Freedom of Religion

Map of religious freedom and restrictions in t...

Map of religious freedom and restrictions in the world. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What does freedom of religion mean? Is freedom of religion a nebulous concept that must conform to the dictates of the government? Is it squishy? Can it be pushed to whatever size box the government allows for it? Obamacare includes a  mandate to provide abortifacient drugs. Many of us have problems with this from a moral point of view founded on our religion.  But we are private citizens. The HHS exemption only covers churches and some religious institutions. So has the president and his party decided that the freedom of religion of the private citizen is not important? What does our freedom of religion really mean?

 

 

It seems to me that if we can be forced to purchase medicine to initiate the murder of innocent unborn children, we have crossed a line of freedom of religion. If the intention of our founders was to consider sexual freedom on a par with religious freedom, wouldn’t we find it the first amendment? or somewhere in the Constitution? But we don’t find it because it isn’t there. The founders placed freedom of religion in a prominent location. But they didn’t raise the issue of sexual freedom. Do you suppose they didn’t have sex back then? Of course not. First of all, our founders knew that the area of sexual relations is governed by the Bible and trusted this area to the self-government of the people and the common law which is founded on the Bible. Second, sexual freedom leads to social chaos. Many of the social ills that we have in our country today can be directly linked to “sexual freedom”: 50 million Americans dead, epidemic STDs, single-parent families, poverty, crime, prison expansion, the growing welfare state.

 

 

What do you think? What should freedom of religion mean? On what do you base that meaning?

 

 

Kudos to Chik-Fil-A

Chick-Fil-A

Chick-Fil-A (Photo credit: Link576)

Chik-Fil-A and others who stand up for traditional marriage and the family have taken some hits in the last week but are standing their ground. They are setting a great example for the rest of us. The following is from an interview with Dan Cathy, Chik-Fil-A’s president and chief operating officer:

 

[Chik-Fil-A] invests in Christian growth and ministry through its WinShape Foundation (WinShape.com). The name comes from the idea of shaping people to be winners.

It began as a college scholarship and expanded to a foster care program, an international ministry, and a conference and retreat center modeled after the Billy Graham Training Center at the Cove.

“That morphed into a marriage program in conjunction with national marriage ministries,” Cathy added.

Some have opposed the company’s support of the traditional family. “Well, guilty as charged,” said Cathy when asked about the company’s position.

“We are very much supportive of the family — the biblical definition of the family unit. We are a family-owned business, a family-led business, and we are married to our first wives. We give God thanks for that.

“We operate as a family business … our restaurants are typically led by families; some are single. We want to do anything we possibly can to strengthen families. We are very much committed to that,” Cathy emphasized.

“We intend to stay the course,” he said. “We know that it might not be popular with everyone, but thank the Lord, we live in a country where we can share our values and operate on biblical principles.”

For full story go to Baptist Press News

Mike Huckabee has invited people to participate in “Chik-Fil-A Day” on August 1. This support has also been met with lots of support, but some angry opposition as well. My family and I are planning to dine at Chik-Fil-A twice that week. We hope you do, too.

 

Restoring Love

Downtown Dallas in the background with the Tri...

Downtown Dallas in the background with the Trinity River in the foreground. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Restoring Love event in Dallas, Texas is another example of Christians taking a stand and showing what is good and attractive about being a Christian and following God’s ways. Restoring Love is an example of how Christian service, charity, and compassion can and should meet all the needs that the government attempts to fill with welfare programs. Volunteers will distribute food to the hungry, repair houses of the elderly, take part in community clean up efforts and so much more.

The catch for us Christians is that if we are not willing to step up and be the church with acts of Christian love and charity, we have no business demanding that the government get out of that area. If we in Christian love will live out our faith and put feet on our worldview, that will be a sweet and inviting fragrance to the lost. And just in case it isn’t, as in the case of people like the Freedom From Religion Foundation, lawyers from the Alliance Defense Fund are on call to defend our place in the public square.

Teavangelicals: Taking Back America

David Brody’s new book The Teavangelicals: the Inside Story of how Conservative Evangelicals and the Tea Party are Taking Back America describes the high degree of support between conservative evangelicals and Tea Party groups. In fact, Mr. Brody states that Tea Party organizations are made up of about 60% conservative evangelicals.

The shared goals between libertarian fiscal conservatives and conservative evangelicals make sense to me. While liberal nanny state programs seem to help the poor on the surface, welfare actually has a dis-incentivizing effect, hurting the poor in the long run. Making citizens dependent on government only overburdens the economy. These fiscal policies are not moral. Our nation is being overwhelmed by debt and obligations which our economy cannot supply. We’ve taken on trillions of dollars in unfunded liabilities from  promises politicians made but had no funding source. Of course, over 50 million taxpayers murdered in the name of women’s choice hasn’t helped matters much either.

So I’m thankful we seem to forming a kind of coalition. Some people feel strongly that we need conservative fiscal policy and smaller government to turn our country around. Others feel the same way while being concerned that the moral fabric of our society is frayed with the push for so-called same-sex marriage and the prolongation of the abortion killing fields.

The Republican National Committee’s campaign literature for Romney almost exclusively discusses fiscal issues. My wife and I wanted to find a group that has a broader conservative approach. I am supporting Romney now as the conservative candidate to beat Obama in November. At the same time, I want more air time from our side on the moral and religious battles our nation is facing.  One example of a group that spans this gap is The Faith and Freedom Coalition. In our home we’re contributing to this organization because they are pushing for socially conservative as well as fiscally conservative policies. You might want to check them out as well.

Traditional Marriage on the Ballot in Minnesota

John Piper (theologian)

John Piper (theologian) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The people of Minnesota are voting on an amendment to their state constitution defining marriage as  “Only a union of one man and one woman shall be valid or recognized as a marriage in Minnesota.” Sound familiar California? We had a similar vote about four years ago. It passed, but an activist judge struck it down. Our battle is somewhere in the appeals stage. I hope your vote goes the way it has for every state where the people have had a chance to vote. In other words, I hope traditional marriage wins out.

A sermon by John Piper of Bethlehem Baptist in Minneapolis came to my attention this week. While he didn’t come outright in favor of the proposed marriage amendment, Dr. Piper preached a sermon directly on the Biblical basis for marriage and laid out a number of Biblical principles to help his flock think through this issue. I will include the main points of his sermon here because he sums up quite succinctly some of the best thinking on this battle of our culture war.

1. Marriage is created and defined by God in the Scriptures as the sexual and covenantal union of a man and a woman in life-long allegiance to each other alone, as husband and wife, with a view to displaying Christ’s covenant relationship to his blood-bought church.

2. There is no such thing as so-called same-sex marriage, and it would be wise not to call it that.

3. Same sex desires and same sex orientation are part of our broken and disordered sexuality owing to God’s subjection of the created order to futility because of man’s sin.

4. Therefore, same-sex intercourse, not same-sex desire is the focus of Paul’s condemnation when he threatens exclusion from the kingdom of God.

5. Therefore, it would contradict love and contradict the gospel of Jesus to approve homosexual practice, whether by silence, or by endorsing so-called same-sex marriage, or by affirming the Christian ordination of practicing homosexuals.

6. The good news of Jesus is that God saves heterosexual sinners and homosexual sinners who trust Jesus, by counting them righteous because of Christ, and by helping them through his Spirit to live lives pleasing to him in their disordered brokenness.

7. Deciding what actions will be made legal or illegal through civil law is a moral activity aiming at the public good and informed by the worldview of each participant.

8. Don’t press the organization of the church or her pastors into political activism. Pray that the church and her ministers would feed the flock of God with the word of God centered on the gospel of Christ crucified and risen. Expect from your shepherds not that they would rally you behind political candidates or legislative initiatives, but they would point you over and over again to God and to his word, and to the cross.

Main Points of Sermon, “‘Let Marriage be Held in Honor’ Thinking Biblically about So-called Same-sex Marriage”, John Piper, June 16, 2012.

Even though Dr. Piper says not press the church or her pastors into political activism, if more pastors would simply lay out the Biblical framework as he did, Christians would be much better informed in their values and voting. This is much closer to the Black Robed Regiment that David Barton talks about than what I hear on Sunday. If you have a chance to read or listen to the sermon, I recommend looking over point number 7 carefully. Dr. Piper puts the issue of codifying traditional marriage into very clear terms.

What do you think of John Piper’s stance? Are there other points he should cover?

ObamaCare Fumble

English: Depiction of the House vote on H.R. 3...

English: Depiction of the House vote on H.R. 3590 (ObamaCare) on March 21, 2010, by congressional district. Democratic yea Democratic nay Republican nay No representative seated (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It appears that we are not going to be rescued by 9 (or even 5) black robed justices on white chargers. In a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court upheld ObamaCare this morning. In fact I think it is absurd for us as Americans to wait on the decision of the Supreme Court justices on pins and needles as though they are going to restore the limited government intent of the Constitution. The recent appointments to the court by President Obama pretty much assure us that these justices will incrementally continue to advance a Leftist agenda in our nation.

It is time for us to pass an amendment to the constitution that limits the terms of these justices to something more reasonable for 1 person to have sway in our nation. I think 10 or 12 years is reasonable for any one person to have such great authority over our nation. Perhaps we could have some sort of reaffirmation vote on the justices so that those who do not rule according to the original intent of our Constitution could be removed from office. Click here for Newt Gingrich’s discussion of reigning in the judiciary.
I’ve added some helpful resources below to help us become better informed on healthcare reform, religious liberty, and ObamaCare in our nation. The following is taken from an email from the Manhattan Declaration:
The Alliance Defense Fund has created a page of resources to better understand the implications of Obamacare. Visit www.alliancedefensefund.org/obamacare.
 
The Becket Fund is partnering with Catholic and evangelical institutions suing the administration, including Belmont Abbey College and Colorado Christian University. Becket has created HHS Information Central with cases, maps, a timeline, and other resources.
 
The Colson Center has developed a page with regular updates on the religious liberty questions still in play.
As conservative Christians, let us not be discouraged. We need to stay in the game. This is one setback in a much longer contest. We need to let our voices be heard for our sakes and the next generation’s sake.

Supreme Court Ruling on ObamaCare

English: The United States Supreme Court, the ...

English: The United States Supreme Court, the highest court in the United States, in 2010. Top row (left to right): Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor, Associate Justice Stephen G. Breyer, Associate Justice Samuel A. Alito, and Associate Justice Elena Kagan. Bottom row (left to right): Associate Justice Clarence Thomas, Associate Justice Antonin Scalia, Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy, and Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Whether the Supreme Court rules favor of keeping Obamacare or strikes it down, we need to take action on a couple of important issues.

First, we must carefully examine and plan health care policies in light of scriptural principles. One of those bedrock principles must be the sanctity of human life. Recent examples of pro-choice advocates refusing to condemn sex selective abortion highlight the need to draw a clear line of demarcation for life. Religious liberty is another necessary anchor. Forcing people to violate their consciences because of a healthcare plan is unconscionable.
Second, no matter how the justices rule on ObamaCare we need to begin to push back the amount of power that has been given over to our Supreme Court and the federal judicial system. We should put forth an amendment to the Constitution limiting the term of Supreme Court justices to 12 years. The practice that Supreme Court justices be appointed (not elected!) and then serve for 30 or 40 years completely molding the face of America in their image has allowed some to push a radical leftist agenda. This is not what our founding fathers intended. If you look at the abuses listed in the Declaration of Independence you can see that the rulings of one person or one small untouchable group of people was not the plan for our country. Our court system has become an opportunity for tyranny or as some would call it an oligarchy. We need to take back our country and set our course again by the biblical principles under which we started.
What do you think? Has Supreme Court power overgrown its intended boundaries? Would you prefer term limits, or reaffirmation votes?