“Two Kingdoms” from another Lutheran at Patheos

Another Lutheran joins me here at Patheos, Rebecca Florence Miller.   She has made a splash already with her post Why Christians Should Stand Up for Atheists,  which makes the case that religious liberty is for everyone, including those who reject religion.   (Atheists are reportedly astounded that a conservative Christians is standing up for them, but that should happen more than it usually does on an issue like this.)  But I leave you, after the jump, with a post that explains very well the Lutheran doctrine of culture and social engagement:  The Two Kingdoms. [Read more...]

Pastors defying the IRS by politicking from the pulpit

More and more pastors are endorsing particular candidates from the pulpit, purposefully defying the IRS law for non-profit tax-exempt organizations.  So far the IRS is ignoring the violations, but the pastors are goading the agency by sending it tapes of their sermons.

Is this a violation of Romans 13?  Also, under Romans 13, shouldn’t churches just pay taxes, thus preserving their ability to preach whatever they want?  Or can you make a case for this kind of civil disobedience?  There is also, of course, the theological issue of what is supposed to be preached from the pulpit–namely, Christ and Him crucified for sinners, as opposed to worldly powers and principalities.  Or can you give a theological reason for preaching about political candidates? [Read more...]

Must wedding chapel ministers perform gay weddings?

A wedding chapel is not a church, though ordained ministers often preside at the marriages.  Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, is insisting that two ministers who work for a wedding chapel must perform gay marriages.  If they don’t, they will be in violation of the city’s non-discrimination ordinance, which means a penalty of up to 180 days in jail and fines of $1,000 per day.

So should a church exemption apply to a minister without a congregation?  Or should religious exemptions apply to individuals regardless of affiliation? [Read more...]

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...]

The problem with public official prayers

We believe in freedom of religion, something that is becoming more and more important to Christians in light of the possibility of official suppression.  Along with that comes the rights of non-Christian religions.  Public governmental meetings are allowed to open with prayer, but that prayer cannot discriminate against the various religions.

Recently, a member of the Escambia County Commission in Florida walked out of the meeting, after an “Agnostic Pagan Pantheist” did an “invocation” that he found weird and satanic.

Wouldn’t it be better not to have any prayers at all at these meetings, rather than force those in attendance to participate in such syncretism? [Read more...]

Air Force will now allow atheist oaths

We blogged about the atheist airman who was not allowed to re-enlist unless he could swear the military oath to protect the Constitution “so help me God.”  The Air Force has changed its policy to allow that part to be left out, a move being applauded by religious liberty groups. [Read more...]


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