The Indiana “religious freedom” law is bad, but not for the reason you think

Everyone is flipping out today over the new religious freedom act signed into law in Indiana by Governor Mike Pence. Literally everyone of those people is missing the point. Everyone.

Everyone.

Truly, the left’s panning of this law is both comical and hypocritical. For the people who claim to be all about tolerance, they’re advocating forcing people to do things against their religious beliefs. The obvious cause of this is things like Christian bakers not wanting to endorse a gay marriage, Christian lodge owners being screwed by the government for turning down a gay wedding ceremony, or any combination of the florists, bridal shops, photographers, or T-shirt makers who have been legally boned for not wanting to celebrate homosexuality.

What the left is calling the “victims” in these case is missing is Freedom of Association and Freedom of Religion, also known in the United States as the First Amendment. If I sell a guitar on Craigslist, I can sell it to whoever I want. If a potential buyer says they’ll just destroy the guitar or kill someone with it or use it in an explicitly Satanic band and I decide that makes me uncomfortable, I can refuse to sell him my goods and/or services. That’s okay; he can go elsewhere.

The same applies with a cake. As a Christian who has actually read the Bible, I believe it would be wrong for me to endorse a gay marriage by supplying much of anything for the celebration. I would not sell them the cake, because it would violate my convictions. Likewise, a gay baker shouldn’t be forced to sell a cake to anyone, just like anybody can refuse service to anyone for any reason.

Immediately, people will scream how it’s not fair. Get over yourself and let the free market sort out your offense. If it’s truly an egregious offense, people will care and boycott a business. If not, then whatever. Go somewhere else or learn how to make it yourself.

swanson

Here’s an example that literally no one can say is wrong. A vegan cake shop would never, ever bake a cake for someone with bacon on it, no matter how hard they protested. Why? Because they’re vegan. And while they’re missing out on the best food on earth, that’s their right as a business owner. Bacon makes him uncomfortable, so he declines the business. End of story.

The basic premise of this bill is that you need to stop using the government to regulate others’ actions when you don’t get your way. If someone declines you service, nut up and move on. Don’t pitch a tantrum like a toddler.

Stop it.

 

But after 450 words, I digress. This new law is still garbage for one reason. I’ll copy and paste from Indiana’s own summary:

“Prohibits a governmental entity from substantially burdening a person’s exercise of religion, even if the burden results from a rule of general applicability, unless the governmental entity can demonstrate that the burden: (1) is in furtherance of a compelling governmental interest; and (2) is the least restrictive means of furthering the compelling governmental interest. Provides a procedure for remedying a violation.”

For something touted so much by conservatives, this actually increases government. They can still tell you what to do whenever they feel like it.

So we’re no better off.

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Marriage is not a right

There’s this little debate going on about marriage in South Carolina today. Something about marriage rights.

I recently got married.

Really, I did.

I’m by no means an expert on this whole marriage thing, but I can tell you one thing: I didn’t have the right to get married.

This will sound asinine to many. Of course, I had the right to marry whoever I wanted. This is America. But that’s not how marriage works.

Marriage is not a right. Rights belong to individuals; marriage by definition must involve two people.

When I proposed to my now wife in April, she could have turned me down. When we asked our preacher if he would do the counseling and ceremony, he could have told us to take a hike or refused on grounds that we weren’t good for each other (That should happen more often.). The venues we used for said celebration could have been booked or not felt like having wedding related things that day or time. We could also have never been able to get to the county offices to get a license, and if we did, the judge could still have refused for various reasons.

Rights are also inalienable, regardless of what a government says. No one can rightly force you to adhere to a religion you don’t believe, nor can they rightly go through all your crap without cause. Rights aren’t dependent on what year it is or on getting a piece of paper from someone whose salary is derived from the forced redistribution of the citizenry’s incomes.

However, there are cases when one can have a marriage rightfully terminated, namely in the case of divorce over unrepentant adultery.

My wife didn’t have to assent to my marriage request. I couldn’t legally stop her if she left. I have no right to be married. If anything, I gave up rights in order to be married, because my marriage is ultimately not about me.

Let the record show that even as a theologically conservative Christian, I’ve gone this entire blog without bringing up biblical passages addressing the complimentarian nature of marriage, which would have made this blog easier.

Nevertheless, the point stands that marriage is not a right for anyone. It can rightfully be refused to you, and your feelings on a subject or biological rumblings don’t get to define what it is.

I’d like to know your reactions to this, but keep it civil.

Would Pope Francis let the Mormons preach in the Vatican, too?

The theological and social liberals love Pope Francis. For some of the things, like owning up to some of Catholicism’s mistakes and taking a generally humble approach, they’re spot on. This is not one of those cases.

Francis is having Israeli President Shimon Peres and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to the Vatican to “rekindle” peace talks between the two, which is fair. What’s insane to me is that Francis is allowing readings from the Koran and Islamic prayers in what amounts to the church building in which he pastors.

No word yet on if the Muslim gets to sit on the shiny throne.
The liberals will cry out about how great this is, but they clearly have no grasp about what Christianity is and what Islam is. The two are mutually exclusive, particularly in regards to the divinity of Jesus.
Imagine with me for a minute. How big would the outcry be if President Obama invited, say, Ted Cruz to speak at the Democratic National Convention? It would be enormous, because their ideas are mutually exclusive; you can’t have simultaneous have government expansion and contraction.
The same is for Islam and Christianity. Christianity says that Jesus is God and came to earth in order to fulfill the Law by living a perfect life and absorbing the wrath of God for those who would trust in him. Islam relegates Jesus to prophet status and says that Mohammed was the last and greatest prophet.
No matter what Mohammed or any Muslim says, these constructs don’t worship the same God. The characters and means of salvation are entirely different. They are very much polar opposites.
Which is why no one should have freaked out when Irish pastor James McConnell railed against Islam as “satanic,” “heathen” and “a doctrine spawned in hell,” because that’s exactly what Christianity says it is.
Jesus himself claimed to be God in the flesh, he accepted worship as God and accepted the title of Lord over everything. He didn’t give you or anybody the option of saying he was just a good guy who was a prophet. If he was just a prophet and not God, then everything he said about himself was either gold plated narcissism or he was off his rocker.
The Bible goes on to say that any other claims about Jesus, whether it be a different gospel or saying he was just a dude or that he didn’t really come in human form, are the work of demonic forces and the advocate of said claims is going to be cast into hell (On a side note, there’s no reason that making a basic claim of what you believe should lead to a police investigation, as is the case with McConnell.).
But Francis, overly concerned with being “loving” and “social justice,” is allowing a false teacher to come in and spread what Jesus himself calls evil, that being that Islam relies on one’s own righteousness to become right with God.
Go ahead and mark this (and the Reformation) as the official beginning of the end of the Catholics. Bad theology has blinded their leader to the point where he thinks his job is to just help people get along, instead of pointing them directly to Jesus.
Catholics, feel free to start leaving in droves for greener, more theologically sound pastures.

Sarah Palin shows what’s wrong with Christian Americans and Republicans in one statement

If you didn’t already know it, Sarah Palin is kind of an idiot. But she proved that even further when she spoke at the NRA’s rally over the weekend.

[In full disclosure, I’m a heavy gun rights advocate and used to be a member of the NRA. That was before I realized they were really more into selling out for a couple of okay things instead of having any kind of integrity in their stances.]

After Palin said that good ol’ ‘Merica needs to be the “fear of God” into terrorists, she said that if she were in charge, everyone would know that “waterboarding is how we baptize terrorists.”

That statement is just how much social religion has turned what used to be theologically awesome Christianity (see: Puritanism) into moralistic bullshit deism. It must be called such strong words because it’s such an offense to what she claims to represent.

When she says we need to put the “fear of God” into terrorists, she really means the “fear of ‘Merica,” because she’s bitten hook, line and sinker into the cult of ‘Merican idolatry.

Tack on a dispensationalist Star of David, and you don’t even know what team she’s on anymore.

That’s further evidenced by her desire to baptize terrorists via waterboarding. Who needs Jesus when you can kill those walking blasphemies?

Granted, I used to buy into the whole “kill ’em all and let God sort ’em out” mindset. And there’s definitely room killing a whole lot of them, especially if they’re actively attempting to kill us (Note: not with drones that kill innocents and not with undeclared pseudo-wars), but they’re still sinful humans in need of grace.

What Palin’s statement ultimately says is that she and we are inherently better than those Muhammad worshiping bastards, so let’s just send ’em on to hell. She has no understanding that she deserves to burn eternally just as much as they do.

I’m not getting all hippie pacifist here, because I believe there’s an appropriate time for killing people in defense, but isn’t this exactly the opposite of what Jesus meant when he told us to love and pray for our enemies? I’m pretty sure it is. I’m pretty we should be more eager to send missionaries and Bibles than cruise missiles and tanks to the Middle East. Obviously, that would mean we have to take the Gospel seriously.

“Sarah, you might want to read this sometime.”

Palin and most of ‘Merica obviously don’t care about actual baptism by water and Spirit; maybe that’s why so many people are hostile toward American Christianity. We’re more concerned with people acting nice than about the condition of their souls.

:Let’s hope she’s never in charge.

Fred Phelps kicked the bucket, but you missed the point

Infamous Westboro Baptist Church pastor Fred Phelps assumed room temperature today. Most people’s responses have generally been along the lines of, “Good,” “Rot in hell,” “He was a douche,” etc.

I’m not arguing that he wasn’t a douche.

Lost among the “God hates fags” signs, general assishness and media attention, however, is the fact that their very, very, very core theology is actually pretty solid Reformed theology. The problems arise when they start working out from the core and applying and communicating it.

You don’t say.

In fact, they actually made some good points. Allow me to explain before you take metaphorical and literal dumps on my doorstep.

1) Repentance is vital to the Christian life. – This often gets lost, especially in the mainstream/liberal Christian crowd. They’re not just ripping on gay people; they’re calling people to turn from sin and trust in Jesus. That’s a good thing. It’s all in the delivery, kind of like Aroldis Chapman (shameless plug).

2) America is a corrupt nation. – If you don’t believe that, you haven’t been paying attention for the last couple hundred years or so. We’ve endorsed treating people as property, cheating people out of their property, murdering babies, unjust wars, etc.

3) America will be destroyed sooner or later. – Before you go all GOD BLESS MERICA on me, just understand that we’re a nation full of corrupt people doing corrupt things in corrupt ways. It’s bound to happen one day.

4) People are inherently evil. – Yes, this partially goes back to the first point, but they actually do understand that God must do the regenerating. Salvation isn’t based on what we do, but we do choose to give God the finger and send ourselves to hell.

5) God is sovereign over every single event in human history. – God didn’t send someone to shoot up a school, but he had to allow it in order for it to happen.

6) God finds sin and the sinner hateful. – A lot of people trip over this. God is love, but he’s not all-loving. He can’t love sin, since it spits in his face. There really are verses in the Bible about God hating people, but we have to remember that his hate is different than our hate. Our hate creates bitterness, but God’s hatred of sin spawned his eternal plan to send Jesus as an atonement for our rebellion. Really, God’s hate is rooted in love.

7) God’s sovereign grace through Jesus is the only hope for anyone. – Believe it or not, this is actually what drives WBC. They claim their tactics have worked in bringing about repentance and trust in Jesus. If they believe it works, then of course they’re going to do what they do. They may act like a bunch of dicks, but they at least have the core message down: The only hope for anyone is in Jesus, but most of us are content to fart in his general direction while playing in our own filth.

Thank God for a dead Fred Phelps, if only so we can reorient the discussion.

The Dalai Lama’s endorsement of gay marriage is hypocritical

The Dalai Lama came out last week in support of homosexual marriage, saying that sex of any kind is fine as long as it’s consensual.

I have to take this opportunity to show you that this stance is entirely hypocritical. In fact, Buddhism itself is illogical.

And has some serious freakin’ ear lobes.

Buddhism’s chief goal is to eliminate desire, and it says that desire is the root of every problem. The inconsistency is that any kind of marriage, sex or relationship is based in some kind of desire. Mr. Lama is encouraging his followers to pursue the exact thing his religion is seeking to eliminate.

Oops.

Honestly, the problem lies within Buddhism itself. It’s goal is to end desire, but that’s a desire. It’s a self-defeating system.

I know I’ll piss off a few people, but I have to call them as they are. Dalai Parton is the head of a religion that literally works against itself, and he just encouraged more failures of his own system.

Christians need to stop gushing over Matthew McConaughey’s Oscars speech

Matthew McConaughey floored everyone last night at the Oscars, and it wasn’t because he was wearing a shirt (which is amazing enough in itself). Nay, it was because the oft shirtless man actually acknowledged God in his speech after winning Best Actor for his role in Dallas Buyers Club.

Pardon the crappy volume, but that’s apparently the only way for the Oscars to not file a copyright violation claim on YouTube. Here’s the video.

“First off, I want to thank God, because that’s who I look up to,” McConaughey said “He has graced my life with opportunities that I know are not of my hand or of any other human hand. He has shown me that it’s a scientific fact that gratitude reciprocates… When you’ve got God, you’ve got a friend, and that friend is you… So, to any of us, whatever those things are, whatever it is we look up to, whatever it is we look forward to and whoever it is we’re chasing – to that I say, ‘amen.’”

The mere fact that McConaughey mentioned God set Twitter on fire. The atheists/agnostics/liberals generally chastised and told him to keep that “God shit” to himself. The conservatives/generally Christian crowd started gushing about how nice it was for an attractive young man to acknowledge God for his success in a way that hasn’t been seen since Tim Tebow was still on an NFL roster.

Tebow also has a tendency to show up shirtless.

I actually have no problem with the former group’s response. That’s very expected. I do, however, have a giant problem with the latter’s response.

Christians are so caught up in finding their next celebrity to acknowledge some vague entity that they’ll completely ignore the actual substance of a statement when it happens. If one actually listened to what McConaughey said, it’s nowhere near Christian and just as damnable as someone thanking the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

This one’s funnier too.

Since no one else has actually examined the theology behind what McConaughey said, I will.

“First off, I want to thank God, because that’s who I look up to.” – There’s absolutely nothing wrong here. There’s really no substance, but that’s what most Christians are after these days here. It’s just acknowledging some bearded guy in the sky.

“He has graced my life with opportunities that I know are not of my hand or of any other human hand.” – This is the most theologically accurate statement he made. Whether it’s common grace or special grace, Christian and pagan alike are given grace instead of being immediately cast into hell. That’s a pretty cool thing.

“He has shown me that it’s a scientific fact that gratitude reciprocates.” – Here is where Mr. Abtastic goes astray. The entire notion of karma is, put plainly, stupid. Jesus blows it up in Luke 13. Let’s also take into account that Jesus never wronged anyone, but he was still murdered for claiming he was God. That would mean that for the only perfect person to ever walk the earth, karma would have failed him. If karma can’t work in that instance, it can never work.

Just, no.

“When you’ve got God, you’ve got a friend, and that friend is you.” – Apparently God is in all of us, and we’re all God’s children. That’s entirely unbiblical and sounds a lot like this guy.

No amount of facepalms will suffice.

So, to any of us, whatever those things are, whatever it is we look up to, whatever it is we look forward to and whoever it is we’re chasing – to that I say, “amen.” – This universalism on an Oprah Winfrey scale. Chase whatever your heart desires, including yourself. You’re awesome. You’re worthy of whatever good things come your way because I feel like having a perpetual warm, fuzzy feeling.

Don’t forget that this is the same guy who played a stripper in Magic Mike and he’s going to do it again for a sequel. There’s no fruit there.

Let’s be clear. If these statements are truly indicative of what McConaughey believes, then he’s not talking about the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. His God is not Jesus, who is called the Christ. And he’s definitely not referring to the Helper sent by Jesus.

Dear Christians, stop freaking out at the mere mention of God by a celebrity. If he isn’t for Jesus, he’s against Jesus, and any basically discerning mind would immediately see this statement for the hollow social religiosity that it is.