Bring Your Bible to School Day
In March, 2014 at a Cannon County REACH after-school program in Tennessee the parents of a young boy were told he was not allowed to read his Bible on the premises. In May, 2014 there was a report of a teacher in Florida who humiliated a 12-year-old for reading his Bible in free time. He told the boy's parents, "He's not permitted to read those books in my classroom." In January, 2015 Marshall, Missouri, parents of a middle school student were upset because they say a teacher told their 12-year-old son he couldn't read his Bible in school. Last June a school in California sent the sheriff to a child's home to tell them to stop letting him read and share Bible verses with his friends at school. It seems to be happening all over and with more frequency. In response, an organization has formed called "bringyourbibletoschool.org" to organize protests all over America. This year's "Bring your Bible to school day" is October 6th. The organization says, "On Bring Your Bible to School Day — happening this year on October 6, 2016 — students across the nation will celebrate religious freedom and share God's love with their friends."
I get it. I really do. Our Constitution forbids government from making rules that prevent the free exercise of religion. Our government is happily disdaining the First Amendment. I have to say, though, that I have a question about this. First, we are to submit to God (Acts 5:29). True. But nowhere do I find a command to "take your Bible to school." I see that we are to hide God's Word in our hearts (Psa 119:11). I see that parents are to teach their children God's Word day and night (Deut 11:18-19). But I don't see any command to carry your Bible with you where you go. What else do we know? We know that we are to "Submit yourselves for the Lord's sake to every human institution." (1 Peter 2:13; Rom 13:1) So, while they are violating our Constitutional rights, they are not making a rule that requires us to violate God's commands. Why, then, would we not comply? Why would we not teach our children to comply? Is it that American freedom has freed us from God's commands to submit?
The International Civil Rights Center and Museum in Greensboro, NC, denied a visit request from the Trump team. "Their approach was disrespectful," one of the founders said. "I think it's probably reflective of the type of insensitivity of civil rights and human rights that's reflective from Trump over the years." Politicize much? Without being a Trump supporter myself, hearing a "civil rights" center deny a request because of a presumption of guilt on Trump's behalf is a basic denial of, you know, civil rights, isn't it? But the good news is that he would deny a request from Hillary as well. "We are not going to allow the museum to be used for political gain," he said while jockeying his museum for his own political gain.
The State of Theology
In another release of The State of Theology, a survey by Lifeway Research and Ligonier Ministries, we find more discouraging news about the state of Christianity in America. For instance, among self-identified Evangelicals -- you know, the "conservative Christians" -- when asked if God accepts the worship of all religions 46% agreed or somewhat agreed, and when asked if good deeds contribute to earning my place in heaven, more than 1 in 3 agreed. Remember, "Evangelical" refers to "the good news" and "the good news" refers to "saved by grace through faith in Christ apart from works", so we have Evangelicals believing the opposite of the good news. More than half of Evangelicals believe that people are good by nature. Fifty-four percent of Evangelicals disagree that even the smallest sin deserves God's judgment.
While nearly 50% of those asked disagree that God authored the Bible (not surprising, since it isn't only Evangelicals here), of those that agreed that God was the author, 43% also agreed that science disproves the claims of the Bible. (In other words, "Yes, God wrote it, but science proves He was wrong.") One I found interesting was that 83% of self-identified Evangelicals believe that we take the first initiative seeking God and God responds with grace, a number larger than the general population. Clearly morality among self-identified Evangelicals is on the decline. Only half ot them thought that it was a sin to have sex outside of marriage or that abortion was a sin. Other findings were interesting. They found, for instance, that people who go to church weekly have theological convictions more closely aligning with Scripture than those who go less than once a week.
Take a look. You might begin to see why it is that genuine, Bible-believing followers of Christ are seen as a bit crazy, given the decline of such people among self-professed Bible-believing followers of Christ.
Inclusive and Tolerant
Last weekend Christian philosopher Richard Swinburne was invited to give a keynote address to the Midwest Society of Christian Philosophers. His topic was Christian sexual ethics. He said that homosexual behavior was wrong. He said that to a Society of Christian Philosophers. He really upset them. The attenders exploded. The president of the Midwest SCP apologized on Facebook for Professor Swinburne's comments, distanced his group from any connection to his views, misspelled "President", and assured everyone that "I am committed to the values of diversity and inclusion."
Lest you think that the Left, be it political or religious, that complains all the time that we are not inclusive is actually aiming for inclusivity, think again. No, we are not inclusive. Christ claimed to be the only way, and we are forced, as followers of Christ, to go along with that. When self-identified Christians claim "diversity and inclusion" as their aim that they carry out by eliminating diversity and excluding different, especially biblical views, they are simply illustrating that they are of their father, the devil. Don't be surprised. Don't expect otherwise.
As a side note, welcome to some fine examples of the term, "Orwellian". There are a lot of them out there right now. (Inclusive, Diversity, Tolerance, Nonjudgmental, even harm, where the "harm" in view is to one group with complete disregard for the harm to others.)
ABC sitcom Modern Family already includes a "gay couple" with an adopted daughter as one of their "modern families". (I can't be more specific; I've never seen the show.) They've made the news by announcing they would have a "transgender child actor" (8 years old) featured in an upcoming episode. Now, science tells us that a large percentage of kids who appear to be transgender actually outgrow it. Several doctors involved in the process have encouraged parents not to proceed with any such transitioning of children until they get of age (and been labeled "haters" for it). But ABC is proud to include an 8-year-old child whose parents have refused to give reasonable, responsible guidance to this confused kid and consider it heroic.
In a CNN town hall this week someone asked President Obama why he refused to refer to ISIS with the phrase "radical Islamic terrorist". The article says it was because he thought "the U.S. must be careful not to lump 'murderers' in with billions of peaceful Muslims around the world." He said, "These are people who kill children, kill Muslims, take sex slaves — there's no religious rationale that would justify in any way any of the things that they do."
I get it; I really do. If you believe that "Islam" (as an example) means X and these people fall outside of X, then don't refer to them as "Islamic". Just like the mere claim by, say, a president that he is a Christian while all actions suggest he operates outside of Christian beliefs ought to mean that we don't refer to him as "Christian", right? I understand.
(By the way, I do not see them as "radical". They're the ones simply following their book. It's those who depart from their book to be called "moderate" that are radical.)
I'm finding that I have to be careful with this new feature, "News Weakly", because there is so much news that I could too easily make this thing far too long to read.