Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Make America Good Again

For months now, Donald Trump’s campaign for the U.S. presidency has seduced tens of millions with the cry of “Make America Great Again!”




There’s a good reason for this. Tens of millions of Americans—myself included—are convinced that America is off course. The Real Clear Politics polling average on “the direction of the country” reveals that over two-thirds of Americans believe that the country is on the “wrong track.” Polling reveals that this has been the case for years. (Click the link at the end of the recent average to view years of polling on the direction of the country.)

A “track” implies something singularly linear, the implication being that if we simply elect the right sort of people from the right kind of party, we will turn the country in the right direction. Few things are further from the truth. Dwight Eisenhower once said, “Never let yourself be persuaded that any one Great Man, any one leader, is necessary to the salvation of America. When America consists of one leader and 158 million followers, it will no longer be America.”

The responsibility for the direction of America lies in the hands of individual Americans, especially American Christians. In the late 1970s, in their seminal book The Light and the Glory, authors Peter Marshall and David Manuel wrote, “It is the most dangerous kind of corporate self-delusion to think that a President, regardless of how much he heeds God, can reverse the bent of the national will, once it is set in a certain direction…which seems to put the responsibility directly upon each of us who has a personal relationship with our Savior—much as we might like to blame the immorality of others for the precipitous rate of decline. But the responsibility is ours, and it always has been.”

The reason the responsibility is ours is because more than any other single factor, the decline of America is the result of decades of attack on the Judeo-Christian worldview. As renowned Christian apologist Ravi Zacharias noted in the fall of 2008, in the race for President of the United States, Mike Huckabee was almost always described as “a former Baptist minister.” Whenever he would speak of his faith, Mitt Romney was described as “a Mormon.”

However, as Zacharias himself puts it, “It is fascinating that the media, in a calculated way, does not mention Barack Obama’s middle name — Hussein — lest society see this as religiously prejudicial toward him. This is a clear attack on the Judeo-Christian worldview, the only worldview that could justify the existence of a nation like America.”

As documented in my soon-to-be-published book, The Miracle and Magnificence of America, in an election day sermon on April 25, 1799, Jedidiah Morse—noted American geographer, pastor, theologian, and the father of Samuel Morse—warned Americans:

“The foundations which support the interest of Christianity, are also necessary to support a free and equal government like our own…To the kindly influence of Christianity we owe that degree of civil freedom, and political and social happiness which mankind now enjoy. In proportion as the genuine effects of Christianity are diminished in any nation, either through unbelief, or the corruption of its doctrines, or the neglect of its institutions; in the same proportion will the people of that nation recede from the blessings of genuine freedom, and approximate the miseries of complete despotism.”

In other words, it’s the “foundations” of Christianity that support life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness that we all enjoy in America, and the quickest and surest way to turn the United States of America into a nation unrecognizable to those who lived only a few generations ago is to destroy these foundations.

As King Saul sought to kill David, Psalm 11 records David lamenting, “When the foundations are being destroyed, what can the righteous do? (Psalm 11:3)” On this, legendary biblical commentator Matthew Henry concludes, “The principles of religion [here, of course, Henry is referring to the one true “religion:” Christianity] are the foundations on which the faith and hope of the righteous are built. These we are concerned, in interest as well as duty, to hold fast against all temptations to infidelity; for, if these be destroyed, if we let these go, What can the righteous do?”

An old adage (sometimes wrongly attributed to Alexis de Tocqueville) often referenced (at least the final sentence) by politicians of the last several decades (among them Dwight Eisenhower, Ronald Reagan, and Bill Clinton) declares that,

“I sought for the greatness and genius of America in her commodious harbors and her ample rivers—and it was not there . . . in her fertile fields and boundless forests and it was not there . . . in her rich mines and her vast world commerce—and it was not there . . . in her democratic Congress and her matchless Constitution—and it was not there. Not until I went into the churches of America and heard her pulpits flame with righteousness did I understand the secret of her genius and power. America is great because she is good, and if America ever ceases to be good, she will cease to be great.”

In other words, to any degree that America has lost her greatness, she has lost her goodness. Any lofty claims about “making America great again”—especially by biblically-illiterate, adulterous, strip-club owning, casino magnate’s like Donald Trump—that aren’t accompanied by a corresponding commitment to goodness—to truth and righteousness—are mere hyperbole rooted in vain folly.

Copyright 2016, Trevor Grant Thomas
At the Intersection of Politics, Science, Faith, and Reason.
www.trevorgrantthomas.com
Trevor and his wife Michelle are the authors of: Debt Free Living in a Debt Filled World
tthomas@trevorgrantthomas.com

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Coming Soon!!! The Miracle and Magnificence of America

For the past two-and-a-half years, most of my time writing has been put into a single project: The Miracle and Magnificence of America.



With over two-dozen chapters, hundreds of footnotes, and more than 85,000 words, The Miracle and Magnificence of America chronicles from the very beginning of this nation--from the time of Columbus--until the modern era, how the hand, the Word, the wisdom, and the blessings of God made the United States of America into the greatest nation the world has ever known.

The back cover reads:

On June 21, 1776, just days before the adoption of the Declaration of Independence, John Adams, wrote to his cousin, Zabdiel Adams, a graduate of Harvard University and a renowned preacher of the Gospel. He said, “Statesmen…may plan and speculate for Liberty, but it is Religion and Morality alone, which can establish the Principles upon which Freedom can securely stand. The only foundation of a free Constitution is pure Virtue, and if this cannot be inspired into our People in a greater Measure than they have it now, they may change their Rulers and the forms of Government, but they will not obtain a lasting Liberty.”

Of course, the only source of “pure Virtue” is the Creator who has endowed us with our “certain inalienable Rights.” The Miracle and Magnificence of America reveals how the “Religion and Morality” of Jesus Christ laid the foundation for the greatest nation in the history of humanity and is the foundation for the lasting—but tragically fading—liberty enjoyed by hundreds of millions of Americans for over two centuries. 

The Miracle and Magnificence of America will soon (in a matter of weeks!) be available at Amazon, Books-a-Million, Barnes and Noble, as well as other online retailers. Stay tuned for more information!

Copyright 2016, Trevor Grant Thomas
At the Intersection of Politics, Science, Faith, and Reason.
www.trevorgrantthomas.com
Trevor and his wife Michelle are the authors of: Debt Free Living in a Debt Filled World
tthomas@trevorgrantthomas.com

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

North Georgia Abortion Zealots and Their Cookies

A few years ago I participated in a forum at Gainesville College (now the University of North Georgia) entitled "What Role Should Religion Play in Government?" It was hosted by the humanist club, or atheist club, or some such group who want Christians to no longer have a role in American government, and for that matter, the culture in general. Because central to the teaching of Christianity is that human beings must surrender the throne of our lives to the One who paid the debt that we all owe, and that none of us can pay.

Of course, surrendering control of our lives to one greater than ourselves seems madness to those who are determined to have their own way in this world. Few things today reveal this more than the willingness of many to kill the most helpless and defenseless among us: a child in the womb. In order to promote such wickedness, the atheists at the University of North Georgia have resorted to unusual means.

According to information published by Matt Walsh, said atheists fashioned cookies in the form of tiny babies, and celebrated their slaughter of the unborn by "eating the baby cookies or breaking the heads off and laughing." And take note of the messages these abortion apologists penned to further their sick and sad agenda:



The one on the right is a common refrain by those so devoted to themselves, but I have to admit, the one on the left is a new one on me. Liberal "crybullies" across the U.S. have expressed fear, alarm, and outrage at political messages scrawled in sidewalk chalk. They demand "safe spaces" so that don't have to listen to anyone who might challenge their ignorant and selfish worldview. Yet, somehow it's okay to mimic the death of children in order further the perverse liberal sexual agenda.

As I've noted often before (borrowing from John MacArthur), within the moral realm in our culture, the battle is almost exclusively about sex. I urge every Christian to get engaged. Challenge your church--your pastor, your Sunday school, your small group, and so on--to get engaged in this epic spiritual battle. Boldly spread the truth with your words and with your actions. Parents teach your children the truth on marriage and sexuality. And if your church refuses to stand for the truth in these grave matters, you need to find a new church.

Copyright 2016, Trevor Grant Thomas
At the Intersection of Politics, Science, Faith, and Reason.
www.trevorgrantthomas.com
Trevor and his wife Michelle are the authors of: Debt Free Living in a Debt Filled World
tthomas@trevorgrantthomas.com

Sunday, April 17, 2016

In the Georgia District Conventions, Trump Got Exactly What the Electorate Wanted

Yesterday, representing Hall County, my lovely wife Michelle was a delegate for the 9th district GOP convention in Georgia. While there, she voted on multiple resolutions and voted to select the delegates and the alternates to the national convention. Three delegates were chosen, along with three alternates.

Tellingly, Michelle reported to me that while voting on the delegates, some of the voters would shout out "We need to know who they are for!" An officer leading the proceedings declared that the candidates were not required to reveal who they were "for." However--as I suppose is usually the case--there was enough information being spread around the convention to deduce which GOP candidate for U.S. President each delegate was supporting (some were literally wearing their support on their sleeve).

The 9th congressional district of Georgia is one of the most conservative districts in the country. Unsurprisingly, Ted Cruz had the most support at yesterday's meeting in Dillard, Georgia. Evidently, this was the case across all of the district conventions in Georgia. Yesterday, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution (AJC) reported that Donald Trump got "outmaneuvered by Ted Cruz forces in Georgia." Of course, this sent the Trump supporters into a tizzy.

Today, the AJC reports that Trump supporters "stormed out of a Georgia GOP convention." After being denied delegate positions, showing a grainy photo of a man snatching the U.S. flag, the article notes that Trump supporters "bolted the 7th district GOP convention." The Trump propaganda machine took such information and (again) began shouting that Trump had been "cheated."

The Trump apologists at Breitbart reported on an "Uproar In The Hall." Of course, Drudge--another rabid Trump apologist--prominently placed a link to the Breitbart piece at the top of his page. As Rush Limbaugh noted on the selection of Cruz delegates in Colorado, this is not Ted Cruz "cheating," this is Ted Cruz "winning."

As I posted on the AJC and Breitbart yesterday, Trump did not win a majority of the vote in GA (39%), he won a plurality. A significant majority voted for someone else (Cruz and Rubio totaled 48% together), thus Trump's struggle to get supportive delegates is no surprise. Trump will get his promised delegates on the first ballot at the convention, but if he doesn't get 1,237, the delegates can vote as they like.

There's nothing nefarious going on here. There's certainly no "fraud." Of the 20 counties represented in the Georgia 9th district (see a the vote by each Georgia county here), Trump won a majority of the vote in only two of those counties (Fannin: 53%, Gilmer: 52%). Thus, 90% of the counties in the Georgia 9th preferred another candidate to Mr. Trump. When given a choice of only Trump or Cruz (which they did not have in the primary), it is clear that most voters in these counties prefer Cruz. Thus, it is perfectly legitimate for these districts to send delegates to the national convention that represent such an outcome.

What's more, this is true across Georgia. Trump rarely won a majority of the vote in any Georgia county. This is how the process works when the field is narrowed to the three GOP candidates that we now have, and when no candidate looks likely to secure 1,237. All that the Georgia district conventions did yesterday was again reveal the disorganization and weakness of Trump's national GOP campaign.

Copyright 2016, Trevor Grant Thomas
At the Intersection of Politics, Science, Faith, and Reason.
www.trevorgrantthomas.com
Trevor and his wife Michelle are the authors of: Debt Free Living in a Debt Filled World
tthomas@trevorgrantthomas.com

Saturday, April 9, 2016

The “Bigger Problems” of Georgia’s Governor Nathan Deal

The Governor of my home state of Georgia, Nathan Deal, has been soundly, and frequently, taken to task for his recent “Craven Capitulation” on religious liberty. I don’t wish to rehash the merits of the very weak bill Deal rejected (it only protected churches, religious schools, and “integrated auxiliaries”), nor do I wish to highlight again the rampant ignorance and hypocrisy of those who lobbied Deal to veto religious liberty in Georgia. What I would like to do here is give some explanation as to why I believe Deal caved on the defining moral issue of his governorship.

Chelsen Vicari at The Institute of Religion and Democracy hinted at the problem when she wrote of Governor Deal’s veto, “When corporate bullies dangling dollar bills is enough to cause a Baptist governor to veto a bill protecting freedom of conscience and speech, a bigger problem exits.”

Vicari goes on to conclude, “Gov. Nathan Deal’s veto of Georgia’s religious freedom bill represents a wider movement among America’s Christians to compromise Scripture and morality for the sake of votes and popularity. Unfortunately, many Evangelicals, Mainline Protestants, and Catholics are bowing down at altars of sexual liberation and political correctness, erected by cultural Leftists.”

The “wider movement” Vacari references is especially prevalent in the Catholic Church and Mainline Protestantism. This eagerness to compromise Scripture and morality is due to the widespread embrace of what Russell Moore, president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, calls “near Christianity.” It seems that Mr. Deal has been steeped in such wishy-washy theology for decades.

A day after Deal’s veto, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary President Albert Mohler described in a podcast Deal’s rationale for vetoing the religious liberty bill as a “moral and political evasion.” Dr. Mohler also pointed out that Deal is acting as an agent in the liberal “theological agenda” that is helping to progress the homosexual agenda.

Given the theology of Governor Deal’s church, this should come as little surprise. As Dr. Mohler also noted, Governor Deal is a member of The First Baptist Church of Gainesville, Georgia. Since the early 1990s, First Baptist of Gainesville has been affiliated with the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship (CBF), a more liberal association of Baptist churches than is the Southern Baptist Convention.

On homosexuality, CBF declares, “CBF does not issue ‘official’ positions on homosexuality or other social issues because it violates the Fellowship’s mission as a network of individuals and churches. CBF values and respects the autonomy of each individual and local church to evaluate and make their own decision regarding social issues like homosexuality.” In other words, CBF chooses to ignore Scripture and remain silent on one of the most pressing moral (not merely “social”) issues of our time.

After the infamous Obergefell ruling last year in which the U.S. Supreme Court abandoned the eternal truth on marriage, the pastor of First Baptist of Gainesville, Bill Coates wrote,

“People of deep faith and convictions exist on both sides of the LGBT and gay marriage question. Ultimately, it comes down to how an individual interprets Scripture and how churches interpret Scripture. If read with strict literalism, one can always point to passages that appear to condemn many kinds of behavior…Reading the Bible literally can lead us to the embracing of attitudes that in fact move us from Christlikeness.”

Of course, when the Bible speaks literally, as it does on homosexuality, we are to take it literally. Dr. Coates, who has pastored First Baptist for the last 18 years, went on to write,

“Each church will have to decide how to walk through this marriage equality debate. I think we should respect those who choose to allow their ministers not to perform same-sex weddings out of their own deep convictions, and I think we should respect churches that choose to allow their ministers that right, for they make their choice out of deep convictions, too…I say this: I do not always know what the truth is, but I can always tell what love is. I believe love is the greatest of all, and to do the loving thing will always be the right thing. Most congregations will eventually find their way there.”

Dr. Mohler concluded that Coates could only have meant “that most congregations will eventually get to an affirmation of same-sex marriage in one way or another.”

Jim Galloway, a long-time political reporter for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution (AJC), recently reported on the “Baptist-on-Baptist fight” that resulted from Georgia’s religious liberty debate. Galloway asked Dr. Coates “whether the governor’s veto reflected the values of the First Baptist Church of Gainesville.”

Coates replied, “My perception is that the great majority of our congregants are very supportive of Governor Deal’s veto of this bill — primarily for two reasons. First, we hold to the strong historical Baptist principle of separation of church and state.”

I suppose the only thing surprising here is that it took Dr. Coates this long to play the “separation of church and state” card. How tragically ironic that the pastor of a Baptist church in Georgia would resort to using eight words of Thomas Jefferson’s letter to the Danbury Baptists in 1801 in order to justify denying his fellow pastors protection of their religious liberties.

Jefferson’s letter to the Danbury Baptists was a reply to a letter the Baptists wrote on October 7, 1801 congratulating him on his election as U.S. President. Along with their congratulations, the Danbury Baptists expressed grave concern over the First Amendment’s guarantee of the “free exercise of religion.” These Baptists felt that inclusion of such in the U.S. Constitution implied that the right of religious freedom was government-given and not God-given.

Hence, they wrote, “Our sentiments are uniformly on the side of religious liberty: that religion is at all times and places a matter between God and individuals, that no man ought to suffer in name, person, or effects on account of his religious opinions, [and] that the legitimate power of civil government extends no further than to punish the man who works ill to his neighbor. But sir, our constitution of government is not specific… [T]herefore what religious privileges we enjoy (as a minor part of the State) we enjoy as favors granted, and not as inalienable rights.” (Emphasis mine.)

Oh the irony of ironies! The Danbury Baptists, it turns out, wrote Jefferson in the name of “religious liberty!” Does it sound as if these Baptists would support the government forcing individual Christians, or Christian-owned businesses, or Christian-led institutions to accommodate the homosexual agenda?

And neither would Thomas Jefferson. Each of the original 13 colonies treated homosexuality as a serious criminal offense. Jefferson himself authored such a law for the state of Virginia, prescribing that the punishment for sodomy was to be castration. Why have modern courts ignored this?

Further demonstrating his lack of knowledge of the truth, three years ago, the Bill Coates-led First Baptist of Gainesville, along with three other liberal-leaning denominations in Gainesville, GA sponsored the appearance of the (late) infamous heretic Marcus Borg at a two-day lecture series on the campus of a Gainesville university. Borg was a fellow of the Jesus Seminar and a major figure in the heretical “historical Jesus” movement.

According to apologist Greg Koukl, the so-called “scholars” of the Jesus Seminar “have rejected as myth the resurrection of Jesus from the dead, the virgin birth, all Gospel miracles, and a full 82% of the teachings normally attributed to Jesus—all dismissed as legendary accretions with no historical foundation. For example, only two words of the Lord’s Prayer survive as authentic: ‘Our Father.’” In other words, they are “Christians” who reject virtually every tenet of Christianity, and Nathan Deal’s pastor saw fit to promote such false teaching.

At the time, in the local paper, Dr. Coates flatteringly described Borg as someone who “speaks of an emerging paradigm to see faith and practice faith in an age of science and technology.” Coates added that, “So many people don’t believe today because they don’t believe the basic doctrines or have trouble understanding the stories of the Bible. For people like that, Borg has a new approach, a new lens through which they can see those stories.” Borg’s “new lens” gives new meaning to the Apostle Paul’s “dim mirror.”

Perhaps the most troubling news concerning Governor Deal’s church—where he has served as both a deacon and a Sunday school teacher—was revealed recently in a 2,800-word exposé by the AJC. The First Baptist Church of Gainesville, GA, along with a former pastor (who served just prior to Dr. Coates), are being sued for their supposed role in hiding the sexual abuse committed by a former deacon, Fleming Weaver. While a Scout Leader for a Boy Scout troop sponsored by First Baptist of Gainesville, Weaver sexually abused multiple young boys.

In 1981, when some of his victims brought information to First Baptist, Weaver admitted to church leadership that he had indeed sexually abused several young boys. Reportedly, the church chose not to reveal Weaver's abuse to the Boy Scouts or to law enforcement and allowed Weaver to remain in church leadership. The alleged victim bringing the lawsuit accuses Weaver of raping him in 1985, when the boy was 15. According to the AJC, Dr. Coates “acknowledged he had heard the rumors about Weaver, ‘but there was never any kind of proof.’” Weaver, now 82-years-old, remained a deacon at First Baptist until just a few weeks ago when this story hit the news.

It should come as little surprise that a church that would allow an abuser of children to avoid the law and remain in leadership, that would sponsor the speeches of a heretic, that shrugged its shoulders at the legal redefinition of the oldest institution in the history of humanity, and that cites Jefferson’s wall in order to justify not protecting the religious liberties of pastors, would also give us a Governor who would “compromise Scripture and morality for the sake of votes and popularity.”

Sadly, as is so often the case with those who are steeped in “near Christianity,” as another Baptist pastor in Gainesville, Dr. Tom Smiley, put it, with his veto of religious liberty, Governor Deal “missed his moment.” (In other words, he missed his “Esther moment.”) However, if the Georgia legislature has its way—like Peter, Jonah, Samson, King David, and other trophies of God’s grace and mercy—Governor Deal may get another shot at doing what is right.

(See this column at American Thinker.)

Copyright 2016, Trevor Grant Thomas
At the Intersection of Politics, Science, Faith, and Reason.
www.trevorgrantthomas.com
Trevor and his wife Michelle are the authors of: Debt Free Living in a Debt Filled World
tthomas@trevorgrantthomas.com

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Travel Bans, Bathroom Trans--More Liberal Madness

Only a modern liberal would predicate their moral outrage upon a cause that runs contrary to biology that a three year-old can understand, and that is championed by an unrepentant registered sex offender. Yesterday, the Mayor of Atlanta, Kasim Reed, joined several other apologists for the perverse homosexual agenda and banned non-essential travel by city of Atlanta employees to the state of North Carolina.




Just a few weeks ago, I said that it's hard to imagine what's next for the liberal-led homosexual agenda. I have to admit that I never imagined that we would need special laws or ordinances to keep the gender-confused in the correct bathrooms. And I certainly never imagined that such laws would be in any way controversial. Atlanta joins New York City, and state, as well as San Francisco, Seattle, the District of Columbia and Boston in protesting North Carolina's common sense (and tragic that it was even necessary) law.

This is what liberalism does. This is what happens when liberals run things. There seems to be no end to their perversion. Whether sex, marriage, the family, the unborn, gender, education, the military, immigration, spending, and the like, on virtually every issue debated today, liberals are on the wrong side of the truth. Thus, today's liberals can be trusted with almost nothing.

And if you (again) need further evidence what it means to support the so-called "rights" of men who wish to dress and act as women, the video below presents shocking evidence of what such perversion has wrought, and implores real women to "Decide For Yourselves."



Update: As most who have followed this story already know, just like in the religious liberty fight, the hypocrisy among liberals extends well beyond those in government positions. After North Carolina banned men from women's restrooms, PayPal cancelled a planned expansion in the state.

PayPayl's president and chief executive, Dan Schulman, wrote in a statement on Tuesday: "The new law perpetuates discrimination and it violates the values and principles that are at the core of PayPal's mission and culture. As a result, PayPal will not move forward with our planned expansion into Charlotte."

As PJ Media's Rick Moran notes, "How pious. How noble. How hypocritical." Moran continues: "PayPal partnered with a Middle East payment company, Network International, to open an office in Dubai. The United Arab Emirates employs the penalty of death to those convicted of being gay or performing gay sex.  So PayPal punishes North Carolina for keeping men out of the ladies' room while sucking up to a government that executes people just because they're gay. Because, justice."

As Dr. Michael Brown also notes, "PayPal made its plans to open new offices in Charlotte many months before the Charlotte bathroom bill was passed in February (and subsequently overturned). In other words, six months ago or one year ago, when all the laws were exactly as they are today, PayPal was quite happy to do business in Charlotte."

And as the folks at RedState point out, "Paypal has no problem maintaining operations in areas like Singapore, Malaysia, and Saudi Arabia – all known for their stringent anti-LGBT policies (and they don’t stop at just prohibiting mixed bathrooms)." 

The reason liberals so often find themselves caught in such hypocrisy is that (as I've noted before), for liberals the moral demands are few. Thus, governing, or running a business, becomes a matter of seeking and even manufacturing what is popular, not what is right. 

Copyright 2016, Trevor Grant Thomas
At the Intersection of Politics, Science, Faith, and Reason.
www.trevorgrantthomas.com
Trevor and his wife Michelle are the authors of: Debt Free Living in a Debt Filled World
tthomas@trevorgrantthomas.com

Monday, March 28, 2016

Georgia's Governor Nathan Deal Caves on Religious Liberty

In the light of Georgia Governor Nathan Deal's veto of a very weak religious liberty bill, I have a few questions for the governor and those who support this veto. As has often been the case in the modern debate over marriage, in his remarks today defending his veto of the watered down religious liberty bill, Governor Deal mentioned "language that could give rise to state-sanctioned discrimination."

Tell us, Governor, was it "discrimination" when, in 2004, 76% of Georgia voters made it unconstitutional for the state to recognize or perform same-sex "marriages" or civil unions? Was it "discrimination" when, by an average margin of nearly 68%, voters in over 30 other states did the same (or similar)? If not for a narrow 5-4 decision by the U.S. Supreme Court that ignored the eternal truth on marriage, all of these laws would still stand. What happens if a more conservative court reverses last year's infamous decision? Is it only "discrimination" when the courts tell us that is the case?

In a seeming swipe at the Christian community, Governor Deal added, "I find it ironic that today some in the religious community feel it necessary to ask the government to confer upon them certain rights and protections. If indeed our religious liberty is conferred by God and not by man-made government, we should heed the 'hands-off' admonition of the First Amendment to our Constitution." I wonder if then Congressman Nathan Deal found it "ironic" when, in 1993 he was voting in support of the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

Christian conservatives know well where our rights originate, and we're certainly not asking for new ones from the government. This is exactly what liberals do. This is exactly what happened when the U.S. Supreme Court decided it could redefine the oldest institution in the history of humanity. Christians only need government to protect us in situations like this, when liberals have conferred new-found "rights" upon a group--in this case, "rights" that went unnoticed and unrecognized for nearly two centuries in the U.S.

As I've pointed out before, it is noteworthy that the due process clauses of the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments (the Fourteenth Amendment being ratified in 1868) did nothing to prevent all 50 U.S. states, including each state that entered the union after 1868, from enacting laws against homosexual behavior. As recently as 1961, sodomy was a felony in every state in the U.S.

In other words, for nearly 200 years and without any Constitutional conflictions or any "hands-off" approach, or any serious debate, homosexual behavior in America was seen as immoral and therefore illegal. Thus, we see that the Founders--the authors of the First Amendment to which Governor Deal refers--do nothing but support the traditional (biblical) view of marriage.

Again, those behind the homosexual agenda are not looking for compromise. As they have targeted Christians and Christian-owned businesses in other states, they will eventually target para-church organizations and the church. We must have politicians with the moral conviction to stand against the perverse homosexual agenda. Of course, this means an electorate with the moral conviction to choose such politicians. And this means revival.

Again, after our relationship with our Creator, the most important relationship in the universe is the relationship between a husband and his wife. Marriage is the oldest institution in the history of humanity—older than God's covenant with the nation of Israel, older than The Law, older than the church. Marriage is one of the earliest truths revealed by God. If ANYTHING is true, marriage as the union of one man and one woman is true. On this, there can NEVER be compromise.

Copyright 2016, Trevor Grant Thomas
At the Intersection of Politics, Science, Faith, and Reason.
www.trevorgrantthomas.com
Trevor and his wife Michelle are the authors of: Debt Free Living in a Debt Filled World
tthomas@trevorgrantthomas.com

Saturday, March 26, 2016

The Impact of the Empty Tomb

At this time of year Christians celebrate Easter, or as I prefer, Resurrection Sunday. As one scans history, no other date put such a mark in time as when Jesus Christ shed His grave-clothes and departed the tomb.

Of all the religions of the world, only Christianity claims an empty tomb for its founder. The physical resurrection of Jesus is the cornerstone of Christianity. British theologian Michael Green said it well when he noted, “Without faith in the resurrection there would be no Christianity at all.” Noted biblical scholar, professor, and author Wilbur M. Smith said that, “The resurrection of Christ is the very citadel of the Christian faith. This is the doctrine that turned the world upside down…” Indeed it did.

C.S. Lewis notes that, “In the earliest days of Christianity an ‘apostle’ was first and foremost a man who claimed to be an eyewitness of the Resurrection,” or more accurately, a witness of the resurrected Christ. He adds that, “to preach Christianity meant primarily to preach the Resurrection.” And preach they did.

The transformation of the disciples of Jesus is one of the greatest evidences of His resurrection. For decades following Jesus’ death and resurrection they preached His “good news.” Biblical references and strong extra-biblical sources have almost all of the disciples dying martyrs’ deaths. James, the son of Zebedee, according to Scripture was, “put to death by the sword (probably beheaded).” According to early church historians Peter was crucified in Rome, and Paul (of course not one of the original 12, but an apostle nonetheless) was beheaded there. Strong church tradition has Thomas, the “doubting” disciple, being run through with a spear.

The manner of martyrdom of the other disciples is less clear, but strong evidence suggests all, save John, died horrific deaths because of their faith. Their unwavering efforts spread the gospel to many regions of the world, including Rome, Greece, Armenia, Persia, Syria, India, Egypt, Libya, Arabia, and North Africa.

The faith of Jesus’ Apostles spread to thousands upon thousands in a relatively short period of time. Many of the early believers suffered intense persecution as well. Fulton Oursler, in The Greatest Faith Ever Known, notes that “Thousands of these men and women would die themselves in the arena, burning on pitch-soaked pyres, crucified, they would die for Jesus Christ, and for the Faith, the Church that Christ founded.”

The persecution of the church continued for centuries. After Constantine’s conversion in the year 312 the church passed from persecution to privilege. Councils were called, the Scriptures were translated into various languages, and missionaries carried the gospel to ever farther reaches of the world.

The influence that Christianity has had on the world can be measured in practically every facet of life. Everything from the family, to science, government, medicine, art, literature, business, and so on, has felt the impact of the message of the Resurrection of Christ.

The world’s first university, birthed in 1088, was The University of Bologna in Italy. It was founded to teach canon law. The second oldest university, The University of Paris, grew out of the cathedral schools of Notre-Dame and soon became a great center for Christian orthodox studies. Dr. Alvin J. Schmidt, in his book Under the Influence: How Christianity Transformed Civilization, points out that every college established in colonial America, except the University of Pennsylvania, was founded by some denomination of Christianity. He adds that, preceding the Civil War, 92 percent of the 182 colleges and universities in the U.S. were established by some branch of the church.

Many of the greatest artists in history: Rembrandt, Michelangelo, Donatello, Da Vinci, and Salvador Dali were Christians. This is evident in that many of the great works they produced were scenes or characters from Scripture. Beethoven, considered by many to be the world’s greatest composer, composed some of the most profound Christian masterpieces of history. Johann Sebastian Bach was, as one scholar put it, indeed “a Christian who lived with the Bible.”

Americans are the most generous people on the earth. Take note of the number of influential charities inspired by Christianity. Among them are The Salvation Army, Campus Crusade, Catholic Charities, Compassion International, Habitat for Humanity, World Vision, and the YMCA. Through charities such as these, and through the efforts of tens-of-thousands of U.S. churches, and tens-of-millions of U.S. Christians, Americans account for nearly half of all charitable giving worldwide. What’s more, the U.S. government gives more than any other nation on earth.

Christians lead the world in caring for the sick and dying among us. As Virginia Health Information notes, “Some of the earliest hospitals existed in ancient Rome in 100 BC as important centers for the emergency care of sick and wounded soldiers. With the spread of Christianity, hospitals grew as part of the church's mission and became part of the community as they tended to health care not only for soldiers but also for all who needed it.”

The first hospital in North America, the Hospital de Jesus Nazareno, was founded by Cortés. With the aid of Benjamin Franklin, the first hospital in the U.S, Pennsylvania Hospital, was founded by a Quaker, Dr. Thomas Bond. The Catholic Church alone operates over 1,100 hospitals and long-term health care facilities in the U.S. What’s more, a 2010 study revealed that Christian hospitals in the U.S. outperform all others. About 25% of U.S. hospitals are Christian.

The great nation that we inhabit was founded almost exclusively by Christians and upon Christian principles. On July 4, 1837, in a speech delivered in the town of Newburyport Massachusetts, John Quincy Adams, son of John Adams, and the 6th U.S. President, proclaimed,

“Why is it that, next to the birthday of the Savior of the World, your most joyous and most venerated festival returns on this day? [Independence Day] Is it not that, in the chain of human events, the birthday of the nation is indissolubly linked with the birthday of the Savior? Is it not that the Declaration of Independence first organized the social compact on the foundation of the Redeemer’s mission upon earth?”

Witnessing the events of the Revolution as a boy, and no-doubt hearing from his father of the raucous debates that gave us the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, and then going on to serve his country in many various capacities, John Quincy Adams saw that Christmas and Independence Day were fundamentally linked. And of course, the “Redeemer’s mission” was not complete until He hung on the cross, died for our sins, and then left His earthly tomb. Adams understood well that the Founders took the principles that Christ brought to the world and incorporated those into civil government. This is what makes the U.S. government so distinctive, why it has been so durable, and why, to this day, we are the greatest nation the world has ever known.

The United States has become the world’s wealthiest, most powerful, most influential nation in world history. Standing for freedom and justice and operating out of love, whether through its government or private citizens, the United States of America has come to the aid and rescue of billions of people around the world.

The current year is 2016. This is not 2016 years from Caesar, Buddha, or Mohammed, but from the birth of Jesus Christ. Dan Flynn notes that, “The attempt to replace Anno Domini (AD) and BC (Before Christ) with BCE (Before Common Era) and CE (Common Era) is yet another exercise in futility. Doesn't this Common Era, after all, begin with the life of Christ?”

The impact of Christ’s resurrection can be seen in institutions and industries, in calendars and carols, in tribes and in nations. As I said earlier, virtually every facet of our lives has been impacted by the empty tomb left by Jesus. However, I believe that the power of Jesus is most noticeable in the lives of individuals who have surrendered to Him. Though we may acknowledge Him on our currency, and measure our years from His birth, our only real hope is in His resurrection.

Copyright 2016, Trevor Grant Thomas
At the Intersection of Politics, Science, Faith, and Reason.
www.trevorgrantthomas.com
Trevor and his wife Michelle are the authors of: Debt Free Living in a Debt Filled World
tthomas@trevorgrantthomas.com

Monday, March 21, 2016

Ignorance and Hypocrisy Abound over Georgia’s Religious Liberty Bill

I suppose none of us should be surprised that the apologists for homosexuality are also capable of rampant and unrepentant hypocrisy. Nevertheless, the duplicity recently on display in Georgia belongs in the hypocrisy hall of fame.

After the U.S. Supreme Court’s infamous Obergefell decision, and after previous efforts at a religious liberty bill failed, and in order to protect its citizens from the militant homosexual agenda, legislators in Georgia felt renewed urgency to join over 30 other U.S. states which have similar religious liberty legislation or provisions.

The debate raged for months. Throughout this period, the media in Georgia was saturated with articles and commentary on how bad such legislation would be for the state. Corporations across Georgia and the U.S., along with local sports teams were not shy about letting their voices be heard. With unsurprising unanimity, they came down on the side of the perverse homosexual agenda. And of course, the word “discrimination” was hurled around indiscriminately.

Virgin CEO Richard Branson tweeted out, “Georgia must stop discrimination in the name of religious freedom.” Yet, Virgin Group is a worldwide conglomerate and does business in places like The United Arab Emirates (UAE), Saudi Arabia, and Oman. LGBT “rights” are non-existent in these Islamic nations. Both The UAE and Saudi Arabia allow for the death penalty as punishment for homosexual behavior.

Michael Dell, founder and CEO of Dell Inc., tweeted, “I agree and proud @SecureWorks joined against Georgia Bill that Shields Discrimination Against Gays.” Dell has offices in Communist China (enough said) and Singapore. Male-on-male sexual activity is illegal in Singapore. Additionally, Singapore has no recognition whatsoever of same-sex couples.

With a tweet that included the headline, “A Georgia Bill Shields Discrimination Against Gays,” Microsoft President Brad Smith said, “We agree with the Atlanta Chamber of Commerce on keeping Georgia a great place to do business.” It seems that for Microsoft a “great place to do business” also includes places like Singapore, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates. Additionally, of Newsweek’s “Top Twelve Most Homophobic Nations,” Microsoft does business in nine of them.

Other companies such as Coca-Cola, Google, Intel, and so on, are guilty of the same kind of hypocrisy. In late February of this year, after the Georgia Senate passed what Heritage Foundation’s Ryan Anderson called “a good bill that protects religious freedom,” he noted the “cultural cronyism” engaged in by corporate giants such as Hilton Worldwide, Marriott and InterContinental Hotels Group. As Anderson puts it, “Businesses in Georgia were always free to embrace gay marriage—to bake wedding cakes for gay marriages and make floral arrangements for same-sex nuptials—and many do, but now they want the government to force everyone in Georgia to do the same.”

Anderson also notes, “But if every Hilton, Marriott, and InterContinental hotel in Georgia already hosts receptions for newlywed same-sex couples—why can’t Georgia protect the mom-and-pop bed-and-breakfast or local Knights of Columbus hall that has a different set of beliefs about marriage? This law doesn’t harm minority rights; it protects them in the aftermath of the Supreme Court’s redefinition of marriage.

“The hypocrisy of big business lobbying against the law is astounding. They want to be free to operate in Georgia according to their values, but they don’t want small-business competitors to be free to operate according to theirs. If all of the major corporations are already in favor of gay marriage, then this religious freedom law poses no threat. It merely protects the rights of those who disagree.”

The hypocrisy is even more astounding when we see that Hilton Worldwide has hotels in China, Egypt, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, and the like. Marriott has hotels or resorts in Algeria, China, Egypt, and India. You get the idea.

With the aid of Georgia taxpayers (most of whom are against same-sex marriage), the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons are building a fancy new stadium. This state-of-the-art stadium has helped place Georgia in the running to host a Super Bowl in the near future. Multiple stories have run in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution warning that, “If Georgia chooses to turn the ‘religious liberty’ bill into law, be prepared: Atlanta may not get a Super Bowl.”

NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy is quoted as saying, “NFL policies emphasize tolerance and inclusiveness, and prohibit discrimination based on age, gender, race, religion, sexual orientation, or any other improper standard. Whether the laws and regulations of a state and local community are consistent with these policies would be one of many factors NFL owners may use to evaluate potential Super Bowl host sites.”

Along with Atlanta, other cities in the running for the next several Super Bowls are New Orleans, Tampa Bay, and Miami. With its warm, sunny climate, Florida has long been a favorite Super Bowl destination for the NFL. Never mind that Florida has a Religious Freedom law, and has since 1998. What’s more, there have been five Super Bowls in Florida (in 3 different cities) since 1998. Will the NFL now hold the Sunshine State to the same standard as Georgia? Texas also has a RFRA law, and it was in place when the new Cowboys Stadium housed the Super Bowl in 2011. Will Texas (a more conservative state than GA) now hold no more Super Bowls? (Next year’s Super Bowl is in Houston.)

Additionally, as Kyle Wingfield of the AJC points out, "In fact, the history of the Super Bowl since 1997 — when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled the federal RFRA did not apply to state and local governments — shows the vast majority of the games have been played in (or awarded to, in the case of the 2017 and 2018 games) states with similar laws on the questions of religious liberty and LGBT rights:

  • Fourteen out of the 21 were, or will be, played in states that by statute or court precedent use the “strict scrutiny” legal standard set by RFRA. The seven exceptions include the 2002 game in New Orleans, before Louisiana passed its RFRA, and the 2012 game in Indianapolis, before Indiana passed its RFRA.
  • Twelve of the 21 have no LGBT non-discrimination laws regarding employment; another four have laws affecting only public employees.
  • Sixteen of the 21 have no LGBT non-discrimination laws regarding housing.
  • Sixteen of the 21 have no LGBT non-discrimination laws regarding public accommodations."


Following passage of the legislation, all of the major professional teams in Georgia—the Atlanta Braves, Falcons, and Hawks—issued statements that sided with the homosexual agenda. The statements decried the so-called “discrimination” of the legislation and spoke of “inclusion.” It evidently escapes these organizations that professional sports teams are some of the most “discriminating” organizations in America.

In the combined 276-year history of MLB, the NFL, and the NBA, no woman has ever been a regular member of any of those leagues. For decades U.S. women have been excluded from the glory and the riches enjoyed by male professional athletes in America. Thanks to Obama and his minions, even the U.S. military has “seen the light” when it comes to women in combat. How dare these sports organizations continue to “discriminate” when it comes to women!

Of course, we all “discriminate” regularly. In fact, as I’ve pointed out before, “U.S. law itself is an instrument of comprehensive discrimination.” Though liberals never admit such, EVERY position in the marriage debate—including that of the Supreme Court—“discriminates.” You almost never hear homosexual apologists clamoring for the “rights” of the polygamous, incestuous, “throuples” (which is now promoted in a new TV show), and the like.

Nevertheless, the left’s cries of “discrimination” have been effective. Both the Georgia Speaker of the House, David Ralston, and Georgia Governor, Nathan Deal, capitulated to the point of using the language of the left when describing the noble efforts of Georgia legislators who wanted to protect Georgians from the tyranny of modern liberalism. Deal threatened a veto, and in a lame attempt to make his case, went so far as to use Scripture.

Thus, the “good bill” described by Ryan Anderson was gutted. Although the previous bill was already lacking, the language of the new legislation, “significantly waters down a religious freedom bill that had real force.” Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council declared that “timid lawmakers caved to misinformation campaigns from the Left and threats from big business. The bill, which was never as strong as it should have been, is now a tattered fig leaf now that House Speaker David Ralston has gutted the real protections for Georgia’s men and women of faith.”

Of course, the very premise of this debate is absurd. The idea that we need to protect citizens, small businesses, or whomever, who wish to hold to the definition of marriage that has prevailed for millennia the world over is further sign of the decline (if not the death) of our culture. As modern liberalism frequently demonstrates, when one abandons eternal truth, there is virtually no limit to the extremeness, hypocrisy, and folly that will follow.

After our relationship with our Creator, the most important relationship in the universe is the relationship between a husband and his wife. Marriage is the oldest institution in the history of humanity—older than God's covenant with the nation of Israel, older than The Law, older than the church. Marriage is one of the earliest truths revealed by God. If ANYTHING is true, marriage as the union of one man and one woman is true. On this, there can NEVER be compromise.

(See a version of this column at American Thinker.)

(See also: Governor Deal Sides with the Sodomites.)

Copyright 2016, Trevor Grant Thomas
At the Intersection of Politics, Science, Faith, and Reason.
www.trevorgrantthomas.com
Trevor and his wife Michelle are the authors of: Debt Free Living in a Debt Filled World
tthomas@trevorgrantthomas.com

Monday, March 14, 2016

Matt Drudge Pimps Anti-Cruz Propaganda

On his site today, prominently displayed in red headlines, and including an exclamation point, Matt Drudge has this:



Notice the right-hand column that deceptively reads "Video: Pastor Calls for Execution of Gays -- Then Introduces Ted Cruz at Conference!" 

If you only click on the link, you will easily see that the pastor shown, Kevin Swanson, in no way "calls for the execution of gays." When discussing homosexuals, Pastor Swanson references Romans 1:32 which says that those who engage in such things are "worthy of death" (or "deserve to die" in the English Standard translation). As is typical when reading such Scripture, the verses prior help give the proper context. Here's Romans 1:18-32:

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. 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. 
For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error. 
And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. Though they know God’s righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.
As any unbiased reader can see, those who "deserve to die" are those who practice any type of "ungodliness and unrighteousness." Of course, this is all of humanity since "all have sinned." And as even the most elementary observers of Christianity knows, this is why Jesus had to die for our sins. The "wages of sin" is death. Christ died so that we might live.

So thus, what we are really talking about here is sin, and that includes homosexuality. Unsurprisingly, the left and its apologists want nothing to do with calling homosexuality a "sin." We do not usually find Matt Drudge on the same side as modern liberals in such issues. However, sadly, this is the case here.

What's more, the event to which Drudge is referring is over 4 months old. It seems that Drudge, much like his cohorts at Breitbart, are so in the tank for Donald Trump that they will do and say almost anything to ensure that Trump is the GOP nominee. Mr. Trump is perhaps the most biblically ignorant hedonistic man (or woman) ever to run for the office of U.S. President. As I have often noted the last several months, Donald Trump has not proven himself trustworthy when it comes to matters important to conservatives. When it comes to marriage and sexuality (or immigration, abortion, national defense, the economy, and so on), this is certainly the case.

This is nothing more than a sad attempt to paint Ted Cruz as a religious extremist too out-of-touch for the American people. This is standard operating procedure for the left, but Mr. Drudge should know better.

Copyright 2016, Trevor Grant Thomas
At the Intersection of Politics, Science, Faith, and Reason.
www.trevorgrantthomas.com
Trevor and his wife Michelle are the authors of: Debt Free Living in a Debt Filled World
tthomas@trevorgrantthomas.com