Pastor's Corner

1 Aug
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Mid-Week Challenge

Do you find it increasingly difficult to discuss current events with some people?  If so, you are not alone.  In the past, those with differing points of view were able to articulate their beliefs in such a way that those who disagreed with them might see the logic behind their thinking, but differ with their conclusion.  This approach allowed people with differing points of view to have a civil dialogue that ultimately ended in the two being able to live at peace in the same space.  In this “Me First” generation logical civil discussion is becoming a thing of the past.  Government intervention measures have forced groups further apart than ever before.  Due to the rulings of activist judges over the past few years, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the creation of a Religious Liberty Task Force to address individual overstep. 

Sessions said, “We have gotten to the point where courts have held that morality cannot be a basis for law, where ministers are fearful to affirm, as they understand it, holy writ from the pulpit, and where one group can actively target religious groups by labeling them a hate group on the basis of their sincerely held religious beliefs. The Founders realized that an individual’s relationship to God is a natural right and precedes the existence of the state, and is not subject to state control.”

Sessions then went on to give examples of the attacks on religious liberty by stating, “We’ve seen nuns ordered to buy contraceptives” and “we’ve seen U.S. Senators ask judicial and executive branch nominees about dogma -- even though the Constitution explicitly forbids a religious test for public office.”

In response to the Justice Departments announcement Louise Melling, a deputy legal director with the American Civil Liberties Union, told NBC News in a statement, "This task force's agenda isn’t consistent with religious freedom. Religious freedom protects our right to our beliefs, not a right to discriminate or harm others. Jeff Sessions' Department of Justice is again turning that understanding of religious freedom on its head."  Statements like these makes it hard to have a serious dialogue.  Melling says, “Religious freedom protects our right to our beliefs, not a right to discriminate or harm others,” but what is religious freedom if you cannot act on it.  Nowhere does the Justice Department support harm to another, in fact, the action is protectionary in nature.  Melling’s argument is made out of emotion not logic.  She is fine with sacrificing the rights of others as long as her personal view point is protected. 

It is sad that the government, once again, has to step in to right a wrong. For example, a judge in Oregon ruled that transgender students must be allowed to use the showers and changing rooms of their choosing.  To compromise he ruled that parents who disagree with this can remove their students from the school. In a final jab to the parents the judge wrote in his ruling “It is within Parent Plaintiffs’ right to remove their children from Dallas High School if they disapprove of transgender student access to facilities. Once the parents have chosen to send their children to school, however, their liberty interest in their children’s education is severely diminished.”  Instead of insulting the parents, one might ask if the judge did not consider the sharply “diminished” safety of the students who were forced to remain and be subjected by those who perverted the transgendered lifestyle to their devious advantage?  His overall ruling makes no sense to the overall safety of the whole so it is impossible to have a civil dialogue on this issue. 

The move Monday by the Justice Department seeks to protect business owners as well.  Session referenced Jack Phillips, the Colorado baker who was forced to bake a wedding cake for a gay couple. His case went to the Supreme Court where it was ruled that he could not be forced.  At what cost to Phillips receive his ruling?  He lost his business, his personal finances are destroyed and the media has made him out to be a bigot. And once again the government had to step in. 

 The point is that people are not dividing among themselves it activist judges, liberal media and those who refuse to apply common sense that are furthering the divide.  These groups put ideas in the heads of emotional charged individuals who have no desire to see harmony among the groups, only that their personal wants be addressed.  Differences have long been solved by serious dialogue, both sides bringing evidence from their point of view to the table and then together coming to a conclusion. 

The Bible is full of examples so God gives us commands on how to live at peace.

Romans 12:18 If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.

Hebrews 12:14 Strive for peace with everyone,

Proverbs 19:11 Good sense makes one slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook an offense. 

Even though it might be hard, ask the Lord to help you put these verses into practice today as you deal with difficult people.  Pray that the Holy Spirit will intervene in the hearts of people today so that we might enjoy peaceful lives together without having the government step in.  

An unfriendly person pursues selfish ends and against all sound judgment starts quarrels. Fools find no pleasure in understanding but delight in airing their own opinions.Proverbs 18:1-2

Serving the Savior

Bro. Jonathan

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