Politics and Christianity

I use the tag quite a bit, and will be using it quite a bit more.

Visualize the point where either faith directly impacts politics, or where politics directly impacts faith.

In the past, faith has informed our politics; our faith has a direct affect on how we see politics, how we vote, how we discuss the state of our country.  More and more, I see politics, or politicians, or the government itself having a direct affect on how people of faith are allowed to live out their faith.

Where people of of faith are forced by law to violate their conscience, visualize that point. Where people of faith are forced to act, or are prevented from acting.

Dictionary.com  defines "persecution as the state or act of being persecuted."

Persecute:

to pursue with harassing or oppressive treatment, especially because of religious or political beliefs, ethnic or racial origin, gender identity, or sexual orientation.

With this in mind, I suspect that there will be more stories where faith and politics intersect.

 

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I've been quoting this, and since it's now PAGES back, I want it posted here so I can find it quickly:

To the Progressive Socialist Totalitarian Left, Christianity is a threat to the primacy of the State. The Totalitarian Left believes the Authority of the State must be absolute, because the left can control all the apparatuses of the State and impose their moral beliefs on the population. For example, the belief that unborn children can be sacrificed in the name of personal convenience and the sick and elderly can be sacrificed to save the State money. Christianity, on the other hand, teaches that there is a Higher Moral Authority than the State; and that the conscience of the individual… not the Collective Will as embodied in the State and its organs.

It isn’t necessarily because of Gay Marriage, per se, but Gay Marriage is a cudgel that the left can use against Christianity; forcing Christians to bow to the State (e.g. being forced to participate in gay weddings as bakers, photographers, and florists). The ultimate goal is to eradicate Christianity and its tenet that each individual has a conscience and a moral imperative.

an article here

As I read Alinsky's "Rules for Radicals for the umteenth time, and as I read this article, I'm reminded that (Rule #5)

“Ridicule is man’s most potent weapon.”

“…you do what you can with what you have and clothe it with moral arguments.”

I put "false accusation" in that category.

Read this article quoting Mozilla, and consider Brendan Eich.

Eich co-founded Mozilla. His guidance got it up and running. Last week, he quit in disgrace. His "crime?" Eight years ago, he donated $1,000 to California's Prop 8 (Constitutional amendment banning homosexual "marriage." I'm not going to send any readers there, but find an article on the matter and read the comments.

No longer can "same sex marriage" be a matter of opinion - those who hold the view that marriage is defined as being between a man and a woman should be drummed out of the public square.

Mozilla prides itself on being held to a different standard and, this past week, we didn’t live up to it. We know why people are hurt and angry, and they are right: it’s because we haven’t stayed true to ourselves.

Really. What standard are they not living up to...the one that the co-founder helped to set in place? If this is the "true to ourselves" that they want to live up to, the world, in one week, became a much scarier place for people of a more conservative faith.

We didn’t act like you’d expect Mozilla to act. We didn’t move fast enough to engage with people once the controversy started. We’re sorry. We must do better.

How did we "expect" them to act? Obviously, liberals expected Eich to be forced out (or not promoted in the first place) much more quickly.

Oh...and "engage" must equal "get rid of all those who don't toe the gay agenda party line."

Mozilla believes both in equality and freedom of speech. Equality is necessary for meaningful speech. And you need free speech to fight for equality. Figuring out how to stand for both at the same time can be hard.

As long as "standing for both" means "getting rid of everybody who disagrees," Mozilla is doing great at that.

Our organizational culture reflects diversity and inclusiveness. We welcome contributions from everyone regardless of age, culture, ethnicity, gender, gender-identity, language, race, sexual orientation, geographical location and religious views. Mozilla supports equality for all.

And some are more equal than others.

We have employees with a wide diversity of views. Our culture of openness extends to encouraging staff and community to share their beliefs and opinions in public. This is meant to distinguish Mozilla from most organizations and hold us to a higher standard. But this time we failed to listen, to engage, and to be guided by our community.

The rank hypocrisy makes me angry.

This week, not quite so diverse,

Not quite so open,

The beliefs and opinions of those who think that marriage should remain defined between a man and a woman...not quite so encouraged to share.

If their "higher standard" is anti-Christian, shutting down of conversation, and shutting out all who disagree, they seem as if they are on the right track.

As I write this, an alert came in telling me that SCOTUS has declined to hear Elane Huguenin's case in New Mexico. The world can now force Christian photographers to either act against their conscience, or be forced out of the public square.

There can be no disagreement on the "SSM" issue, or you will be ridiculed, fired, sued, forced out, called vile names...

all for the sake of "tolerance."

Welcome to the New United States of...

This article at the Gospel Coalition was written nearly two years ago.

TGC Asks: Should Pastors Separate the Christian Wedding Ceremony from the Civil Rite?

In the last few months, we've been discussing this a lot. At what point does the state give up the right to define marriage for Christians? If the state forfeits that right, by defining "marriage" in such a way that it no longer resemble's God's definition, is a Christian obligated to have the state's permission to call themselves "married"?

Let's start with the "permission" part.

In Michigan,

  • there is still a law on the books against cohabitation - a heterosexual couple may not live together without being married
  • a heterosexual couple is required to have a marriage license before being married.
  • it is illegal for a pastor to officiate in a marriage ceremony unless the couple has a state-issued marriage license.
  • In order to live together in marriage, a couple in Michigan must have a marriage license; they must have the State's permission to marry.

    Why do I use the word "permission"? It's the word "license"

    What does a driver's license to? It gives you permission to drive and it's illegal to drive without one.
    Hunting license? It gives you permission to drive and it's illegal to hunt without one.
    Concealed Carry License? It gives you permission to carry a concealed weapon and it's illegal to carry without one.

    Through a license, the States grant you permission to do something that is otherwise illegal.

    With that logic, it is ILLEGAL to call oneself "married" unless the State has given you permission to do so.

    At what point did the State get the authority to define marriage in such a way that we must have the State's permission to marry?

    The "State" has married the Christian wedding ceremony and the civil rite to the point that you MAY NOT have a Christian wedding Ceremony WITHOUT the civil rite.

    TGC Asks: Should Pastors Separate the Christian Wedding Ceremony from the Civil Rite?

    Here's the thing...Hobby Lobby isn't asking to be exempted from providing birth control pills for their employees.

    They're asking to not be forced to provide aborticients (morning after pill, "Plan B", Ella.)

    Unlike a lot of (union) companies who have asked for waiver/exemptions from the whole thing, Hobby Lobby is asking that they not be forced to pay for abortion-causing drugs.

    So...let's at least shoot for a little bit of intellectual honesty.

    Another thing...

    Co-pays. I pay a co-pay for all (ALL) of my medications. My dad pays co-pays for his insulin, heart medication, etc. co-pays will continue for thyroid meds, heart meds, pain meds, cancer meds, diabetes meds.

    And liberals have their undergarments bunched up because they don't even want a co-pay for birth control!?!?

    $20.00 co-pay for a life-saving drug...
    $00.00 co-pay for a life-preventing drug.

    They are truly more interested in preventing a life, than saving one.

    And yet another

    "Preventing" access to birth control...

    Seriously. Do they really think that women are so helpless and dumb that if somebody else doesn't pay for their $9-$15 a month prescription, that they (women) can't figure out how to "access" it?

    If women can figure out how to buy groceries, vitamins, panty hose...I'm pretty sure they can figure out how to access birth control pills.

    This is a bit from "God's Glory in Salvation through Judgment: A Biblical Theology" (I have a few comment underneath)

    The Center of the Theology of the New Testament Letters:  The authors of these twenty-one letters are radically united in the proclamation of bizarre ideas.

    To see this, let us engage in a bit of contrastive analysis, contemplating what these authors did not do and what their letters do not advocate.

    Rome was not their kingdom, and they were not trying to make it home. They sought the city that is to come. Not one of these authors gave his life to address the systemic injustice of the Roman Empire by means of political reform. Not one of these authors went the way of Josephus and sought to cozy up to the emperor, though Paul seems to have had opportunities to seek such “influence” with some high-ranking officials. Not one of these authors did or said anything about trying to stop Rome from fighting its wars. Not one of them championed the idea that the government should take money from the rich and redistribute it equally to the poor, nor did they leave the ministry to advocate a government of greater fiscal responsibility, lowered taxes, and increased national security. Not one of these authors taught that the way to change the world is by initiating a universal, government-funded education program. Not one of these authors was out to make as much money as he possibly could. Not one of these authors embraced one of the popular philosophies of the day, nor did they seek to synthesize the message of Jesus with the spirit of their age. None of them advocated higher moral standards in society at large (outside the church), nor did they lobby for universal health care or a revised definition of marriage that would legitimate same-sex unions.  None of them seem to have cared whether anyone reading their letters would be perceived by the broader culture as hip, savvy, chic, or cool. They had a different program.

    These authors believed that the decisive event in the story of the world had taken place. God loved the world by sending his Son, condemned sin in the flesh of Jesus, poured out all his wrath on Jesus at the cross, and accomplished salvation through that ultimate display of justice. God raised Jesus from the dead, and Jesus commissioned his followers to make disciples by proclaiming the good news.

    How did they go about carrying out this commission? They all basically did the same thing. None appears to have sought to carry out the commission through political or educational institutions. According to the book of Acts, they simply told people, whether groups or individuals, who God is, what he had accomplished in Jesus, and what this implied for them. God accomplished salvation through judgment in Jesus, and the implication for every auditor of the message is that they would either believe and be saved or disobey (be unpersuaded by) the gospel and be judged. Through the announcement of judgment, the saved rejoiced in and glorified God. The converts, those who believed the message, were gathered into congregations, churches. Paul, Peter, and James all refer to elders who led these churches.

    The authors of the letters studied in this chapter wrote what they did to form, instruct, and protect the churches. Their message is that God has glorified himself by working salvation through judgment in fulfillment of the Old Testament in the death and resurrection of Jesus. Their message is that there is a way of life that evidences belief in that message, and a way of life that does not. Their message is that God has sent the Spirit, who has given new life to those who believe; and the Spirit will keep them to the end, so that on the last day, when Christ comes to save through judgment, they will be those who glorify God for his mercy. The center of the theology of the letters of the New Testament is the glory of God in salvation through judgment.

    I think where this goes sideways is the apparent false dichotomy between political activism and spreading the gospel.  Does spreading the gospel rule out being politically active?

    If one of the messages of Scripture is that Christians should pursue justice, one way to do that is through the political system.

    Other than that...the authors of Scripture wrote exactly what the Spirit wanted them to write.  No more, no less.

    While anti-religious rights folks scream that "the mandate" hearings did not include women, or pro-mandate witnesses, the back story reveals a lot.

    1. there were women, just not at the first sitting
    2. The committee at the hearing involved advocating for religious rights.  Why do they consider women more (or less) capable of advocating for rights that affect us all?
    3. what goes around comes around.

    If the hearings included no women (even "forgetting the claim is false) - the committee that wrote the thing...

    According to the research from Human Life International (HLI), the panel behind Barack Obama's contraception, sterilization, and "morning-after" pill mandate was dominated by pro-abortion organizations.

    According to HLA, the members of the panel leading to the Obama mandate included (among other):

    Claire Brindis is a member of the Board of Directors of the NARAL Pro-Choice America Foundation, as well as a member of NARAL’s Pro-Choice California “1969 Society,” which has been called by NARAL “a group of our most steadfast and generous donors.”

    Angela Diaz is a former board member of “Physicians for Reproductive Choice and Health,” an advocacy group that “work[s] to improve access to comprehensive reproductive health care, including contraception and abortion.”

    Paula A. Johnson is the Chairwoman of Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts...

    Magda G. Peck is associated with a host of organizations that advocate for abortion and free access to contraception, and was on the board of directors of Planned Parenthood of Nebraska and Council Bluffs and served as both vice chair and chair of the board.

    Linda Rosenstock, committee chairwoman, has since October 2004 donated over $40,000 to pro-choice political candidates including Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Barbara Boxer, and the Democratic National Committee.

    Alina Salganicoff is the Vice President and Director of Women’s Health Policy at the Kaiser Family Foundation, a major proponent of abortion and contraception on demand.

    Two paragraphs that struck me, given some of the conversations I have in various places.

    In the past several years this word has begun to be overused, to our detriment. “Hate” is something deep and serious. It is instantly recognizable and intends to wound. But recently people have begun to fling this word around every time someone disagrees with them. “Hate” is now intended to mean anything seen as “intolerant” or “judgmental,” since nowadays the only sin most people believe in is believing in sin. So basically, if you disagree with it, you can call it “hate,” and your opponent, fearing that they might be seen as hateful, will probably stop arguing.

    I have conversations with people who support "gay rights" and people who support "abortion rights" - "hate" is one of the first weapons to come out of their arsenal.

    It is incredibly important that we argue honestly and with courage. Make no mistake: calling you intolerant, judgmental, or hateful is intended to shut you up. The PC police have been so effective that many people are now afraid they will be discounted, marginalized or shut down if they don’t play by these new tyrannical speech rules.

    My reply to this tactic is that the conversation needs to happen, and that conversation will not take place, if one side of it is silenced.

    The link to What To Do With “Hate”

    1 Comment

    from a reader on another blog:

    1. why don't you, with all things, trust in god?
    2. not knowing god's mind, how do you know that you are not working against god's will by working against obama's policies?
    3. you say, "without the will of my heavenly Father, not a hair can fall from my head," so if god is both merciful and just, does that mean michele's disease is deserved?

    1- why don't you, with all things, trust in God?

    Just as Ruth trusted God, she also acted.  God has ordained the end (His will), He has also ordained the means (human action).

    Christians act - to the best of their ability - to abide by God's will.  Do we get it wrong sometimes?  Of course, but God is still in control and God will use our mistakes to teach, chastise or punish.

    I knew a woman who sat at home and said, "I just trust God to provide for my needs"...we said, "well, trust God, but get off your butt and get a job."

    Trusting God does not mean stay idle and let Him do all the work.

    2. not knowing god's mind, how do you know that you are not working against god's will by working against obama's policies?

    There are Christians working on both sides of the political fence, so somebody has it wrong.  I believe that (most of the time) if both factions are working against each other they generally meet somewhere in the middle.  If President Bush had ben a conservative (vs. a Republican), we would have had a divided government and things would have ended up a little prettier.

    But let's look at some of the policies and what Scripture says.

    On taking care of those who cannot take care of themselves:

    “If one of your countrymen becomes poor and is unable to support himself among you, help him as you would an alien or a temporary resident, so he can continue to live among you. Do not take interest of any kind from him, but fear your God, so that your countrymen may continue to live among you…”
    Leviticus 25:35-36 (NIV)

    What about those who can take care of themselves but still do not work?

    For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, If any will not work, neither let him eat. (1 Thess 3:10)

    What about managing money?  The Bible says a lot about stewardship and investing wisely - with a government of the people, I think this would include the government.

    On abortion:  There does seem to be a difference between early and late term "causing of a miscarriage".  The unborn is called "a child" throughout the Bible.   I can understand a mother being driven to feeling the need to have an early term abortion and Roe v. Wade will be with us for a long time.

    BUT>>>late term abortions (elective) and partial birth abortions may not be with us.  These are the abortions that I'm vocal about.

    And once a child is born, I believe that they are "human" and should be given medical care (even if that care is only paliative.)

    So..

    • stewardship and wise investing and spending
    • death of infants
    • care of those unable to take care of themselves
    • the "not care" of those who won't...

    The rest is all "opinion" and operating under what we believe is best for our country and the conservative's belief is just as valid as the liberal's (and vice versa - holes can be poked in both sides)

    3. you say, "without the will of my heavenly Father, not a hair can fall from my head," so if god is both merciful and just, does that mean michele's disease is deserved?

    Deserved?  Or useful?

    Not the same thing.

    Even an evil thing can bring about great good.  Joseph was sold into slavery and God said, "they meant it for evil, but I used it for good".

    John Piper wrote a piece, "Don't Waste Your Cancer".

    In it he says,

    It will not do to say that God only uses our cancer but does not design it. What God permits, he permits for a reason. And that reason is his design. If God foresees molecular developments becoming cancer, he can stop it or not. If he does not, he has a purpose. Since he is infinitely wise, it is right to call this purpose a design.

    [...]

    Cancer does not win if you die. It wins if you fail to cherish Christ. God’s design is to wean you off the breast of the world and feast you on the sufficiency of Christ. It is meant to help you say and feel, “I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.” And to know that therefore, “To live is Christ, and to die is gain” (Philippians 3:8; 1:21).

    So it is not that Michele deserves cancer...but all of life is of God and even what Satan means for evil, God can either stop it or not...and He will work it for good.