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  • Culture Wars and the Clash of Freedoms in America (and Dr. Brown’s travel expeditions)

    May 14, 2014 | 21 Comments

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    Today we’ll discuss the growing conflict of freedoms in America – who gets to speak and practice their faith, and why – and then Dr. Brown shares his travel experiences of the last two days (including 27 hours of delays in Chicago). Listen live here 2-4 pm EST, and call into the show at (866) 348 7884 with your questions and comments.

     

    Hour 1:

    Dr. Brown’s Bottom Line: People can say that the Gospel is going to parish; people can say that the Bible will be forgotten, but the thing that’s sure is that God’s Word will stand and those people and their words will be forgotten!

     

    Hour 2:

    Dr. Brown’s Bottom Line: No matter how bound you are, no matter how confused you are, no matter how low you have fallen, Jesus can transform you, save you, make you whole, and you’ll be whole!

     

    SPECIAL OFFER! THIS WEEK ONLY! 
    This week, we’re offering two important resources from Dr. Brown, his brand new book, Can You Be Gay and Christian?, and his DVD debate with gay activist (and professing born-again Christian) Harry Knox. You can get both of these key resources for the super low price of just $25! Postage Paid! That’s a $15 savings!
    Order Online!

    Other Resources:

    America’s War Against Religious Faith

    Dr. Brown and Scott Volk Share Inspiring Stories from Their Travels Around the World

    Dr. Brown Looks at Dr. Steve Brown’s Book “Three Free Sins,” and Then Asks, “What Is Grace and What Does It Do?”

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    Comments

    21 Responses to “Culture Wars and the Clash of Freedoms in America (and Dr. Brown’s travel expeditions)”

    1. Ray
      May 15th, 2014 @ 7:53 am

      I don’t believe that in liberty, anything goes.
      We always need discretion and discernment, allowing for good, and not evil, for the purpose of liberty is not to encourage evil, nor to ensure that evil prevails, but rather, that good may prevail, and that men might become transformed into the image of Christ.

      Anything other than that brings people into bondage.

    2. Greg Allen
      May 15th, 2014 @ 7:55 am

      As for Dr. Brown’s anecdote about the North Carolina science professor “banning” thanking God and then conflating it with a Black Mass.

      As for the professor — of course he is wrong! And, an anomaly. While there has been lots of debate around religious expression by school _officials_, I have never heard of “thank God” buy students being banned. There has also been lots of debate around use of school _facilities_.

      While this story will be used to feed the persecution complex so common in Christian conservatives, I can’t imagine this is a trend.

      The legal principle is clear-cut: students are not agents of the state. They have no obligation to be religiously neutral.

      As for the Satanic ritual being done on campus — this is a very different legal issue.

      And it depends.

      Institutional neutrality is legal key.

      As I understand the law, if you allow any religious groups on campus you have to allow them all. _Public_ schools can’t pick-and-choose which religions, sects or denominations may use government-owned facilities. (Obviously, private religious schools are different.)

      If our tax dollars are being used: allow all religions or denominations or restrict all.

    3. Greg Allen
      May 15th, 2014 @ 8:04 am

      Ray,

      Of course, most people want good and not evil, as you say.

      That’s not what makes this a enduring debate.

      The debate is: who does decides?

      In the past, governments didn’t just pick religion – they even picked denominations, favoring one church over another.

      Our founding fathers wisely banned this in the constitution.

      Thus, the separation of church and state.

      Do you want a government official favoring Episcopalians over Pentecostals, for example?

      That’s the slippery slope we get on when we start chipping away at the separation of church and state.

      Do you want school bureaucrats issuing “official prayers” that are permissible in schools banning others?

      That’s the slippery slope we get on when we start allowing official prayers back in schools.

    4. Greg Allen
      May 15th, 2014 @ 8:20 am

      Since Dr. Brown is terrible at vetting his sources, I decided to check out the veracity of this story about the assistant professor.

      If though it has the common red flag of being reported mostly on agenda-driven blogs, it does seem like a legitimate story. And they have a copy of a seemingly genuine memo.

      There is significant part of the story that Dr. Brown conveniently forgot to mention — the students aren’t reading these statements, (presumably) a school official is.

      If so, this makes it a stickier legal issue (see my post above) than simple personal expression.

      Here is the memo. The professor also asks the students to not be “gross.”

      http://www.campusreform.org/img/CROBlog/5598/Thank-God.jpg

    5. Sheila
      May 15th, 2014 @ 10:47 am

      Greg,

      This is given so much air time that it’s become a mantra for atheists: “The separation of church and state.”

      Do you know what they intended when they wrote it? It’s most likely not what you think. Our history didn’t begin in a vacuum. We were rebels who threw off the yoke of the Church of England where the King/Queen was the supreme authority on all matters of religion. Our intent was to write into the Constitution a system whereby the people of the new nation wouldn’t fall under the same yoke again. Their intent wasn’t to establish a Godless nation but to insure religious freedom wasn’t hampered by the artifice of Federal Government. Their intent was to “prevent” Government from “establishing” a National religion not to prevent people from “freely” worshiping in the way they personally saw fit.

      To separate Church from State means that the State (i.e. Federal Government, State Government) “does not make any laws prohibiting the free exercise of religion,” and neither should it prohibit individuals from performing their religious consciences. Does that sound like what’s happening these days to you? Not me. It sounds like everywhere I turn they’re interjecting themselves into my “free exercise of” my religion! The law was made to protect the religious not so much the irreligious.

      The “small” and I do mean “small” percentage of atheists have turned things upside down and we’ve let them! They make a big stink and it’s stuck to everyone these days. I’m tired of the great big lie they’re telling. I intend to exercise my freedom as often and wherever I see fit. Let us all take our cases to the Supreme Court because they are governed by “public opinion” as well as the “spirit” of the laws of our nation. A nasty spirit has enveloped the truth!

    6. jon
      May 15th, 2014 @ 12:41 pm

      Greg, That is the problem with our country we are not being honest. The founding father’s knew and would know that this country is a Judean/christian country and philosophy. Satanic rituals are an abomination to our country ! Sick! and we play games and are dishonest to the detriment of this country.

    7. Sheila
      May 15th, 2014 @ 1:38 pm

      When they try to insist that the Federal Reserve remove “In God We Trust” from our currency I’ll really start to worry. Economic collapse?–oh yeah! The Federal Reserve is separate from the Federal Government, I believe, but don’t know exactly how that works. I’ll have to Google it.

    8. Ray
      May 15th, 2014 @ 4:57 pm

      Greg, in answer to your question in post 3, I’m not so concerned about who decides matters, but rather more concerned about both how they decide such things, as well as the foundation of their right to decide things (their authority).

      Q. Is it right to decide to not let one denomination hold meetings while letting another denomination do the same thing?

      The foundation should be Christ, (righteousness, truth, justice, equity, fairness, etc.)

      Would it be right to find one fault with one particular group, and not another, and make a decision based upon that, while looking the other way for another group?

      Not if their foundation is along the lines of the United States constitution.

    9. Ray
      May 15th, 2014 @ 5:00 pm

      To allow any group to exercise it’s influence on a campus simply because it is a group, without using discretion, using some type of “constitution” as their reason, if indeed it is a good constitution, may very well be misuse of such a constitution, even working to destroy such a constitution.

    10. Ray
      May 15th, 2014 @ 5:03 pm

      It seems to me that whatever truly honors God should be allowed without partiality and without hypocrisy, and a good admonition to all would be to do the best we can.

      That’s no slippery slope.

    11. Bo
      May 16th, 2014 @ 12:03 am

      Sheila,

      The USA started minting its own coins in the early 1790’s. It may surprise you to know that the first time “In God We Trust” was on our coins was in 1866. It appeared on the silver dollar, $2.50 gold, $5 gold, $10 gold, and $20 gold at that time…just after the Civil War. In 1909 it was put on the one cent coin. In 1916 the dime, quarter and half dollar obtained it. Finally in 1938 the nickel caught up with the rest of our coinage. And believe it or not, in 1907 and part of 1908 it was left off of the gold coins. Since then all coins are supposed to have it. There have been some errors where it did not appear recently on presidential dollars. The “In God We Trust” on our coins seems pretty hollow to me.

      One of the best things we could do is get rid of the Federal Reserve. Because of it, and our ability to keep borrowing, the spending value of our dollar is less than 2 cents compared to our original money, depending on what you want to buy. Most of the loss in value has been gain for the big bankers that invented the Federal Reserve. If you would have put a $20 bill and a $20 gold coin under your mattress in 1913 (they had the same value back then) you could buy over 70 times as much with the .96 troy ounces of gold that the gold coin contains now. In banking everyone’s loss is somebody’s gain. We have lost over 98% of our dollar’s value. Who gained? The guys that print the money. The inflation that the current system produces is unjust weights and measures and it is taxation without representation and it is stealing. Read “Creature from Jekyll Island” for a full understanding of the Federal Reserve and its players.

      http://kauilapele.wordpress.com/2012/08/05/the-creature-from-jekyll-island-pdf-version/

      Money is stored freedom in a sense. When someone is slowly taking your money, they are stealing your freedom.

      Pr 22:7 The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower is the slave of the lender.

      Shalom

    12. Sheila
      May 16th, 2014 @ 5:21 am

      1Sa 2:7 The LORD maketh poor, and maketh rich: he bringeth low, and lifteth up.

      1Sa 2:8 He raiseth up the poor out of the dust, and lifteth up the beggar from the dunghill, to set them among princes, and to make them inherit the throne of glory: for the pillars of the earth are the LORD’S, and he hath set the world upon them.

      While I’m not poor, I’m certainly not rich by today’s standards! I’m blessed with just enough:

      Pro 30:8 Remove far from me vanity and lies: give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with food convenient for me: 9 Lest I be full, and deny thee, and say, Who is the LORD? or lest I be poor, and steal, and take the name of my God in vain.

    13. Sheila
      May 16th, 2014 @ 5:26 am

      Thanks Bo for investigating that. I admit I didn’t take the time to do it yet. I lost interest thinking it is what it is and how could we ever change it now. It seems like only one head of this Medusa we call Government!

    14. Sheila
      May 16th, 2014 @ 5:53 am

      Concerning the Satanic mass, I feel the president of Harvard had it right, it would have been a specific mockery of and could be seen as “an attack on Catholics.”

      People need to use the tool of reason “most” of us possess.

    15. Greg Allen
      May 17th, 2014 @ 12:22 pm

      Sheila,

      I have not researched the original intent of the framers of the constitution. I suspect that there was not one unified “intent” — since there rarely is.

      I do know this — I’ve lived in countries where government favored one religion or one sect of Christianity.

      AMERICA MUCH BETTER.

      It’s a constant mess in those countries — which the government writing official prayers, giving money to some churches and not others, favoring some with building permits, etc etc. This put power in one denomination over another causing corruption in that church.

      It’s a mess.

      A strict separation of church and state is a win for the church and a win for the state.

    16. Greg Allen
      May 17th, 2014 @ 12:45 pm

      jon,

      >>That is the problem with our country we are not being honest. The founding father’s knew and would know that this country is a Judean/christian country and philosophy.

      That’s history revisionism that I hear endlessly repeated by Christian conservatives.

      Yes, of course Christianity was important to the founding fathers. Foundational. (I don’t think many founding fathers were Jews or even thought much about the Judaism.)

      But there were other well known foundational influences — a huge one was Greco-Roman democracy as interpreted by the Enlightenment. Probably you are going to bicker with me, on this point, by anybody who has taken a Western Civ 101 knows hits. I think I first learned it in night grade.

      While Christianity hints at democracy and equality, the founding fathers drew much more of Greece and Roman.

      Another huge influence on the founding fathers was the democracy-by-consensus of the Native Americans. They were highly impressed by the way the tribes government themselves, often spoken of as the “noble savage.” The influence on the founding fathers gets neglected, I think, because of racism and maybe some guilt that we killed so many of them.

      (Quite possibly, this is the first time you have heard this. Here is a good article on it but there are many:
      http://nativeamericanhistory.about.com/od/nativeconceptsandperspectives/a/American-Indian-Influence-On-The-Founding-Of-The-Us.htm )

      There are surely other influences on the founding fathers.

      You can argue about degrees of influence but it is pure history revisionism to claim that America was founded solely on “Judeo-Christian values.” This simply was not the case.

      And I think the founding fathers would dope slap anyone for claiming that America is some institution of the church.

    17. Greg Allen
      May 17th, 2014 @ 12:55 pm

      Nobody responded to the core issue Dr. Brown raised with this story.

      I think most people would agree that students have the right to thank God. . No professor should be able t tell them no.

      But should students be allowed to publicly thank Satan, or Darwin or their gay partners for helping them graduate?

      Or to use graduation as an opportunity to say, “God did not help me at all because he doesn’t exist!”

      I’ll guess that some of you aren’t that committed to free speech!

      But, Dr. Brown’s story is even more troublesome, legally.

      Should a government official be forced to say whatever religions sentiments the students dictate?

      “Thank God (or Shiva or Allah) I graduated” is probably fine but what about “I don’t thank God!” or “Thank Satan!” ?

      This goes bad, fast.

      The more I think about this story, the more I am sympathetic to the professor! Leave religion out of graduation!

    18. Greg Allen
      May 17th, 2014 @ 1:03 pm

      Sheila,

      >>Concerning the Satanic mass, I feel the president of Harvard had it right, it would have been a specific mockery of and could be seen as “an attack on Catholics.”

      I think you and I finally agree on something.

      My general impression is that a Satanic Mass is The defiling of one religion by another.

      (by the way, we Episcopalians also do mass.)

      It would be like a “Satanic Seder” or a “Satanic Shahada”

      But, as long as they are not mocking other religions, I do think Satanists have as much right to meet on campus as any other religion.

      And, off-campus, on private property — they have the right to hold their mockeries of Christianity.

      And, churches have the right to badmouth the Satanists.

      That’s what separation of church and state allows.

    19. Greg Allen
      May 17th, 2014 @ 1:10 pm

      Bo,

      You won’t get a lot of argument from me on this because I confess a limited understanding of macro economics. (exactly one college class.)

      But I do have honest question. You wrote:

      >>One of the best things we could do is get rid of the Federal Reserve. Because of it, and our ability to keep borrowing, the spending value of our dollar is less than 2 cents compared to our original money, depending on what you want to buy.

      Here is what I do remember from that one class:

      If you lock-in the economy to no more value than the available gold, doesn’t this lock-in the total value of the economy?

      In other words, by your estimation, the total of America’s wealth would be worth 2%.

      We’d be a third world country.

      It seems to me that linking all our exchanges to bars of an arbitrarily designated metal may have worked in the Middle Ages but is completely unfeasible now.

    20. AaronC
      May 19th, 2014 @ 6:02 pm

      Do you know why the 5th Amendment and the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution contain the words, “life, liberty and property”? They come from the British Christian philosopher John Locke, who provided the Biblical foundation for our Constitution.

      Locke derived the three basic rights of man from Creator God’s blessing on Adam, Eve and their descendants in Genesis 1:26-29. ” [28] And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth. [29] And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat.” God gave humans LIFE and the LIBERTY to sustain life through their use of their God-given PROPERTY.

      Thomas Jefferson considered Locke one of the three greatest men in history. Jefferson, Franklin, and others put Locke’s ideas and words into the Declaration of Independence. “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”. (my emphases)

      Then, in the Preamble to the Constitution, we read Locke’s words, “…secure the Blessings of Liberty…” The Constitution is the application of Locke’s ideas of securing these Biblically-based, God-given rights for our citizens. The Constitution is founded upon a Christian understanding of God-given rights, derived from God’s Word, the Bible.

      When George Washington had found out he had been selected to preside over the Constitutional Convention, he had penned these words to the Marquis de Lafayette.

      “The pressure of the public voice was so loud, I could not resist the call to a convention of the States which is to determine whether we are to have a Government of respectability under which LIFE–LIBERTY, and PROPERTY will be secured to us…”

      http://memory.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/D?hlaw:13:./temp/~ammem_90Cp::

      Similarly, the Bill of Rights continued Locke’s Biblical influence.

      When our Constitution was written, the Constitutional Convention (including James Madison) rejected the addition of a bill of individual rights. Some states, in their “ratifying conventions,” demanded that a list of rights be added, by amendment, to the Constitution. On June 8, 1789, James Madison, after a change of heart, presented his condensed version of Virginia’s list to Congress, prefaced by these words:

      “That Government is instituted and ought to be exercised for the benefit of the people; which consists in the enjoyment of LIFE and LIBERTY, with the right of acquiring and using PROPERTY, and generally of pursuing and obtaining happiness and safety…”

      Madison then included the proposed religious freedom amendment to secure the God-given religious rights for religious people:

      “The civil rights of none shall be abridged on account of religious belief, or worship, nor shall any national religion be established, nor shall the full and equal rights of conscience be in any manner or any pretext, infringed.”

      Religion was a God-given right, to be secured by government in the Constitution, not just tolerated.

      http://memory.loc.gov/cgi-bin/ampage?collId=llac&fileName=001/llac001.db&recNum=227

      The state of Virginia and James Madison made it clear that there must be no national religion, and that freedom of belief, worship, and living our lives by our religiously informed conscience needed protection. There is no freedom of religion unless we can believe, worship, and live out our lives in the context of our faith. This amendment was debated in Congress; see, e.g.,

      http://memory.loc.gov/cgi-bin/ampage?collId=llac&fileName=001/llac001.db&recNum=380

      http://memory.loc.gov/cgi-bin/ampage?collId=llac&fileName=001/llac001.db&recNum=381

      Note Madison’s remarks in the above debate, at the end of column 758 and the beginning of column 759:

      “Mr. Madison thought, if the word national was inserted before religion, it would satisfy the minds of honorable gentlemen. He believed that the people feared one sect might obtain a pre-eminence, or two combine together, and establish a religion to which they would compel others to conform. He thought if the word national was introduced, it would point the amendment directly to the object it was intended to prevent.”

      This amendment was further debated, but in the end, Madison’s ideas were fully, and concisely, expressed in the final “Religion Clauses”. There can be no national, “established” church, and religious people have the “free exercise” to believe, worship, and conduct their lives by their religiously-informed “conscience”. The modern concept of “separation of church and state” was nowhere to be found in the debates or words of the Constitution or the Bill of Rights.

    21. Nakdimon
      May 22nd, 2014 @ 4:24 am

      If two moms are better than one, doesnt this explicitly mean that homosexuality trumps heterosexuality? How can you NOT come to that conclusion?

      So you cannot, in any circumstance, say that heterosexuality is better than homosexuality. We all know what happens when you say that. But people can go around saying that two moms is better than a mom and a dad? Based on what? Why isnt that heterophobic?

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