Pass the (Plate) Pipe

What a mockery. By now you have heard of the International Church of Cannabis which celebrated its grand opening on April 20th. At 4:20 pm the church held a private ceremony where invited members were allowed to light up and smoke — 420 is doper slang for marijuana.

Lighting up is one of the sacraments of the church. One man who traveled from England to participate said, “I don’t think marijuana is spiritual — I know it is. The plant returns us to our shamanistic roots, before spirituality was stolen by religion.”

The church adheres to no specific practice except for the use of marijuana.

Elevation Ministries operates the church — a renovated, 113-year-old house of worship located in Denver, Colorado. A state amendment to ban pot smoking in church was quickly shot down.

Here’s the thing. Marijuana is illegal by federal law. I expect we will see the Trump Administration cracking down on states that have decriminalized, or legalized marijuana consumption.

As a Christian I believe that Colorado, for example, is in violation of the law. People say to me, “Where is your compassion?”

See, this is what happens when people surrender to the deception. We’re not talking about compassion. We’re talking about people who want to get high.

Since 1985 the FDA has approved dronabinol for the treatment of nausea and lack of appetite in patients with cancer, or AIDS.

The active ingredient is THC — tetrahydrocannabinol is concentrated in the marijuana plant.

The pill form can be legally prescribed. It has proven efficacy — lasting up to five hours. It is cheaper ($15 – $30 per month) and can replace dangerous opioids for the management of chronic pain.

What is it missing? The Rocky Mountain high.

This is the reality. A 24-year-old skateboarder twists his ankle, gets a prescription for marijuana, and sits at home with a stash of munchies to enjoy his legal buzz. In the old days he would have had to buy a bag on the street, and risk getting caught by the police.

The liberals (and dopers) pushed the compassionate mantra until society relented. This was never about an elderly patient with a terminal illness, but about the legalization of marijuana.

Doctors could legally prescribe a pill for dying patients, but this wasn’t about taking a pill. It was about the experience of rolling the weed, passing the joint, and getting stoned.

The Colorado representative who sponsored the bill to ban pot smoking in church said that the cannabis church was an offense to religious people everywhere.

Frankly, I’m stupefied at the decline of our moral standards. It is an alarming downward trend, but to be expected when a nation rejects God.

Copyright © 2017 Eternal Christ

Religion and Politics (3)

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First Amendment

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof …

Readers who are following this series on religion and politics may be thinking, “I should have stayed awake in civics class.”

Liberals, in their assault on Christianity, will always cite this principle — the separation of church and state. Where do we see this written in the First Amendment? It’s not.

What the left seeks to do when citing this clause is to remove Christianity from the public square, but this is the wrong application of what Thomas Jefferson implied in his famous letter to the Danbury Baptist church.

Danbury was located in Connecticut where the dominant brand of Christianity was Congregationalist. The original 13 colonies were, in one sense, defined by their church affiliation, or denomination. For example, Quakers were concentrated in the northern colonies, Methodists in the middle colonies and Baptists for the most part settled in the south.

If you were a Baptist in Connecticut you could face discrimination and persecution. At the Constitutional convention the issue of religious liberty, in the context of Christianity, was hotly debated. The colonies wanted to retain their unique religious identity. In the end, Federalists won the debate with the insertion of the First Amendment guaranteeing freedom of religion.

Meaning? The Federal government would not declare, as the colonies had done, that any particular denomination be chartered as the official state church. In other words, there would be no Church of England in the United States.

In theory, a Quaker could live and worship freely in Pennsylvania or Virginia. In practice, the state constitutions reflected colonial sentiment so that by the 19th century religious discrimination still existed. This was the catalyst for the Danbury Baptist Association to send a letter of complaint to the newly elected president Thomas Jefferson.

Dated October 7, 1801 the letter made five specific points:

1. Religion is a matter between God and man.

2. The legitimate power of civil government extends no further than to punish the man who does wrong.

3. Religious freedom is an inalienable right, not granted favor.

4. Those who seek power under the pretense of government and religion are a reproach to their fellow-man.

5. It is not the prerogative of government to make laws that govern the kingdom of Christ.

Jefferson, a citizen of Virginia (where Baptist was the dominant affiliation), sent this letter to the Danbury church:

Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between Man and his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, and not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should “make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,” thus building a wall of separation between Church and State.

The principle of separation is not found in the First Amendment, but in a letter written by President Jefferson to a church in Connecticut.

Meaning? That the government of man be separated from the institution of religion — not that the church be removed from the public square; and that it be permitted to exercise its inalienable rights without fear of persecution or discrimination.

This separation is a legal barrier that the state cannot cross. Yet the Democrat Party, and their liberal judges, throw out the Ten Commandments, deny the sanctity of life, redefine marriage, open bathrooms to any pedophile, and find people of faith contemptuous for standing up.

Understanding the historical directive that government stay out of religion we see, today, an inverted application of that principle. The state is very much involved in silencing the church. Consider Senate Bill 1146 in California. Introduced by Ricardo Lara, it specifically targets Christian colleges. For example, under the legislation a faith-based college could not require its students to sign a statement of faith, or attend chapel services. Further, students would not be required to take Bible-based courses; and restroom access would have to be made compliant with the needs of LGBTQ students. An even more prohibitive version of the legislation was passed by the Senate, but there was such an outcry of protest that Lara removed the bill from consideration — though he said that he might re-introduce it at a later date.

Lee Wilhite, vice president of university communications at Biola University, said:

It functionally eliminates the religious liberty of all California faith-based universities. It really does infringe on how we carry out our mission. We would no longer be able to require a profession of faith for students. That’s something Biola requires of all incoming students. The danger for Biola University is that it prevents us from carrying out our mission the way we have for 108 years. It would eliminate our ability to continue our mission.

Senator Lara is the first openly gay person of color elected to the California State Senate. His legislation would have permitted a gay student to sue a Christian college if it taught the Biblical definition of marriage. Minority students, who would have been denied student loans (Cal Grant), were among the most vocal opponents of Lara’s bill.

Pastor John MacArthur (Grace to You) was asked at this week’s service for his opinion on election politics. He cited all the Scriptures that affirm our citizenship is in heaven — that we are called to preach the Gospel … not engage in politics (which is a worldly concern). And though the choice is often between two evils, as a citizen, MacArthur said he has the obligation to vote for the person who will do less harm.

Listen, I grew up in a day when no one had a cell phone, and everyone knew that marriage was between a man and a woman. If just one-third of the electorate got wise we could make history, but Christians have to get off the sidelines, stop voting for a party that holds them in contempt … and pray.

Notes:

1. Democrats, LGBT Activists’ Sinister Plan to Crack Down on Christian Schools, Todd Starnes, Fox News Opinion.

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Religion and Politics (2)

Religion and Politics

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Religion and Politics (2)

Whenever Bishop Jackson speaks he creates a firestorm of controversy. Bishop pulls no punches when standing by the Word of God. If you have a heart for the LORD, these videos should make your blood circulate.

This series of articles should be read in the context of Matthew 26:11 where Jesus said we would always have the poor; and with the understanding that government cannot solve this problem.

Let me say from the outset that politics thoroughly disgusts me, but it wasn’t always the case. When the Lord was calling me to Bible college, I enrolled in grad school and earned a Master’s in Public Administration. I was going to become a political bureaucrat and save the world.

The Lord quickly disabused me of that grandiose plan. As citizens we have a degree of civic responsibility, but the state is not our master. Peter and John, when told to stop preaching Jesus, replied they could not obey that command (Acts 4:19–20).

Told a second time to stop preaching Christ, they responded, We must obey God rather than men (Acts 5:29).

The apostle Paul wrote that, as Christians, our citizenship is in heaven (Philippians 3:20–21).

We are in the world, but not of the world (John 17:16) — and are, therefore, instructed to hate the things of this world:

Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh, the desires of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not from the Father but from the world (1 John 2:15).

Jesus said that the world will hate us (Matthew 10:22) so it should come as no surprise that Christians are facing escalating levels of hostility and intolerance. Which begs the question: Who are the real bigots — those who love the world, or we who love God?

I am neither Democrat nor Republican. Allegiance to a political party, in my opinion, is idolatry. We are Christians, citizens of God’s kingdom. He is our authority to whom we owe everything. Our rights and liberties are granted by God, and it is the responsibility of the state to safeguard those rights.

The freedom of religion, as conceived by the Founders, was in the context of Christianity. Public buildings were used for Sunday worship, and it wasn’t a crime to place a cross on public land.

The Holy Spirit has churned my soul to speak out on the current state of our Union which is becoming increasingly hostile towards a Biblical worldview. Has society completely lost its senses to allow for any pervert or pedophile to freely enter the bathroom of their choice? Liberals will quickly deny that like when they said medical marijuana was for the benefit of dying patients. Really? Now, any skate-boarding doper with a sprained ankle can get a prescription for pot.

Proposition 8 was a 2008 California ballot initiative to amend the state’s constitution to legally define marriage as between a man and a woman. It passed with the overwhelming support of black voters — 70% of whom voted to uphold the traditional definition of marriage. (It was later overturned by the Supreme Court.)

I posed this question in chapter one: Why do Christians vote for a party that unequivocally supports anti-Christian policies?

According to the Pew Research Center black Americans are more religious than any group in America.

African-Americans (87%) are markedly more religious on a variety of measures than the U.S. population as a whole, including level of affiliation with a religion, attendance at religious services, frequency of prayer and religion’s importance in life. (Hispanic-Americans are not far behind at 83%.)

Why, then, do they vote overwhelmingly for a party that supports abortion and gay marriage? Why do they align politically with those who say that teaching the Bible to our children is child abuse, or quoting the Bible in defense of marriage is hate-speech?

Welfare and abortion — Democrat policies — have decimated black American families. Minority women represent only 13% of the population yet account for 36% of abortions. Since Roe v. Wade 16 million black American babies have been aborted.

Abortion kills more black Americans than disease, drugs and violence combined — almost 900 black babies will die today. Infanticide is immoral and horrific. How can any Christian vote Democrat?

If black lives matter we can no longer ignore the facts. Black people, as a race, have been mired in economic stagnation despite the fact that the government has spent trillions of dollars in a vain attempt to end poverty. Robert F. Kennedy, that stalwart advocate of the poor, recognized that welfare stripped people of their dignity and enslaved them in the quicksand of dependency. As Senator, he tried to amend the welfare laws to wean people off of government assistance, and into jobs. Welfare reform (signed into law by Bill Clinton) reflected the pragmatism of RFK.

The poorest families in America are those headed by a single parent. Two out of every three children living in a single-parent household are black. As was noted in chapter one, public policy has contributed to the disintegration of African-American families who are disproportionately affected by violence, drugs and incarceration.

In the following chart note the poverty rate increase during recession (indicated by the shaded bars), and compare with the decline in rates during economic growth (between the bars). Job creation, not government assistance, is the prescription. If we level out the economic component we see a poverty rate of 15% unchanged since 1967. A half-century, and 19 trillion dollars later — however you crunch the numbers — shouldn’t we have expected better results?

Blue line charts official poverty rate — see notes.

Dr. Ben Carson was criticized when he claimed that there are ten-times the number of people receiving welfare today than when the programs began. The Washington Post did a FactCheck and determined it was more like three or four times. The fact is that Carson’s general statement is correct.

The Bible has a prescription for poverty, and that is … charity. But it is not charity when the government takes from one person and gives it to another. That is confiscation — no, that is stealing.

Look at what Democrat policies have wrought. The centerpiece of Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society was the War on Poverty. According to the Census Bureau the percentage of poor families with a single woman as head of household has increased from 34.8% – 50.3%. Most of these families are black and, as cited earlier, 67% of black American children are living with only one parent. That is a social and cultural disaster.

Where is the church? Where is the faith of the most religious of all Americans?

Earl Walker “E. W.” Jackson, Sr. is an American conservative politician, Christian minister, and lawyer in Virginia. He was the unsuccessful Republican Party nominee for Lieutenant Governor of Virginia in the 2013 election … wikipedia

Notes:

OPM (Official Poverty Measure) is based on an income threshold set by the federal government. In 2014, a family of four earning less than $23,850 would be classified as under the threshold. While the OPM has remained steady relative to income, there are other ways — inflation, consumption and taxation — to measure the poverty rate. Liberals will invariably cite these adjusted measures which artificially indicate a downward trend in the poverty rate.

Census Bureau statistics clearly indicate a marked drop in the OPM before the inauguration of the Great Society. Tax cuts and job growth padded a 15% decline in the poverty rate. After 1967, the downward trend leveled out.

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