Something Is Terribly Wrong with Christianity in America

From Wikipedia article on “Church Attendance“:

In 2013, the Pew Research Center reported that 37% of all Americans attended church on a weekly basis.  In its turn, Gallup estimated the once-a-week church attendance of the Americans in 2013 as 39%…This compares to other countries claims such as 15% of French citizens, 10% of UK citizens,[3] and 7.5% of Australian citizens.

In the early 1990s, American sociologists Kirk Hadaway, Penny Marler, and Mark Chaves found that weekly attendance at Protestant and Catholic churches in one rural county in Ohio was only about 20%, whereas self-reported church attendance was 36%.

Thus we should be able to say that somewhere between  roughly 20% and roughly 36-39% of Americans attend church each week.

From the Washington Post of July 15, 2014:

A survey released Tuesday by the the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports:

Based on the 2013 NHIS data [collected in 2013 from 34,557 adults aged 18 and over], 96.6% of adults identified as straight, 1.6% identified as gay or lesbian, and 0.7% identified as bisexual. The remaining 1.1% of adults identified as “something else[]” [0.2%,] stated “I don’t know the answer[]” [0.4%] or refused to provide an answer [0.6%].

More specifically, 1.8 percent of men self-identify as gay and 0.4 percent as bisexual, and 1.5 percent of women self-identify as lesbian and 0.9 percent as bisexual.

This works out to about 2.5% of the American population identifying themselves as falling into a category cover by “LGBT.”

From the Washington Post April 23, 2015:

A record-high 6 in 10 Americans support same-sex marriage and a similar share say individual states should not be allowed to define marriage as only between a man and a woman, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.

How does a country in which 20-40% of the people are participating in weekly religious activities and barely a tenth of that number engaged in LGBT activities end up with 60% of its population favoring an LGBT view of marriage – one that is directly at odds with the view ostensibly being taught the 20-40% every week?

Something is terribly wrong with Christianity in America.

How Is It That a Political Commentator Can Be More Spiritually Perceptive Than Some Christian Leaders?

While some Christian leaders in America struggle to take a clear and straightforward position on last week’s Supreme Court decision on the corruption of marriage, and others stay completely silent on the issue, Rush Limbaugh cuts through all the verbal clutter and states the case plainly.  Here’s the record of a brief call to his radio program yesterday.

RUSH: Macomb County in Michigan. This is Sue. Welcome to the EIB Network. Hi.

CALLER: Hi, Rush. Thanks so much for your show and everything you do. My question is, since the Supreme Court made their ruling, I’d like to ask you how many gays do you think will be demanding to be married in a mosque?

RUSH: I don’t think any.

CALLER: And why might that be?

RUSH: Well, the truth of the matter is that the gay community in America does not see militant Islam as discriminating against them.

CALLER: That’s true.

RUSH: Militant Islamists have not denied them happiness and good times and getting married and all. It’s Christians. It’s Christians. You might say, “But do they not know that homosexuals are put to death in Muslim countries?” Well, but it’s not happening in America. We don’t live in those countries.

CALLER: Exactly.

RUSH: They’re not gonna go. They’re scared. They’re not gonna go into a mosque and demand marriage. It’s not what this is about. This is not designed to take down Islam. The target’s not Islam. The target is not religion per se. The target is Christians. And I am glad you called, because it’s an excellent point.

There, he said it:  “The target is Christians.”  To say it even more precisely, the target is Christians because the target is Christ.  This is Psalm 2:1-3.  It’s that simple.

Why should a radio talk show host be able to see so clearly what is apparently eluding so many Christian leaders?  If all Christian leaders in America had been speaking up for the sanctity of marriage,  we would not have a situation where 2-3% of the population got their way in all 50 states.

Source:  Transcript at RushLimbaugh.com (June 29, 2015)

Persecuted for the Sake of Righteousness in America

As National Review says in a recent editorial:

Georgia and North Carolina are only the latest states attempting to strengthen religious believers’ First Amendment rights amid the cultural and legal sea change that has resulted in — to consider just a few examples — Christian student groups being forced to open themselves to non-Christian leadership or face expulsion from campus; Christian adoption agencies being forced to close unless they’re willing to place children with same-sex couples; and Christian bakers, florists, and photographers being forced to lend their artistic talents to help celebrate gay weddings.

I thank God for my fellow Americans who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness in recent times, “for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:10).  While only God can keep tabs of all who have earned this distinction, we can seek to keep in mind notable cases of persecution that have come to our attention.  That’s what this post will be for.  I’ll return to it from time to time to update existing stories or add new names.  And you can suggest others you think appropriate.  I’ll link to a news story about them so you can educate yourself to the degree you want.  The list is in alphabetical order according to the person’s last name.  I have added to the material in the original post, which explains why some of the dates below and in the linked material is later than the publication of the original post.

These are people who have paid a price for doing right.  It is only right that we honor their sacrifices for the Lord.  Someone may protest that “there’s no real persecution in America when you consider what is happening to Christians elsewhere.”  It’s true that we do not see Christians being tortured and killed in America, but must persecution reach such extremes before it causes suffering.  Is being deprived of one’s livelihood and reputation not a serious matter?

Blaine Adamson (Hands On Originals in Lexington, Kentucky)  – In 2015 a Kentucky court ruled that Lexington printer Blaine Adamson (he imprints T-shirts) has a constitutional right to decline to print messages that conflict with his Christian beliefs, and that he isn’t guilty of discrimination for refusing to print pro-gay T-shirts in 2012.”  Related story:  “Proposed legislation allows for religious objection to deny work, retail service or housing

Alliance Defending Freedom panel discussion at Feb 2016 NRB featuring Barronelle Stutzman, Blaine Adamson, and Greg Stormans (56 min, 46 sec)

Paul Church, M.D. (Veteran urologist and Harvard Medical School faculty member)  –  “The Darker, Dangerous Side of American Homosexuality”

Kelvin Cochran (Fire Chief in Atlanta, Georgia)  –  Fired from his job for having written and taught from a self-published book on Christian spirituality for men.  Though he was not accused of discrimination in the workplace, his book was deemed to be anti-LGBT because it condemned all sex outside of marriage.  Video of Chief Cochran.

Kim Davis (clerk of Rowan County, Kentucky)  –  Ordered by U.S. District Judge David Bunning to issue same-sex marriage licenses against her deeply-held religious convictions that such “marriages” are wrong.

Brendan Eich (CEO of Mozilla in Mountain View, California)  –  Forced out as CEO of Mozilla soon after his appointment to that position in 2014 because of a contribution he’d made in favor of California’s 2008 Proposition 8.

Cynthia and Robert Gifford (Liberty Ridge Farm near Albany, New York)  –  Declined to host a same-sex wedding on their property.  June 25, 2015:  “As punishment, the government fined the family $10,000 and ordered them to pay an additional $3,000 to the women. The Giffords were also required to attend staff re-education training classes to teach the state’s viewpoint on marriage.”

CBN video about the Liberty Farm case (4 min, 38 sec)

Elaine Huguenin (photographer at Elane Photography in Albuquerque, New Mexico)  –  Ordered to pay $7,000 in fees to a same-sex couple for failing to serve their 2006 commitment ceremony.

August 15, 2015  –  LGBT advocates are 2-for-2 in fighting religious freedom laws; Here’s what’s next (Washington Post)

Craig James (college football analyst)  –  Is filing suit against Fox Sports alleging that he was fired because he is known not to support homosexual marriage.

Melissa and Aaron Klein (Sweet Cakes by Melissa in Sandy, Oregon)  –  Fined $135,000 for declining to bake a cake for a same-sex wedding.  Update – Kleins slapped with gag order.  Slate disputes the gag order; The Daily Signal responds.

John McAdams (professor at Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin)  –  “Conservative professor John McAdams is under threat of termination from liberal university president Michael Lovell of the Jesuit-run Marquette University. McAdams is not taking the threat lightly and has fired off a blistering letter to his boss.”

Nakoula Basseley Nakoula  –  Also known as Sam Bacile, this is the fellow whose video about Muhammad (Innocence of Muslims) was named by U.S. officials as the cause of the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya on September 11, 2012.  I’ve only seen a few short clips from the movie and I don’t know if Nakoula claimed to be doing any of it for Christ, but I include it on this list because it seems a noteworthy example of how an individual can be unfairly targeted by government and punished with hardly a peep from society about the violation of his rights.

Ruth Neely (municipal judge in Pinedale, Wyoming)  –   “The Wyoming Commission on Judicial Conduct and Ethics is recommending the court remove Municipal Judge and Circuit Court Magistrate Ruth Neely of Pinedale. The commission started investigating Neely after she told a reporter in 2014 she would not perform same-sex marriages because of her religious beliefs.”  She is being defended by Alliance Defending Freedom.

Crystal O’Connor  –  (Memories Pizza of Walkerton, Indiana)  –  “Fund Raises $840,000 for Memories Pizza” (NBC).

Richard and Betty Odgaard  –  (Gortz Haus Gallery in Grimes, Iowa)  –  This couple has had to stop hosting weddings in their chapel because the state of Iowa was forcing them to host same-sex wedding ceremonies.

Jack Phillips (Masterpiece Cakeshop in Denver, Colorado)  –  Ordered to change his store policy against making cakes for same-sex weddings or else be subject to fines. Since the rulings, his 22-year-old shop in Lakewood, Colo., has stopped making wedding cakes.  He is currently appealing his case.  “Phillips has said he willingly serves all sorts of customers, including gays and lesbians, but could not in good conscience create a cake especially for the wedding of Craig and Mullins.”  August 17, 2015:  I heard from Al Mohler that in addition to declining to do same-sex “wedding” cakes, he also declined to do Halloween cakes because they glorified the devil; and he decline to do any cake that was anti-patriotic or racist.  Also, CBN reported that a Christian asked another baker to produce an anti-same-sex wedding cake, and, when refused, reported it to the same Colorado commission that had sanctioned Jack Phillips.  The complaint was dismissed.

August 13, 2015  –  Phillips Loses Appeal
August 14, 2015  –  More on Lost Appeal and ADF attorney Jeremy Tedesco
August 14, 2015  –  Hey Christians, Say Goodbye To Religious Freedom
August 15, 2015  –  LGBT advocates are 2-for-2 in fighting religious freedom laws; Here’s what’s next (Washington Post)
Alliance Defending Freedom video about Jack Phillips (3 min, 27 sec)
April 26, 2016  –  Colorado High Court Turns Down Gay Wedding Cake Case

The Stormans Family (Ralph’s Thriftway in Olympia, Washington)  –  “In 2007, the State of Washington mandated that all pharmacies within the state be willing to sell Plan-B and other ‘abortion inducing drugs’…Ralph’s Thriftway…is a small, family owned grocery store, and so happens to be a Christian affiliated company, due to the Storman family’s affiliation with the church. The store sells an assortment of items, ranging from your standard fruits and vegetables, to toiletries. However, what really sets this grocery store apart from other small, non-chain stores, is the fact that it has a pharmacy. Yes, a pharmacy; perfect for a small town, or so you would think.  Due to the Storman’s dedication to the Christian religion, the store is refusing to sell Plan-B and other abortifacients. While some would not consider the consumption of Plan-B and other similar products to be an abortion, the Storman family does.”

Alliance Defending Freedom video about the Stormans (3 min, 53 sec)

Alliance Defending Freedom panel discussion at Feb 2016 NRB featuring Barronelle Stutzman, Blaine Adamson, and Greg Stormans (56 min, 46 sec)

Barronelle Stutzman (Arlene’s Flowers in Richland, Washington) –  Sued by her state for declining to make flower arrangements for a same-sex wedding.

Alliance Defending Freedom panel discussion at Feb 2016 NRB featuring Barronelle Stutzman, Blaine Adamson, and Greg Stormans (56 min, 46 sec)

Eric Walsh (public health official in the state of Georgia)  –  Dr. Eric Walsh, a California physician, former director of public health for the city of Pasadena, California, and former member of the President’s Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS, was dismissed from his position as a Georgia district health director because of sermons he had preached as a Seventh-day Adventist in his spare time.

 

David Wells (Minister of evangelism of Pleasant View Baptist Church in McQuady, Kentucky)  –   “On July 7th, [2015] the Kentucky Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) revoked his volunteer credentials and permanently barred him from visiting, counseling or leading worship services for juveniles. He was found in violation of a newly revised departmental policy on ‘Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity’ because he could not sign a state-mandated statement that he would not use the word ‘sinful’ when talking about homosexuality.”  FoxNews Opinion: “The Christian Purge Has Begun” by Todd Starnes.

Related post:  Persecuted for the Sake of Righteousness Outside America

What Pictures Say About the Content of Our Hearts

Contrast this photo of the New York City skyline (lower Manhattan) during Easter 1956 with the photos I showed yesterday or with the photo of New York City (mid-town Manhattan) taken last week shown just below this one.  The contrast shows you how much America has changed in the last sixty years.

By the way, I am not suggesting that America was godly in 1956.  Rather, I’m just wanting to show the deterioration since then.  Can you imagine a display of the cross of Christ showing up like this today?  Thus we see that we can seek to please God or seek to please ourselves…but not both.

New York Skyline, Easter 1956
New York skyline when the Supreme Court legalized same-sex “marriage” in June 2015

How Much Worse Is Obergefell v. Hodges Than Roe v. Wade?

 

Is the Supreme Court’s same-sex “marriage” decision worse than its abortion decision?  In 1973, we did not see such blatant displays of public triumph in the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision.  Thus America’s formal rejection of God’s ways in 2015 is even more troubling than it was in 1973 for the simple reason that its rejection of God is far more bold and emphatic in 2015.  This defiance of God is breathtaking.

Let us pray that this tide will turn.

What Is So Wrong with the Supreme Court Ruling on SS”M”?

What is so wrong about the Supreme Court ruling that homosexuals can marry?

Is it that homosexuality is worse than any other kind of sin?  No.

Is it that homosexuals are worse people than everyone else?  No.

Why then does the Supreme Court’s decision to fully legitimize same-sex “marriage” cause such consternation among God-fearing people?  Because it is a formal and emphatic rejection of God and His ways.  The ruling calls “right” what God has called “wrong.”  It calls “dignified” what God says is “undignified.”  It is a formal attempt by society to reclassify as righteous what God has called sin.

To my knowledge, the Supreme Court has never opined that adultery is righteous behavior.  And while divorce is legal, the Supreme Court has never gone out of its way, so far as I know, to explain that divorce confers on people a certain dignity.

Thus what is fundamentally wrong with the Supreme Court ruling on SS”M” is that it is society’s formal way of removing the stigma of sin from the practice of homosexuality and placing that stigma upon those who do not honor it as righteous.

If human beings wanted to get in God’s face or shake their fists at Him, they’d be hard-pressed to come up with an act more defiant than this.  Therefore, it’s not the homosexuality per se but rather the defiance that is so troubling to people who fear God.  I suppose society could have chosen some other sin to legitimize and celebrate, but they didn’t.  This is the one they chose as worthy of a rebuke to God.  When God is rebuked, the hearts of God’s people cannot help but be broken.

Americanism, Conservatism, Christianity, and Christ

A focus on America’s roots is good, because, historically, America was a place that gave Christians the freedom to serve Christ.  And in that freedom, they gave freedom to others – including Jews and other religions, atheists and other unbelievers – just as Christ would.  America has thus been friendly to Christ, and this speaks well of Americanism.

The philosophy of conservatism has likewise been friendly to the cause of Christ.  By contrast, its philosophical adversary – liberalism (or progressivism, if you prefer) – is quite hostile to the cause of Christ.  This speaks well of conservatism.  (Given that the Republican party is generally conservative, you could say the same thing about it.)

Organized Christianity, of course, by its very existence professes Christ.  For this we can be forever grateful for its enduring voice.  Yet, organized Christianity often seems more interested in itself than in Christ.

Christ Himself should be the bulls-eye of our target.  These other things – Americanism, conservatism, organized Christianity – are merely outer rings around that bulls-eye.

The President of the United States Says That Love Won Today

So I guess the president thinks that those of us who oppose the redefinition of marriage are against love.  We know that we lost today.  We feel defeated.  Our president is telling us that it was “Love” that defeated us.

It doesn’t feel like love won today.  It feels like lust won.

Response to S. E. Cupp re: Supreme Court Redefinition of Marriage

Ms. Cupp, I understand that you are considered a smart, sophisticated, conservative Republican commentator.  I’d like to address comments you made in this video.

“Those people are not pariahs.”

We are not calling them pariahs. Why are you suggesting that we are?

“They are patriots.”

Being in favor of same-sex “marriage” makes someone a patriot?  Being opposed to it means one cannot be a patriot?  What does patriotism have to do with the issue of same-sex “marriage”?

“They just want the human dignity that the rest of us have.”

They have human dignity.  We don’t deny human dignity to any human.  Why is it necessary to redefine marriage in order for a human to have human dignity?

“Look at the faces on the right-hand side of the screen and ask yourself if they deserve the same kind of dignity that the rest of us get to enjoy.”

Sure, they do.  But, again, why do we have to change marriage into something it has never been in order for these folks to have dignity.  Only married humans have dignity?  Single humans lack human dignity?

“This is America and those people are Americans.”

Again, who is arguing this point?  Of course, they are Americans.  So are we.

“They are not asking for a lot.”

They are asking for an institution that has existed throughout all human history be redefined so as to accommodate their desires.  That sounds like a lot to us.  They’re not just rejecting our view; they’re rejecting the view of thousands of years of human civilization.  Is our generation smarter than every other generation of human beings that has ever lived?

Your argument – and tears – suggest that anyone who is grieved by the Supreme Court’s decision today is heartless, thinks pro-SS”M” folks are unpatriotic, un-American pariahs, and wants to deny human dignity to fellow human beings.

Do you really believe these things or are you using your considerable rhetorical skills to try to win by emotion an argument that you cannot win by logic?

I actually don’t think you are being devious.  I rather think that you have no good reasons for thinking as you do.  You just want your friends to have what they want, and you don’t think it hurts anyone to give it to them.  That is not a convincing argument for the rest of us to join in overturning the verdict of all human civilization before us.  I expected more depth of thinking from someone with your reputation.

What Fatherlessness Invites

What happens to children when the father doesn’t stick around?

Out of the 25 million children who are fatherless:
– 67% of these children will become inmates
– They are five times more likely to be poor
– 30% more likely to use drugs
– Twice as likely to drop out of school

Fatherless females are:
– 16% more like to have an out-of-wedlock birth
– 92% more likely to get a divorce

These, and other statistics like them, can be found in The Father Factor by Josh McDowell.