Politics and the Church – Where’s the Church? [Part 22]

Unfortunately the attacks on Christian principles are never ending.  Fortunately we have Christian ‘warriors’ who have the fortitude to stand up to these attacks and understand their source.  The better we understand the source the better we are prepared to fight…and even better…set an example in a secular world.  Remember nothing better serves satan than a Christian who runs and hides in the face of secular challenge.  We can still show love in the face of challenge and yet take a strong stand so as to not let evil get the upper hand…Jesus was not fearful of taking a righteous stand.  This week we will look at a couple of Christians who did not let their faith take flight when confronted.

Linda Barnette had issued marriage licenses in Grenada County, Mississippi, for twenty-four years.  But after the Supreme Court’s ruling on same-sex marriage, she was a clerk no more.  “The Supreme Court’s decision,” she wrote,” violates my core values as a Christian.  My final authority is the Bible.  I cannot in all good conscience issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples under my name because the Bible clearly teaches that homosexuality is contrary to God’s plan and purpose for marriage and family.  I choose to obey God rather than man.” [Nicole Hensley,”Mississippi Clerk Resigns Over Supreme Ruling on Gay Marriage: ‘I Choose to Obey God Rather Than Man'”, NYDailyNews.com, July 1, 2015].  Another worker was appointed to replace Barnette. [“Grenada County Clerk Quits Early Over Same Sex Marriage Ruling”, Raycom Media, June 27, 2016].  She said that she had told her supervisor a while back that if it happened…the Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage…she would tender her resignation.  Further, she said she had already decided in her heart that she could not issue licenses to same-sex couples.  It was her Christian beliefs.  As a follower of Christ she could not do it.  The Bible teaches it is contrary to His plan. [Linda Barnette in communication with Todd Starnes, July 2015].  Linda is a Southern Baptist, and her husband once helped Franklin Graham with his national festivals.  So when it came to choosing between her job and her faith there never was any real debate.  She did so with her husband’s support.  Another clerk in Kentucky went through a similar situation and even had to spend time in jail to make her stand.  Would your church support…and I mean ‘support’ fully…such a stand?  It’s a definite conflict between politics and the church.

Next we will look at a challenge presented to a priest by the ‘tolerant’ LGBTQIA community. There were G-strings galore at gay pride celebrations across the fruited plain as scantily clad celebrants took to the streets to herald the Supreme Court’s decision to redefine God’s definition of marriage.  Supporters of LGBTQ marriages waved rainbow-colored flags from San Francisco to New York City.  Unfortunately celebrations turned ugly in the ‘Big Apple’.  Father Jonathan Morris was walking near Broadway, wearing his clerics collar, when he stumbled upon the gay pride parade.  Father Jonathan went on to explain what happened.  Two men…if you want to call them that…walked by and spit on him. [Fr. Jonathan Morris’ Twitter account, June 28, 2015].  Yes, they spit on a priest. (Personal comment…no respect for themselves or a priest.) Instead of responding with anger, Father Jonathan responded with grace.  He wrote,”The two men who spat on me are probably very good…men…caught up in the excitement and past resentment. Most of that parade would not do that.” [Ibid].  He dismissed their act of ugliness as simply being caught up in the moment. “Oh well…I deserve worse,” he wrote.  [Ibid].  In a way, it’s a modern day parade.  Those who preach tolerance are the least tolerant of all.  Father Jonathan demonstrated that he not only preaches tolerance, but he also practices it.

Writer John Zmirak wondered in 2015 where the attacks on Christians would eventually lead?  “History teaches that mass vilification rarely stops short of spilling blood. If the media, the law and out elite institutions succeed in lumping Christian sexual morals in with white racism, how long will it be before believing Catholics, Protestants, Orthodox, and many religious minorities find themselves labelled as members of ‘extremist sects’, no more to be trusted with the care of their own children than the Branch Davidians were?”. [John Zmirak,”Gay Totalitarianism and the Coming Persecution of Christians”, The Stream, April 1, 2015]. How I choose to live my life is my business, and how you choose to live your life is your business or at least that’s what President Obama told us back when the Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage.  He said,”Opposition, in some cases, has been based on sincere and deeply held beliefs.  All of us who welcome today’s news should be mindful of that fact and recognize different viewpoints, revere our deep commitment to religious freedom.” [“Transcript:Obama’s Remarks on Supreme Court Ruling on Same-Sex Marriage”, Washington Post, June 26, 2015].  He was essentially saying,”If you like your religion, you can keep your religion.” [John Nolte,”Obama on Gay Marriage: ‘If You Like Your Religion, You Can Keep Your Religion'”, Breitbart, June 27, 2015].  That remark turned out to be high grade fertilizer. Charles Colson wrote:”If we’re not willing to fight this, even to the point of breaking the law, or refusing to recognize the law, then we will lose everything.” [Charles S. Colson, My Final Word:Holding Tight to the Issues That Matter Most, Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2015].  Given the choice of obeying God or the government, I believe Christians will obey God…even if it costs them.  “The Supreme Court of the United States is not the final authority, nor is the culture itself.  The Bible is God’s final authority about marriage, and on this book we stand.” [Adelle M. Banks,”Southern Baptist President: God, Not Supreme Court, Has ‘Final Authority'”, Washington Post, June 16, 2015].  Dr. Floyd, president of the Southern Baptist Convention made these powerful and provocative comments that were met with thunderous applause and standing ovations from thousands of Southern Baptist messengers who met in Columbus, Ohio just before the Supreme Court ruling.  “While some evangelicals may be bowing down to the deception of the inclusiveness of same-sex marriage, we will not bow down nor will we be silent.  We do not need to redefine what God Himself has defined already.”  [Travis Loller,”Baptist President Pastor Ronnie Floyd Vows He Will Never marry a Same-Sex Couple”, MaineToday Media, June 17, 2015].  From there Dr. Floyd went where few prominent pastors have gone before…a Supreme Court showdown.  “America: We stand believing that marriage is the uniting of one man and one woman in covenant commitment for a lifetime.” he said. [Ibid].  “We have believed this and do believe this and will continue to believe this as a convention of churches.  We stand for Biblical and traditional marriage.” [Nigel Boys,”Leading Pastor Promises Civil Disobedience Over Issue of Gay Marriage”, All Christian News, June 23, 2015].  In this case we have a church that did take a stand against the politics of man.  Win or loose in the politics of man doesn’t really matter; a win in the ‘politics of God’ is what matters.  In a few weeks we will launch into the subject “Politics of God”.

In the meantime what can you do to take a stand against the politics of man when they are in direct conflict with the Word of God?  Here are a few suggestions:

–   Take inventory.  Take a look at your church’s bylaws and discipline/constitution regarding marriage policies and facility usage.

–   Confront the issue.  Encourage your pastor and church staff to address these issues from the pulpit, Sunday school classes, or small groups. The effort may very well attract activists.  They are a small but well organized and well funded group.  Once started they will be relentless.  Your church must be ready to respond but in a spirit of love.

–   Be prepared to face persecution.  This is specially possible if the LGBTQ community is challenged in public schools.  Always remember that you have rights, too.  If you are challenged start with your child’s teacher, then the head of the teacher’s department.  If that does not result in positive results go to the assistant principal and then the principal.  At that point you will have established that you have a legitimate concern about material being taught in school.  If that does not get the school’s attention, call your school board and ask to be put on the agenda for the next meeting.  This is a clear case of politics interfering with Church.

–   Get involved.  Much of the radical LGBTQ agenda is subtly inserted into the public school curriculum.  Ask to see text books and training material.  Don’t take ‘no’ for an answer.  If they won’t let you take the books home, schedule an appointment so you can read them at the school.  Or you might do as I did, get the name and author of the book and go on-line and buy your own copy.

–   Utilize social networking.  If you have a legitimate concern, post it on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or even the internet through e-mail…get the word out.  But be factual; don’t exaggerate; don’t be nasty; just present the facts.

In closing this week I see that another major denomination has yielded to the ‘world’ and authorized same-sex marriage in God’s House…Episcopal.  I have never been one to worship a denomination.  Where God’s children come together to worship according to God’s Word that’s good for me.  When the church starts to drift into ‘shoal waters’ trying to please the world that is when I get into my skiff and move on.  As Christians, though, we must be able to recognize ‘shoal waters’.  That comes from studying the ‘charts’…God’s Word.  Just because something sounds ‘godly’ doesn’t mean that it is.  We must always be evaluating our ‘course’ in this life and let God’s Word set our direction.  Tolerance doesn’t always mean godliness and in today’s world may very well mean just the opposite.

Next week we will take a look at how politics has tried to destroy the morals our children and young adults have been taught in Godly churches.  Don’t believe we can ignore politics just because we are Christians.

– Bob Munsey

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