Category Archives: Religious Freedom

Free Market Pulpit

Free Market Pulpit

by Bill Lockwood

When the British first landed in New York during the Revolutionary War, their first order of business was to burn down one half of the churches. The obvious reason was that the pulpits of America were, in the words of Alexis de Tocqueville, ‘ablaze with righteousness’ to free us from the British oppressor. The Frenchman would say, “Religion in America takes no direct part in the government of society, but it must nevertheless be regarded as the foremost of the political institutions of that country; for if it does not impart a taste for freedom, it facilitates the use of free institutions.” Or, as stated in the sacred text, “Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.”

But many pulpits today have lost that spirited edge. However, it is more than the “spirited edge” that has been destroyed. It is FREEDOM of SPEECH. As the federal government nanny state curtailed what can and cannot be spoken in the churches, many Christian communities simply grow accustomed to receiving their marching orders from Uncle Sam. In place of a “Free Market Pulpit,” we have now a manipulated lectern. Instead of blazing righteousness against Obama’s trans-sexual bathroom edict, they remain silent.

How Did This Occur?

The year was 1954. Lyndon Johnson was in the Senate, having been first elected in 1948. Conservative and liberal historians agree that his election to the Senate had been won by massive voter fraud. He had won by only “87” votes. Coke Stevenson, his opponent, had challenged his election even showing evidence that hundreds of votes had been faked. With court injunctions Johnson blocked Stevenson’s efforts. Now in 1954 the liberal Johnson was being hammered by anti-communist groups, which in those day, were frequently directed by informed preachers.

Johnson therefore retaliated by pushing through Congress language into the IRS code that prohibited non-profit organizations, including churches, from actively participating in political elections. Conservative churches in Texas had been a thorn in the side to Johnson. Now he had his gag order in place. This in spite of the fact that the First Amendment clearly states, “Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech …” Thumbing their nose at the Constitution, a compliant Congress went along with devious Johnson on this removal of First Amendment protection of rights.

What Shall We Say To These Things?

First, as stated above, it is a blatant violation of the First Amendment guarantee of free speech. Americans have for too long been complacent about this matter. Consider the words of IRS Commissioner Mark W. Everson at the City Club of Cleveland, Ohio on February 24, 2006. “Freedom of speech and religious liberty are essential elements of our democracy. But the Supreme Court has in essence held that tax exemption is a privilege, not a right, stating, ‘Congress has not violated [an organization’s] First Amendment rights by declining to subsidize its First Amendment activities.’”

In other words, the tax code extends “privileges” not “rights” by means of exemption. And, extending or removing this exemption status is reward or punishment for speech, clear and simple. Thus, churches operate under threat of punishment for “political” speech or activity. Note Everson’s language: “Freedom of speech and religious liberty are essential elements ….BUT…” A clear signal that liberty is lost. Just as the government holds hostage various states by means of federal money extracted by heavy taxation it also threatens churches with its tax code.

This is the problem with BIG government that transgresses its assigned Constitutional role. It takes in hand to decide what it will and will not allow. In this case it is free speech that is hampered. Just who is to decide if pulpit speech is “political” or not? Will preaching against abortion be considered political? Many liberal politicians think that is exactly what is taking place when they hear sermons against killing the unborn. Will preaching against the sin of homosexuality be penalized as that lifestyle choice is now becoming “protected” by government manipulation? American Christians should be galvanized into resistance against the government sitting in the seat of Herod deciding what teaching may issue forth from our churches. Curtailing FREEDOM is what is occurring.

Second, many church-goers perhaps agree with the IRS that churches should not be mentioning political issues from the pulpit. But that again gets into the question as to who defines what is political? The main issue here is that America was founded upon freedom of the marketplace, and that includes the marketplace of ideas, religion included. What if worshippers do not appreciate what is being preached in a particular church? They have the option, just as in the economic realm, to go elsewhere. Purchase a different product; go elsewhere to worship—find a teacher more to their liking.

How did churches manage to maintain their integrity prior to the Johnson Amendment of 1954? Without Big Brother Government watching out for the churches it is a wonder that churches survived. Policing the pulpit is all for our own good, we are told.

Third, where is the IRS in monitoring the National Council of Churches as they propagate their radical socialistic agenda, even supporting President Obama’s nationalized health care? Where are the G-men from Washington, D.C. curtailing the Green Agenda as is espoused by the false theologians at the NCC? It is amazing to witness the blatant double-standard at play here. Only conservative churches seem to be singled out—such as are opposed to the socialistic agenda issuing forth from Washington.

Preachers have not only a Constitutional right to address issues of the day in their churches, but an obligation to do so. This includes speaking out boldly pertaining to the behavior of elected officials or their ungodly policies. If we believe in the Free Market idea of the economy, and we do, we need also to uphold the Free Market concept of the Pulpit. Church-goers are adults who have the right to support or shun the pulpit of their choice without government watchdogs overseeing all of the flocks.

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Scalia, God and the Constitution

Scalia, God and the Constitution

by Bill Lockwood

Visiting a suburb of New Orleans this month Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia told an audience that though it was that the United States was founded without an official “established church,” it was never intended to be “neutral” toward religion itself. It is “absurd,” said Scalia, to think the Constitution bans the government from supporting religion.

More than that. There is “no place” for radical secularism in our constitutional tradition, he said. “To be sure, you can’t favor one denomination over another but can’t favor religion over non-religion?” [emp. added]
Scalia noted that favoring religion was common practice in the United States until the 1960’s when “activist judges” began imposing their own ideas. Atheists should not try, per the judge, to “cram” secularism “down the throats of an American people that has always honored God on the pretext that the Constitution requires it.”

Justice Scalia is exactly right in this interpretation of the Constitution and the place of religion. I would, however, add that it is not merely “religion” which has a place in our society, but Christianity itself. Benjamin Morris, in his magnum opus work, Christian Life and Character of the Civil Institutions of the Unites States, summarizes the Founders’ intention: Christianity is the principle and all-pervading element, the deepest and most solid foundation, of all our civil institutions. It is the religion of the people—the national religion; but we have neither an established church nor an established religion.

John Jay, one of the authors of the Federalist Papers referred to this as a “Christian Nation” and Roger Sherman wrote to one of his acquaintances in 1790 pointing out that “his faith in the new republic was largely because he felt it was founded upon Christianity as he understood it.” Similar sentiments from the Founding generation could be added almost endlessly.

Justice Joseph Story, who spent 34 years on the Supreme Court and founded Harvard Law School even went so far as to remark that concept of “neutrality” in religious matters, to which modern society goosesteps and Scalia criticizes, “would have created universal disapprobation, if not universal indignation” had it been suggested in early America.

First Amendment
What then is the meaning of the First Amendment that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof”? “Establishment of religion” simply refers to “National denomination” in the sense of an official State Church supported by taxes. “Congress” singles out the “federal government.” The Federal Government was to establish no National Denomination. Remembering that both Thomas Jefferson and James Madison encouraged future generations to interpret the Constitution according to its original intent, and that that ALONE is the “legitimate Constitution,” how do we know that the forbidding of a National Denomination by the Federal Government is the meaning of the First Amendment?

George Mason, the father of the Bill of Rights, commented that “no particular sect or society of Christians ought to be favored or established by law in preference to others.” Madison himself commented upon the First Amendment: “…nor shall any national religion be established.” In the Annals of Congress (June 8, 1789 to September 25, 1789) is noted this: “August 15, 1789: Mr. Peter Sylvester of New York had some doubts … He feared it [First Amendment] might be thought to have a tendency to abolish religion altogether.” Well might he fear, knowing the onslaught of atheists and secularists throughout history to deny simple truths!

In response to Sylvester, Elbridge Gerry suggested in Congress that the First Amendment would better read, “[N]o religious doctrine shall be established by law.” But that was not quite broad enough to meet the Founders’ intention. Fisher Aimes, who authored the final version of the Amendment, offered this: “Congress will not make any law establishing any religious denomination.” One version even added the words “in preference to others” to the clause “religious denomination.” The final draft simply reads, “Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion …” It is crystal clear what these great minds desired.

Capitalizing on ignorance of the people plus animus to Christianity, modernists which fill the press as well as Congress wish us to be satisfied that our Constitution demands the government to be “neutral” between atheism and theism, between Christianity and Islam. Nonsense. Justice Scalia is correct. Legally speaking, in the context of the Constitution, there is no place for “secularism.”

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America’s War Against Christ

America’s War Against Christ

by Bill Lockwood

The handwriting on the wall translates pretty simply. America has an elected leadership that openly wars against Jesus Christ and those who call Him Lord. Issuing from the White House and running through all departments of the government, Barack Obama’s hostility to God is manifest. Nothing that comes before the citizenship of America overturns that conclusion, but rather reinforces it.

Homosexual Marriage

If Americans were somehow in the dark about this hostility, the Supreme Court Obergefell decision this summer dispels that mist. For the first time since mankind has been managed by governments, God, all of history, Natural Law, and common decency were boldly cast behind its back by redefining marriage as to officially include same-sex unions.

As Justice Alito pointed out during oral arguments, there have been many “cultures that did not frown upon homosexuality …Ancient Greece is an example. It was well accepted within certain bounds.” And yet, America is the first culture to engraft this into law. Homosexuality has always existed, but never did any peoples confuse it with legitimate marriage—until the liberals in America captured politics and the media. The fallout of this Supreme Court Sodomite decision will be enormous, and our nation is already feeling its effects. Obama’s lawyer, Donald Verilli, stated to the Supreme Court during Obergefell argumentation when asked about the impact on churches and other non-profit groups, “That WILL BE an issue.”  But this is just the beginning.

Equality Act of 2015

Before the current Congress is a bill introduced into the House and the Senate called the Full Equality Act of 2015. Sponsored by Democratic and homosexual lawmakers it would expand existing federal laws to include legal protections for LGBT individuals in areas such as housing and employment. As reported by CBS News its “most sweeping move” is to “add sexual orientation and gender identity to the list of classes protected under the 1964 Civil Rights Act.” It proposes to forbid businesses from discriminating against LGBT people in hiring, firing and supposedly would “exempt” religious schools and hospitals from the legislation.

But WorldNetDaily noted that a recent Chicago event hosted by a “gay rights group” called Human Rights Campaign, the LGBT leaders discussed their agenda for The Equality Act. They proudly boast of gutting the protections written into the 1993 Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA). Their agenda? “[B]eliefs cannot provide a claim, defense or basis against the progressive agenda of the LGBT special interests.” Governing authorities agree. We cannot allow personal beliefs to trump state doctrine.

Illustrative of this is the 2013 case of Arlene’s Flowers in Richland, Washington. The owner of Arlene’s Flowers and Gifts, Barronelle Stutzman, was asked to arrange flowers for a same-sex wedding for Robert Ingersoll and Curt Freed. The state of Washington had redefined marriage the previous year. Robert Ingersoll had been a regular customer of Arlene’s Flowers for nearly a decade and Stutzman was his friend. There never was any refusal to serve Robert Ingersoll. However, when Ingersoll asked Stutzman to serve his “wedding” to Curt Freed she kindly refused citing her relationship to Jesus Christ. She knows what common sense Americans also realize: There is a difference between serving homosexual individuals and being forced to participate in a homosexual wedding.

The homosexual agenda does not allow a religious conscious to operate freely in the market. Friendships, niceties and even familial relationships are mere facades for an aggressive trampling of Christianity. A lawsuit against Arlene’s Flowers therefore ensued and the state’s attorney general, Bob Ferguson, pointed to violations of the state’s sexual orientation laws. A judge ruled against Ms. Stutzman and her property is still at risk of government seizure.

Misdirection by CBS

Having seen the case above, now read the recent “news coverage” of The Equality Act by CBS News (7-23-15) in the article mentioned above. It reports that The Act is needed because it would “clarify that RFRA cannot be used to sanction businesses’ discrimination against LGBT customers.” (emp. added) But Baronelle Stutzman never refused to do business with her homosexual friends. No case of which this writer is aware has a private business—whether florist, photographer, wedding chapel, or any other—refused services to a homosexual. What has been refused is PARTICIPATION in celebrating a homosexual “wedding or honeymoon.” There is a vast difference and CBS News does not want you to find it.

Let’s see if the government itself knows the difference.

When it comes to accommodating Islamic faith, our government bends over backwards to assist. From the Live Trucking website is this current headline: “Muslim Truck Drivers Who Refused To Haul Alcohol Awarded $240,000 In Religious Discrimination Suit.” “They were fired after refusing the load due to religious beliefs.”
Two Muslim truck drivers who refused to transport alcohol were awarded $240,000 by an Illinois judge for their termination. Mahad Abass Mohammed and Abdkiarim Hassan Bulshale had been fired from Illinois-based Star Transport in 2009 for their refusal to transport alcohol, citing religious faith as the reason.

On their behalf the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, a government arm, stepped up to sue Star Transport. Star Transport now is ordered to pay the punitive damages. This is the same EEOC of which Chai Feldblum of Georgetown University Law is a member and has gone on record against CHRISTIAN RESERVATIONS on the homosexual issue. Feldblum wrote: “For all my sympathy for the evangelical couple who may wish to run a bed and breakfast from which they can exclude unmarried, straight couples and all gay couples, this is a point where I believe the ‘zero-sum’ nature of the game inevitably comes into play … I am convinced society should come down on the side of protecting the liberty of LGBT people.”

With all the manufactured soberness at her disposal, EEOC’s Feldblum must come down against Christianity in favor of homosexual marriage. It is a serious civil rights issue, after all. But violate a Muslim’s faith and the same EEOC will side with Islam. What is the difference? Only one explanation exists for those who still have eyes to see. Our culture is not deteriorating beneath a “religious war.” It is an all-out assault specifically against Jesus Christ and His Church. As explained by Paul, “Our wrestling [fight] is not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against the powers, against the world-rulers of this darkness, against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in heavenly places.”

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Obama’s America: Jailed for Christian Faith

Obama’s America: Jailed for Christian Faith

by Bill Lockwood

Kim Davis, Clerk of Rowan County, Kentucky, has been sentenced to jail by US District Court Judge David Bunning for refusing to grant marriage licenses to homosexual couples. Citing the biblical passage, “We must obey God rather than man,” (Acts 5:29) Ms. Davis was scolded by Judge Bunning who says we must “respect the rule of law.” That would be king Obama’s law.
Nothing in the Constitution allows the redefining of Natural Law or our cultural norms regarding marriage. Yet, that is precisely the bitter pill that Obama’s Court has shoved down America’s throat in the Obergefell case. It amounts to Judicial Tyranny.
Instead of haranguing the Supreme Court, note that this is exactly the goal to which President Obama has been pushing, and it is going to get worse unless America awakens from its sleep-walking. Upon entering the presidential office for the first term one of his first official acts was to lawlessly order the Department of Justice to ignore the Defense of Marriage Act. Perhaps US District Court Judge David Bunning should begin his lecture about “obeying the rule of law” at the White House.
Next, we were treated to David Axelrod’s revelation that President Obama LIED to the American people as he initially campaigned for office. Always in favor of a cultural revolution including homosexual marriage, Obama told the American people that he believed in “traditional” marriage. When the coast seemed clear and the American populace were seen to be sheep tripping their way to the slaughter, Obama confessed that “he had changed his mind” on that issue and believed in homosexual marriage. Deception is his game and the liberal crowd loves to have it so.
Now we are witnessing the open violation of immigration laws by the Oval Office and the encouragement of “sanctuary cities” across the nation. These municipalities are in violation of the immigration law and socialist pundits continually whine about their “right” to ignore American civil law. This flouting of law comes straight from the President’s famous pen. But let a Kim Davis, holding religious conviction of the biblical sort, “obey God and not man” and the fury of the US Court system crashes down upon her. All with Prince Obama’s blessing.
Our founders fled to America to escape this very type of persecution. Establishing a Constitutional system grounded upon Natural Law it allowed the enjoyment of the greatest amount of freedom. This is the very underpinning of western culture which Obama so hates. Freedom does not come from government; it does not arise simply by consent of the governed or from politicians themselves or from grants from president Obama—but from God.
Once this is denied, as is now occurring in our nation, cultural chaos results in which no man is able to discern what is good or what is evil. The question all Americans need ask themselves is not, might this tyranny occur to me? But ,how soon before it comes? It has already come to Kim Davis.

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Will The Land Vomit?

 

by Bill Lockwood

Will The Land Vomit?

Who would have guessed that the “Shining City on the Hill” would have descended into the sewers of Sodom? But that is precisely what has occurred with the once-free America. Slavery to sin and corruption has officially begun with last week’s Supreme Court ruling. Servitude by the states to the Homosexual Agenda became official U.S. policy in which “rights” to same-sex marriage were “newly minted” by the dictatorship of the High Court. States cannot keep same-sex couples from marrying and must recognize their unions. Obergefell v. Hodges became a historic moment.

The Bible is exceedingly clear that homosexuality is an “unnatural” impurity. Leviticus 18 catalogs some of the more heinous crimes about which the Israelites were severely warned. “Defile not yourselves in an of these things; for in all these the nations are defiled which I cast out from before you: and the land is defiled … and the land vomits out her inhabitants” (24,25).

Again God warned: “For all these abominations have the men of the land done, that were before you, and the land is defiled; that land vomit not you out also, when you defile it, as it vomited out the nation that was before you” (27, 28).

To what vices did God refer? Among the more prominent were: Homosexuality. “Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind; it is an abomination” (v. 22). “If  a man lie with mankind, as with womankind, both of them have committed abomination …” (v. 13). Under Old Testament Israelite law they were to be put to death.

In the New Testament the inspired Paul wrote that the “unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God.” Among those to whom he refers are the “effeminate” and “abusers of themselves with mankind” (1 Cor. 6:9-11). “Effeminate” is a biblical euphemism for one who plays the “female role” in a homosexual relationship and allows other men to violate his anus. “Abusers of themselves with mankind” is one Greek word which signifies the homosexual who violates another man’s body.

One commentator wrote about the “confusion” of homosexuality. “A horrible confusion of natures which God distinguished, and order which God appointed, the overthrow of all bounds of religion, honesty, sobriety, and modesty.” Israelite kings in the Old Testament did not heed God’s warnings as Ahaz (2 Chron. 28:3) and Manasseh (2 Chron. 33:6) actually institutionalized homosexuality along with the slaughtering of children. Truly, it was mass confusion and Israel lost her land possession due to the seriousness of these crimes.

America

Under Obama’s wicked leadership America has also overthrown all bounds of religion, honesty, sobriety, modesty, and decency. As Christians always suspected and David Axelrod, Obama’s former chief advisor,  confirmed, Obama lied during the 2008 presidential campaign at the behest of his political handlers. Axelrod wrote, “Opposition to gay marriage was particularly strong in the black church, and as he ran for higher office, he grudgingly accepted the counsel of more pragmatic folks like me, and modified his position to support civil unions rather than marriage, which he would term a ‘sacred union.’”

Lying Obama, who tweeted that “Love Wins” has always been a supporter of Sodomy. Fabricating and lying is “love” in his book. Sadly, thousands of black Christians voted for the liar-in-chief, apparently due to his skin color which trumps even God’s Word in their minds. Myriads of ill-informed white Christians voted the same thinking that having a black president would somehow quiet the left on racist charges. What monumental miscalculations.

How did all of this occur? In three easy steps. One, equal rights for all races and peoples enforced by the federal government—14th Amendment. Two, the cultural acceptance of homosexuality as something with which one is born. Homosexual practice is counted as a minority classification or “orientation” instead of immoral behavior and choice. It is supposedly not a choice that people make. Three, put these together and give us a pro-homosexual socialist for president and one finds the SCOTUS ruling.

Where did society err? For err it did. It is in number two above. The cultural acceptance of homosexuality as an “orientation”—something with which you are born—and not a preference or choice. This is the politically-correct and scarcely questioned axiom which is enforced by government ostracizing. Homosexuality however, is not in the genetic makeup of individuals but is an immoral choice that people make.

Until 1973 homosexuality was listed in the Diagnostic and Statistic Manual (DSM) of the American Psychiatric Association as a Mental Disorder. But by a vote of psychiatrists that year following intense political pressure from homosexual activists who had stormed one of their meetings and shouted down the opposition homosexuality was removed from the “Sexual Disorder” list.

“The decision of the American Psychiatric Association to delete homosexuality from its published list of sexual disorders in 1973 was scarcely a cool, scientific decision,” confesses Jeffrey Weeks, founder-editor of the Gay Left. “It was a response to a political campaign fueled by the belief that its original inclusion as a disorder was a reflection of an oppressive politico-medical definition as a problem.”

In other words, the decision to accept homosexuality in American culture as an “orientation” had nothing at all to do with science. Nor did it come about because, as one wrote, “a group of doctors suddenly changed their views.” Instead, it followed an aggressive and sustained campaign by homosexual activists utilizing hard-ball political tactics. And if one thinks that it all will stop with the SCOTUS ruling and that the Homosexual Marxist Network will honor religious liberty that person is ignorant of the wiles of Satan and the homosexual agenda.

When Barack Obama became president this day was on the radar. Illuminating the White House with rainbow-colored lights signals the irreversible cesspool of filth into which this president has led us. But be sure: the land will vomit you out.

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