“We’re going to punish the wicked”

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Tim Gill, who made his fortune from Quark publishing software, may be the biggest funder of LGBT causes.  In an interview with Rolling Stone (revealing for its description of the money behind the movement), Gill promises to take on Christians who resist the LGBT agenda in the name of religious liberty.  “We’re going to punish the wicked,” he said.
Christians may not be used to thinking of themselves as “the wicked.” But many on the progressive side do think of Christians in that way.  Christians are demonized.  They are the bad guys.  They are sinister villains bent on taking over the world.  Christians, in their mind, are evil.
This is the stereotyping, the projection of “the other,” that has historically resulted in persecutions, pogroms, and other manifestations of hate.
 Yes, Christians have sometimes thought of others in this way and committed crimes against them.  “We’re going to punish the wicked” sounds like something a Christian might have said.  So some will gleefully say that Christians deserve the same treatment.  But this is all a rehash of the history that progressives claim to have left behind in the name of universal tolerance.  The old cycle is starting again, with Christians this time emerging as targets.
Surely America’s constitutional guarantee of religious liberty and the current religious majority will keep the worst from happening.  But they may not protect Christians from being forced to affirm same-sex marriages and transgenderism, if Gill has his way.

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Trinity Lutheran goes back to normal after Supreme Court victory

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Trinity Lutheran Church of Columbia, Missouri, just won a landmark  case before the Supreme Court.   The Kansas City Star has an article about the congregation, how it hated the limelight and is now trying to get back to normal.

Sure enough, the church website says absolutely nothing about the case.  The “news” section is all about Vacation Bible School, a new social ministry, and new programs at the learning center.  Not even anything about the new surfacing of the playground.  There are congregations and pastors that would milk the publicity for all it is worth–how the church has made history, how God has vindicated their cause, etc., etc.

So congratulations to Trinity Lutheran, not only for winning their case but for the spirit in which it did so.

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How to criminalize Christianity

The United States has freedom of religion, and to say Christians are “persecuted” here is surely overblown, compared to how Christians are treated in other parts of the world.  And yet, overt persecution could conceivably break out even in this land of the free.  But how, given this country’s constitutional guarantees of freedom of religion and freedom of speech?

We are seeing some of the ways this could happen and to a degree is already happening.  The right to religious freedom can be played against other rights that are considered more important.  Thus, religious opposition to certain kinds of sinful behavior can be treated as illegal discrimination.  A Christian’s disagreement with other religions can be outlawed as hate speech.

Another legal argument is taking shape in Georgia, where a college is being sued for not permitting a Christian student from preaching the Gospel, even though he had reserved space in one of the two campus “Free Speech Zones.”  (That a college allows free speech only in “zones” is itself a travesty, both of the ideals of higher education and of American law.  According to the Constitution, the whole nation is to be a free speech zone.)

The college is defending itself on the grounds that the preaching constituted “disorderly conduct.”  And that by calling people “sinners,” the preacher was using “fighting words,” which are legally outside the bounds of free speech.

One can envision a time when the freedom of religion applies only to religions that are universalist, permissive, non-proselytzing, and culturally-conforming.  That is to say, hardly any actual religions. [Read more…]

Court upholds right of church to fire gay employee

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The music director of Holy Family Catholic Church in Chicago announced his engagement to another man, so the church fired him.  He sued the church for discrimination, demanding reinstatement and damages.

But the U.S. District Court ruled in favor of the church, citing the First Amendment and the Supreme Court precedent in the church-hiring case Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church and School v. EEOC.

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Is saying Jesus is the only way to salvation hate speech and discrimination?

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Russell Vought is a Wheaton College alumnus who weighed in on the controversy over the faculty member who insisted that Muslims and Christians worship the same God.  He disagreed.  He wrote on a website, “They do not know God because they have rejected Jesus Christ his Son, and they stand condemned.”

Now, at his confirmation hearing for his nomination as deputy director of the Office of Management and Budget, that statement came back to haunt him.

Senator Bernie Saunders called that statement of Christian orthodoxy “indefensible,” “Islamophobic,” and “hateful.”

Vought tried to explain, but the Senator kept trying to shame him for his belief and voted against his confirmation.

The Atlantic, no less, has a great story on the exchange.  Its author, Emma Green, defends Vought and argues that what Sanders was doing was imposing a “religious test” as forbidden by Article VI of the U. S. Constitution.  She goes on to explain why this is an important principle.

The episode also reminds us Christians that our convictions are out of synch in this time of intolerant tolerance and that we can expect to be vilified and possibly, at some point, punished for what we believe.

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The ACLU is targeting Catholic hospitals

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One in six patients in America today is treated in a Catholic hospital.  The numbers are even bigger in poverty-stricken areas, especially in large urban areas.  And the number of Catholic hospitals is increasing.  In some areas, a Catholic hospital is the only option for treatment.

This has the American Civil Liberties Union worried.  Catholic hospitals do not perform abortions or sterilizations.  In the words of an ACLU report, “With the rise of Catholic hospitals has come the increasing danger that women’s reproductive health care will be compromised by religious restrictions.”

So because of this “danger,” the ACLU has been filing lawsuits in an effort to force them to violate their religious beliefs.  Rather than doing so, of course, they would shut down.  And this would be fine with the ACLU, which apparently no longer sees religious exercise as a “civil liberty.” [Read more…]