You know stories like this don’t even surprise me anymore because it’s common place now. In New York, a superintendent orders a teacher to remove a Ronald Reagan quote from her classroom wall that mentions God or be fired.
“The mandate letter signed by the district superintendent also requires that Silver not mention anything of God or Christianity to her students. The letter reads, “Except for wearing religious jewelry, such as a cross, I am also directing you to refrain from all other forms of communication with students during the school day (whether verbal, email, texting, written, etc.) that would conflict with your duty to show complete neutrality toward religion and to refrain from promoting religion or entangling yourself in religious matters.”
“Despite the fact that Silver is the faculty adviser for the student Bible Study Club, she is also instructed to remove additional scriptural posters and the club’s prayer box. Concerning this, the letter reads, “Consequently, if you choose to continue monitoring the Bible Study Club next school year, you must carefully re-examine [district policies], so that you can better protect that club from being disciplined and possibly banned. Under no circumstances should you participate in the club’s meetings or activities. Likewise, under no circumstances should you permit any club activities that could be interpreted as being promoted or sponsored by yourself, or the larger district for which you work.”
After the Democratic National Convention voted against having God mentioned in their platform at their 2012 convention, no one should be surprised. The teacher has filed a federal lawsuit & I am adding her to my prayer list.
As with many of the posts I have written, this started off as a post update on Facebook but got longer than I felt it should be for a status update, so here I am. I tell you – God is good. Yesterday I was sad. A medical condition I have causes stiffness in my fingers & toes (mostly in the morning) among other symptoms. So each day I do stretching exercises (with just my fingers & my whole body) in the morning just so that I can type/write & I go for a walk/jog everyday now, which has been very beneficial to me. One other symptom I have is going to require an expensive, regular treatment for a while (which insurance won’t cover) and I just started thinking about everything I have gone through in my life & last night I just started feeling sorry for myself & crying. Then I remembered someone’s Facebook post from yesterday. I don’t remember who it was, but I glanced at someone’s post that read something like, “Instead of telling God how big your problems are, tell your problems how big your God is – Rev. Run”.
I wiped my tears & I told myself, “It’s going to be alright, it always is, no matter what. As long as you’re alive, it will be fine.” I prayed about everything & in doing so, I told my problems how big my God is. I also reminded myself, (as we all must do when we are feeling this way) that my situation is not the worse situation there is & there is always someone going through something far worse & always someone who has far less. With the early morning stiffness in my fingers nowadays, I do my best to make every single word that I type count. You may not always agree with those words, but understand what I go through to type them, which is why I require a modicum of respect on my threads and blogs (and for the sake of common courtesy). So today, I finally went through my mail from yesterday & my emails for my writer account & I found out that #1 I sold my first short story to a magazine, #2 two different websites want to publish articles that I wrote, #3 A local newspaper is going to run my Op-Ed piece next month and #4 I got a $38 refund from two years ago from the State of Georgia lol (It’s not a lot but understand that I expected them to send me a bill). As the saying goes, God may not come/answer when you want him to, but He is always right on time. These are just a few words of encouragement from me to you, Enjoy your Sunday everyone!
“Though you have made me see troubles, many and bitter, you will restore my life again; from the depths of the earth you will again bring me up.” – Psalms 71:20
Merry Christmas everyone! I just wanted to take a moment to wish you all a very, Merry Christmas! I hope that you all have enjoyed this holiday season with your family & friends as I have. I also want us all to take a moment to pray for the families who lost their beloved children & family members in the recent, tragic school shooting in Connecticut. My heart goes out to those families & I pray for healing for them. No parent should have to bury their child. With that, let us be thankful for our families & each moment we share with them! I know that I do! God bless all of you & have a wonderful, blessed Christmas & a very prosperous New Year! As Christians around the world celebrate the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ, I wanted to share with you all this poem that I had to memorize when I was 11 or 12 years old in church. It’s author is unknown to this day:
“Twas’ the Night Before Jesus”
‘Twas the night before Jesus came and all through the house
Not a creature was praying, not one in the house.
Their Bibles were lain on the shelf without care
In hopes that Jesus would not come there.
The children were dressing to crawl into bed.
Not once ever kneeling or bowing a head.
And Mom in her rocker with baby on her lap
Was watching the Late Show while I took a nap.
When out of the East there arose such a clatter.
I sprang to my feet to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash!
When what to my wondering eyes should appear
But angels proclaiming that Jesus was here.
With a light like the sun sending forth a bright ray
I knew in a moment this must be THE DAY!
The light of His face made me cover my head
It was Jesus! returning just like He had said.
And though I possessed worldly wisdom and wealth,
I cried when I saw Him in spite of myself.
In the Book of Life which He held in His hand
Was written the name of every saved man.
He spoke not a word as He searched for my name;
When He said “it’s not here” my head hung in shame.
The people whose names had been written with love
He gathered to take to His Father above.
With those who were ready He rose without a sound.
While all the rest were left standing around.
I fell to my knees, but it was too late;
I had waited too long and thus sealed my fate.
I stood and I cried as they rose out of sight;
Oh, if only I had been ready tonight.
In the words of this poem the meaning is clear;
The coming of Jesus is drawing near.
There’s only one life and when comes the last call
We’ll find that the Bible was true after all!
Amid the controversy of statements made by Chick-Fil-A CEO Dan Cathy, about his support of traditional marriage, I want to share with you my proposal to solving this seemingly never ending issue on same sex marriage vs traditional marriage. For the record, I am a Christian Conservative who supports traditional marriage between one man and one woman, therefore, although I respect proponents of same sex marriage, I oppose their platform on the matter, in favor of the tenets of my religious faith. Those who would oppose me because of their secular humanist philosophy or religious views even, certainly have the freedom to do so, however, if such opposition includes ad hominems such as bigot, homophobe, religious zealot or any other such labels, immediately, they demonstrate a lack of the very same tolerance which they demand from me, rendering their arguments exponentially futile to my ears.
Since this missive is not about the current Chick-Fil-A controversy, I will not discuss it, however, you can read Dan Cathy’s statement here if you are unfamiliar with it. Currently, only six states have legalized same sex marriages – Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont & most recently, New York. Although these states recognize same sex marriage, the DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act) means that the federal government does not have to recognize these unions performed in those states. Also, Washington, DC, Maryland, Rhode Island and two Native American tribal jurisdictions recognize these unions from those six states but does not perform them. According to Wikipedia:
“Same-sex marriage has been established through court rulings and legislative action, but not via popular vote. Nine states prohibit same-sex marriage in statute and thirty prohibit it in their constitution. The movement to obtain marriage rights and benefits for same-sex couples in the United States began in the 1970s, but became more prominent in U.S. politics in 1993 when the Hawaii Supreme Court declared the state’s prohibition to be unconstitutional in Baehr v. Lewin.
Throughout the 2000s decade, public support for legalizing same-sex marriage grew considerably, and various national polls now show that a majority of Americans support same-sex marriage. On May 9, 2012, Barack Obama became the first sitting U.S. president to publicly declare support for the legalization of same-sex marriage.”
Before the current Chick-Fil-A controversy, the last event to re-ignite the debate on same sex marriage was indeed President Barack Obama’s open support of same sex marriage which some celebrated & others stood against. President Obama is no different from any other citizen in that he can personally choose to support or oppose any view he wants but since he is a self-professed Christian, this decision disappointed me greatly. As a Christian, I believe in the biblical scriptures on which I base my opposition to same sex marriage. The Bible is explicitly clear on homosexuality in both the Old & New testaments, therefore a marriage based on a homosexual union is utterly invalid to those whose religious faith inherently prohibits it:
“You must not have sexual intercourse with a male as one has sexual intercourse with a woman.”
“That is why God abandoned them to their shameful desires. Even the women turned against the natural way to have sex and instead indulged in sex with each other.”
Christianity is not alone in it’s condemnation of homosexuality:
“We also sent Lut: He said to his people: Do ye commit lewdness such as no people in creation (ever) committed before you? For ye practice your lusts on men in preference to women: ye are indeed a people transgressing beyond bounds. And his people gave no answer but this: they said, “Drive them out of your city: these are indeed men who want to be clean and pure!” (Qur’an 7:80-82)
“If any of your women are guilty of lewdness, Take the evidence of four (Reliable) witnesses from amongst you against them; and if they testify, confine them to houses until death do claim them, or Allah ordain for them some (other) way. If two men among you are guilty of lewdness, punish them both. If they repent and amend, Leave them alone; for Allah is Oft-returning, Most Merciful.” (Qur’an 4:15-16)
In Theravada Buddhism, it is explicitly mentioned in the Vinaya (monastic discipline) and prohibited. It is not singled out for special condemnation, but rather simply mentioned along with a wide range of other sexual behavior as contravening the rule that requires monks and nuns to be celibate.
Of course there are non-religious persons who support homosexuality and believe that it is as normal as heterosexuality and two persons who love one another should be able to join together in marriage legally. The arguments for same sex marriage are vast but predictable (in my opinion) and there are some religious persons (self-professed Christians included) who present arguments in favor of same sex marriage as well. I won’t present them here but the point is that regardless to the arguments from both sides, a solution to this dilemma will require compromise from both groups. Here are some major points in my proposal to resolve the issue:
Rather than re-defining marriage as well as civil unions for every citizen as an arrangement based on gender and sexual preference, let’s re-define them based on the institution ordaining the marriage or presiding over the civil union (religious institutions vs. the government). In other words, a marriage becomes a union ordained by a religious institution and a civil union becomes a union presided over by the government. This removes the entire issue of sexual preference by redefining it based on who performs the union. One complaint from those in the LGBT community is that “civil unions” have a negative connotation and are inherently inferior by name. Since a civil union would now be defined by merely being a union sanctioned by the government, regardless of the gender of both parties, non-religious heterosexual couples would also be “merged”under governmental civil unions.
With marriages & civil unions re-defined in this manner, certain terminology would also change. A religious institution will “marry” couples & the state (government) will “merge” a couple. Partners in a civil union will be called “life partners” and in marriages they will be called “spouses” . Religious institutions may or may not specify this with “husband”and “wife”. Civil unions will designate a “life partner A or B” (or I & II) on documentation.
Leaders of individual religious institutions or entire denominations as a whole will not be required to maintain licenses, the couples they marry will not either. Each religious institution may issue it’s own marriage licenses or permission to marry (or not)based on their own decision making processes. Each denomination or individual institution must submit their marriage requirements or procedures to the state government for the purpose of record keeping and in case of divorce proceedings.
The State (government) can continue to issue licenses as is for same sex and heterosexual couples alike who choose state sanctioned “mergers”.
It is the couples’ decision alone on which arrangement to seek. It is the religious institution’s decision to accept or deny a marriage based on their religious dogma or their interpretation of it.
Divorces would have a two step process for marriages (for filing), first, the religious institution would issue an certificate or decree (written consent) to divorce and take on the responsibility for any emotional distress and counseling. This certificate or decree would be presented to the state for the sole purpose of dividing assets, calculating child support or alimony payments to either spouse. The religious institution will deal with the spiritual and emotional, the state (courts) will only decide material & monetary divisions. The religious institutions may give a recommendation with the divorce decree/certificate/written consent for custody of any minor children, but this too, will remain the role of the courts. Civil Unions would only have a one step “dissolution” process, filing directly with the state and settling all monetary/material distributions with the courts just as marriages will.
Religious institutions must adhere to the law in each state with regards to the legal age of consent. In other words, a religious institution cannot marry a 40 or 18 year old man and an 11 or 14 year old girl in Georgia (for example), whose age of consent is 16. Religious institutions must also adhere to the law in each state not allowing blood family members to marry one another. This is because there is a proven biological risk for birth defects and other medical problems when close family members procreate. Such relationships includes siblings, cousins, parent-child…etc. Marriages of this type performed by a religious institution knowingly, can be annulled by the state and the religious institution would pay a penalty.
Now I have shared only a portion of my marriage proposal here and will share more as I fine tune it but with this proposal, marriage is defined by religious faith which is in accordance with today’s marriage practices, because for the overwhelming majority of marriages in the United States, the date of actual marriage (and anniversary celebrations) is based on the date of the ceremony and not the date when marriage licenses are issued by the state. Now as I briefly alluded to above, there are religious persons who support same sex marriage and believe that the Bible does not expressly forbid it, because although the New Testament mentions it (Romans 1:26) their main argument is that Jesus himself does not forbid it in his words. This is a spiritually dangerous technicality in my view, but everyone has the right to believe what they want. For the religious institutions in support of same sex marriage, as you may have deduced, they will in fact, have the freedom to marry couples of the same sex in theirindividual institutions or denominations.
Before my fellow Christians in opposition of same sex marriage start cursing me or my proposal, this is not problematic, because although we know and believe that homosexuality is expressly forbidden based on the scriptures, we cannot dictate to a church, synagogue, mosque or other religious gathering that they must share our interpretation of scriptures or sexual morality. Sinners are allowed to sin. If an entire church body decides to approve a same sex marriage, in short, that’s their business and we don’t have to attend such a church. I refuse to. That’s my personal decision. To find this problematic spiritually, you’d also have to take issue with any denomination that has any practice which yours does not based on a difference in scriptural interpretation or a lack of one. We cannot pretend as though all denominations are the same theologically or otherwise.
Now to some that begs the question, “Why can’t the federal government just legalize same sex marriage everywhere? What’s the difference?” The answer is simple – because in doing so the government is legislating morality for all. When an umbrella is opened fully, whoever is under it will be in the shade regardless as to whether they want to be or not. In order to get back in the sun or rain, one must have the freedom to do so and this is impossible with only one umbrella or a federal mandate.For some, this is the same problem if a majority vote does not go in their favor. If the federal government (or for that matter individual states) makes a law to legalize same sex marriages everywhere and the government decides who gets licenses and requires them in order for a person to perform a marriage, what is to stop the government from refusing a license to someone who refuses to marry a same sex or heterosexual couple? Wouldn’t a same or opposite sex couple be able to sue a religious institution for discrimination? Of course they could because as it stands now, marriages in the church are subject to the authority of the state, because without a license, a minister cannot marry anyone.
If we sever this relationship, the decision of who to marry becomes the sole decision of the religious institution and they cannot be punished or rewarded in any way for it. If you are thinking that such a scenario will never happen, think again, it already has in this instance. There have also been instances where churches refused to marry same sex couples and homosexual pastors have refused to marry heterosexual couples, which is their prerogative. In my opinion, this is inherently in conflict with anti-discrimination laws because of the existing license requirement imposed on leaders of religious institutions by the state. If we take away license requirements, we cut the religious umbilical cord to the state.
To avoid all of this, the decision of who can marry should rest in the hands of each religious institution or entire denominations and we must eradicate licensure requirements in this regard. What I am advocating for are individual umbrellas for each religious institution and one for the state. A religious institution has the right to oppose and refuse gay marriage or allow it. My proposal renders the state non-partisan as it should be and restores autocracy to religious institutions as far as marriage is concerned. Others will ask, will a church or mosque be able to deny interracial or interfaith marriages? The answer is yes as they should be, because religion is a predecessor of government and religious institutions can define marriage how they want with a few limits. Contrary to what some think or recent events, institutions who refuse interracial couples are not popular nor widespread. Ones who refuse interfaith couples (for example a Christian marrying a Hindu) are doing so because of religious dogma and are within their rights to refuse such a union. For every religious entity which discriminates for these reasons, there are ones that don’t. In America, we have options, let’s utilize them.
Both spouses and life partners would also have equality in civil and legal matters which are not covered by legal documents such as wills, for example. If same sex or opposite sex couples do not want a merger under a civil union because of any perceived inequality or inferiority because of naming, they can seek a marriage from a religious institution which will marry them and these days there is no shortage of institutions willing to do either. I must reiterate that neither marriages or civil unions are defined in my proposal by the gender or sexual preference of the individuals which make up the couple by the state. It’s up to the religious institutions to restrict their definitions to same sex or opposite sex couples, or allow both. This also would mean that DOMA would not need to be repealed necessarily, but rather it would be amended to define marriage as a union of religious origin rather than gender, for two or more** persons. A religious institution, however, can define marriage by gender in it’s decision of who it will and will not marry.
What one religious denomination decides to allow or refuse has no bearing on the religion as a whole. Denominations were created because of varying religious interpretations for the most part. If a religious institution presided over your ceremony you’re married, if the government did so you are merged. Your gender is irrelevant. From my perspective, this is the best way to compromise while keeping the state in it’s proper place with regards to marriage – limited but allowed some regulation, which is no different from private sector commerce. Think about it.
**Stay tuned, Walter Myers III will explore the topic of polygamy & marriage in Part II to this blog!
As many already know, the LGBT movement has now set its sights on the Chick-fil-A company ever since President Dan Cathy made recent comments in a (quite beautiful) interview with the Baptist Press about his company advocating for family values rooted in the Bible. Specifically, what raised their ire was his company’s support of the traditional family led by a man and a woman, a position on which he said the company was “guilty as charged,” with no plans to change course despite opposition from various groups. Now we see a constant barrage from the liberal media, gay advocacy groups, and even public figures charging that Chick-fil-A and Christian organizations that it donates are “anti-gay.” Well, I don’t see being pro-traditional marriage as necessarily being anti-gay, but it is clearly opposed to gay marriage. And this is a critical distinction that the gay advocacy groups refuse to make or allow because it doesn’t fit into their narrative. While Cathy may be against gay marriage, Chick-fil-A welcomes customers of all types without reservation, and has not exhibited any discriminatory hiring practices, treating both gay employees and customers with the same “honor, dignity, and respect” as everyone else. So Chick-fil-A is hardly being “intolerant,” or lacking in “diversity” or “inclusiveness” — words now used as verbal cudgels.
In reading various articles about this issue, what surprised me was just how much moralizing was going on by those who abhor morals specifically when advanced by Christians. One article in BusinessWeek correctly stated that while it is not surprising that a company that holds to biblical values would disapprove of gay marriage, the problem is that Cathy “crossed the line” by openly condemning the beliefs of a big chunk of Chick-fil-A’s audience. Yet I don’t recall them saying that Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, or Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, crossed a line by their donations to a campaign to defend the same-sex marriage law in the state of Washington. So should Christians now boycott Amazon and Microsoft for their CEO’s actions, as LGBT advocacy groups are encouraging gay marriage supporters to do against Chick-fil-A? Cathy has a specific moral position that is opposed by Ballmer and Bezos, but Cathy is the one who is supposed to give up his moral code in favor of the moral code of Ballmer, Bezos, and gay advocacy groups? It appears to me they feel this is a requirement, and thus Cathy does not have the right to have a view that is discordant with theirs. Now where is the tolerance in that?
As gay marriage advocates would have it, Christians are supposed to sit idly by and watch them actively advance a social agenda that is anti-biblical, as if Christians have no say so even as citizens of the United States. Gay advocacy groups, indeed, are making a moral argument as are Christians. Yet they seem to think their moral arguments are superior, and if Christians don’t agree with theirs then we are necessarily hateful and homophobic for opposing same-sex marriage. But what other position would they expect a Christian to have? The Bible is explicit about God’s view on homosexuality as a sin, so gay marriage isn’t even a consideration. If a person is a Bible-believing Christian, then that person will necessarily look on homosexual sin in the same way that they look on the sins of idolatry, premarital sex, and adultery. To see this, let’s take a look at 1 Corinthians 6:8-10:
Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, noridolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality,nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, norrevilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.
To continue reading this great article click HERE!
Friends, I’m excited about tomorrow, Sunday July 15th, 2012 because I have the pleasure of hosting a discussion with two great Conservative friends of mine – Hassan Narullah and Walter Myers III, who are fantastic Christian, Conservative bloggers in their own right. We will be discussing the controversial topic of “Should Christians vote for Mitt Romney?” There are some Christians who say that we should not for various reasons and others still, who say that it does not matter. The first amendment gives all Americans the freedom of religion and I am of the opinion that the religious preference of any candidate should not matter (unless of course they happen to be a Satanist but that’s just me!). Everyone is welcome to join us and I am looking forward tot his because it should be very interesting! Again, this conference call/webinar will take place on tomorrow, July 15th, 2012 at 9pmEDT/6pmPDT. You can listen by calling (309)944-9515 and entering access code 2058409 when prompted. Also, the chatroom will be open online just click http://www.anymeeting.com/WebConference/default.aspx?ip_ek=TheElements1
My brilliant friend Walter Myers III knocks it out of the ball park with this one:
Last week, the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) church, which is the oldest religious denomination in America, hosted Michelle Obama as a keynote speaker at their General Conference. They were impressed with her “commitment to family” and her “leadership” in fighting childhood obesity. Now the Obamas are a lovely family, but as people of influence, it is not just a matter of what they are, but just as importantly what they stand for. And the Obamas stand for anything but family values in terms of actual policies and positions. In fact, Michelle Obama, during Barack Obama’s campaign for the U.S. Senate in 2004, wrote a fundraising letter defending the gruesome practice of partial-birth abortion. In this letter, she argued that the federal ban on partial-birth abortion was “flawed law” that was “clearly unconstitutional.” She closed the letter with a promise that if Obama was elected to the U.S. Senate, he would keep George Bush from appointing a Supreme Court justice that would vote against Roe v. Wade (the Supreme Court decision that stated a woman had a constitutional right to an abortion).
In 1997, while an Illinois state senator, Barack Obama opposed a ban on partial-birth abortion. In 2001, he was the only senator to speak against the Illinois Born-Alive Infants Protection Act (BAIPA) which would have protected babies who survived a late-term abortion. Essentially, if a nine-month old fetus, against all odds, survived an abortion, Barack Obama did not believe the child had a right to live, so it should be denied any medical assistance and left to die. He subsequently led opposition against this bill in 2002, and eventually killed the bill in 2003 at a committee meeting in which he presided as chairman. The bill referenced fully born infants, but nonetheless, Obama felt a “previable fetus” does not qualify as a human person. We already know that he is unsure if life begins at conception, but apparently he’s not sure even if a fetus is in its ninth month of development. And clearly, his wife, Michelle Obama is in complete agreement with him. Well, so much for their “commitment to family.” How the AME church missed these facts is highly troubling, and indicates that like the Obamas, the Bible may not be their ultimate authority either.