Wednesday, August 30, 2006

The Devil made them do it!

Vatican exorcist says Hitler and Stalin were possessed; click here to read the article in full.

Although this is probably a no-brainer for those of us who are aware of the reality of demons, I thought it was interesting to see such a perspective coming from the Vatican.

PS: I will be on vacation for a week so most likely I won’t be blogging during that time. But I’ll be sure to have a new installment upon my return—same bat time, same bat channel (to borrow a phrase from the campy “Batman” series of the ‘60s)!

Monday, August 28, 2006

Watch out for the sermon police!

The following article appeared in Opinion Journal, The Wall Street Journal's Editorial Page, August 25, 2006.

The Taxman Goes to Church
Why is the IRS in the business of reading sermons?

When the Rev. George F. Regas delivered a sermon opposing the Iraq War in All Saints Episcopal Church in Pasadena, Calif., two days before the 2004 presidential election, he expected to upset a few members of the congregation. Instead, he seems to have upset the Internal Revenue Service, which began an investigation that is still under way. All Saints isn't the only church to fall out of the good graces of the IRS.

Under the 1954 Revenue Act, 501(c)(3) organizations risk losing their tax-exempt status if they "participate in, or intervene in . . . any political campaign on behalf of any candidate for political office." Over the past two years scores of organizations have faced scrutiny for allegedly mixing their political convictions with their religious ones. And this summer the IRS expanded a program it first launched in 2004 to take direct aim at political advocacy inside houses of worship.

The new crackdown, which the IRS calls the Political Activity Compliance Initiative, has so far put some 15,000 nonprofits--mostly churches--on notice that preaching politics puts them at risk of audits, fines or, in some cases, the loss of tax-exempt status. The IRS has also announced it will no longer wait for complaints to come in, but will instead take action "to prevent violations." It will be reviewing the content of sermons, it says, as well as the financial books of religious organizations. The free exercise of religion could now come with a hefty bill.

It is true that the prohibition on church-centered political activity is decades old. But it is also true, as the IRS admits, that there is no "bright line test" to determine what constitutes political activity. Churches have always tried to influence voters on moral issues. What is different now is that moral issues--abortion, stem-cell research, same-sex marriage, war--are now hot political issues, and the IRS is pushing religious communities out of the debate.

Not that the blame rests solely with the IRS. Barry W. Lynn, director of Americans United for the Separation of Church and State, has pushed for the crackdown by filing complaints with the IRS and boasting that his group is committed to "keeping churches out of partisanship." For a man who supports nearly every effort to erect a wall of separation, he seems not to mind sending IRS agents into churches if it keeps ministers out of politics.

Amazingly, there has been hardly a peep of protest from Republicans. Judging by their silence, both the White House and the Republican National Committee seem oblivious to the stepped-up enforcement, even as it will likely hit their political base the hardest. The Missouri Catholic Conference, for example, is now coming under scrutiny for sending letters to state lawmakers opposing public funding for stem-cell research. The Rev. Rod Parsley of the World Harvest Church in Columbus, Ohio, has drawn complaints for allegedly supporting Republican candidates.

Not that everyone in Washington is keeping mum. North Carolina Republican Rep. Walter Jones wants to get the IRS out of the business of policing religious speech. His proposed legislation to do just that has been stalled for six years, but he hopes that the federal agency's latest initiative--and the experience of Mr. Regas in Pasadena and thousands like him on both sides of the political spectrum--will break the political logjam. He told us that he considers efforts to control what is said from the pulpit to be "antidemocratic." Amen to that.

Available online.
Copyright © 2006 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Friday, August 25, 2006

When will the Religious Right wake up?

One of my favorite bloggers recently called attention to President Bush’s latest compromise on an issue that is probably nearest and dearest to those who elected him to office: protection of the unborn (click here for details). Will American evangelicals, who have been Bush’s biggest support base, flood the White House with letters and calls of protest? Will they see this as a betrayal of everything “their man” claims to stand for?

While some conservative Christian groups, including Family Policy Network, have chastised the President for this compromise, I fear that many will remain silent. Once we put someone on a pedestal, it becomes almost impossible to remove the object of our idolatry. It’s far too painful. This is not the first time "Dubya" has bowed to the wishes of the political left, and there was little, if any, outrage from the Religious Right.

In one example, President Bush reneged on his nomination of Jerry Thacker to the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS. Thacker, a Christian, was infected with AIDS by his wife, who contracted it during a blood transfusion. Mr. Thacker has stated publicly that homosexuals need to repent and put their faith in Christ for salvation. In response to pressure from the gay lobby, Bush asked Thacker to remove his name from consideration. The president’s spokesman, Ari Fleischer, stated, “The views that [Thacker] holds are far, far removed from what the president believes. The president’s view is that people with AIDS need to be treated with . . . compassion.” (Source: Operation Save America; see

In this instance, Bush betrayed and maligned a fellow Christian, suffering from AIDS through no fault of his own and watching his wife and child succumb to the same disease. Is this the type of “compassion” Fleischer was talking about?

In addition, in a major betrayal of pro-life activists, President Bush sent Solicitor General Theodore Olsen to the Supreme Court to testify on behalf of NOW (National Organization for Women) in the NOW v. Scheidler case, in which NOW attempted to use racketeering charges against Christians who witness outside abortion clinics.

Finally, while many evangelicals were praying for Justice Roy Moore, President Bush publicly condemned Moore’s display of the Ten Commandments. And the president’s chief political consultant, Karl Rove, spearheaded the attack against Moore. (Source: One News, 8-28-03;, 10-25-03).

Instead of protesting Bush’s ongoing appeasement of the abortion lobby, militant homosexual activists, and the forces that seek to stifle religious expression in the public square, evangelicals continued to gush over their “Christian” president. Will they finally wake up in the event of this latest compromise? Or will they continue to support a leader who has constantly broken faith with them?

To make your opinion heard, e-mail

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

U.N. Bible Study Guide Slams U.S.

From, August 17, 2006

The National Council of Churches (NCC), a liberal voice for mainline denominations, has published a study guide for churches to help end poverty around the world. It’s a noble goal, but some are troubled that principles in the guide are based on a United Nations campaign.

The council has developed a 64-page study guide that several mainline denominations are currently using in women’s Bible studies. More than 4,000 guides called Eradicating Global Poverty have been distributed by the NCC to Methodist, Presbyterian, Lutheran and American Baptist churches, among others.

The program, based on eight U.N. recommendations for fighting poverty, is something no Christian should have trouble with, according to Dan Webster, an NCC spokesman.

“This particular guide is based on Scripture,” he told Family News in Focus. “And is based, most of it, on Matthew 25, on helping the poor.”

But according to Janice Crouse, senior fellow at the Beverly LaHaye Institute at Concerned Women for America, the guide accuses the U.S. of not embracing the U.N.’s way of dealing with poverty – just throwing an ever increasing amount of money at the problem.

“They attack the United States as being very stingy,” she explained. “In fact they use the term ‘stingy’ and they say the United States has not done its fair share of helping people around the world.”

The truth is, apart from the U.N., the U.S. gives $34 billion a year to fight poverty, and is home to many world-relief organizations and missionaries who meet physical needs and bring the Gospel to underdeveloped nations.

“The solutions are in mission work where you send people to countries where they have never heard the Gospel before,” Crouse said. “You break the cycle of poverty by offering people the hope of Jesus Christ.”

Copyright © 2006 Focus on the Family.
All rights reserved. International copyright secured.

Available online here.

Monday, August 21, 2006

The Bondage of Sexual Freedom

The following article is entitled “Dictatorship and Freedom,” by Rev. R.J. Rushdoony (August 14, 2006). It provides a fascinating perspective on the relationship between political tyranny and sexual license.

In almost every instance that totalitarianism has taken over a major country, it has done so in the name of liberty. People welcome tyranny in the belief that their liberties are being greatly increased.

In only one direction is their freedom increased, however, and it is the “freedom” to sin. When the Mazdakites took over the great Persian Empire and all but destroyed it, their appeal was to freedom, freedom for sexual communism, and freedom to seize all private property. Greece and Rome had earlier taken the same route: sexual freedom was given increasingly to people while their political liberties were removed, and their properties confiscated by taxation.

The Renaissance was an age of the triumph of dictators and widespread sexual freedom, when men thought they were liberated from God and free to do as they pleased. The triumph of Lenin was both preceded and attended by the rise of sexual freedom, and the same was true of Hitler.

The banner of sexual freedom is thus simply a deception which spells slavery. It leads men to forsake responsibility for license, and freedom for bondage. The increase of this so-called sexual freedom in our day is thus the prelude, if unchecked, for dictatorship and tyranny.

James calls God’s law “the perfect law of liberty” (James 1:25), because it is the obedience of faith which makes men strong and free. Freedom to sin is not freedom but slavery. It leads, not to the liberation, but to the enslavement of man and the disintegration of his society.

The only freedom which the sexual liberation movements produce is freedom for totalitarianism and tyranny. The world is being made safe for slavery by all such people.

Our freedom is in Christ. “If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed” (John 8:36).

copyright © 2005 The Chalcedon Foundation • • All Rights Reserved Worldwide.

Click here to view original article.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Navy Chaplain Fights for Right to Pray in Jesus' Name

AgapePress reports a U.S. Navy chaplain says his attorney is asking a military judge to throw out a charge that he deliberately disobeyed an order by praying while in uniform at a press conference in front of the White House earlier this year. Lieutenant Gordon James Klingenschmitt, who has been fasting and lobbying for the right to pray in Jesus' name, was scheduled to appear in Norfolk, Virginia, for a court martial pre-trial hearing earlier this week. According to an AP report, Klingenschmitt requested a court martial rather than accept a reprimand for appearing in uniform at the March 30 press conference in Washington, DC.

The press conference featured Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore and called on President Bush to issue an executive order affirming the right of chaplains to pray as they see fit. Klingenschmitt says all he did at this event while in uniform was to say a prayer for America's armed forces from the Book of Common Prayer, an invocation ending with the words "through Jesus Christ, our Lord, Amen." If found guilty, Klingenschmitt could be fined up to $35,000, or two-thirds of his annual salary. If the judge decides not to throw out the case, the court martial against the Navy chaplain will begin on September 11.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Pastor Risks Jail to Protest Edict against Feeding the Homeless

An official with the Southern Baptist Convention says he's willing to go to jail, if necessary, to oppose a new ordinance prohibiting the distribution of free or low-cost food in Las Vegas city parks. Click here to read the full story.

So now we have a city government using the power of the state to stop churches from caring for the least of these. This is the exact opposite of what God ordained the government to do.

Any comments?

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Christian Citizenship 101

According to James Dobson, half the Christians in America are not registered to vote, and of those who are, only half go to the polls. In an age when atheistic and humanist governments have gained control of nations across the world, this statistic is frightening. It is even more alarming when we consider that nearly 170 million innocent people have been brutally murdered by these regimes ( Christians and Voting).

In addition, a study by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life revealed that about two-thirds of Americans say their faith has little to do with their voting decisions (Pamphlet: “Why Christians Should Vote,” Focus on the Family). Is it any wonder that our religious liberties are under attack and the right to murder our children is encoded in our nation’s laws? Billy Graham was right when he said, “If America is to survive, we must elect more God-centered men and women to public office—individuals who will seek divine guidance in the affairs of state” (“Why Christians Should Vote”).

But there is much more we can do to help restore righteous government to America than simply casting our vote on Election Day. Following are a few areas in which we can exercise our responsibility to be salt and light in the political arena.

Study the U.S. Constitution and be prepared to defend it.

Learn about the issues without relying on the nightly news, which can be heavily biased against Christianity and constitutional government. Obtain Christian voter guides from sources you trust, and subscribe to independent news sources that are committed to reporting the truth. Some of my personal favorites are Focus on the Family’s Citizen Magazine (available at, though sometimes it’s a little too far to the right for my Libertarian side; Christianity Today; World Net Daily; Christian Coalition of America Action Alert (; and The New American Magazine.

Inform others about the issues by writing letters to the editor, blogging, or calling in to talk-radio shows. Ask your pastor’s permission to make voter guides available to the congregation.

Help ensure that godly people, committed to protecting and preserving our system of limited government, are elected to office—assuming they are competent. Beyond voting, consider running for office or supporting good candidates with your time or finances.

Join civic, community, or school organizations (PTA, school board, etc.) to influence decision makers. Sign up with watchdog organizations that are working strategically to preserve our God-given liberties. Two of my favorites are FIJA and The Rutherford Institute. I also recommend joining citizens groups that are dedicated to promoting responsible fiscal policy, such as TRIM, the National Taxpayers Union, or Citizens Against Government Waste.

Teach your children their civic responsibility (don’t assume they will learn this in school).

Intercede for government leaders. Pray for the conversion /removal of corrupt leaders.

Hold our elected leaders to account. Contact to praise or chastise.

Write or e-mail officials to voice your opinion about pending legislation. Contact candidates running for office to find out where they stand on current issues.

Promote government action that defends the rights of society’s most vulnerable members—the unborn, the disabled, and all those who cannot speak for themselves (a case in point would be the Terri Schiavo tragedy).

Oppose legislation that violates the Constitution.

Work to defeat/impeach corrupt judges, especially at the local and state level. At the national level, encourage Congress to be responsible in this area, since Congress has the power to impeach federal judges. “Bad judges are a nemesis to those who hold high moral principle to be a foundation of our society,” said Bruce Armstrong, a staff member at the U.S. C&MA National Office. “It doesn't help to ‘pass godly laws’ if the judicial system can arbitrarily overturn them—and pretty much without accountability.”

Respect the rights of others to live freely. Unless they are harming someone else, do not use the power of government to force unredeemed people to behave in redeemed ways. This undermines our Christian witness by alienating those we are trying to reach with God’s love.

If any of you out there can think of something I missed, just give me a holler.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

On Politics, Theocracies, and the Kingdom of God

Just what does the Kingdom of God have to do with this messy and often sordid business called politics? Even though the Scriptures command us to love our neighbors and help the oppressed, can’t we do so without getting all political about it?

Sometimes we can. By providing financial help, emotional support, and occupational-skills training, churches and para-church agencies can make it easier for unwed mothers to choose life for their children, thereby helping the fatherless. We can cry out to God for victims of government oppression, and we can pray that corrupt officials will come to know Christ or be removed from office.

But does there ever come a point when Kingdom concerns demand active political involvement? Since Jesus said His Kingdom is not of this world, what justification is there for Christians to bring His influence to bear in the realm of politics? A number of evangelicals, including Chuck Colson, have argued that there is a biblical basis for Christian political engagement. Some have called this the “Cultural Commission” or the “Cultural Mandate.”

It originated in Genesis, when God commanded Adam, who represented all of humanity, to subdue (i.e., have dominion over) the earth. When Adam and Eve fell into sin, mankind’s God-given desire to exercise authority on the Lord’s behalf was twisted into the desire to become God. In his article “On the Necessity of Christian Engagement,” Darrell Dow writes, “Consequently, Christ’s representative and vicarious death was necessary to . . . allow redeemed men to bring the creation into submission to God. It is only in Christ, through the power of the Holy Spirit, that man can fulfill his original mandate” ( Backwater Report).

Dr. David Alan Black, professor of New Testament and Greek at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, said,
“One of the perversions of the gospel . . . is the emphasis upon personal evangelism to the exclusion of any social emphasis. For many evangelicals, the whole of the Christian experience is thought to be one’s personal relationship to God—often to the exclusion of one’s relationship with others or to the culture in general. Salvation is personal and individual, but it also social. Jesus is Lord of all. Politics, education, economics, the arts—all these are included under His divine Lordship.”

D. James Kennedy, founder of Coral Ridge Ministries, echoes this sentiment:
“As the vice-regents of God, we are to bring His truth and His will to bear on every sphere of our world and our society. We are to exercise godly dominion and influence over our neighborhoods, our schools, our government, . . . our sports arenas, our entertainment media, our news media, our scientific endeavors—in short, over every aspect . . . of human society.” (Coral Ridge pamphlet,

Wait a minute! How can we do that without establishing a theocracy? Isn’t this about forcing our beliefs on others and legislating morality?

Essentially, all legislation is based on someone’s moral beliefs. If Christians don’t let their voices be heard through voting and other forms of political involvement, then only non-Christians will influence the formation of our nation’s laws. The morality of secular humanism, ethical relativism, atheism, the anti-life bioethics movement and a host of other ungodly ideologies will have free reign over our government without any voice to counter them.

At the same time, however, believers living in a constitutional republic such as ours must be careful not to infringe on the rights of those who do not share our beliefs. We must never use the power of the state to force unredeemed people to behave in redeemed ways. As Martin Luther King Junior said, “The Church must be reminded that it is not the master or the servant of the state but rather the conscience of the state. It must be the guide and critic of the state, never its tool” (“Strength to Love”).

While the civil government has a biblically ordained role to restrain and punish evil, Christians need to exercise discernment as they prayerfully consider what types of government action are appropriate and biblical in creating and preserving a just society where citizens have the maximum amount of freedom to choose the good. In my next post, we’ll discuss some practical ways that believers can use the political process to help maintain such a society.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

The Good Lord Giveth, and the Tax Man Taketh It Away

I thought I would take a break from the topic I’ve been blogging about here lately and post this poem a friend sent me today. At first we thought it was funny until we realized how true it was...

Tax his land,
Tax his wage,
Tax his bed in which he lays.

Tax his tractor,
Tax his mule,
Teach him taxes is the rule.

Tax his cow,
Tax his goat,
Tax his pants,
Tax his coat.
Tax his ties,
Tax his shirts,
Tax his work,
Tax his dirt.

Tax his tobacco,
Tax his drink,
Tax him if he tries to think.

Tax his booze,
Tax his beers,
If he cries,
Tax his tears.

Tax his bills,
Tax his gas,
Tax his notes,
Tax his cash.

Tax him good and let him know
That after taxes, he has no dough.

If he hollers,
Tax him more,
Tax him til he's good and sore.

Tax his coffin,
Tax his grave,
Tax the sod in which he lays.

Put these words upon his tomb,
"Taxes drove me to my doom!"

And when he's gone,
We won't relax,
We'll still be after the inheritance TAX!!

Accounts Receivable Tax
Building Permit Tax
CDL License Tax
Cigarette Tax
Corporate Income Tax
Dog License Tax
Federal Income Tax
Federal Unemployment Tax (FUTA)
Fishing License Tax
Food License Tax
Fuel Permit Tax
Gasoline Tax
Hunting License Tax
Inheritance Tax
Inventory Tax
IRS Interest Charges (tax on top of tax),
IRS Penalties (tax on top of tax),
Liquor Tax,
Luxury Tax,
Marriage License Tax,
Medicare Tax,
Property Tax,
Real Estate Tax,
Service charge taxes,
Social Security Tax,
Road Usage Tax (Truckers),
Sales Taxes,
Recreational Vehicle Tax,
School Tax,
State Income Tax,
State Unemployment Tax (SUTA),
Telephone Federal Excise Tax,
Telephone Federal Universal Service Fee Tax,
Telephone Federal, State and Local Surcharge Tax,
Telephone Minimum Usage Surcharge Tax,
Telephone Recurring and Non-recurring Charges Tax,
Telephone State and Local Tax,
Telephone Usage Charge Tax,
Utility Tax,
Vehicle License Registration Tax,
Vehicle Sales Tax,
Watercraft Registration Tax,
Well Permit Tax,
Workers Compensation Tax.

Not one of these taxes existed 100 years ago and there was a surplus in the treasury and absolutely no national debt, plus Mom stayed home to raise the kids.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

What is the American Way?

In the 1950s TV series “The Adventures of Superman,” the Man of Steel was said to be fighting “a never ending battle for truth, justice, and the American way”. The first 26 episodes were “action-packed, sometimes gritty and often violent storylines in which Superman fought tough gangsters and crime lords,” often by repeatedly “slugging them on the jaw.” Sometimes, in our zeal to defend the American way, patriotic citizens may unintentionally come across as metaphorically doing the same thing to those who disagree with us. But is the American way about forcing our beliefs on others? Is it about bullying our opposition into submission?

No. The American way can be summed up in two sentences: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.” Although Americans have often failed miserably in living up to this ideal (e.g., slavery, our treatment of Native Americans, abortion on demand), the American way is about respecting the rights of others to live freely without government coercion. Americanism recognizes that rights come from God, not the government, and that no one may infringe on our constitutionally guaranteed freedoms unless we violate the rights of others.

Henry David Thoreau wrote, “That government is best which governs least.” Limited government, respect for private property, and freedom of conscience are the hallmarks of the American way.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

The Real Radical

The Christian is the real radical of our generation, for he stands against the monolithic, modern concept of truth as relative. But too often, instead of being the radical, standing against the shifting sands of relativism, he subsides into merely maintaing the status quo. If it is true that evil is evil, that God hates it to the point of the cross, and that there is a moral law fixed in what God is in Himself, then Christians should be the first into the field against what is wrong.
Francis A. Schaeffer (1912-84), The God Who Is There (1968)

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Faith-based Programs under Fire

Ruling imperils faith-based programs around the country. See Christianity Today for the complete article.