Wednesday, April 15, 2009

In the Course of Human Events

When, in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bonds which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the laws of nature and of nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any form of government becomes destructive to these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shown that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security… (Congress of the Thirteen United States of America, July 4, 1776).

If this preamble to a unanimous Declaration was once justifiable, might it not be so again? cf. Romans 13:1-7:

Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God. Thereforewhoever resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God; and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves. For rulers are not a cause of fear for good behavior, but for evil. Do you want to have no fear of authority? Do what is good and you will have praise from the same; for it is a minister of God to you for good. But if you do what is evil, be afraid; for it does not bear the sword for nothing; for it is a minister of God, an avenger who brings wrath on the one who practices evil. Therefore it is necessary to be in subjection, not only because of wrath, but also for conscience’ sake. For because of this you also pay taxes, for rulers are servants of God, devoting themselves to this very thing. Render to all what is due them: tax to whom tax is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honor to whom honor

(The Apostle Paul before his execution during the reign of Nero).

Monday, April 13, 2009

America's wishy-washy pastors

Joseph Farah, nationally syndicated columnist, in an article appropriately titled: America's wishy-washy pastors recently chided Rick Warren’s role, or more explicitly “soft shoe act,” in California’s Prop 8 same-sex marriage battle. “America’s Pastor” voiced this rambling apology to his gay friends on CNN's "Larry King Live":

“You know, Larry, there was a story within a story that never got told…. In the first place, I am not an anti-gay or anti-gay marriage activist. I never have been, never will be. During the whole Proposition 8 thing, I never once went to a meeting, never once issued a statement, never – never once even gave an endorsement in the two years Prop 8 was going. The week before the – the vote, somebody in my church said, Pastor Rick, what – what do you think about this? And I sent a note to my own members that said, I actually believe that marriage is – really should be defined, that that definition should be – say between a man and a woman.”

"And then all of a sudden out of it, they made me, you know, something that I really wasn't…. And I actually – there were a number of things that were put out. I wrote to all my gay friends – the leaders that I knew – and actually apologized to them. That never got out…. And I was asked a question that made it sound like I equated gay marriage with pedophilia or incest, which I absolutely do not believe. And I actually announced that. All of the criticism came from people that didn't know me. Not a single criticism came from any gay leader who knows me.”

Farah’s response: “What are we to make of such mealy-mouthed, wishy-washy, namby-pamby hokum? It's a great illustration of America's most prominent church leader equivocating and backtracking and saying almost nothing coherent so that he will offend no one. Let me lay it on the line: This is not the way Yeshua talked or behaved. It is not the example of the one whom Rick Warren claims to emulate and worship. There is nothing prophetic or biblical or courageous or principled about this kind of Christian witness.”

As Farah continues, he sites Scripture that the equivocating “Pastor” has conveniently forgotten e.g., Leviticus 18:22, Romans 1:22-27, Matthew 19:4-6, and appropriately concludes: “There is no middle ground on this issue. Either you believe the Bible or you don't.”

And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder” (Matthew 19:4-6).