Tag Archives: Protestantism

Frank Turek responds to Obama’s speech opposing Christian schools

Frank Turek’s latest radio show podcast discusses Obama’s assertion that Christian schools are divisive.

Let’s start with a news story from the Daily Caller, and then we’ll review the podcast.

Excerpt:

President Barack Obama suggested that religiously-affiliated and denominational schools are at the root of The Troubles, the ethnic, religious and nationalist conflict that seems to perpetually afflict Northern Ireland.

Obama made the chastising remarks in front of about 2,000 mostly young people at Belfast’s Waterfront Hall on Monday, the Scottish Catholic Observer reported.

“If towns remain divided — if Catholics have their schools and buildings and Protestants have theirs, if we can’t see ourselves in one another and fear or resentment are allowed to harden — that too encourages division and discourages cooperation,” Obama lectured.

[…]Monday’s statement is not the first time Obama has suggested that religion is a dangerous crutch.

In 2008, when he was running for president, Obama criticized unsophisticated Americans in “small towns in Pennsylvania” and the Midwest for their attachment to Christian religion and firearms.

“So it’s not surprising then that they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them, or anti-immigrant sentiment, or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations,” Obama famously declared, according to The Huffington Post.

I’m sure that he has no problem with Maddrassas and secular-leftist public schools, though.

Anyway, on to the podcast, and let’s see what Frank Turek makes of it.

The MP3 file is here.

Topics:

  • Obama’s point: he thinks that religious schools encourage division rather than cooperation
  • The point is NOT that he wants to shut down Christian education
  • His point is, though, that teaching religion in schools is a source of segregation and division
  • Obama toured Muslim countries, but he didn’t say a word about Muslim schools being divisive
  • In Ireland, the violence is not in accordance with Christianity
  • We should not judge a religion by actions that are inconsistent with that religion
  • George Washington: “Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of patriotism, who should labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness, these firmest props of the duties of men and citizens. The mere politician, equally with the pious man, ought to respect and to cherish them. A volume could not trace all their connections with private and public felicity. Let it simply be asked: Where is the security for property, for reputation, for life, if the sense of religious obligation desert the oaths which are the instruments of investigation in courts of justice ? And let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion. Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure, reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.”
  • You can see how morality has degraded, for example in public schools, as society has become more secular
  • Our human rights and freedoms are in fact rooted in a Creator, and government should recognize that
  • Instead of being critical of religion, Obama should have emphasized the unity of Christian denominations like Thomas Jefferson
  • In order to be right with God, the essential thing is to believe that Jesus’ death is an atonement for human sinfulness
  • We should not lose sight of what we have in common with other denominations and how important those common points are
  • Augustine: “In essentials, unity; in non-essentials, liberty; in all things, charity.”
  • The most important question for humans to ask “Does God Exist?”, because it determines whether there is meaning and purpose
  • The question cannot even be asked or debated in public (government-run) schools
  • Problem: how can our education system be sound if we do not and cannot investigate life’s most important question?
  • The answer to the question “Does God exist?” is assumed to be NO in our public / government-run school system
  • Why do parents who are forced to pay thousands of dollars for public schools go on and spend thousands more on private school?
  • It’s because everyone knows that it’s worth the money to send children to private schools, they learn more there
  • The President’s comment: denominational schools cause divisions, is itself divisive
  • Jesus himself says that Christianity will involve some appropriate divisiveness: e.g. – Matthew 10:34-38
  • See 1 Corinthians 5, Obama himself would be expelled from the church for claiming to be Christian while excusing sexual immorality

Then there is a period of people calling in and discussing the topic with Dr. Turek.

 

Pro-religious liberty protesters arrested for praying outside White House

From Life Site News. (H/T Mommy Life via Mary)

Excerpt:

Six pro-life activists, including one Catholic priest, were arrested this morning in front of the White House while holding a peaceful prayer vigil in protest against the Obama administration’s birth control mandate. They were released shortly thereafter, after paying a $100 fine.

Fr. Denis Wilde, the Associate Director of Priests for Life, told LifeSiteNews that by their arrests the protesters hoped to send a “wake-up call” to President Obama that opposition to his mandate is not going away.

The six were arrested on a charge of “disobeying a lawful order.” The priest explained that while it is legal to hold protests in front of the White House, protesters are not allowed to remain stationary, including if they kneel down and pray.

“Occupy Wall Street protesters have been occupying federal property for months, but when we kneel in prayer, the police are called in and we are arrested,” Father Wilde said. “We knew that was the risk when we gathered today, and we will do it again regardless of the risk. What people of faith – of every faith – need to do now is stand with us.”

My previous story on Obama’s war on religion is here: The Becket Fund assesses Obama’s “compromise” on the contraception mandate.

Related posts

The Becket Fund assesses Obama’s “compromise” on the contraception mandate

Eric Metaxas shared this on Facebook, so here it is.

Full text:

Facing a political firestorm, President Obama today announced his intent to make changes to a controversial rule that would require religious institutions, in violation of their conscience, to pay for contraception, sterilization, and abortifacient drugs. But this “compromise” is an exercise in obfuscation, not a good faith effort to solve the problem. Thousands of churches, religious organizations, businesses, individuals, and others will still be forced to violate their religious beliefs.

For example, the fake compromise will not help the Becket Fund’s clients Belmont Abbey College in North Carolina, Colorado Christian University, and Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN), a Catholic media organization. They will still be forced to pay for insurance that provides contraceptive coverage. The White House’s claim that “the insurance companies will pay for it” is silly. For-profit insurance companies aren’t going to donate contraceptives and abortion drugs to employees; the employer will pay for it one way or the other. More fundamentally, the Becket Fund’s clients still face the same chilling dilemma they did yesterday: choosing between helping their employees buy immoral abortion drugs or paying huge fines.

“This is a false ‘compromise’ designed to protect the President’s re-election chances, not to protect the right of conscience,” says Hannah Smith, Senior Legal Counsel for The Becket Fund. “No one should be fooled by what amounts to an accounting gimmick. Religious employers will still have to violate their religious convictions or pay heavy annual fines to the IRS.”

According to a White House “fact sheet,” some religious employers will no longer be required to provide insurance coverage for contraception, sterilization, and abortion-causing drugs; coverage for those services will instead be provided for free directly by insurance companies. This does not protect anyone’s conscience. First, the problem is helping employees get abortion drugs, not the cost of providing those drugs. Since providing insurance benefits would still help employees get insurance, religious employers still have to choose between providing health benefits that help employees get abortion drugs, and paying annual fines. Second, thousands of religious organizations self insure, meaning that they will be forced to pay directly for these services in violation of their religious beliefs. Third, it is unclear which religious organizations are permitted to claim the new exemption, and whether it will extend to for-profit organizations, individuals, or non-denominational organizations.

“It is especially telling that the details of this fake ‘compromise’ will likely not be announced until after the election,” said Smith. “Religious freedom is not a political football to be kicked around in an election-year. Rather than providing full protection for the right of conscience, President Obama has made a cynical political play that is the antithesis of ‘hope and change.’”

My previous post in which I chastised the Roman Catholic bishops for supporting Obamacare is here.

Obama revises contraception mandate but Catholic groups still pay for abortion drugs

Life News explains.

Excerpt:

The Obama administration has revised its controversial mandate that had forced religious employers to pay for health insurance coverage that includes birth control and drugs like Plan B, the morning after pill, and ella that can cause abortions.

Responding to a firestorm of opposition from pro-life organizations, Catholics groups and even some Democrats, the Obama administration has revised the mandate in a way that pro-life advocates are saying is even worse.

The revised Obama mandate will make religious groups contract with insurers to offer birth control and the potentially abortion-causing drugs to women at no cost. The revised mandate will have religious employers refer women to their insurance company for coverage that still violates their moral and religious beliefs. Under this plan, every insurance company will be obligated to provide coverage at no cost.

Essentially, religious groups will still be mandated to offer plans that cover both birth control and the ella abortion drug.

According to Obama administration officials on a conference call this morning, a woman’s insurance company “will be required to reach out directly and offer her contraceptive care free of charge. The religious institutions will not have to pay for it.”

The birth control and abortion-causing drugs will simply be “part of the bundle of services that all insurance companies are required to offer,” White House officials said.

“We are actually more comfortable having the insurance industry offer and market this to women than religious institutions,” the White House said on the conference call LifeNews listened to because they “understand how contraception works” and it “makes sense financially.”

[…]Republican Study Committee Chairman Jim Jordan told LifeNews in response to the revised mandate that it violates the right to religious freedom guaranteed by the First Amendment to the Constitution.

“This ObamaCare rule still tramples on Americans’ First Amendment right to freedom of religion. It’s a fig leaf, not a compromise. Whether they are affiliated with a church or not, employers will still be forced to pay an insurance company for coverage that includes abortion-inducing drugs,” he said. “This is not just a problem for church-affiliated hospitals and charities. Under these rules, a small business owner with religious objections to abortion-inducing drugs and contraception must either violate his religious beliefs or violate the law.”

“The liberal Obama administration thinks its political goals trump the religious faith of American citizens. That isn’t right, fair, or constitutional,” he said.

The abortions will still be paid for by the religious groups. They are going to pay for the drugs through medical insurance premiums. So religious organizations are still being forced to provide abortions for their workers.

Who is to blame for this? I blame Catholic bishops. Catholic bishops do believe in socialism. They do want a secular government to take money from religious people. And they do want government to hand out medical care to people, instead of letting individuals, businesses and charities provide health care.

Rick Santorum agrees with me on this.

Consider this interview with Rick Santorum in which he reacts Obama’s health care mandate.

Excerpt:

HH: Now I want to talk to you about two substantive issues, Senator Santorum. The first are these new regulations from the Obama administration. I read the letter from Archbishop Olmstead of Phoenix on the air. Archbishop Jose Gomez of Los Angeles has written a new article in First Things. It’s shocking, actually, what’s going on. Should this be a centerpiece of whoever the nominee’s campaign is?

RS: I talked about it in every speech I’ve given today. And here’s what I said, though, Hugh. I said that I took issue with the Catholic Bishops Conference, because Hugh, you may remember, they embraced Obamacare.

HH: Yes.

RS: They embraced it and said…here’s what I said to them. Be careful when you have government saying that they can give you rights, that you have a right to health care, and government’s going to give you something, because once you are now dependant on government, they, not only can they take that right away, they can tell you how to exercise that right, and you can either like it or not. And that’s the problem. That’s what the Catholic Bishops Conference didn’t get, that there’s no free lunch here, folks. If you’re going to give people secular power, then they’re going to use it in a secular fashion. And that’s why, you know, I hate to say it, but you know, you had it coming. And it’s time to wake up and realize that government isn’t the answer to the social ills. It’s people of faith, and it’s families, and it’s communities, and it’s charities that need to do this as it has in America so successfully for so long.

HH: Rick Santorum, what do you advise Catholic hospitals, Catholic colleges, Catholic…the centers of poverty assistance, the adoption agencies? What do you advise them to do in the face of, as Archbishop Olmstead said, we cannot comply with this unjust law?

RS: Civil disobedience. This will not stand. There’s no way they can make this stand. The Supreme Court, eventually, this thing’s going to get to the Supreme Court just like the ministerial hiring issue that was just decided by the Supreme Court the other day. And it was a 9-0 decision that said the Obama administration can’t roll over people of faith when it comes to hiring. Yet in the face of that decision, this radical, secular government of Barack Obama continues to have faith be the least important of the 1st Amendment. And I just think they fight. They fight in the courts, and they fight by civil disobedience, and go to war with the federal government over this one.

Evangelical protestants feel comfortable with Catholics like Rick Santorum. He gets it. If the bishops are wrong on socialized medicine and wrong on the death penalty and wrong on other things, then so much the worse for the bishops.

Obama did very well with Catholics in 2008 even though Obama is the most pro-abortion president in the history of the United States. Catholics tend to be more liberal on economic issues than evangelicals, which is why many of them voted for Obama. Evangelicals oppose economic liberalism, because they oppose government taking tax money from workers in order to provide services for other people aren’t trying to be self-sufficient. Evangelicals oppose increasing the dependence of individuals on a secular government. Evangelicals don’t want a secular government to take money from individuals and then use it to push secular leftist ideas like global warming, Darwinism and sex education in government run institutions, e.g. – public schools, public broadcasting, etc. Evangelicals trust individuals to care for the poor, and they don’t want to make it too easy for people to make reckless decisions and then get a check in the mail or a free abortion.

What causes this difference between Catholics and evangelicals? Evangelicals believe in salvation through grace ALONE through faith ALONE in Christ ALONE. Evangelicals put the emphasis on what you believe – it has to be true in order to please God. Catholics, just like Mormons, Jews and other religions, emphasize good works as a requirement for salvation. Many Catholics also support inclusivism, which is the view that you can be saved in other religions like Judaism and Islam. This means that for these Catholics, specific Christian doctrines are not essential for salvation, so long as you have sincerity and good works. On the other hand, evangelicals are exclusivists who emphasize the need for each person to arrive at true beliefs about God in order to be saved, and good works are just natural outworkings of their beliefs.

Evangelicals emphasize the responsibility of the individual to discover truth with their Bibles, reasoning, science and history. This belief in individual responsibility carries over into their approach to charity. Evangelicals believe individuals are responsible for deciding what to do about charity – you earn your own money and then you choose yourself how to share with others. But the responsibility to give away money wisely is an individual responsibility – you share your money in a way that is consistent with your beliefs. Evangelicals don’t generally accept the idea of handing money off to someone else and letting them decide what to do with it. We think that everything is our responsibility, starting with Bible study and theology, and going on through to economics and politics.

And this emphasis on individuals over big government has this effect:

(Source)

Note that this chart puts evangelicals together with born-again Christians. But evangelical Christians differ from born-again Christians, because they are firm on exclusive salvation and evangelism. Evangelicals like to study so that they can discuss their beliefs in public, using reasons and evidence to persuade others. A born-again Christian does not have that same emphasis on study and persuasion, because they don’t focus on evangelism. So, if you separate out the born-agains from that 26%, number for Obama support, then you are likely to get a much lower number for evangelicals who support Obama. We don’t like health care mandates covering abortion. Evangelicals are used to having to puzzle things out for themselves – so they puzzled out what Obama believed and then they voted against him.

Can a person disagree without being hateful or inciting violence?

Ari is an Orthodox Jewish blogger who writes at Jennifer Roback Morse’s Ruth Blog. Ari and Dr. J often write in defense of traditional marriage. As a result of that, they often get a number of pro-same-sex-marriage commenters who claim that mere disagreement with same-sex marriage is basically a hate crime. Well, Ari doesn’t think that pro-SSM people should freak out at him for believing in traditional marriage, and he doesn’t think that he is committing a hate crime. In fact, he would really like it if the pro-SSM people took his disagreement with same-sex marriage as… disagreement with same-sex marriage – instead of calling him names and attacking his character.

Now, let me ask you a question. If you were Ari, and you wanted to explain why disagreement is NOT hateful, and why disagreement with people is NOT dangerous and DOES NOT lead to violence, what would you do?

Well, Ari knows very well that conservative evangelicals like me disagree with him on whether Jesus is the only way, and that we think that having correct beliefs about who Jesus was and what his death accomplished are required in order for a person to be found worthy to be raised to eternal life with God in the general resurrection at the end of the age. So what he decided to do, in a fairly respectful way, is to explain how he feels about the evangelical Christians who 1) disagree with him on theology, 2) think that he should change his mind, and 3) try to persuade him that he should accept their view.

Here is an excerpt, but you WILL read the whole thing. (I have removed the name of the person he links to as an example of Protestant views)

Ari writes:

How does it make me feel?  Honestly, my most notable reaction is amusement.  Am I offended?  Maybe a little.  But if I am at all offended, not very much.  I could see how a soul more sensitive than I am would be deeply offended.  (I would tell such a soul to get over it).

As for me, I understand my own point of view.  I’m secure in that point of view, and if [the Protestant] cares to disagree, there is neither anything I can do about it nor anything I would want to do about it.  Were I cornered into a debate with [the Protestant], I know how to advance my point of view and the logical underpinnings of that view… I can say similarly if, instead of [the Protestant], I would be forced into a debate with notable atheist pseudo-rationalists Ricky Dawkins, Danny Dennet or Sammy Harris.

How does he respond to disagreements with Protestants or atheists? He debates them. He doesn’t call them names. He doesn’t claim they are inciting violence. He doesn’t pass laws to silence them. He doesn’t force them to pay fines. He doesn’t put them in jail. He doesn’t seize their children. He doesn’t enact laws to force his views on other people in the schools. He doesn’t pass laws to force private companies to do sensitivity training of all employees. He doesn’t award grants and scholarships on the basis of agreement with him. Etc. He debates people who disagree with him. And if they don’t agree with him, he leaves them alone.

Ari continues:

As you can see, although [the Protestant] has said, in absolutely no uncertain terms, that I am going to hell, I do not see any role for the government to shut him up.  Indeed I would be horrified if the government believed my precious self-esteem to be so important that it would take it upon itself to shut [the Protestant] up for me.

How would Dr. J feel if similarly confronted by [the Protestant]’s cartoon wrath?  I don’t have a clue, but I would be extremely surprised if her reaction was vastly different than my own.  Does [the Protestant] have similar feelings about Dr. J’s Catholic faith?  Why, yes. Yes, he does.

I trust that Dr. J. can defend her point of view to her own satisfaction, and to the satisfaction of those who share her faith.  That I would likely disagree with her defense of her faith (which I don’t share) is irrelevant.  The world’s a big place.  I understand that it contains many people with many other points of view.  I don’t expect others always to agree with me.  Indeed I would be foolish to believe that.  I would be a tyrant if I insisted that force be used to make others agree.

Now, do I think [the Protestant] is a hateful man?  I have no idea.  I have never met him.  But, from reading a bit of his work, it seems to me that [the Protestant] has the best of intentions.  He truly thinks I’m going to go to hell.  He wants to save me from that fate.  I would have to say that this fate, as he describes it, sounds more than a bit unpleasant.  I commend him for his good intentions.  However, I do think he’s wrong.

Should I condemn [the Protestant] for bothering me with his point of view?  No.

Rodney Stark discusses the admirable aspects of the missionizing impulse as follows:

Imagine a society’s discovering a vaccine against a deadly disease that has been ravaging its people and continues to ravage people in neighboring societies, where the cause of the disease is incorrectly attributed to improper diet.  What would be the judgment on the society if it withheld its vaccine on the grounds that it would be ethnocentric to try to instruct members of another culture that their medical ideas are incorrect, and to induce them to adopt the effective treatment?  If one accepts that one has the good fortune to be in possession of the true religion and thereby has access to the most valuable possible rewards, is one not similarly obligated to spread this blessing to those less fortunate?  I see no flaw in the parallel– other than the objection that the religious claims my not be true, which objection misses the phenomenology of obligation.  (One True G-d, Page 35).

So, stop all the whining about “hate.”  Maybe the people who disagree with you don’t really hate you.  Maybe they just disagree.

I could not agree more. I wish I could shout this from the roof-tops! I wish we could all disagree respectfully – clarity, not agreement.

You need to read Ari’s post. It will be on the test. So get your butt over there and read it right now. And leave a comment telling Ari that he is brilliant!

By the way, Ari is my friend on Facebook, and so is Dr. J. I don’t entirely agree with either of them on theology. I think they are both mistaken at least in part. But I also think that they are both excellent morally, and highly effective on issues like marriage and abortion – issues where we are allies. In fact, I would not even put myself on the same scale as either of them if I were considering morality and effectiveness. They are heroes, and I am nobody. (Although you can follow my blog – that would make me somebody). It’s enough for me that they know that I have a different view than theirs, and that I have reasons for believing my view is better than their view. I do not insist that they celebrate all of my views, and I am thankful that they do not use the law to force me to celebrate all of their views. That’s tolerance.

Furthermore, let me say one thing about Hell. Protestants do not believe that the degree of punishment is the same for everyone who chooses to separate themselves from God by rejecting Jesus Christ. The duration is the same (eternity), but the degree of punishment is based on your actual sins. There is no moral equivalence been morally good non-Christians and people like Stalin, and they are not going to be treated equally in the afterlife.