Tag Archives: government
I live in the “wealth creation” world. Part of my objective is to help people create and maintain assets that will allow them to live life the way they desire. It’s what all of us in the financial services industry seek for our clients on a continual basis.
One notable difference for me is that, as a Christian, I am constantly seeking to integrate my faith into my work and be “light and salt” to those I interact with. Many believe that wealth and religion are segregated. The thought persists that our finances and our faith have nothing to do with one another. Nothing could be farther from the truth.
In recent years more Christians have begun to understand the just how intertwined their faith and their finances really are.
The question that arose in conversation is whether taxes are appropriate or whether they are theft. Some subsequent conversation is whether Christians should stand against taxes and oppose any form of taxation or dutifully pay our taxes.
There’s one perspective that says: the Bible says theft is sin, taxes are theft, and therefore taxes are sinful.
Though this is a simplification of the position, it is a good summary and starting point for the discussion. This position says that God never ordains taxes and never gives the government authority to impose taxes. Because all authority is derived from God and God never gives explicit authority to impose taxes, taxation is theft. And since theft is a violation of God’s moral law (10 Commandments), any government imposition of taxes is theft and should be opposed.
The difference between “freedom of religion” and “freedom of worship” is very distinct. The fact that our president says he believes in “freedom of worship” over “freedom of religion” is a warning to be taken seriously.
A group of Pentecostals were meeting in a home church group when the local police came and said they would drive them from the home in accordance with a new law. That new law allows “freedom of worship” but severely restricts “freedom of religion.”
Recently in Russia, a proposed law received overwhelming support from lawmakers and was approved by president Vladimir Putin. That law put restrictions on missionary work, teaching, preaching, or seeking to “recruit” people into a religious organization. The law also restricts people from sharing their faith in their home, online, or anywhere outside of a church building.
Those words come from Daniel McArthur, general manager of Ashers Baking Company, as he describes what it is like to have the government demand he and his family of Christians make a cake with a message that violates their religious beliefs.
It all started when a man asked for a cake with the words “support gay marriage” on it. McArthur and the people at Ashers refused to make it citing their religious beliefs. A legal battle ensued and the government sided with the customer saying that Ashers had violated the Equality Act and “discriminated” against the man. Ashers was fined $765 for “injury to feelings” and told to make the cake.
By the way, this all happened in Norther Ireland where gay marriage is illegal.
If I were to ask you whether churches would ever lose their tax-exempt status (or be sued) for refusing to support homosexuality, what would you say?
Can you imagine a time in our nation when a church would be forced, under penalty of law, to accept something that it believes is sin? That is the question many people are currently wondering. In light of the earlier Supreme Court ruling in the Obergfell case, political analysts are speculating that it is just a matter of time before churches are in one way or another forced to support homosexuality and same-sex “marriage.”
In particular, commentator Bill O’Reilly said he thinks it’s “just a matter of time” before churches are sued for refusing to perform same-sex weddings. In a video after the Supreme Court decision he said:
“It’s just a matter of time before lawsuits are filed against churches and religious organizations, trying to strip them of their tax-exempt status if they don’t toe the line on gay marriage and other progressive causes.”
Let’s be honest here, it has always been religious people that have stood in the way of liberal causes. When you think of the primary opposition to abortion, homosexuality, and other liberal social ideas, it is Christians and those with deeply held religious convictions that stand opposed. For this reason people of faith are a target, an obstacle to be removed in order to achieve some liberal idea of a utopian society.
In case you didn’t know, there is an effort to redefine marriage. One of the most deceptive and false narratives in this effort is that the redefinition will stop with homosexuals and same-sex “marriage.” For several years now many of us have been issuing constant warnings that if marriage is redefined for homosexuals it will have to be redefined for any other group, person, or group of people that want to be “married.”
My typical warning goes something like this: If the government redefines marriage to include same-sex “marriage” it will have to continue redefining marriage to include polygamy, polyamory, pedophilia, incest, and bestiality. There will be no logical, moral, or political reason not to continue redefining marriage. If the government does not continue to redefine marriage for these groups it will be guilty of the same “discrimination” it now accuses traditional marriage supporters of.
Professing Christians that attempt to “love” their neighbor by supporting their sin and advocating for marriage redefinition will, in the end, either limit their support to homosexuals – thereby becoming guilty of the same “discrimination” they now accuse traditional marriage supporters of, or, endorse any and all forms of “marriage”; including polygamy, polyamory, et. al.
If these Christians that now support redefining marriage for homosexuals end their support of marriage redefinition there, they will have a hard time explaining their position using Scripture; or logic. The reality that many will broaden their support to include polygamy and polyamory is an easy conclusion given their existing ability to twist and stretch Scripture to support same-sex “marriage.”
The city of Coeur d’ Alene in Idaho became the center of a major religious freedom battle after the city said it would force the pastor of a small wedding chapel to perform same-sex wedding ceremonies.
The Hitching Post is a for-profit wedding chapel that is owned and operated by devout Christians, the Knapps. After a non-discrimination ordinance was passed in the city the local city council told the Knapps they would have to perform same-sex ceremonies in order to comply with the ordinance.
The Knapps, in adhering to their religious convictions, said they would refuse to perform such ceremonies as they would violate their religious convictions. The city told them they could face massive fines and jail time for refusal. The Knapps didn’t back down.
After igniting national outrage the city has reversed their decision and said the Knapps will NOT have to perform same-sex ceremonies. A recent article at Christian Today says:
This story has been all over the news and for good reason. The warnings against marriage redefinition have been numerous and strong and yet no one ever thought we would get to this point. Here we are. A pastor has been told that he must perform same-sex weddings at his chapel of face hefty fines and even prison for violating the city’s non-discrimination ordinance. Below is a roundup of notable voices regarding this story. Two videos are posted at the end of this post.
Fox News: City threatens to arrest ministers who refuse to perform same-sex weddings
“Alliance Defending Freedom is representing Donald and Evelyn Knapp, ordained ministers who own the Hitching Post Wedding Chapel in Coeur d’Alene…According to the lawsuit, the wedding chapel is registered with the state as a ‘religious corporation’ limited to performing ‘one-man-one-woman marriages as defined by the Holy Bible.’ But the chapel is also registered as a for-profit business – not as a church or place of worship – and city officials said that means the owners must comply with a local nondiscrimination ordinance.”
For some time people like myself has been warning that the government was becoming increasingly intrusive on the religious freedoms of churches. Stories from the last few years alone are enough to make any sane persons head spin. From zoning law restrictions to taxes, the government has been seeking to get more than a foot in the door of America’s churches.
I have warned on more than one occasion that before long the government would try to silence America’s pastors – either through regulation, IRS intimidation, or both. It seemed a no brainer to me that the end game was to pretend to value freedom of religion while seeking to monitor and regulate exactly what speech is used.
It seems that day has come far sooner than anyone expected.
The city of Houston has issued subpoenas to a group of pastors for their sermons dealing with homosexuality, gender identity, or any mention of Mayor Annise Parker; who happens to be a lesbian.
Christians have a responsibility to be obedient to civil government. Verses such as Mark 12:17 and Romans chapter 13 make it clear that Christians have a duty to be obedient to civil government because God has ordained government “for your good.”
Knowing that Christians have a responsibility to civil government makes it hard for some to understand why we resist and fight some laws. If, they suppose, Christians are to obey government, why fight the HHS mandate or the redefinition of marriage?
For those leading the charge in these particular areas of culture change it makes no sense for Christians to expend all their energy fighting the government when they should, as the Bible teaches, submit to and obey the government. Rather than risk the loss of livelihood or be fined for resisting and opposing laws mandated by the government, Christians ought to submit and obey.
While that is, technically true, it is not entirely true and stands outside the context of Christian responsibility.