Get PJ Media on your Apple

The PJ Tatler

by
Bryan Preston

Bio

February 27, 2014 - 10:06 am
Page 1 of 2  Next ->   View as Single Page

Reacting to this Ron Fournier piece on the demise of Arizona’s SB 1062, a piece typical of someone whose politics have not yet left the 1960s, Bill Hobbs writes on Facebook:

Fournier uses an interesting phrase: “the right to worship freely.” The Left often couches the First Amendment’s freedom of religion as “freedom of worship” and it is intentional – “worship” is that thing that people do in a church building on Sunday morning for an hour or two. The Left is fine with Christians keeping their Christianity inside that box. Freedom of religion is a much broader thing – it’s the freedom to live one’s life as one sees fit based on one’s faith, 24/7/365, at home, at work, and in public as well as private. Fournier gives away the game at the end when he writes “In this great and diverse country, we are capable of protecting people’s right to worship freely without tramping others’ rights to LIVE freely.” He sees Christianity through the Left’s preferred lens: It’s an activity that people DO in a church building on Sunday, and not something people LIVE daily.

For nearly as long as I’ve been attending evangelical churches, which is all of my life, I’ve heard pastors and leaders teach that Christians are not to be Christians merely whenever we are inside the church building. As an occasional (and poor) teacher I’ve taught the same thing. God “wants more than Sundays and Wednesday nights,” Keith Green sang in the 1980s, meaning, being a Christian is not about going to church. It’s about living. None of us ever gets it perfectly. But Christian culture is infused with instruction to be more than just a Sunday morning Christian. Christian pastors, teachers and singers didn’t just make that up out of nothing.

Being a Christian has never been about conforming to the world’s views or going along with them; it has always been about so much more, and it often puts one in direct conflict with the mores and beliefs that dominate society at large. It often puts us in conflict with people we respect and love. It’s a relationship that is full of tension. If it’s not, you’re probably doing it wrong. Too many Christians forget that, not just in our time, but throughout time. We’re not called to be popular or endorse the world’s ways. We’re in conflict with those ways when they conflict with what God wants. We answer to Him, not the latest Gallup poll or focus group.

That direct conflict was part of the deal all along. Christians engaging the culture have always been aware of it, or should’ve been. Reaching back to 1980s evangelical Christian culture once again, since that’s the culture I grew up in, Petra sang that “Jesus told us men would hate us, but we must be of good cheer.” The song “Not Of This World” paraphrases Matthew 10. Based on that text, it accurately describes Christians as “aliens and strangers” to the culture around us. Christians would be hated because of Christ. I keep referring to old Christian music to point out that for those of us who grew up evangelical, being not of this cultural world is not a new thing. It is not novel. It is no surprise. It is also not an occasion for surrender. The culture of the New Testament era was, if anything, far worse and more dangerous than today’s culture. Slavery was rampant. Pagan practices included ritual sacrifice and sex. Christians faced violently hostile governments with unlimited power, that demanded public worship of the current honcho in charge. The threat of persecution, imprisonment and even execution was real and always imminent. Should the early Christians have given in?

So the current conflict is not unexpected. It has always been there. The freedom to worship in America has not been limited yet, though the freedom to teach what the Bible actually says about sin (and grace) may soon be. Pastors in Canada have run into problems. Churches are likely to be sued over participation in same-sex weddings, leading in my opinion to evangelical churches leaving weddings altogether in order to avoid costly and time-wasting litigation. That will represent a small but significant retreat from the culture.

Comments are closed.

Top Rated Comments   
Good post, "To Obey Is Better Than Sacrifice". When you have people like Bill Clinton (convicted sex predator), Miley Cyrus (confused Bohemian), and Barry Øbama (pathological liar) professing their Christianity it really muddies the waters for those outside of the Church trying to figure out what a Christian really is.

In general, nobody minds you being a Christian until you start acting like one.
29 weeks ago
29 weeks ago Link To Comment
I addressed that in the post and then deleted it because I thought it would distract. It's just not so easy as getting government out of the "marriage business." First, it's not a business. Marriage and family form the basis of our legal system. Abolish marriage and you essentially abolish the family. If that's what you want, be clear about it. Also be clear about the consequences.
29 weeks ago
29 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (32)
All Comments   (32)
Sort: Newest Oldest Top Rated
Dear MTGeoff, you might want to ask an Orthodox Christian priest. They find the notion of substitutionary atonement horrifying as well. I'm not sure how they think about the crucifixion, but it's different than what Western Christians believe. I've just read about it in passing, so I can't explain it.

Mr Preston, you know your article about 'raising non-gender' children from a few days ago? That's practically a " how I spent my summer vacation" essay in leftier circles. Most of my friends- and me and my siblings- spent time with parents like that. FWIW, the sort of person who does this is a sort of left-fundamentalist, and, well, the Puritans raised Congregationalists....some leftists raise conservatives...every girl I know raised that way has hair down her back, and four kids, and is a devout church-goer. The guys all have stereotypical guy jobs and wives who stay home, and kids. The kids....the daughters are the ones fueling Disney Princess.......it's not fun being raised where what you like and want isn't for sale, or is considered tacky. Would you want your honest affections to be considered tacky? My daughter has a pink kitchen set, I can do an entire laundry load of pink clothes, and I know she's happier, more confident and more secure than I ever was. She's also good at math and school-work, so all those brown polyester pantsuits I lived through as a kid----weren't necessary.

We drive our parents and step-parents and foster parents and grandparents- ( all hands on deck in a divorce culture)- absolutely nuts. That woman's kid is likely to end up in the military, at age 18. That's the second common essay among lefty single moms----my young man joined the military, and he's nicer, and his room is cleaner and he's polite, and I like his girlfriend.....
29 weeks ago
29 weeks ago Link To Comment
Howdy Ms (Mrs?) Charbonneau
An earlier Mrs. Charbonneau was Sacajawea, legendary interpreter for Lewis and Clark.
I have met some Christian ministers who have the same worries about the blood price or substitutionary sacrifice that I do, so I figure I'm just another soul trying to understand God and serve appropriately. I was not aware that some Eastern churches teach a different message about the role of Jesus Christ and salvation.
On your discussion of family and roles -- I think each family should work out roles for themselves. I find the idea of non-gender kids hard to embrace and I would want all children, girls or boys, to believe anything within their physical ability is an opportunity they can follow.
It was interesting to see your note and realize you almost certainly followed the whole thread between F85 and me. Thank you!
29 weeks ago
29 weeks ago Link To Comment
Many of you of you [http://www.boomantribune.com/story/2014/2/27/144236/119] may have heard that Christians have had their freedom trampled upon - again - because AZ Governor Brewer vetoed a bill that would have legalized the ability to discriminate a Christian's god-given right to refuse to do business with icky homosexuals anyone on the basis of their religious convictions. The first amendment of the Constitution allegedly protects the religious freedom of all Americans. Just read the religious freedom clause:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof ...
Despite the language that clearly protects the rights of every person of faith to practice their religion without interference from the government, Christians have been marginalized and attacked for their beliefs for centuries in America. You may find this hard to believe, but it's all perfectly true. Consider, for example, the first god-given right that was taken away from Christians in America:
The Right to Persecute Witches

Before the constitution was written, Christians freely exercised their religious beliefs regarding the necessity to kill demonic witches. Consider perhaps the most famous example of the freedom to exercise one's religion in American History: the Salem Witch Trials.

From June through September of 1692, nineteen men and women, all having been convicted of witchcraft, were carted to Gallows Hill, a barren slope near Salem Village, for hanging. Another man of over eighty years was pressed to death under heavy stones for refusing to submit to a trial on witchcraft charges. Hundreds of others faced accusations of witchcraft. Dozens languished in jail for months without trials.
Those were literally the good old days. Sadly, after the Constitution was ratified, the record of Christians freely exercising their right to eradicate witches from our great nation essentially ended. Coincidence? I think not. Just try to find a state where Christians are permitted to lawfully try and execute the many witches in our midst. You can't! Witches are even a protected class according to the US courts! What better example exists of the current atmosphere of persecution and discrimination against the Christian religion by the Government? Witches can cast their spells and curses and true believers in the Risen Christ can do nothing to protect themselves from these witches evil influences on our nation.
29 weeks ago
29 weeks ago Link To Comment
Apples to oranges.

I don't think anyone here is stopping gays from "marriage," but what we are saying is that the persecution is in forcing people to participate in it and in so doing act against their conscience.

So, was the religious right being taken away that people were being forced to persecute witches, or am I missing something that would actually make this a valid comparison.

We do, for example, have laws that protect doctors from having to perform abortions against their conscience.
29 weeks ago
29 weeks ago Link To Comment
Howdy silverdale
The religious persecution that various British colonies had inflicted on their minorities, and the privileged position of the Church of England, inspired the First Amendment.
That amendment does include the right to practice one's religion. That, in turn, involves a right to decline to support an act that one considers anathema.
More broadly, there's a natural right, a right of autonomy, to do business as the owner chooses.
Your concern that some Christians would make homosexual conduct illegal again has some validity. Some commenters here would clearly do so. As I want them to leave their beliefs out of the law, I would never compel anyone to provide goods or services to anyone else in the private sector.
29 weeks ago
29 weeks ago Link To Comment
So, then you believe that the 1965 Civil Rights act is wrong because it doesn't allow business's to discriminate against those they would rather not have as customers.
29 weeks ago
29 weeks ago Link To Comment
Yes, that's correct. It's a position at the very end of libertarian, but I'm that brand of libertarian. Note I am not an anarchist: I like the idea of government disappearing but it can't happen while humans are willing to harm each other.
29 weeks ago
29 weeks ago Link To Comment
Perhaps then you help revive Jim Crow and bring back the Klan.
29 weeks ago
29 weeks ago Link To Comment
Howdy Silverdale
You could only offer a comment like that if you have read almost none of my comments. Or willfully misinterpreted what I wrote.
"Jim Crow" as a legal requirement, similar to apartheid in South Africa, is a dreadful infringement on liberty. It infringes the target group and it infringes those who would deal freely and openly with them.
"Jim Crow" as a private matter is just that -- a private matter. If a business owner excludes blacks, whites, gays, or straights, the owner forgoes their custom and revenue. I would call it a moral failing and I would never make it a legal matter.
29 weeks ago
29 weeks ago Link To Comment
Wow, you've just changed my whole world and upended every single thing I've ever believed!
29 weeks ago
29 weeks ago Link To Comment
Good post, "To Obey Is Better Than Sacrifice". When you have people like Bill Clinton (convicted sex predator), Miley Cyrus (confused Bohemian), and Barry Øbama (pathological liar) professing their Christianity it really muddies the waters for those outside of the Church trying to figure out what a Christian really is.

In general, nobody minds you being a Christian until you start acting like one.
29 weeks ago
29 weeks ago Link To Comment
Nice post Bryan.

In the last year I have heard more than a couple of pastors mention that the day is coming when preaching Christianity could land a person in jail.
29 weeks ago
29 weeks ago Link To Comment
I call myself a Theist: I believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Creator of Heaven and Earth. Past that I have difficulties with some key point in almost all organized religions.
My religion is part and parcel of all I do, or nearly all I do. I pray frequently during the day, often only a moment to say something like "Please, God, bless each house I pass. Bless each driver here. Bless each shop and each hearth as I go by. Please bless and keep all on earth who can be blessed." I drive as a prayer -- carefully and thoughtfully. I pick up litter whether anyone sees me or not. When I exit my building, I pass a curb mailbox. Almost every day I pause to see if a motorist is coming with mail and I offer to put it in the box to save the driver a bit of trouble.
The biggest daily challenge I face as a religious person is giving. I feel like the government is shelling out my money, so I feel put upon when private sector charities want more. This is kind of cheap of me because my own taxes are actually pretty low. So I try to be more generous.
If you believe that enjoying the image of a sexy person is sinful, our culture is more of a challenge than it was fifty years ago. I don't think that's a sin. If you think that gambling at least can be sinful, and I do, then our culture offers more of a challenge than it used to. If you think giving up your controls to liquor or drugs is sinful, and I believe it can be, then our culture is more of a challenge but only a little more.
29 weeks ago
29 weeks ago Link To Comment
Hi Geoff,
Generally we don't have a problem with agreeing that something is a sin when it is not a challenge in our life. Something to ponder.

What is the basis for your Theism? Just curious.
29 weeks ago
29 weeks ago Link To Comment
Howdy f85
You're right that it's easier to see anyone else's vice as sinful than to recognize one's own as sinful. I have enough sins I recognize that I have little reason to sneer at anyone. My religious thinking is one barrier, I hope the most important barrier, between those things that that tempt me and sin.
Theism: I was raised in the Roman Catholic Church. I was more bored than put off by religious teaching as a child, but when I thought through the dogma of the sacrifice of Christ as a blood price for sin, I could not and cannot embrace it.
My theism began to take form in anatomy class and my study of biology has been a key reason for believing not only in a divinity (Deism) but that the divinity is benevolent and sometimes intercedes (Theism). There was recently a link to Prager U and the Four Big Bangs -- the universe, life, consciousness and conscience. I had explored those ideas also, though in different terms.
"Jack" Lewis would be a bit disappointed that he has done more to confirm my Theist thinking than to make me a Christian. So might JRR Tolkien. I suspect Robert Heinlein would be a bit annoyed that his agnosticism also moved me toward Theism.
29 weeks ago
29 weeks ago Link To Comment
Geoff,
I was raised Catholic as well. I walked away at age 19 and over the ensuring 22 years I gradually became a theist who only occasionally considered what I specifically believed or did not believe. I returned to Christianity 10 years ago as an evangelical Christian. Sounds like part of our journey was similar.

So by Theism, you mean a unitary God (Father/Creator only, no Son and no Spirit?)
29 weeks ago
29 weeks ago Link To Comment
The organized religion closest to my own thinking is the Universalist Church. But they were so overwhelmed by the Unitarian Church, who turned out to be the we-don't-really-believe-in-God-much church, that I fled.
My problem with the Trinity is essentially my problem with the blood sacrifice teaching. I'm a father; if I cut off my own hand so that I would forgive my son or my daughter for their sins, people would call me sick at best. Yet the blood sacrifice teaching says I'm supposed to be grovelingly thankful that God did something like that.
I can readily believe that God manifested as a human but I don't know why He would do so only once. I do believe that God sends grace and guidance and strength, but I don't know why that would have to be a separate entity. That would make me a believer in a unitary God, yes. It surely does not make me either a Jew or a Muslim.
I have read a good deal about religion and spirituality. I recall the joke about the Glasgow pastor and a young atheist. "Hae ye read Aquinas? The Psalms? Augustine? The Gospels? Nae? 'Tis not an atheist ye are, but an ignoramus." I haven't read all the authorities but I've read a lot.
29 weeks ago
29 weeks ago Link To Comment
"'Tis not an atheist ye are, but an ignoramus" ::chuckle:: Haven't heard that one.

You bring up a deep mystery.

I'm a father too. Right now my son is 17, but one day he will be a full grown man, capable of his own decisions. Jesus of course is wise beyond comprehension, and although He is a Son He is not a little boy. So, if the picture shifts from Father sending little son to bloody sacrifice, and instead becomes Father and Son creating the world together, and grieving together over its fall, and planning together to save it, does that change things?

The reason I ask, is because truth stands apart from belief. The issue isn't really whether we like the idea of a a substitutionary sacrifice. The issue is whether it was/is real.
29 weeks ago
29 weeks ago Link To Comment
Howdy F85
The joke works best with a Scots accent.
The truth -- whether the substitutionary sacrifice occurred or did not -- is what it is, regardless of who believes what. I could be wrong and I know that but the very logic fails me every time I look again.
The best I can do looks like this. Perhaps our gravest sin as mankind, graver even than idolatry, is vindictiveness. Perhaps we could only believe in forgiveness if somebody, anybody, was punished for sin. So God may have manifested Himself to show what He would do -- not because God needed the sacrifice but because mankind did.
But in repentance I found I could believe in forgiveness without price. And in fatherhood I found I could not cast my son or my daughter away even if they did not repent. That, dear f85, is my own version of "salvation by grace alone."
I believe that God is far more than that, far more than I understand. I know I could be wrong -- God could be only something we made in our own image or God could be everything the most fundamental Christian says. That's the part the Bible calls faith, the part beyond knowledge and sometimes beyond reasoning.
29 weeks ago
29 weeks ago Link To Comment
I'll think about what you wrote. See you down the road.
29 weeks ago
29 weeks ago Link To Comment
We HAVE TO get government OUT of the "marriage business "!! It's the ONLY way to maintain freedom. The government issued marriage license is the root of these problems. People need to be free to marry as they see fit WITHOUT government meddling!!
29 weeks ago
29 weeks ago Link To Comment
I addressed that in the post and then deleted it because I thought it would distract. It's just not so easy as getting government out of the "marriage business." First, it's not a business. Marriage and family form the basis of our legal system. Abolish marriage and you essentially abolish the family. If that's what you want, be clear about it. Also be clear about the consequences.
29 weeks ago
29 weeks ago Link To Comment
I loved your post. However, I disagree with the idea that marriage and family form the basis of our legal system anymore. It is clear in all of these same-sex "marriage" rulings that the federal government has ceased to care anything about actual marriage and family while usurping the power of the states and the people regarding its defense and regulation. It is time to end the charade. I figure it this way: let the culture kill itself off and those that support the culture, since they are bound and determined to do it anyway, leaving those who believe marriage and family are the bedrocks of this country left to set things right again. Cynical? Absolutely. Give the cultural hedonists and their followers enough rope, and they will take themselves out. No reason to try to stop them since they don't want to listen anyway.

I agree that it will require work, and a lot of it. The people who actually have to do the work are the kind of people who are actually loathe to doing meaningful work, politicians and bureaucrats. Yeah, it'll take years. But it could be done. And then freedom of religion is maintained while the hedonists can have their "freedom".
29 weeks ago
29 weeks ago Link To Comment
Yes, the, "get government OUT of the "marriage business" mantra sounds appealing, but it ignores how the legal recognition of the distinction of the married state is thoroughly and inextricably entwined in our legal system. It's in everything from property law to taxation to inheritance to social security and more.

It's not possible to "get government OUT of the "marriage business " without a complete, bottom up revision of our entire legal framework at the state and federal level.

Merely abolishing marriage licenses won't get the job done.

29 weeks ago
29 weeks ago Link To Comment
I think some Scandinavian countries are trying to do this. I don't know how they've dealt with the legal ramifications.
29 weeks ago
29 weeks ago Link To Comment
"Pastors in Canada have run into problems. Churches are likely to be sued over participation in same-sex weddings, leading in my opinion to evangelical churches leaving weddings altogether in order to avoid costly and time-wasting litigation."

In the UK, it's gotten worse. Not too long ago, Parliament passed a law allowing non-Anglican churches to decide for themselves if they want to preside over same-sex "weddings" without being held discriminatory. The state-run Anglican Church (the Church of England) was exempt and refuses to preside over these "weddings". A lawsuit was filed against it by a same-sex couple demanding that they be "married" in their Anglican Church.

These shameful lawsuits will come here to the U.S. It's only a matter of time.
29 weeks ago
29 weeks ago Link To Comment
I know it is, and I actually saw someone defending that line of thought. IMO, if you were gay and devout, you would know that God and Christ said marriage is between a man and woman, so you would know He doesn't bless a union of anything else. So, why would you bother being so arrogant as to think you could force your will on Him? Or is it simply the sham of thinking you can force His earthly church to bend to your will even though you know He never will change?
29 weeks ago
29 weeks ago Link To Comment
Howdy aharris and SteveT62
Along the same line: there are Christian denominations that do welcome same-sex marriage. If a same-sex couple is also Christian (I agree that requires some cognitive dissonance), the United Church of Christ has, I think, a policy of performing marriages for them. The Unitarian Universalist Church is eager to do so -- although it's not a Christian denomination.
It's absurd to demand that an organization perform a service that is anathema to the organization. It's a threat to liberty to use the courts to demand it, whether of an organization or of a business or of an individual.
29 weeks ago
29 weeks ago Link To Comment
Sooner or later KP will leave. She will finally see that leftist ideology is incompatible with biblical teachings and she will choose the former over the latter (I hope not, but if she hasn't come around yet, with all the examples at Fox around her, I don't think she ever will, and that is a real shame).
29 weeks ago
29 weeks ago Link To Comment
There is only room in your heart for one religion and one God. Leftism doesn't share.
29 weeks ago
29 weeks ago Link To Comment
Or she'll be shown to be a seed that sprang up on the rocks, and never bears fruit.

"The foundation of the Lord stands sure, having this seal: the Lord knows them that are His, AND, let him who names the name of the Lord depart from iniquity."

We don't know if she's real, but He does. If she is, she is responsible to depart from iniquity.

29 weeks ago
29 weeks ago Link To Comment
View All