Tag Archives: political advocacy

A Nation Needs a Moral Compass

You probably know what a compass is. People use it to figure out how to reach a known destination. When they are not sure of the destination, they use it to avoid wandering in circles.

Every human being needs a moral compass—a means of determining the right path to take in order to do what is right instead of what is wrong, and also to avoid going in moral circles.

A nation needs a moral compass, too. Nations work toward various objectives, and they need to find the right way to reach their objectives. A moral compass is required. Something other than the “It makes me feel good” standard is necessary for both nations and individuals.

There was a time when the USA had a moral compass that grew out of people’s respect for and sometimes even their worship and obedience to Almighty God. Now, when the Red Cross feels free to tell volunteers they are forbidden to pray with or give Bibles to flood victims, one wonders if our nation has any moral compass at all? Would a nation with a moral compass tell little children that they must “discover” their gender identity? Would a nation with a moral compass make the union of two homosexuality equal to marriage?

Does the USA have a moral compass?

This question is very important in today’s world, because in the public forum—Facebook, Twitter, blogs, and so forth—it is not uncommon to read a complaint that Christians are trying to “force their views” on non-Christians when Christians advocate for laws, policies and regulations that protect the right of Christians to live and act according to their moral compass. When Christians declare that the law of the land should define marriage as the union of one man and one woman, people who argue that the union of two men ought to be a marriage do not see that the conversation is an ordinary disagreement. The advocates for same-sex marriage declare that Christians advocating that marriage be defined as the union of one man and one woman are trying to “force their views” while the advocates for same-sex marriage are supposedly advocating for “equality.”

The definition of “equality” as applied to marriage is actually an argument over a moral compass. Advocates for same-sex marriage argue that “marriage” is a universal human right and therefore nobody can be denied the right to get “married.” However in their private glossary, the word “marriage” is whatever somebody wants to call it. Advocates for same-sex marriage do not argue that the union of two people of the same gender is a marriage. They argue that marriage is the union of two beings who “love” each other.

In an environment where the words “equality,” “marriage,” and even “gender” no longer have specific meanings, it is impossible to have a discussion about morality. The reason a magnetic compass works for navigation on land and sea is that the needle always points in one direction only. The needle of a magnetic compass points north, no matter where you are on earth, no matter if it is hot, cold, wet, or dry. In the desert, on top of a mountain, in a tree or on the deck of a boat. No matter where you are, the compass points in only one direction: north. If you know which way is north, it is easy to know which way is east or south. You can go northeast for a while using your compass to be sure you continue to travel in a single direction without wandering. Then, when you want to go back where you came from, you can turn around and travel southwest. Using the compass, you always know where you are relative to north. The magnetic compass helps you not to get lost when traveling.

A moral compass serves the same purpose. A moral compass always tells you which way is right and which way is wrong. The Bible is a moral compass. It is an unchanging revelation of truth as revealed to humans by God himself. If you want to know if it is right for a man to marry a woman, you can read the Bible and learn that God himself created humans to live in the relationship of marriage, a relationship defined by God himself to be the union of a man and a woman. That is God’s definition, and his definition is consistent from the start of the Bible to the end of it. His definition, like the magnetic field that pulls the needle of a magnet to the north, is consistent and sure. Christians, who believe the truth of the Bible, believe that this definition is the right definition of marriage. Christians accept the Bible as a moral compass.

There have been people who reject the Bible as a moral compass as long as there have been people. The Bible itself describes that situation at the time of Noah, and many times since. The same problem has surfaced in many places when people reject the Bible. Today, even though the history of the USA is that most people accept the Bible as their moral compass, the number who reject it varies from time to time. At the moment, the number who reject the Bible is increasing.

They are not, however, the majority. Nevertheless, they want to be the majority, and failing the attainment of a majority, they want to prevent the majority from establishing a moral compass.

This is the real issue between Christians and non-Christians in today’s public forum on the subject of morality. Christians want to comply with the teachings of a moral compass, and non-Christians do not want to acknowledge that any moral compass has any authority over them. When non-Christians accuse Christians of trying to “push their views on other people,” that is not really what upsets them. After all, they are the minority in numbers, but they do want the right to advocate for their views and to get their views into legislation. So they cannot really complain and object when Christians advocate for their own views.

Clearly, what the non-Christians really want is for Christians to be forbidden to speak of and act on their own moral compass. What non-Christians really want is for Christians to be required to live by the non-Christian lack of moral compass. The non-Christians in today’s culture want Christians to be required to speak and act as if they agree with the non-Christians that there is no such thing as a moral compass.

Non-Christians want Christians to be required to appear to agree with the non-Christians. They want Christians to be required to self-criticize in public and acknowledge that the Christian advocacy for morality consistent with the revealed moral standards in the Bible is immoral in itself. They want Christians to be humbled and humiliated and punished for even suggesting that the nation should live by biblical moral standards.

The nation needs a moral compass. Non-Christians do not want the nation to have a moral compass. That is the real battle Christians must pray about.

Pray for America. Pray that God will forgive our sins for the sake of his Son. Pray for our nation to adopt and cling to a biblical moral compass. Pray for our leaders, the president, the president-elect, and all citizens, those who voted for Hillary, those who voted for Donald Trump, those who voted for anyone else, and those who did not vote at all. Pray that each of us will see God’s clear revelation of right and wrong, and that each of us will have the courage to live by God’s moral standards. Pray today and every day that our nation will do what is right and good in the world. Pray for America every day.

 

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What Will It Cost Me to be a Christian?

“I have good news for you, but it might cost you your life. Would you like me to continue?”

Imagine that you answered a knock at your front door, and these were the first words out of the mouth of the man standing on your front porch. What would you do?

A pastor in Vietnam, who must remain nameless because of danger to his life, starts telling people about Jesus with these words. He might be eating dinner with someone, or walking down a street, or sitting in a grassy park. He strikes up a conversation, and when he feels led by the Holy Spirit to share Jesus with a person, he says, “I have good news for you, but it might cost you your life. Would you like me to continue?” He says that most people ask him to continue, because they want to hear the good news. Many go ahead later to receive Christ into their hearts. The good news of Christ brings them forgiveness, salvation, and eternal life, but the threat of losing their earthly life is not an idle one. When persecution comes, as it does for many Vietnamese Christians, it is not a surprise. This pastor warned them.

Vietnam is one of only five countries in the world today with a communist government, and communist governments as a matter of fundamental conviction consider religion to be an annoying problem, if not, indeed, a threat to the state. In Vietnam, the major source of religious persecution derives from the government’s determination to keep religion under control with the undisguised objective of eradicating it. The religions that do persist in the country, dominated by the Buddhist demographic, often view Christianity with no less contempt than the government does, leading to threats and violence against Christians, which the government is loath to prosecute.

For generations, Christians in the USA have believed that they were safe from persecution by the culture and safe from prosecution by the government for their religious words and deeds. No evangelist in the USA has ever started his sermon by saying, “I have good news for you, but it might cost you your life. Would you like me to continue?” It has not happened yet, but it could happen. Already, a preacher who said, “If you listen to me, the IRS may initiate an audit of your taxes,” would not be off base. There is considerable evidence that the federal administration at the highest levels wants to suppress and repress the expression of political and social views based on Christian teaching and wants to restrain and impede the exercise of the civil rights of citizens who choose to advocate for moral and legislative action in keeping with Christian principles.

It has been common in US history for people with Christian values to attempt to enact legislation and to influence policy decisions that embody the values by which Christians shape their lives. There has always been controversy about that, because there are always people who have differing, even completely opposite, views. The discussion has been brisk at times, but only the advent of social media has allowed the mass attacks such as those mounted against the owner of Chick Fil-A or Hobby Lobby. Only in the past five years has it been even thinkable that someone could lose a job for taping a Bible verse to her own computer screen at work. Only in the past five years has a professor been threatened with loss of tenure for declaring that evolution is not proved to explain biological species. Only in recent months has it been conceivable that a county clerk could be jailed for acting on her Christian principle that marriage is the union of a man and a woman. It has always been true in the USA and everywhere around the world that some people think Christian ideas are weird or old-fashioned or out of touch with reality. However, only recently has there been a growing pressure at all levels of government to shut up Christians and shut down Christian activism. Advocate for laws against eating meat if you are a vegetarian. Advocate for the end of oil exploration if you believe that solar is the only just energy source. Advocate for men to be permitted to urinate in women’s restrooms if they feel feminine at the time. But do not advocate that bakers be permitted to decline orders for wedding cakes celebrating same-sex marriage.

Such developments change the way Christians rear their children. My parents read Bible stories to me. They taught me to pray before eating. They took me to Sunday School and church faithfully. They talked with me about moral questions. But never did either of them say, “I have something to tell you, but it might cost you your life.” I am not sure what I would have done if they had talked to me that way. I do know that such a statement would absolutely have captured my full attention.

What do you say to your children? Do you dare continue teaching them to believe God and act on his teachings without warning them that they could suffer for doing so? Jesus said that the gate is narrow, and the path even moreso, that leads to eternal life. There are a lot of people on an interstate to somewhere, all singing “A Mighty Fortress,” but one wonders what the traffic on that interstate would be if the government or the culture or both decide to put a stop to the influence of Christians in the USA.

What you need to say to your children might even cost you your life, and it might cost them their lives if they heed what you say. Do you plan to continue?

By Katherine Harms, author of Oceans of Love available for Kindle at Amazon.com. Watch for the release of Thrive! Live Christian in a Hostile World, planned for release in the summer of 2016