The War on Religion

December 6, 2007

From Rep. Ron Paul, MD and lewrockwell.com.

“As we celebrate another Yuletide season, it’s hard not to notice that Christmas in America simply doesn’t feel the same anymore. Although an overwhelming majority of Americans celebrate Christmas, and those who don’t celebrate it overwhelmingly accept and respect our nation’s Christmas traditions, a certain shared public sentiment slowly has disappeared. The Christmas spirit, marked by a wonderful feeling of goodwill among men, is in danger of being lost in the ongoing war against religion.

Through perverse court decisions and years of cultural indoctrination, the elitist, secular Left has managed to convince many in our nation that religion must be driven from public view. The justification is always that someone, somewhere, might possibly be offended or feel uncomfortable living in the midst of a largely Christian society, so all must yield to the fragile sensibilities of the few. The ultimate goal of the anti-religious elites is to transform America into a completely secular nation, a nation that is legally and culturally biased against Christianity.

This growing bias explains why many of our wonderful Christmas traditions have been lost. Christmas pageants and plays, including Handel’s Messiah, have been banned from schools and community halls. Nativity scenes have been ordered removed from town squares, and even criticized as offensive when placed on private church lawns. Office Christmas parties have become taboo, replaced by colorless seasonal parties to ensure no employees feel threatened by a “hostile environment.” Even wholly non-religious decorations featuring Santa Claus, snowmen, and the like have been called into question as Christmas symbols that might cause discomfort. Earlier this month, firemen near Chicago reluctantly removed Christmas decorations from their firehouse after a complaint by some embittered busybody. Most noticeably, however, the once commonplace refrain of “Merry Christmas” has been replaced by the vague, ubiquitous “Happy Holidays.” But what holiday? Is Christmas some kind of secret, a word that cannot be uttered in public? Why have we allowed the secularists to intimidate us into downplaying our most cherished and meaningful Christian celebration?

The notion of a rigid separation between church and state has no basis in either the text of the Constitution or the writings of our Founding Fathers. On the contrary, our Founders’ political views were strongly informed by their religious beliefs. Certainly the drafters of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, both replete with references to God, would be aghast at the federal government’s hostility to religion. The establishment clause of the First Amendment was simply intended to forbid the creation of an official state church like the Church of England, not to drive religion out of public life.

The Founding Fathers envisioned a robustly Christian yet religiously tolerant America, with churches serving as vital institutions that would eclipse the state in importance. Throughout our nation’s history, churches have done what no government can ever do, namely teach morality and civility. Moral and civil individuals are largely governed by their own sense of right and wrong, and hence have little need for external government. This is the real reason the collectivist Left hates religion: Churches as institutions compete with the state for the people’s allegiance, and many devout people put their faith in God before their faith in the state. Knowing this, the secularists wage an ongoing war against religion, chipping away bit by bit at our nation’s Christian heritage. Christmas itself may soon be a casualty of that war.”

Dr. Ron Paul is a Republican member of Congress from Texas.

                  

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Presenting the Christian Worldview: The Centurions

November 21, 2007

From Chuck Colson and Breakpoint.

“In the months before World War II, an Oxford don by the name of C. S. Lewis wrote, “Good philosophy must exist, if for no other reason because bad philosophy needs to be answered.” Lewis’s students questioned the importance of studying the humanities and sciences with war on the horizon. But Lewis understood, as he wrote so beautifully in his classic book Weight of Glory, that “To be ignorant and simple now . . . would be to throw down our weapons and to betray our uneducated brethren who have, under God, no defense but us against the intellectual attacks of the heathen.” Four years ago, I launched a distance-learning and networking program called the Centurions Program. It is designed to equip Christians to understand and defend the truth in every area of life and culture.

Sadly, bad philosophy—like relativism, naturalism, and secular humanism—runs rampant in our legislatures, schools, movie theaters, and even our churches. In the face of this, Centurions is preparing men and women not just to understand and articulate their own Christian worldview, but also to proactively teach others to be able to do so and engage the culture in every sphere of influence.

One of our Centurions graduates, Fritz Kling, has begun a Christian Leadership Institute for civic and business leaders in Richmond, Virginia. Fritz says, “My [Centurions] experience exposed me to a model for developing talented leaders. I will tell you, though, that such programs are fairly common in the U.S.  But Centurions constantly pushed me to initiate and innovate—to be fairly audacious in believing that I could (and indeed should) start things.”

Fritz underscores exactly the vision we have for the program: one of exponential cultural impact.

And we have plenty of examples of Centurions doing just that: from Bill Peel in Dallas, who is equipping Christian Medical and Dental Association affiliates to view medical ethics and issues from a biblical perspective; to Stephen Dunson in West Texas, who is teaching a 12-week worldview course in a Texas prison. Then there is James Biersteker, in Ontario, Canada, who is starting a worldview academy for public high school students.

But not only are Centurions sharing the training they have received, they are also impacting the culture firsthand. Take Jim Walter, who is chairing a church committee that is reaching out to the community’s homeless, drug addicts, and ex-prisoners. Or Bonnie Crogan-Mazur and Tom Bulling, who are involved in teaching and hands-on ministry on Indian reservations. There’s Al Van Horne in New York, who is developing micro-enterprise projects to help the poor both here and overseas. And there are artists, writers, and filmmakers like Tom Hall, Jeanne Dennis, Phyllis Hammerstrom, and Greg Bandy, who incorporate Christian worldview themes and messages into their handiwork.

If you would like to find out more about how you can join the ranks of the next class of Centurions, please visit us at www.breakpoint.org. Our culture urgently needs more men and women who will rightly wield good philosophy to counter the bad philosophy of the postmodern era: men and women who can winsomely present the Christian worldview in their sphere of influence.”


The Mind (Evil) of Phillip Pullman

November 15, 2007

From Eric Barger and Take a Stand Ministries.

First book by anti-Christian author set for movie release in December 2007

By Eric Barger

I have been warning audiences about Pullman and his trilogy of books (called “His Dark Materials” including The Golden Compass, The Subtle Knife and The Amber Spyglass) for several years. Since the 1995 release of the first book, Pullman has sold over 15 million copies of the trilogy worldwide. He has been called “the next J.K. Rowling” (Harry Potter) and is known primarily as a children’s author. He has received numerous awards such as the Carnegie Medal for Children’s Literature twice (1995 and 2007) and was the first children’s author to be awarded the Whitbread Prize (2001). Philip Pullman also uses literature to further his outspoken objective – to undermine the Christian faith and make a mockery of the God of the Bible.  Now, his first book is coming to the big screen.

Originally titled Northern Lights (UK title), the movie version of The Golden Compass produced by New Line Cinema, stars actress Nicole Kidman and is due for worldwide release in theaters on December 7th.

To say that Philip Pullman is avidly “anti-Christian” really doesn’t really speak to the extent of how rabidly ANTI-CHRISTIAN he is. Pullman isn’t out to merely deny there is a God. He wants to desecrate the very idea of a supreme being. He told The Sydney Morning Herald in 2003, “My books are about killing God.” British columnist, Peter Hitchens called Pullman “The most dangerous author in Britain, describing him as the author “the atheists would have been praying for, if atheists prayed!” A quote or two from the darkest of Pullman’s three books vividly illustrates Hitchen’s contentions.

“…[the angel] said quietly, ‘The Authority, God the Creator, the Lord, Yahweh, El, Adoni, the King, the Father, the Almighty – those were the names he gave himself. He was never the creator. He was an angel like ourselves – the first angel, true, the most powerful, but he was formed of Dust as we are … The first angels condensed out of Dust, and the Authority was the first of all. He told all who came after him that he had created them, but it was a lie.’”  (The Amber Spyglass pp. 33-34)

“… he was so old, and he was terrified, crying like a baby and cowering … Demented and powerless, the aged being could only weep and mumble in fear and pain and misery … The old one was uttering a wordless groaning whimper that went on and on, and grinding his teeth, and compulsively plucking at himself with his free hand … the ancient of days … having no will of his own … responding to simple kindness like a flower to the sun.” (The Amber Spyglass pp. 431-432)

Though The Golden Compass is the least offensive of Pullman’s three books and reports indicate that the movie’s producers have eliminated some of the more vile elements that could have been in this first film, I strongly encourage you and your family to avoid it. Besides Pullman’s deplorable anti-God views and violent and surreal themes, The Golden Compass incorporates what has been called a worst-case global warming scenario as well. Rather than give your time, money, mind and emotions to Pullman’s philosophy for two hours, I suggest you use this occasion to warn others about his books and movie.


Attorney says Muslims’ demands part of a larger humanist plan

October 8, 2007

From Rusty Pugh and One News Now.

“An advocate for removing Christian children from the public schools says a situation in an Illinois school is the latest example of a long-running campaign by secular humanists aiming to remove any vestige of Christian belief from public schools.

Officials in some Oak Lawn, Illinois, schools are now considering eliminating holiday festivities — including Christmas — after a Muslim parent complained that the activities are offensive. This has ignited a firestorm of protests from other parents, outraged that long-held traditions were in danger of being axed in the name of political correctness. The tension was already high in Ridgeland School District 122, because certain items had been eliminated from the school cafeteria menu due to complaints from Muslims.

Bruce Shortt is an attorney and strong advocate for a public school exodus. He says the Oak Lawn developments are significant because they show the increased accommodation of Muslim demands in the country’s public schools. But he says there is much more to this story.

“I think it would be a mistake to look at it simply as a story about the impact of Islam on public schools. Our secular humanists in this country have been very effective in eliminating Christmas from schools across the nation,” he states.

Shortt says it is very naive to neglect the fact that Muslim and other anti-Christian demands are being accommodated, while every vestige of Christianity is being systematically removed from public schools and from the public square.”


Christians admonished to ‘take ownership’ of children’s education

September 7, 2007

From Rusty Pugh and One News Now.

“An Orlando pastor who heads the Southern Baptist Association of Christian Schools says it’s time for believers to stop disobeying God and take ownership of the education of our children.

Edward Gamble is director of the Southern Baptist Association of Christian Schools, based in Orlando. SBACS is sponsoring seminars around the country to train church leaders how to open private schools, in order to get children out of the secular public schools. Gamble says sending children to be indoctrinated by a secular, humanist institution is not biblical.

“Failure to do what God says is called disobedience. You can color it whatever color you want, but it’s still disobedience — it’s rebellion,” argues Gamble. “And when God’s people don’t take ownership of the education of their children, they’re disobeying God.”

The Southern Baptist official supports his argument with scripture. “[God] says very clearly throughout scripture ‘I expect you to raise Godly seed’ and ‘Teach these things to your children,’ He says in Deuteronomy. In Luke He says ‘give a child the teachers you want him to have because when he grows up he’ll look like the teacher.'”

Gamble says the major fallacy is that there is any such thing as an education that can be secular. “Scripture doesn’t know anything about any part of our lives being secular,” he states. “Everything’s sacred.”

To read more click here.


Life in a Secular Culture

September 6, 2007

A very worthwhile read from Rick Wade and Probe Ministries regarding the effect that secular culture has on Christians.

An excerpt of the article is below. 

“We get our cues about how to live from the society in which we live. Maybe I should say the “societies” in which we live since, in this day and age, we can find ourselves moving back and forth between very different worlds. Christians belong to the mini-societies of our churches which might extend beyond the walls of our church to define our friendships, our social lives. We also live and work and play in a secular society which is sending us messages constantly about how to live, how to talk, what to wear; in short, what is important in life.

“Secular” means that which is defined apart from anything religious. The late Peter Berger, a sociologist, put it this way: “By secularization we mean the process by which sectors of society and culture are removed from the domination of religious institutions and symbols…. It affects the totality of cultural life and of ideation.” In other words, secularism works its fingers into all of life, including the ideas we hold. Secularization also refers the consciousness of individuals who decreasingly view the world with a religious perspective. So the influence of religion declines in society and in us individually as we think about life with less—or with no—reference to God. {1}

Without God shaping its vision, what does our society teach us about how to think and act? Think about it. How are we shaped by the culture in which we live? Just identifying a few things can be a start to combating the corrosive effects of secularism in our lives.”

To read the full article click here.


Separating Secular Humanism and the State

August 29, 2007

From Chuck Edwards and summit.org.

“Secular Humanism is a well-articulated worldview. This is evident from the three Humanist Manifestos written in 1933 and revised in 1973 and again in 2000. According to their own pronouncements, Secular Humanists are atheists who believe that the scientific method is the primary way we can know about life and living, from understanding who we are as humans to questions of ethics, social issues, and politics.

However, apart from the specifics of what Secular Humanists believe, the pressing issue is this: is Secular Humanism a religion? This is important in light of current discussions surrounding the idea of “separation of church and state.” That’s because this phrase has been used by the courts and secular organizations (such as American’s United against Church and State) in an attempt to eradicate all mention of God from the public square, including public debates over social issues, discussions in politics, and especially regarding what is taught in public/government schools.

To verify that a number of major tenets of Secular Humanism are taught in public schools, one only needs to compare Secular Humanist beliefs with what is actually being presented through public school textbooks.[1] For example, any text on psychology includes what are considered the primary voices in that field: Abraham Maslow, Eric Fromm, Carl Rogers, and B. F. Skinner, to name a few. Yet, each of these men are atheists who have been selected as “Humanist of the Year” by a major Secular Humanist organization.[2] So why are almost all the psychologists studied in school Secular Humanists?[3] Why are no Christian psychologists included in the curriculum? Is this balanced treatment of the subject matter being taught?

Or when it comes to law, why are the Ten Commandments, historically known to be the foundation for English Common Law and American jurisprudence, judged to be inappropriate material to be hung on the school wall, in a courtroom, or as part of a public display on government property? The answer, of course, is an appeal to the “separation” principle. We have shown in other Truth & Consequences commentaries that this concept of separation is actually misconstrued law coming from revisionist history and a biased judiciary.[4]

But if this is how the courts are going to interpret the separation principle, we must insist that this ruling be applied equally to all religious faiths, not favoring some others. Therefore, for the sake of fairness under the law, if Secular Humanism is a religious faith, too, then teaching the tenets of this religious faith must also be eliminated from public school textbooks and classroom discussions.

What follows is an excerpt from the “Introduction” of Clergy in the Classroom: The Religion of Secular Humanism, by David A. Noebel, J. F. Baldwin, and Kevin James Bywater. This short essay provides the needed rationale for why Secular Humanism is, in fact, a religion on par with what are considered traditional religious faiths.[5]

To read more click here.