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What should Christians ask of the GOP nominee?

If Republicans win all three branches of government in 2016, what legislation will get passed?

Economic growth, ending middle-class stagflation, reversing the debt divide in college students, repealing Obamacare. Into the policy mix, social conservatives have an important question to ask themselves: What is it we want for our country from a potentially historic GOP victory in 2016?

gop crossRussell Moore laid down an important marker in a recent Wall Street Journal article, which I would translate as God Talk Is Not Enough:

In recent years candidates have assumed that they can win over evangelicals by learning Christian slogans, by masking political rallies as prayer meetings, and by basically producing a long-form new birth certificate to prove they’ve been born again. This sort of identity politics is a luxury of a past era when evangelicals were part of a silent majority in the U.S., with our First Amendment freedoms assumed and guaranteed. That is not the present situation.

Indeed it is not. Let me speak for traditionalists of all religions for a moment.

A few months before the Supreme Court is likely to rule on gay marriage, the incidents causing concern about what gay marriage will mean for dissenters (especially traditional Christians, Orthodox Jews, and Muslims) multiply:

Gordon College students are banned from tutoring public-school students, because of the college’s embrace of standard orthodox Christian rules (no sex outside of marriage between a man and a woman); the request of its college president for a religious exemption from President Obama has now triggered a possible threat to its accreditation.

Meanwhile, Marquette University (a Jesuit institution) is attempting to strip Professor Scott McAdams of his tenure and his job because he blogged critically about the way a college instructor (and grad student) treated an anti-gay-marriage student.

Kelvin Cochran, whose rags-to-riches rise from Shreveport poverty to police chief of Atlanta is as inspiring as any, was fired for self-publishing for his Bible-study class a book that contains two paragraphs exhorting his fellow Christians to live by Biblical sexual values.

In Lafayette, Calif., parents of 14-year-old public-school students are suing because their children were asked in English class whether their parents would embrace them if they were gay — and then these Christian students were publicly shamed and humiliated when they supported their parents’ values.

A Ford Motor Company worker (contractor) was invited to comment on pro-gay-rights material circulated by the company — and then fired for leaving an anti-sodomy comment on the blog.

Note the similar strategies here: invite or force public comment and then discipline those who say the “wrong” thing.

Angela McCaskill was disciplined by her federally chartered university for simply signing her name to a petition putting same-sex marriage to a vote in Maryland.

A judge in Washington State was found guilty of an ethics violation for saying privately in chambers (in response to a staffer’s question) that he would not perform same-sex marriages.

The great god of gay equality demands a sacrifice of $150,000 from Oregon bakers Melissa and Aaron Klein for the sin of refusing to bake a gay-wedding cake.

More than 70,000 people signed their names to a petition saying Mozilla founder Brendan Eich must either publicly recant his opposition to gay marriage (evidenced solely by a relatively small donation to the Prop 8 campaign) or be fired.

This is not an exhaustive list by any means, but it points to where I think the greatest threats lie: closing down educational and work opportunities to traditionalists who dare to speak.

If the GOP would like to leave a legacy that makes a difference, I would argue for generous anti-discrimination protections for those who favor or oppose gay marriage (unless they work for an organization whose substantial purpose is to favor or oppose gay marriage).

A new poll shows 57 percent of Americans believe small-business owners should not be forced to provide wedding-related services. It also shows 44 percent of Americans favor gay marriage, 39 percent oppose it, and a whopping 15 percent are unwilling to offer an opinion in the current environment. Threatening people with losing their jobs is a very effective way to silence and intimidate.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints gave a high-profile press conference offering to provide substantial new protections for gay people provided that robust religious-liberty protections are part of the deal. Live and let live is the offer on the table. So far the official voices of gay rights don’t like it: James Esseks, who directs the LGBT project of the American Civil Liberties Union, told ABC news that the First Amendment’s protection of religious freedom “does not give any of us the right to harm others, and that’s what it sounds like the proposal from the Mormon church would do.”

One important marker will come out of Utah, where we will find out if it is possible to craft live-and-let-live legislation or whether gay-rights supporters value legislation primarily as a club to suppress dissent.

The report on the poll includes this comment from a respondent: “Why make an issue out of one florist when there are probably thousands of florists?” asked David Kenney, who’s 59. “The gay community wants people to understand their position, but at the same time, they don’t want to understand other people’s religious convictions. It’s a two-way street.”

Not yet. If social conservatives want to be taken seriously as a political force, we need to do what a handful of Common Core moms have just done: push our concerns into the presidential race.

And for me, if I were to prioritize, the right not to lose my job or my tax exemption because I publicly oppose (or support) gay marriage should be at the top.

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Is God Evil or the Absence of Evil?

einstein_god_jesus

Albert Einstein on God and the Gospel. For a larger view click on the image.

I found this amazing video posted on Florida Representative Ray Pilon’s Facebook page. The professor, like many in our schools, colleges and universities, is teaching his students that “if God exists then God is evil.” His rational is that God created everything in the world, evil exists in the world, therefore God is evil.

It takes the understanding of a young Albert Einstein to explain to the professor what he is missing. God is the absence of evil, just as darkness is the absence of light.

Without knowing it this young boy is a Christian apologist much like Dr. William Lane Craig and others. To better understand read Dr. Craig’s God, Evil, and the Rules of Logic. When using logic to describe God and evil Dr. Craig concludes, “[T]he laws of logic are neither arbitrarily willed by God nor is He subservient to them; rather they are grounded in His nature.”

Dr. Craig also addresses this issue in response to a letter from an atheist. Please read the question and Dr. Craig’s answer to the question: Is God Able to Do Evil?

Hat tip to Kingdom Culture for posting this video. Watch and comment if you wish:

If you wish to learn more about Christian apologetics please visit  Reasonable Faith with William Lane Craig.

EDITORS NOTE: The featured image titled “Feel God” is courtesy of Imgion.com.

GOPFaith.com launched: But will Republicans truly stand with people of faith?

The Republican Party has launched a new outreach focused on Christians and Evangelicals its “biggest, most reliable voting bloc.”. In the 2012 Presidential election 1 million Christians did not vote in Florida, President Obama won Florida by less than 80,000 votes. Question: Is GOPFaith.com politically compatible with GOProud.org? Some think not.

The new website GOPFaith.com was announced in the below press release on July 4th, 2014. Danita Kilcullen, TEA Party Fort Lauderdale, forwarded the press release and commented on it to TEA Party members. Kilcullen’s comments are all [IN CAPS]:

To increase the voter turnout among evangelicals and seek support from conservative believers, the Republican Party has launched a new initiative to mobilize its “biggest, most reliable voting bloc.”

“This website is designed for faith voters like you,” says GOPfaith.com, which was launched Friday.

GOPFaith.com is built to keep pro-faith voters up to date with how the Republican Party is fighting for religious freedom, learn how to register voters at your place of worship and mobilize them on Election Day,” says Chad Connelly, Faith Engagement Director of the Republican National Committee.

It’s “an online home for all of our efforts, all around the country,” he says in a video posted on the website, which seeks to “build an army of conservative pro-faith activists [THIS EVANGELICAL REPUBLICAN ACTIVIST WILL NOT STAND WITH REPUBLICAN SHERIFFS, COMMISSIONERS, SCHOOL BOARD MEMBERS, MAYORS, ETC., WHO ENDORSE SAME-SEX MARRIAGE AND MARCH IN GAY PARADES] to make the difference in the coming elections.”

“This shouldn’t be outreach, this should be who we are – it is who we are,” Connelly tells The Washington Post, describing evangelicals as “are our biggest, most reliable voting bloc.”

Connelly points to surveys that show only a third of the 89 million Americans who identify themselves as evangelical Christians voted in the 2012 election. There are “millions of pro-faith conservatives all across American who are not politically engaged,” the initiative says.

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It seeks to “identifying 100,000 pro-faith conservatives who will help identify, register, inform and mobilize America’s faith-based community to get them engaged and to vote their values.”

“The GOP’s longtime commitment to traditional values with a platform that doesn’t mind placing those values front and center has made it the natural political home for people of faith,” Connelly wrote in an op-ed in The Christian Post Friday. [REALLY? GOP WITH A TRADITIONAL VALUES PLATFORM? DOES THAT INCLUDE TRADITIONAL MARRIAGE, OR WILL THE GOP CAVE TO THE NEW HOMOSEXUAL NARRATIVE OF, “WITHIN THE TRADITIONAL MARRIAGE STRUCTURE THERE IS A HIGH DIVORCE RATE,” WHICH I AM HEARING FROM ‘REPUBLICAN’ ELECTS WHO PROUDLY MARCH IN HOMOSEXUAL PARADES.]

Up for grabs on the Election Day are 435 U.S. House seats, 36 U.S. Senate seats, 36 governorships, [GOV. SCOTT NEEDS CHRISTIAN SUPPORT FROM PASTORS AND REAL CHRISTIAN REPUBLICANS. ENORMOUS PRESSURE IS BEING PUT UPON HIM BY THE HOMOSEXUAL COMMUNITY TO CAVE TO SAME-SEX MARRIAGE] 89 state legislative chambers with over 6,000 seats, and “important pro-life legislation, [TRADITIONAL MARRIAGE PROTECTION?], protecting religious liberties and getting rid of ObamaCare.”

The party is aiming at pastors, Connelly says, adding they shy away from talking about political issues.

Federal law requires that houses of worship must not endorse candidates if they want to retain their tax-exempt status. [ALL SOCIAL AND POLITICAL ISSUES ARE SUCCINCTLY COVERED IN THE SCRIPTURES. ALL THEY HAVE TO DO IS REITERATE TO THEIR CONGREGATIONS].

“Let’s overcome that myth of the IRS saying you can’t talk about this from the pulpit,” Connelly says. “Look, if there’s no freedom of speech in the pulpit, there’s no freedom of speech. Now is the time of righteous indignation.”

It’s a time to be the “turn-the-tables-over Jesus” and not the “meek, turn-the-other-cheek Jesus,” he adds.

“Registering to vote and preaching about Biblical values in the pulpit aren’t ‘political talk’ at all. They are imperatives that help ensure that the spiritual values that built our country live on in the political institutions that give us the laws that we live by,” Connelly wrote for the CP.

Evangelicals care about issues like abortion and same-sex marriage, which might be seen as divisive by some Republicans but are still important for the party to maintain the support they receive from the bloc.

“Many Republican leaders are tired of losing, they see some real opportunities to win, and that means they have to fire on all cylinders, if you will. And this is a key constituency,” says John Green, head of the Ray C. Bliss Institute of Applied Politics at the University of Akron, according to Religion News Service. “They don’t have to woo them to the party as much as they need to woo them to the polls.”

EDITORS NOTE: An earlier version of this column wrongly attributed the quotes in the press release to Peter Feaman, Florida National Committeeman. That was an error. We apologize to Mr. Feaman for this error in reporting. The revised article properly attributes those comments.