Christianity

Religious doctrine is NOT a basis for law

Despite having no faith of my own, I am fine with those who do.  If you want to live your life according to the teachings of a holy book or religious leader, I’m fine as long as you cause me no harm. I honestly could not care less if you believe in no god or twenty, given none of those gods are telling you to hurt people. But it is a different issue entirely when you try to suggest that our laws should reflect the doctrines of your particular church.

The conservative argument against marriage equality has long been couched in talk about “harm to children” and “destroying traditional marriage”, but in reality it has always been based on a simple idea - my religion doesn’t approve of homosexuality, therefore our laws cannot condone it.  As it has become more and more apparent that same-sex marriage causes no harm whatsoever, anti-equality forces have gotten more desperate.

Take this post at the Heritage Foundation’s Foundry blog.  Ostensibly about a new marriage equality law in Illinois, the author mentions the actual law only in passing before launching in a defense of marriage buttressed only by the words of a Catholic priest (who, incidentally, had some interesting things to say when a gay pride parade was moved to pass by his church).  Does this priest have any special knowledge on the subject of marriage?  It doesn’t appear so.  His expertise clearly lies in one thing - the teachings and doctrine of his church.

What Evil Lurks in the Heart of Man

This weekend has, for my family, been a case study in the dichotomous nature of life. For my family personally, it was a joyous weekend. On Friday, I took two of my boys into town for the afternoon. We got haircuts and then I took them to do their Secret Santa shopping for Christmas (in our family, with eight children, it can quickly get very expensive for the kids to try to buy each of their siblings a gift, so we put their names in a hat and then they blindly pick out the name for whom they will be a “Secret Santa”). Later that evening, back at home, we were joined for dinner by four young missionaries who are far from home this Christmas. With my own oldest son, Elijah, on a mission in Mexico, they’ve become a sort of proxy for him until he returns.

Saturday was even more special, as we gathered with family and friends for the baptism of my daughter Mahalie. For Christians, few events in life are more meaningful or precious as baptism, as we take upon us the name of Jesus Christ and promise to live like Him, knowing we’ll often fall short, even as we try each day to do better. Seeing my sweet little daughter, dressed in all white, representing purity and innocence, brought tears to my eyes. These milestones are, of course, bittersweet, since they remind us of how quickly time flies, and one day we wake up and our little babies have grown up and are living their own lives, going to college or on missions, or getting married and starting families of their own.

Mitt Romney, Evangelicals, and the Mormon Issue

Several times recently I’ve found myself in discussion with some of my Republican friends about Mitt Romney and the Mormon issue. The argument presented is that Romney can’t win the general election because evangelical voters – specifically those in the South – won’t vote for him because he’s a Mormon and that somehow the red states in the South will become possible Obama victories because of Romney’s faith.

I’m not going to get into the differences between the religious beliefs of evangelical voters and Mitt Romney; that’s a conversation for a different place at a different time (with someone much smarter than me). I would, however, like to address this notion about evangelical voters and their assumed behavior at the polls.

There’s a part of this argument that is valid: the part that takes place in the primary elections. It’s fair to assume that Romney is losing votes in the primary election because of his faith. I’d even make the argument that it’s a part of the reason Rick Santorum has been doing so well lately (though why they pick the liberal Catholic over the liberal Mormon is beyond me). The difference comes when we’re talking about a general election instead of a primary election.

In the primary, Romney will take a hit on being a Mormon just like Ron Paul loses votes over his stance on foreign policy. It’s the same way Newt Gingrich will lose votes because he is (or was) a pretentious, two-timing slime ball, and Rick Santorum will lose votes because, well, because he’s Rick Santorum.

But when November comes around, if Mitt Romney’s name is on the ballot, he’ll get the vast majority – if not all – of the evangelical vote. People who insist otherwise are deceiving themselves. Here’s why:

Rick Santorum and JFK

Peter Mains is a blogger, political activist and technology consultant living and working in the Phoenix metro area. In his free time, he enjoys writing music, reading voraciously, and trying exotic food.

Rick Santorum’s comments to George Stephanopoulos about John F. Kennedy’s 1960 speech to the Houston Ministerial Association are making the rounds. Apparently, the speech so unnerved Rick, that he wanted to throw up. He thinks you should be just as offended as he is, In the interview, Santorum encouraged people to look the speech up and decide for themselves. Having followed Santorum’s suggestion, I couldn’t disagree more.

The worst part is, I want to root for Rick Santorum. Recent revelations paint Kennedy as something of a moral monster. In contrast, Rick Santorum seems like a good family man. When it comes to religious matters, one might think that Santorum would come out on top. Nevertheless, JFK wipes the floor with Santorum — even from beyond the grave.

The one point where I am ambivalent in regard to Kennedy’s speech is his insistence that government not give any funding to religious institutions whatsoever. Bush’s faith-based initiatives and various voucher programs show that public funds can be redirected to religious institutions without creating a de facto established church or violating freedom of religious exercise. Nevertheless, such issues could be completely avoided if we were to reform education, healthcare and so on such that government gets out of those businesses altogether.

The Cult of Christianity

The following was written by Jeff Sexton at SWGA Politics and has been reposted here with his permission.

Christianity was founded roughly 2,000 years ago on the shores of a big lake in the Near East that still exists today – the Sea of Galilee. It has its roots in a small town that still exists today in present-day Israel – Bethlehem. Its foundation was made permanent a city of much strife for thousands of years both before and after – Jerusalem.

It started out as a small sect of Judaism that most in its day found humorous at best, blasphemous at worst. A small group of fishermen, tax collectors, whores, and other assorted scum of the earth claimed to have met the Messiah, and that he taught that to live, you must die. He claimed he was God, a claim that makes him (paraphrasing CS Lewis here) either a liar, a lunatic, or LORD.

The Messiah had already drawn large crowds during during his life, but that was nothing new for the era. “Messiah”s of various forms had been rising up for hundreds of years before this one, gaining large crowds during their lives, only to die (usually by execution) and have their names be forgotten in the annals of history.

No, two things made this Messiah different: 1) After his extremely brutal -so brutal that he was no longer recognizable as human- and extremely public -so public that people from thousands of miles away saw it first hand- execution, he was seen by thousands living and breathing, with barely a scar on his body. 2) Because of this resurrection, this Messiah continued to draw large crowds after his death.

But 2,000 years later, his followers have devolved to where many of them – perhaps even most of them – have lost sight of the true Jesus Christ of Nazareth and what he did.

Christianity has become a cult.

A Nation that Welcomes All Religions Shouldn’t Persecute Any Religion, Including Christianity. Our President Should Know This.

syria christian

In response to my last article, a number of readers expressed objections to the idea that Christians are being persecuted in the United States today. As I noted previously, I am in no way comparing the persecution of Christians in America today to the appalling savagery that we are seeing reported daily out of the Middle East, where men and women are being beheaded, shot, burned alive, raped, tortured, and where children are being buried alive or sold as sex slaves. However, if not eradicated at its root, the intolerance towards Christians in America today could escalate over time to violence.

Interestingly, but not surprisingly, none other than Barack Obama offered a perfect example of this anti-Christian rhetoric and moral equivalence during his morally bankrupt speech at the National Prayer Breakfast recently. After briefly describing in broad strokes the atrocities that are occurring in the Middle East by ISIS terrorists, Obama lectures us on the need to resist the urge to get on our “high horse” because Christians were just as bad during the Crusades, and with 18th and 19th century slavery, and into the latter half of the last century with Jim Crow laws.

Huh? Is he serious?

For Christians, glorifying God and accepting torture are incompatible

Birth of Christ

The recent Senate Torture Report should be a wake-up call to Christians. Especially in light of Christmas. As believers we give thanks each December that God became man and was born to die for sinners like us. But the truth of Christmas should do more than provoke a seasonal cheer and religious attitude. It should transform our entire lives. That includes our worldview, and how it relates to others.

Christians have long bemoaned the growing secular influence of the Christmas holidays and society in general. “Keep Christ in Christmas”. “Jesus is the Reason for the Season”. But if we fail to honor Him with how we live, does it matter what people think of Christmas?

What should be far more disturbing to us than whether or not someone says “Happy Holidays” is the willingness of American Christians to be satisfied with only a veneer of talking points while turning a blind eye to evils within our own borders. The recent revelations from the Senate Intelligence Committee are just the latest example of this.

The Tent can only be so big: An eviction notice to Bryan Fischer

Bryan Fischer

“We have a right…in various ways, to act upon our unfavourable opinion of any one, not to the oppression of his individuality, but in the exercise of ours. We are not bound, for example, to seek his society; we have a right to avoid it (though not to parade the avoidance), for we have a right to choose the society most acceptable to us. We have a right, and it may be our duty, to caution others against him, if we think his example or conversation likely to have a pernicious effect on those with whom he associates.” — John Stuart Mill

In varying degrees over the last few decades, conservatives, libertarians, and Republicans specifically, have been attempting to build and maintain a coalition of various interest groups and issue-focused individuals toward broader electoral victory. “The Big Tent,” it’s called. There are always differences of opinion between those groups, but it is almost always worth it to work through and look past them for the greater political good. Almost always.

There inevitably comes a time when a member of the coalition, even an influential, powerful member, says something so wrong, so disturbing, so vile, so repulsive, that, regardless of the good work he may do in other areas, it is no longer helpful to have him around. Bryan Fischer of the American Family Association has been crossing that line for years. It’s time to kick him out of our Tent.

Fischer’s most repugnant statements and views are usually about homosexuality. Given Biblical text, it’s understandable to think homosexuality is a sin. It’s even at the very least arguable, though becoming increasingly defeatist, to oppose what you consider “special” rights for homosexuals. However, it is not acceptable to do this:

Matt Drudge’s Click-bait War on Christianity

Thursday morning legendary conservative publisher Matt Drudge tweeted an unprecedented story about one of the Oscar nominees for Best Song having their eligibility revoked. Drudge’s tweet and the Washington Times piece to which it linked highlighted the Christian faith of the rebuked nominee, implying that it was relevant to the story.

While it is indeed highly unusual for anyone to have an Oscar nomination taken away, this one had nothing to do with Christianity (emphasis added).

Writer Bruce Broughton, a former member of the board of governors and currently on the music branch’s executive committee, violated the Academy’s rules against lobbying by personally e-mailing “members of the branch to make them aware of his submission during the nominations voting period,” according to a statement released by the governors Wednesday.

The nomination of “Alone Yet Not Alone” raised the eyebrows (and hackles) of many veteran Oscar-watchers when the nominations were announced Jan. 16. The film had a public profile more associated with obscure foreign films and nobody had tipped it as a possible nominee in any category.

Piers Morgan wants to limit the First Amendment

Let’s just get this out of the way. The First Amendment protects popular and unpopular speech from government regulation. This recognized and protected fundamental civil liberty should be celebrated.

But the right to free speech is also a two-way street. In short, you have the right to express an opinion, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you’re free from criticism or derision from those who disagree.

A&E is a private company and can do what it wants, provided it’s within the terms of contractual agreements, just as MSNBC seemingly forced out Alec Baldwin and Martin Bashir. With that said, if you don’t agree with its decision to suspend Phil Robertson from Duck Dynasty, you don’t have to watch the network or buy from its advertisers. Indeed, the free market is a great thing.

Enter Piers Morgan.

The CNN talk host weighed in on the controversy on Thursday with this tweet:

Now it’s a free speech issue.


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