered that a formal complaint had been filed against him for “discrimination,” by the lesbian partner who hadn’t even been present for the discussion. The Oregon Attorney General is now investigating.
Once upon a time in America, the exchange of goods and services was voluntary, unhappy customers were satisfied with taking their business elsewhere, and signs that said “We reserve the right to refuse service to anyone” actually meant something.
Now, the government wants to tell business owners who and what they must serve, regardless of their convictions. But the sacrament of marriage is particularly sacred and holy to people of faith, and to redefine it in any way is a sin. To take part in a ceremony which seeks to redefine that sacrament would be a violation of this baker’s faith.
Obviously, Aaron has no problem serving gay customers for occasions like holidays and birthdays. This woman had bought a cake from him once before, and had been served with no issue. If she hadn’t been happy with the service, she wouldn’t have come back.
But this time, the customer was asking Aaron to participate in a ceremony which violated his faith. He has a 1st Amendment right to abstain, and the customer has a right to be unhappy about it and never buy there again, but not to force him to accommodate her wedding against his conscience.
A quick peek at their website reveals the reason why this customer’s disgruntled fiance chose to make an intimidating example out of Aaron and his family:
No small business should be bullied into acting against their conscience. I bet if he refused to bake a cake for a Westboro Baptist or Klan rally, nobody would bother him. Or a cake to promote a candidate or cause he doesn’t agree with. Or a Muslim “wedding” with a 6-year-old bride. The only difference here is that he dared to refrain against a liberal pet agenda.
People have a right to discriminate against certain behaviors they find offensive. They have a right to not be bullied by the government for honoring their conscience. The Oregon Attorney General should be ashamed of wasting taxpayer money and pursuing such a spurious complaint. Please show them your support!
Canada, the UK and European churches are finding out the hard way what the end result of the radical gay agenda truly looks like.
Take heed, America!
If churches are forced by new legislation or by civil suits to conduct homosexual “marriage” ceremonies against their beliefs, it would constitute “a piece of tyranny by which the rights of hundreds of thousands, millions even, of people of faith … will be ruthlessly trampled upon,” said the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP).
[…] But in a statement issued November 15th, UKIP warned that the writing is on the wall for churches if the government introduces legislation creating gay “marriage.”
It is “inevitable that gay couples will seek the right to marry in Church and that Churches will refuse to permit them to do so,” said UKIP. Despite the government’s assurances, “there will, very soon after the introduction of gay civil marriage, be a challenge in first the domestic courts of England and Wales and then in the European Court of Human Rights alleging that the exclusion of gay people from the right to have a religious ceremony of marriage is unlawful discrimination against them on the grounds of their sexual orientation.”
“[T]here is a very strong likelihood that the Court at Strasbourg will agree that it is an unlawful discrimination on those grounds and order the United Kingdom to introduce laws which will force Churches to marry gay people according to their rites, rituals and customs.”
The party said it is sure that the current government would “swiftly bend the knee to such a ruling and introduce such legislation” forcing churches to conduct gay “marriages.”
Think that “it can’t happen here?” So did Canadian Christians.
The government of Quebec is forcing Catholic schools to replace the Christian religion with the state’s “neutral” alternative based on moral relativism. That’s how defenders of religious freedom have responded to last week’s court ruling that a private Catholic high school must teach the state’s “secular” Ethics and Religious Culture (ERC) course.
Barbara Kay slammed the judges’ decision in the National Post on Wednesday, arguing that it empowers a government to “compel a faith community to jettison its driving beliefs in order to promote the state’s secular religion of multiculturalism; or indeed, in the future, to compel promotion of any other theory or belief the state may wish to substitute for a faith community’s convictions.”
Kay said that the ruling treats religion merely as a “cultural preference, not a deeply held core belief.”
“For Catholics, on the other hand, everyone who is a Catholic or a member of another religious faith —or even atheistic — is respected as a spiritual pilgrim on a profound journey in pursuit of truth,” she said.
Marie Bourque, vice president of the Association of Catholic Parents of Quebec, told the Catholic Register that the mandated ERC program will make children skeptical of any kind of religion or faith.
“It sort of vaccinates children against all faiths by teaching them you can fabricate your own religion,” she said.
The ERC course purports to take a “neutral” stance on world religions, giving equal spiritual standing to Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Wicca, Raëlism, aboriginal animism, and even a student’s own invented religion.
“If you say that, you are rejecting the divinity of Jesus Christ and the whole of Christianity,” Bourque said.
[…] Fr. Raymond de Souza called it “totalitarian” to “compel a private Jesuit high school to teach that, as between Christianity and say, witchcraft, there can be no considered judgment as to which view is to be proposed.”
Many Christians vote for politicians who support completely unbiblical economic policies because they have no idea what the Bible has to say about economics. All they know about economics they learned in secular government schools and the talking points put forth by politicians and political activists.
The world is reeling from poverty, drowning in debt, and suffering from other hardships caused by bad economic policies. God’s Word has the answers. Christians are called to disciple the nations to obey everything Christ commanded, INCLUDING in the area of economics, but we can’t teach hurting nations what we haven’t bothered to learn for ourselves.
A week ago, a lot of Americans received a jolt. After the election dust settled, they realized a majority of voters don’t want to lessen the role of government in their lives. If anything, they want to see government expand.
It was (and continues to be) the talk of the airwaves and Internet. As one radio host put it, in light of the election results, what we need is significant economic education. He is right – we do.
It is a pretty grave problem. The truth is that a majority of Americans in both political parties are radically ignorant of basic economics. In numerous ways, most people in the United States have been committed to some form of economic suicide for generations. They just don’t realize the extent of it.
This is one of the main reasons we created Economics for Everybody. The long-term implications of government intervention in the economy are extremely dangerous to all of us, especially to our religious freedoms. More and more people have a sinking feeling about this. But unless they take time to learn the basics of economics, nothing will change.
What is really at stake here?
If a majority of Americans are committed to the expansion of the welfare state, it will lead to increasing poverty for all. A basic economic principle is that whatever you subsidize you get more of.
If a dad offers to give money to his kids to clean up their rooms, he’ll get cleaner rooms. In the same way, if a government offers money to its citizens when they are unemployed, it will get more unemployment. Strange as it may seem, statistics consistently bear this out. And since the government offers money for all sorts of things it shouldn’t be offering money for, it’s no wonder we are where we are. We discuss this at length in ‘Lesson 10 – The Corporate and Welfare States of America.’
Next, if a majority of Americans are committed to government intervention in business through regulation, it will lead to a shrinking business sector. The basic economic principle here is that governments are unable to make accurate economic calculations.
The whole idea behind a planned economy is that central planners know better than producers and consumers what’s good for the economy. But such an idea assumes that a few people not only can comprehend, but actually direct the unique and ever-changing choices of limitless producers and consumers better than they can themselves.
It would be like a few people telling everyone else what they should buy at a grocery store. It’s functionally impossible to know all the discrete needs and desires of that many people, so the only way to attempt it is through general rules that restrict and direct consumption for all. At a business level, such a regulatory approach always ends in more and more businesses not being able to operate profitably and shutting down, ultimately resulting in the slow strangulation of an economy. We explain exactly how it happens in ‘Lesson 8 – The Basics of Government Intervention.’
Finally, if a majority of Americans don’t understand the relationship between economic freedom and religious freedom, they will inevitably lose both. The economic principle is that we are caught in a cosmic battle that has many economic aspects: God wants us to build up a godly civilization with our resources while Satan wants to prevent us from doing so.
In an economy based on Christian principles, there is economic freedom for people to use their land, labor and capital as they see fit. It is a matter of individual stewardship based on God-given ability and property. But in an economy based on atheistic principles, the government is a tool of Satan to control the lives of individuals so that they cannot steward their resources and time for God’s Kingdom. Think of the many socialist and communist economies that persecuted tens of millions of Christians.
The fact that there is a spiritual battle going on that has economic dimensions is lost on most people. But it is the reality of this, as well as the fact of sin in the world, that is so important economically. History reveals this to us over and over again. We explain it in greater detail in ‘Lessons 6 & 7 – A Tale of Two Theologies.’
There is, of course, even more to economics. We try to explore as many basic principles as necessary in the twelve-lesson series. Our belief is that if people go through the entire Economics for Everybody curriculum, they will be in a much better place to understand what happened last Tuesday on Election Day. They will also understand what needs to happen in the future.
Today I’m hearing a lot of Christians say, “oh, well, it’s the end times, Jesus will be coming soon anyway.” One of the serious problems with the modern church’s obsession with the “End Times” and eschatology is that it has often led to a defeatist attitude.
“The world is supposed to get darker before Jesus comes,” some say, therefore coming to the conclusion that when it comes to fighting evil, “resistance is futile”, especially in regards to the onslaught of secularism and immorality in America. The generations of faith who founded our nation would be appalled to hear their posterity embrace such an unbiblical, defeatist philosophy.
What if the WWII generation had taken that attitude while Hitler was trying to take over Europe? Christians in those days had every reason to assume Hitler was the “antichrist”, yet thank God they didn’t use that as an excuse to just retreat to the hillsides and scan the heavens for Christ’s return! If they had, the world we live in today would be a VERY different place.
I’m not equating Obama with Hitler, but the record of history is that men of ambition, with no respect for constraints on their power or people willing to hold them in check, will soon become tyrants, no matter how “good” they think their intentions are.
“We’re supposed to focus on evangelism, not political issues,” is another lie which has sprouted from the “Last Days” madness. What has given us the unbiblical idea that ANY area of life is the exclusive territory of unbelievers, whether it be music, media, education, politics, or anything else? God created all of these things, and they have all been usurped and corrupted by the Enemy. Our job as believers is not to cede territory to the Enemy, but to redeem these areas for God’s glory. And yes, that includes government!
I find it ironic that as Christians, we admire secular people who fight for what they believe in, but have somehow bought the lie that following Jesus means WE shouldn’t. In fact, the very opposite is true.
Jesus didn’t tell us to “evangelize” the nations, he told us to DISCIPLE them, “teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” That means TRANSFORMING SOCIETY with God’s Truth, not just leading people in the “sinner’s prayer”. That battle happens on two fronts: in the spiritual, fighting for the hearts and minds of each generation, and in the physical, holding the line for truth, justice, and righteousness.
Joel McDurmon has it right: the idea that Christians must choose between “awareness” and “activism” is a false choice, indeed.
I also saw a lot of Christians quoting Romans 13 today, urging believers to submit to the governing authorities.
While this is true, we must also remember that we are called to give to Caesar what is Caesar, and to God what is God’s. We must discern, as our founders did, where we must submit and where we must declare, “we must obey God rather than men.”
So let’s open our Bibles and learn the difference.
Obama is the symptom, not the disease. Government has grown WAY beyond its constitutional boundaries over the past century, and both parties are to blame. The Tea Party is here to demand a return to limited, constitutional government and fiscal responsibility. We are here to hold BOTH parties accountable. 2012 is only the first step in a long road back to sanity! So roll up your sleeves, ’cause we’re just getting started.
Warner Todd Huston has made some interesting observations about why – unlike Republicans – Democrats are always so well prepared and never miss an opportunity to advance their agenda:
Unions and their Democrat handmaidens make politics their lives. They organize every day of the week. They don’t just awake from their drowsy sleep the week before Election Day and say to themselves, “gee, let’s see who I should vote for.”
No, they agitate, organize, and prepare, they push their friends, needle their family, and put pressure on their politicians, every day of the year.
They simply out organize us and they have a permanent infrastructure to win elections.
Political activism is difficult for conservatives, who naturally gravitate towards a “live and let live,” “if we don’t bother them, they won’t bother us” mentality. We prefer to make a difference through ministries and charities, not government mandates. We tend to view government as power-hungry and obnoxious, not as a benevolent savior. We see politics as dirty and distasteful, not as the path to Utopia.
The problem is, we are up against an ideology which views the Almighty State as the solution for almost any problem, and political activism is how they practice their religion. In his book Liberty and Tyranny, Mark Levin calls them Statists, because their goal is ultimately to put the state in the place of God in people’s lives.
Statists go to activist training the way that we go to Bible studies: to learn how to put their faith into practice. They volunteer for phone banks, signature gathering, petitioning, lobbying and protesting the way that we volunteer for ministries and local charities: to make a difference and change the world. They run for office the way that conservatives join the clergy: to help shepherd the flock in the right direction.
While Statists are naturally attracted to positions of power over their fellow men, true conservatives rarely run for political office, preferring to “live and let live.” On the rare occasion when they do, it’s often out of reluctant desperation: because they’re sick of the fact that they can no longer ignore government intrusion in their life, and nobody else seems to be stepping up to the plate.
It’s not uncommon for conservative candidates to be completely unprepared and shocked by the disgusting tactics wielded against them – tactics they themselves would never think of using or stoop to. They’ll find themselves smeared and slandered and their supporters intimidated as they come against a well-oiled machine of Leftist activists seemingly coming out of the woodwork from every direction.
If a conservative candidate manages to survive the onslaught, they’ll often find themselves as the lone conservative on a school board or city council full of dedicated liberals. Even worse: the liberal politicians’ supporters show up religiously for every meeting and session, while most conservatives in the community are at home, usually unaware that there even is a meeting that night (except on the rare occasion when a media-highlighted issue is under consideration).
After a few years of fighting what seems to be a losing battle against overwhelming odds with little support from their oblivious conservative base, many candidates will simply bow out in frustration.
While the conservative electorate is focusing on work, family, and everyday life between elections, Statists are laying the groundwork to win the next battle, the same way that athletes stay in shape for the next game.
When election time comes, conservatives show up to vote as our civic duty, but the Statists have well-trained activists ready to get out the vote, drum up media attention and destroy the opposition.
When the election is over or a hard-fought battle is won, conservatives are relieved to go back to our daily lives and blissfully ignore the dirty world of politics until the next cycle of negative ads pop up on TV again. Statists, meanwhile, are learning from what worked and didn’t work, and adjusting their game plan to win the next round.
As distasteful as it may be, as much as it may go against our nature, it’s time for conservatives to realize that our “live and let live” approach to political involvement will eventually seal our defeat. In the world of sports, the team that is most conditioned, trained and prepared will win, while the team that prefers to spend most of its time off the field will lose. The same applies to the world of politics.
Conservatives, our nation is under assault. Not just during election cycles, but every day. We can’t afford to ride the bench any longer.
For too long, Christians have become accustomed to the church muzzling itself on any moral issue usurped by government for fear of losing IRS tax exempt status. But the truth is, Christ has called us to be salt and light, not tax exempt. To refuse to stand for righteousness in the realm of government is to be silent in the face of evil, and God WILL hold us accountable for our apathy and disobedience.
Now, hundred of Godly pastors and leaders across the country are taking a stand. It’s not that the church is “getting political,” it’s that the political realm has been invading the spiritual for far too long, and it’s time to speak up.
In this sobering message, Calvary Chapel’s Dr. Wayne Grudem presents the issues of this election from a Biblical worldview, and encourages Christian voters to examine where the candidates stand on issues that the Bible is very clear about (skip the intro to 6:00 on the counter):
In a last ditch effort to try and court religious voters, the Obama campaign has released a new ad which claims that Obama’s policies are following God’s commands:
So which religious leaders did Obama pick to interpret scripture on his behalf? Let’s take a look.
Bishop Vashti McKenzie, according to Discover The Networks, is the first woman bishop of the liberal African Methodist Episcopal Church, which ordained the radical Marxist minister and Obama’s mentor, James Cone. She is also “another proponent of black liberation theology, and another friend and defender of Jeremiah Wright.”
Professor Stephen Schneck is the National Co-Chair of Catholics for Obama, a group which defies church teachings by supporting pro-abortion Democrats and blames Republicans for increasing abortion by not supporting Socialist solutions to poverty.
J. R. Kerr is an evangelical pastor from Chicago and a proponent of the “Social Justice” movement.
Rabbi Samuel Gordon is co-founder of Rabbis For Obama, a group that boycotts and defames Israel while cozying up to Ahmadinejad.
And what do these Socialist, pro-abortion, anti-Israel spokespeople consider to be Obama’s “biblical values”?
Pastor Kerr touts Obama’s “basic core belief that when one part suffers, every part every part suffers…it’s a deeply religious belief.” Yes, it is. Problem is, instead of recognizing that the Bible’s command to care for the needy is directed to individuals, families and the body of Christ, Obama seeks to transfer these responsibilities to the control of the Almighty State.
Obama says in the ad that “I believe in country that rewards hard work and responsibility, a country where we look after one another, a country where I say I’m my brother’s keeper, I’m my sister’s keeper.” Problem is, he doesn’t trust God and the free market to reward hard work and responsibility through voluntary exchanges and happy customers.
If Obama had ever studied the teachings of Jesus, he’d know that “being my brothers’ and sisters’ keeper” isn’t one of them. Rather, that’s a distortion of Cain’s response to God when asked where his murdered brother was: “Am I my brother’s keeper?” In other words, “How would I know where my brother is? I’m not his babysitter!” Liberation theology has twisted Cain’s guilty response into an endorsement of socialist policies such as redistribution.
Rabbi Gordon praises Obama’s government takeover of the healthcare industry, supporting Obama’s claim that “When I talk about making sure insurance companies aren’t discriminating against those who are already sick, I do so…because I believe in God’s command to love thy neighbor as thyself.” Making sure that people with long-term illnesses and pre-existing conditions are able to receive health care is a lofty goal, but again, the problem is that he employs an unscriptural solution: nationalizing one’s own body. Solutions that employ private charities and respect individual liberty are completely dismissed.
“Love thy neighbor as thyself” is another command that Obama and his friends are twisting to mean that government can forcibly confiscate your rightful property and use it to pay for someone else’s medical bills. That’s not love – that’s THEFT.
Bishop McKenzie makes the claim that “When he stands in the gap for the auto industry to be sure there are jobs for people to have, that’s putting your faith in action, that’s putting feet to your faith.” We already have a lawful system for that, called bankruptcy court. Obama broke the law by bypassing the courts, forcing investors to take less than they had been promised by contract, and forcing hard-working American taxpayers to pour billions of dollars into the pockets of his union pals, who had helped to bankrupt the industry. Much of that money came back to the President in the form of campaign contributions. Giving special favors to campaign contributors and going around the law are NOT Biblical values.
Professor Schneck insists that “saving people’s jobs is a moral policy,” but he doesn’t understand how Biblical economics works. Keeping a person at a job in an industry that is failing simply diverts that person’s labors away from another industry that may be better served by his talents. We could get the government to still subside making horse-drawn carriages and 8-track machines that nobody wants to buy, but neither the workers nor the economy would be benefited by doing so. It is not the government’s job to decide where to divert workers and resources. The free market naturally directs workers and resources to the areas where they are in most demand, allowing less efficient or desirable industries to fade. It is not for the State to play God in this area.
Schneck also says “The Bible tell us that to whom much is given, much is expected,” misquoting Luke 12:48 to support the Marxist theory of progressive taxation: that the more you make, the more you should pay. Luke 12:48 refers to what GOD will require from us, not the government. It is GOD who gives and takes away, not the state. Obama is deliberately putting the state in the place of God by hijacking that verse.
In fact, the Bible admonishes us in Leviticus 19:15 to treat all people equal under the law, regardless of income: “Do not pervert justice; do not show partiality to the poor or favoritism to the great, but judge your neighbor fairly.” A tax policy that punishes people for their success and declares that the rich have less of a right to their earnings than the poor is a miscarriage of justice; a form of unequal treatment before the law in violation of scripture. The example God left for us was one of a flat percentage rate of 10% from the poorest to the richest, and His ways are just.
American Christians have a very serious decision to make, and they have to make it based on solid Biblical principles. We are obligated to support candidates who respect human life at all ages and stages, the Biblical definition of marriage, religious liberty, and Biblical economic principles and solutions to poverty – NOT Marxist ones. We must be cautious to examine the claims and promises of politicians and their sycophants against the truth of scripture, and discern where those scriptures are being twisted to support an ungodly agenda.
Barack Obama is the most Biblically-hostile U. S. President in America’s history, and his long record proves it.
Find more info here on “Liberation Theology” and its offshoot, “Black Liberation Theology,” which was taught at Jeremiah Wright’s church where Obama attended for 20 years, and which these so-called “religious leaders” ascribe to.
Somebody find me a scripture that says that you’re supposed to stand up for Biblical principals and righteousness in every area EXCEPT politics.
The Bible doesn’t condemn people for being “too political.” It condemns them for being lukewarm (Rev 3:16) and salt that has lost its saltiness (Matt 5:13). Neutrality against evil is not a virtue.
The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association has responded to rising criticism from people accusing the Rev. Billy Graham of becoming too political by praising GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney.
“Throughout his public ministry spanning more than six decades, Mr. Graham has been careful to remain non-partisan, but has been a consistent advocate for a biblical worldview and taken a strong stand for biblical values with respect to political issues,” Larry Ross, spokesperson for Billy Graham, said in an email with The Christian Post.
“During this time, a number of political leaders and candidates have stopped by to visit Mr. Graham in his home as their travels would bring them to the region, including President Obama in April 2010 and Sen. John McCain while the presumptive Republican presidential nominee prior to the 2008 campaign,” Ross noted.
Romney visited the Graham and his son, Franklin Graham, at their home in North Carolina earlier this month. The popular preacher praised the Mormon politician for his “values and strong moral convictions.” The BGEA website has also published several articles urging Americans to vote based on issues such as the traditional definition of marriage and the sanctity of life, and released an ad featuring a direct statement by Graham. Unlike President Obama, Romney is in favor of the preserving marriage between one man and one woman, and wants abortion in most cases banned.
Furthermore, an article which calls Mormonism a “cult” was removed from the BGEA website following the Republican’s visit.
This caused a number of critics, both from the conservative and liberal sides, to announce their disappointment with the Graham’s apparent support of Romney. Evangelist Bill Keller, who is warning against Christians voting for Romney because he fears it will allow the Mormon “cult” to grow, said that it was a “sad moment” when Graham decided to give his support to the GOP candidate.
[…] In his statement to CP, however, Ross said that “the biblical values ads sponsored by the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA) that ran the following week are also consistent with both the mission of the ministry and Billy Graham’s personal methodology throughout his public ministry to diligently and consistently remain politically neutral and non-partisan.”
He added that “against the backdrop of moral decline and a cultural shift in our nation that reflects timely issues, Mr. Graham’s quotation in the ad is an extension of his faithful preaching of a timeless message and strong stand on biblical values for more than six decades.”
I hope more and more Christians are finally beginning to understand this.
The upcoming national elections will be a test of the true mettle of the church in the United States. If the nation loses her greatness, we will have no one to blame but ourselves.
There is a remnant who are standing guard, but the question we must ask ourselves is will it be too little, too late to save the church from going through a dark time of increased persecution?
In moments of private anguish, I have wept, as have many others, over both the state of the nations and the apathy of the church. This has been deepened by conversations with Christian leaders who expressed that, demographically, we could vote in any one we wanted to if the church would just go to the polls and vote our convictions.
Unfortunately, only 50 percent of the church is registered to vote, but an even smaller percentage of those registered ever actually go to the polls. When we asked friends in the know why they don’t register, the sad reason is that they do not want to serve on jury duty.
Historically, while we fought for our independence, only one-third of the people were patriots, one-third were loyalists, and one-third didn’t care. This is the remnant principle. The key is to get enough people to engage that we reach a righteous tipping point.