where religion and politics meet

Everybody has a worldview. A worldview is what you believe 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.

Nations have worldviews too, a prevailing way of looking at life that directs government policies and laws and that contributes significantly to the culture. Politics is the outworking of that worldview in public life.

Our country’s worldview used to be Christianity. Now we are told it is and has always been secularism, which is practical atheism. This issue divides our country, but those who disagree are divided as well on how to respond.

Our country could not have been founded as a secular nation, because a secular country could not guarantee freedom of religion. Secular values would be higher than religious ones, and they would supersede them when there was a conflict. Secularism sees religion only as your personal preferences, like your taste in food, music, or movies. It does not see religion, any religion, as being true.

But God, prayer, the Bible, and the Ten Commandments were always important parts of our public life, including our public schools, until 1963, when the court called supreme ruled them unconstitutional, almost 200 years after our nation’s founding.

Our country also did not envision a multitude of different religions co-existing in one place, because the people, and the government, would then be divided on the basic questions of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

Our Constitution, which we fought a war to be able to enact, states, among other things, that our government exists for us to form a more perfect union, ensure domestic tranquility, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity. It could not do this unless it had a clear vision of what it considers to be true, a vision shared with the vast majority of the people in this country.

I want 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.

Because religion deals with things like God, much of its contents is not subject to the scientific method, though the reasons why one chooses to believe in God or a particular religion certainly demand serious investigation, critical thinking, and a hunger for what is true.

Science and education used to be valuable tools in the search for truth, but science has chosen to answer the foundational questions of life without accepting the possibility of any supernatural causes, and education no longer considers the search to be necessary, possible, 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.

If you are new to this site, I would encourage you to browse through the older articles. They deal with a lot of the more basic issues. Many of the newer articles are shorter responses to partiular problems.

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. Follow this link to my videos on youtube:


If you want to contact me, email is best: lacraig1@sbcglobal.net

Thank you.

Larry Craig

Monday, July 7, 2014

The Three Bigger Issues about the Hobby Lobby Decision That Nobody is Talking About

The Three Other, Bigger Issues about the Hobby Lobby Decision
That Nobody is Talking About
The Hobby Lobby Supreme Court decision is well on its way to dividing further a country that is fast approaching a breaking point.  A great number of people applaud the decision as a win for religious freedom, and another great number of people are disappointed, no, angry at the decision for what they see as doing more harm than what such so-called religious freedom is worth.  I won’t try to figure out here which great number is greater or even try to show which side I think is really in the best interests of the country. 
There are bigger issues here at stake.  At least three.
1)         What law exactly was Hobby Lobby trying to get out from complying with?  The Affordable Care Act?  Well, not exactly.  The mandate for employers to have their insurance providers supply free contraceptives to their employees was not a part of the Affordable Care Act.  This mandate was added by the Department of Health and Human Services. 
That means that this part of the law was never discussed, debated, or voted on by elected representatives in Congress.  But you may say, a lot of governmental departments make rules and regulations that are binding on the people of the country.
Well, that’s precisely the problem.  There are regulations, and there are laws.  I don’ think the Supreme Court would hear a case about a regulation.  This mandate is commonly touted as the law of the land.
But the Constitution of the United States, in the very first sentence says that:  “All legislative Powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives.”
The Constitution spells out in Article 1 Section 8 the powers of the Congress, and at the end of that section it basically repeats that first line:  Congress has the power “[t]o make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof.”
All laws are to be made by Congress.  But you say that would require way too much time and knowledge for our representatives to be able to do.  That’s why they created all these agencies to run things for them.  But this would not be necessary if the Congress limited itself to the powers expressly given to it by the Constitution in the first place. 
But you may say that the writers of the Constitution couldn’t foresee the kinds of issues that would surface two hundred years later.  The fact is that they knew that, and that is why they established a means by which the Constitution could be amended. 
But through neglect, ignorance, wilful abuse of power, wilful abdication of power, or a wilful grab of power, Congress has allowed other people and agencies to exert power that belonged solely to them.  By assuming far more duties than the Constitution allotted to them in the first place, they delegated some of those duties to people and agencies which they had no right to do.
I believe the Supreme Court should have based their decision entirely on the fact that this was not in fact a law, but a regulation from a department that transcended its Constitutional powers.
2)         The second other, bigger issue in this case is that suddenly the people of the United States have been granted a new human right.  There are at least two problems here. 
Rights as originally understood by our Founders as in the Declaration of Independence attributes our rights as endowments from God.  They precede government and make our present form of government possible, because our form of government is a natural result of those rights.
But this right to free contraceptive is a new right, granted to us by the largess of our government.  As such, it contributes to and solidifies the trend in modern thinking that rights come from government.  That court called supreme which ultimately runs our country rules that our government must be entirely neutral on matters of religion, which essentially has meant that anything relating to the idea of God must be excluded from government decision making, except of course for those practices that are merely symbolic and traditional. 
So any thought of rights being given to us by God had to be downplayed, because that has a strong resemblance to a statement of theology.  So more and more rights are being seen as under the jurisdiction of the government.  And what the government can give, the government can take away. 
Now if the government can make laws that regulate and control the lives of its constituents, then our rights can and will gradually diminish as government works to ‘improve’ our lives and society. 
The second problem here is the idea of a right.  Originally rights as outlined in the Bill of Rights were all things that you could do or that the government could not do to you.  Now we have a whole new idea of rights, foreign to our country as designed and foreign to what our country has always been. 
Now rights are seen as things that are owed to people, things that people should have, as in must be provided with, just because they are human beings here. 
In two short years, women now have the right to free contraceptives.  Anybody who thinks this is not a good idea is branded as a hater of women.  If you are a politician, you better be able to explain your case very well and have a lot of opportunities to do so, or your political future is in serious trouble. 
This whole issue of rights has become a valuable tool for one of our major political parties, because they are the party of yes to any and all new rights, because government is then seen as the Great Benefactor and their party as the party of compassion.  And people then as always vote for the party that gives them the most benefits.  Which leads to the third other, bigger issue in this case.
3)         When people have rights, as in things to which they are entitled and which must be given to them, then it means that somebody else is paying for it.  Now there is this idea of a social contract that many people see as the idea behind society, where everyone has certain obligations to the group as a whole and to other members of the group. 
This is where you need to step back and see the bigger picture.  When our country still embraced a Christian worldview and didn’t shrink from acknowledging God throughout our society, including schools and government, there was a very high rate of volunteerism, as people rallied around those in need.  But as our nation moved to secularism, due to several rulings by that court called supreme, the government assumed most of the responsibility for social needs and volunteerism dropped.
As the role of government expanded and continues to expand, the cost of running all these programs continues to climb, to the point that a large portion of government expenditures are paid for with borrowed money, which as anybody can tell you, unless you are in government, always costs more than if you paid in cash.
But it might be argued, contraceptive costs are not borne by the government but by insurance companies.  But insurance company premiums are like government taxes.  You pay for things you don’t usually see the direct benefit of.  The costs keep going higher, and this is money that is taken out of the private economy and dampens the economy and job markets.  Government employees do well as do insurance company employees, but this is an economic drag on everybody else.
But it is said that contraceptive costs saves the insurance company in the long run, because they will have less claims in the future due to the expenses of having a child.  Yet without a constant influx of new children, the population ages, and the more expensive costs associated with an aging population are borne by a shrinking group of everybody else, as are the costs of all these new rights.
There is a name given to a form of government that aims to provide for the needs of all of its citizens and relies on everybody else paying for it.  The name doesn’t mean a lot to the younger generation today, because, well, it just isn’t used too much anymore.  The name has gone out of common use, because it was considered a major failure, though there are still ardent advocates of it today. 
The name is communism.  Basically the idea is to give to people according to their need and take from the others according to their ability.  This was the system of the Soviet Union where a common joke was: we pretend to work, and they pretend to pay us. 
A system of government or society where the responsibility of providing for one’s needs is essentially removed from the individual and placed on the government was found to be contrary to human nature.  Those who produced a lot produced less, and those who worked less worked even less.  I see some of this quite often at work where people are discouraged from working extra hours, because the amount of their pay that goes to the government is then proportionately and noticeably higher.
So in an effort purportedly to help people, though the cynically minded among us see it merely as a ploy to buy votes, the harm to the society as a whole to me is larger than any perceived gains.

We are giving up the responsibility of making the laws that affect us and giving it to people that were not elected by us and are not answerable to us.  We are confirming the thinking that our rights come from the government, and as such government has the right to restrict our rights for reasons they don’t need to explain to us.  And it keeps raising the cost of government and everything else ultimately such that our prosperity is lost in the name of security and comfort.