Standing with the Houston Five

Rev. Dr. Scott Murray is the 4th Vice President of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod and the pastor of Memorial Lutheran Church in Houston, a good guy whom I know personally.  You’ve got to read his statement on the mayor’s law firm that is subpoening the sermons of  five pastors who criticized a gay rights ordinance, thus threatening their church’s tax exempt status for allegedly meddling in politics.  Pastor Murray says he would gladly share his sermons with the mayor and her legal team.  And yet, in the Kingdom of Caesar, he stills stands with the Houston Five.  See what he says after the jump. [Read more...]

Preventing Christian groups from hiring only Christians

In what could be yet another attempt to secularize religious groups that work with the government, the Obama administration is getting lots of pressure to require that religious organizations that take federal funds not be allowed to discriminate according to religion when it comes to hiring.  That would mean Catholic or evangelical charities operating under a federal contract or grant would have to hire people who do not hold to the organization’s faith. [Read more...]

Prayer and Protest

Yesterday was the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington, the civil rights protest that featured Martin Luther King, Jr., giving his eloquent “I Have a Dream” speech.  The Washington Post printed a number of accounts from people who were there.

Raymond S. Blanks tells about meeting at his Baptist congregation and holding a prayer service before getting on the bus to Washington.  He describes marchers singing hymns and listening to sermons. “Before noon,” he recalls, “the Mall was transformed into a place of prayer, protest and pride.” [Read more...]

Making churches pay taxes

We should make churches pay taxes. So say two recent articles.  Matthew Yglesias of Slate says that tax breaks force citizens to, in effect, fund religions they disagree with. Also, tax breaks don’t improve church productivity, since upgrading the building and other things churches spend money on won’t necessarily save more souls.  Also, eliminating the non-profit tax break would allow churches to proclaim their moral convictions more forthrightly and to endorse political candidates, which he thinks is perfectly appropriate.

Then Dylan Matthews of the Washington Post, expressing agreement with Yglesias, counts just how much tax breaks for churches cost the government and, following the assumption that all money belongs to the government so that not taking someone else’s money is an government expense and a giveaway, he concludes that “You give religions more than $82.5 billion per year.”

After the jump:  The links and excerpts giving their arguments.  Can you answer them?  Or are they right? [Read more...]

Obama administration defends government-sponsored Christian prayers

The Supreme Court is hearing a case that will decide whether or not it is constitutional for a city council to begin with an explicitly Christian prayer.  Surprisingly to both sides, the Obama administration has filed a brief defending the city council being sued and arguing that the government should not determine the content of someone’s prayer. [Read more...]

Church authority vs. state authority over marriage

As gay marriage becomes the law of the land in many jurisdictions and, very likely in the near future, in the whole country, some Christians are saying, well, marriage is a religious function anyway.  Let the state do whatever it wants in regards to redefining marriage.  Or, better yet, let it get out of the marriage business.  We Christians will uphold real marriage, and we don’t need the state to let us do that.

Well, that might work if we were all Roman Catholics.  The church of Rome used to control and regulate all marriages.  But the Reformers took issue with that, insisting that the state should be in charge of marriage. [Read more...]


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