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Archive for October, 2009

The Seductive Smile of Socialism (2)

October 2nd, 2009 No comments

As I shared in the last blog, before a people can be seduced by a lie, they must first be convinced that things are really horrific. Change is needed and it is needed last week! In other words, things are so bad we need to act immediately or some greater tragedy will befall us!

Then an alternative is put forward. The current alternative of choice is socialism. For some reason, our liberal elite are infatuated with European politics. Much of what they offer as solutions to our “crisis” are modeled after what is presently in place in the European Union. Wisdom would suggest we compare the lifestyles of Americans with those of our European counterparts to see who is better off economically.

I came across an amazing study by two economists who have done just that. 

Economists Fredrik Bergstrom and Robert Gidehag point out that if the 15 Western European nations in the European Union together became a U.S. state, it would rank ahead of only four other states in terms of per capita GDP—only slightly ahead of Arkansas but far behind states like Connecticut and Delaware. France and Finland, for instance, both rank below Alabama and Oklahoma. Tiny Luxembourg is the only EU nation that can compete with most U.S. states.

This means that living standards are much higher in the United States, with poor Americans by some measures better off materially than average Europeans. Poor U.S. households, for instance, have more square feet in their dwelling places (1,228, or 438.6 per person) than the average Western European household (976.5, or 395.7 per person).

By European standards, poor U.S. households also have astonishingly high rates of home ownership (45.9 percent), car ownership (72.8 percent), cable or satellite TV hookups (62.6 percent), VCR or DVD player ownership (78 percent), and microwave ownership (73.3 percent). In 1999, only 42 percent of Germans (overall, not just poor Germans) had a VCR and only 31 percent of all Danes had a microwave (see chart).

Money and possessions of themselves don’t bring happiness, of course, and prosperity can bring its own set of problems. But if the discussion is about material well-being, the United States is difficult to match.

“Most Americans have a standard of living which the majority of Europeans will never come anywhere near,” Messrs. Bergstrom and Gidehag write. “The really prosperous American regions have nearly twice the affluence of Europe.”

Why in the world would we want to pattern our economy after nations far less prosperous?

Our problem is not a lack of resources or opportunity. We have lost our purpose and direction. We have turned our hearts from the One we were made to enjoy. All the material blessing in the world eventually leads to boredom and dissatisfaction when you lose your vision to serve the Lord and others.

 

Pulpit Freedom Sunday

October 1st, 2009 No comments

In previous blogs I have repeatedly stressed the need for pastors to bring moral clarity to public policy issues. This is why I enthusiastically participated in the first Pulpit Freedom Sunday initiative, in September of 2008,  sponsored by the Alliance Defense Fund.

Through my involvement, I have had the pleasure of meeting Erik Stanley, Senior Legal Counsel with the Alliance Defense Fund. Erik recently explained the purpose of this important initiative in The Ministry Today Report:

“Pastors have a right to speak about biblical truths from the pulpit without fear of punishment. No one should be able to use the government to intimidate pastors into giving up their constitutional rights. [The Alliance Defense Fund] is not trying to get politics into the pulpit. On the contrary, the whole point is that churches should be allowed to decide for themselves what they want to talk about. The IRS should not be the one making the decision by threatening to revoke a church’s tax-exempt status. We need the government to get out of the pulpit.” —Erik Stanley, senior legal counsel for the Alliance Defense Fund, which this past weekend held its second annual “Pulpit Freedom Sunday,” in which at least 80 pastors across the nation again challenged IRS rules by preaching on the biblical alignment of various political candidates and government officials. With the urging of such organizations as Americans United for Separation of Church and State, the IRS has investigated multiple cases of pastors supporting or speaking out against particular candidates from the pulpit, yet only one has resulted in a church losing its tax-exempt status. [wnd.com, 9/26/09]

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In the words of the Alliance Defense Fund, “The First Amendment of the United States Constitution is unwavering in its affirmation of our religious liberty. Our Founding Fathers knew it was the most basic and unalienable of human rights. It is, in fact, Our First Liberty.”

I am encouraging all pastors to learn more about this important initiative by going directly to the Alliance Defense Fund website. The coming year, 2010, is a big election year and pastors need to be speaking out from the pulpit on the moral issues impacting our nation. Let’s protect freedom of speech in the pulpit while being a prophetic voice of righteousness in our nation!

  
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Joe Was Right

October 1st, 2009 No comments

Remember a few weeks ago when President Obama’s speech to Congress on health care reform was interrupted  by an emotional outburst from Joe Wilson, a congressman from South Carolina. It seemed Joe was fed up with what he was hearing. The President of the United States was blatantly speaking “non-truths” before both the House and Senate and the entire nation. While many accused his actions of being rude, no one can argue now that he was absolutely right.

Yesterday the Senate Financial Services Committee rejected Senator Orrin Hatch’s amendment to keep abortion out of Senator Max Baucus’s “America’s Health Future Act of 2009.” The Committee also rejected Senator Hatch’s amendment to codify current conscience protections in the Baucus health bill. The Baucus legislation explicitly includes elective abortion and would subsidize health plans that cover all elective abortions. It would also undermine current conscience protections by not protecting health plans from being forced to cover elective abortions.

So in spite of all the rhetoric, government funded abortion is firmly entrenched in this health care plan as it stands now. It is obvious that the current majority could care less about your religious freedoms and the fact that millions of Americans find the government use of taxes to murder babies an abomination. This is exactly what I have been warning in my blog. Socialism will eventually trample both the consciences and the religious liberties of Americans. We must fight this legislation until victory is secured.