Be still my heart. A public school district has decided to post the Ten Commandments back up on the walls of all its schools:
A southwest Virginia school district has reposted copies of the Bible’s Ten Commandments in all county schools, despite concerns that doing so is unconstitutional.
The Roanoke Times reported that the school district rehung the commandments Friday.
The commandments were up on the walls in Giles County for at least a decade next to framed copies of the U.S. Constitution. But one resident complained, claiming the commandments display violated the Constitution so school officials took them down.
Then several parents and pastors, supported by numerous citizens, told the school board it had a moral obligation to reinforce God’s teachings.
The five-member Giles County School Board voted unanimously to put the framed, 4-foot-tall, biblical texts back up.
“The board, after hearing comments from some members in our community, they felt it was the right thing to do,” said Superintendent Terry Arbogast, who noted that school officials didn’t anticipate the public outcry.
Arbogast said the district will wait to see if a lawsuit is filed.
That this simple act of defiance is so unbelievable shows how far we have fallen. Let’s go back to 1963, when the US Supreme Court banned prayer in public schools across the entire nation. Here’s the twenty-two-word prayer that was found to be so offensive:
“Almighty God, we acknowledge our dependence on Thee, and we beg Thy blessings upon us, our parents, our teachers and our country.”
Wow. Can’t you just feel the seething religious intolerance and coercion there? At the time, 93% of the nation approved of this innocuous prayer. Indeed, the school board president at the time observed:
“I can only conclude that this suit is a premeditated act to undermine the American heritage. This is not a religious issue. It’s simply a matter of giving our children additional moral and spiritual help and recognition of God.”
The following year the Bible was banned from the schools. Then the Ten Commandments went. The majority opinion against the Ten Commandments actually warns that if the commandments are posted on school walls, the students would read them and might actually follow them, and that would be unacceptable. This stupefying mindset is what the Bible refers to when it says:
For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened.
Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things. Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen. -Rom 1:21-25
There’s a pattern of regression there. When you don’t honor God, you honor something else. When you turn away from God, you turn to something else. Nature abhors a vacuum, and we have to fill our hearts with something. What on earth did these geniuses think would happen if they took away God and handed out condoms? If you read the history of the likes of Sanger and Kinsey, you will see that some of them knew exactly what they were doing. It all happened incrementally, and much of the church was asleep, so the humanists have gotten away with the greatest cultural heritage heist in history.
As if on cue, in 1963-4 every single social indicator took a precipitous turn for the worse. School dropout rates, teen pregnancies, violence in the schools, test scores, etc. And then the dysfunction spread to the general population. At this advanced date, every single one of our societal institutions is coming apart at the seams. The “seven mountains” of society – commerce, education, government, the family, the arts, religion and media – are all wandering blindly, removed from moral foundations that are no longer there.
Scripture warns us:
if the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do?” -Ps 11:3.
But then it answers it’s own question. They can repent, which essentially means a change in thinking:
“Come now, let us reason together, says the Lord: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool. -Isa 1:18
They can pray according to the promises:
if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land. -2Chr 7:14
and they can get enough resolve to act, as this school board in Virginia is doing.
Think of Daniel, who despite the king’s decree that no one could call on God, purposely went to his window, opened it, and prayed aloud to the Lord, as he was accustomed. Imagine if more school boards would say that enough is enough. We’re sick and tired of trying to raise our kids amid cultural filth with our hands tied behind our backs. We’ve had it with a minority humanist agenda driving the nation and dictating the lives of the vast number of believers.
Daniel wound up in the lion’s den for his defiance, and I suspect that this school board is going to find out what happens when one resists the undemocratic elites that have been running this nation, and running it into the ground. But the Lord was faithful to Daniel and preserved him, and in the end He vindicated him. So it often goes for those whom the Lord values highly.
We are in a battle for this nation’s soul. We have lost much ground, and we are starting late in our attempt to recover what has been stolen. But signs abound that a major groundswell of purpose and determination is arising. And it’s true to the form of real revivals that this one is coming not from within our institutions themselves, but predominantly from below. The political establishment, in fact, can barely keep up with the pace of change, and is in continual danger of being steamrolled if it doesn’t press forward.
We need to pray for those in authority, as Paul tells Timothy. Much is at stake and the resistance is strong. I don’t know how this Ten Commandments thing in Virginia works out, but it’s a hopeful sign indeed. Let’s give them the support they deserve.
There is plenty to be disturbed about in our nation, even on a daily basis, but this latest story struck me as a milestone to be noted. Yesterday, the State Department announced that it was “improving” passport applications to ask for information about “Parent One” and “Parent Two” rather than the traditional “Father” and “Mother”.
The gays rights people in particular, and the politically correct “progressive” crowd in general, applauded the change, while conservative Christian groups predictably denounced it.
I’m not going to belabor the issue; others are going to do that better than I can, and in far more detail than I care to. I will only make one basic point.
Those are children we are raising in this environment. There is no societal unit that can care for the well-being of the child like the family. And by family I mean traditional family. The love and commitment that the husband and wife have for each other forms the basis for the security that a child needs to mature correctly. There is no other basis that is adequate.
True enough, that traditional family has been doing a lousy job in protecting its children of late. But it is the same dominant culture that has been assaulting the family, and that is inflicting this latest degradation upon us, that is the prime source of the problem.
This does not work out well. No nation can toy with the structure of the family to this extent and get away unscathed. We are watching the demise of our society, and as our moral backbone disintegrates, we can expect two things to happen.
First, those who represent moral sanity will be persecuted. Just our presence, no matter how benign, will be an irritant to those who with increasing irrationality demand a destructive degree of personal freedom. And they will attempt to silence us.
Second, as the society careens toward chaos, with no answers to be found, intrusive government will step in to restore order. Anarchy is the seedbed of totalitarianism.
I have never witnessed such foundational upheaval as I have seen in the past two years, and the rate of change is only increasing. If this nation does not come to its senses, it is in danger of losing everything.
This has already gone viral, and for good reason. Christie has done an amazing job facing down deeply entrenched special interests that are destroying our nation from within.
I am glad that some people have the specific calling to the governmental realm, and are faithful to it. We with just the general call to citizenship need to get behind and support such people as they do the courageous thing. If we do not get this nation back on its foundations soon, it will be too late.
Economics are important, and indeed are essentially a moral issue, but the battle is not just economic. The root problem is spiritual. If we begin to separate the precious from the vile – and there is no shortage of “vile” floating around our culture – then we will have the Lord’s blessing on our economics, our war efforts, and everything else that we do (Matthew 6.33).
The church is central to this. The church speaks the prophetic word of God to the conscience of the culture. That is by no means the only way we bear witness to Christ, but it is an important way and should not be neglected. We have some work to do in fulfilling this role. We need to once again learn to speak the truth in love.
I’ve heard it said that we should not involve ourselves in “secular” matters. The nations are going to burn anyway, so let them burn, the argument goes.
It is true that the specific calling of the Lord must come before anything else. But one way the Lord works in us is by conscience, and conscience demands that we do what we can to protect what is honorable, and the innocent. We are called to occupy until the Master comes. We are called to be faithful stewards even regarding unrighteous riches, and that would include our fallen culture. And so very much is on the line in this coming election.
Each of us has a role to play. For Governor Christie, that role is to bring fiscal discipline to a government steeped in corruption and political correctness. He is doing a superb job supplying his piece of the puzzle.
Here’s the video, and the link for the full speech is underneath. Christie has a great speaking style. He simply narrates ad-lib, with an air of comedic audacity. But his underlying thesis rests on solid rock.
HERE’S the link for the full speech. Very much worth watching.
When I set up this blog I did not intend to spend time discussing current events. But the rapidity with which our nation has entered a societal no-fly zone since the installation of the present administration is increasingly alarming. On no issue is that more critical than national defense, where presently we are virtually waiting for an unspeakable tragedy to occur.
When the outer court is on fire, and you can do something about it, conscience demands you do so. If a situation is beyond your ability to deal with (including through prayer) you must accept it as God’s will and seek His glory in it. But if you can do something, then you must do it:
If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, and if one of you says to them, Go in peace, be warmed and filled, but you do not give them those things which are needful to the body, what good is it ? – Jas 2:15-16
Therefore to him who knows to do good, and does not do it, to him it is sin. – Jas 4:17
It’s time for Western culture to have a resurgence of conscience. Make that scripturally-informed conscience, because consciences can be malformed, and barely know it:
To the pure all things are pure. But to those who are defiled and unbelieving nothing is pure, but even their mind and conscience is defiled. – Titus 1:15
But the Spirit expressly says that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits and teachings of demons, speaking lies in hypocrisy, being seared in their own conscience, – 1Tim 4:1-2
We need to abandon pleasure-seeking and man-centered religion as our guiding light and begin to do what is right in God’s eyes. The holy apostles emphasize how critical it is to maintain conscience as an essential part of the integrity of our Christian walk.
This charge I commit to you, my son Timothy, according to the prophecies which went before about you, in order that you might war a good warfare by them, holding faith and a good conscience, which some have put away and made shipwreck as to faith. – 1Tim 1:18-19
Likewise the deacons are to be reverent, not double-tongued, not given to much wine, not greedy of ill gain, having the mystery of the faith in a pure conscience. – 1Tim 3:8-9
having a good conscience, that while they speak against you as evildoers they may be shamed, those falsely accusing your good behavior in Christ. – 1Pet 3:16
I love the dualism of the phrase, “having the mystery of the faith in a pure conscience”. It graphically shows that being Christlike allows us to be both spirit-led and rational. With feet firmly planted on the ground, our spirits still can reside in the very throne room of heaven. The mature Christian is a mighty warrior of God, indeed!
Now, some will say that we need to avoid anything that touches on the political. A little leaven ferments the whole loaf. I agree wholeheartedly that politics as an end unto itself, or as a means to something not in God’s will, such as pride of life or lust for power, cannot be reconciled to Christ and must be avoided.
But God’s truth affects all aspects of our lives. It must, because it impacts us organically at our core. In Christ, we bring the fragrance of the knowledge of God to everything we touch. We couldn’t restrain God from influencing the political arena through ourselves if we tried – short of shirking our civic duty altogether. And shirking our civic duty at such a time as this would bring us back to conscience.
1/9: politics daily, CT interview links added
You may have heard of the flap regarding Brit Hume advising Tiger Woods to embrace “the Christian faith”. Here’s an update on the initial story.
Was Brit proselytizing?
1. To induce someone to convert to one’s own religious faith.
2. To induce someone to join one’s own political party or to espouse one’s doctrine.
He certainly wasn’t pressuring Woods to convert. He was offering sincere, well-meaning advice. And I’m not sure what’s wrong with that. He was asked his opinion and gave what he thought was sound counsel that could save someone’s life, let alone a marriage. And it was advice the overwhelming majority of Americans say they believe in.
I do think Hume’s statement was offensive to many, and that’s because the message of Christ is inherently offensive to our flesh. The implicit message of Christ is that we are not sufficient unto ourselves. That we are morally and spiritually flawed enough to keep us out of God’s holy presence without Christ’s atonement on our behalf.
There is no way to get around the offensive aspect of the message. It has been present from the very beginning, and if it’s not part of our message we’re not being true to the Gospel. But Hume offered his advice sincerely, and after all, he was asked. I think we need to consider very carefully that we are actually pressuring people not to comment from their deepest moral and spiritual convictions. That’s a constraint we certainly do not place on secularists.
Especially considering that maybe 80% or so of the population understand and accept the tenets of Christianity, you have to wonder at a cultural dynamic that allows a few to dictate social mores to the many.
As for the Buddhists who were offended, I can understand that. I think what’s needed is a public discussion of faith. Let all the faiths offer what they can, and let the best faith win. It’s time we took faith out of the penalty box and allowed it back into the game.
But the West is on a suicide course that disallows our mentioning the most important thing in life – God. We live in a sterile secular bubble, while enemies seeking our destruction are inflamed by deep religious passion. Guess who wins that one? If we don’t start drawing down on the power of faith we are going to be annihilated.
So yes, Brit was proselytizing, but it was the good kind of proselytization. Our problem is that in our religiously saccharine public square we no longer distinguish between good and bad proselytization.
I doubt we would have heard this on any other network but Fox. Someone has said that Fox actually has become the new mainstream media; because the others have moved so far to the Left. Maybe that’s why Fox’s ratings positively demolish everyone else’s.
Update: Politics Daily has a good survey of the reaction to Brit’s comment, and some background on his conversion.
Christianity Today interview with Brit.
I’m in a zany mood, maybe as an aftereffect of that last post, but I just came across two items that made me crack up.
First, the inimitable Ramirez from IBD:
Then, a slightly offbeat but hilarious exposition of the Gospel by Ann Coulter. Here’s the end, but if you have the time don’t peek. Enjoy.
Christianity is also the hardest religion in the world because, if you believe Christ died for your sins and rose from the dead, you have no choice but to give your life entirely over to Him. No more sexual promiscuity, no lying, no cheating, no stealing, no killing inconvenient old people or unborn babies — no doing what all the other kids do.
And no more caring what the world thinks of you — because, as Jesus warned in a prophecy constantly fulfilled by liberals: The world will hate you.
With Christianity, your sins are forgiven, the slate is wiped clean and your eternal life is guaranteed through nothing you did yourself, even though you don’t deserve it. It’s the best deal in the universe.
Just a quick note on three outstanding pieces, two re the war on terror and one on the state of conservatism.
First, Krauthammer, again, this time holding forth on the administration’s very poor conduct of the war on terror. War, what war? Whatever one may think of waterboarding, giving terrorists Miranda rights is not the way to win a war; it is the way to put our civilization and its most innocent members in deep jeopardy. Obama’s leadership in the war-that-is-no-longer-a-war has been worse than non-existent, and Krauthammer does a marvelous job explicating that. Our “Charles Martel” has always been exceptional, but over the past several months he has been outdoing himself consistently.
Then, on the philosophical side, here’s an article – an excellent one, in my estimation – on Evangelical Pacifism in the War on Terror, by Mark D. Tooley. Sadly, the Left-Right divide also affects the Body of Christ. It’s not supposed to be so according to Jesus’ High Priestly Prayer of John 17, but when innocent people are in danger of heinous terrorism, isn’t that an important enough subject to have an opinion on? Shouldn’t being a Christian not only make us more tuned into what is going on, but also an effective change agent?
Are our differences because we are not concentrating on the fundamentals that unite us? Or is it because one side or both are off on those very fundamentals? It’s nothing new that the Body is at loggerheads on serious issues, to be sure, and 2Ti 3.1-6 and other verses warn us of big problems that were to come in the church, but it’s nonetheless lamentable.
Finally, there’s a very-well-written piece on Sarah Palin being “Man of the Year” (the author’s term, not mine). At this point, Sarah is divisive, though her numbers have been changing dramatically. But no matter what you think of her, you have to admit that she’s been subjected to an amazing level of personal attack, and just keeps ticking. This is more than an article on her, however, it’s on the state of conservatism at this crucial juncture, and it’s an interesting read.
UPDATE: While I’m on this subject, I can’t resist adding this Mark Steyn piece to Krauthammer’s on the subject of our national defense being in utter disarray. Amazingly good writing. It’s surreal to be able to appreciate writing, when the subject is so dreadfully serious. But that’s the way it is sometimes. The clarity here will hopefully change minds about the direction in which we’re going.
From Newsrealblog comes this damning video of the Sec. of HHS Sebelius describing an accounting sleight of hand that will indeed cause every taxpayer to pay for abortion.
It’s bad enough for a nation to tolerate abortion. Elective abortion blatantly crosses the line of God’s sovereignty regarding human life, a line that cannot be crossed without bad consequences, and I will always vote to outlaw it. But it’s even worse for that nation to compel its citizens to actually pay for a procedure that gravely violates their conscience. Yet that is exactly where our leaders are taking us.
Such is the coercive nature of the humanism that is taking the reins of our nation, and it could only be succeeding in this by Orwellianly claiming for itself the mantle of tolerance and mercy. I have a friend who appropriated the old Biblical song of the daughters of Israel, and very perceptively coined the expression, “Repression has silenced its thousands, and tolerance its ten thousands”.
Behold, then, the mendacity of the woman who, along with the secretive bureaucrats of the FDA, will be controlling one-sixth of the economy should the healthcare bill pass.
We have our work cut out for us.
Yesterday I cited the admonition of Jesus, “To whom much is given, much will be required”. But God judges nations as well as people. And as He does with people, God judges nations subjectively, based on what each one could do, on what each one could be.
So, even if we take comfort in seeming to do more than the “next guy”, when we don’t follow the Lord wholeheartedly ourselves, we begin to fall, spiritually first, then manifestly. Again, Jesus warns us,
You are the salt of the earth, but if the salt loses its savor, with what shall it be salted? It is no longer good for anything, but to be thrown out and to be trodden underfoot by men. -Mt 5.13
Consider the blessings of freedom and prosperity which America has been given. Were these merely for our own enjoyment? No, we were to use them to help lift others up as well. At our finest moments, we have done just that, often at great sacrifice. I’m thinking here of the wars of liberation we fought on the global stage.
America became the hope of the world precisely because it signified a break with the futile old ways of doing things. Our system of government was thoroughly based on the Bible, which teaches the paradoxical truth that while man is deserving of dignity because he is made in God’s image, he still cannot be trusted with absolute power because he is a sinner. Thus we became a nation of limited government, checks and balances, equal representation, and equal standing under the law. The system was of necessity imperfect, because man is imperfect, but overall it served us well. And it was so much better than anything anyone else had that people from everywhere flocked to our shores.
Two noteworthy pieces came down today. First, the London Times announced its Person of the Year to be Neda Soltan.
Neda was the young Iranian woman of beautiful spirit who was senselessly gunned down by Iran’s terrorist Islamic regime. She hadn’t a political bone in her body, but she was intuitively outraged by the regime’s brutal repression of the protests against a massively crooked election. She courageously attended her first protest, and gave her life as a result.
In murdering Neda, the regime destroyed forever any illusions of its own decency and legitimacy, while Neda herself was immortalized. Jesus said that “unless a grain of wheat fall to the earth and die, it cannot bear much fruit.” The world will never forget Neda, and the Iranian people will never rest until they are free of political and religious tyranny. Through her sacrifice, Neda has already begun to bear an incalculable harvest of good fruit.
What a refreshing contrast this Times’ pick is, compared to the values-neutral, politically correct, agenda-driven, nauseating pap we’ve come to expect from our own Time Magazine each year. A well-done, inspiring piece. May journalism be reborn with many more like it.
But while the American people constantly prove themselves heroes, there are cowards among our ruling elite. These leaders are either more concerned with career than with protecting the nation, or are afraid of the cost of telling the truth, or are too dumb to know the truth.
Christmas didn’t last long. Funny how throngs riot worldwide at a few Islamic cartoons, but Christmas day itself is fair game for another domestic terrorist attack on America: