Tag Archives: gay marriage

How Can Christians Avoid Rehabilitation by Government?

Just last week we all read with anxiety the report that in Oregon, the State Labor Commissioner is mulling a plan to “rehabilitate” business owners who refuse business in a way deemed discriminatory. The case that propelled this idea to the front pages is that of a Christian baker who refused the order of two lesbians planning a wedding. The Christian declared that his Christian principles forbade him to participate in sin. The Christian quoted the Bible as his basis for this decision. Every Christian knows that the Bible is a Christian’s guide for faith and life, because it is the revealed word of God. Every US Christian knows that the First Amendment protects Christians in the “free exercise” of their faith. Aaron Klein, the Christian baker, acted in full confidence that he was protected by the First Amendment when he exercised his faith, choosing to live by the teachings of his faith.

Apparently, in Oregon, the First Amendment to the US Constitution is unknown. If it were honored and upheld, the Kleins would not be facing fines and rehabilitation, actions commonly imposed on Christians in countries like China, Vietnam and Uzbekistan, but previously not imposed as penalties for the free exercise of religion in the USA. The notion of rehabilitating people who refuse to act against conscience is the direct consequence of the ongoing re-education of the citizens in the form of politically correct speech.

The Kleins should have known that they would be under a threat from the first time someone called the union of homosexuals a “gay marriage.” The word “marriage” has a definition, and the union of homosexuals is not it. For as long as there have been humans on earth, the definition of “marriage” is “the union of one man and one woman.” Because that is the definition, it isn’t possible to use the modifier “gay” with this word, because “gay” means “homosexual.” There can be no such thing as a homosexual marriage, and that means that there can be no such thing as a gay marriage. Homosexuals can engage in sexual activity, but that activity does not change the definition of marriage. Christians have made an effort to avoid using the term “gay marriage” simply because it is an oxymoron.

However, in the culture, shortly after homosexuals began telling Christians that they would be “on the wrong side of history” if they opposed “gay marriage,” LGBT activists introduced a new term in the glossary of political correctness: “marriage equality.” This term leaped right past the argument about whether there could even be such a thing as a “gay marriage,” and pretended that the argument about the definition of marriage was already over. Operating as if “marriage” could be anything somebody wanted it to be, LGBT activists proceeded to the argument that it wasn’t fair to deny legitimacy to gays who want to marry and be just like everybody else. It sounded a lot like my children begging to go to a movie I have forbidden because of its moral depravity. They cried, “But Mom, everybody else is going, and we won’t even know what they are talking about. It’s not fair!” The LGBT activists propounded exactly that argument: everybody else gets to be married and we want to be married, too.

For all their efforts to make the “everybody else” argument be about love and fairness, it should be noted that the masks came off when the Supreme Court ruled that the federal government had to recognize the union of two lesbians as a marriage, because somebody somewhere said it was so, and it wasn’t about love or fairness or any of that; it was about money. The argument then boils down to this: no matter what the majority of the citizens of the USA think, if anyone is married by anyone to anyone, the federal government is obligated to recognize the marriage and administer benefits – read “money” – accordingly.

This travesty of justice is rooted in the re-writing of the definitions of words we all thought we knew very well: “marriage” and “equality.” It turns out that in the secular mind, which dominates the culture and dominates government, people are free to redefine words whenever the current definition doesn’t feel good, and when the definition changes, laws which were written on the basis of the definition at the time suddenly mean something different.

Which leads back to the Kleins. The Kleins define marriage in a way that is perfectly legitimate according to their faith, and more to the point, they use a definition which was in place when they established their business and made their decisions about the way they would operate their business.  They, like many other people in the US, thought they knew what a marriage is, and when they included wedding cakes in their suite of baked products, they thought they knew what a wedding is, too. The fact that a few very aggressive political activists have promoted and sold an idea that has no legitimacy in reality does not change the moral foundations on which the Kleins make moral choices. They don’t need to be re-educated; the culture needs to be re-educated.

The Kleins are actually victims of a bigger problem than a law that interprets their actions as discrimination. Their problem is bigger than activist redefinition of words. The Kleins are victims of voter apathy. Poll after poll after poll shows that considerably more than 50% of the voters define marriage as the union of a man and a woman. Poll after poll after poll shows that the concept of “gay marriage” and of “marriage equality” are unpalatable to most voters. Yet every time there is an election in which the voters can speak, the voters who oppose the LGBT agenda stay home in droves. When the voters who oppose the LGBT agenda simply go to the polls and vote, the LGBT agenda always loses.

History shows that when the LGBT agenda does lose, the activists simply become more active. The battle against LGBT activism and its constant assaults on morality is exhausting. Voters who want the definition of marriage to be left alone get tired of fighting the pressure. No matter the agenda, all activists rely on this truth about human nature to get what they want. They always have the energy of pent-up anger, the pitiful, plaintive cry that “it’s not fair,” and the willingness of a certain percentage of the population to believe that the loudest noise is the most righteous cause. Voters who want to retain the present status are accused of being old and thinking old and dragging the society down by their old-fashioned silly ideas.

Unfortunately, this battle will never end. In a football game, when the home team digs in on the five-yard line to prevent the opposing team from scoring, there is a clock. No matter how difficult it is to “hold that line,” the battle will end eventually. The same is not true of the battle for marriage. Those who want to protect marriage and preserve it as God ordained it are now destined always to be digging in on the five-yard line. Opponents of marriage have the bit in their teeth. They will not accept any defeat as final. No matter how often they lose at the ballot box or in court or in the public forum, they will not stop. Defenders of marriage as the union of a man and a woman must sign up for the long haul. Voters who are tire of being asked to vote about this and related issues must never assume that anybody else will even go to the polls. Every voter who supports marriage must consider the civic duty to vote as a sacred responsibility.

Christians want to live by their Christian principles, and Christians believe those principles must govern every thought, word and deed, at home, at church, in business and in the voting booth. If Christians truly want to be free to continue living by their principles instead of being rehabilitated, they must recognize that the blessing of citizenship in a representative republic creates an obligation of participation as a voter. The only hope of avoiding the institution of government rehabilitation or re-education or whatever euphemism the activist choose is to vote while that right still exists. Reject rehabilitation. Vote in every election.

If you didn’t vote the last time you had the opportunity, why not?

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Where Will the Impact of Gay Marriage End?

Recent news in Kentucky reports the efforts of a woman to avoid testifying against another woman in a murder trial on the basis of spousal privilege. The two women created a civil union in Vermont in 2004, after which they moved to Kentucky, where the state constitution defines marriage as the union of a man and a woman. Even though Vermont legalized gay marriage in 2009, the 2004 civil union is not recognized as a marriage in Vermont, an issue which might cloud efforts to claim spousal privilege even in Vermont.

Kentucky is one of thirty-one states that have “marriage” amendments to their state constitutions. The language varies. Some amendments simply define what marriage is, and others define as well what marriage is not. Some specifically disallow civil unions. Whatever the form, each of these amendments represents the will of the people to sustain and protect the institution of marriage from being redefined out of existence. There is no record of the religious convictions of those who advocated for such amendments, but the national dialogue reported in the daily news makes it plain that some citizens who advocate for traditional marriage do it from personal convictions having nothing to do with a religious connection. The view that marriage is the union of a man and a woman has roots in human societies that

The report from Kentucky includes a disturbing observation. Angela Elleman, attorney for the defendant in the trial, says that in view of the recent US Supreme Court ruling, “the climate is right” for Kentucky’s amendment to be thrown out. It isn’t entirely clear what the path to such a ruling might be, but such a statement should raise the hackles of voters in every state with such an amendment. Those amendments were hard-won, whether passed by voter initiative or by legislative action. Voters across the country have sacrificed time and treasure to achieve protection for marriage and family at the constitutional level in state after state. Now it appears that the battle will simply continue in another venue.

Why do Christians care?

There are several reasons for Christians to care whether the civil partner of a defendant charged with murder will be refused spousal privilege in a murder trial.

First, the underlying necessity of determining what constitutes a marriage is quite disturbing. The government of the US does not include a state church, but the culture of the US has always been open to all religions. Any culture is predominantly shaped by the cultural elements with the greatest numbers. Till recently, the dominant religion in the US was Christianity, and Christian morality dominated in most settings. The founders would have expected Christianity to dominate, because that was the religion most of them espoused along with most other colonists. While they had a strong commitment to religious liberty, and the strongly rejected intermingling the church in the structures of the government, the founders had an equally strong sense that the church provided a moral compass for society and they considered that moral compass essential to the success of self-government. Christians have considered marriage to be the union of a man and a woman for two thousand years. Contemporary efforts to redefine it represent a dangerous challenge to the notion that government has a compelling interest in fostering healthy families. So far, the conversation on this subject has far outrun the predictions of the most vocal advocates of gay marriage, and there seems to be no boundary in sight. What will a family be if states are forbidden to define it in their constitutions? Why should government do anything to protect and promote family if it is impossible to define the family in a way that demonstrates how it is beneficial to the state?

Second, there is no reason to believe that the advocates of gay marriage and all the other definitions that tag along with it will stop their campaign if they succeed in rooting out all the state constitutional amendments that define marriage. The secular thought patterns that shape LGBT advocacy have made it clear that they are outraged by any religion that rejects their definitions of marriage. In their eyes, their definition of marriage, which is no definition at all, is a universal human right. It would not surprise me for LGBT advocates to demand that churches be forbidden to express opposition to gay marriage, and the campaign might even extend to attempts to shut down churches that continue to refuse to allow or perform gay marriages on their properties.

Such a notion really sounds farfetched. It sounds unreal. It is completely at odds with everything we all believe we know about religious liberty as protected by the US Constitution. Think how outrageous it would have sounded as recently as 1993 to hear that a defendant’s gay partner would even attempt to claim spousal privilege to avoid testifying in a murder trial. In 1993, this news would have sounded as preposterous as a Saturday Night Live script. Today it is a very real situation with very real potential consequences. Nothing happens in a vacuum.

Church members are citizens, too, just like everyone else. If they want to continue to be treated as citizen with the rights of citizens, they must get busy and act like citizens who accept the responsibilities of citizenship. It isn’t necessary to use vile language or engage in threatening demonstrations, but it is necessary to speak up and speak out and vote. Did you stay home in 2008 or in 2012 because no candidate pleased you? Do you think local and state elections are too trivial and inconsequential to be worth your time? Where do you think national candidates learn how to do what they do? Barack Obama is historically unique in not having “paid his dues” at the precinct level along the way.

In 2011 Andy Andrews published a very important book. He was looking forward toward the 2012 presidential election, but the book is relevant to any election. The title is very long, but it is pretty self-explanatory: How do You Kill 11 Million People? : Why the Truth Matters More Than You Think. I don’t receive any commission for promoting this book. I promote it, because it is true. You need to read it. You need to read it because every election is won by those who turn out the most votes. You need to read it, because the foundation of humanity, the family, is under fire and in danger of disappearing from contemporary society. You need to read it, because you ought to pay attention and spend some time studying the issues and engaging in the public conversation and you absolutely, positively ought to vote your conscience, making the best choice you can make from the options available. When you don’t vote, your “vote” serves whoever wins. If you don’t like the outcome of the election, you have no right to complain if your vote went with the majority. If you cast your vote with the majority, or if you cast no vote at all, you vote with the majority.  In other words, if you didn’t vote in 2012, you voted for Barack Obama.

Christians have one more option: prayer. You may not be a big fan of prayer. You may believe that God has better things to do than hear your prayer that God intervene in this cultural collapse. Why don’t you believe that God cares? Why would God give us a Bible that tells us how to live if he did not car how we live? One of my favorite songs has a very simple chorus that begins, “God hears and he answers prayer.” This post is not about all the ways God answers prayer, but the fact is that he does. When Christians speak and act and write and call and stand up and refuse to sit down so the issues that matter to them are not steamrollered by the opposition, they can also be praying, and it does matter.

Will the civil partner of a gay woman be required to testify against her partner or not? It sounds like a trivial question – he said, she said. It isn’t. The church should care and you should care about this outcome. Don’t vote with the majority. Don’t sit silent while they carry away people you don’t care about. Don’t volunteer for the train that will take you to the ovens.

Where will the impact of the current social and political turmoil over gay marriage end? Nobody knows, but you can be part of the decision, you can live knowing you did something in an attempt to stem the tide, if you simply act.

What is the Real Goal for Marriage?

The beauty of this nation has always been the willingness of the citizens to allow one another considerable latitude in matters of opinion. For example, even though two political parties dominate US politics, numerous other parties exist and thrive despite the fact that the viewpoint of each little party represents a tiny minority of the population. The right of each individual to hold his own views has always been respected culturally and protected in the Constitution. There have certainly been instances when violence erupted over issues, but in the big picture of American history, there has never been a time so chaotic that people across the nation felt that they would be in danger if they expressed their opinions.

The LGBTQ activists don’t want to continue in this tradition.

They obviously desire to be able to feel that everyone likes them. They don’t want to feel threatened. But there is a deeper reason. The deeper reason is that the LGBTQ activists want to be perceived as normative and authoritative in their superior understanding of human sexuality. The culture used to believe heterosexuals were normal and other sexual practices were considered to be mental illness. Since the beginnings of the church, Christians have taught that homosexuality is sin, and they certainly considered that treatment for it as a mental illness was a compassionate attitude. The LGBTQ activists have come up with some wishful scientific thinking that they use in order to claim that nobody actually has a gender or any gender-specific traits. They claim that people acquire all their traits and their entire gender identity from the family, and they want this all to stop. They want children to choose their gender identity the way they choose their hairstyles – by experimenting with various options till they find one they like. That sort of an upbringing is diametrically opposite to the kind of family life most people consider normal. People who advocate that marriage is the union of a man and a woman almost always include in the justification for that norm the fact that it is better for children to be reared in a home with a married father and mother. The values normally expected to develop in a child reared that way would be the values their parents held. This is not what the LGBTQ activists want for families.

The truth is that the LGBTQ agenda is not about permission to get married. It is about ending the institution of marriage. If you do not believe this could be the agenda, then here is what Masha Gessen had to say on the subject of the LGBTQ agenda for marriage and family:

It’s a no-brainer that (homosexual activists) should have the right to marry, but I also think equally that it’s a no-brainer that the institution of marriage should not exist. …(F)ighting for gay marriage generally involves lying about what we are going to do with marriage when we get there — because we lie that the institution of marriage is not going to change, and that is a lie.

The institution of marriage is going to change, and it should change. And again, I don’t think it should exist.

If the institution of marriage ends, then families are just whoever happens to be together at the time, with no commitments and no protections for the children. But then, if children are supposed to figure everything out for themselves without any sharing or guidance from parent to child, then who needs marriage? Who needs families?

Christians who want political popularity are announcing one by one or in droves that they can’t find anything in the Bible to be a basis for disagreement with the LGBTQ agenda. But they all seem to think that this agenda is about the quaint idea of “marriage equality.” It isn’t. If Christians give up the definition of marriage by using the term “marriage equality” as if they think they know what it means, then they have already given up the ground on which to defend marriage and family and the right of parents to teach their values to their children.

Fortunately, Christians still have the right to disagree, at least in the words of the Constitution. Christians are still free to speak up and assert the truth that marriage is the union of a man and a woman. They may be laughed at or they may be cursed. Those things do not matter. Christians still have the right to speak and they still have the right to vote. Those things do matter.

Christians also have the right to take their case to the throne of God. When James wrote about the power of fervent prayer, he spoke from experience. James knew two things: 1) he knew that when human beings are not living in relationship with God, they are subject to take aggressive action to persecute Christians, something that is incipient in the behavior of the LGBTQ political agenda; and 2) he knew that when Christians pray, God hears them. God’s response is not always what Christians expect, but it is always good. If something good is to come of the current activism to legitimize homosexuality and various other sexual practices, then God will have to make that something good happen. It won’t happen as a consequence of Christians giving up their commitment to the Bible as God’s all-sufficient guide for faith and life. It will only happen when Christians are willing to be completely submitted to Christ and willing to love, bless and pray for the people who want to persecute them.

When I was a child we used to sing a little chorus that said, “God can do anything … but fail.” The chorus may have sounded trivial to some people, but it is completely true. If you believe the Bible, then you believe that God cannot fail. Pray with that conviction in your heart, and something good will happen. The disciples prayed once for boldness to speak the good news, and it landed them in jail, so don’t assume that prayer will bring a fairy tale ending. Don’t even assume that you will live to see God’s good outcome. Just live the way Jesus told us to live. Put him on the throne of your heart and go where he leads.

The LGBTQ activists have an agenda. So do Christians. The Christian agenda is:

  • Love God and love people with all our hearts
  • Speak the truth, even if it is not popular
  • Love, bless and pray for everyone who disagrees
  • Always give faithful testimony to Christ in every setting.

Speaking the truth may put us in opposition to views with powerful support. We must trust God and our Constitution to protect us when we speak truth and stand firm in our convictions.

 

 

 

 

What Would Jesus Do?

A friend of mine, explaining her political stance during the election of 2008, said, “I just ask myself ‘What would Jesus do?’ and then I vote for the candidate who will do that.” It sounds pretty simple.

  • Unfortunately, the simplicity of her viewpoint masks two important problems:
     political candidates are masters of the words and phrases that simultaneously mean everything and nothing, and 
  • even when a candidate says something meaningful during the campaign, it is extremely rare that the candidate turned elected official actually considers a campaign promise to be a personal commitment.

However, the ultimate problem with my friend’s approach is to discover what Jesus would do about any particular campaign issue. Christians remember that the apostle Paul admonished us to have the mind of Christ, but it isn’t all that easy to know Christ’s mind on political issues.

For one thing, the words used in political campaigns are not exactly the same words used in the Bible to record what Jesus said and did and thought about issues. Take the word tolerance for example. This lovely word has blossomed in politicalspeak over the past few years, but it is not found in the Bible, even though at first glance it almost sounds biblical. The idea of tolerance sounds very attractive when juxtaposed against ugly words like discrimination, racism and homophobia. The word tolerance is contrasted to these harsh words as it is paired with words meant to be kinder, such as inclusive

Tolerance as used in in political speeches is defined at the Merriam-Webster online dictionary site :
a : sympathy or indulgence for beliefs or practices differing from or conflicting with one’s own
b : the act of allowing something

When people use the word in political conversations, tolerance is finely focused on specific behaviors. For example, someone who is tolerant of other races rejects the use of specific pejorative words to describe people of other races, takes actions to include people of other races in activities previously closed to them, and leads in aggressive remedial action including special considerations for people of other races where they have previously experienced discrimination. Tolerance creates the appearance of respectful acceptance of people previously excluded or abused on the basis of race. Tolerance makes the public image of a culture look better.

What tolerance does not do is to change people’s hearts. It does not transform hate into love, scorn into respect, disdain into appreciation. Tolerance does not build relationships.

In engineering problems, there really is no better way to improve some situations than to focus on tolerance. If part A must fit into part B, the engineer must specify a tolerance that keeps every dimension of part A inside part B. If the tolerance is not correctly specified, then the part will not fit and the machine will not work. The objective is not to make the two parts like each other. They simply must fit together and not rub or stick in such a way as to impede the operation of the machine. Inanimate parts have no emotions or attitudes. Smoothing a rough edge pretty much fixes the problem.

Not so with people. A group of people can say and do all the things an attitude of tolerance requires and still be in a state of relationship best described as a truce, or maybe even a powder keg just waiting to be exploded. The Korean War is historically recorded as having ended on July 27, 1953. Today, no official war is in progress on the Korean peninsula. However, between North Korea and South Korea, the relationship cannot be described as a state of peace except in the most euphemistic, determinedly optimistic view. Likewise, the countless “cease-fire” agreements between the Palestinian refugees and Israel during the 65 years of Israel’s existence have never for a minute established peace or any real desire for peace between the parties to the conflict. Every minute without gunfire that follows such a signing is only a minute in which all ears are tuned for the shot that signals yet another failure. The end of the Civil War in the USA was the end of slavery, too. The end of slavery was followed by a century of segregation, and more than half a century has passed since segregation was legally ended. Efforts to be more tolerant have led to semantic transitions from Negro to black to African-American, yet every political campaign reveals that something in the relationship between people of various skin colors is not quite healed by tolerant language and tolerant legislation and tolerant enforcement of the rules.

Why isn’t tolerance just what Jesus would do? My friend spoke at some length explaining her thought processes, and tolerance was part of her personal equation for determining what Jesus would do, but as you can see, tolerance is not very Christlike. Jesus did not teach, for example, “Refuse to call people ugly names. Except, apply ugly names to all the people who refuse to agree with you about the right name for the people you formerly scorned but now tolerate.” Look at the current gay marriage conflict. Jesus did not say. “Refuse to call homosexuals ugly names like *****” Except, call people who refuse to support gay marriage homophobic baboons.”

What exactly would Jesus do? When Jesus talked about the way to live together in a society, he said, “Love your enemy. Pray for those who treat you like dirt and call you names.” Jesus also said, “If somebody slaps you on one cheek, then turn the other and let him have at it again.” Jesus did not advocate tolerance. Jesus advocated love. Jesus was not about appearance; Jesus was about reality.

He demonstrated in his own life what he meant by love. Jesus touched lepers. It wasn’t enough simply to be seen in their company. He touched them. That was the ultimate uncleanliness. He touched the blind, the lame, the bleeding and the speechless. He touched the maniacs. He touched prostitutes. He invited a tax collector into his inner circle of followers. He never preached about the right words to use when speaking of someone he could not love, because he loved everyone.

Jesus gave absolutely no examples of tolerance. He did not tolerate people. He loved people. Jesus showed us what it means to love anyone and everyone. Jesus showed us what it means to build relationships with people who were formerly either enemies or at best neutral bystanders.

Jesus does not teach us to tolerate one another and put on a show of right language and behaviors. Jesus calls us to love people and care about what becomes of them. He showed us that love for other people shapes both speech and action. If we love people, we don’t need a glossary of tolerant language. Instead, if we love people, our love shapes our words and deeds. We simply give and give and give until we have nothing left to give.

Tolerance may work for those whose only objective is to be politically correct, but tolerance does not change anything. Love changes everything. Love heals wounds and builds relationships. Love builds up rather than tearing down. Jesus died to show us what love can do, and when we learn that lesson, the whole world changes. We probably cannot expect that any politician will do what Jesus would do, but if that is what we are looking for, evidence of tolerance will not meet the standard.

The things you might observe about tolerance can fairly easily be observed in most politicalspeak. The finest individuals can get caught up in the language and strategies of politics and lose their way. As Christians, if we are looking for a path that leads to the redemption of our culture and our nation, we would be well advised to actually do what Jesus did rather than to look for a political leader who promises that he or she will do what Jesus did if we vote the right way.

Follow the Money

When Christians speculate about the ways persecution may arise, they would do well to examine the integrity of the testimony they claim to be persecuted for.

Hope Christian School in Albuquerque, New Mexico, is treading a fine line in that regard. The school was recently featured in a Huffington Post article that reported the school had rejected a three-year-old who is being reared by a male homosexual couple. The reason the Huffington Post cared was due to the discovery that the school will receive $60,000 in federal fund this fall, which will be spent on professional education.

It is all perfectly legal. The federal government does not have any requirement in the grant process that excludes a Christian school from eligibility for federal funds. Nor did this article report any rule for the use of the funds that stipulates the school may not discriminate in admissions based on its theological stance. However, the ACLU has raised a complaint which may be a sign of things to come. “We don’t think agencies that discriminate or use religion to discriminate should be receiving our federal or government funds,” said Peter Simonson with the ACLU. (Read more: http://www.koat.com/news/new-mexico/albuquerque/School-rejects-3-year-old-because-parents-are-gay/-/9153728/15665304/-/aadto3/-/index.html#ixzz234GgCU4H )

 

The ACLU unsurprisingly advocates elimination of funding for any activity that expresses a religious point of view. People who read the First Amendment, which states that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof” may argue that the federal government may not inhibit the free exercise of religion, no matter if the money used in that free exercise expresses a religious viewpoint. Others might likewise argue that any federal money used in the free exercise of religion constitutes establishment of religion. I am not a Constitutional scholar, but the plain sense of the words appears to a plain speaker to provide grist for a mill of confusion.

The ACLU statement should be regarded as a warning shot across the bow for Christian organizations which blithely apply for and receive federal grants, or funding from any government source at state or local level. Historically in the US, our various levels of government have been inclined to show respect and support for Christian work of all sorts. The rise of restrictions on things like display of the Ten Commandments, prayers at commencement exercises, and Bible studies in unused classrooms should have been understood as more than occasional annoyances. They were the growing pains of a secular culture which is now too pervasive to ignore.

For example, the statement by the ACLU sounds alarmingly similar to the comments we have heard about the schools, hospitals and social institutions operated by Catholics who do not want to provide contraception, sterilization and abortions coverage in health insurance for their employees. The government believes that only worship, faith formation and evangelism are religious activities. The government is only too glad to fund the Three R’s in any school whatsoever, but since the Three R’s are not religious in nature, what is to prevent the federal government from requiring Hope School, and any others now receiving federal grants, to admit children without regard to the theological orthodoxy of their family situations? Won’t it feel a lot like persecution if the schools cannot express the faith of their founders? If the federal government is ready to do battle with the Catholic Church over health insurance, why would it even pause before setting its federal boot on the neck of a small Christian school in Albuquerque over its use of grant money?

If we want to be clear in our responses to intrusions and restrictions on our free expression of our faith, we need to be sure we are not entangled in the agendas of those whom we accuse of being persecutors. Money is the great entangler. Be careful where the money trail in your organization leads.