Are Christians the powerful or the marginalized?

In the course of a post on why so many evangelicals are supporting Donald Trump, S. D. Kelly tosses off an observation that explains much about the current controversies between Christians and secularists.

Secularists tend to see Christians as “the powerful”; that is, in postmodern parlance, those who are in a position of power and privilege who oppress “the marginalized,” those who lack power and privilege.

But Christians tend to see themselves as “the marginalized,” oppressed by the cultural elite who exclude them and exercise their power against them.

Thus, when a Christian baker refuses to participate in a gay wedding, the secularists see the Christian heteronormative establishment discriminating against marginalized and oppressed gay people.

While Christians see secularists–who control the culture, the entertainment industry, the educational establishment, the government, and the law–imposing their sexual ideology on those with traditional Christian values and punishing them for their minority religious beliefs.

This explains much of the rhetoric, argumentation, and high feelings on both sides.  Are these just two irreconcilable perceptions?  Or can we make an objective case for one side or the other?  Does realizing these different perceptions suggest other ways of addressing these controversies? [Read more…]

What Clinton thinks religious liberty is

In a play to capitalize on Mormon’s dissatisfaction with Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton wrote an op-ed piece in the LDS-owned Deseret News in which she emphasizes her commitment to religious liberty.  But notice what she thinks religious liberty is.

Read what she says and my analysis after the jump.

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The politics of refusing power

Usually, politics is a competition between individuals and factions each of which wants to be, as we say, “in power.”  In Japan, though, there is a political struggle between a faction that wants to put a man in power and that man who does not want the power.

As we blogged about, the party of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has won enough seats in parliament to accomplish his goal of revising the Japanese Constitution, which was primarily the work of Gen. Douglas MacArthur after World War II in an effort to ensure that Japan would become a peaceful Democratic nation.  Abe wants to bring back elements of pre-war Japan.  He and his party have connections to a group that wants to bring back both Japanese militarism and Emperor worship.

But now the Emperor has given an unexpected speech in which he rebuked those efforts, including the desire to give him more power and to treat him as a god.  Ironically, those who think the Emperor is a god are opposing him!

[Read more…]

California drops the proposed law targeting religious colleges

As we blogged about, the California legislature was all set to pass a law punishing Christian colleges if they “discriminate” against anyone on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity, or religion.  Colleges would be unable to set behavior standards for students and would have to hire faculty members who didn’t believe in the religious position of the institution.  This would effectively shut down evangelical, Catholic, Lutheran, Muslim, and other religious institutions–or force them to change their teachings.

Due to the concerted effort of California religious institutions, religious liberty protests, political pressure, and widespread criticism, the legislator who proposed the measure has dropped the discrimination measure from his bill.  Colleges would still have to report to the state any expulsions for homosexual behavior and any other invocations of the religious exemption.  But for now, California’s religious schools have won an important victory. [Read more…]

More on Russia’s anti-evangelism law

Michael Avramovich explains more about Russia’s new laws restricting religion.  We have blogged about the one requiring all Christian evangelism–except for that of the Russian Orthodox Church–to be conducted within a church service (not in a home, not online).  There are other strict restrictions on religious bodies, again, other than the Russian Orthodox Church. [Read more…]

St. Sebastian, patron saint of athletes and of Rio

You don’t have to believe in the Roman Catholic cult of the saints to find it interesting that St. Sebastian–the one who was shot through with arrows–is the patron saint of athletes.  Also of this year’s Olympics host city Rio de Janeiro.  What is the connection?  Find out after the jump.

Luther said that we should not pray to the saints, but that we can learn from their example.  Note what we can learn about athletics from St. Sebastian. [Read more…]