It’s easy to opine about being apolitical when the overwhelming scourge of its consequences are far away; it seems convenient even to shape religion into a beta-dog acquiescence of the pillars of piety – autonomy, liberty, freedom of conscience, respect, and brotherhood.
The Great Awakening of Jon Edwards and George Whitefield, however, led to a strong and healthy sort of worldview – one which was not merely brainy, but which was evidenced by resolve and purpose.
It was against such an awakened populace that one King George chose to fight. With a jackboot attitude, acts of terror were committed against Americans on the seas; their livelihoods were sapped by ever-increasing taxes; and their desire to be independent was disallowed by force.
When soldiers are about to kill you and your family out of petty greed, suddenly nose-bleed “spirituality” loses its appeal. Or was such stuff ever spiritual in the first place? Who isn’t for peace? The early Americans wanted peace as much as anyone; but when they “spoke,” the British crown was for war.
It seems nice to go along to get along, but eventually such an attitude results in atrocities like the Holocaust. When the church in Germany stayed silent about truth for too long, they couldn’t stop the worst nightmare reign known to man!
The church is to be the conscience of the nation, not an optional caboose. Charles Finney, for example, spoke extensively on how the church should get in politics and speak up for the enslaved Negro’s liberation.
In early America, most of the preachers spoke of standing up to tyranny. Tyranny unchecked is a cancer to the world. These pastors’ preachments on liberty and respect may have been what led the Americans to victory. Known as the “black robed regiment,” these ministers heroically stood side by side with parishioners in defending their fellow man from unjust violence. Today though, it’s considered “unacceptable” to “preach on politics.” What a contrast!
It is not Christians’ involvement in politics that is dirty; it is reclusion from it that makes it so.
Wherever injustice is found; wherever human dignity and autonomy are mocked and disregarded; pastors have an obligation to speak to it.
I appreciate Dan Fisher’s presentation on this subject, entitled “Bringing Back the Black Robed Regiment.” If you would like to watch one version, it is linked below. Hope you enjoy!
I pray…That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me. – John 17:20-23
Christ envisioned the church to be universal, unified, catholic (as opposed to fractured) – in short, “one.” But not an “echo chamber” sort of oneness – a familial, friendly, healthy sort of oneness. He envisioned a oneness that was so beautiful, it made unbelievers desire to become believers!
While churches may mentally connect “seeker-friendly” with compromising the truth, Jesus reached higher. He envisioned a communal love of truth that was naturally “seeker-friendly” and drew in outsiders. Jesus didn’t labor under the false burden that it was impossible to embrace both truth and kindness.
When it comes to the internet, the term “echo chamber” has arisen to describe the effect of joining communities of strictly like-minded people which tends to narrow people’s views increasingly. But it seems to be a problem for many churches, too.
Due in part to Obama’s shaming of Christianity, an inverse effect has happened inside the church. As the church loses its power with society, pastors suddenly find themselves with freakish powers over their particular congregations. Spiritual cabin fever sets in, and suddenly “questioning the pastor” becomes the highest sin in the book.
I, for one, do not feel that Sinai is an acceptable model for the church. It even seems that the underlying reason God didn’t allow Moses to enter the promised land may have been his emphasis on law over grace. His instance of yelling at the people and striking the rock to bring forth water (instead of simply speaking to it) may have been the straw that broke the camel’s back for God (Num. 20:12; Deu. 1:37). I think God hates when we obfuscate that salvation is by grace through faith; and though Moses certainly served his predestined place in spiritual history, we have a better covenant now built on better promises and which clearly reveals that justification is by faith alone (Heb. 8:6; Rom. 3:24; 5:1).
We must remember, too, that the whole point of the law was to “shut us up” from self-righteous attempts at heaven, “unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed” (Gal. 3:22-25; Rom. 3:19-21ff). Therefore, to revert back to citing how the earth swallowed up dissenters of Moses in the Old Testament in order to maintain power as a pastor; seems, to me, a very dangerous idea. Are you as a pastor removing your flock from the sure foundation of Christ, and building on the shifting sands of legalism?
And it is exactly here that I can finally “begin” this article. Many churches suffer from being “echo chambers” in my opinion. Whether it is some Baptist churches ever suffering from a mushy, apolitical bent; whether it is some holiness churches, laboring under a works salvation mentality; whether it is so-called plain churches, with their obsessive requirement that everyone must interpret 1 Cor. 11:5 exactly as they do; or whether it is some black churches, that foster a mentality of gaming the system and embracing the Democrat party – so many churches today have become veritable echo-chambers!
Seriously, try simply talking about the relevant touchy issues in any such churches, and you’re labeled a schismatic and heretic whom the ground must immediately open up to swallow!
But such churches are thousands of years too late – Jesus has already come, and His religion brought “grace and truth” rather than Moses’ “law” (John 1:17) – indeed, I dare say that God never intended such things to be viewed as the true approach to God. Even under Moses, the spiritual path to God was faith – was justification by faith – belief in grace. Though legalism served a purpose, it was never the true path to God, and converts of the Old Testament were able to see this true intent of God behind the smoke and mirrors of legality, and simply trust Him for their salvation. No one in either dispensation earned their way to heaven.
In any event, I was glad to see a Catholic (bishop Schneider) speaking along these same lines. I’m not a Catholic, but what he said was so true. Disliking the atmosphere of fear created by the new Pope, he said, “the Church is a family where discussion is possible.” That sounds so self-evident, but he’s considered by many as a sort of “heretic” for daring to “undermine” the Pope. Well, the Pope undermined himself by failing to align with spiritual reality (I’m not saying on this issue which I haven’t studied, but on other issues which I have studied).
On the issue at hand (giving communion to adulterers), I personally would offer communion to whoever was gathered (how do you know who might or might not be an adulterer, liar, etc.??) – why do we think we’re responsible for what someone else does? If someone walked up, grabbed the communion out of a priest’s hands, and desecrated it by stomping on it, why is it the priest’s fault? It’s not. It’s the fault of the guy who desecrated it. But that is a digression.
The point is, many conservatives feel downright uncomfortable to even discuss things or to ask questions or to try to understand, inside the Catholic church. And they have good reason to feel that way, because they could be “put out” by the Pope!
But it’s too common in Protestant churches also. Obama, by publicly ridiculing Christianity, has inadvertently made pastors feel way too powerful over their congregations. We definitely have a case of many pastors that “lord it over” their flocks these days, contra 1 Pet. 5:3. I think many are simply confused and feel like they have to preach along such lines. But, confused or not, I think it’s time to realize our error and seek to change.
If we as Christians are to be winsome to the world, we have to be friendly to the world. And to do so, we must be accepted and appreciated in our churches. The attitudes of exclusion have to be replaced with brotherly benevolence. The legalisms of the heart have to be replaced with the gracious way God views His true-born children. ESPECIALLY after an antichrist like Obama has made Christianity so unpopular.
Let us lay aside the insolence, and strive to respect one another – especially those who have taken it upon themselves to stand for what is true. We are an army, and we MUST have comradery. We must especially lift up the arms of the guys holding the standard, not decry them as “schismatics.” And that is a reference to Moses that is most suitable even in our dispensation of grace (Ex. 17:11)!
The glory of self government is seen fore-mostly because it is a fruit of the Spirit. But it also brings with it industry, participation, ambition, and a host of other practical benefits in a society.
But the fruit of the Spirit is…self-control: against such there is no law. – Galatians 5:22-23
Some argue that this final of the seven fruits of the Spirit should be translated as “Holy-Spirit-control” rather than “self-control,” for they say that doing anything in the power of “self” is antithetical to Christianity, which is a religion of God’s enabling grace. I agree with that concept, as all good has its source in God; nevertheless, there is a world of possibilities in this concept of self-control as a fruit of the Spirit’s creation.
Related to the idea of self-control are the ideas of autonomy, self-respect, drive, optimism, vision, charity, healthy ambition, and self-government. To get a picture of what is meant by self-government, go back to the small, fledgling country of Israel in the 1950s and 60s. Imagine how the Jews had moved there with vision, making “aliyah.” Consider how they had skin in the game when Arab nations immediately began to attack them. Think of how Captain Uziel Gal of the IDF had invented the now-famous Uzi machine gun as a contribution to the safety of his nation, following the 1948 Arab-Israeli war, and the horrors of the Holocaust. Think of the enterprise and endeavor of the business owners in that new desert region. This is a fairly good picture of “self-government,” and it’s a wonderful thing. There is productivity, charity, benevolence, law, and a great degree of order in a most unstable and unsettled region of the world.
This has been a picture of America, as well. The founders had a vision that life was bigger than allowing bullies to terrorize and kill people at sea. The God-given opportunities for greatness and freedom in a new land were too special to be squandered living under the petulant demands of a foreign king. In the early days of America, government was simply the exercise of people’s will. They had a government because it could serve a purpose.
These days, the government is wholly outside of our hands, too big and complex for us to even influence, and has become a bloated destroyer of the economy (e.g., EPA, red tape on nuclear power, etc.), and a means to enabling our overthrow by enemies via funding them (e.g., the Iran Deal).
That is a sad picture; but there’s no excuse for it when 70% of Americans profess the Christian religion (as of 2014).
Can you imagine Israel, having entered their land; and, instead of crowning King David, they stick their tail between their legs like a beta-dog and crown one of the few Canaanites remaining among them as their King? And then picture them holding five synagogue meetings a week to preach to each other about the necessity of increased persecution from the Canaanite government, and you have a perfect portrait of the church in America today.
That is where the church is. She is a beta-dog, and happy to be so. You will not find any of the leaders in the Bible (Abraham, David, Solomon, Jeremiah, Jesus, Paul, Peter) acting like a beta-dog. No. They had confidence and boldness. They had self-respect. And they believed that what they preached was the truth.
The closest you come to a Christian leader acting like a beta-dog in the Bible is when the Apostle Peter became legalistic and inconsistent and would not eat with Gentiles, and Paul had to rebuke him.
But when Peter was come to Antioch, I withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed. – Paul, Galatians 2:11
Where there is self-government, people care about each other. People care, period. The opposite of self-government is abdication of leadership, and it leads to sloth, pettiness, disregard for life, disinterest in earning an honest living and thereby helping others, and so on.
Self-government is precisely why many small businesses flourish and become benefactors to society – somebody had an idea, and had the insanity to imagine that they could do it themselves!
I don’t know what the best answer is for our country going forward, but I do know we as spiritual Ahabs should again assume a measure of leadership. Where there’s a will, there’s a way to self-government. Paul was tortured for awhile, but he found a way for the Romans to treat him and his fellow believers with respect, even when they were only a tiny minority.
Innocent people are losing their heads in Syria. Our economy is suffering. Immorality is being promoted. It’s time for the 70% to earnestly reach for the glory of self government.
Those who will not govern themselves are condemned to find masters to govern over them. – Pressfield paraphrasing Socrates
Have you ever heard someone say, “We can’t preach on politics because of our 501c3 status”? Well, I’m unsettled to hear that a preacher “cannot” preach on something that, to me, is one of the most important things of our day. So I decided to do a bit of study on the subject, because if preachers can’t preach the truth, what’s the point of being a preacher?
Most people have probably heard the weird term, “501c3.” In short, it’s a part of the IRS tax code that specifies that tax-exempt organizations cannot support or oppose any political candidate, and cannot surpass a “lobbying ceiling amount” which is basically 20% of their expenditures.
So the question arises:
“Can 501c3 Churches Preach on Politics?”
To my reading of the tax code, it appears that indeed they can preach on politics, but they have to stop shy of supporting or opposing any individual candidate. In other words, they can preach against how it is evil for the Democrat party to support abortion, but they can’t say it’s evil to vote for Barack Obama.
Well, I think a more fundamental question arises: “Is it possible for a preacher to be faithful to God without preaching a full-orbed, unfettered message that shuns from touching neither politics nor politicians?” And of course the answer to that is a resounding, “No!”
Could John the Baptist be John the Baptist if he agreed (for a substantially greater amount of locusts and wild honey per annum!) not to point his bony finger at King Herod and reprove him for his incestuous adultery? I think not (Luke 3:7-9). Could Jesus have been Jesus if He agreed to keep the four-drachma coin from the fish’s mouth if the temple tax collectors had offered Him exemption for not speaking against the Pharisees? Never (Matthew 17:24-27)!
So how comes it that preachers are afraid, not just of commending good politicians (a near oxymoron), but of speaking in broad generalities against the evils of abortion, gay marriage, living together, or socialized medicine?
I think God has had enough. If a preacher is not willing to preach all the truth, and as Martin Luther would point out, especially that particular portion of truth which is most unpopular and most attacked at that moment, then they’re not worthy of the name, “pastor.”
“Where Did This Limitation of Free Speech Come From?”
The prohibition on political campaign intervention did not become part of the Internal Revenue Code until 1954, when an amendment to section 501(c)(3) was introduced by then-Senator Lyndon B. Johnson during a Senate floor debate on the 1954 Internal Revenue Code. The prohibition was added to the code without hearings, testimony or comment by any tax-exempt organizations. Although there is no legislative history to indicate definitively why Johnson sought enactment of the political campaign intervention prohibition, neither is there any evidence that the prohibition was targeted at political campaign intervention by religious organizations.
I have a question. Why isn’t anyone talking about repealing this awful amendment to 501c3 so that preachers may have freedom of speech in their pulpits, while still maintaining tax-exempt status? Shouldn’t our government encourage morality by offering preachers of the Gospel tax-exempt status without twisting their arm and asking them to not prophesy at Bethel, for “it is the king’s chapel, and it is the king’s court” (Amos 7:12-14)? Any preacher worth his salt will reply just as Amos did to this governmental attempt at manipulation of his or her message:
Then answered Amos, and said to Amaziah, I was no prophet, neither was I a prophet’s son; but Iwas an herdman, and a gatherer of sycomore fruit: And the LORD took me as I followed the flock, and the LORD said unto me, Go, prophesy unto my people Israel. Now therefore hear thou the word of the LORD: Thou sayest, Prophesy not against Israel, and drop not thy word against the house of Isaac. Therefore thus saith the LORD; Thy wife shall be an harlot in the city, and thy sons and thy daughters shall fall by the sword, and thy land shall be divided by line; and thou shalt die in a polluted land: and Israel shall surely go into captivity forth of his land.
What did Amos do when the government pressure threatened to squeeze him outside of God’s will? He doubled down and increased the heat of his message by delivering a terrifying prophesy to the king for his antichrist actions!
If you as a preacher think it’s too “political” to hope to change a Democrat’s amendment to an IRS rule, you’d better at least be prepared to do whatever it takes, including paying lots of taxes, in order to speak the truth. But if you compromise, and agree to dilute your message, I’m not impressed, and I don’t think the younger generation is, either. And I know that God is not impressed.
The Boring Legal Stuff – “What Is the Exact Language of 501c3?”
If you’re interested enough to actually read the tax code, it’s fairly short – at least 501c3 is extremely short, but it references 501h, which is longer and harder to understand. Here’s 501c3, from Cornell University Law School:
Corporations, and any community chest, fund, or foundation, organized and operated exclusively for religious, charitable, scientific, testing for public safety, literary, or educational purposes, or to foster national or international amateur sports competition (but only if no part of its activities involve the provision of athletic facilities or equipment), or for the prevention of cruelty to children or animals, no part of the net earnings of which inures to the benefit of any private shareholder or individual, no substantial part of the activities of which is carrying on propaganda, or otherwise attempting, to influence legislation (except as otherwise provided in subsection (h)), and which does not participate in, or intervene in (including the publishing or distributing of statements), any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for public office.
The reference to 501h is rather confusing, but it basically means that tax-exempt churches cannot spend more than 20% of their budget on “lobbying or grassroots expenditures.” If they spend astronomical amounts above $500,000, there’s a sort of bracketed decrease in the percentage of expenditures that can be political, and it caps at some $1 million, if I understood it aright. So here’s 501h:
Expenditures by public charities to influence legislation
In the case of an organization to which this subsection applies, exemption from taxation under subsection (a) shall be denied because a substantial part of the activities of such organization consists of carrying on propaganda, or otherwise attempting, to influence legislation, but only if such organization normally—
(A)makes lobbying expenditures in excess of the lobbying ceiling amount for such organization for each taxable year, or
(B)makes grass roots expenditures in excess of the grass roots ceiling amount for such organization for each taxable year.
For purposes of this subsection—
The term “lobbying expenditures” means expenditures for the purpose of influencing legislation (as defined in section 4911(d)).
(B)Lobbying ceiling amount
The lobbying ceiling amount for any organization for any taxable year is 150 percent of the lobbying nontaxable amount for such organization for such taxable year, determined under section 4911.
(C)Grass roots expenditures
The term “grass roots expenditures” means expenditures for the purpose of influencing legislation (as defined in section 4911(d) without regard to paragraph (1)(B) thereof).
(D)Grass roots ceiling amount
The grass roots ceiling amount for any organization for any taxable year is 150 percent of the grass roots nontaxable amount for such organization for such taxable year, determined under section 4911.
(3)Organizations to which this subsection applies
This subsection shall apply to any organization which has elected (in such manner and at such time as the Secretary may prescribe) to have the provisions of this subsection apply to such organization and which, for the taxable year which includes the date the election is made, is described in subsection (c)(3) and—
(A)is described in paragraph (4), and
(B)is not a disqualified organization under paragraph (5).
(4)Organizations permitted to elect to have this subsection apply
An organization is described in this paragraph if it is described in—
(B)section 170(b)(1)(A)(iii) (relating to hospitals and medical research organizations),
(C)section 170(b)(1)(A)(iv) (relating to organizations supporting government schools),
(D)section 170(b)(1)(A)(vi) (relating to organizations publicly supported by charitable contributions),
(E)section 509(a)(2) (relating to organizations publicly supported by admissions, sales, etc.), or
(F)section 509(a)(3) (relating to organizations supporting certain types of public charities) except that for purposes of this subparagraph, section 509(a)(3) shall be applied without regard to the last sentence of section 509(a).
For purposes of paragraph (3) an organization is a disqualified organization if it is—
(B)an integrated auxiliary of a church or of a convention or association of churches, or
(C)a member of an affiliated group of organizations (within the meaning of section 4911(f)(2)) if one or more members of such group is described in subparagraph (A) or (B).
(6)Years for which election is effective
An election by an organization under this subsection shall be effective for all taxable years of such organization which—
(A)end after the date the election is made, and
(B)begin before the date the election is revoked by such organization (under regulations prescribed by the Secretary).
(7)No effect on certain organizations
With respect to any organization for a taxable year for which—
(A)such organization is a disqualified organization (within the meaning of paragraph (5)), or
(B)an election under this subsection is not in effect for such organization,
nothing in this subsection or in section 4911 shall be construed to affect the interpretation of the phrase, “no substantial part of the activities of which is carrying on propaganda, or otherwise attempting, to influence legislation,” under subsection (c)(3).
For rules regarding affiliated organizations, see section 4911(f).
Disclaimer: This is my understanding of what the tax code appears to be saying, but you are liable for your own conclusions. I disclaim liability.
I found this Yahoo! News article smearing Kim Davis, and wanted to “answer the bias”! I’ll present their exact text, and break down why I think it’s so out of harmony with reality and common sense. Here’s the address, unless it gets taken down: http://news.yahoo.com/no-kim-davis-cant-beg-041235821.html. My text comments will be in red. 🙂
No, Kim Davis, You Can’t Beg for Money on GoFundMe
By Keisha Hatchett September 5, 2015 12:12 AM
While Kentucky clerk Kim Davis sits in jail for being in contempt of court after refusing to issue marriage licenses to gay couples, her lawyers are hard at work trying to clean up her mess ✫ Stop right there. Why is it “her mess”? More like, “the Supreme Court’s mess,” because SCOTUS isn’t supposed to be writing laws FOR THIS VERY REASON – it leads to sticky situations where people get thrown in jail instead of knowing how to resolve difficulties. ✫ and the judge is in a bind when it comes to hitting her where it hurts.
DailyKos reported that “Plaintiffs in the case had asked [District Court Judge David] Bunning to fine Davis, but they specifically requested that he not jail her. Bunning, though, said fines would not work because others might raise money to pay the penalty on her behalf.” Well, thanks to a pair of homophobic bakers, they won’t be able to do it on GoFundMe. ✫ Okay, “homophobic” has nothing to do with making a logical point, but is merely a SMEAR to make people feel emotional hate towards the person. In fact, I got a chance to meet Aaron Klein, and to see Melissa Klein in person, at the Iowa Religious Liberty Rally on August 21 of this year, and Melissa is a sweet person who has worked very hard at her business and was plainly hurt emotionally by the ruling against her. She spoke of how many things she would do for gays because she loved them, but she could not violate her conscience. Yes, Yahoo, there is such a thing called a “conscience,” and #ConscienceMatters to a lot of folks. That’s what the 1st Amendment is all about, is making sure government doesn’t step in and force people of any faith to do things that they don’t feel comfortable about. ✫
According to Salon.com, the crowdsourcing service nixed a fundraising campaign for Sweet Cakes by Melissa owners Aaron and Melissa Klein earlier this year. They were fined $135,000 for refusing to go through with a wedding cake request ✫ Isn’t it INSANE that Aaron and Melissa were asked to pay such an astronomical amount for “emotional harm” done to the gay couple? What if I asked for $2 million in emotional damages from the actions of Obama and extreme Democrats in charge in America? Let’s get real, and stop the outlandish fines. If a gay couple is so unstable as to need $100K+ just because someone didn’t want to participate in celebrating their actions, then perhaps they should consider becoming straight. At the very least, it sure ins’t convincing that they were “born that way” when they are so easily discombobulated. ✫ for a gay couple. In a statement, GoFundMe explained:
“After careful review by our team, we have found the ‘Support Sweet Cakes By Melissa’ campaign to be in violation of our Terms and Conditions. The money raised thus far will still be made available for withdrawal. The subjects of the ‘Support Sweet Cakes By Melissa’ campaign have been formally charged by local authorities and found to be in violation of Oregon state law concerning discriminatory acts. Accordingly, the campaign has been disabled.”
Later on, its policy was changed to explicitly say that “GoFundMe will not allow campaigns that benefit individuals or groups facing formal charges or claims of serious violations of the law.” In order words, Kim Davis is out of luck. ✫ And here we go again. “Out of luck” is a rather poor choice of words. Was it lucky for SCOTUS to rule against the will of the people of America and try to establish law, when they’re only supposed to be rendering OPINION? Was is lucky for her to be put in a position where she might lose her job? Was it “lucky” for her to be thrown into prison? “Out of luck” is a poor choice of words, Yahoo. You can do better. ✫
However, she does have supporters in other anti-gay crusaders like Mike Huckabee, ✫ Not so fast, Yahoo. Once again, you’re using a loaded term by saying “anti-gay.” We could just as well call the pro-choice crowd “anti-life” if we wanted to, but we generally use the term “pro-choice” to show a bit of civility. When you use a term like “anti-gay,” it makes it sound like Mike has animosity against gays, which is not the point at all. The point is, Mike believes every American should retain his or her 1st Amendment rights, and should not be threatened with jail for violating their conscience – quite a different matter than being “anti-gay.” ✫ who is planning an “#ImWithKim Liberty Rally” on Tuesday. ✫ God bless him for doing it! That’s awesome that he’s holding a rally to defend Kim from being stupidly thrown into prison! Why don’t you like him holding the rally? Are you a #Hater, Yahoo? Apparently so. ✫ The National Organization for Marriage also stepped in, calling for “a massive mobilization of the grassroots and a ferocious public relations and advertising campaign.” They invite you to help raise $100,000 for the struggling clerk (who makes $80,000 per year) by Labor Day. ✫ Ah, but Yahoo, you were glad the gay couple got $100K+ in emotional damages awarded to them for simply being refused a cake at one store. Wow, it might have cost them an extra hour or two at the worst, and if they REALLY BELIEVE gay marriage is morally right, they SHOULDN’T HAVE any emotional damages when a person like Melissa Klein respectfully and lovingly declines to do their request. Now, Kim Davis DOES have a right to some SERIOUS emotional damage compensation. She’s been thrown in jail, her name tarnished, her job possibly ended, and people have expressed violence towards her. To be consistent, if the gay couple got $135K awarded for them, Kim Davis ought to be awarded something like $1 Billion dollars, because she’s probably been through about 1,000 times as much trouble as the gay couple in Oregon was put through for having one store not bake them a cake. ✫
Yeah, good luck with that. ✫ Snarky, Yahoo. Hope you can get over your hate, and bury the hatchet. At the very least, if you had any respect, you’d support the effort to free Kim Davis. #FreeKimDavis! ✫
I don’t know about you, but I’m absolutely outraged at the hatred, bigotry, and vitriolic intolerance shown by the left (and even the cowardice shown by many Republicans and Republican candidates for President [instance Carly Fiorina]) shown against Kim Davis! If we give up our first amendment, we have nothing in this country anymore. This is pathetic – that a woman who respectfully declines to do what Obama himself said he was against as recently as a few years ago, is arrested and put in jail. Absolute double-standard. This is just unacceptable. America needs to stand up and say so. Thank you, TED CRUZ, that you are actually defending the first amendment. You DESERVE to be President!
It would be hypocritical enough if Kim Davis was forced to quit her job (because Democrats pick and choose what they want to obey [instance amnesty, Constitution, etc.]); but to put her in jail in absolutely insufferable! Kim Davis is getting death threats, people are threatening to blow up her house – why? – because she won’t do what she believes is morally wrong. Wow, nothing says TOLERANCE like a death threat, huh? The gay couple might have to spend an extra few hours to go to some other courthouse, in order to do what has been illegal for centuries, and which extreme liberals finally managed to get shoved through the American legal system. But for Kim to be a #ConscientiousObjector means she has to lose her job AND be put in jail. Pah-thetic. Can you imagine the outcry if extreme conservatives passed a law outlawing sodomy, and a couple of gays were put in jail? That’s the kind of double-standard we’re talking about. Liberals cried “tolerance” to the point that gays are allowed to get married, yet they are not people of principle, because when America surrendered to them (or at least the high Court), they won’t extend the VERY SAME value IN THE SLIGHTEST to anyone else. It was all about a political objective, and NEVER about “love,” “kindness,” “tolerance,” or any other such thing.
I’m from Alabama. But I knew the Iowa Religious Liberty Rally hosted by Presidential candidate Ted Cruz was going to be a special event, so I decided to drive up to it! With my Prius getting some 45 mpg, I was able to do the 30-hr round trip for about $120 of gas! On Wednesday night before starting, I decided to “decorate” my car a bit, so drivers could see a bit of enthusiasm for Cruz.
Cruzin to the Iowa Religious Liberty Rally
Who Said a Prius Couldn't Cruz?
We Need a #CruzEconomy!
On Thursday morning, I set out from Auburn, AL, and drove to Springfield, IL, passing through Birmingham, Huntsville (AL), Nashville (TN), and Paducah (KY). I stayed the night in a hotel, and did the remaining drive Friday morning, arriving in Des Moines, IA about 2:00 PM. I had a few hours before the rally began, so I decided to walk around Des Moines. I found a Ginko tree (my favorite tree, because of the thick, waxy leaves), an awesome-looking pedestrian bridge across Des Moines River, a “Robert D Ray” Asian Gardens, and a very ornate Iowa state capitol building.
On the Way to Iowa!
Ginko Tree Close-Up!
Ginko Leaves Close-Up
American and Iowan Flags
Pedestrian Bridge Over Des Moines River
Iowa Women of Achievement Pedestrian Bridge
Close-Up of Des Moines Pedestrian Bridge
Water Churning Under Des Moines Pedestrian Bridge
Robert D Ray Asian Gardens
Gardens at Robert D Ray Asian Gardens
Close-Up of Robert D Ray Asian Gardens Building
Marble Wall at Robert D Ray Asian Gardens
Unique Rocks at Robert D Ray Asian Gardens
Unique Spiral at Robert D Ray Asian Gardens
Paper Birch at Robert D Ray Asian Gardens
Iowa Workers' Monument
Iowa State Capitol Building
Interior of Iowa State Capitol
Looking Up Inside Central Dome Iowa State Capitol
Holy Bible with Iowa Darkened
Types of Gold Plating
The Iowa Capitol Building Dome is Plated with Gold
Brave Iowan Patriots Who Gave All to Defend Against Jihad
Looking Over Des Moines, IA
After visiting at the State Capitol building, I walked through a small Holocaust memorial in the park below. There were a number of challenging quotes, including this one from Elie Wiesel, the Holocaust survivor: “One person of integrity can make a difference.”
Helen Keller on Apathy
Martin Niemoller, Imprisoned German Pastor
Elie Wiesel, Holocaust Survivor
Since I arrived early, I was able to take some shots before lots of people arrived.
Schedule of the Rally
Iowa Events Center
Iowa Events Center
Looking Out at Des Moines
Community Choice Credit Union Convention Center
Hallway to Cruz Event
American Flag Backlight
Windmill Light Image
Preparations for the Rally
Going Up to the Rally
Main Room Seating
Closer to Stage
With my early arrival time, I was also privileged to sit two rows behind Steve Deace (and family), the “Iowa Kingmaker,” as he is called, for the role he often plays in supporting a conservative for the primaries.
The Bontrager Family Singers, a family from Eastern Iowa that sings and plays instruments, kicked the event off with an incredible start!
Bontrager Family from Eastern Iowa
Bontragers - Incredible Multitasking Talent!
Here’s a little taste of what the Bontragers can do!
Unfortunately, I didn’t think to get a picture, but Iowa Cruz campaign leader Bryan English spoke next. After that, Cruz spoke with Dick and Betty Odgaard, a Mennonite couple from Iowa that were driven out of business for refusing to host gay marriages in their church. Then, Steve Deace spoke with Aaron and Melissa Klein, Barronelle Stutzman, Blaine Adamson, Phillip Monk, and Kelvin Cochran, who were all similarly persecuted for their religious convictions concerning gay marriage.
Ted Cruz with Mennonites Dick and Betty Odgaard
Steve Deace with Aaron and Melissa Klein, Barronelle Stutzman, Blaine Adamson, Phillip Monk, and Kel
Ted Cruz with Naghmeh Abedini
Getting Ready to Pray!
Once the event was over, Newsboys “brought the house down” with some great worship!
That would have been a good enough event for most folks. But not for Ted Cruz. After all that, he came down and mingled with the event-goers for a good while, allowing them to meet him, take pictures, and get autographs! Can’t wait for Ted Cruz to get into the White House!! It would be incomprehensibly awesome!
My thoughts on the Iowa Religious Liberty Rally:
I was very moved by the rally. What was stressed from the beginning was that “their story is your story.” In other words, these are not freak cases – this is persecution that just as well could have come your way. And it’s not right. We need to speak up for other people, or we can’t complain when no one speaks up for us.
Melissa Klein shared how many people would come in and want to “support” her by buying something, but would ask not to have the “Sweet Cakes” sticker put on their purchase, because they didn’t want to associate with her (they didn’t want the “stigma”). Melissa recounted that that was the most hurtful of all the events. Steve Deace echoed those thoughts by saying (paraphrase), “Look, if you’re embarrassed, it would be better not to buy anything. It’s less hurtful for someone to be openly hateful than to show ‘halfway support’ in tough times.” Wow, those are words of truth!
It was also a privilege hearing Naghmeh Abedini speak, wife of Saeed, an American and Christian who has been tortured in Iranian prisons for three years now for the “crime” of sharing the Gospel. Ted Cruz had a Ronald Reagan “tear down this wall” moment, when he got quiet and serious, and said, “I’d like to say something very, very clearly. President Obama, bring Pastor Saeed home!”