Why American Christians Should Condemn “Religious Liberty” Legislation

You are known by the company you keep.

This week the President signed an Executive Order allowing discrimination against the LGBTQ community in the name of “religious liberty.” Not surprisingly, lots of Conservative Christians applauded, and pointed skyward like a kicker nailing a winning field goal at the buzzer—and they should be mortified.

Jesus is not celebrating this.
This is not a win for the Gospel, it is a rejection of it.
It is not a defense of the Christian faith, but a perversion of it.
And it is
 is not an affirmation of religious liberty by our government—it is an attack on it.

The essence of what has been woven into our American Constitution for people of all faith traditions, is the individual freedom to worship as one chooses, unfettered by any individual or group. It is personal protection for all. That freedom was intended to create space here in this country where people of disparate religious convictions are equally able to pursue their religious practices without fear or suppression or censorship—and the freedom of all people to live without religious practices of any another, forced upon them.

This liberty, is not permission for one, small extremist segment of one religious tradition to impose its beliefs on the citizenry—no matter which segment of which tradition it is. In fact, that Christians seem to specifically benefit from this legislation is the very reason we who follow Jesus should reject it. Christianity was never supposed to be synonymous with power. It was born in obscurity and smallness; a grassroots movement of the low and ordinary, birthed by a homeless, itinerant preacher who kept company with lepers and prostitutes and beggars. That was its beauty: it welcomed diversity, it denounced power, it shunned affluence. Jesus was never about imposing his will upon anyone, but about people’s free decision to choose or reject him. He would never allow religion to be coerced, let alone mandated.

When religious liberty is used as justification for discrimination or when it impedes the daily life of those who don’t share our convictions, we move from merely having freedom, to demanding that others adopt our beliefs and adapt to our prejudices. We become a theocracy—and Christians, we cannot become a theocracy because Jesus would have had nothing to do with such things. He rejected privilege and dominance with every second of his humble existence, and he would be horrified by the bullying being done in his name under the guise of spirituality. It is the very kind of domineering religious shakedown that he repeatedly condemned in the Scriptures from the both the Jewish religious leaders and the Romans.

And when such religious manipulation targets those already among the most marginalized and at-risk (as it does the LGBTQ and Muslim-American communities), it runs in direct opposition to the core of our faith, which seeks to protect and shelter those that the powerful would swallow up. Legislation like this transforms us into the very thing Jesus was pushing hard against.

The heart of the Gospels, as witnessed in the life and ministry of Jesus, is a declaration of the inherent worth of all people; that all warrant dignity, respect, and love equally. Any Executive Order or legislation that denies that inherent worth, or that fosters and sanctions bigotry, even in the name of religion—is still bigotry, still hatred, and still in direct opposition to both the Constitution and the Gospel. 

Do we Christians really want to be known as the people who force others to conform to our preferences, through the might of legislative mandate? I don’t think so. I know it is not what Jesus would have us be known for. He said that it was the way that we loved one another: as we wish to be loved. That was our stated purpose and the desired legacy we should seek as we claim the name Christian.

In the Scriptures, in the 25th chapter of Matthew, Jesus gives his most explicit warning to those who neglect “the least among us;” those overlooked, vulnerable, and oppressed—as if they were neglecting Jesus himself. Far more than simply neglect, these religious liberty laws are doing intentional harm to the least, and to the image of God residing in all people; of all faiths, all races, all gender identities, and all sexual orientations. We cannot embrace Jesus and the tactics of this Presidency simultaneously. They are fully incompatible.

Christian, if you can’t differentiate between your personal freedom to worship as you desire, and a Government-decreed, forced compliance by people who don’t share your beliefs—you need to do better. We who are Christians should declare our unequivocal denouncement of these actions by our government, and we should instead, affirm the central call of our faith: to love our neighbor as ourselves—regardless of whether that neighbor worships the way we worship or loves the way we love.

The thing about sanctioning religious liberty as an excuse for discrimination, is that one day you may not be the beneficiaries of it—and then you’ll want freedom from it.

And in any case, the liberty we Christians are supposed be marked by, is the freedom we find in Christ to love others and to reflect the character of God to people through mercy and kindness and compassion—not to demand that the world share our beliefs. 

Recognizing the face of God in everyone.
Seeing the image of the divine in everyone.
Extending the love of Jesus to everyone,
and demanding nothing in return.

This should be the only religious liberty we seek to exercise in these days.

 

298 thoughts on “Why American Christians Should Condemn “Religious Liberty” Legislation

        • Dear Just Another Sinner:

          Since the antecedent call to love and forgive are not rhetorical, I figured it wasn’t.

          Blessings!

          • gdd
            1. it’s primarily an appeal of emotion with very little factual explanation of the actual EO
            2. His approach seems to foster fear about his perceived consequences of the EO
            3. He is advocating dissension at time our country very much needs to find unity.
            4. He paints a picture that the Christian right wants to violate the rights of LGBTQ community and that is the primary reason for this EO

            In love and peace,
            Just Another Sinner

            • furthermore I am rather dubious he even read the EO since the Johnson amendment was not part of the EO, but John still used it. This is at the very least irresponsible writing.
              And he called his followers to CONDEMN it over a bill that effectively does nothing.
              In peace and love,
              Just Another Sinner

            • And he is right on all 4 points JAS. The only way bad things stop is for good people to stand up to them. It was the Christian Right Party that first brought us such slogans as “If ballots don’t work, bullets will” and “We came unarmed, this time” and of course Trump’s own contribution: “nothing you can do, folks — although the 2nd Amendment people, maybe there is.”

              Your claim that John P’s appeal to our decency and emotion to stand up against discrimination sounds much more like hypocrisy writ large than a valid criticism.

              Whatever the precise language in this first salvo, Trump has, in true Trump fashion, trumpeted his intent and it is indeed to allow the Christian Right Party to gain more political power and the “right” to discriminate against the LGBTQ community (at the very least and likely include much more once the slip down that slope is allowed).

              • And surprise, perhaps JAS will be one of those descriminated against. There was a time that the right went after the Catholics, then I wonder who is next. There aren’t any other than there small exclusive group that they think should exist unless we change our ways and become in lock step with theirs. Civilizations has been down this slippery slope before and it was ugly.

            • Just Another Sinner:
              The EO is exactly about allowing Right Wing Christians to discriminate against anyone (not just LGBTQ) people they find unworthy.
              They are placing their religious beliefs above everyone elses. This isn’t about religious Freedom, it is about forcing certain Religious beliefs on others.
              Benjamin Franklin said (and I am paraphrasing) religious freedom does not mean you can use your religious beliefs to discriminate against other individuals. But these so called Christians think they have the right to treat anyone as a second or third class citizen based on their beliefs and Trumps EO gives them permission to just that.

      • “The heart of the Gospels, as witnessed in the life and ministry of Jesus, is a declaration of the inherent worth of all people;”

        Where is this found in the bible?

    • You will note in the post that John suggests why American Christians should condemn the legislation and mentioned what Jesus condemned. But John himself does not condemn or judge anyone. He does not recommend against loving and forgiving. I am not sure why you have responded the way that you did.

      • You missed his last blog post. He wants Trump and Ryan to suffer eternally in Hell for not seeing things his way regarding health care. That’s pastoral love? That’s not condemnation?

        • I read that post. That is clearly not what he says. Briefly, he said he doesn’t believe in hell but IF there were a hell and IF some folks went there, they might learn humility, repentance and decency. That is a far cry from condemning them to suffer eternally.

          Oh, and I am amused by the assumption you make that I missed it. This is an easily recognised, dishonest argument tactic. Assume something about somebody and then state it as fact. If you suspected that I might have missed it, and I agree that it is possible that I might have, you should have formed it as a question. “Did you read his last post?”

          • Good on you there aren’t enough christians willing to speak up and debate on issues of social justice.
            Paul

            • Paul Chataway,

              We do it every day on this blog.

              Other places too.

              One way to persist in resistance is my FB group, Gloriamarie’s Progressive Stuff, where I post actions, petitions, info, actual news, evidence, facts. There’s a pinned post that I highly recommend people read. I also ask a screening question so I can keep the spammers and the trolls out. All who read this are invited.

              https://www.facebook.com/groups/gloriamariesprogressivepetitions/

          • “The heart of the Gospels, as witnessed in the life and ministry of Jesus, is a declaration of the inherent worth of all people;”

            Where is this found in the bible?

            • dave, this is not a quote from the Bible, but a synopsis of what Jesus stood for in all four books of the Gospels. I don’t see how it honestly can be otherwise, although the Evangelical Fundamentalists I know believe this only applies to Christians, even though Jesus was a Jew.

        • Dear Just Another Sinner:

          You wrote:

          ‘I cannot be with you on this John.’

          I’m left with the impression that there is something to this particular post that you find objectionable.

          So I hoped for an answer tied to this post.

          Blessings!

          • Dear gdd, “I’m left with the impression that there is something to this particular post that you find objectionable.”

            It has been my impression that Just Another Sinner is here solely to object to everything John P writes.

            • Gloriamarie, I agree, I have yet to see anything he does agree with. I would be surprised if he wasn’t against it. Peace and Love,

            • Kind of difficult to agree with people like John or yourself who promote a false gospel and unrepentant sin

              • Wow, you should be ashamed of yourself. You do know that misrepresentation is the same as telling a lie. These broad statements don’t enhance your opinion one iota.

                • John and GA deny the atonement resulting in a false gospel. They also promote homosexuality which is unrepentant sin.

                  I haven’t lied. Both statements above are true.

                  • Anonymous, the work of Jesus was finished on the cross, whether you call that atonement or not, is a technicality which needs no sophistication. Therefore, we are ALL now free to follow God under grace and simply said:

                    you can’t repent of homosexuality.

                    So, while you may not have lied, you are mistaken

                    • Arnie is absolutely correct. You cannot repent of homosexuality because it is not an action. It is a part of how some people are created. Repenting of the way that we were created sounds like an insult to our Creator.

                    • I feel as though that the Evangelical Fundamentalist Christians are trying to alter our country to fit their views, which is a uncomfortable for people like me since we happen to be one of the facts they will deem needs altering. This is essential what the quackery “Conversion Therapy” tries to do. This is what the “bathroom bills” and “religious freedom acts” are trying to do.

                    • And that, my friend, is why we keep fighting to keep the church out of the state, that pesky thing called separation of church and state, one of the fundamentals of this country. They keep trying to change that, only the change is to impose their religious world views on everyone. There has been one group or another that have been trying to do this since it’s inception and we had better make sure they don’t. People die when that happens. Peace and Love,

                    • Anonymous, I have read my Bible many times and I have studied the Hebrew and the Greek of the relevant passages and compared translations. I can say with great assurance that homosexuality is not mentioned in the original language texts of the Bible. It is not inferred or suggested. If your Bible has the word homosexual in it, it is a bad translation.

                      As for “living in homosexuality”, that’s not a thing. One lives as a homosexual in the same way that one lives as a right hander. Sexuality, like handedness is part of who we are when we are born.

                      I did read the link that you provided and it is laughable. The ideas that the professor provides were thoroughly debunked decades ago. The Framingham Study that he quotes as the source of his nonsense was designed to study cardiovascular health.

                      One thing that he did get right is that there isn’t a gay gene. However, the field of epigenetics has discovered that all sexualities are created in utero as a result of the womb environment. This is fairly recent information, but I warn you here forward, when you or anyone else says “Nobody is “created” as a homosexual”, they are lying and there is a commandment about that.

                    • Right on, I am so sick of their fake everything to justify their bigotry. Peace and Love,

                    • Patricia, there are a lot of irresponsible translations out there.

                      I cannot recommend these books highly enough

                      Gay Books

Reasonable and Holy: Engaging Same-Sexuality
                      by Tobias Stanislas Haller
                      Reasonable and Holy addresses the conflict over homosexuality within the Anglican tradition, demonstrating that the church is able to provide for and support faithful and loving relationships between persons of the same sex, not as a departure from that tradition, but as a reasonable extension of it. It offers a carefully argued, but accessible means of engagement with Scripture, the Jewish and Christian traditions, and the use of reason in dealing with the experience and lives of fellow- Christians. Unlike most reflections on the topic of homosexuality, Reasonable and Holy examines same-sex relationships through the lens of the traditional teaching on the ends or goods of marriage: procreation, union, the upbuilding of society, the symbolic representation of Christ and the Church, and the now often unmentioned remedy for fornication. Throughout, it responds to objections based on reason, tradition and Scripture. Based on a series of popular blog posts, it includes a number of independent, but related resources in the form of side-bars and single-page expansions of particular themes, suitable for reproduction as handouts.

                      God and the Gay Christian: The Biblical Case in Support of Same-Sex Relationships
                      by Matthew Vines
 As a young Christian man, Matthew Vines harbored the same basic hopes of most young people: to some-day share his life with someone, to build a family of his own, to give and receive love. But when he realized he was gay, those hopes were called into question. The Bible, he’d been taught, condemned gay relationships.

                      Feeling the tension between his understanding of the Bible and the reality of his same-sex orientation, Vines devoted years of intensive research into what the Bible says about homosexuality. With care and precision, Vines asked questions such as:

                      • Do biblical teachings on the marriage covenant preclude same-sex marriage or not?
                      • How should we apply the teachings of Jesus to the gay debate?
                      • Can celibacy be a calling when it is mandated, not chosen?
                      • What did Paul have in mind when he warned against same-sex relations?

                      Unique in its affirmation of both an orthodox faith and sexual diversity, God and the Gay Christian has sparked heated debate, sincere soul search­ing, and widespread cultural change on the issue of what it means to be a faithful gay Christian.

                      Same-Sex Unions in Premodern Europe
                      by John Boswell
                      Both highly praised and intensely controversial, this brilliant book produces dramatic evidence that at one time the Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches not only sanctioned unions between partners of the same sex, but sanctified them–in ceremonies strikingly similar to heterosexual marriage ceremonies.

                      Christianity, Social Tolerance, and Homosexuality: Gay People in Western Europe from the Beginning of the Christian Era to the Fourteenth Century
                      by John Boswell
                      John Boswell’s National Book Award–winning study of the history of attitudes toward homosexuality in the early Christian West was a groundbreaking work that challenged preconceptions about the Church’s past relationship to its gay members—among them priests, bishops, and even saints—when it was first published thirty-five years ago. The historical breadth of Boswell’s research (from the Greeks to Aquinas) and the variety of sources consulted make this one of the most extensive treatments of any single aspect of Western social history.

                      Now in this thirty-fifth anniversary edition with a new foreword by leading queer and religious studies scholar Mark D. Jordan, Christianity, Social Tolerance, and Homosexuality is still fiercely relevant. This landmark book helped form the disciplines of gay and gender studies, and it continues to illuminate the origins and operations of intolerance as a social force.

                      Gay Unions:In the light of Scripture, Tradition and Reason.
                      Rev. Gray Temple (Jr.)
                      Gray Temple presents the argument for the sacramental equality of gay and lesbian couples, which is to say they are entitled to full participation in the sacraments, including Marriage. Gray Temple bases his discussion on the Anglican concept of discerning the will of God through Scripture, Tradition, and Reason. In the argument from Scripture, Gray Temple’s basic premise is that we cannot presume to know what the Bible says to us if we do not understand what the biblical writers thought they were saying. He discusses the ways in which the concept of sexuality in the minds of biblical writers was very different than ours. He carefully analyzes the most often-cited biblical passages assumed to prohibit homosexual activity and shows why they are not saying what we think they are saying. In the argument from Tradition, Gray analyzes the roots of various traditions coming to the conclusion that traditions generally evolve to maintain privilege. Tradition has been used, for example to bar women from ordination. We are veering dangerously away from the Anglican tradition of the via media. In the argument from Reason, he presents answers to assumptions about homosexuality both from an impassioned liberal stance and from a stance designed to lead to a dialogue engaging the hopes and fears of the conservative and liberal sides.

                      As a liberal charismatic who prayerfully came to the conclusion that his homophobia was not a stance favored by God, Temple is in a unique position to take on this topic. Gray Temple deeply understands the ethos of conservatism and his understanding of that ethos provokes him to engage conservative arguments with rigor and sympathy.

Gay and Christian? Yes!
                      by Rev. William H. Carey
                      Can a person be Gay and Christian? Many churches say no. Many quote Bible passages that make it appear that God condemns homosexuality. But if we take a closer look, reading the scripture in the original Hebrew and Greek, we discover that God never condemned homosexuality, and that same-sex marriage existed in Bible times.

                      Hounded by God: A Gay Man’s Journey to Self-Acceptance, Love , and Relationship, by Joseph Gentilini
                      is based on years of journals that this spiritual gay man kept.  It chronicles his coming out experiences, dealings with family and friends,  his commitment to his partner, Leo Radel, and, most importantly, his relationship with God.

                      Confessions of a Gay Married Priest: A Spiritual Journey by Maurice Monette,
                      who was a member of a religious order for 30 years, and has been married to his partner for 24 years.  The book is an autobiography which chronicles the high points and low points of the spiritual road that Monette trod.  The book has been praised by several high-profile Catholic leaders.

                      Bible, Gender, Sexuality: Reframing the Church’s Debate on Same-Sex Relationships by James V. Brownson

                      This thought-provoking book by James Brownson develops a broad, cross-cultural sexual ethic from Scripture, locates current debates over homosexuality in that wider context, and explores why the Bible speaks the way it does about same-sex relationships.

                      Fairly presenting both sides in this polarized debate — “traditional” and “revisionist” — Brownson conscientiously analyzes all of the pertinent biblical texts and helpfully identifies “stuck points” in the ongoing debate. In the process, he explores key concepts that inform our understanding of the biblical texts, including patriarchy, complementarity, purity and impurity, honor and shame. Central to his argument is the need to uncover the moral logic behind the text.

                      Written in order to serve and inform the ongoing debate in many denominations over the questions of homosexuality, Brownson’s in-depth study will prove a useful resource for Christians who want to form a considered opinion on this important issue.

        • Interesting you take that position. I have followed him for very long time and never once felt he was condemning anyone. Quite honestly, how could anyone offer an “olive branch” to something that goes against everything you believe to be good. You do not build bridges for those that would harm you or others to cross.

          • Sandra Hartley, I agree. I’ve never seen John P condemn anyone.

            I have however read many comments in which the conservatives condemn John and all of us who like what he says.

            • Amen, it is one thing to say that’s not what i believe but that is not enough, they have to infer that John has said things he hasn’t and they have self righteous condemnation for any of us who say Hey that’s pretty much where I am at.

            • Yes, Charles, John P condemns behaviors not people.

              But then some people are unable to grasp the difference between “you are choosing to behave like a bad boy” and “you are a bad boy.”

              One is about behavior and one is about identity. It’s a concept too sophisticated for some to grasp.

              • Yes, the white Trump voters all exhibit that behavior. Racism is a behavior and an attitude that they adopted. One is not born racist, one is socialized to it and it can be repented of.

    • Just Another Sinner, Given the response you have just given, It sounds like you would say the same thing if John criticized murder as being unChristian. Is there anything you would speak out about and act on, and not just let the Lord deal with it? How many times have you seen the Lord stop a cop from shooting an unarmed black man? How many times have you seen the Lord stop a lynching? Since when has Christian love become an excuse for putting on blinders and doing nothing, including doing nothing when the church itself has gone astray? Jesus condemned many people, when their actions were unfair or cruel. Now you say sorry, you can’t condemn even the same actions that Jesus condemned. You won’t even say the words, much less take any action. What about the Christian exhortation “Pray as if everything depends on God; act as if everything depends on you.”? You are “exercising” a curious Christianity, indeed, if it allows you to let xenophobia and homophobia trump the tenet of loving one another, and seeing it happen, your response is “sorry, it’s up to God to make judgment on this.” With brotherly love like this, who needs enemies?

      • condemnation is about pointing to someone else and neglecting to point to yourself.
        or as the Bible says taking the log out of your own eye before focusing on the speck in your neighbors. (Matthew 7:1-3)
        I am reminded of this daily.

        In Grace,
        Just Another Sinner

        • Your definition of “condemnation” does not comport with the dictionary’s. And given your definition of “condemnation,” in your initial comment, you are saying that you will not condemn what you find in yourself. Further, you will do nothing about it. You will leave that to God. How convenient for you, at least for now. And a discriminatory government IS the speck in our own eye. We let it happen. We can fix it.

          • MargieM, well, said.

            Everything I have ever read about the New Testament, in the writers of the early church, indeed in all the writers throughout Church History, except for the purveyors of the heresy called the prosperity gospel, has taught me that when I am convicted of a sin, it is my responsibility to confess it, repent of it, and strive to do better.

            Not leave it up to God.

            • Gloriamarie, thank you for your kind words. By the way, I noticed that “Just Another Sinner” posted more comments below, including a link to “its” blog. I became curious and clicked on the link. The blog is a very recently-established one, presented as a group of anonymous people. There is no identification of who they are, where they are, or what their qualifications are to discuss anything. I’m not going to worry about taking anything they write again seriously. I have better things to do than try to reason with a group of mystery anonymous trolls.

              • Margie M, too funny!! They are all anonymous there? None of them have the courage of their convictions to use real names? Even in their safe den where they are free to dis us liberals to their hearts’ content?

              • Dear MargieM:

                Step 1] Locate [or manufacture if necessary] some tangential offense.

                Step 2] Belabor this indefinitely to shift discussion from what was said.

                Step 3] When this strategy is exposed, return to Step 1.

                Blessings!

                PS: Remember – NEVER admit rampant injustice/hegemony! ALWAYS shoot the messenger.

                • LOL! JAS probably would have had me spend two days nailing down the definition of “condemn”… and then on to some other tangent. Life is too short.

              • I think it’s our old troll friend and his multiple personalities. One of his aliases linked to a blog where he used some of the same names.

              • I have always found the best way to know someone is to experience who they are, one way you can do that by is reading our posts on our blog, I certainly have learned much about you by reading yours.
                In love and peace,
                Just Another Sinner

    • If we go by our dominate culture of News outlets, TV shows, Movies, Universities, Public Schools and Washington elite, …conservative Christians are the ones being ridiculed & ostracized, not LGBT or Muslims. [I’ve never heard anything critical from the above groups.]

    • I think pastor John has an answer to how to alleviate all the injustice and suffering that he sees in our culture. His next book is called, ‘Super-You!’ and will be out early 2018.

      He says it will be full of advice about how to ‘become the kind of person who can save the world!’

      And he also says, “We are capable of being the BEST of what it means to be human –we can become what the World needs right now.”

      • John is a little late to the party, Christ already did what John claims he will do.
        Oddly enough the Lord was able to do it with free parables and zero cost Equality, Diversity, Justice, Mercy, Compassion, Hope and Love. And the greatest of these is Love.

        I myself, choose to stick with the prophetic Word of God.

        In love,
        Just Another Sinner

      • ” Super – You ” sounds a bit like a book that might be written by Joel Osteen or Rick Warren… not trying to condemn John, Joel or Rick…. just seems eerily similar… no?

        • Stu. yeah, sounds like a Joel Osteen book.

          Or Deepak Chopra (‘You Are the Universe’), Rhonda Byrne (‘The Secret’), Louise Hay (‘You can Heal Your Life’), Eckhart Tolle (‘A New Earth’), James Redfield (‘The 12th Insight’).

      • Where does the bible state that….”The heart of the Gospels, as witnessed in the life and ministry of Jesus, is a declaration of the inherent worth of all people;?

  1. As a professionally trained non-ordained volunteer hospital chaplain, I have seen first hand certain Christian religions attempt to force-feed their special beliefs thru intimidation and guilt. Sad, because when I followed behind such acts, the individual felt violated.
    John, I agree with this post form any reasons. If this is to be our “new normal,” then what next?
    John, I wish to communicate directly with you on another personal experience.
    Peace…Gus

    • Kate GC. –interesting idea that you see the curtain being torn as a sign that the unclean are allowed to approach God in the sanctuary.

      I see it as a sign that one doesn’t have to have a priest to officiate our guilt sacrifices anymore.

      Jesus was the last sacrifice that God asked for.

      Now, we can choose Jesus to be our go-between, –we can approach the Throne of Grace.

      Those that accept what Jesus did are now ‘clean’. Those that reject what Jesus did, remain, ‘unclean’, –still unable to approach The Father in his Temple. You can’t know the Father, unless you know the Son. (they are an inseparable entity.)

      • Leslie Jesus proved God is approachable to everyone. Jesus met with and spoke to everyone.- Pharisees, the possessed, tax collectors, rich men, prostitites, hypocrites, women on thier period, the dead ….he broke every touching and associating rule there was.

        Tearing the curtain is exactly what KG said. It told us we are clean and you can pray to God worship God freely and that we are all now In his presence.

        It was the invitation to all “Come all who are weary” “Come all who are thirsty”

        Leslie Your lack of understanding is appalling.

        • I would add that Jesus was not a final sacrifice. This is Leslie’s belief in John Calvin’s doctrine of Substitutionary Atonement. This is the belief that Jesus died to “pay the price” for our sins. In truth, this theory of the atonement did not exist until just 500 years ago when Calvin invented it. This idea that Jesus was a sacrificial lamb to “pay the price” did not even exist in early Christianity. They had another theory of the atonement that was quite different. I believe that first theory is the one all Christians should take and run with because it really is original, true orthodox Christianity.

    • It is not legislation. It is an Executive Order signed by Donald Trump. What is an Executive Order—also known as an EO in the federal government? The President is the head of the Executive Branch of the federal government. That makes him the boss of all the cabinet departments that are under his direct control–for example—the U.S. Department of Defense or the U.S. Department of the Treasury. Therefore, an EO issued by the President applies EXCLUSIVELY and ONLY to the operations of the federal government that are under the President’s direct control—including the affected activities of paid federal prime contractors and subcontractors.

      The President CANNOT legally write an EO that covers individual or group behavior if that individual or group is not part of a federal department under the control of the President. For example, the President cannot write an EO directing every American head of household to paint his house blue , drive a Dodge, or eat one less burger per week. Just as a heads up, having worked on federal projects for decades, an employee at the U.S. Department of Energy once told me: “Well, what we look at mostly for our compliance work is laws passed by Congress and signed off on by the President. We might take a look at an EO and how it might apply to something we are doing—but whether we take it seriously and abide by it—well we might or we might not—depending on the situation. We often times do not take those EOs very seriously.”

      The following is the full text of the EO on religious freedom that Trump just signed (the thing John P. is talking about):

      “By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, in order to guide the executive branch in formulating and implementing policies with implications for the religious liberty of persons and organizations in America, and to further compliance with the Constitution and with applicable statutes and Presidential Directives, it is hereby ordered as follows:

      Section 1. Policy. It shall be the policy of the executive branch to vigorously enforce Federal law’s robust protections for religious freedom. The Founders envisioned a Nation in which religious voices and views were integral to a vibrant public square, and in which religious people and institutions were free to practice their faith without fear of discrimination or retaliation by the Federal Government. For that reason, the United States Constitution enshrines and protects the fundamental right to religious liberty as Americans’ first freedom. Federal law protects the freedom of Americans and their organizations to exercise religion and participate fully in civic life without undue interference by the Federal Government. The executive branch will honor and enforce those protections.

      Sec. 2. Respecting Religious and Political Speech. All executive departments and agencies (agencies) shall, to the greatest extent practicable and to the extent permitted by law, respect and protect the freedom of persons and organizations to engage in religious and political speech. In particular, the Secretary of the Treasury shall ensure, to the extent permitted by law, that the Department of the Treasury does not take any adverse action against any individual, house of worship, or other religious organization on the basis that such individual or organization speaks or has spoken about moral or political issues from a religious perspective, where speech of similar character has, consistent with law, not ordinarily been treated as participation or intervention in a political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) a candidate for public office by the Department of the Treasury. As used in this section, the term “adverse action” means the imposition of any tax or tax penalty; the delay or denial of tax-exempt status; the disallowance of tax deductions for contributions made to entities exempted from taxation under section 501(c)(3) of title 26, United States Code; or any other action that makes unavailable or denies any tax deduction, exemption, credit, or benefit.

      Sec. 3. Conscience Protections with Respect to Preventive-Care Mandate. The Secretary of the Treasury, the Secretary of Labor, and the Secretary of Health and Human Services shall consider issuing amended regulations, consistent with applicable law, to address conscience-based objections to the preventive-care mandate promulgated under section 300gg-13(a)(4) of title 42, United States Code.

      Sec. 4. Religious Liberty Guidance. In order to guide all agencies in complying with relevant Federal law, the Attorney General shall, as appropriate, issue guidance interpreting religious liberty protections in Federal law.

      Sec. 5. Severability. If any provision of this order, or the application of any provision to any individual or circumstance, is held to be invalid, the remainder of this order and the application of its other provisions to any other individuals or circumstances shall not be affected thereby.

      Sec. 6. General Provisions. (a) Nothing in this order shall be construed to impair or otherwise affect:

      Acts of Faith newsletter

      Conversations about faith and values.

      (i) the authority granted by law to an executive department or agency, or the head thereof; or

      (ii) the functions of the Director of the Office of Management and Budget relating to budgetary, administrative, or legislative proposals.

      (b) This order shall be implemented consistent with applicable law and subject to the availability of appropriations.

      (c) This order is not intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity by any party against the United States, its departments, agencies, or entities, its officers, employees, or agents, or any other person.”

      • Well, fundies have improved in one thing over the past 16 years. If I had posted this EO text in 1999, the response I would have gotten from the fundie peanut gallery was:

        “Liar!! You are not a “true” Christian, so why should I believe anything you have to say? I am not going to read it or believe anything in this EO text because it is probably fake.”

        Now. That’s what I call—SEPARATION. Total dedication to rank ignorance.

      • “The heart of the Gospels, as witnessed in the life and ministry of Jesus, is a declaration of the inherent worth of all people;”

        Where is this found in the bible?

  2. Correct me if I’m wrong but John is a pastor and a political activist. He uses his blog as his pulpit and gains income from the post and his donation page. I don’t know how John reports his income but this seems to be a law that would support him and any like him that desire to mix politics and religion. This seems like a great bill for John and all that want to speak out against Trump and current bills based by the current administration. This law is stating as a religious organization you can not be fined for speaking about politics. Wouldn’t this be most beneficial for those opposing the current administration?

    We live in a great country of religious freedom. A person should be allowed to stand by thier religious beliefs no matter which side of the isle they stand on. A Jewish catering company has the freedom to deny catering a pig roast. Muslims should be allowed to stay covered and should not be forced to have “unclean” people in their sanctuary. An atheist who paints great scenes may decline a commission to paint Jesus on the cross. A Jewish sculpturer may decline a commission to sculpt a Budda. I don’t believe anyone should be forced to do something that weighs negatively on thier conscious. The amazing thing about America is we have choices coming out the wazoo. If one person denies your greatest desire, go next store and find something better. All these options are thanks to religious freedom, freedom of speech and a consumer driven nation.

    I will continue to follow my conscious in all things. I will continue to follow all of Christ words. I will continue to love all, those who agree with and disagree with me. I will continue to listen to both sides of the argument, pray on my thoughts and compare what is said to the Bible and make decision. If I don’t understand something in the Bible I will read verses around it, check for verses of similar content or listen to multiple views on the verses by Bible scholars. If the Bible seems to contradict itself I will double check against the Greek and Hebrew word used to create the translation.

    I will follow my own conscious (guided by the holy spirit). I am glad I live in a country that I can freely follow my God without risk of government consequences. I am proud to live in a country that doesn’t require others to believe in my God without suffering government persecution.

    Sincerely,
    Humility Grace Mercy

    Matthew 25:1-46 NASB
    [1] “Then the kingdom of heaven will be comparable to ten virgins, who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. [2] Five of them were foolish, and five were prudent. [3] For when the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them, [4] but the prudent took oil in flasks along with their lamps. [5] Now while the bridegroom was delaying, they all got drowsy and began to sleep. [6] But at midnight there was a shout, ‘Behold, the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.’ [7] Then all those virgins rose and trimmed their lamps. [8] The foolish said to the prudent, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ [9] But the prudent answered, ‘No, there will not be enough for us and you too; go instead to the dealers and buy some for yourselves.’ [10] And while they were going away to make the purchase, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding feast; and the door was shut. [11] Later the other virgins also came, saying, ‘Lord, lord, open up for us.’ [12] But he answered, ‘Truly I say to you, I do not know you.’ [13] Be on the alert then, for you do not know the day nor the hour. [14] “For it is just like a man about to go on a journey, who called his own slaves and entrusted his possessions to them. [15] To one he gave five talents, to another, two, and to another, one, each according to his own ability; and he went on his journey. [16] Immediately the one who had received the five talents went and traded with them, and gained five more talents. [17] In the same manner the one who had received the two talents gained two more. [18] But he who received the one talent went away, and dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money. [19] “Now after a long time the master of those slaves came and settled accounts with them. [20] The one who had received the five talents came up and brought five more talents, saying, ‘Master, you entrusted five talents to me. See, I have gained five more talents.’ [21] His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful slave. You were faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.’ [22] “Also the one who had received the two talents came up and said, ‘Master, you entrusted two talents to me. See, I have gained two more talents.’ [23] His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful slave. You were faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.’ [24] “And the one also who had received the one talent came up and said, ‘Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow and gathering where you scattered no seed. [25] And I was afraid, and went away and hid your talent in the ground. See, you have what is yours.’ [26] “But his master answered and said to him, ‘You wicked, lazy slave, you knew that I reap where I did not sow and gather where I scattered no seed. [27] Then you ought to have put my money in the bank, and on my arrival I would have received my money back with interest. [28] Therefore take away the talent from him, and give it to the one who has the ten talents.’ [29] “For to everyone who has, more shall be given, and he will have an abundance; but from the one who does not have, even what he does have shall be taken away. [30] Throw out the worthless slave into the outer darkness; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. [31] “But when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne. [32] All the nations will be gathered before Him; and He will separate them from one another, as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats; [33] and He will put the sheep on His right, and the goats on the left. [34] “Then the King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. [35] For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; [36] naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.’ [37] Then the righteous will answer Him, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You something to drink? [38] And when did we see You a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You? [39] When did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ [40] The King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.’ [41] “Then He will also say to those on His left, ‘Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels; [42] for I was hungry, and you gave Me nothing to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me nothing to drink; [43] I was a stranger, and you did not invite Me in; naked, and you did not clothe Me; sick, and in prison, and you did not visit Me.’ [44] Then they themselves also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not take care of You?’ [45] Then He will answer them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’ [46] These will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”

    • You are conflating a bunch of different things.

      John is a pastor and not a religious institution. As a person, he is already free to say whatever he wants regardless of what this Executive Order says. The difference comes when he is speaking on behalf of a religious institution.

      A Jewish catering company has always been free to deny a pig roast because that isn’t a service that they offer to anyone. A catering company who caters wedding receptions would be in contravention of their business license if they denied their service based on the demographics of those being married. That might change based on this Executive Order. I don’t know. I’m not a lawyer.

      Muslims are just people like everybody else who cannot be forced to be with other people if they choose not to in private settings. It’s different if there is a business involved. Perhaps you mean that their mosques can reject those they deem unclean? All religious institutions already have the right to allow or deny based on their beliefs prior to this Executive Order.

      Painters and sculptors are not businesses so they are already free to accept or reject commissions prior to this Executive Order.

        • There was a previous version of the Executive Order published that was strongly anti-LGBTQ. The version that was signed (and yes, I did read it) affirmed religious freedom and freedom of speech. The usual hate groups and some religious organisations were upset that it didn’t go anywhere near far enough. But what the EO did do was leave the door open for further tweaking, which some people are taking as a bad sign.

          It may be that John believes that it was the previous version of the order that was signed. I wouldn’t have known it had been changed if I hadn’t gone looking for the exact text. The news media was making a lot of noise about the anti-LGBTQ element, even though it was no longer there, so I’m not surprised that many folks would not have known the text changed.

          • I remember many of us predicting dire things in store for LGBT were Trump to be elected and Joe Catholic, or whatever he was calling himself at the time, saying “prove it prove it.”

            Well, even he has to admit the proof. Truly horrible things are ahead for our LGBT people. I daresay someone is going to murder someone tomorrow and their defense will be ‘religious liberty.”

            Mark my words.

          • So this post was very irresponsible, wasn’t it? It’s based on a falsehood.

            Would you agree that if John P has integrity that he will retract it and admit his error?

  3. “What a field-day for the heat
    A thousand people in the street
    Singing songs and carrying signs
    Mostly say, hooray for our side

    It’s s time we stop, hey, what’s that sound
    Everybody look what’s going down

    Paranoia strikes deep
    Into your life it will creep
    It starts when you’re always afraid
    You step out of line, the man come and take you away

    We better stop, hey, what’s that sound
    Everybody look what’s going down
    Stop, hey, what’s that sound
    Everybody look what’s going down”

    Yeah, you know it.
    And I’m not commenting anymore today…. I’ll be less than a Christ Follower if I do.

    • I am with you, I waited until this evening to even read this. I was against the RFRA in Indiana and I am against any version of it for the country. This is not and I repeat not what the constitution and this country stand for. Shame on them. Peace and Love,

  4. From something else I have read on being inclusive as a Christian:
    “It was remembered that the moment he died on a Friday that the curtain separating the clean from the unclean in the Temple was torn asunder. A startlingly sign of an all-inclusive God who would move mountains to display what the cost of love looks like in public — freely accessible to all.”

    John P, you left out the part of Matthew 25 that tells those who do not attend to least what will be their “reward” in Eternity: (Verse 46, but I do like the leadup):  “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’
    44 “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’
    45 “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’
    46 “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”

    For those who are confused about John P’s words, let me assure you that he is NOT condemning anyone. He never does. That’s not his job. BUT it is his job, his calling and his passion to warn people when they turn away from God, when they stop emulating the One Example they have for their behavior here on Earth. And for those of you who are trying to sell the “I don’t judge, I don’t do anything … God will sort it all out later” behavior? Doing NOTHING is also a sin because if you are doing NOTHING, you will be judged as those on His left. Jesus gave his followers 2 commandments and 6 tasks. His commandments were much easier than the ones Moses had to bring down from the mountain: “Love your God” and “Love your neighbor”. That’s all, just those two. Apparently many Christians prefer the more than 600 Mosaic laws, so that they can cherry-pick which one they want to see enforced against others…but none of which actually apply to them. The 6 tasks he gave are in the Scriptures above.
    I would suggest that those 6 tasks boil down into one specific thought: All that you do, you do in love–so your heart should naturally reach out to those in some sort of need, those who are marginalized by their society and government, those who are seen as “unclean”. I offer a new name for Jesus Christ, the carpenter and teacher. His name IS LOVE. Love was the driving force for all he every did or said. Love is what he commanded his followers do–and if you truly love, as he wanted, you will DO what he tasked you with. Love is not static; it is very dynamic–it is Jesus in action, therefore it is you, in action, doing what your leader, your teacher, your Savior, told you to do in his name.
    Doing nothing to stop Hate, to protect the weak and unprotected, to care for those in need…puts you right in there with those at his left hand. How many people who call themselves “Christian” would respond in love to a brown-haired, brown-eyed, brown-skinned man, dirty and unkempt because he is homeless, and doesn’t speak English? Because that man IS Jesus–here and now. The LGBTQ community? Full of Jesus. The poor, the disenfranchised, the “least” of our societies? FULL OF JESUS. Full of opportunities to do the work that Christians were TOLD (never asked) to do. When he said that we would have the poor with us always, he didn’t mean we shouldn’t do anything for them. He meant that the world would be what it has always been, and that there will be victims of that mindset…and that Christians have the sacred obligation to seek out these unfortunates and offer them love, without recompense, without any repayment of any sort required. In fact, offer them love even if (or when) they spit in your face. Literally or metaphorically. Because that’s what love does. (Please note that I am not saying to just stand there and take physical harm…just move on from the one who has said or shown their rejection to another person who is more accepting of this love. Not everyone can receive that kind of love, because their own experiences of love do not look like that.)
    I return to the Christian’s favorite place to quote from, to tell you what love is, how it works:
    I Cor 13:4-7
    “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”
    Does this sound like the Christians you know? Does it sound like the Christian you say you are?
    TL;DR version: Jesus = Love = Action; no one who calls themselves a Christian would even approve of, let alone rejoice in, this old-but-new religious persecution. America was founded by people who left their own countries to have religious freedom.

  5. You can tell a Christian by what he stands for and by what he stands up to.

    If this was explained in terms of allowing “Sharia Law” they would all suddenly have spines too strong to bend and rebuke it, but since this plays to the prejudice and sin ranking they themselves uphold, they will accept it at face value as Trump et al knew they would. May God give them backbones.

    I do not believe Jesus Christ would support this and neither will I.

    • This executive order relaxes the enforcement of the IRS regarding what people may say from the pulpit regarding politics, as I understand it. If there is more to it, then please inform me or direct me to where I can find it, because that’s all I have come up with.

      How does this hurt anyone? Since JP so intertwines his politics and his religious beliefs, why wouldn’t he be in favor of this? He can preach anti-Trump hate and liberal politics from the pulpit now and his church won’t have to worry about tax consequences (as I understand it).

      • You do understand it correctly. There is a law against this, and Trump is ordering the IRS not to enforce this law—unless a federal court rules they cannot use an EO this way and issues a restraining order.

      • P.S. Trump has vowed to make the Republican Congress repeal the actual law that prevents churches from engaging in political campaigns. This EO, repealing the law, or both represent a long-time dream of now deceased Paul Weyrich, one of the founders of The Heritage Foundation and the man considered to be THE original founder of the Religious Right.

        Basically, it was Weyrich’s dream to see a volunteer, Christian-staffed Republican campaign office in every Christian fundamentalist and conservative evangelical church in the United States. Wednesday night door knocking to save souls would include handing out campaign brochures, and the pastor of each church would stand in the pulpit every Sunday and say:

        “God hates LGBTQ people. God hates Democrats. God demands that you vote for Donald Trump in the next election—and if you fail to do so–the vengeance of the Almighty himself shall reign down on you and your family. Thus sayeth the Lord.”

        And of course—it goes without saying—that they would need to find a way to prevent liberal churches from doing the same thing.

        After this EO—get ready to hand over your church to the Republican Party so they can bed her down like a cheap whore—and they will—mark my word. They have no interest in Jesus apart from using him for their own evil ends.

  6. My gosh, John hardly posted before the Usual Suspects dragged in their red herrings to distract from what John wrote, proving that they are the very people who most need to read it. Some of the voices strike me, whether they intend to sound this way I don’t know, as if butter wouldn’t melt in their holier than thou self-righteous mouths.

    Do you really want to return to the days of blatant discrimination against the Irish, Italians, Roman Catholics, Jews, Asians, blacks, etc etc etc? Because if it becomes legal to discriminate against one group, then the legal precedent is established to discriminate against all.

    Please read:

    The Spiritual Tyranny of ‘Religious Liberty’
    By Stephen Mattson 5-05-2017

    Luke 6:31 Do to others as you would have them do to you.

    The Christian faith shouldn’t be defined by presidential orders and government mandates. Instead, it’s perfectly represented by the person of Jesus Christ, who told us to love our neighbors as ourselves and do unto others as we would have done to us.

    Unfortunately, the new commands that many Christians are gleefully embracing are presidentially carnal in nature and not divine, and instead of communicating the love of Jesus these laws are further alienating those who’ve already been maligned by the church.

    President Donald Trump’s approach to “religious liberty” is contrary to spiritual freedom. Rather than humbly serving and willing to sacrifice for others, Christians are perceived as being protective isolationists who wield political power for their own benefit, often at the expense of others.

    At a time when Christian communities should seek Jesus more than ever, they’ve now been encouraged by the president to support and endorse political candidates and turn places of holy worship into pseudo-platforms for partisan politics.

    If pastors and spiritual leaders weren’t under enough pressure already, continually having to serve and provide spiritual guidance and direction within their congregations, the newly minted directives open a quagmire of moral and ethical dilemmas, making them especially susceptible to congregants who will certainly lobby and pressure them towards making public endorsements.

    Not only will is make Christian institutions more vulnerable to emphasizing political policies over theological doctrines, it will further fragment American Christianity, dividing churches and communities based upon their political leanings — which can now be publicly proclaimed.

    The very idea of Jesus abiding by these so-called religious liberties is absurd, so it’s surprising that Christians would support something so anti-Christ.

    John 13:34 states: A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.

    Is religious liberty the great hope that’s meant to reflect the glory of God? Will it in any way further the redeeming message of Jesus and exude his love for humanity? Do people look at this executive order and interpret is as being a Christian act of love and kindness?

    The resounding answer is no, and instead of being an attractive example of Jesus’ love, most see it as just another attempt by Christians to gain wealth, privilege, and political clout.

    In their aggressive campaign to consolidate worldly control and government influence, American Christendom has further distanced itself from the very God it claims to worship.

    Followers of Christ must decide whether to trust in God and the power of the Holy Spirit, or whether to trust in the power of a president, allowing Christianity to further devolve into a civic religion that’s legislatively forced upon others to serve the agendas of political parties.

    Because if the American church continues to shift toward a political arm that carries out the will of a power-hungry president, it will be seen by the world — even more than it already is — as a corrupted entity obsessed with selfish desires.

    In a society that desperately needs to hear about the good news of Jesus, the last thing churches need is federal permission to evangelize on behalf of political candidates. God help us.

    Stephen Mattson
    Stephen Mattson is a writer who currently resides in the Twin Cities, Minn. You can follow him on Twitter (@mikta) or on Facebook.

    https://sojo.net/articles/spiritual-tyranny-religious-liberty

    • All I want is for the law to protect innocent babies from being killed by Planned Parenthood and other abortion mills. Yes that is a religious conviction, but so is my opposition to murdering born people and the law goes along with that. All Christians should rally behind defense of the unborn. It’s evil to kill them.

      • No don’t and neither does the republican party. If they truly thought abortion was murder they would do everything their power to prevent it. I actually DO want to prevent abortions. That is why I support free and accessible birth control. A recent pilot program in Colorado reduced teen abortions by 40-50%. Instead of continuing and increasing funding for this program, they tried to shut it down. A last minute anonymous donation kept it alive. Comprehensive sex education has been shown to delay the onset of sexual relations yet conservatives oppose it.
        The number one reason women give for getting an abortion is economic yet every attempt to raise the minimum wage to a living wage is met with fierce resistance from conservatives.
        Cost of a complications free birth are now getting close to $30,000 in the USA yet House republicans just passed a “healthcare bill” that will make women of childbearing age pay a heavy premium for maternity care. That is supposing they can afford insurance in the first place.
        Outlawing abortion will have a negligible pact on abortions. In fact, per capita there were actually more abortions pre-Roe v. Wade than after.
        So you hyperbolic, righteous indignation falls flat and is disingenuous. It is people like you that drove me from organized religion. Either support programs that have been PROVEN to reduce abortion rates stop screaming at people. Either support initiatives designed to bring peace in this world and stop funding the military industrial complex or stop calling yourself pro-life. When we as a country in the USA wage preemptive war against a country for no good reason, WE ARE THE TERRORISTS!!! We are the murderers. That log s n your eye. Pull it out.

          • I don’t think so. The numbers don’t include all those women who had to resort to other methods pre-Roe v Wade. In the figures, you can track the increasing reliability of birth control (spurred on by the fear of HIV) combined with better sexual health information being taught.

            • Joe forgets that a great many number of abortions before Roe vs Wade were never reported. He is trying to distort facts to fit his obsession.

              • A lot of them were recorded, but on a state level. Roe v. Wade legalized abortion nationwide, but it was already legal in many states and those states kept records.

                • Iam corrected, thank you, Mary. Yes, I recall that NY made abortion legal in something like Aug, 1970.

                  What I meant was that before abortion was legal anywhere, not ever abortion was recorded so we really don’t have any idea how many abortions were perfomed.

                  But remembering what was going on at the time, there were LOTS and LOTS of abortion and many women risked death to have one.

                  People obsessed with ending abortion today really need to study the history before shooting off their mouths. Some of us were around back in those days and remember all too clearly what it was like for women.

                  • Yes. We can extrapolate out that many, many more abortions were taking place than were being recorded for record keeping purposes.

                    • They also distort American history when they feed it to the public. Just one among many possible examples is Conservative Texans on the Texas State Board of Education forcing Texas state social studies textbooks to include Moses as a founding father of the United States along with Washington, Jefferson, etc. There is more of those willful fundie lies I told you about.

                    • Oh, Charles, no, that can’t be right? Including Moses as a Founding Father? Moses? I gotta google that.

                      Huh.

                      “The problems with this textbook adoption process began in 2010, when the education board passed new history standards that require students to “identify the individuals whose principles of laws and government institutions informed the American founding documents, including those of Moses,” and establish how “biblical law” was a major influence on America’s founding.”

                      https://www.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2014/11/was-moses-a-founding-father/383153/

        • Brava, Mary! Preach it, sister. Yes, that is the way it must be done.

          Problem is, the only people making the decisions are white men, for the most part. Why talk to or listen to women? They believe we should be subjugated.

      • Bobby, how about you quit trying to control women’s bodies? We women don’t try to control yours, although some of us would love to be able to enforce vasectomies at will. And for the umpteenth time (sigh) PP does not kill babies. Please get that through your brainwashed head.

  7. This country, ever since we adopted the Constitution, has had religious liberty in its true sense: we are free to worship as we choose. Freedom to worship as we choose is NOT a license to discriminate.

    The Christian Right needs to grasp this simple premise. There are some outspoken advocates to make the USA theocracy, to enforce Levitical Law upon all USians even though Jesus Himself says we Christians are not bound by Levitical Law because all the law and all the prophets are summed up in the two Great Commandments.

    Additionally, there is really not a lot to choose between the Christian Right’s interpretation of Levitical Law and what Taliban want. Here’s a series of questions for you. Which group advocates for which?

    1). This group wants to dominate women and tell them how to act. Taliban? Or Religious Right?

    2). This group wants there to be a national religion, barring other religions from the country. Taliban? Or Religious Right?

    3). This group wants prayer to be a prominent part of education. Taliban? Or Religious Right?

    4). This group wants to dictate their morals to the rest of the population, with severe penalties for non-compliance. Taliban? Or Religious Right?

    5). This group is not interested in freedom of speech. Taliban? Or Religious Right?

    6). This group is not interested in freedom of religion. Taliban? Or Religious Right?

    7). This group wants their “law” to be the law of the land, regardless of what the people might want. Taliban? Or Religious Right?

    8). This group wants to convert the entire world into their way of thinking. Taliban? Or Religious Right?

    9). This group thinks homosexuality is an abomination and should be eradicated from the face of the Earth. Taliban? Or Religious Right?

    If you answered both to every one of these statements, then you are correct. As you can see, other than the country they are operating in, there is little, if any, difference between the two groups.

    The Religious Right of days gone by, are the Tea Party of today. If the Tea Party, having taken over the GOP, (a dream they have had for decades), gets into power, this is the agenda they are going to pursue. Along with getting rid of Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, unemployment insurance, and all of the safety nets that were put in place to keep people from ending up on the streets.

    They will be forever known as the Tea Party Taliban® or the Freedom Caucaus Taliban.

    • Joe is changing since staying on this page. I can see it. He will need us when his small business health insurance premiums cost more than any American could ever pay and, if he can actually afford it, it won’t cover his wife’s preexisting illness. Then maybe he will understand why we all stand together here for “the least of them”. And, we will be here for him as well. My friend has MS she is 55 and will not be able to pay for her treatments out of pocket as there may be no cap if this passes. She worked all of her life. with GOP cutting any and every safety net that has been put into place since 1930s, this only confirms the reckless, heartless, greed of these psychopaths. These actions are man’s will and in no way represent Jesus.

      • Did you know that rape is a preexisting condition, along with acne. The list of these conditions is incredible. The ins companies will have carte blanche to gouge us all.

        • MILLIONS of Americans will be without health insurance, hence no health care.

          MILLIONS of Americans will die as a result.

          Gloat over those you have murdered, you who voted GOP or third party.

  8. Here’s a great article

    It’s Time to Start Calling Evangelicals What They Are: The American Taliban
    “The Council For National Policy” is a Conservative Think Tank, made up of a who’s who of prominent conservatives; Rick Santorum, Mike Huckabee, Reince Priebus, Tim LaHaye, Bobby Jindal, John McCain… the list goes on…
    This article, published by the Washington Post, but reported elsewhere, lays out the group’s plan to “restore education in America,” by bringing god into classrooms.

    I have said for years and years, the Christian Right is really seeking to establish a theocracy in the United States — at least regionally, throughout the deep south. And this latest effort by the “Council for National Policy” lays further proof to that claim. This is an effort which — in spite of what many Christian leaders say — is NOT supported by the Constitution. The Constitution strictly prohibits the establishment of Religion, as part of the First Amendment, which also guarantees Freedom of Speech and Freedom of the Press. The purpose of this “Separation of Church and State” is intended to do two things:
    1. It protects religious freedom for everyone.
    2. It prevents the tyranny of any one religion.
    But this fact won’t stop many southern christians, who feel it is their duty — as christians — to make the United States “a godly nation” in their eyes. And they will cite the numerous biblical passages in which god exhorts all nations to be faithful to him and condemns those nations who are not, as the basis for this duty — which they feel is their right.
    I grew up in this world, so I know what I’m talking about. As a kid, during the 1970’s, I attended churches in Atlanta with my devout grandmother. I heard Jerry Falwell speak numerous times at First Baptist on Peachtree. I was indoctrinated into the evangelical way of thinking by a fiery minister in Smyrna. I studied my “King James” bible. I feverishly read Ernest Angley’s book about the “end times” that depicted christians being boiled alive by the antichrist. I loved “The Omen” movies, wholly believing they portended something real. Trust me. I’ve been there. Fortunately, I had the sense to give it up. By age 15, at the peak of my adolescent sexual curiosity, I realized that any religion that demanded giving up my basic humanity was nuts.
    Of course, not all christian evangelicals share this extreme view. Nevertheless, the extremists always give themselves away with their trademark refrain, “I’ll pray for you,” as if you are possessed by demons and in need of an exorcism. They seem completely unaware of how this statement makes them appear; that they alone understand “truth,” that everyone else is “ungodly” and in need of “redemption,” as they see it; by being “born again,” and baptized, and accepting their world view. This self-righteous arrogant presumption is at the root of all religious extremism.
    Evangelicals in churches and state houses across the country support laws and political systems that brutalize and imprison MILLIONS of African Americans, that deny equal rights and protections to LGBT people and tacitly support violence toward them, and seek to deny women the right to govern their own bodies, often with threats or outright acts of physical violence. They seem hell-bent on ejecting science from education and replacing it with their own creationist ideas.
    In doing these things, evangelicals are advocating a religious extremism that is no different from muslim extremism, which projects religious authority over all people in their domain, which limits the rights of women, controls and limits education, and enforces strict adherence to a moral code, which naturally rejects and punishes all forms of “decadence,” including; “deviant sexuality,” science, reason, and any questioning of authority. Christian fundamentalists, if given the power, will do the same things.

    You may read there rest here:https://medium.com/@jcweatherby_49412/its-time-to-start-calling-evangelicals-what-they-are-the-american-taliban-4a41731296e4

  9. I would really like to see a debate between John Pavlovitz and the apologists of the Christian faith. Maybe Ravi Zacharias or someone else from RZIM.
    Post on your blogs / FB / Twitter Feeds if you agree.

    I will add an article about this to http://www.justanothersinner.org soon!
    Feel free to contact me on our blog.
    In love and peace,
    Just Another Sinner

      • JAS overlooks the fact that debates occur here all the time. But I get it that he wants John P to personally engage in a debate. I daresay he expects the opposition to wipe the floor with John P. Personally, I see the opposite happening.

    • Ravi would have John’s lunch! John is nowhere near the intellectual ability and Biblical insight of Ravi Zacharias! John is biblically illiterate as shown weekly on his stupid blog.

      • People like Charles, GA, or even the great heretic John Pavlovitz would make the Tyson vs Spinks fight look competitive if they debated Ravi Zacharias, John MacArthur, Voddie Baucham, Todd Friel, etc.

            • You compared writing a letter by the Apostle Paul (who wrote the love chapter) to a boxing fight between Tyson and Spinks.

              This is not sport for you entertainment.

              If I were John Pavlovitz I would ignore that nonsense.

              • You’re missing the point. Tyson annihilated Spinks in 90 seconds. My point was as one sided as Tyson vs Spinks was a debate between Ravi or anyone else I named and Pavlovitz would be even more one sided. Not sure how familiar you are with JP but he denies the atonement, biblical innerancy, and Hell. He’s a false teacher.

          • Exactly right Anony, the very idea is “repugnant” and as we already know, would change no minds or hearts. Unlike the “Enlightenment”, we now have the Entrenchment and they will brook no version that does not toe that line. We literally interpret Scripture, history, and teachings differently. Oddly, they demand that for themselves, but not for others.

    • Just another sinner. What a great idea. That would be an excellent conversation between the two men. I would like to hear pastor John in that type of Open Forum. I would buy an airline ticket & front row seat if that happened.

  10. I don’t get this. Find another baker or florist who will gladly work your wedding. Voting with your wallet is not a new thing. Why demand that someone who doesn’t share your beliefs about same sex marraige take your money. The crowd that wants to boycott Chick-Fil-A because the owner gave money to an organization that doesn’t support SSM (cause that was effective), at the same time wants to force others who share the same beliefs as Dan Cathy to accept their business. Huh?

    “You have to take my money, bigot!” (A portion of which will probably be donated to a foundation or organization that you find equally abhorrent.)

    • Lloyd, I don’t think the issue is that you “don’t get it”. I think you don’t want to get it. Go back and look at the Jim Crow laws, the “Colored Only” signs and even the government segregation that this nation chose. Go back to the “No Irish need apply” and the Jews this nation turned away who died in the Holocaust. Go back and study the McCarthy hearings and research the Internment of Japanese Americans. Maybe then you will come to see how some of us have a natural inclination against discrimination, exclusion and denial based on things that no one can help (being themselves).

      • My comment was strictly aimed at the seeming inconsistency that is boycotting some businesses for their views on SSM, while demanding others with the same views do business with you. Your reply had literally nothing to do with what I said.

        • Lloyd if, say, a florist inquired into the religious beliefs of a couple that came in for wedding flowers, found out that they were evangelical “Christians” and refused to do their wedding because the florist objected to fundamentalist beliefs, the religious right would immediately be braying about persecution and intolerance. They can dish it out, but they sure can’t take it. That said, on a practical level, I agree that anyone denied a business service might think about taking their business elsewhere. That does not, however, excuse bigotry.

        • Well Lloyd, if you think your comment “was strictly aimed” then you do not “get” the issue on much more than the one level you wanted to “strictly” talk about.

          There is no “inconsistency” in PEOPLE boycotting a businesses for their views on same sex marriage and an individual suing a business that refuses to do business with them. It is the natural progression.

          My reply had literally everything to do with the issue you still seem not “to get.” Discrimination is a stance some will choose if allowed, they always have.

          • Really? So if someone chooses to talk about only one facet of an issue, you automatically assume they don’t understand the rest of it? That’s seems pretty condescending. It certainly fits the description given below of regular commenters here. I see where he is coming from.

            If you really think that a Venn diagram of the CFA boycott crowd, and the make them take your money crowd aren’t almost totally overlapping circles, we live on the same planet, but in different worlds.

            • Generally speaking Lloyd, when a person wants to “talk about only one facet of an issue,” it is because they 1) do not grasp the whole issue (and it was you who claimed not to “get it”) or 2) they know they lose when the issue is extrapolated beyond “only one facet.”

              For the record, I did not “automatically assume” anything, you opened your post with not getting it. How was I supposed to know how far that lack of understanding went?

              No any “Venn diagram of the CFA boycott crowd, and the make them take your money crowd” would NOT be “almost totally overlapping circles” not by a mile. That is evidenced by the millions who choose to boycott and the handful who choose to sue.

              You and I live on the same planet and in the same world, we just do not agree on some issues. And nothing you have said so far makes me care if there are issues we might agree on.

              • Multiple thousands of people who supported boycotting CFA didn’t live anywhere near one. Ergo they didn’t participate in the boycott, but supported it nonetheless. At the time the boycott was called for, there wasn’t a single CFA in the Pacific Northwest, but do you really think there weren’t a million people between Portland and Seattle who weren’t supportive of the effort, even though they were geographically unable to participate? Likewise, the people who sue to force a specific baker to make their wedding cake have supporters who didn’t add their name to the lawsuit. Millions of them. You don’t have to be directly involved in something to be supportive of it. I’ll bet every penny in my bank account that you don’t support the immigration ban put forth by the White House. Yet I haven’t seen Anderson Cooper on TV recently saying “Sandi Saunders sued the Trump Administration today, seeking to block his ban on Muslims. Stay with us on CNN for further details as they break.” It’s almost as if it’s possible to support someone’s legal action against a third party, while having no role in the proceedings at the same time.

                So yes, the Venn diagrams of boycott supporters and lawsuit supporters are exactly as I described.

                “You should be out of business! Until then, though, TAKE MY MONEY!”

                • Lloyd, you seem to be more than a bit obsessed. You assume the intention of boycotts or lawsuits is to put a business out of business and neither is borne out by the facts.

                  Supporting a boycott you cannot even affect (as per your example) is just rhetoric but how can it harm a business that is not there?

                  CFA is building new locations all the time (two in my area in the last 5 years), so they have hardly been harmed by their public prejudice (And if so, we should all be so lucky!). Same for many of the headline making bakers or florists being sued (BY INDIVIDUALS not those who choose to boycott). Sadly, it seems lucrative to discriminate. So the joke here is clearly on those who oppose discrimination.

                  Relax Lloyd, you and Charlie Sheen Trump are “winning”.

                  • I never said it was successful. Quite the opposite. It was a total joke.

                    As to the rest of it, I give up. I can’t figure out how to dumb this down more than I already have.

                    • Aren’t we superior. Perhaps, just perhaps you are the one getting it wrong. Just saying

                    • Good one Lloyd, the problem was definitely that you did not “dumb it down enough” for me. You make yourself a joke and then whine when people laugh.

                    • Hahahahahahahahaha! The notion that any one of the regular commenters here would accuse someone else of acting superior is priceless.

                      Thanks. I haven’t had a laugh like that for a long time.

          • 9 Right Wing Companies Every Progressive Should Boycott

            POSTED BY: NATHAN WELLMAN MAY 6, 2017
            In this current era of resistance against President Trump, many progressives are more eager than ever to fight the conservative agenda.

            Those who want to resist President Trump and the Republican’s agenda with their wallets as well as their votes and activism would do well to avoid these 9 corporations who actively fight against progressive values.

            1. Walmart

            Walmart is well-known for crushing small businesses, coming into communities with prices that make it impossible for other stores to compete. Even when mom and pop stores attempt to lower their prices, Walmart simply matches or undercuts them. Recently, the retail behemoth closed 269 stores, leaving some small towns without grocery stores.

            The company – which is currently the largest employer in America – has also frequently been sued for promoting less senior male workers over female workers. Women employees have even taken the corporation all the way to the Supreme Court for gender discrimination.

            2. Exxon

            As recently as last week, Exxon was forced to pay $20 million in fines for releasing 10 million pounds of air pollution into Texas.

            Besides this sadly-typical disregard for environmental concerns that seem to be a prerequisite for running an oil company, Exxon has the dubious honor of being the first business to receive a negative score on the Human Rights Campaign’s annual Corporate Equality Index.

            The abysmal score largely stems from Exxon’s bitter fight against the gay community. For years, Exxon has fought all attempts to give non-discrimination protections and equal benefits coverage to its employees. Most damning, when Exxon acquired Mobil in 1999, the corporation quickly stripped pre-existing protections for gay employees.

            Oh, and Exxon’s CEO Rex Tillerson is also now President Trump’s secretary of state. So. Ya know. There’s that.

            3. Carl’s Jr.

            Carl’s Jr.’s most visible controversy is their borderline-pornographic advertising which consistently objectifies women.

            What’s less well-known is the founder’s well-documented hatred of homosexuality. Carl Karcher went so far as to publicly support a 1978 proposition which would have permitted school boards to fire homosexual teachers or even teachers who spoke favorably of homosexuals.

            Carl’s Jr. also donates huge sums of money to conservative Super PACs and the Republican party, especially extreme anti-choice causes which aim to ban abortions even in the case of rape or incest.

            4. Hobby Lobby

            Hobby Lobby successfully managed to strip away a provision of Obamacare that required employers to provide birth control to women in their insurance policies, after winning one of the most controversial Supreme Court battles of the last decade. Ironically, the company is also staunchly against abortion, a procedure which tends to become more common without access to contraception.

            5. Chick-fil-A

            Chick-fil-A’s anti-gay stance has been well-documented, with the company’s founder proudly saying in 2012 he is “guilty as charged” regarding his opposition to gay marriage

            The company’s charity continues to donate millions to anti-LGBT causes and Christian programs which advocate “sexual purity” between heterosexual married couples.

            6. Waffle House
            Exactly 100% of Waffle House’s donations go towards right wing causes and candidates. CEO Jim Rogers Jr. even went so far as to join the finance team for Mitt Romney’s Super PAC in 2006. In 2012, the company also gave a whopping $100,000 to Karl Rove’s Super PAC to help influence the election for Republicans.

            Angel Soft7. Angel Soft, Brawny, and Dixie

            Angel Soft toilet paper, Brawny paper towels, and Dixie cups are subsidiaries of Koch Industries, owned by the Koch brothers, who donate millions of dollars every year to such conservative groups as The National Rifle Association and The National Right to Life Committee.

            8. Cracker Barrel

            A 2004 Justice Dept. investigation found that 50 Cracker Barrel locations segregated customers, permitted their white waiters to refuse to serve black customers, and seated white customers before black customers. The company also once fired 11 employees for not exhibiting “normal heterosexual values.”

            9. Urban Outfitters

            Some of Urban Outfitters’ charming fashion designs over the years include a V-neck T-shirt sporting the words “Eat less,” a shirt with the words “Everybody Loves a Jewish girl” with dollar signs and shopping bags surrounding it, and a shirt with a six pointed star badge reminiscent of the Star of David badges that the Nazis forced the Jews to wear.

            And don’t worry, the company hasn’t neglected the African-American community, once offering a shirt in two color combinations: “White/Charcoal” and “Obama/Black.” They also made a Monopoly knockoff called Ghettopoly, where players can buy such properties as “Cheap Trick Avenue” and “Smitty’s XXX Peep Show.” Players could also draw “Hustle” bonus cards which feature such cards as “You got yo whole neighborhood addicted to crack. Collect $50.”

            Oh, and there was the shirt which featured a 15 year old girl in short leather shorts with her legs spread on the back of a motorcycle, a picture which the company used without the girl’s permission.

            And who can forget this lovely Kent State shirt spattered in blood?

            The company also is known for being anti-women and anti-LGBT, with the company’s founder endorsing the famously homophobic Rick Santorum for president in 2008.

            Nathan Wellman is a Los Angeles-based journalist, author, and playwright. His less-political Youtube channel can be found here. Follow him on Twitter: @LightningWOW

            http://resistancereport.com/news/9-right-wing-companies-every-progressive-boycott/

      • I am old enough to remember the “Colored Only” signs. That was a blight on this country and I for one am proud that the people I knew fought it. This is so wrong. On so many planes.

    • Lloyd. My family has already decided to cease doing business with any merchant, small business, or corporation that discriminates against or persecutes LGBTQ citizens. If they do not bake the cake, they pay for it in lost business. I sincerely hope others here will do the same. The only way to truly end discrimination and persecution of LGBTQ citizens is for us heterosexuals to hit the Christo-fascist LGBTQ businessmen and businesswomen where it hurts most—their businesses and bank accounts. If 315,000,000 Americans would do just that one simple little thing, LGBTQ discrimination and persecution would be stopped dead in its tracks. All you have to do is find out what the fundie Christian LGBTQ bigot businesses are in your town—and then throw all your business to their competitors. That is all it takes. One small act of perfectly legal protest.

      • Thank you Charles. 🌈 My friend and I were talking about this today. Especially with restaurants because we have to know we are safe.

        • If it helps to know, my family, which includes two grown sons and family, won’t go to any business that discriminates. I had a beloved cousin, loveliest human being who just happened to be gay, I do it in memory of him and in honor of those who are trying to live their lives without any harm or hate targeting them. My siblings feel the same way. There are a lot of us so perhaps one day….maybe……..Peace and Love,

    • Lloyd, it is really hard to believe an adult is asking the question. Besides, it’s a false equivalency.

      Discrimination on the part of a business is illegal.

      Boycotting is an age-old method of bringing about change.

      Do you see the difference?

      Additionally, the bakers had the option to refuse the business For instance, they could have claimed they were too booked up to handle the order but instead they went all self-righteous, holier than thou, and told the couple what they thought of them and then on top of everything else, they illegally published the couple’s address.

      People find all sorts of ways to get around the anti-discrimination laws. It was the bakers who made the fuss. Not the couple.

    • The federal government has the right and the power to regulate interstate commerce as per the U.S. Constitution. The government also gives businesses certain “perks” in return for that regulation: they get to claim expenses as deductions for tax purposes that individuals do not. If incorporated, their personal property I’d protected from civil liability should they be sued and lose that lawsuit. It is somewhat of a quid pro quo.
      Federal law says those engaged in interstate commerce cannot discriminate. So if a business is engaged in selling popsicles and they decide they will only sell popsicles to men, they are violating federal law. But if a woman comes into their store and demands they sell her ice cream, they are legally able to refuse, because they are not engaged in the business of selling ice cream.
      So if a bakery is in the business of selling cakes, then they have to sell cakes to all customers. They cannot pick and choose who they can sell to. Why is that so hard to understand?

      • Because you are still giving them your business. If CFA is so awful because of the stance their CEO takes on SSM, why go to court to force a different business, who holds the same view, to accept your business? In the end, a portion of what they charge will probably be donated to causes that fight against the legality of your marriage. It’s cutting off your nose to spite your face. I’d just tell the business to go pound sand, and spend my money elsewhere, a la Pretty Woman.

        I’m not debating the legality of denying service to someone who asks you to violate your religious beliefs, but all these lawsuits seem to have the opposite effect. Look at the pizza shop in Indiana that said they would decline to cater a hypothetical same sex marriage (as if a lot of folks serve pizza at their receptions). The pro SSM crowd rose up and drove them out of business in a matter of days, but the other side raised about $800,000 dollars for them on GoFundMe, more than they ever dreamed of making. It’s counter productive.

        • Lloyd,
          A fair warning my wise friend, logic rarely takes hold with mainstay commenters around here. There are a few have a balanced approach and can logically argue. But what I have experienced is pretty much this pattern:
          1. ridicule, insult a person’s credibility, name calling
          2. parroting of news sites, opinions and blog posts
          3. When you do present evidence they cannot dispute they get very quiet.
          4. repeat step 1

          I may not always agree with but admire the discussion maturity level of Susan, Frank Harvell, leslie m, Humility Grace Mercy and a few others, you can usually tell the apart from the missing insults in their posts.

          So the approach I have taken to is completely ignore posts of the Johnsters and respond only to the people who are interested in intelligent logical discussion.

          Hey, but that’s just my feeling so I could be wrong, even though I think the evidence suggests otherwise.

          In love and peace,
          Just Another Sinner

              • It’s time for you to man the heck up and explain how in the world you claim to be a Christian or “passionate about being compassionate” when you do the following:

                1. Use foul language

                2. Ridicule and hate people

                Seriously, give us a legit answer. No more dodging or pointing to what other people do. Or say “the fundies do xyz” or “conservative do xyz.” Please explain why you behave the way you do and yet call yourself a Christian.

                • What’s the matter? Am I hurting the Satanic fundie cause? You people are blind as cave fish, and I do not owe your, individually or collectively, any explanations.

                  Maybe your buddy Pat Robertson’s words actually apply to you fundies. You are the ones who have been militant and hateful as Hell to nonfundie Christians ever since 1910. It is a matter of recorded history. Just listen to Robertson:

                  “You say you’re supposed to be nice to the Episcopalians and the Presbyterians and the Methodists and this, that, and the other thing. Nonsense, I don’t have to be nice to the spirit of the Antichrist.” (Pat Robertson on The 700 Club on January 14, 1991)

                  Suck it up A-Hole. If you dish it out to others in the name of Jesus, do not be surprised to see it dished right back into your own face.

                  • I actually thought you might be a real man and provide a real answer but as usual you demonstrate you are a child of the devil and a nonbeliever.

                    You’re pride of “I’m right and they’re wrong” regarding the atonement is laughable and way off target. You’re essentially saying that every orthodox pastor for centuries is wrong and is going to hell.

                    • And there we go the mask is taken off !

                      I see you are resorting to belittling Charles now.

                      Thank you for showing your true colours !!

                    • Anonymous, Charles is an adult and as such his choice of words is his to make. The hypocrisy of you all coming to this blog to attack John P and his supporters then whining about being bullied is just laughable!

                      Many of you post under several entities and switch back and forth to create the impression there are many attacking but we all know better. In other words, you cretins are the last people on earth with standing to complain about how or what the blog supporters post!

                    • I am right there with you, Sandi. I just don’t take them seriously anymore. They are playing games, right now there are a lot of people who are going to get hurt and they are playing games. That really tells me all I need to know about them. Peace and Love,

                • randomn Anonymous commentor

                  Stop being a hypocrite!

                  You say on the one hand ” people I define as unrepentant are going to hell and then on the other you say “don’t hate me or say I am going to hell for saying you are going to hell”

                  Charles is right!

                  You are the ones who planted the evil ideas and look at the evil fruit you have produced !!

                  You are a bunch of robot followers who can’t tell right from wrong !!

                  In the end good people will fight the evil they see, to ward it off with everything they have, because they know evil does not listen to good.

                  Goodness must extinguish evil.

                  I am fed up with the two faced christians I see, who hate others, deny it and then whine when others hate their words and behaviour.

                  • Dear I can’t wait for evil to go to hell. I am with you 100%.

                    One way to persist in resistance is my FB group, Gloriamarie’s Progressive Stuff, where I post actions, petitions, info, actual news, evidence, facts. There’s a pinned post that I highly recommend people read. I also ask a screening question so I can keep the spammers and the trolls out. All who read this are invited.

                    https://www.facebook.com/groups/gloriamariesprogressivepetitions/

                  • Really? You can’t bring yourself to admit that it’s staggeringly hypocritical for someone to hold themselves up as being superior to all the “fundies” in the world, while simultaneously calling people a**holes and b*tches, and telling anyone who dares disagree to go eff themselves?

                    • Where I come from swearing is a legitimate expression of ones feelings belittling people is not !

                    • “Where I come from swearing is a legitimate expression of ones feelings belittling people is not !”
                      Charles has demonstrated doing both Arnie.

                      Love and peace,
                      Just Another Sinner

                    • Right JAS, and you nor your alter-ego ever handy “Anonymous” never “belittle” anyone? Pride yourself on not using coarse language if you need the boost, but do not act the hypocrite here.

                    • In what universe is calling someone an a**hole or a bitch not belittling? I guess in your world telling someone to eff themselves is a term of endearment.

                    • No one has every made me feel shame when they said I was an asshole.

                      But being being told you are “not man enough” is meant to shame someone and make them appear insignificant.

                      Big difference in my books.

                      I like Charle’s honesty although he makes me wince sometimes. He is not fake.

                    • I agree with that. I wince but I know he is on the up and up. Some others I am not so sure. Peace,

                    • You are exactly right here Arnie. I suppose the language of other adults is theirs to police as well. Give me a swear word over the passive-aggressive wall of text essentially telling me I am angry, unstable and stupid on top of being wrong. Hypocrisy is their specialty yet they only see it in others.

                    • Ah, but they have perfected being perfect. They know everything and we are all totally wrong. Fine, just go have your little meeting of small minds and petty people and leave the rest of us alone. I am happy not being like them. I am who I am. Peace and Love,

                    • A dynamic that fascinates me is that these conservatives are all up on their high horses about swearing, yet they say not a word when one of them says something vicious so as to deliberately hurt someone else.

                      They are such hypocrites because it is not only swear words coming out of the mouth of a believer that defiles them but every vituperative insults because when we insult another, we murder that person in our hearts. Jesus says this.

                    • Exactly Gloriamarie. You saw what happened when I opened up about my truth. I get attacked, then the attacker acts like the grieved and then blames it all on me. If anything this is the consistent, unalterable pattern I see with bullies. What amazes me is that so many people listen to the bully and not the victim. They will find every little thing wrong with the victim but laud the bully. If we want to change the world we must start believing the victims and give the bully a skeptical eye instead of the other way around.

                    • Yes, the total hypocrites love to use whatever we share against us as they demonstrate the love of Jesus… how messed up is that?

                    • “If we want to change the world we must start believing the victims and give the bully a skeptical eye instead of the other way around.”

                      Robin, I am with you 100%. The abusers, bullies, psychic vampires are way too attended to. Those are NOT the people Jesus tells us to pay attention to. Although I am often exhausted by the number of comments, and can’t possibly read, let alone respond to them all, as some here do, I do try to skim to look for the bullying.

                      Of course, sometimes they abuse and bully me and I just ignore those attacks as they are usually too childish for words.

                    • We could nit pick this for hours. But the truth is swearing in anger is not the problem here.

                    • Lloyd, what on earth are you trying to say? I am not sure anyone has to “hold themselves up as being superior to all the “fundies” in the world” to both see and freely admit their repulsion of such literalness and harm.

                      And why does how you choose to write your repulsion make you a “hypocrite?” I think someone who uses the Bible as a weapon is far, far more obscene than someone who responds to it with “calling people a**holes and b*tches,” and even “telling anyone who dares disagree to go eff themselves.” Granted it is not language I would choose, but it certainly gets the point across.

                  • You too must be new here and not familiar with Charles’s hate, foul language, and bullying.

                    The do gooder liberal activists like GA would complain to every corner of planet earth if Charles was a conservative and treated them like he treats people like Leslie m.

                    • Anonymous (whoever you are) I think these people who use their names are being honest and are fed up with the hypocrisy of anonymous trolls who agitate people in a overly insincere syrupy way to make themselves look good but without being truly transparent.

                      Hey, this is how I see it:

                      YOU come on a blog and bother people who are broken and in need of some peace and understanding but you pick on them and make ominous statements against the blog host and then you sign off with a God Bless or peace AND you don’t even sign your name to it!!!

                      wow talk about sinister. It gives me a yucky feeling, except for those anonymous commenters who are thoughtful and kind. (I know they are only being shy! )

                      I am using my real name but I know I am not the only Arnie in the world, so what gives ?

  11. This week the President signed an Executive Order allowing discrimination against the LGBTQ community in the name of “religious liberty.”

    NOT TRUE PASTOR.

    I hope the JP apologists can admit that this is not factual.

    • Well Nothing to see, the only reason there is nothing to see here is that once again Trump’s dishonest rhetoric has him saying one thing and doing another. What was billed as a massive change in support of “religious freedom” (code for legal discrimination) was in fact just “an elaborate photo-op with no discernible policy outcome.”

      http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2017/05/04/526853555/in-name-of-religious-liberty-trump-targets-a-rarely-enforced-irs-provision

      He is laying the ground work for more “protection” for the meshing of Church and State but he did not do so with this Executive Order. So while this is not yet “factual” it remains both a concern for us and a goal for Trump.

    • Listen up A-Hole. What is Trump doing with this EO? He is basically ordering the U.S. Department of Justice to look the other way and do nothing if people violate the civil rights of LGBTQ people on religious grounds. This is how it will be used—thus making you the untruest liar here.

      Every weapon you form against LGBTQ people will eventually come to nothing. Why is that? It is because every American family has LGBTQ family members who are deeply loved by their heterosexual kin. To wage war against LGBTQ people is to wage war against every American family. Believe me, if that is the hill you wish to die on, most of the American people are going to ensure that you do indeed die on that hill. I have two gay nephews and a gay young lady on the Norwegian side of our family. You try to hurt them in any way legally or illegally, I will eat your liver with a side of fava beans. AMERICAN FAMILY. Get it?

    • Joe, as usual, you LIE. Trump did indeed sign an executive order allowing discrimination in the name of “religious liberty”, a term no one on the right seems to understand. Religious liberty does not mean, as you conservatives seem to think, that it is OK to impose your religious beliefs upon another person. Religious liberty only mean you get to worship as you choose. Rolling back the Johnson Amendment is an invitation to discriminate.

      Trump Signs ‘Religious Liberty’ Executive Order Allowing for Broad Exemptions
      by ALI VITALI
      President Donald Trump on Thursday made good on a promise to allow religious organizations greater freedom in political speech.

      “Faith is deeply embedded into the history of our country, the spirit of our founding and the soul of our nation,” Trump said in the Rose Garden at a National Day of Prayer event with religious leaders and White House staff. “We will not allow people of faith to be targeted, bullied or silenced anymore.”

      The president declared his administration would be “leading by example” on religious liberty in the United States.

      “We are giving our churches their voices back,” Trump said.

      Religious leaders prayed in the garden just before Trump signed the executive order.

      Two nuns from the Little Sisters of the Poor, the plaintiff in a federal lawsuit seeking relief from the Affordable Care Act’s contraception mandate, were among those on stage for the signing, according to a press pool report.

      Trump promised during the campaign to dismantle the Johnson Amendment, which bans tax-exempt organizations like churches from political speech and activities. His executive order relaxes IRS enforcement of that ban. While the executive order signals a promise kept, fully repealing the Johnson amendment would require Congressional action.

      The executive order, called “Promoting Free Speech and Religious Liberty,” also gives “regulatory relief” to companies that object to an Obamacare mandate for contraception in health care. That builds on the 2014 Hobby Lobby Supreme Court case, which found that the Affordable Care Act mandate that certain corporations must provide female employees with no-cost access to contraception was a violation of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

      While an earlier draft of the religious liberty order reportedly would have let federal contractors discriminate against LGBT employees based on faith beliefs, Thursday’s version did not include such provisions.

      Pastor Mark Burns, a longtime Trump supporter who attended the White House signing and a White House dinner for religious leaders Wednesday evening, celebrated the move, telling NBC News Thursday morning that it was a “great day for religious freedom in America.”

      Conservative religious groups applauded the move.

      “The open season on Christians and other people of faith is coming to a close in America and we look forward to assisting the Trump administration in fully restoring America’s First Freedom,” Family Research Council President Tony Perkins said in a statement.

      Civil liberty groups criticized the order with several vowing to sue.

      http://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/trump-signs-religious-liberty-executive-order-allowing-broad-exemptions-n754786

      • Trump signs executive order to ‘vigorously promote religious liberty’

        CNN)President Donald Trump signed an executive order Thursday meant to allow churches and other religious organizations to become more active politically, though the actual implications of the document appeared limited.

        The order, which Trump inked during a ceremony in the White House Rose Garden, directs the IRS not to take “adverse action” against churches and other tax-exempt religious organizations participating in political activity that stops short of an endorsement of a candidate for office.
        But pastors are already free to deliver political speeches, and regularly do. Churches and other tax-exempt organizations are restricted from endorsing or explicitly opposing political candidates under the 1954 Johnson Amendment, but the executive order Trump signed Thursday makes clear that those activities would still not be permitted.
        Instead, the order prevents the IRS from expanding its restrictions on political activity by religious groups. It also provides “regulatory relief” for organizations that object on religious grounds to a provision in Obamacare that mandates employers provide certain health services, including coverage for contraception.
        Evangelical Christian leader Russell Moore said the order is “more symbolic than substantive.”
        “The very fact that religious freedom is part of the conversation and religious freedom is being affirmed I think is a step in the right direction,” he said on CNN’s “Erin Burnett OutFront” Thursday night. “Now obviously if this is the end of the story, I’m really disappointed, but I think we ought to hold out the hope that this is just the beginning and that there are more steps to be made.”

        http://www.cnn.com/2017/05/03/politics/trump-religious-liberty-executive-order/

  12. Yeah … this makes sense … right up until you research exactly what is happening.

    The EO has to do with enforcing the The Religious Freedom Restoration Act ~ signed into law by President Bill Clinton back in November of 1993. Under President Obama, it wasn’t enforced – and now it is going to be once more … under the limitations already established by the US Supreme Court.

    As for the Johnson Amendment – which covers all 501(c)(3) organizations … you should really take a look at it. It covers political speech and endorsement by religious institutions … and public (and most private) universities and colleges.

    Now please explain to me, and the American public, how American academia has been, in any way, a non-political space these past nine years? It hasn’t been enforced … so, imagine that, the ‘other side’ wants to have their voices heard as well.

    Put it this way: a pastor standing before his congregation endorsing a candidate is different than a professor endorsing a candidate in front of their class … how? Oh yeah, beyond the fact the students can’t walk away without severe repercussions – a failing grade, reduction of the GPA and loss of money for the class itself.

    To not enforce the Johnson Amendment against the Left on campuses then expect to use the same legislation to silence the voices of the Religious Right in the pulpit is hypocrisy and folly. You have only yourselves to blame.

    ***

    Now, if some church leader wants to spout LGBTQ+ vitriol (and some already do) – let them lose their followers. Let the people vote there with their feet (and wallets).

    We SHOULD know they are wrong.

    We SHOULD know they aren’t delivering a message of love, tolerance and forgiveness.

    We SHOULD know Jesus wasn’t the champion of the wealthy and privileged. HE was the voice of the voiceless, powerless, the enslaved and the condemned. HE was the voice of love beyond pain, suffering and the hatred of others. HE died on the Cross for ALL of us. We SHOULD NOT forget that … even if others have.

    • I don’t believe there are any pastors that have ever feared the IRS. If anything they are afraid of losing nickels and noses.

  13. Once again, John has missed it due to his deep seated hatred of the President. There is nothing wrong with religious freedom, as our freedoms come from God and Christ Himself.

    If we didn’t have religious freedoms, John couldn’t write his nonsense on a weekly basis like he does. We couldn’t worship in peace and according to the dictates of our conscious and values. We couldn’t believe as we do.

    We’ve seen the evidence of the attempt to steal our religious freedoms: people are being sued because they won’t bake a gay cake because of their conviction that marriage is a union between one man and one woman….of which value I also share. People have lost their businesses due to this nonsense. I’m glad we have a President that is a friend to the Christian church. I approve of the EO! Thank you Mr. President!

    • Anonymous, when you’re barred from entering the church of your choice; when you’re murdered on the streets of America simply for being a Christian; when your church is bombed -then we’ll talk about how your religious freedom is being stolen from you. Until that starts happening, stop your sniveling and sitting in judgment on other people. It’s tiresome.

    • Correction Anonymous. You cannot use your claim on YOUR religious freedom as a WEAPON to take away the rights of LGBTQ people and other such groups and individuals you HATE so much. The federal courts have ruled in numerous other past civil rights contexts that you cannot do this legally. A basic legal principle has been established and the courts will not deviate from that—no matter how “stacked” they are.

      You do not have a President that is a friend to the “Christian church.” You have a President that is a friend to fundie churches alone and is joining you in your hatred of every other nonfundie Christian church on planet Earth. Well, I have news for you Bubba. We are going to fight both of you until you choke on your own vomit. The next three years are going to be a really bad scene for you and your fundie friends.

      • From your fingertips, Charles, to God’s ears. “The next three years are going to be a really bad scene for you and your fundie friends.”

        Amen.

        One way to persist in resistance is my FB group, Gloriamarie’s Progressive Stuff, where I post actions, petitions, info, actual news, evidence, facts. There’s a pinned post that I highly recommend people read. I also ask a screening question so I can keep the spammers and the trolls out. All who read this are invited.

        https://www.facebook.com/groups/gloriamariesprogressivepetitions/

  14. God is where ever and whom ever you want him to be. For you God may be one, for another person, may be different. No way to have uniform controls over God because God is everywhere in every view and oppinion. Might as well forbid air.

  15. I have skimmed comments. Having done so, I was going to most a different more spiritual comment but given the mood of the conversation I will hold that for another time. Nothing about what is happening in this country is about winning or losing. Nothing is about being right or wrong. Nothing is about liking or not liking. It isn’t even about politics. Our society is going through a fundamental change. Our government is taking a right turn from the constitution toward a kind of Ayn Rand libertarian government. These are big changes that fundamentally change people’s lives–whether you care or not. They deserve thoughtful responses–not nasty high school level snarky remarks. I am a follower of the commands and teachings of Jesus Christ. My premise is that there is zero correlation between Trump’s life, behavior, governing, or policies and Jesus’ teachings, commandments and life as set forth in Scripture. There are two reasons leaders in the American Church support Trump. 1. Like the church during Jesus’ time–and sadly many times thereafter– they want to hold onto power. 2. Some well-meaning folk believe if you put Putin and Trump together they will hurry along the end time. Even if you like Trump’s style, Putin is an assassin. And if you like Putin’s style, I think you are on the wrong blog. But forget Trump and Putin. If you believe in God…since when is it anyone’s business to be engineering things for God…especially the end times? Just to close, I was REALLY angry at how both the Republicans and the Dems have turned the health care bill into some political win. In my social network I have spoken out against both groups. Whatever your POV about how healthcare should be delivered in the country…how DARE any poli-bot — Dem or Republican — be celebrating because they think some legislation has assured a win. This is life and death stuff. Americans do not care about politicians’ careers. We care about the health care needs of our grandparents, parents, kids, and grandkids. What has this country come to when everything is about winning or losing. “Your just mad because Hillary lost.” “Now that you’ve passed that bill we are going to beat you in 2018?” What have we become?

  16. I find it interesting that commenters who argue against the freedom of others not to believe as they do, and who apparently favor religious force-feeding as somehow socially necessary or desirable, — do so from a cloak of anonymity. And judging from another comment above, these people have a blog of their own where they are anonymous to each other!

    Are they not like the Pharisee who “prayed with himself” in the temple, “Lord Thank You that I am not as this sinner . . .”?
    The evidences of such an in-grown, self-serving religion, leaking around their words in classic Freudian fashion, particularly as regards their faux humility, gives the lie to any attempted appropriation of a mantle of grace and peace. Their real motives have nothing to do with either, and I suspect such persons of much more closely resembling Machiavelli than Jesus of Nazareth.

    • God has blinded them to their own sins and behaviors. They believe that they are the apple of God’s eye because they read the scriptures simply and literally under their own fig trees—not realizing that they have become the allies of Satan in nearly everything they say and do. They are skin sacks full of dead men’s bones.

      That is the bottom line.

      • We all tend to be blind to our own sins and shortcomings. It is when we are blind to the pain of others that it becomes a problem. The Christian Evangelical Fundamentalist churches have willfully blinded themselves to the pain they inflict on others. We see it everyday but they don’t care as long as they get “their guy” in power. They have be tested and found wanting.

        • I agree with you Robin. You know I don’t have any problems with people believing whatever, but when all they are seeking is power and throw people under the bus to get it and wealth, then I have a problem.

        • I agree with you Robin. You know I don’t have any problems with people believing whatever, but when all they are seeking is power and throw people under the bus to get it and wealth, then I have a problem.

        • You nailed it Robin! “The Christian Evangelical Fundamentalist churches have willfully blinded themselves to the pain they inflict on others” for power. And IMHO, that pales in comparison to a harsh indictment or a few colorful swear words.

        • Robin, yes, yes, yes ! You have said exactly what I have thought ! We can all relate to being blind to our faults but to lack empathy for someone in pain or need is outrageous and that is what has happened in this last election. Thanks for your comment, I needed to hear that

  17. I have fought all my life to make sure that there is separation of church and state. My family has been persecuted, hung and imprisoned because their brand of christianity was not the one that the powers that be wanted them to follow. That happened in this country. One christian group that wanted a theocracy, that is why we have a constitution separating the two. It is not, not freedom to enforce your religion on everyone else, it is freedom to practice or not practice a religion of your choice. The right may be in the cat bird seat now, but what happens when someone else has the power, you have set a precedent and then they get to tell you what to do. It is vicious and hateful and not in the image of God or Jesus. I fought this when it was introduced in Indiana and by God I will fight this with my dying breathe.

    • Amen to all you said, Kathleen. You’re the kind of person this country desperately needs more of. I’m there with you!

  18. Dear John Pavlovitz and Readers:

    A new, Feeding America report documents pervasive hunger in America. One in eight people, and one in six children, did not have consistent access to food in 2015, the most recent year for which data is available.
    For the food insecure millions, the gap between income and cost of adequate food is growing. This further exposes the standard narrative of ‘recovery’ from the Great Recession and that ‘things are pretty great.’

    The day after the Feeding America report, Trump signed into law a bipartisan budget measure extending government funding through September 30, which includes a further $2.4 billion cut in food stamps.

    That measure allocates another $15 billion for the military over the next five months, and 1.5 billion more to further militarize the US’ southern border. Democrats hailed this as a victory for the people and defeat for Trump.

    The $16.5 billion allocated for war abroad and on immigrants/refugees at home would go far toward covering what FA calls the annual ‘food-budget shortfall.’ Were that figure deducted from Bill Gates, he’d still have some 60 billion.

    If anything is condemnable, it is a social system that condemns millions to hunger in order to sustain the meaningless and corrupt lifestyles of a new, rising American aristocratic social class is doomed. That system deserves to perish.

    Blessings!

    • I agree gdd, this is all a slow moving train wreck. Many here will do fine under Trump’s term. Sadly others will not. The Plutocracy want us “unworthy” to work like slaves or die. They want the Democratic Republic to eventually die so they can rule it without hindrance of the “outdated” Constitution and control all of the money and power in America. I am not sure what can stop it now. All I know is that if the system collapses I will not likely survive. I will likely suffocate from asthma or pneumonia shortly after due to a lack of medication.

      • {{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{Robin}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}

        I hear you. I hear you because I will likely die from lack of treatment for diabetes and heart disease. As will my mother.
        As will my best friend from non-Hodgkins lymphoma.

        Many of us will die when TrumpNoCare goes into effect. I wonder if we will make it to the 2018 when I trust the USA will rise up in revolt and all registered voters will vote against evil.

        The sin of murder rests on all who voted for Trump or a third party.

        • By that logic then you are guilty of the sin of murder for voting for the murderers at Planned Parenthood who have killed millions of babies.

          At any rate isn’t your mother in her 90’s? Her death will be on the hands of Trump and those who voted for him?

          How much coverage has she lost since Trump was elected? How can Trump keep you or her from living until 2018? Aren’t you being a little bit hysterical? Or at least exaggerating? There won’t be any Obamacare replacement by 2018.

            • Anonymous
              GA,KB,SS are often immersed in alternative facts, the “clump of cells” theory which has been debunked thoroughly was already referenced in another post. Logical discussion is often met with emotional response, and when facts are presented they get very quiet.

              Jeremiah 1:5 New International Version (NIV)

              5 “Before I formed you in the womb I knew[a] you,
              before you were born I set you apart;
              I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.”
              In love and peace,
              Just Another Sinner

    • “The $16.5 billion allocated for war abroad and on immigrants/refugees at home would go far toward covering what FA calls the annual ‘food-budget shortfall.’ Were that figure deducted from Bill Gates, he’d still have some 60 billion.

      If anything is condemnable, it is a social system that condemns millions to hunger in order to sustain the meaningless and corrupt lifestyles of a new, rising American aristocratic social class is doomed. That system deserves to perish.”

      Yes, gdd, it does indeed deserve to perish.

      I name it evil to increase our military budget when it is already the most heavily funded military budget in the world.

      I name it evil to so prey upon the fears of citizens that they are brainwashed into thinking it is good to raise that military budget.

      I name it evil when the bloat in our military budget could end poverty not just in the USA but in the world. Ending poverty would end a great deal of the conflicts all over the globe.

      I name it evil when people chose to vote for those who will deliberately make it harder for the poor, for seniors, for children to thrive in this country.

  19. gdd
    I am in complete agreement with this. I would gladly adopt a Zeitgeist type system. I think capitalism is outdated and destined to fail.
    It’s heart wrenching that people get an $800 smartphone every 2 years while people are starving in our country.

    In love and peace,
    Just Another Sinner

  20. President Trump’s “Religious Liberty” EO is a perversion of true religious freedom as Thomas Jefferson, others of the founders, and court after U.S court has understood it.

      • If you are so stupid and uninformed about public affairs that you need someone to spoon feed it to you, then I am not going to tell you. He might not either.

        You fundies spend your days in a fairy tale world of your own creation and then dare to blaspheme the Holy Trinity by labeling it a “Christian worldview.” There is nothing Christian about your worldview because you willfully ignore half of what Jesus had to say, most of what He did, and a really big part of what He wants you to do—commands you to do— in this life.

        People like you who ally with a religious belief system that, in practice, hates your neighbors as much as you hate yourselves, deserve no attention. My neighbors are flesh and blood people with all the joys and sorrows that regular people have. To you fundies, all they are is sinners on the road to Hell. You do not even see them as human beings because your fundie belief system “objectifies them” so you can keep them SEPARATE from your perfect selves—and most of the times you fundies treat them like trash in a dumpster. Having trouble finding new converts? Wonder why people treat you like the sh**t that you are? They do it because fundie people like you treat them like sh**t first.

  21. The part that specifies that no adverse action shall be taken relating to tax-exempt status for political preaching, for pastors telling their congregants how to vote. That is in flagrant violation of the separation of church and state (and no, that is not a fiction invented by the left, the “wall of separation’ was expressed in Thomas Jefferson’s letter to the Danbury Baptists in 1802 or so. The establishment clause (“Congress shall make no law regarding the establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof” ) is the Constitutional expression of this principle, and hundreds of years’ worth of jurisprudence backs the wall of separation up legally. I want neither the Baptists nor the Catholics nor the Pagans telling me who to vote for – the realm of religion and the realm of politics are separate and need to remain so in a democracy. And the conflation of religion with politics is one more death knell for democracy in this country.

    We are not, nor should we be, a nation of religious conservative reactionaries. That will be totalitarianism.

    • I agree John Fisher. You do not see the United Methodists, Lutherans, or Roman Catholics trying to take over the government at any level (local, state, or federal) and use it to control American citizens or force American citizens to believe their particular “take” on Christianity.

      You do see the Christian fundamentalists and conservative evangelicals trying to do precisely that—and it is very widespread and often highly organized and well funded. At the local level, there is almost always some fundie weasel employing various dirty tricks to get himself or herself elected to a local school board. The reason is almost always to impose one or more aspects of the fundie belief system on innocent nonfundie children and their parents.

      For example, one of these little fundie weasels, who looked like a short version of Julius Rosenberg, got himself elected to the school board in the small southern town where I grew up. Before you knew it, he was trying to implement a “book rating system” in our public schools to define for all parents and their school children which books were “good” and which books were “evil, according to fundie beliefs and encourage parents to prevent their children from reading the “evil” books—and then he had the unmitigated gall to claim that this was not a system of book censorship. More fundie lies!!!

    • But, John Fisher, “We are not, nor should we be, a nation of religious conservative reactionaries. That will be totalitarianism.”

      That seems to be exactly what they want. They want everyone to think as they, feel as they.

  22. I would like to bring up a serious—very serious—subject we have never talked about here. As we have recently learned from the FBI, CIA, NSA, and other American intelligence organizations, Russia now has a highly organized cyberwarfare force consisting of literally thousands and thousands of employees. We have also learned along the way that this cyberwarfare force is NOT limited to hackers trying to break computer passwords and gain entry into U.S. Government and corporate computers. We now know that a great deal of this Russian cyberwarfare force is dedicated to undermining the cultural and social fabric of nations and fomenting dissension, rebellion, and revolution to cause such nations to implode from within—like the Soviet Union did. We already know about their extensive “fake news” efforts.

    In various recent days, I have read in various places increasing concerns that the Russian cyberwarfare forces may already be invading popular blogs and other on-line forums in nations around the world for the specific purpose of creatively exploiting and exacerbating social, economic, and religious conflicts among ORDINARY PEOPLE LIKE YOU AND ME—all designed to deeply divide large portions of the populations within nations and help them to hate each other so much that negative consequences will will inevitably ensue to rip those nations apart.

    The John Pavlovitz blog is really popular around the nation, and the Russian cyber warfare force already knows how much Christian fundamentalists/conservative evangelicals and Liberal/Conservative Christians hate each other—and I think we should be honest here. Whether we like it or not or want to admit it or not—right down where the rubber meets the road—these two groups do indeed hate each other. This hatred is so vehement, vitriolic, widespread, and disruptive—with its claws dug so deeply into governmental issues and state/religion issues—that the Russian cyberwarfare forces could not help but see it as prime territory to exploit and make worse on-line to undermine our nation. As a juicy target, this blog sticks out like a sore thumb and begs entry by Russian cyberwarfare agents.

    In huge buildings in Moscow and St. Petersburg (and other locations around Russia), large rooms in buildings may be literally filled with hundreds of cubicles, and the Russian government employee in each cubicle may have been assigned a particular Internet blog or Internet forum to invade, disrupt, and enlarge hatreds and dissensions among American citizens. These Russian employees are well trained, have masterfully planned strategies and tactics—and they are masters at implementing them.

    These Russian employees are most likely the kinds of people the German Army Intelligence used to create battlefield confusion in the Battle of the Bulge in World War II. They speak and write perfect American English and know American life and culture inside out, many of them having grown up in the United States and then returned to Russia with their families. This means they know us all too well and know precisely how to exploit us and tear us apart as a people.

    I think all of us here at the John Pavlovitz blog need to seriously consider the very real possibility that one or more of these Russian cyberwarfare agents has already shown up here on the John Pavlovitz blog. I was here for most of three years, and nothing like the degree of disruption that we see now ever existed on this blog before. It all began when Joe Catholic showed up and his friend evil “Anonymous” showed up to play the role of “redneck fundie.” I think the John Pavlovitz blog is so well-known in the on-line Christian realm now—so well known—and so open to posting without moderation—that it is a target too rich for the Russian cyberwarfare forces to ignore.

    • Charles wrote ” It all began when Joe Catholic showed up and his friend evil “Anonymous” showed up to play the role of “redneck fundie.” I think the John Pavlovitz blog is so well-known in the on-line Christian realm now—so well known—and so open to posting without moderation—that it is a target too rich for the Russian cyberwarfare forces to ignore.”

      So, all of the following are possibly Russian agents hacking the blog?

      Benny
      Joe Catholic
      Lone Catholic
      Let everyone be born
      Everyone has a right to birth
      anonymous
      Wayne
      A Catholic Perspective
      Bud Maunch
      La vida es como una sombra QUE pasa.
Lionel Hutz
      R J Grayson
      Gordon Nicely
      pj
      Uber Doofus
      The Right to Life
      Another name he used was Miss and I forget the rest
      Tom Cottone
      James T Kirk
      Mr.Spock
      Kim Jong-un
      Monsters Are Due on JP Street
      Ted
      Victor Stone
      AJ Ravinsky
      Pdiddle53
      Arthur Curry
      Schnickleberry Donkershonk
      Make America Great Again
      Trump Supporter
      José el Catolico (indocumentado-no le digas a Juan)
      Patrick
      Captain Justice
      José el Catolico
      JoeJoeJoeJoeJoeJoe
      Darth Vader
      Gandalf
      Joe Blow
      Shnockleberry Dinkerdonklage
      Winker Dinker
      Scatman Crothers
      Swheeeper Dinglehoffer
      Krinkledopper Weemperhaumpt
      No wonder people want to remain anonymous
      Theo Seeber real name
      Alexander The Gr8
      The Authority of the Church
      fighting the lies from the left
      Skippy
      Dear Daughter,
      Humility Grace Mercy
      Peter Piper
      Joe, posting from Patmos
      Christian Trump Supporter
      Ima Trumpfan
      Play Better, Holtby!
      Mother Teresa, aka Saint Teresa of Calcutta
      Auntie Feticide
      Harry Potter
      Lloyd Braun
      Nothing To See Here
      Bobby

        • I never called you such things and I am astonished that you would tell such a lie about me. It is unbecoming in one who styles as “Humility Grace Mercy.”

            • GA suffers from alternative facts syndrome that she accuses others of having. She appears to not recognize her words are easily searchable but it’s always good for a chuckle 🙂
              But I recognize it’s better for you to be a Russian super-model (as if :P) than Theodore Seeber.

              In love and peace,
              Just Another Sinner

      • No. Probably just one or two agents who know that use of multiple names is a great tactic for increasing dissension and bad feelings among people—especially for those who do not quickly grasp what is really going on.

        • Charles, I do think there is something weird regarding some here, and I guess that is as good an explanation than any I can come up with. There are word patterns and such, that make one wonder.
          Peace and Love,

        • Charles, that’s what I meant.

          It is patently obvious that the many trolls here are only two or three people posting under many different aliases.

          I’ve probably missed quite a number of the pseudonyms. I doubt the list is exhaustive.

  23. The separation between church and state is about keeping government out of church. A government should never tell thier citizens what to believe in or how to worship. Government should not dictate what pastors preachers or don’t preach. Government should stay out of religion.

    This law was because of the Catholic vs Protestant debate that Kings and Queend across the ocean had been having. People worshiped in secret and would loose their lives if they worshipped the wrong way. This law is so we don’t become like China where persecution real and people are killed by the government for thier beliefs.

    The separation between church and state is not about keeping government out of churches. The government should not be able to tell the church, what to do or that they can’t do anything except in very extreme cases where lives are at risk or the church is breaking serious laws of the government.

    From a government standard, I believe John Pavlovitz has the right to say whatever he choses on his page or from a pulpit. He does treat this as his church, making the same amount from his Patreon page as I earn as a senior caregiver a month, that doesn’t include his book sales or adds on this page. I believe he should not face a fine or loose 501 status (he has it) for preaching what he believes. John has the government right to do this. Also I think an LGBT organization, that helps support and provide protection for the LGBT community should have the right to have 501 status and support openly whichever president they want without censorship or dictatorship. I personally would not go to a church that became a political advocate. But this is about censorship and individual rights. I don’t think any organization, as long as it’s following the safety laws should be censored.

    Laws are brought to government by people who feel strongly about things. For example MADD lobbied because of the loss of a child. There are Amber laws because mother’s fought for laws to protect their children. Yes some church goers feel strongly about some issues, and lobby for that to become law, there is nothing wrong with it, they aren’t the law makers and the law has to go through a strenuous vetting process before it becomes law. Checks and balances are great ways to keep unconditional issues our of Government.

    The government should not pass laws that discriminate against any religion or person. Someone ask if I would be upset if a law or order was passed for the Sharia Law, yes government should not enforce any religion. I would also be up in arms if a law was passed enforcing the first three laws of the Christian 10 Commandments! What God you worship is a personal choice and should not be mandated by the government. Honestly government shouldn’t enforce the Sabbath and the Blue Laws weren’t constitutional. God wants individuals to make the correct choice on their own.

    All of this is a non-issue because the Executive order does nothing but say in a bunch of legalize that the laws on the books have to be upheld.

    “Liberal groups preparing to sue over the ordersaid there was no need. The American Civil Liberties Union called the order “an elaborate photo-op with no discernible policy outcome.” Public Citizen said it was “a sham because what it actually does is instruct the IRS to enforce the law as written”” source from NPR.

    On the personal side, I would not go to or donate to a church with a political agenda. If a law was going to be passed that would take away individuals right to worship or not worship, how and when they saw fit, then I would become political.

    I believe there is only one true God, the only way to heaven is through a relationship with Jesus Christ. I try to live that in my everyday life. God gave us free will because He desires a real relationship with us. Everyone has the choice to follow Him or not. Everyone has a choice to obey the laws of God or not. I cannot and should not force my beliefs on anyone, each person must come to God by their own choice. The government should never be involved in that choice.

    Sincerely with,
    Humility Grace Mercy

    • Dear Humility Grace Mercy, When one stands over a pregnant woman and intones “You must, you WILL carry this pregnancy to term”, religion has imposed its totalitarian will, and that is inimical to democracy. Ask the Jewish or non-believing students in the 1940s who were forced into Christian religious exercises as part of their day in a public school, and see the decisions handed down by our federal courts. That is but one instance of how religion has quite properly been kept out of government (public schools are an instrument of the state and that makes them government). Read the jurisprudence. It cuts both ways, and this argument that church/state separation is only to keep government out of churches’ business is either uniformed, or disingenuous in the service of religious totalitarianism. In this day of computers and readily available information, I rather suspect the latter.

      • My take, it is disingenuous. They have always wanted to impose their brand on everyone else. What is confusing is, there are more of us than them but here we are. Peace,

      • John Fisher, thank you for your grasp of US actual history. More and more I fear that the evangelicals.fundamentalists have turned their back on what has actually been the true history of our country.

        • I am not surprised, if you believe in alternate facts, it reasons you will believe alternate history. I really don’t think God is going to be impressed with their alternates. Truth is truth and history is history. They don’t get to rewrite it. That falls in line with the holocaust deniers. Peace and Love,

          • ” I really don’t think God is going to be impressed with their alternates. Truth is truth and history is history. ”

            Kathleen B, that is the bottom line. Departing from the truth, falsifying history are both forms of lying. Jesus doesn’t like it when we lie. does He?

    • I might be naive and believe that government can do the right thing but that doesn’t change my beliefs. I believe 100% Government should stay out of religion.

      I realize I did not go back through history and point out every single time the country has overstepped with religious interference. I only brought up a couple. The awesome thing about religious freedom is if you see government overstepped with one religion, you can rally and propose to overturn the law or lobby for a new law to be written for what you believe in. Your religion, your non-profit group can support any law it wants; as with most of the laws you pointed out, they have been overturned or replaced.

      Read the Constitution, government is not to dictate religion. Under our Constitution I should be able to start the church of “Democrates United” where the congregation worships at the foot of a golden donkey and preach nothing but CNN news stories and the desire for all Republicans to burn in hell. That is your religious right. The government can’t stop you and if they tried I would fight for your religious freedom because if they take yours they can take mine. I am aware there are way fewer believers in America than there once was and my beliefs are extremely important to me. So you bet I believe in religious freedom. I believe the government should stay out of religion. I believe they should never dictate what a religion should say, believe or do as long as they remain in the bounds of safety laws.

      I find your belief that if religion backs our argument for a law than the law is unconstitutional to be extreme. We would have to rewrite the Constitution, it was written using biblical beliefs as guidelines. Also murder, purgery, and theft would have to be removed from the laws, those are part of the Ten Commandments.

      Honestly, I believe abortion is a humanity issue not a religious one. I believe every single life is as important as every other. I would think those who believe survival of the fittest would agree, that’s how the race continues itself. As a mother who carried a life in me for over nine months I know my child was a precious life, even before he was born. My circumstances were such that many told me to abort but I could feel the life growing inside me. That is why I believe even unborn life is worthy of living. I can’t say whether or not rape cases or incest should be carried to term, that’s another debate but most women have a lot of choices before they become pregnant.

      Sincerely,
      Humility Grace Mercy

      • And HGM, that was fine for you. You were allowed to make the choice to carry your baby. But people like you are trying very hard to take the choice of NOT carrying a baby away from millions of other women who don’t feel as you do. And why do you feel that women who choose abortion do so capriciously and without much thought? I’ve personally know women who had abortions due to the circumstances in their lives at the time, and I can assure you that it was a decision that was arrived at after a great deal of consideration. It was not an easy decision, but the point is that, like you, it was THEIR decision to make. No one has the right to make it for them.

        • Susan, the problem is that they do believe that they have the right to get in my womb and tell me what to do. Even if it will kill me that have no problem making that decision on my behalf. I wish they would just stay out of other women’s wombs and we will stay out of their’s. I have also known woman who have had abortions, not one of them had a easy time with it but most it was a medical reason and their other children are certainly glad to have them still around. Peace and Love,

        • Susan you make the case for individual choice regarding abortions, instead of religiously-inspired totalitarianism, much better and more compassionately than I did. Thank You.

  24. Sorry for typo. I am standing with you on this. I wrote my senators and representatives. Mary

  25. Those that condemn John and “read into” his blogs hate is because that is what they themselves feel for anyone who is “not like them”. I have never seen John use the word hate and he has only condemned beliefs/ideas, not people. He preaches what Jesus preached , Love for all, standing up for the sick, the poor, the disabled, the elderly, all of those who are least among us, while the right wingers condemn all of those because what ever condition they are in is somehow “their own fault and why should they have to take care of them? “.

    • Spot on Ellen Casteel! I love John Pavlovitz telling the unvarnished truth and I love the people who come here and support his honesty. He is not coming from a place of hate at all. He is in pain seeing the damage that people who dare to call themselves Christian are inflicting and what they support.

      If you want to stand with the likes of Trump and his instability; if you want to stand with white supremacists and bigots; if you want to stand with people who would deny equality, equal protection, privacy laws and worst of all, the teachings of Jesus Christ, you go right ahead, just do not expect us not to notice and call it out!

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