Freedom Of Religion Is Not Guaranteed–Even In America

CBN News posted an article today about the confirmation hearings for Russell Vought as the Deputy Director of the Office of Management and Budget. Mr. Vought was questioned by Senator Bernie Sanders about his Christian beliefs.

The article reports:

In a blog, Vought had defended Wheaton College for their decision to force out a professor who said Christians and Muslims worship the same God.

Sanders said Vought was unfit for public service due to his Christian beliefs.

“I’m a Christian, and I believe in a Christian set of principles based on my faith,” Vought said at his confirmation hearing.

“That post was to defend my alma mater, Wheaton College, a Christian school that has a statement of faith that includes the centrality of Jesus Christ for salvation,” he continued.

That enraged Sanders who became visibly agitated as he blasted Vought for his belief that Jesus is the only path to salvation.

Would Senator Sanders have been as upset if Mr. Vought had defended a secular college for doing something that reinforced their secularism?

The article further reports:

FRC’s (Family Research Council) president, Tony Perkins, released the following statement after the confirmation:

“It was a shocking moment to watch a United States Senator declare that holding to a central tenet of Christianity that Jesus is the only way of salvation is enough to render a well-qualified nominee unfit for public service. Vought’s biblical view of salvation is no different than what Billy Graham preached for more than six decades.”

“Thankfully, 49 senators and Vice President Pence in his tie-breaking vote sent a message that public servants can express their biblical views on salvation without fear of being held to an unconstitutional religious test.”

“The thought that Sanders is a senator who almost won the Democratic Party’s nomination for president—a man who thinks there’s no room in the public square for people who believe the Bible—is a chilling one.”

“I congratulate Russell Vought and thank President Trump and Vice President Pence for standing up for the freedom of every American to believe and live out those beliefs in the public square,” Perkins concluded.

I am not sure what Mr. Vought’s statement regarding a Christian college has to do with being confirmed as the Deputy Director of the Office of Management and Budget. He was confirmed–Vice-President Pence cast the deciding vote. No Democrats voted to confirm him. This is ridiculous. Resisting an elected President and his choices for positions is not a reasonable party platform, and I hope the Democrats lose seats this year for their continuing partisanship and their lack of any positive platform. Nominees need to be confirmed on the basis of qualifications rather than party lines or religious beliefs. It is unconstitutional to consider someone’s religion during the confirmation process.

Our entire legal system is based on the Judeo-Christian ethic found in the Ten Commandments. It is totally ironic that someone who obviously believes in that ethic would be treated as if that is somehow incompatible with our government.

Some Much-Needed Perspective

The following is a letter to the editor submitted to a local paper by a friend of a friend. The letter makes some very important points.

God’s Role, Not Government’s   by Don Keel

I’ve noticed breathtaking naivete displayed through forum letters and articles recently. Some clergy have advocated government as the means to follow Christ‘s teaching to help “the least among us.” The very nature and mission of government and Christ are diametrically opposed.

Christian charity is voluntary, rewarding the giver as well as the receiver. Government programs require forced confiscation of earnings through threat of fines or imprisonment. The receiver of Christian charity is humbled by the kindness of neighbors and he often receives his blessing in a way that glorifies Christ. This, in turn, will increase the likelihood that he will strive for self-reliance and inspire him to one day ‘pay it forward.’ Government programs redistribute mass amounts of earnings with very little scrutiny or accountability.

Because of the “blanket approach,” government programs reward bad behavior and punish good behavior. They punish ambition and encourage sloth and dependency. This in turn creates a cycle of dependency that destroys one’s dignity, self-esteem, self-worth, and ambition and creates a cycle that is almost impossible to break. Some people have found a way to grow their families by taking from another person’s family and have found a way to live ever increasingly in comfort by taking comforts away from another who actually worked for that privilege.

The Gospels contain many accounts of spiritually-impelled charity, but never does Jesus advocate government-forced charity. American government was to confine itself to protecting God-given rights. The word “entitlement” denotes a right or claim. In the modern welfare state, it means a right to someone else’s money. Such a punitive “right” nullifies the legitimate rights of others to their own property. It, in a sense, forces others to work for the benefit of others–a notion rejected in this country years ago and addressed in the 13th Amendment.

I would submit that no Christian would advocate forcibly taking from one and giving to another. Yet that is what our government does. They would rightly regard such taking as theft–prohibited by one of the Ten Commandments, the cornerstone of God’s Law on Earth. Delegating that authority to the government does not somehow change the character of what entitlement programs are. Delegating that authority to government does not sanctify taking private property. The 8th Commandment does not say, “Thou Shalt Not Steal…except by majority vote.” Clearly, some clergy have confused what is to be rendered to Caesar with what should be rendered to God.

Don Keel

America Needs Prayer

I received information on this website from a friend. There is a movement in some states (and hopefully more will be added) to pray for America. The intention of the group is to bring Americans together to pray for our country. This is the website.

theresponse

The Response: USA is holding statewide solemn assemblies to gather people from all ages, denominations and backgrounds in prayer and fasting on behalf of our nation. This is the time for Christians to come together to call upon Jesus to guide us through unprecedented struggles, and thank Him for the blessings of freedom we so richly enjoy.

Please go to http://theresponseusa.com/ for further details.

This Might Be Part Of The Problem

This video is posted on YouTube:

Matthew 18:6 “But if you cause one of these little ones who trusts in me to fall into sin, it would be better for you to have a large millstone tied around your neck and be drowned in the depths of the sea.” New Living Translation    These children are being brainwashed and their innocence stolen from them. The UN stands silent.

There is a video on Facebook that I could not successfully embed called “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star” that shows how Hamas is training children to kill and using them as human shields. It is time for the United Nations to say something or to hang their head in shame. A civilized world would declare this as child abuse and demand an end to it. It is time to disband the United Nations and kick it out of New York.

Under The Surface Of The Pope’s Visit To Israel

Caroline Glick posted an article on her website today about the recent visit to Israel by Pope Francis. There were a few incidents during the visit that simply were not friendly to the Jewish state and its heritage.

The article reports:

In one of his blander pronouncements during the papal visit, Netanyahu mentioned on Monday that Jesus spoke Hebrew. There was nothing incorrect about Netanyahu’s statement. Jesus was after all, an Israeli Jew.

 
But Francis couldn’t take the truth. So he indelicately interrupted his host, interjecting, “Aramaic.”

 
Netanyahu was probably flustered. True, at the time, educated Jews spoke and wrote in Aramaic. And Jesus was educated. But the language of the people was Hebrew. And Jesus preached to the people, in Hebrew.

 
Netanyahu responded, “He spoke Aramaic, but he knew Hebrew.”

 
Reuters’ write-up of the incident tried to explain away the pope’s rudeness and historical revisionism, asserting, “Modern-day discourse about Jesus is complicated and often political.” The report went on to delicately mention, “Palestinians sometimes describe Jesus as a Palestinian. Israelis object to that.”

 
Israelis “object to that” because it is a lie.

It seems like a minor point, but it is not. Jesus was Jewish. Period.

The article continues:

Consider first Francis’s behavior at the security barrier.

 

Reasonable people disagree about the contribution the security fence makes to the security of Israelis. But no one can reasonably doubt that it was built to protect Israelis from Palestinian terrorist murderers. And Francis ought to know this. Francis’s decision to hold a photo-op at the security barrier was an act of extreme hostility against Israel and the Jewish people.

 

As the former Cardinal of Buenos Aires, Francis may have heard of the November 2002 massacre at Kibbutz Metzer. Metzer was founded by Argentine communists in the 1950s. Metzer is located 500 meters from the 1949 armistice lines which made it an obvious beneficiary of the security fence. But true to its radical roots, in 2002 members of the kibbutz waged a public campaign against the planned route of the security fence. They feared that it would, in the words of Metzer member Danny Dovrat, “ignite hostility and create problems” with the kibbutz’s Palestinian neighbors.

 

 
Thanks to that concern, on the night of November 10, 2002, a gunman from the “moderate” US- and EU-supported Fatah terror organization faced no physical obstacle when he entered the kibbutz. Once there he killed two people on the street and then entered the home of Revital Ohayon and executed Revital and her two sons, Matan, 5, and Noam, 4 years old.

 
Fatah praised the attack on its website and pledged to conduct more assaults on “Zionist colonizers,” and promised to continue “targeting their children as well.”

The Catholic Church does not have a good record in supporting Israel or the Jewish people. Pope Francis needs to condemn the killing of innocent civilians by the Palestinians rather than support a government that has chosen to purchase arms instead of building infrastructure with the money given to it by the United Nations and other countries.

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Prayer Before Meetings Backed By The Supreme Court

Yesterday Reuters posted an article on the Supreme Court’s decision to allow prayer before public meetings. Please note that it was a five to four decision. Our right to prayer at public meetings was upheld by one vote.

The details of the decision can be found at the Supreme Court’s website. The decision included the following:

An insistence on nonsectarian or ecumenical prayer as a single, fixed standard is not consistent with the traditionof legislative prayer outlined in the Court’s cases. The Court found the prayers in Marsh consistent with the First Amendment not because they espoused only a ge- neric theism but because our history and tradition have shown that prayer in this limited context could “coexis[t]with the principles of disestablishment and religious freedom.” 463 U. S., at 786. The Congress that drafted the First Amendment would have been accustomed to invocations containing explicitly religious themes of the sort respondents find objectionable. One of the Senate’s first chaplains, the Rev. William White, gave prayers in a series that included the Lord’s Prayer, the Collect for Ash Wednesday, prayers for peace and grace, a general thanksgiving, St. Chrysostom’s Prayer, and a prayer seeking “the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, &c.” Letter from W. White to H. Jones (Dec. 29, 1830), in B. Wilson,Memoir of the Life of the Right Reverend William White, D.D., Bishop of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the State of Pennsylvania 322 (1839); see also New Hampshire Patriot & State Gazette, Dec. 15, 1823, p. 1 (describing a Senate prayer addressing the “Throne of Grace”); Cong.Globe, 37th Cong., 1st Sess., 2 (1861) (reciting the Lord’s Prayer). The decidedly Christian nature of these prayers must not be dismissed as the relic of a time when our Nation was less pluralistic than it is today. Congress continues to permit its appointed and visiting chaplains to express themselves in a religious idiom. It acknowledges our growing diversity not by proscribing sectarian content  but by welcoming ministers of many creeds. See, e.g., 160

America is a Christian country. There is room for everyone here, but at its root, America was founded on Judeo-Christian principles. Congress has chaplains and opens with prayer. This ruling gives local government bodies the right to open in prayer also.

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A Major Obstacle To Peace In The Middle East

On Tuesday, Israel Today reported on a billboard put up in Nazareth by local Muslims.

The article quotes the billboard which features a picture of an Israeli stop sign:

The poster (and Koran 4:171) reads:

“O people of the Scripture (Christians)! Do not exceed the limits of your religion. Say nothing but the truth about Allah (The One True God). The Christ Jesus, Son of Mary, was only a Messenger of God and His word conveyed to Mary and a spirit created by Him. So believe in God and His messengers and do not say: ‘Three gods (trinity)’. Cease! It will be better for you. Indeed, Allah is the One and the Only God. His Holiness is far above having a son.”

The article further reports:

Evangelical Christians from Nazareth have become a growing and integral part of the overall Messianic body in the land, while traditional Christians (Catholics, Greek Orthodox, etc) have been waking up to their historical and religious connection to the Jews and are joining the Israeli army in ever greater numbers.

People of different faiths can live together only if the people involved respect each others’ right to their beliefs. This poster is an example of why there will not be peace in the Middle East until the Muslims accept the existence of Israel and accept the fact that everyone should not be forced into Islam. Unfortunately, the Koran encourages evangelism by the sword.

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The Power Of Public Opinion

Regardless of how you feel about the comments of Phil Robertson, there are a lot of lessons to be learned from his comments and the various reactions to those comments. The latest lesson is that every voice in America is important, and when those voices combine, they have power.

The Blaze is reporting today that Cracker Barrel Restaurants have reversed their decision to remove some Duck Dynasty items from their stores.

The article at The Blaze included a copy of Cracker Barrel’s statement:

Cracker Barrel Old Country Store

Dear Cracker Barrel Customer:

When we made the decision to remove and evaluate certain Duck Dynasty items, we offended many of our loyal customers. Our intent was to avoid offending, but that’s just what we’ve done.

You told us we made a mistake. And, you weren’t shy about it. You wrote, you called and you took to social media to express your thoughts and feelings. You flat out told us we were wrong.

We listened.

Today, we are putting all our Duck Dynasty products back in our stores.

And, we apologize for offending you.

We respect all individuals right to express their beliefs. We certainly did not mean to have anyone think different.

We sincerely hope you will continue to be part of our Cracker Barrel family.

There were more people who agreed with Phil Robertson’s right to express his opinion than were willing to condemn him for that opinion. The thing that I believe those who were willing to condemn Mr. Robertson forgot was his background. He is a simple man who grew up in a small town in the old south. His views reflected that upbringing. The uproar was unnecessary.

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Should You Be Suspended From Your Job For Telling The Truth?

Not everyone believes the Bible and not everyone takes it literally, but some people believe and some people believe literally. That is as much their right as it is anyone’s right to their own beliefs. But should you be suspended from you job for telling in your own words what the Bible says?

Yesterday the Hollywood Reporter headlined their story about Phil Robertson of Duck Dynasty‘s remarks:” ‘Duck Dynasty’s’ Phil Robertson on Indefinite Hiatus Following Anti-Gay Remarks.” That was followed by a smaller headline: “he news comes after the reality star compared being gay to bestiality, drawing ire from LGBT groups including GLAAD and the Human Rights Campaign.” Well, that’s not exactly what he said. He didn’t compare being gay to bestiality, he simply described, in his own words, the downward spiral of sin: His remarks were not anti-gay–they were simply pro-Bible.

According to an article on the subject posted at CBN News:

When asked for his definition of sin, Robertson told GQ, “start with homosexual behavior and just morph out from there,” he said. “Bestiality, sleeping around with this woman and that woman and that woman and those men.”

Why did GQ ask Robertson for his definition of sin? What did they expect to hear?

Later in the GQ article Robertson further explained:

Quoting a passage from Corinthians, he said, “‘Don’t be deceived. Neither adulterers, the idolaters, the male prostitutes, the homosexual offenders, the greedy, the drunkards, the slanderers, the swindlers — they won’t inherit the kingdom of God.  Don’t deceive yourself.  It’s not right.'”

Again, isn’t his right of free speech as good as everyone else’s? The LGBT groups that are screaming about this need to realize that their gripe is not with Phil Robertson–it is with the book he is quoting. However, the LGBT groups will be more successful at their fundraising and political activities if they go after Phil Robertson than the Bible and they are well aware of that.

There are forces of good and evil in the world. Did we really believe that a television show that preaches God and His saving grace every week and prays on television would not be attacked in some way by organizations that choose not to believe in the Bible?

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Income Inequality

Lately we have been hearing a lot about ‘income inequality.’ It’s even a Biblical concept–Jesus said, “The poor you will always have with you, and you can help them any time you want.” So income inequality was with us in Biblical times and is still with us. It seems to be a constant thing. Other than help the poor among us, do we have the ability to change it. Well, we have a government that right now is trying.

Yesterday CNS News reported that according to a new study by the Congressional Budget Office, the top 40 percent of households by before-tax income actually paid 106.2 percent of the nation’s net income taxes in 2010. So what did the bottom 60 percent pay? That sounds like too few people pulling the wagon with too many people in it.

The article explains:

The households in the top 20 percent by income paid 92.9 percent of net income tax revenues taken in by the federal government in 2010, said CBO. The households in the fourth quintile paid another 13.3 percent of net income tax revenues. Together, the top 40 percent of households paid 106.2 percent of the federal government’s net income tax revenue.

The third quintile paid another 2.9 percent—bringing the total share of net federal income tax revenues paid by the top 60 percent to 109.1 percent.

That was evened out by the net negative income tax paid by the bottom 40 percent.

There is one aspect of the tax code that needs to be considered when viewing these statistics. When Congress has the highest percentage of millionaires per capita in America, why would they produce a tax code that is so unfavorable to the rich? Well, it’s not totally unfavorable to the rich–it is unfavorable to rich people who currently are earning their wealth. Family wealth carefully invested in tax shelters is not taxable. Previously acquired assets are not taxed unless they are sold.

The American tax code is already 13 miles long. We need to scrap it, and make it very simple–how much did you make, how much did you give to charity, how much mortgage interest did you pay? Subtract that from your gross income and pay a small percentage of what is left. The charitable deduction encourages people to support charitable works and the mortgage deduction encourages people to buy houses and form communities. End of story.

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Received In My E-Mail Today

I think this is a really good idea:

Friends,

Over the past several months we have been reaching out to you, asking that you support a National Day of Prayer and Repentance this 9/11. The response we have received is overwhelming. With over tens of thousands of people signed up, we continue to receive an outpouring of support from across the nation. We come to you as fellow Americans and believers in Christ.

As we approach the 12th anniversary of the September 11 attacks, and the first anniversary of the attacks in Benghazi, we understand that our need for the presence of God in this country is greater than ever. We continue to witness tragedies occurring within this country; the fire in Arizona that killed 19 firefighters, the West Fertilizer Company plant explosion that killed 15 individuals, increasing interracial violence, murders, abductions, and much more. We need God’s presence in our country more than ever.

Christ once said, “If you have faith as a grain of mustard seed, you shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.”

We need to call upon our fellow believers, fall to our knees, and seek God’s face. We have the power to change the dynamics of this country. So long as we have faith the size of a mustard seed, we can move mountains. It is up to us, believers in Christ and children of God, to humble ourselves, to seek God’s face, and to repent of our wicket ways.

Will you join us? Will you open up your churches, your homes, on 9/11 to those who feel called to participate? Will you pray with us for the sake of the nation?

There is a Facebook page you access to show your support. The e-mail was from World Net Daily.

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This Is What Your College Tuition Buys ?

BizPac Review posted a story yesterday about a professor at Florida Atlantic University who teaches an intercultural communications class at the school. The professor asked the students to write “Jesus” on a piece of paper, put the paper on the floor, and then stomp on the paper.

The article reports:

One student, a devout Mormon, was so so disturbed by the exercise that he complained to school officials, saying Poole had offended his religious convictions. The school responded by suspending the student from the class.

While the incident has made the news, the media has failed to report a key component of Poole’s resume: He is vice-chairman of the Palm Beach County Democratic Party. His recent actions add fire to an already-disturbing pattern of hate coming out of the local party.

Mark Siegel, the former chairman of the county Democratic Party, was forced to resign in September under a barrage of criticism over an anti-Christian tirade at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C.

Siegel, who is Jewish, told an interviewer at the convention that pro-Israel Christians want to see Jews “slaughtered.”

“Oh no, the Christians just want us to be there so we can all be slaughtered and converted and bring on the second coming of Jesus Christ,” he said at the time.

Does it strike anyone else as odd that the student was suspended after complaining and no action was taken against the professor? There was a time in this country when the professor would have been fired. I think it is unfortunate that we no longer stand up for the values that made this country great–America was founded as a Judeo-Christian nation. Our legal system is based on the Ten Commandments. Why are we letting professors like this pollute the minds of our young adults?

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Now For Something Completely Different

The civil war in Syria continues despite the fact that the news doesn’t seem to be paying a lot of attention to it. I have no suggestions for a course of action–I am not convinced anyone involved is the ‘good guys.’ My only concern is for the civilians caught in the middle. We need to find a way to get the civilians out of the way and let the people who are determined to fight with each other slug it out. However, the human cost of this civil war is a major concern.

Gary Lane at CBN News posted a story today about the refugees that are fleeing the Syrian civil war.

Please follow the link above to CBN News to see the video showing what is going on in Syria.

The article reports:

The United Nations estimates the number of registered Syrian refugees at more than 170,000. They have scattered across the region, ending up in Turkey, Lebanon, Iraq, and Jordan.

These refugees are being met by Christian relief groups who are helping move from border camps to apartments. I was touched by a quote from a woman who was helped by the Christian groups:

The article reports:

Doyle (Tom Doyle, with the Dallas-based ministry E3 Partners) witnessed how the effort affected the life of one refugee.

“Some of the people were pushing them around and it was mass chaos and this woman looked at me and she said, ‘but it was the Bible people that came to us and gave us food and clothes and loved us and played with our children. It was the Bible people who were there for us,'” Doyle recalled.

“When she got done sharing her story she looked at me and said, ‘And I want you to know, I love Jesus now!'” he said.

Out of wartime tragedy, “The Bible People” are having an impact on the lives of the refugees by sharing the love of Christ, meeting material needs and shining light into the lives of Syrians fleeing chronic darkness.

Obviously, this is an awful situation, but it is encouraging to know that Tom Doyle and others like him are helping the refugees find a new life after fleeing such horrendous violence.

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Exactly What Did Jesus Stand For ?

The Archbishop of Canterbury has stated that Jesus would be part of the Occupy Wall Street (OWS) movement. That is an amazing statement to me.

Poverty is not anything new, nor is it the responsibility of or the result of the policies of either political party.

Jesus said:

The poor you will always have with you, and you can help them any time you want.  Mark 14:7

The Apostle Paul said:

For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: “If a man will not work, he shall not eat.” 2 Thessalonians 3:10

Please understand–I am not opposed to charity, but when the government took over the role of the church in the area of charity, things went downhill fast. The welfare system in America and Britain supports a bureaucracy that has no incentive to remove people from welfare roles–in fact their jobs depend on people staying on welfare. The Bible teaches personal responsibility–it does not teach taking out a loan (creating a personal obligation) and then expecting someone else to pay for it. It teaches:

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.  Galatians 6:9

That applies to spiritual things as well as practical things. Had Jesus encountered the OWS crowd, he would have told them to respect other people’s property, live up to their obligations, and work if they were able. Jesus loved all people. He preached personal responsibility and charity. I don’t think the OWS movement represents either one of those traits.

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