where religion and politics meet

Everyone has a worldview. A worldview is what one believes about life: what is true, what is false, what is right, what is wrong, what are the rules, are there any rules, what is the meaning of life, what is important, what is not.

If a worldview includes a god/God, it is called a religion. If a bunch of people have the same religion, they give it a name.

Countries also have a worldview, a way of looking at life that directs government policies and laws and that contributes significantly to the culture. Ours used to be Christianity. Now it is secularism, which is practical atheism.

Some of us are trying to engage the government, the culture, and the people who live here to see life again from a Christian perspective and to show how secularism is both inadequate and just plain wrong.

A religion is not a culture, though it creates one. It is not what you prefer, like your taste in music or your favorite movie. It is what you believe to be true. Because it deals with things like God, much of its contents is not subject to the scientific method, but the reasons why one chooses to believe in God or a particular religion certainly demand serious investigation and critical thinking.

Every human being has the duty to search for and learn the truth about life. Education and science used to be valuable tools in this search, but science has chosen to answer the foundational questions without accepting the possibility of any supernatural causes, and education no longer considers the search to be necessary or worthwhile.

poligion: 1) the proper synthesis of religion and politics 2) the realization, belief, or position that politics and religion cannot be separated or compartmentalized, that a person’s religion invariably affects one’s political decisions and that political decisions invariably stem from one’s worldview, which is what a religion is.

Visit my other websites theimportanceofhealing blogspot.com where I talk about healing and my book of the same name and LarrysBibleStudies.blogspot.com where I am posting all my other Bible studies.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

A note to visitors to this site

I have a health care crisis at my house.  (Not me.)  I will not be doing as much writing and I won't be following up on comments at this time.  I am already very, very tired, and it’s only been a day.  I have maybe 60-70 comments from this and some other sites that I was hoping to response to, but these are all going to have to wait as well.  I will keep them in my inbox, but I don’t know when I will be able to get to them.  I am very sorry.  This could be a while.

Please be sure to look at the older posts as well.  I  think there is  a lot of good stuff there as well.

Thank you.

Solving public problems with government programs

I agree with your editorial that our country has a lot of serious problems.  But I believe there is an elephant in the room that we have been told over and over again to ignore.
And because we ignore the elephant, we rely more and more on programs and government spending to solve problems which the elephant is quite good at solving without all the public expense, which by the way we can no longer afford.
The elephant is the two parent family, fathers and mothers raising their children together.  80% of black children are born to single parents, and single parenthood is the single most important factor in a child growing up in poverty.  Children in single parent households get in trouble more often and do worse in school more often as well.
We see the value of mentoring programs, but that is just substitute fathering. 
All the answers that people put forward to solving race problems, school problems, crime problems, poverty problems involve spending money.  The city is broke; the state is broke; the federal government is broke. 
We have tried to run our country without the benefit of religion, and what we end up with are the same problems, more of them, and a bankrupt country along with them.


Why the residents of Illinois should be outraged

The Sun-Times ran an article Thursday (August 21) which should outrage every person living in Illinois, not so much for what it said but what it means.
Very briefly, the article told of criminal and other legal but still wrong actions with the intent of eliminating any other candidates in the governor’s race but Pat Quinn and Bruce Rauner. 
As an Illinois resident, the powers that be only want you to have two choices for governor.  You don’t like Pat Quinn, a member of the political party that has bankrupted the state, then vote for Bruce Rauner, a newcomer that most people wish they knew more about.  You don’t trust Rauner or don’t like him, because he is super-rich, then you have Pat Quinn, who we all know very well.  And we all know that he will continue to drive the state deeper into insolvency.  He has already promised new government programs that we can’t afford but that we ‘really need’ like universal preschool.
The problem with most elections in Illinois is that the more people who run for an office, the less votes a person needs to win the election.  If there were a third party candidate for governor, the winner would only need 34% of the vote, or just a bit more than one out of three.
Our lawmakers are supposed to look out for the people, but this system was clearly allowed or introduced, because a third party candidate was seen as only taking votes from one party so that the other party would have an easy win, thus robbing the people, you and me, of a true democracy.
The fact is we should have more than two choices for governor and any other office in the state.  If any one candidate doesn’t receive a majority of the vote, then we need a runoff election.  That’s expensive, so then we need to be able to vote in a way that allows second choices to be tabulated the first time, like having first and second choices on our ballots.

Not only is our political system broken, but the way we are supposed to fix the system (elections) is broken as well.

The irony of Jackie Robinson West

I don’t know how many Sun-Times readers saw the irony in Sunday’s (August 24) paper.  On the left side of the open paper was an editorial about a black inner city Little League team competing for the world championship.  On the right side of this open paper was a lengthy letter strongly advocating that we let everybody know that Chicago Public School minority students cannot and should not be expected to compete for jobs in the real world.  They need and should have government assistance in getting a job.  And the mayor of Chicago is a big proponent of this.
Perhaps we should have insisted that Jackie Robinson West be spotted runs in their games, because we shouldn’t expect that inner city minority kids can compete on equal footing with everybody else.
We condemn political hiring, because we insist that these are not the best people for the jobs, yet we are to embrace the city hiring less qualified minority applicants because it is for a good cause.  If I were a politician, I think hiring an out-of-work relative is a good cause, and this is essentially the same thing.
We need to hire the best people for the job, any job, and stop paying so much attention to a person’s skin color.  We say we are helping them, but we are demeaning them.

We do a disservice to people when we tell them they can’t get a good job without the government helping them, and it doesn’t inspire confidence in the people who are hired when it is perceived that they only got the job because of their minority status.

Do elections make term limits unnecessary?

a letter to the editor

A reader (August 26) brushed aside Bruce Rauner’s push for term limits by suggesting that elections are all we need to remove politicians that should be removed.  And indeed that long had been enough.
But we forget that the lawmakers make the laws; or, to paraphrase that, the lawmakers write the rules.  We used to have another Republican Congressional District in Illinois, but Democratic lawmakers redrew the district boundaries, and voila one was gone. 
There was an article in the Sun-Times recently about a political strategist who noted that they can tell how people will vote down to the NINE digit zip code, which could be as small an area as a city block or a group of apartments.
We must be reminded frequently of what John Adams, our second President, said:
“We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. Avarice, ambition, revenge or gallantry would break the strongest cords of our Constitution as a whale goes through a net. Our Constitution is designed only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate for any other.”

Our lawmakers, “unbridled by morality and religion,” have gamed the system such that it is very hard to unseat an incumbent politician.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Why American Pastors and Churches Need to be Involved Politically


The Bible describes people as sheep on a number of occasions, which is an unflattering way of saying that they are totally unable to take proper care of themselves and need the help of shepherds (pastors) and God, of course, as the Good Shepherd.  But the image is one of utter dependence.

Or to put it in a more positive light, everything rises or falls on leadership, whether it’s delivering a nation out of bondage, bringing a people to its Promised Land, restoring a nation back to God, bringing revival, rebuilding ruins, defeating enemies, or restoring hope.  The Bible doesn’t know of bottom-up change.  Even at the smallest level of the Israelite’s society, at least when it was started, there were leaders of tens.

Yet the Old Testament also shows a nation frequently doing battle against evil nations, requiring God’s people to be strong and of good courage.  The New Testament highlights that our struggle is not against blood and flesh but against principalities and powers, but I think we often lose sight of the conflict part.  I believe the Old Testament wars were fought partly to show us the intensity and reality of this fight.

Christians in America no longer see a conflict, because they see everything as being God’s will.  God is sovereign, and whatever happens happens for a reason.

Christians in our country have also been misled about their role in public life.  (I hate the word ‘politics.’)  They believe their concern is simply to sow the seed of the Word of God in people’s lives, but they should stand by while government, public schools, and modern culture saturate the hearts of the people with politically correct thinking, intimidating the Church into an observer role in our society. 

Christians have been misled about their role in public life by their pastors, their teachers, and many of the organizations they rely on for instruction and guidance.  American Christians live in a country unlike most countries of the world and certainly unlike all the countries that were in existence in Bible times.  That last part is particularly important, because most Christians think like they’re still living in the Roman Empire.
The Bible says that everyone “is to be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God.  Therefore whoever resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God; and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves.”
In another place, it says to “submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether to a king as the one in authority, or to governors as sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and the praise of those who do right.”

So Christians are taught to accept everything that our government does as being of God, whether ordained, allowed, or caused.  After all, God is sovereign, and He often allows Christians to live under unjust governments to test and refine His people.  Many Christians have even accepted the inevitability of persecution from our government and nation as being part of God’s plan for our future.

What they are missing is that we don’t have rulers and kings and Caesars; we have representatives,
people who work for us.  We are the government.  The people in Washington or Springfield, if you live in Illinois, they all work for us.  They are supposed to serve us and not we them. 

Suppose you had a business and you looked at the books and saw that your money was being spent foolishly or wrongly.  You would fire the people involved and hire new ones.  If your employees did shoddy work or lied to your customers or to you, making promises they couldn’t or wouldn’t keep, you would fire them.  Why?  Because they represent you.  Your name is on the business.  Our elected officials do these same things all the time, and we need to hold them responsible and demand change. 

Suppose you hired a lawyer to defend you in a case but found that he was actually helping the people who brought suit against you, you would fire him, because he is supposed to represent you, to argue your cause, to stand up for you and your interests.  If you are not communicating with your representatives, they don’t and won’t know what you want and need them to do or not do or when they are not serving your best interests. 

And you certainly won’t know what they are actually doing if you are not paying attention.  And since many issues are complicated or nuanced, people will often need someone to connect the dots and show them what is really going on.  

But is this the role of the Church and pastors?

First we should talk about the role of the individual believer in our society today.

Apart from the issue of abortion and to a lesser degree gay marriage, Christians have essentially given control of the country over to people to whom God is either non-existent or unimportant.  We have been told that religion has no place in government.

I know Christians think this whole world is just a place that they are passing through, yet most I know take quite good care of their houses and their cars.  They work hard on their jobs, because their work reflects them and their testimony for God. 

This country is another extension of who you are and your testimony for God.  The whole world is watching the United States.  Many of them still think of us as that Christian nation that we used to be.  And what do they see now?  Massive debt, borrowing more money than any other country in the world.  A nation that used to be great by so many standards just being average at best in those same categories.

Is this so unimportant in the light of eternity?  Are these just earthly things that pale in light of heavenly things?  Is this the whole world that Jesus warned us about gaining that would profit us nothing if we lost our own souls?

Do you care about your children?  You sacrifice to give them the very best.  You see them as your God-given responsibility to nurture, guide, care, and prepare them for their future, yet our government sends millions of jobs overseas, leaving an economy of parttime service jobs for your kids to raise a family on.  It spends money it doesn’t have, so it devalues the money that you do have.  The American Dream is in part that your children will do better than you did.  That is almost non-existent today because of government policies that you would never do personally, because you would find it immoral or unwise.  And we should do nothing about this?

You send your children to a school system that indoctrinates them in a worldview that you regard as sinful and just plain wrong.  When evolution is not challenged in our schools, our school boards, and state legislative sessions, whole generations grow up believing that this is settled fact and the Bible is just made-up stories along the lines of ancient mythology, that life is just some cosmic accident of no intrinsic value, and there is no God responsible for all this and to whom we are accountable.  Morals are just societal constructs that evolve, and there are no absolute standards of what is right and wrong.  You think your children are unaffected by this when they go to school, and there is nothing you can and should do?

When the Bible is removed from public life and our government, there are no more rules but that of the lowest common denominator, and that is a pretty low standard, where lies don’t reflect on one’s trustworthiness, where normalcy is rewritten to be all-inclusive, where debts don’t have to be repaid, and more and more of life comes under the hand of government to ensure that everything turns out the way it wants.

But what about the separation of church and state?  We’ll get to that.

Christians care more for that one tribe in some mountainous region of the Andes Mountains where the gospel has never been preached than that nation around them that used to send most of the missionaries to other lands, as it methodically erases God from public life so that entire generations grow up thinking of Christianity as passé, a relic of an unenlightened past and Christians as narrow-minded dolts with their heads up their butts.

I certainly don’t want to diminish the importance of taking the gospel to the ends of the earth, but if you aren’t seeing the lost people around you every day, you’re not loving your neighbor.  You need to stop and really look at the people passing by.  Yes, our nation has had the gospel for hundreds of years, but every generation has to hear it again, and this generation has not heard it.  And here you already speak the language and know the culture.

Where I think many Christians are missing the forest for the trees is that they are focused almost entirely on individuals but fail to see how large public actions affect those same individuals, or their children growing up. 

Jesus told a parable comparing people’s responses to the Word of God to different kinds of soil.  Some had rocks and thorny plants in them which inhibited these people from responding adequately to God.  Christians are failing to appreciate how the government and culture are affecting the soil of people’s lives by legalizing and normalizing behaviors and attitudes that provide new barriers for people to seeing the validity of the gospel.

Christians are sowing the seeds of the Word of God through their words and actions, and the government and culture are following them with dump trucks and bulldozers, covering all the visible soil with rocks and gravel.

Christians believe they can undo all this with one by one conversions, which is like saving the Titanic, one bucket at a time.  The Titanic sank, and the United States, and Western Civilization as well, is sinking, while Christians lament the loss but do nothing to stop it.   A few issues like abortion and gay marriage have gotten their attention, but there are dealing with the aftereffects, like sandbagging your house against the flood when they should have fixed the dam a generation ago.

They are definitely late to the party, but there are enough of them to turn this around if they own this country like they own their own houses and businesses.

If you found that your bank was skimming a few dollars from your checking or savings account every month, would you say anything?  Yet the Federal Reserve prints billions of dollars a month of new money that devalues all the money you already have in those same checking and savings accounts.  They also keep interest rates down so they won’t owe so much on the money they borrow.  But this means also that all the money you save, because you don’t waste your money and believe in saving, is actually losing money in the bank.

Do you shop at different stores when you find that you are paying more than you have to for the same thing?  Our government can’t think of one way to cut its spending except to offer to cut your favorite things so you just agree to them spending however much they want on everything else.

When an organization asks you for money, are you particular where you give your money, only looking for the most worthy of causes and those who use their money, or your money, the most wisely?  Do you know all the things your government spends your money on?  Their standards are a lot lower than yours, and you won’t like where it’s going to.  Is that how you want your money spent?

Do you sacrifice to live within your means so that you don’t go into debt, because you believe it is wrong to owe people money, because the debtor is slave to the lender?   Your government can’t function for a day without borrowing about 40¢ of every dollar it spends.  The government pays off its credit cards with a credit card.  And whose name is on the card?  Yours and your children’s. 

They don’t think they have to pay it off.  Actually they don’t.  You do.  They don’t have any money but what they take from you. 

Do you wish you had more money to give to various causes or to save for your children’s future?  Your biggest necessary expense is taxes.  Your representatives determine how much is spent, how it is spent, and how much they want from you in taxes.  If you want more money, you have to work for them to take less.

Would you let other people use your credit cards to use for whatever they wanted?  Would you try to stop them?  People often steal credit cards.  This is called identity theft.  The government doesn’t need to steal your identity.  They don’t care if you know who’s taking your money.  The game is to take it in ways that you can’t keep track of, so you would need to be an accountant with a lot of time to figure out all the ways they are taking your money.

I was looking at my pay stubs to prepare my income taxes and saw that between what the government took out of my check and my property taxes, they were taking more than 50% of my gross income.  And that’s not including city stickers, state stickers, gas taxes, sales taxes, and all the fees and taxes on my utility bills.  I would love to give to a number of worthy causes, but the government is taking too much of my money to spend on what they want and not on what I want.

Every church has a class now and then on finances, how to manage your money, how to be good stewards of what God has given you.  You’re taught to budget your money, avoid debt, be frugal and generous.  But is that only with the half of your money that the government lets you keep?  You have no responsibility how the government spends the rest of your money?

Should money management courses only teach you how to respond to and make the most of government policies rather than to try to fix them in the first place?  You should say nothing while the government constantly diminishes the value of the money you have and keeps trying to take more of it?

Would you pay for somebody’s abortion?  You already are through Planned Parenthood, which your government subsidizes.

Do you believe in the military, the one that now bans chaplains from praying in the name of Jesus?  If you look this up online, please be sure to check the dates on the articles.  This used to be one of those urban legends, but no longer.  I haven’t kept up with all the new rules.  They don’t want to make them too public, but this is not the military we used to know. 

Are you aware that the rules of engagement have been changed in ways that greatly increases the number of our casualties?  There are far more soldiers who have been killed and wounded than would have been in the past, so that we can fight kinder, gentler wars. 

The early Christians may have considered themselves “strangers and aliens” in the world then, but our nation here is just an extension of your home or your work.  You don’t let strangers trample through your yard or your house or let anybody tell you how to run your business.  Well, don’t let people run your country either who don’t represent you or look out for your interests.  You should be as concerned about your country as you are about your own house, your car, your family, your business, your job, or your finances. 

Being active politically means also to be active culturally.  You can’t watch a television program or a movie today without seeing that sex is meant to be casual.  If you get together with a person after your initial encounter, then, of course, you have sex together. 

But in real life, this leads to a lot of unintended pregnancies, so we need abortions so that children only grow up with people who really want them.  And then, of course, we need to have sexual education classes in all of our schools so people know where to get abortions and how to safely navigate the entire sexual experience, including gay sex, because you might be a homosexual and not know it, being made to conform by society into a sexual pattern that is not truly your own: heterosexuality.

What culture embraces today, politics embraces tomorrow.  Laws are made to regulate and normalize all the latest new things that have evolved in our ever more enlightened society.

Think of it like a war.  There is the actual combat, army against army, but you also need to think about disrupting the supplies that the enemy receives so that they are weaker when you engage them.  The government and culture feed secularism and values contrary and hostile to Christianity to the people you are trying to reach.

If Christians are not engaged in the culture and politics, the people they want to reach will be more resistant to the gospel.  Christianity will be seen as having been disproved by science.  The Bible will be seen as wrong or at best mythical.  Its social and moral views will be seen as anti-science.

If Christians today lived at the time of the American Revolution, there would not have been an American Revolution, and we would still be subjects of England.  And if the Christians of the time of the American Revolution were alive today, there already would have been a Second American Revolution.

Why am I so sure? 

They never would have accepted the removal of prayer and the Bible from public schools, because they knew the importance of religion and morality in the lives of the nation.[1]

They would never have accepted the involvement of government in all those myriad of things not enumerated in the Constitution

They would never have accepted our government running on borrowed money apart from a national emergency like war.

They would never have accepted the use of paper money or money not based on a fixed standard like gold or silver.

They never would have accepted the idea of a “secular” nation void of any references to or acknowledgement of the truth of Christianity.

But what about the separation of church and state?  Didn’t they intend for our nation to be secular?

We have been told that the separation of church and state forbids any mention of God in schools and any public support for anything religious, yet the First Congress had Bibles printed to be used in the public schools.  The Bible was a main part of public education until the early 1960s, when a court called supreme said that it was wrong to do that.

The phrase in the First Amendment about establishing religion had to do with the idea of government-run churches as existed in Europe, but not forbidding government to “aid one religion, aid all religions or prefer one religion over another.” (Supreme Court 1947 Everson v. Board of Education)

Schools and public life teach values, the values of a nation.  The values of a multi-cultural, pluralistic society become the lowest common denominator, which is not enough to promote the values that were considered necessary for our country to thrive, like love, compassion, mercy, honesty, faithfulness, integrity, sacrifice, giving, hard work, thrift, and responsibility.

When public education is scrubbed free from all things religious, society ends up putting God and religion into a box that is only opened in private and only in the presence of those who have been warned of its contents and agree to be exposed to it.  But the rest of society learns to think that anything religious is not meant for public viewing.

But we have too many other religions in our country now for any return to some idyllic past of a Christian nation, or so we are told.  This is historical revisionism and modern relativistic thinking.  Our Founders had the Bible taught in public schools, because they believed it to be true.  They did not view Christianity or any religion for that matter as merely cultural accoutrements or personal preferences.  A nation has the right and duty to promote the values that establish its identity, and our Founders saw no contradiction between allowing people to believe what they wanted and teaching the Bible in schools.

A country needs a moral framework on which to build, a common worldview to guide its policy making.  If it’s not Christianity, then it is secularism, or practical atheism, a lowest common denominator of human opinion on what is right and wrong.  Political correctness.  Equality, fairness, and tolerance.  Don’t offend anybody.  There are no absolutes. 

We need higher standards, not lower.

A Christian worldview is very different from mandating Christian practices or beliefs.  Those values I listed above are not values inherent in secularism.  They are values that were dominant in our country because of our Christian heritage.

But what about that law prohibiting the involvement of non-profits and politics?  Actually the law only prohibits endorsing or opposing particular candidates.  This came about as a result of an amendment to a bill by Lyndon Johnson in 1954.  There was no debate or discussion of the bill.  The law should never have been passed.  That court we call supreme never referred to the separation of church and state to rule against a church’s political involvement. 

But laws are changed all the time when the public demands it.  But laws also never stopped the early Church from doing what is right, obeying God rather than man.          

Prior to this time, churches had always been involved in politics and very explicitly evaluated candidates based on their conformity to Christian principles.  These are the kinds of laws that get passed when Christians aren’t paying attention or don’t speak up. 

By the way, that tax exemption that you have enjoyed and realize is often vital for your very survival may be on its way out.  That exemption is construed by some as a government subsidy and hence an aid to religion.  Your country is changing in ways you won’t and don’t like, but Christians are too uninvolved to either notice or make a difference.

But that’s not even the issue here.  It’s the overall general indifference of Christians to things political and the Church’s refusal to speak on issues affecting the whole society and culture.  Many of these issues have become controversial, because Christian influence on society has been so muted for so long that divergent views have taken hold and even become dominant. 

But is this really the role of pastors and churches today?

So what’s the alternative?  If society and the government try to solve society’s problems without the influence and direction of the Church, it can’t help but make wrong decisions.  Why?  The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.  The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge.

It is not coincidental that when the separation of church and state was redefined as a complete secularization of our government, the role of government began increasing exponentially.  Things that used to be the role of the Church became the role of the State.  The State couldn’t acknowledge the role of the Church without giving the impression of aiding or favoring religion or any one religion.

So where our government was small for most of our nation’s history and individual prosperity was rapidly increasing, now the government is large, a collective mindset as seen in socialism and communism is gaining traction, and our country is losing all the things that made our country the world leader in the first place as well as its individual prosperity and moral framework.  

If you don’t work to change the government and the culture, who will?  (Hint: nobody)  Why do I say that?  It is only the Church that has and promotes the values that made our country. Without the benefit of Christianity, the only values that our country embraces are fairness, tolerance, and equality.  There is no basis in secularism for loving your neighbor, helping other people, or even being honest if you don’t think you will get caught for not being honest.

When people grow up in a culture where religion in general and Christianity in particular are considered archaic relics of an unenlightened past, your work is going to be a lot harder to do.  If the prevailing cultural winds of thought are not challenged, they are accepted as fact, normal, scientifically validated, modern, and true.

If we don’t proclaim God’s truth to our nation, who will?  If political parties or politicians do this, it will be just called partisan politics.  Only the Church can proclaim it as truth. 

Read again the prophets of the Bible.  They weren’t just concerned about Israel or how the other nations treated Israel.  They spoke against ungodliness wherever it was found.

I know.  You want to change the world one life at a time.  But the government and the culture make the rules by which the world runs.  When the government redefines marriage and the culture promotes it, your work is immeasurably harder.  When the government makes public expressions of religion unlawful, entire generations grow up with no sense of a God and truth. 

Yes, I know Christianity has done quite well in cultures where the government has been hostile to it, but it is absurd to let a government and a culture built on freedom of speech and religion take away those same freedoms because the Church doesn’t believe it should get involved.

You say that you want to change the world, that you have a higher calling and mission than these earthly concerns, yet most churches I know practically shut down for the summer because they feel everybody needs a break from serving God.  They still have their main service, but they have no classes for adults, and most programs are shut down from June to September. 

Yet the culture doesn’t shut down.  They bring out their biggest movies and relentlessly put out their contributions to ungodliness and immorality while the churches are afraid of overdosing their people on the Word of God.

You know from the Bible that God always raised up leaders to turn a nation back to God or to deliver His people.  You don’t think turning a nation back to God is a big enough calling?

You believe in the family, that institution from God to provide companionship and to raise the next generation.  “It is not good for man [הָֽאָדָ֖ם  -  ha-adam, human] to be alone.”  But do you only care for the families in your own church? 

Are you going to just sit back while the government and culture work to reduce, diminish, denigrate, and weaken marriage in the whole society by their examples and policies?  Even their economic policies affect marriage.  Years ago you could support your family working fulltime stocking shelves in a grocery store.  Now it would take two fulltime jobs doing the same thing, but you would be hard pressed to even find one.  It’s hard to raise a family when everyone is working two part-time jobs.  This shouldn’t concern you enough to say something?

Do you care about children?  Or is it only the children who go to your church?  The federal government has essentially taken over public education, because the states through their mismanagement of money have become dependent on federal money to run the schools.  Everything they teach the children about life, history, sex, family, psychology, science is all presented from the viewpoint that God has no place in any of this, that He is irrelevant, and, in subtle ways, that He doesn’t even exist.

You believe in loving your neighbor.  Certainly their biggest need is for the gospel of Jesus Christ.  But if your town was flooded, or rocked by an earthquake, hit by terrorists, leveled by a tornado, you would see your love compelled to take further actions to care for the material needs of those who live there. 

But when government policies destroy jobs and the possibility of supporting a family, when they work to undermine the family and the morals of the children, when the disasters are just as great but a lot slower in coming, is the need any less?

The fact is that the Church in the United States had always believed in full involvement in the life of our country, even going so far as to endorse or not endorse political candidates based on their positions compared with the Bible.  But the government made a law prohibiting that and that court we call supreme found many long practiced practices unconstitutional, and the Church blinked. 

The Church either didn’t know enough to challenge the rulings or bought the lie that we are governed by rulers to whom we must be subject.  But their actions set in motion a steady, rapidly increasing decline in our country, morally and economically.  And the Church has found itself culturally irrelevant.  The churches that are thriving in most cases now are only succeeding in drawing their members from other churches in their area rather than actually winning people to Christ.
 
When you are only concerned about a part of a person’s life, you show that you are not concerned about the whole person.  The world is crumbling and on fire all around your building on Sunday morning, and you act as if nothing is happening.  Your church is a place to come in out of the rain for a few hours once a week, but everybody else is just getting used to living in it.

But politics is controversial, divisive.  And so is doctrine.  So was the charismatic / tongue movement of the 70s, but that didn’t stop churches from taking a stand and clearly defining a position.  Slavery was controversial too, and so was civil rights, but churches took stands on those.

And there are a number of other controversial issues that the Church will have to address if it wants to be relevant to our culture: e.g. how do I know there is a God, how do I know it is the Christian God, how do I know Jesus is the Son of God, is the Bible true, is evolution true, what’s wrong with gay marriage, is homosexuality innate or learned behavior, natural or sinful, is there only one true religion, and how do you know it is yours, is religion even true at all? 

A controversy only means that if you don’t say anything, the issue will eventually be resolved and in a way that you won’t like.

Our nation, Western Civilization itself, is at a crossroads.  As they have become increasingly secular, they have lost their moral foundation and are on the verge of collapse under the weight of their massive debt, which is the result of their moral poverty and greed, the greed of those making the laws and the greed of those who benefit from them.

The future of our country and the future of Western Civilization is in the hands of the Church.  If the Church stays uninvolved, they will collapse, and the Church will not like the results.  And it won’t be God’s will but its own.

Recommended reading

David Barton               America: To Pray or Not to Pray
                                    Keys to Good Government
                                    Original Intent
                                    The Role of Pastors and Christians in Civil Government
                                    Separation of Church and State
Barton is probably the leading expert on primary sources for the founding of our country, particularly as it relates to our Christian heritage.

Glenn Beck                 The Original Argument
                                    This is an annotated, abbreviated, updated version of the Federalist Papers.

Alexander Hamilton,   The Federalist Papers
James Madison,           These papers were written to explain and defend the Constitution before it had 
John Jay                     been  ratified.

Alexis de Tocqueville  Democracy in America
This was written in the 1830s by a Frenchman who came to America to see how America was able to achieve so much in the short time since its independence.







[1] I could cite references here like Christians quote Scripture, but the Biblically astute is well aware of the use of prooftexts that often prove nothing.  What is important here is to make the case enough that pastors and Christians see their proper responsibility to their country.  I will add a bibliography of suggested reading at the end.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

the do-nothing Congress

Letter to the editor

The Sun-Times printed a letter today (August 5) suggesting that the U.S. taxpayers sue the House of Representatives for failing to do their duty. 
Coincidentally, just this morning I listened to a radio interview of a Congressman who said that the House has passed over 350 bills this year that are sitting in the Senate waiting action on their part.   I believe 200 bills passed unanimously, and 40 of the bills are jobs bills.
If such a major discrepancy can exist between public perception and the truth, it appears to me that there are other parts of our society that are not functioning properly.  The media woefully covers so little of what is actually going on in both Springfield and Washington, and our Administration has shown itself to be quite willing to distort and even lie for political gain.

If we want better government, we need to start where we are at.  In this case, I would say that the media need to do a better job of learning and then informing the public about the truth.