Category Archives: Religious freedom

Should our religious beliefs inform our political views? Of course.

The notion that our political views shouldn’t be informed by our religious beliefs is absurd. Those who hyperventilate about “theocracies” and “separation of church and state” (a phrase that many people now realize wasn’t in the Constitution) are just trying to silence Bible-believing Christians. If you take their views to their logical conclusion it would mean we should always do the opposite of what our religious beliefs would dictate.  Our Christian views inform our political views about stealing and murder being wrong, so do we have to be silent on those as well?

And it would mean that those people would have to use the same arguments against religious people on the Left.  But Leftists have used those canards for years in the most hypocritical ways.  Here’s a recent example:

Good Morning America’s Sara Haines responded that she “loved” that “we’re standing together” on support for the LGBT community but warned religion needed to stay out of politics. Considering Islam was the religion which drove the shooter to commit mass-murder, you would think that particular one would be getting the lecture. But Haines followed Goldberg’s lead and scolded Christian conservative politicians to keep their religions “at home” and “in your family” but not in “our politics.”

Here’s a simple response to anyone who says things like that: Please show me one place in recorded history, including anywhere on the Internet, where you used the same reasoning to silence the “Christian” Left.  After all, they attempt to “force” their religious views on us at every turn: They insist that Jesus is so pro-abortion that it must be legal to kill the child up to her first breath*, that you have to petition the government to redistribute wealth by force, that you must teach 5 yr. old children how great the gay lifestyle is and how they might not “really” be their biological gender, that Jesus is against capital punishment, that you can’t control your borders, that you can’t go to war to protect your country, etc.  They are loud and proud about “forcing” their religious views on the populace, so why don’t you apply your beliefs to them?

As you can imagine, all you will get is crickets chirping.  They live 24×7 in their Leftist education / media / government / entertainment echo chambers so they don’t realize that they are being so transparently hypocritical.  If voting in line with your religious views is always wrong then they should apply that to those on the Left as well.  But they don’t, because they are just using a rhetorical trick to shut you up.

Don’t let them get away with it.  We are self-governed, in the sense that we elect our representatives. Therefore, we are obliged to let our morality influence our political views.

Also consider that one of the complaints about Christianity is that parts of the church were “silent” during the Holocaust, slavery or civil rights movements, which in some people’s eyes implied approval.

The “wall of separation” argument has been misunderstood and misapplied. It is not in any founding government documents. Even when Jefferson wrote about the “wall” in a private letter, it was not in the context of the government limiting religious activities in public. It was to limit the power of the government to prohibit or interfere with religious expressions.

If you want to bring Jefferson’s letter into the debate, then fairness requires bringing in the background letters of the founders which reflect how they really felt about God and government.

Here is the First Amendment in its entirety:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Now focus on the complete portion of the first amendment relating to religion: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof . . . ” That’s it!

Was the intent of the 1st Amendment to restrict religious liberties or protect them?  You need to answer that before addressing any related issues.  The Bill of Rights was written to give rights to citizens, not government.

The first freedom in the First Amendment is religious freedom. The Amendment was made to give religious freedom to religious people so Congress could not pass laws limiting their freedoms. It was not written to protect atheists from religious expression in the public square. If you look at successive drafts of the First Amendment, this becomes more and more clear.

According to the Constitution, any state could have their own religion (provided that their own constitution permitted it). Not that I think that would be a good idea. Also, there is nothing to suggest that churches can’t partner with the government (though I am leery of churches that come to rely on government aid).

But do I want, for example, religion taught in public schools? Definitely not. There are countless theologically bankrupt churches I wouldn’t send my kids to on a bet. So why would I trust that any government sponsored religious teachings would be doctrinally sound?

The U.S. does not become a de facto theocracy if our religious beliefs inform our politics. We still need go in the public square to persuade the countless non-Christians that our views make sense. For example, when I train people in pro-life reasoning at the pregnancy center where I volunteer, I always break the reasoning into secular and religious arguments. It is actually quite simple to argue the pro-life position without using the Bible.

If atheists or people of other faiths disagree with us, that is fine. It is part of the process. But anytime someone acts as if your religious beliefs shouldn’t inform your political views, they are wrong.  The 1st Amendment protects that right, it doesn’t restrict it.

So while I wouldn’t want pastors endorsing candidates from the pulpit, the notion that the Left gets to label something as political to prevent us from talking about it in church (e.g., abortion) is ridiculous.  Why would any Christian think that something is outside the sovereignty of God?

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*The “Christian” Left is far more extreme in their pro-abortion agenda than the average pro-choice person.  They insist that life begins at the first breath and insist that Jesus is fine with killing unwanted children until that point.  I realize how ridiculous their views sound and how many people must think I’m making a straw-man argument.  But that is just because their own words are so clear and extreme:”According to the bible, a fetus is not a living person with a soul until after drawing its first breath.”  More here about how to respond, with full, in-context quotes from them.

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This post is illegal in 52 countries

I’m not big on “Jesus junk,” but I like this t-shirt and wear it to work out sometimes.  It was a good conversation starter the other day when a guy asked me about it.  We briefly talked about the persecuted church and matters of faith and church in general.  He was looking for a church home so I invited him to visit ours.

From their web site:

Stop people in their tracks when they catch a glimpse of your T-shirt: “THIS SHIRT IS ILLEGAL IN 52 COUNTRIES.”

Wearing this unusual T-shirt will cause others to consider the cost of following Christ for Christians around the world.

The front of this T-shirt also states “Restricted Nations: 38” and “Hostile Areas: 14.” On the back, Romans 1:16 proclaims, “I am not ashamed of the Gospel…”

Countless Christians risk their jobs, health, property and lives each day for the cause of the Gospel.  Check out Voice of the Martyrs for more information on the persecuted church.

Hebrews 13:3 Remember those in prison as if you were their fellow prisoners, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering.

Persecution and politics

While the plight of the Korean hostages in Afghanistan is cause for prayer and concern, I find it odd that the media gives so much attention to this particular incident and the previous issue in Afghanistan where a man was almost executed for his faith. 

These things go on around the world on a daily basis, but you only hear about them in the Mainstream Media when it has the potential to be negative politically.

The Voice of the Martyrs and other organizations send emails like this out weekly to help you keep up with and pray for those persecuted for their faith around the world.  These Christians are bold and courageous in their faith; U.S. Christians should be, too. 

Hebrews 13:3 Remember those in prison as if you were their fellow prisoners, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering.

Persecution.com
Dear Mr Neil Simpson,“To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven.”(Ecclesiastes 3:1)
Prayers for August 7, 2007
From The Voice of the Martyrs
Persecution.com
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CHINA House Church in Military Area Raided in Xinjiang – China Aid Association
On June 1, a military house church was raided and members were detained and abused during their interrogation. According to China Aid Association, a house church at the home of Gao Hongzhi was raided by 10 Public Security Bureau officers. Six believers, including Mr. Gao, were detained for 12 hours until the following morning. One believer was beaten during the detention time. Mr. Gao’s house was searched without a search warrant and Bibles, calendars and a blackboard were confiscated as ‘illegal religious materials,’ without official confiscation papers.” Pray for continued protection for Christians in China. Ask God to encourage them and use their testimony to draw their persecutors into the knowledge of Jesus Christ. Philippians 4:19, Psalm 68:19Pray for INDIA
INDIA Christian Leaders Attacked, Christians Openly Persecuted and Stabbed – VOM Sources

  • RAJASTHAN – On July 25, five men attacked Emmanuel Ministries. According to The Voice of The Martyrs contacts in India, the attackers had two handguns, a sword, a large stick and numerous stones. VOM contacts report, “They started fighting Mr. Jetha, one of the ministry office staff. They shouted that they would kill M.A and Samuel Thomas, the leaders of Emmanuel Ministries, and continuously beat Mr. Jetha. They threatened that they would ‘kill and willingly go to prison for six years.’ In a separate incident on July 31, members of Believers Assembly Church in Sri Ganga Nagar District, Rajasthan, were summoned by the police for questioning after Hindu fundamentalists complained believers were converting local villagers. VOM contacts report, “The new believers were threatened by police and pressured to leave Christianity and return to Hinduism. They were also warned that if they fail to return to Hinduism the provisions of the Anti-Conversion Act of Rajasthan, would be used to arrest them.” Pray for protection for believers in Rajasthan. Ask God to encourage them and for the Holy Spirit to comfort and minister to injured believers. Pray the testimony of believers will draw Hindus into fellowship with Christ. Isaiah 26:3
  • KARNATAKA – On July 29, a mob of about 15 Bajrang Dal extremists armed with clubs, cricket bats and knives attacked Believers Church, in Shimoga District, mercilessly beating the pastor. According to VOM contacts, “the attackers barged into the church and abused the Christians, using filthy language and began hitting and stabbing them. They destroyed the pulpit, chairs, musical instruments, furniture, and window panes and damaged the church walls. The pastor was also severely beaten with a cricket bat and his body was swollen.” Pray for the speedy recovery of those injured. Ask God to protect Christians in Karnataka. Romans 8:11, Psalm 107:20

Pray for PAKISTAN
PAKISTAN Pakistani Jail Officials Beat Christian, Halt Bible Classes – Compass Direct News
Pakistani officials have stopped all Bible classes for Christian prisoners in a Punjab jail, isolating an inmate who taught the classes and barring a local pastor from his weekly visits. Compass Direct News reports, “Protestant Pastor Munir Phool has been refused entry to Kasur city’s district jail for his weekly visits since June 25, when Catholic prisoner Dil Awaiz was put in a high-security cell and tortured. Awaiz told Phool that Muslim inmates became angry when a Christian prisoner drank from one of their water glasses. The authorities retaliated by forcing the Christian prisoner to drink out of a glass used for cleaning toilets. Later, the authorities had Awaiz beaten and thrown in a high-security cell and deprived contact with other Christian prisoners.” Pray for a speedy recovery for Awaiz and for Christians in Pakistan. Exodus 15:26, Isaiah 40:31
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 1Indonesia
    http://www.compassdirect.org/en/newslongen.php?idelement=4178

 2Eritrea
    http://www.assistnews.net/Stories/s06010079.htm

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Christianity confronts Islam

One of the Podcasts I listen to is the White Horse Inn, a group of reformed theologians.  I don’t agree with everything they say but the show is quite good. 

I highly recommend that you go to this site and listen to the October 1 and October 8 shows.  You can listen online or download the MP3 files for free.  The host interviews “former Muslim and professor of Sharia Law, Sam Solomon, about the true nature of Islam and the significant threat it presents, not only to the western world in general, but specifically to all weak and sentimental forms of the Christian faith . . . and the confrontation between Islamic and Western cultures, and the theological convictions at the root of this conflict.” 

Solomon is fascinating in that he knows both Christianity and Islam inside and out and explains their beliefs very clearly. 

When I hear Christians say, “Allah and the God of the Bible are the same,” I want to ask, “Really?  Tell me three things about Islam that brought you to that conclusion.”  These recordings are a great way to learn some of the basics of what the Koran really teaches and just how different Christianity and Islam are.

Here’s a somewhat related article highlighting the smart and firm things Australia is telling radical Muslims.   I wish our politically correct leaders had the guts to say the same things to our legal and illegal immigrants and to those trying to implement Sharia Law bit by bit.

NBC & Madonna mock Christ’s crucifixion yet censor Veggie tales

More here.  I’m sure they’ll mock Mohammad and Islam next, thus showing their desire for balance and how they courageously take on all icons.  This would also prove Rosie O’Donnell’s point about the similarities between Islam and conservative Christianity, because I’m sure the Muslim response would also just be an email campaign. 

To heighten their hypocrisy, NBC is editing any Bible verses and references to God out of their presentation of Veggie Tales

Irony and redundancy

Muslims protest violently over accusations that they protest violently when accused of being a religion that was spread by violence.  Seriously.  This reminds me of Judges 6:31  “. . . If Baal really is a god, he can defend himself when someone breaks down his altar.”  (or criticizes one of his prophets?)

Michelle Malkin’s site has lots more. 

Also see: Islam: The religion of peace (believe it or else)

Something more uplifting: One Muslim’s journey to Christianity.

Should our religious beliefs inform our political views?

The notion that our political views shouldn’t be informed by our religious beliefs is simply absurd. Those who hyperventilate about “theocracies” and “separation of church and state” (a phrase that many people now realize wasn’t in the Constitution) are just trying to silence Bible-believing Christians. If you take their views to their logical conclusion it would mean we should always do the opposite of what our religious beliefs would dictate.

We are self-governed, in the sense that we elect our representatives. Therefore, we are obliged to let our morality influence our political views.

Also consider that one of the complaints about Christianity is that parts of the church were “silent” during the Holocaust, slavery or civil rights movements, which in some people’s eyes implied approval.

The “wall of separation” argument has been misunderstood and misapplied. It is not in any founding government documents. Even when Jefferson wrote about the “wall” in a private letter, it was not in the context of the government limiting religious activities in public. It was to limit the power of the government to prohibit or interfere with religious expressions.

If you want to bring Jefferson’s letter into the debate, then fairness requires bringing in the background letters of the founders which reflect how they really felt about God and government.

Here is the First Amendment in its entirety:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Now focus on the complete portion of the first amendment relating to religion: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof . . . ” That’s it!

Was the intent of the 1st Amendment to restrict religious liberties or protect them?  You need to answer that before addressing any related issues.  The Bill of Rights was written to give rights to citizens, not government. 

The first freedom in the First Amendment is religious freedom. The Amendment was made to give religious freedom to religious people so Congress could not pass laws limiting their freedoms. It was not written to protect atheists from religious expression in the public square. If you look at successive drafts of the First Amendment, this becomes more and more clear.

According to the Constitution, any state could have their own religion (provided that their own constitution permitted it). Not that I think that would be a good idea. Also, there is nothing to suggest that churches can’t partner with the government (though I am leery of churches that come to rely on government aid).

But do I want, for example, religion taught in public schools? Definitely not. There are countless theologically bankrupt churches I wouldn’t send my kids to on a bet. So why would I trust that any government sponsored religious teachings would be doctrinally sound?

The U.S. does not become a de facto theocracy if our religious beliefs inform our politics. We still need go in the public square to persuade the countless non-Christians that our views make sense. For example, when I train people in pro-life reasoning at the pregnancy center where I volunteer, I always break the reasoning into secular and religious arguments. It is actually quite simple to argue the pro-life position without using the Bible.

If atheists or people of other faiths disagree with us, that is fine. It is part of the process. But anytime someone acts as if your religious beliefs shouldn’t inform your political views, they are wrong.

Also see ACLU profits from attacks on religious freedoms.