The Great Cat Poo Medallion

Rod Dreher has a good piece here on the great looming alternative that now confronts us.

Within the biblical framework of a rightly-ordered patriotism, it is easy for Christians to take our native loyalties to our native land as a simple given, while reserving to ourselves the right to disagree with or oppose the decisions and mandates of the current administration. Jeremiah was no less a patriot for challenging King Zedekiah. Seems simple.

But when the canker of rebellious idolatry is well-advanced in any nation, the possibility of the regnant idolaters seeing believers as part of a loyal opposition begins to steadily erode. A totalitarian miasma sets in, and any disagreement with the current forms of legislated disobedience is taken either as mental illness or treason. When Stalin wanted to deal with his political enemies, he used psychiatry to define them into his version of the outer darkness. When the ancient Romans persecuted the Christians, they did so because the Christians were enemies of mankind. And in our day, simple disagreement with the proposals surrounding same sex mirage is categorized simply, routinely, and quite handily, as “hate.” That was an extraordinary move, and entirely predictable.

And someone who is mentally ill, or treasonous, is not someone who can be a loyal son of his nation. He cannot be one who simply disagrees with the current push for same sex mirages. He is outside the pale, and he is out there by definition.

So Christians need to start making some emotional adjustments, by way of preparation. “I love my country, I fear my government” is a common sentiment among us, reflecting the common distinction I mentioned above. And our position is that our fear of God necessitates that we oppose certain actions of our government, but we need not say that it necessitates a contempt for our people, customs, language, culture, etc. That is, it does not necessitate it on our end. It very well may become a requirement coming at us from the other direction. In fact, that is what is happening, and it has been the strategic play since the appearance of the very first “Hate is Not a Family Value” bumper sticker.

I do love my country, and detest the current regime (and by “regime” I am referring to more than the current administration). Well, of course the current regime has the ability to make us choose between their policies and Jesus — that’s the easy part — but they can also frame the debate in such a way that it appears we have to reject our people and nation for the sake of Christ. It does no good to complain about them taking hostages like this — one of the results of them being in power is they can manipulate things in this way. We are not all the way there yet, but we are most of the way there.

In other words, what happens when the definition of fundamental allegiance is formally and officially altered (actually, or in effect), such that any true believer in Christ would be prohibited from professing it? The early Christians were not persecuted because of their loyalty to Jesus. That was fine with the Romans. Whatever you wanted to worship in your spare time was fine with them. The problem was caused by the Christian loyalty to Jesus precluding a certain kind of loyalty to the state. The Christians were not persecuted because of their prayers to Jesus. They were persecuted because of their refusal to say a dinky little ceremonial prayer to Caesar.

As Chesterton puts it in The Everlasting Man . . .

“A convenient compromise had been made between all the multitudinous myths and religions of the Empire; that each group should worship freely and merely give a sort of official flourish of thanks to the tolerant Emperor, by tossing a little incense to him under his official title of Divus” (p. 163).

The only problem was that faithful Christians, a lot of them, wouldn’t do it. From a secular vantage point, the Romans really were being extremely tolerant, and were fully prepared to continue being that tolerant — as long as they were recognized as the final authority. And the Christians, refusing to make that concession, seemed to the authorities to be driven by sheer cussedness. But given God’s Word to us, Christians simply cannot do this kind of thing. Not to overstate the case, it is the “Supreme Court,” not the “Supreme Being.”

Because of this, again in Chesterton’s words, the enemies of Christ responded the way they always do, by surrounding us with their own peculiar forms of organized malice — “the halo of hatred around the Church of God.” And as American Christians, once free and happy, prepare themselves to start wearing that peculiar halo again, a recent move is to accuse them of being whiners about a bunch of nothing, a charge that appears to be right on schedule. You poor, delusional thing, you. “The people answered and said, Thou hast a devil: who goeth about to kill thee?” (John 7:20).

It is most clear that we are on the verge of that stage of the proceedings now. So when the decree comes down and we are told — as we are now being prepared to be told — that we cannot oppose same sex mirage and be good Americans, our first reply ought to be “very well then, have it your way. We shall be bad Americans.”

My citizenship, my affections, my loyalties whether national or regional, my manner of expression, my lever-action Winchester, my language, my love of pie, my Americanism . . . these are all contingent things. They are all creatures, because they are attributes of my life and existence, and I am a creature. Our nation, and all its pleasant things, is a creature. The grass withers, and the flower fades.

The purveyors of soft despotism want to arrange things so  that we conform fully to their agenda, or consign ourselves to their idea of the outer darkness, which turns out to be the same kind of place as Stalin’s.

Because I think like a Christian, I don’t necessarily think it is a necessary choice at all. But it is only not necessary in a nation that is not despotic — and ours is metastasizing into despotism. So under their terms, under their rule, such a choice is mandatory — because in times of persecution, they will make it necessary — which means that I will swallow the reductio. Force me to choose between Jesus and America, and then watch me choose Jesus.

The apostle Paul knew what it was to be a true Jew (Rom. 2:29). He loved his native people intensely (Rom. 9:3-5). But he also knew that it was possible for the earthly chess pieces to be maneuvered in such a way that we might have to sacrifice our queen, and real Christians are always prepared to do this gladly. This was something Paul was willing to do, and so if you successfully got him into the position where he had to decide between being a Hebrew of Hebrews, of the tribe of Benjamin (Phil. 3:5) and the excellency of the knowledge of Jesus Christ (Phil. 3:8), he didn’t even have to think about it. The prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus (Phil. 3:14) or the Medal of Freedom? Well, if you make me choose, friend, the Medal of Freedom strikes me as a haphazard affair, as a Pringles lid hung around some compromised neck with frayed shoe laces, and said lid heavily caked with cat poo.

Is it really the settled public policy of the American nation that we must choose between our love for Jesus Christ and His heavenly kingdom, on the one hand, and on the other, parades in all our major cities celebrating anal intercourse? Well, let me think about it. Can you give me some more time?

Those believers who have had an ordinary love of country, coupled with a naive (and very unbiblical) belief that America could never become an idolatrous adversary to the kingdom of God, are the kind of people who would be quick to acknowledge on paper that if we had to choose between God and country, we should always and everywhere choose God. But having ticked that box, they murmur to themselves that they are very glad that they could never be called upon to make that choice. Sorry, but here it is. Right on top of us.

Our nation is a nation just like all the others, and we can spiral into spiritual apostasy just like all the others. We are now more than halfway down the line of statues in the royal hall of Charn, where the look of our earlier nobility has vanished and we are just three elections away from the coldest forms of despair. Just think — all over the world, drone strikes making the world safe for sodomy.

As a nation like all others, we do have the option of repentance as well. But the first sin requiring the deepest repentance will have to be that damn-fool notion of American exceptionalism.

This is why pastors have a particular and pressing duty here. If this despotic modern state is the idol of our age — and it is — then pastors have a pressing duty to prepare their parishioners to resist it. We have a duty to prepare our people to refuse to bow down when they hear the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, and dulcimer (Dan. 3:5). Those instruments seem odd to us today, and so does Nebuchadnezzar’s statue, but you may depend upon it — at the time, bowing down to that statue to that music at that time was about as mainstream as you could possibly get, and the only people left standing were the extremists and weirdos.

John warns Christians as little children, telling them to keep themselves from idols (1 John 5:21). This will be a pressing danger when the idolatry is mainstream, when paying your mortgage depends on conforming, when all the networks are asking what the big deal is, when we can’t buy or sell without offering that pinch of incense to the emperor, and the music has been playing for a good minute and a half now. People are starting to look. You see an official in the back writing down your name.

It is quite true that idolatry can exist as a matter of heart motive. Paul does says that greed is idolatry, for example (Eph. 5:5; Col. 3:5). But the idolatrous state doesn’t care if you are an idolater in your heart only — they will at some point insist that you register. We sometimes have a rarefied view of idolatry, thinking that such a sin could only be determined when we appear before God at the great judgment seat. We will appear there in order to answer His series of trick questions, and when He asks us which is more important, being American or Christian, we need to say, “Christian! Of course!”

But the trick questions aren’t there — they are all here.  Pastors don’t need to be preparing men to not deny Christ before the Father. They need to teach them how to not deny Him before men (Matt. 10:33).

Theology That Bites Back



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  • Robert

    Another tactic seems to be to just change the demographic, ie amnesty. What is your take on that?

  • Steve Morris

    “Pastors don’t need to be preparing men to not deny Christ before the Father. They need to teach them how to not deny Him before men (Matt. 10:33).” Amen, and Amen. And they must also be preparing the “men” to teach their own “future men” (sons) and daughters to do the same. Daniel and his faithful friends were but youths when they refused to eat the king’s meat or bow before the statue of Nebuchadnezzar. May God give us the grace to see our children publicly profess the good confession also. So many of the early Christian martyrs were not even adults yet when they loved Christ even to death. If ever there were a time for faithful Scripture-filled and prayer-besotted parenting in the midst of this crooked and perverse generation, it is now. Thanks for this wonderful post, Doug.

  • Ben Bowman

    When a man engages in idolatry he chooses to place something above the supremacy of God in his life because he thinks that by doing so he will trick others, and himself into believing that “something” is his idol, when it is in fact always been himself.

    Great post Doug. Especially the part about repenting of the notion of American Exceptionalism.

  • Dave Matre

    My lever-action Winchester may well be a contingent thing, but if I lose it, I stand to lose a lot more.

  • Respectabiggle

    Shiny. Let’s be bad guys.

  • Missouri Tenth

    As a Christian who works in attempting to engage and educate as to a Biblical view of Government, I found this article to be very encouraging. While we do have good reason to be gravely concerned as to well over a century of abuses in the U.S. federal system (and many of our state governments too), Christians should understand that our states have a rich history of powerful Christian leaders who, through the wisdom of God, helped our various communities thrive. Therefore, while Christians in recent years have certainly been guilty of being a bit lazy, ignorant, or surrendering to evil a bit too readily – it’s not Christians who are attempting to usurp the natural God-given rights that are clearly expressed in our state or federal constitution.

    As for those who want to say Christians are haters? Well, it’s pretty easy to expose the egalitarian hypocrisy evident here. Anyone who subscribes to an all-inclusive mind-set, but then wants to pick and choose who infringes upon that view, is likely genuinely guilty of being just as intolerant – and possibly even hateful – towards those they accuse of such.

  • R Popp

    Post a comment

  • Roy

    I believe the referenced article from Dreher is provides additional context. Is it truly difficult to imagine, 17 years from now, substituting polygamy or adult/child marriage in place of same-sex?
    Yeah, I’m a hater.

  • R Popp

    My great grandfather entered prison as a young man (1890’s, central Europe) because he chose not to bend the knee to caesar over one point of faith. He left behind a young wife and baby. She would travel two hours by train, then walk two miles carrying the baby and food to him. He was once struck back by rifle butts (once was probably enough) when he in longing reached out to touch his son. He evidently was never given the food as after two years he was released from prison into his wife’s care. He was very sick. He lingered for two weeks then died, probably from the effects of starvation. You know, Pastor Wilson, hearing this story as a child was always in the context of how terrible those years were for my great grandmother (we called her Little Grandma) and grandfather. However as I got older and began teaching my own children their heritage of faith, I have come to honor and deeply appreciate the sacrifice he made. He chose to endure ill treatment and considered the reproach of Christ greater riches than his very life. I hope that myself or my family are never called on to make a sacrifice such as his, but I trust that if so we will also be found joyfully faithful in God’s good timing and purposes.

    Your comments are very well taken. Timely and sobering. Thanks

  • Eric the Red

    Respectfully, I think you misapprehend the point of American exceptionalism.

    We have people of every religion living here in relative peace and freedom, and mostly as good neighbors, because we accept as a given that no religion gets to control the government. We don’t have different sects blowing each other up like they do in Iraq because unlike Iraq, there’s no reason to since neither sect gets to use the state to enforce its doctrines. And that’s what makes America a special place: For maybe the first time in history, Christians and Jews and Muslims and Hindus are living side by side in peace, specifically because all of us accept separation of church and state.

    Yes, I know, Doug would like to make this a Christian nation. The Muslims would like to impose sharia law, and every other religion also wants a crack at being top dog. But none of you are going to be allowed to. And because none of you is going to be allowed to, everyone can go quietly about their business without having to worry about being on the wrong side of a religious civil war.

    Which is why a lot of us secularists prefer that it stay that way.

  • Joe Rigney

    Eric the Red,

    “Everyone can go quietly about their business* without having to worry about being on the wrong side of a religious civil war.

    *Unless your a wedding photographer/florist/baker/B&B owner, in which case the State will compel you to violate your religious beliefs to appease the gods of pomosexuality.**

    **Or a conscientious business owner, who doesn’t want to fund his employees abortifacents.**

    ***The State reserves the right to amend and add to the list whenever they please.

  • Charlie Long

    Here’s where Eric is wrong: the people in control of the government *now* are the ones saying nobody in particular will be allowed to control the government. The trick is for those in power to pretend that they are nobody in particular. “We’re tge impartial ones, who have no agenda,” they insist. Eric actually buys that line. He’s not alone, unfortunately.

  • Eric the Red

    Joe, it is one thing to tell a PCA church that it must ordain gay clergy in violation of its fundamental doctrines and in violation of the reason for its very existence, and that does not happen. Nor, under the First Amendment, can it happen. It is another thing entirely to tell someone who is engaged in the secular business of photography but who happens to be an anti-gay PCAer that his secular business is covered by the same laws that govern every other business. If we allow secular businesses to ignore generally-applicable laws because of the owner’s religious beliefs, then suddenly any business that doesn’t want to pay taxes, or any bar that wants to serve liquor to 14 year olds, or any trucking company that wants to ignore speed limits, will suddenly discover something in the owner’s religious beliefs that requires them to do so. At which point there will be no law because every man will be a law unto himself. So, if there is a generally applicable law that says businesses can’t discriminate based on sexual orientation (or, for that matter, based on religion), and your religion requires you to discriminate, then simply find another way to make a living where you won’t have to.

  • Andrew W

    We don’t have different sects blowing each other up … And that’s what makes America a special place

    True enough. On the other hand, your state also actively condones the killing of thousands of otherwise healthy infant children every year. Does that also make America a special place?

  • Jason

    Eric, by this logic, the First Amendment’s religious clause of “free exercise thereof” means absolutely nothing. The laws of the government are subject to the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. Thus, woven into the very fabric of the legal code is a subjection of every law to be read in light of those documents. To say otherwise is in essence to say that there really is no such thing as “free exercise thereof.”

    What you posit is a slippery slope fallacy. Just because you can imagine that X may happen, doesn’t necessitate that X will happen. And even if X does happen, there is no precedent for imaginary religious beliefs pulled out of thin air actually to be taken seriously in a court of law. Whereas there is precedent in history that biblical Christians have at all times in history understood same-sex attraction and the same-sex sexual act as a disordering of the created order and, thus, a sinful act. This is well-founded and easily proven. Abusus non tollit usum sed confirmat substantiam.

  • Tim

    You can all go about your own business, and the government will define what business it is that you can go about. If your religion requires you to do something the government doesn’t allow, or prohibits you from doing something the government says must be in your business, then just find another business.

    So everyone, for the first time in history, gets to go about his own “business”. (see the Federal Register for “business”)

    And this is freedom, because the government has no religion, you see.

    Eric, there has never been a theory so naive. Today you’re happy with the word “business”; tomorrow, they come for you.

  • Kevin

    Missouri Tenth,

    Quite right. We do have Christians engaged in the process.


    The underlying point is true, but let’s not get too apocalyptic. Having worked on worked on “The Hill,” I know there’s not a few Christian warriors out there. Perhaps you need a visit to DC.

    I’ve found previous posts more helpful–there was one about 10 steps or so to take.


  • Carson D. Spratt

    Hey Eric, you assume that religious beliefs should not permeate all of life. If you can’t act on your beliefs, can you be said to really believe them? You’re asking us to stop believing something or go out of business, which is no big deal, you all say. Just make the simple choice between your lawful business and your fundamental beliefs. And here I was thinking you LIKED the First Amendment…

    One more thing: your scenario of anarchy assumes that the opposite of enforcing state standards of coercive tolerance is no standard at all. Why are state standards and no standards at all the only two options? We could just follow God’s law, you know. While you may argue that you don’t like God’s law, at the very least please don’t limit the available options to your false-mask god of pretended equality or none.

  • buddyglass

    The 1st amendment guarantee of free exercise is not, and was never intended to be, without limit. There are all sorts of things you don’t get to do even if your religion demands it. You don’t get to sacrifice your kid to Baal. You don’t get to circumcise your daughter. You don’t get to deny your kid medically necessary blood transfusions. You don’t get to walk around naked. Why? Because each of things trespasses on someone else’s right and we’ve deemed those rights to trump your claim to religious expression.

    In the case of bakers and photographers, for the moment, the courts have deemed that the right of homosexuals to participate in the public square without facing discrimination trumps other participants’ right to discriminate against homosexuals when selling their goods or services.

    One can, of course, argue that in this particular case the one shouldn’t trump the other, but in doing so you shouldn’t start from the premise that the state has no business restricting religious expression in any way, shape or form. It most certainly does when that religious expression violates other individuals’ rights.

  • Bob French

    I like this guy!

  • Michael Lynch

    This sounds kinda doom-and-gloomy from a postmil. I may be wrong, but that how this piece came across to me.

  • Eric the Red

    Does the First Amendment protect the rights of 9/11 hijackers to seize planes and fly them into buildings? They were doing what their religion told them to do. What about religious based pedophilia; does the First Amendment protect that? If y’all agree with me that the answers to those questions is no, then you agree with me that free exercise isn’t absolute, and we’re merely quibbling about where the line is to be drawn, not whether it exists. And where the courts have drawn it (and I mostly agree with them) is at the speech/conduct distinction. You are free to believe, to advocate, to speak. If your religion requires that 12 year olds be impregnated, you are free to publicly urge that 12 year olds be impregnated, and that laws against impregnating 12-year-olds be repealed. Radical Muslims are free to advocate jihad. But you are not free to actually impregnate a 12 year old, and radical Muslims are not free to actually commit acts of terror.

  • Eric the Red

    By the way, as an atheist, I don’t get a conscience objection to laws. It doesn’t matter how objectionable I may find a particular law, or how well thought out my objection to it may be, my conscience doesn’t exempt me from obeying general laws. So why should yours?

  • Matthias

    It’s not mere conscience, Eric. And I think you know that by now. Nor is “free exercise” absolute. I don’t think you’d find Pastor Wilson affirming it. It seems that whenever you articulate an objection, you’re refusing to speak in terms Christianity actually uses. I’m sorry, but you rarely land a valid point.

  • Eric the Red

    Well, Matthias, that’s because you consider Christianity to be a special case, but I don’t. It’s a belief system entitled to the same respect and legal rights as every other belief system. Furthermore, under the First Amendment, the government has to treat all belief systems the same. Are you sure you want the state deciding what is and is not the best belief system?

  • THX-1138

    Eric the Red, there is a distinction between being a participant in a ceremony that is against one’s religious convictions, and discriminating against someone for being gay.

    If a gay couple wanted to have a photographic session for their daughter who is a High School Senior, and the photographer said “I do not want to do it, because you are gay”, that is one thing–analogous to not serving a “Negro” in the deep south in the 1960’s in your restaurant.

    But a marriage ceremony between two members of the same sex–THAT is inherently religious in nature, and to demand services for that event from someone, even if they object to it, would be far from “tolerant”.

    What if a heterosexual couple wanted a photographer to make a pornographic session with them, but that was against the photographers religious beliefs? Would that couple have a right to demand a session? Or someone wanted to have a Jewish caterer serve them at a Neo-Nazi rally (why would they want it? Probably sheer perversity, but hey, isn’t that their right)?

    Would you agree that there is a point where a business owner has the right to refuse to participate in something that they find objectionable?, even if it is a legal activity?

  • Matthias

    The state doesn’t have the authority (much less the wherewithal) to decide something like that. But neither does it need to. While they’re generally dead-set on not making laws respecting any religion, nevertheless, refusal of service (any service, really) on religious grounds is a free exercise of that religion, and this is what the government is seeking to prohibit. Does that not make sense?

  • Eric the Red

    Politcal belief in general (and Neo-Nazis in particular) is not protected from discrimination the way race, sex and sexual orientation (and a few other classifications) are. If you don’t want to serve someone because they’re of the wrong political party, that’s legal. In fact, there is a restaurant in my city whose owner had a bad experience with the TSA at the airport who refuses to serve TSA agents, and that’s legal since being a TSA agent is not a protected class. But on the broader question of whether there should be laws that require restaurant owners or photographers to serve people they might otherwise choose not to serve, the rationale behind the law is that certain groups had been damages by epidemic and systemic economic discrimination that they were unable to compete on an equal footing with everyone else. Candidly, I think that’s not as true as it used to be, and I’m not sure these laws are as needed as they once were. And I would have preferred that the lesbian couple in New Mexico simply have found another photographer. However, if you accept the premise of the law — that the problem is widespread enough to require a government solution — then the only way it works is to require that everybody participate. Like social security.

  • Jane Dunsworth

    However, if you accept the premise of the law — that the problem is widespread enough to require a government solution — then the only way it works is to require that everybody participate.

    Except that the free exercise clause was written precisely because it was recognized that religious exercise presents a special case. If the rule is, “If a law is needed, there can be no exceptions,” then the free exercise clause makes no sense whatsoever. The free exercise clause says, that despite the necessity for consistent application of a law, religious exercise is, if you will, “sacred” territory.

    I realize this raises difficulties, such as, “What if someone decides that serving Jews violates his religion?” That’s why free exercise is limited by certain tests. But the fact that it exists at all, means that under the Constitution, consistent application of the law is limited by the necessity of respecting free religious exercise.

  • Scott P

    The reason that we could have a basically free country was because of the homogeneity of our beliefs. Eric is right that the radical Muslim presents a problem to any state. (How much more trouble would he have trying to police the motivations of every social and economic transaction.) The problem will not be solved by a benign state. Only a tyranny such as you see in the Middle East has the power to partially sheild a minority from repression and bloodshed in a truly diverse society. I think that we will find that the post-Christian majority will be much less tolerant than the Christian majority has been.

  • Mrs. Mac

    “However, if you accept the premise of the law — that the problem is widespread enough to require a government solution — then the only way it works is to require that everybody participate” So who decides when a problem becomes widespread? What percent of the population must be effected for a government solution? Especially in these situations where there is probably a willing bakery just around the corner or down the road? These bakers aren’t keeping them from having their ceremony, just expressed their desire not to participate so how can they be violating their rights? Their inquiry stated, “If you are open to helping us celebrate our day we’d like to receive pricing information” “Open to” not if you are available, sounds like a set up.

  • Mike M

    Why is this happening now? The body of Christ in America has been relatively persecution free for a couple of centuries now. The result has been a general apathy toward the furtherance of the Gospel of the Kingdom of God. The gospel that most of the church now holds forth today does not even qualify as a cheap immitation of the Gospel of the early church. Consider this. In the past, the olive press of persecution has had a remarkable affect in the church. Just as an olive, when pressed, expresses olive oil, The church when pressed expresses Christ. It is easy to “live like a Christian” when it does not look so very different from the rest of the world. But when Christians can remain invisible, Christ is not lifted up for the world to see. When God’s chosen are forced to “stand out” Christ is revealed, and despite the world’s efforts to the contrary, the Gospel of the Kingdom of God goes forth. Judge for yourselves, is this a good thing or a bad thing?

  • Roy

    Props to Mike M for bringing it to an application level. Much of the other is camouflage for both ditches.

  • Ianopolis

    I think it’s a mistake to believe that the reason why all the different religions are living together peacefully in America has to do with everyone’s acceptance of the separation of church and state. I suspect the bonds holding America together are much more fragile. The common bond seems to be economic prosperity. As long as there is economic opportunity everyone seems to get along. If and when that prosperity ceases I have a feeling we are in for a very different climate.

  • Carson D. Spratt

    So, Eric, it finally comes down to what you have declared so often before, and what once again must be firmly denied: you think the government’s word is the final court of appeal. Christians believe that God is the final court of appeal. Government says homosexuals can marry, God says they can’t. You side with the government on this, and we don’t. However, you must recognize (for however resolvedly you strive, you will NOT convince me you’re unintelligent) that the homosexual BELIEF that they have a right to marry is being supported by the government. You have missed the fundamentally religious nature of the conflict here: religious on both sides. Under the guise of equal benevolence to both sides, the government is pushing their BELIEF system at the expense of our BELIEF that we have a right to excuse ourselves from cheering.

  • Wally

    Agree w/ Doug, however, the word xian should be discarded, along with the word Christ, too much historical anti-semitic baggage – many now call themselves Believers. Much better.
    The word church ditto, say congregation, kirk, group anything but the much shat-on word “church”.

  • buddyglass

    “you think the government’s word is the final court of appeal. Christians believe that God is the final court of appeal. Government says homosexuals can marry, God says they can’t. You side with the government on this, and we don’t.”

    It’s a false dichotomy to suggest that one has to “side with the government” or “side with God” on this issue. That would be true only if we assume that the criteria by which the state chooses which alleged marriages to recognize should necessarily match the criteria by which God chooses which alleged marriages to recognize. It’s not clear to me that that assumption is valid.

  • Richard Maloney

    “Just think — all over the world, drone strikes making the world safe for sodomy.”

    How very Westboro Baptist of you. Maybe you should start picketing military funerals?

  • chiamac

    What I find interesting, and I apologize upfront for not being as well read as some members here, but it is neat to replace the word God with Allah, and Christian with Muslim (or whatever Muslim sect you want) and all of a sudden it reads like the person would be tickled pink to have sharia law implemented on a local state and federal level. This, aside from some language differences isn’t all that much different than extremely conservative Jewish sects in how they treat women and each other, and I feel wouldn’t be all that much different than letting one religion set all the laws here. It would be to their whim who is discriminated against, other than it’d be in the name of God, and their whim who would be in power, etc.
    The founding fathers didn’t all walk up a mountain and get the constitution directly from the hand of God. They didn’t have a strict religion test for anyone in office. They also didn’t want the government dictating to them who or what they couldn’t believe in or pray to.
    But anyway, and I know I was rambling a little, as of 2013 we vote people in to office. If the author has his way, and people vote based on faith, then what happens when another religion gains more votes? If the author is more than happy with good old fashion Christian laws then surly they would have no problem if a majority Hindu or Jewish area/state start tailoring things to them? What if a rural city somehow managed to have a majority of voters that were Muslim? If voting Christian is ok, then surly it must be as fine for other religions to do the same in different areas?
    Again, going back to my first point, just replace the words.

  • Ianopolis

    Now replace the word God with the word State and the word Christian with the word Secularist and I think you will begin to see the point. It’s not whether a particular religion will determine the laws of the land, but rather which religion it will be.

  • Matthias

    Richard. Wut?

  • Ianopolis

    “If voting Christian is ok, then surly it must be as fine for other religions to do the same in different areas?” If pederasts become the majority and vote to legalize child abuse it is not as “fine” as if the majority where inclined to outlaw said behavior. It is not as “fine” precisely because there is a God who is the ultimate definer of what is “fine” and who will judge accordingly. So while it is not “fine” for a majority of pederasts to seek to make child abuse legal, it is NOT SUPRISING that that would try.

  • David Wray

    It is more fundamental. There is either a natural law defined by a higher power or there is not. If not, then men through their institutions decide what is right and wrong. Once it is a human decision then anything goes. In the past our laws were decided by people who beloved there was such natural law. (They may have disagreed on what that was and belivers still do.) Today that is less and less the case. What many see as an attack on Christianity is a more basic attempt to undermine the legitimacy of those arguing that the laws of God are higher than the laws of man.

  • Hawley Smith

    I believe that we as Christians have become to tolerant of those issues that tend to destroy us. I hear nothing about “what are the Christians doing about the recent Supreme Court ruling that Marriage can be defined as also being between two of the same sex.” Why are we tolerating this? The only way to over rule the Supreme Court is by passing a Constitutional Amendment. If Congress won’t do it, then we need a call for a Constitutional Conventional to amend the Constitution. Christians are still the majority in this country, but are not using their power because they are too tolerant. Start the call and lets get into the fight.

  • pearl

    I think you do a small injustice to those who have claimed “American Exceptionalism” in that, for many, the “exceptionalism” consisted in that very act of laying our prosperity to the credit of the Almighty. We acknowledged His supreme governance in our affairs and begged His grace and protection. For this reason, we claimed to stand apart from hosts of nations who boasted of power and wealth. Insofar as this is our heritage, I am indeed proud of American Exceptionalism, but lest I become “proud of my humility”, I must acknowledge that, today, we must re-dedicate ourselves to Christ and His reign here in our country, or cease to claim that great heritage.

  • Lorna Westlake

    Good article but seemingly a little biased toward right wing concerns. I would hope that the writer was motivated by a similar concern about where his nation was heading when the attack on another nation (Iraq) under false pretexts occurred in 2003. This war cost many people their lives. God, through the Bible, has a lot to say about bloody, violent empires. Our country spends as much money as the next ten countries combined on weapons of war. Which does God abhor more, homosexuals or warmongers?

    Toward the end of the piece he cites Paul as saying greed is idolatry. In my estimation that would make Wall Street one of the most idolatrous places on earth. Does the author have any outrage against the kind of legalized theft that goes on on Wall Street?

    Finally, to the poster who is trusting in his lever action Winchester, perhaps you also are engaging in a little idolatry. The Christians refusing to conform to the demands of pagan Rome did not meet their accusers and jailers with weapons. They put their faith in God instead.

  • Matt

    So when the decree comes down and we are told — as we are now being prepared to be told — that we cannot oppose same sex mirage and be good Americans, our first reply ought to be “very well then, have it your way. We shall be bad Americans.”
    (cite) (/cite)
    Ok, but what is anyone actually making you do? Be honest here, is what is happening in America today the advance of persecution, or the retreat of privilege?

  • katecho

    Ianopolis wrote:

    Now replace the word God with the word State and the word Christian with the word Secularist and I think you will begin to see the point. It’s not whether a particular religion will determine the laws of the land, but rather which religion it will be.

    Ianopolis has put his finger on the real issue. Folks like Eric the Red are still laboring under the delusion that they have achieved the glorious secular neutrality. Or rather they are still advertising this delusion for anyone gullible enough to buy it. Meanwhile culture is being scrubbed of public expressions of the Triune God and becoming more like Sodom and Gomorrah. It seems that Christians are among the last to realize that we are truly in the midst of a cultural war. Why act surprised that we are losing it? We aren’t fully convinced among ourselves that Christ even wants to assert His authority over culture yet, and we are completely immobilized at the thought that we could be compared to Islamic jihadists.

    Eric the Red is simply repeating a tactic that has worked very well for secularists up to now. It doesn’t matter how far Christians retreat from culture in order to avoid being identified with Islam. Folks like Eric will still breezily equate us with them anyway. It’s part of a strategy that we continually fall for. We are so easily brought to shame because of our dependence on faith as a means of knowing the truth. We need to understand why this shame is so effective against us.

    In this life there will always be counterfeits of truth, but truth does not become any less potent just because someone wants to call out the similarities between truth and its counterfeits. A counterfeit is only effective if it resembles truth to some degree anyway. Why should we be ashamed of such resemblance? We must simply honor God in what He has revealed.

    What is it that overcomes the world? Is it not our faith? (1John 5:4) But….

    The secularists will say, “how is your faith better than the faith of other religions like Islam?” At this point most Christians are finished, and ready to be excused. Why? We can agree that it is not anything about the operation of faith that distinguishes us from other men. Faith underlies the beliefs of all men alike. We are all dependent on faith. So the dependence and the exercise of faith is not what distinguishes. What distinguishes is the object of the faith, and the action of God in bringing us to specific faith in Him. In other words, it is the particulars that matter. This has always been the case. Truth is particular, and exclusive. That is why our faith will overcome the world. Not because we believed, but because God is God; the object of our faith.

    Since it is particularly the case that Jesus Christ is inheriting the nations through the Gospel, and since it is the case that there is war to resist this declaration, we need only concern ourselves with the appropriate means of engaging in that warfare. The Church Militant (let the secularist wail). We need to know what our worship and weapons are like, as opposed to the weapons of counterfeits like Islam and Secular Humanism.

    The seat of the scoffer is not going to be satisfied, but God works His proofs in history. Counterfeits can’t sustain very long and are exposed, even when they arise in the Church itself. The gates of secularism are quickly coming unhinged, but we still need to be a city on a hill, for the long term.

  • Matthias

    Matt, they are requiring us to be less Christian in order to become more American, in simplest terms. What was once commonplace and perfectly appropriate is being designated “privilege” in order to scale it back. So you’re simply offering two semantic perspectives. But, the advance of non-Christian privilege is actually occurring.

  • bob42

    I don’t think this claim is in anyway true, but I’ve seen it often axiomatically presumed to be true by hypersensitive authoritarians.

    So when the decree comes down and we are told — as we are now being prepared to be told — that we cannot oppose same sex mirage and be good Americans, our first reply ought to be “very well then, have it your way. We shall be bad Americans.

    You can be a “good American” and believe whatever you like about anything you like. What you may not do is impose your personal beliefs on other people via force of government without having a factual and secular reason for doing so. In California’s Prop 8 trial, the Mormons and Catholics had an opportunity to present evidence that treating same sex couples equally under the law would result in the harms to society that they had shouted about in $30 million of political advertising.

    Absolutely none of those alleged ill results were mentioned, despite the pro-discrimination side having more than adequate legal representation.

    It is immoral for a group of people to cause their government to needlessly discriminate against another group simply because of their religious beliefs. Saying you shouldn’t do that isn’t persecution or disrespect for your religious beliefs.

    The greatest degree of religious freedom for the greatest number of people is attained when government and religions are separate. You have no right to shape government to fit your dogma, and if you do, you must first proof the the deity that created your dogma is real. Good luck with that.

    In other words, mind your own business.

  • Matt

    “Matt, they are requiring us to be less Christian in order to become more American”

    But how? One of the examples in the post was a “dinky little ceremonial prayer to Caesar.” But in America today they aren’t even asking that much. My general question is, in our Rome parallel, are American Christians more like the Roman Christians or the Roman pagans?

  • Ianopolis

    “Ok, but what is anyone actually making you do?” The answer is in certain situations Christians are being asked to choose between obeying the state (vs. obeying God) or losing their livelyhood. An example being the photographer in New Mexico who is being asked to either give support to a same sex ceremony or go out of business.

  • Matt

    RE: Photographer, is this a case of there being a clear religiously-based rule. The Roman Christians wouldn’t say a prayer to the emperor because they believed that this would put their souls in danger. Gay marriage may be a ridiculous concept, but does anyone call it a sin to photograph one? I’d even say take the job, take the money, and go use it to lobby against gay marriage. The secular left has been successfully using that tactic for decades. FWIW though, I think people should be able to decline any job for any reason they want, so I agree that this law and interpretation thereof are not something that belong in a free country.

  • katecho

    Another example where the State is increasingly making Christians choose is in the area of domestic corporal punishment. We know that to train children early in the painful consequence of sin is to love them. Such consequence tells the truth about sin. To refuse to teach the truth about the painfulness of sin is to hate our children, and to tell a lie to them about the nature of sin. But we live in a culture that rejects discipline and consequence. Just look at the national debt, or MTV, or the illiteracy rate in Detroit. Or look at the over-the-counter abortificants for our 12 year old daughters (no parental consent necessary). We would rather lie to ourselves, “for the children’s sake”, than allow a temporary painful lesson to ever reach their heart preemptively.

    Cases of child abuse in the name of discipline are an evil reality, but such a thing is distinguished by its permanent physical damage. The secularist will wail and cry “abuse!” without concern for that distinction, and so use the power of the State to destroy families through false accusations, making children wards of the State (“it takes a village”). Having violated and usurped the separation of Church and State spheres, the Statists continue to expand the agenda with abuse of the wall between State and Family spheres.

  • mikehorn

    I’m trying to figure out which branch of Christianity is being referred to? Some are perfectly fine with gay marriage, some don’t even allow refrigerators or buttons. All are still free to practice their religion as they see fit, up to a certain limit. That limit is when said practice interfere’s with their neighbor’s right to practice as THEY see fit. If you believe what your conscience demands, fine, but where is it written that you must also force everyone else to live according to the dictates of your conscience and not theirs? When we are talking about rights, whether that be segregation or interracial marriage or gay marriage, or interfaith marriage (forbidden to Catholics, for instance), or two atheists marrying without any reference to any church or faith? America must remain free to all, but the price paid for such freedom is that we don’t get to force others to conform to a certain creed. America is not coercing Christians at all. For examples of repression against Christians, look at China and North Korea and Iran and Saudi Arabia… America is not persecuting Christians. On the other hand, when American Christians throw the first stones at a lesbian couple that just wants to live openly with the same freedoms Christians have, then we have the opposite, where Christians are now the persecutors.
    About natural law, look again at the Euthyphro Dilemma. There is a strong argument to make that objective truth and objective morals can exist with no reference to any specific god or faith. There is a distinct difference in the modern world between Natural Law as described by the likes of Thomas Acquinas, among others, and objective natural attributes of different things as described by modern thought, experiment, and inquiry. Natural Law usually refers to a form of Christian theology and apologetics, while the modern ideas of what is natural or not is informed by experiment and inquiry, no religion required or referenced.

  • David R

    ” What you may not do is impose your personal beliefs on other people via force of government without having a factual and secular reason for doing so.”

    Too bad Martin Luther King and the Civil Rights movement did not believe such nonsense, since the entire basis for their cause was founded on religious beliefs. In fact, much of the Democrat platform is based on social justice which is a religious doctrine that views the state as an instrument to fight poverty and oppression. That is why religious morality is used to defend welfare and progressive taxation, and this taxation is the taking of property from the individual by force. At the end of the day it is not whether morality will be used in what laws are enforced, but which one.

  • David R

    “..but the price paid for such freedom is that we don’t get to force others to conform to a certain creed.”

    Unless you are a photographer in New Mexico or the owner of Hobby Lobby.

  • Jill Smith

    Katecho, you write like an angel but I am hoping that in this case your words did not express your thought. I would prefer to live in a world without corporal punishment. But I do not think that a few well placed smacks constitute abuse, and if the government was removing children from parents who use the kind of mild, controlled discipline that most of us grew up with, I would think they were wrong. But you said that the distinguishing characteristic between acceptable corporal punishment and abuse is the presence of permanent physical damage. This definition would permit a parent to inflict an appalling amount of punishment and pain before being guilty of abuse. Even broken bones heal eventually. I recognize that a few verses in Proverbs are interpreted by some Christians as a requirement that they use implements rather than an open hand. I cannot imagine our Lord looking on a mischievous small child and demanding that only a belt or a rod will do. But if we grant there is a religious right to inflict significant levels of pain, we must grant the state’s right to protect children from abuse. For most people, the way they interpret the mandate to discipline children is never going to bring them into conflict with child protective services. I would trust almost every Christian I know who uses corporal punishment to be controlled, humane, and responsible But when Christian leaders tell their people they have a sacred obligation to physically discipline their children, I think they have an absolute duty to define their terms. I realize that there is a verse in Proverbs that says something like, If you beat your son with a rod, he will not die. Lydia Schatz’s parents beat her for several hours with a 2 inch plumbing line, and she died. I think she had mispronounced a word in a reading lesson. There are Christian parenting manuals that tell you to continue striking the child until he or she is seen to submit. Would you be willing to concede that this is dangerous advice? If Christians are counseled by reputable pastors and teachers to engage in physical discipline so intense that the result is actual physical harm (even if temporary) rather than fleeting pain, we have to expect some interference from the state. I am passionate about this because it is hard to imagine a greater blasphemy than killing or maiming a child in the name of Jesus. It happens too often, and it is encouraged by people who not only know better but who would never inflict serious harm on a child themselves. Were Lydia’s parents encouraged to home school so that teachers and nurses never saw any bruises? You bet. Does the HSLDA support the dismantling of ALL child protection? Pretty much. And are they willing to accept a few deaths as collateral damage to serve an anti-government agenda? I hope not.

  • katecho

    I thank Jill for her compliment, and I have no objection to the government’s legitimate role in the protection of children from real physical abuse. Such a duty of civic protection falls directly in their sphere. But we can’t be ignorant of the trends in our day, and the choices that are threatening to be forced upon Christians by an overreaching State. The U.N. is constantly trying to get our Congress to adopt a “Rights of the Child” treaty that would ban outright all corporal punishment, even in the home. It seems Jill is willing to concede a reasonable form of corporal punishment, but many who want to wield the power of the State do not.

    If this situation weren’t bad enough, we must also remember the shameless hypocrisy of the current regime. Our rulers and judges who are charged with protecting the most civically innocent in our society are in fact the same ones who use their power to enable and affirm the slaughter of millions of unborn in abortuaries. Not only do they stand in opposition to legislation that would dare to limit or restrict the bloodbath in any way, but they contribute government money to support this death industry. Not even the torture of saline and partial-birth abortion is too cruel for them to defend. Because of this hypocrisy, they have deeply undermined the credibility and honor of their office.

    When the State refuses to protect human life in its most vulnerable stages, what argument will they use against a loving parent who is using temporary pain to teach their child the truth about the painful consequence of sin? The State has become reckless and demonstrates a profound lack of discernment to judge between guilt and innocence in this matter.

  • Jane Dunsworth

    chiamac — that’s a very good point — if the differences between Christianity and Islam are trivial.

    If they’re not trivial, then the substitution is.

  • Nabuquduriuzhur

    It’s both a tragedy and a bright point that we do indeed have a generation of men who were used to doing the right thing in the face of evil.

    Was the Lord preparing them?

    It’s perhaps no surprise that most men are persona non-grata in government, with most agencies being overwhelmingly female and incompetent due to an extreme brand of affirmative action.

    One wonders if that was in Satan’s mind when his servant Bill Clinton changed the hiring rules in 1993, going from 51% women in government service who were well-qualified, to many offices and agencies now being almost exclusively or exclusively women that were picked without concern for qualifications.

    GenX men have become hardened to evil. When GenX women went off into sin, most GenX men did not follow. As a result, GenX believers are ~80% men.

    When it was a choice between getting married or rejecting Christ, most GenX Christians picked Christ.

    Even non-Christian men “got used to” being rejected by women for doing the right thing.

    Men of GenX were almost completly rejected by GenX women. The men are used to doing the right thing despite a horrendous personal cost to doing so.

    One wonders if the Lord was preparing a generation of men to say “hell no” to evil.

    While I wrote specifically of of the Pacific Northwest in National Wave of Foolishness v.2, it merely mirrored a national trend:

    “Women of GenX in the PNW were always first to go into sin, the first to throw off self-control, the first to use drugs, the first to advocate alternative lifestyles, the first to try to get others to do the same things they did, and the first to attack everyone who didn’t do as they did.

    Conversely, an enormous number of men didn’t do any of those things, saying “no”— even when it meant remaining permanently single.

    Unlike the men, there were no large numbers of PNW Christian GenX women who said “no”. A few here and there, but never many. A fair number of PNW non-Christian GenX women who “did the right thing” consistently, interestingly enough— about 20%— but I’ve met almost no GenX Christian women from the Pacific Northwest who sincerely tried to, despite many cities and ministries in the 1980s and 1990s. The rest… it wasn’t a pretty picture.”

    Most GenX men are believers. Most GenX women are unbelievers. They couldn’t wait to sin and even after 20-30 years most are still “partying.”

    Consider, though, what that did. Being constantly rejected for 20 to 30 years hardened the men to being attacked. They kept their beliefs and morals despite one of the most bitter types of attacks that Satan could have devised— that of being rejected constantly by women while watching about 10% of the men who did wrong father most of GenerationY.

    A harsh preparation for the times to come, but GenX men have already been proven true for it.

  • mikehorn

    David R,
    The examples you cited were how Conservative Christians were interacting in the public marketplace with people they theologically disagreed with. In order to preserve religious freedom, the rights of the minority (in this case a lesbian couple) needed protection from the Christian majority. The couple tried to enter into a secular business arrangement in good faith, without any prior knowledge of the photographer’s religion because it was a secular business that didn’t advertise at all about religion. In America this means they were in the common marketplace where religion of many must interact. The specific case of the photographer was a case of a Christian denying religious freedom to the lesbian couple. The Christian was the one who tried to insist that others follow his beliefs, not the other way. The court ruled, properly, that the right of religious freedom is not a sword to hurt others with, but rather a shield that the lesbian couple had more right to in this case.
    The really sad part is that the majority religion at the start of our nation was Episcopalian/Anglican and the rest of Christianity had to fight for equality. Catholics, Baptists, and Quakers especially. Now the two largest are Catholics and Baptists who can’t seem to remember what it was like to be the minority, exhibiting all the really nasty habits of religious majorities throughout history. Our Constitution was written with the horrifying religious wars and purges and blasphemy executions that had been the story of Europe for a couple centuries prior. If a majority religious view holds the sway of secular law, then it gets really ugly. That is why America protects the minority opinions. Theocracy is really bad business, people.

  • Tim Bushong

    “The specific case of the photographer was a case of a Christian denying religious freedom to the lesbian couple.”

    Wrong–they still had the wedding photographed, but by a different photographer. The refusal of the Christian photographers to photograph the lesbian ceremoney didn’t prevent the lesbians from getting photographed.

    “If a majority religious view holds the sway of secular law, then it gets really ugly.”

    It’s only staring to get ugly, but in one sense you’re right–the religion of secularism is now holding sway over “secular” law.