Martyred for the Gospel

Martyred for the Gospel
The burning of Tharchbishop of Cant. D. Tho. Cranmer in the town dich at Oxford, with his hand first thrust into the fyre, wherwith he subscribed before. [Click on the picture to see Cranmer's last words.]

Collect of the Day

The Second Sunday in Lent.

The Collect

ALMIGHTY God, who seest that we have no power of ourselves to help ourselves; Keep us both outwardly in our bodies, and inwardly in our souls; that we may be defended from all adversities which may happen to the body, and from all evil thoughts which may assault and hurt the soul; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The Collect from the First Day of Lent is to be read every day in Lent after the Collect appointed for the Day.

Daily Bible Verse

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Religious Pluralism Makes Religion Merely Symbolic According to CBS News

"When states do not officially support religions, the only recognition they can offer is symbolic, which is easily extended to all religions."

The reasoning behind articles such at the one mentioned above is so full of logical fallacies that the mind is boggled that its authors would think a rational person would buy it as factual or even objective. Opinion pieces often function or pretend to be objective fact reporting in the mainstream media but this one is beyond a doubt the most absurd thing I have ever read.

First of all, when it suits the purposes of the media they brag about how "liberated" the Europeans are compared to the United States where Christian fundamentalism rules the private sector. Reading the statistics, church attendance and genuine religious devotion is down in most European countries, despite the lack of separation of church and state. Yet, we are told, Europeans somehow are more discriminating against immigrants with other religious commitments besides Christianity. What the authors of the article neglect to mention is that most of the state sponsored churches are not fundamentalist or "Evangelical" in the conservative Christian vein of most privately run American churches. So you would think these state run churches would be more "tolerant" than those stupid fundamentalists the authors imply are behind the attempt to make the United States a "Christian nation."

In fact, the article makes the point for us all the more clear. The principle of separation of church and state has worked in the favor of Christian fundamentalism AND Islamic fundamentalism, too. Have the authors never heard of the Nation of Islam and other black nationalist groups that claim to be Islamic? It seems to me that the article in question is just one huge red herring having little to do with the causes or effects of Islamic fundamentalism in particular and religious fundamentalism in general.

What most conservative Christians here in the United States are advocating is not a state funded religion or church denomination at all. Rather, conservative Christians are calling for a return to the pre-1950's religious toleration which allowed for religious expression in the public arena without interference from the government. That would include generalized Christian prayers like the Lord's prayer and prayers before a football or baseball game. I hardly think that constituted state sponsored religion then any more than it would now. A state sponsored religion, on the other hand, would make it illegal for other religions to operate without a permit. A state sponsored religion would have churches and ministers on the government payroll.

The fact of the matter is we have as much discrimination against immigrants here as any other modern country in the world. But it is not because of religion but because of economic disparities and cultural barriers that are present in European countries as well.

The real issue for the liberal authors of the article is to do everything in their power to marginalize the Christian voting block and to proclaim a propaganda which undermines traditional family values and Christian morality. They wish to make religion merely a matter of private practice and "merely symbolic" because the authors infer that all religions are in fact man made and not one of them is true or originating from divine revelation.

However, this view cannot be true unless all religions really are false. Christians and other conservatives of various religions all make contradictory truth claims and the most of them believe that their own religion is the one true religion. The writers of this op-ed piece are offering another view--all religions are false and "merely symbolic." This is in fact why they can push for the normative practice of homosexuality, sexual promiscuity, open marriage, and abortion without so much as batting an eye. They do not believe there is an Almighty God to whom we must all answer some day.

The one thing that the religious tolerance and pluralism of the extreme left cannot tolerate is a religion that actually believes it is the only one that is correct, right, and true. So much for religious tolerance.

The fact that the Christian voting bloc is exercising its muscle for the first time in substantial numbers has the left worried that they will not automatically have the upper hand in the public arena anymore. This would mean that Christianity and other religions with a metaphysical view would actually get to have intelligent design, apart from any particular denominational or religious endorsements, taught as a viable option in the public school arena.

It might mean that conservative religions (even those which are not specifically Christian) which oppose abortion and euthanasia might be able to get Roe v. Wade overturned. As far as I know, Jehovah's Witnesses, Mormons, conservative Muslims, and other "non-Christian" religions all oppose abortion. This is a fact that those blurring the issues behind an alleged "state" sponsored religion cannot bring themselves to acknowledge. For example, in the United Kingdom the established religion is Anglicanism. That is a particular brand of Protestant Christianity. Evangelicals here in the United States do not want a particular denomination of Christianity to have the advantage of state taxes to support its financial needs.

What it really comes down to in practical terms is that the authors of the article want to establish "non-religion" or "secular humanism" as the state sponsored religion of the United States. Ironically, the heavy handed left wants to make the U.S. essentially like the materialistic communist countries of the cold war era where religion is highly regulated by the state and relegated merely to the private arena where it has no voice in the democratic operations of the country. If the left could have their way, religion would become emasculated, forgotten, historic and not genuine--pretty much the situation in Europe right now. And that, by the way, is the vacuum which leaves room for Islamic fundamentalism to gain a foothold, offering a poor substitute for genuine and true religion.

There is only one true religion and that is Christianity. Jesus Christ is the way, the truth, and the life and no one comes to the Father but by Him. (John 14:6). That, however, does not mean that no other religion should have the freedom to exist or to exercise its beliefs here. The principle of religious pluralism means that all persons have a right to freely assemble to practice their religion. But this does not mean that all religions are equally true. Neither does it mean that Christianity in general should not receive a privileged place in American society since it has been so since the beginning of this nation both in colonial days and after the revolution.

Christianity is the very fabric and foundation of western democracy and of western scientific and technological advances. Why atheists and religious liberals think they should have an automatic upper hand and state establishment of anti-religious philosophies and ideologies is beyond me. Christians everywhere should continue to unite and to battle the secular humanists until we gain the victory over them. This is not the time to become complacent. Now is the time to press forward for domination in the public and political arena. Let freedom ring everywhere and may God have all the glory when the godless are defeated in the political realm.

  • For Our Country.
    ALMIGHTY God, who hast given us this good land for our heritage; We humbly beseech thee that we may always prove ourselves a people mindful of thy favour and glad to do thy will. Bless our land with honourable industry, sound learning, and pure manners. Save us from violence, discord, and confusion; from pride and arrogancy, and from every evil way. Defend our liberties, and fashion into one united people the multitudes brought hither out of many kindreds and tongues. Endue with the spirit of wisdom those to whom in thy Name we entrust the authority of government, that there may be justice and peace at home, and that, through obedience to thy law, we may show forth thy praise among the nations of the earth. In the time of prosperity, fill our hearts with thankfulness, and in the day of trouble, suffer not our trust in thee to fail; all which we ask through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
  • 1928 Book of Common Prayer

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