Posts Tagged ‘Theology’
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.
Krauthammer Warns: Gay Marriage Case Could Lead to All-Out ‘Assault on Religion’
View on YouTube
Last summer, lesbian journalist and activist Masha Gessen admitted in a radio interview that the purpose of pursuing gay marriage is to destroy the institution of marriage entirely:
“It’s a no-brainer that (homosexual activists) should have the right to marry, but I also think equally that it’s a no-brainer that the institution of marriage should not exist. …(F)ighting for gay marriage generally involves lying about what we are going to do with marriage when we get there — because we lie that the institution of marriage is not going to change, and that is a lie.
The institution of marriage is going to change, and it should change. And again, I don’t think it should exist. And I don’t like taking part in creating fictions about my life. That’s sort of not what I had in mind when I came out thirty years ago.
I have three kids who have five parents, more or less, and I don’t see why they shouldn’t have five parents legally… I met my new partner, and she had just had a baby, and that baby’s biological father is my brother, and my daughter’s biological father is a man who lives in Russia, and my adopted son also considers him his father. So the five parents break down into two groups of three… And really, I would like to live in a legal system that is capable of reflecting that reality, and I don’t think that’s compatible with the institution of marriage.”
The end point of liberalism is a coercive secular state in which the religious have no meaningful rights. American church leaders are kidding themselves if they think the gay-marriage juggernaut is going to stop at civil marriage. It won’t. It will quickly travel past court houses to churches, demanding that all religions bless gay marriages.
Denmark casts a shadow of this future, where the gay-marriage juggernaut has smashed through church doors. Last year the country’s parliament passed a law requiring all Lutheran churches to conduct gay marriage ceremonies. “I think it’s very important to give all members of the church the possibility to get married,” said Manu Sareen, Denmark’s minister for gender equality. Reluctant bishops have to supply ministers to satisfy the right whether they like it or not.
Iceland and Sweden have similar arrangements. Since many of the bishops are in the tank for gay marriage anyways and since these churches are “state” churches, this pressure generates little news. But it is instructive nonetheless. Where gay marriage exists, religious freedom gradually disappears, to the point where ministers have to choose between serving as secularism’s stooges or facing societal oblivion.
In America, this pressure will take the form of “discriminatory” churches losing government grants, permits, and participation in programs. It will be the death of religious freedom by a thousand little cuts here and there: canceled speeches of religious figures at state universities, lost HHS grants, the refusal of city governments to recognize churches that don’t permit gay marriages, “hate crime” legislation that extends to opposition to gay marriage, and so on. All of this will have the effect of pressuring churches into blessing gay marriages. A law forcing priests and ministers to preside at gay marriages won’t need to be passed; the invisible law of indirect governmental pressure will do the trick.
[...] The goal of the gay-marriage juggernaut is to make Christians pariahs, as irrelevant to public life as racists. It doesn’t have to pass a Denmark-style law to force churches to conduct gay marriages; it can achieve the same end through punitive political correctness.
If anyone wants to argue that the same government currently forcing religious institutions to purchase the abortion pill through ObamaCare will not eventually use civil rights violations in order to attempt to force the Church to perform same-sex marriage ceremonies — good luck with that.
But this would have been unthinkable five years ago.
It was just three months ago that the White House and media piled on a reverend for preaching the Bible’s teachings on homosexuality. The result was his invitation to speak at Obama’s inauguration being rescinded.
This would have been unthinkable five years ago.
With the election of Pope Francis, we have news anchors openly clamoring that the Church is out of step on same-sex marriage.
This would have been unthinkable five years ago.
Fifteen years ago, the same leftists and media assuring us today that same-sex marriage won’t be imposed on the Church were telling us that civil unions (which I’ve always supported) would never lead to gay marriage.
With all that in mind, am I really supposed to buy that, within five years (maybe five days), the left and the media won’t be incessantly asking this question: “If the Church cannot legally refuse to marry an interracial couple, how can it legally refuse same-sex couples?”
As long as there are still Christians who actually follow Christ and uphold his word, a vast amount of people around the world — never mind Islam — will never ever see gay marriage as anything other than a legal encroachment of God’s intent.
So those Christians must be silenced. The left exerted a great deal of energy to convince everyone that the gay lifestyle is an alternative form of normal. It then has exerted a great deal of energy convincing people that because the gay lifestyle is just another variation of normal, gay marriage must be normalized.
Meanwhile, those Christians are out there saying it is not normal and are refusing to accept it as normal because of silly God dared to say marriage is a union between a man and woman.
Any Christian who refuses to recognize that man wants to upend God’s order will have to be driven from the national conversation. They will be labeled bigots and ultimately criminals.
Already we have seen florists, bakers, and photographers suffer because they have refused to go along with the cultural shift toward gay marriage. There will be more.
Once the world decides that real marriage is something other than natural or Godly, those who would point it out must be silenced and, if not, punished. The state must be used to do this. Consequently, the libertarian pipe dream of getting government out of marriage can never ever be possible.
Within a year or two we will see Christian schools attacked for refusing to admit students whose parents are gay. We will see churches suffer the loss of their tax exempt status for refusing to hold gay weddings. We will see private businesses shut down because they refuse to treat as legitimate that which perverts God’s own established plan. In some places this is already happening.
Christians should, starting yesterday, work on a new front. While we should not stop the fight to preserve marriage, and we may be willing to compromise on civil unions, we must start fighting now for protections for religious objectors to gay marriage.
Churches, businesses, and individuals who refuse to accept gay marriage as a legitimate institution must be protected as best we can. Those protections will eventually crumble as the secular world increasingly fights the world of God, but we should institute those protections now and pray they last as long as possible.
The last pope, Benedict XVI, blamed capitalism for poverty and was a staunch advocate for socialized medicine. Apparently he didn’t see the connection between that and violations of religious liberty such as the HHS mandate.
Argentina, like most of Latin America, is a hotbed of Marxist “Liberation Theology” (Obama is an adherent of the racist version, Black Liberation Theology). But does Francis I subscribe to it? Unfortunately, the reports are contradictory and somewhat cryptic.
The Guardian calls him “a champion of liberation theology.”
Catholic Online says “Bergoglio is an accomplished theologian who distanced himself from liberation theology early in his career.”
According to John L. Allen Jr. of National Catholic Reporters, the Jesuit Bergoglio has long spoken out on behalf of the world’s poor and criticized free-market economic policies.
“We live in the most unequal part of the world, which has grown the most yet reduced misery the least,” Bergoglio told an assembly of Latin American bishops in 2007.
“The unjust distribution of goods persists, creating a situation of social sin that cries out to heaven and limits the possibilities of a fuller life for so many of our brothers.”
Here’s Lynch quoting from that 2011 speech delivered by, now, Pope Francis I:
Said Cardinal Bergoglio in said speech that “The economic and social crisis and the consequent increase in poverty has its causes in ways policies inspiredneoliberalism considering profits and market laws as parameters, to the detriment of the dignity of individuals and peoples. In this context, we reiterate the conviction that the loss of the sense of justice and lack of respect for others have worsened and led us to a situation of inequity. ” Later stressed the importance of “ social justice ”, the” equal opportunity “damage” transfers of capital abroad, “which should be required” distribution of wealth ”, said the damage of economic inequalities and the need to “prevent the use of financial resources is shaped by speculation,” especially in the context of the “social debt”-which in his opinion is of eminently “moral” – is to reform “economic structures” in expressed the sense before.
Again, I may have lost something in the translation, but it appears the new Pope fails to understand markets and holds the concepts of social justice, equal opportunity and distribution of wealth, as important. Concepts which, of course, generally lead to advocacy of much government intervention and much central planning. It as though the new Pope has somehow given up on the good in people, and perhaps even in God, and has decided to replace both with a central role for the coercive state.
The Investors Business Daily editorial board, however, contends that Francis I is no friend to Big Government:
The change that swept Eastern Europe in the 1980s and fueled the collapse of the Soviet Union may find itself repeated by a new pope with similar disdain for the authoritarian governments of his region.
When Cardinal Karol Wojtyla stepped out on the balcony of St. Peter’s in 1978 as Pope John Paul II, Soviet communism still stood astride Eastern Europe and his native Poland.
He would be the moral force helping to lead half a continent out of the human bondage of totalitarianism.
Argentina’s 76-year-old Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, now Pope Francis I, is no stranger to — or compromiser with — the oppression of authoritarian government.
During his tenure as Archbishop of Buenos Aires and head of Argentina’s Conference of Bishops, the new pope had a strained relationship with the governments of President Cristina Kirchner and her late husband, former President Nestor Kirchner, who once called Bergoglio “a real spokesman for the opposition.”
The cardinal who eschewed limousines to ride his bicycle or take the bus, is known as a man of the poor and of the people.
He gained admiration for living in a modest apartment instead of the palace in Buenos Aires that was adjacent to the Casa Rosada where the president resides (and where Juan and Evita Peron often harangued the Argentine people).
The new pope has fought a long battle in Argentina against leftist government, Peronist anticlericalism, the spread of evangelical Protestantism and the secular temptations of modern society.
Like Pope John Paul II, he is likely to resist calls to “modernize” the church, to make it more “popular” and “appealing.”
Like Pope John Paul II, Pope Francis is a strong opponent of what is called “liberation theology,” a bizarre mix of Marxism and Catholicism often embraced by left-leaning politicians and clerics in Argentina and elsewhere in the hemisphere.
Rosendo Fraga, a well-known Argentine political analyst, told the Miami Herald’s Andres Oppenheimer that Pope Francis “is definitely bad news for the Argentine government. His homilies, as recently as two weeks ago, were very critical of economic and social conditions, and of corruption in Argentina.”
“Francis may become a critic of governments such as those in Venezuela, Ecuador or Bolivia, in the same way that John Paul II became a critic of communism in Eastern Europe,” says Daniel Alvarez, a professor of religious studies at Florida International University.
[T]o be sure, South American governments are, with certain exceptions, nothing like the monolithic, totalitarian USSR.
Moreover, Pope Francis I is not as young as Pope John Paul II. Nor does he have a Ronald Reagan and a Margaret Thatcher to work with.
Even so, he does provide a rallying point for a region beset by authoritarianism that badly needs one.
Who knows whether this pope will stand up against the unscriptural tenets of Socialism? I guess we’ll have to wait and see.
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.
This is one of many reasons why we homeschool, but homeschooling is not for everyone. Parents have a God-given right and responsibility to choose the best education for their children. They should NOT be forced into a government monopoly that deliberately undermines the values they are trying to instill in the next generation.
When discussing the school choice issue with other Christians, I often here responses like “How are we supposed to be salt and light in the schools if we pull our kids out?” and “We can counter-act the bad stuff they learn in school by teaching them about God at home and in church.”
These are valid concerns, but the truth is that our children are not being salt and light; rather, they are being corrupted by the very system they are trying to influence. A recent study by the Barna Group found that approximately 70% of kids who grew up in a Christian church were no longer faithful to the church by their 20s. According to Barna, this is a fairly recent phenomenon. During the first half of the 20th century, young adults pretty much stayed faithful to the Christian faith. But this trend changed during the 1960s, when we saw the Bible and prayer taken out of government-run schools while at the same time witnessing the birth of the Sexual Revolution.
For decades, the anti-Christian crowd has been using government-run schools to undermine and attack Christianity. And that strategy continues today. Just last week, the Southern Education Foundation issued a paper claiming that Georgia’s school choice program (where individuals and corporations can receive tax credits for contributing to charitable funds that award scholarships to enable underprivileged kids to attend private schools) is supporting Christian schools with “anti-gay” policies. SEF claims that any private, Christian school that expects it teachers and students to adhere to Biblical standards of conduct—including those that prohibit pre-marital sex, adultery, and homosexual behavior—is “anti-gay” and that those schools should not be allowed to participate in the scholarship program.
If a private school teaching Biblical morality is “anti-gay,” then wouldn’t parents and churches that teach these same ideas also be “anti-gay.” And this is the message that is being taught 8 hours a day, 5 days a week to our kids attending government-run schools. They are taught that Biblical values and beliefs are bigoted, ignorant, and unacceptable. So we if think that 2 hours a week (if that) at church can counter-act 40 hours a week of teaching that Christianity is wrong, we are fooling ourselves.
If you take seriously the Biblical command that you, as a parent, are to train up a child in the way he or she should go, then you realize that the command means more than just taking them to church once or twice a week. It means making sure that every aspect of their education affirms, not mocks, Biblical principles and values.
We’ve gone so far down the path to tyranny and economic destruction, there are only two ways it can end: war or revival. I pray for revival!
In my book, When the Crosses are Gone, I warn that when a culture abandons thinking and logic in favor of feelings and emotions, it is doomed to destruction. Although emotions are a very important part of the human psyche, when they control every aspect of life, morality becomes a victim.
Today, there is widespread agreement that morality in America is deteriorating with breathtaking speed.
On one hand, we face a belligerent and intimidating lobby that desires the breakdown of biblical morality. On the other hand, a docile public—as well as church leadership—is terrified to stand up for truth lest it provoke the false accusation of bigotry, intolerance, and all sorts of phobias.
That deadly combination, which threatens to take us into the very abyss, is far more dangerous and everlasting than any “fiscal cliff” crisis. I’m not minimizing the potential for an economic collapse that the US, and the entire world, is facing. But that collapse itself is also related to our abandonment of biblical morality.
[...] There is only one antidote to this epidemic of conformity. There is only one barrier that can hold back this speeding madness. There is only one act that can zip shut the mouths of hungry lions.
Repentance. We must return to our first love for God and His truth.
Our Christian forbearers endured being devoured by ferocious animals and being dipped into boiling tar to light up the emperor’s gardens. And today, more than 100 million Christians live under severe persecution because they refuse to compromise and bow down to the Caesars of this world. So what is a little bit of ridicule and false accusation? How can a little non-acceptance by society compare to that?
Therefore, let us be courageous. Let us return to the Lord in repentance before we go over the moral cliff and plunge deep into Never-Never Land.
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.”
I know there are a lot of Protestants who buy into these ideas as well, but we’re so dispersed that it’s easy to dismiss a Protestant like Jim Wallis who peddles this garbage. Where are the conservative Catholics supposed to go?
Earlier in his homily, the leader of the world’s 1.2 billion Roman Catholics decried “hotbeds of tension and conflict caused by growing instances of inequality between rich and poor“.
The idea that economic inequality is the root of most conflict is a Socialist idea, not a Biblical one. The Bible makes it clear that man’s sinful nature is the source of mankind’s broken relationships and conflicts.
Also, the Pope appears to mistakenly assume that economic inequality is automatically a form of injustice which creates resentment, not recognizing that poor people are not made poorer by other people getting richer, because wealth is not a zero-sum game. Any resentment over inequality is either based in envy, or anger over being cheated and exploited (in which case, it is the dishonest manner in which the wealth was gained, not the wealth disparity itself, which is the problem).
He also denounced “the prevalence of a selfish and individualistic mindset which also finds expression in an unregulated capitalism, various forms of terrorism and criminality”.
Funny how Socialists believe that it is “selfish” for people to want to keep what they earn, but neglect to recognize selfishness in those who demand that money be taken from those who earned it and given to themselves (who didn’t earn it). The Bible has a word for that, however: theft.
Also, Socialists denounce any rejection of collectivist control over goods and services as “individualist” and selfish, completely ignoring the fact that God Himself established private property rights when he gave the 10 commandments, including “Do not covet” and “Do not steal.”
Socialists also assume that pure Capitalism is an “unregulated,” winner-takes-all affair. Nonsense! True Capitalism requires law and order to make sure that all transactions are conducted honestly and voluntarily, without coercion or deceit. Free enterprise is not anarchy. Nor is it a form of “terrorism and criminality.”
Guess I shouldn’t be surprised that the Pope completely misses these points. He’s a former Nazi youth, after all, and like most Germans has never fully rejected the Welfare State or many of the other Socialist underpinnings of the Nazi party. Also, like most Christians across the theological spectrum, he has never studied Biblical Economics.
Sadly, millions will hear his ignorant statements and become even more firmly entrenched in the unscriptural idea that Socialism is Biblical and free enterprise is evil.
Even more sadly, millions of Catholics are fighting for religious liberty against the very kinds of oppressive Socialist governments the Pope is supporting with these statements. At a time when he should be denouncing abuses of government power, he denounces the “individualism” of those fighting for their God-given rights of economic and religious liberty instead.
Before leaving his 54 Christmas trees and giant gingerbread White House for a $4 million Hawaiian vacation at taxpayer expense, the President and First Lady took it upon themselves to explain to us lowly serfs what the Christmas season is really about.
CNS News has the transcript. Here are the key points:
THE FIRST LADY: That’s what makes this season so special – getting to spend time with the people we love most.
THE PRESIDENT: And this year, that’s especially true for some of our military families. You see, the war in Iraq is over. The transition in Afghanistan is underway. After a decade of war, our heroes are coming home. And all across America, military families are reuniting.
Spike the football for withdrawing troops from an Islamist-run Iraq and preparing to hand Afghanistan back over to the Taliban? Check!
Then they go on to thank military families for their sacrifice.
Our military families sacrifice so much on our behalf, and Barack and I believe that we should serve them as well as they serve this country. That’s why Dr. Jill Biden and I started Joining Forces – an effort to rally all Americans to honor and support our veterans and military families. Just go to joiningforces.gov to find out how you can show your gratitude for their service.
For my family and millions of Americans, it’s a time to celebrate the birth of Christ. To reflect on His life and learn from His example. Every year, we commit to love one another. To give of ourselves. To be our brother’s keeper. To be our sister’s keeper.
“Brother’s keeper” is a favorite mantra of Obama’s, which he continually attributes to Jesus Christ. Just one problem: JESUS NEVER SAID IT.
The original phrase from scripture is, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” (Genesis 4:9) It was a sarcastic response from the murderer Cain when God questioned him about his dead brother. Essentially he was saying to God, “How would I know where my brother is? I’m not his babysitter,” when in fact he knew that he was guilty of his brother’s blood. Liberation theology has twisted Cain’s guilty response into an endorsement of socialist policies such as redistribution. Obama, as an adherent of Black Liberation Theology, has learned this misinterpretation so well that he continually quotes it as justification for his Marxist ideology, and now promotes it once again in his Christmas address as an idea he supposedly learned from Christ.
But those ideas are not just part of our faith. They’re part of all faiths. And they unite us as Americans.
ALL faiths promote your Marxist ideas, Obama? That would certainly come as a shock to most of their adherents! And this ideology certainly doesn’t UNITE Americans. If anything, his Socialist “faith” has done more to divide Americans than at any other time since the Civil War.
THE FIRST LADY: In this country, we take care of each other. And in this season of giving, it’s inspiring to see so many people all across America taking the time to help those most in need.
Yes, it is. But the greatest successes in charity and disaster relief come from PRIVATE CHARITIES, which your husband is doing his best to undercut and destroy.
So until next year, lowly serfs, politically correct holiday greetings.
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.”
Unfortunately, he’s right. Like the stubborn Children of Israel, America may have to learn the hard way.
Conservative Christian minister Franklin Graham has recently taken to multiple talk shows to speak on the re-election of President Barack Obama, saying that more Christians should have turned out to vote, and suggesting that America may need a “complete economic collapse” before turning to God.
“God is in control, and if Christians are upset, they need to be upset at themselves. We need to do a better job of getting our people – the Church – to vote,” Graham said in a recent interview on The Brody File, featured on the Christian Broadcasting Network’s website.
“Now, I’m not trying to tell you how to vote, you can vote, but vote, my goodness, and vote for candidates that stand for Biblical values,” added Graham, who is the president of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA).
Graham went on to tell host David Brody that he believes Obama’s policies, which include the Health Care Mandate, will “usher in the largest changes in our society since the Civil War,” which, in his opinion, include a massive increase in taxes.
In a recent, separate interview with Newsmax TV, Graham said that he believes America has turned its back on God, and “the more we turn our backs on God, the bigger our problem becomes.”
“What has happened is we have allowed ourselves to take God out everything that we do – and I believe that God will judge our nation one day,” Graham continued.
He added that “maybe God will have to bring our nation to our knees – to where that we just have a complete economic collapse… Maybe at that point, people will again call upon the name of Almighty God.”
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.