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President Trump’s Executive Order on Religious Liberty: A Missed Opportunity?

By Rev. Robert A. Crutchfield, Founder FaithInspires.Org

This afternoon President Trump leveraged off the National Day of Prayer to sign a much anticipated Executive Order expanding and expressing support for religious freedom. Many Christian leaders welcomed his action as signaling a welcome change in the Washington mindset, or at least a step in the right direction.

Mat Staver, founder of Liberty Counsel had this reaction “We commend President Trump for sending a message to Congress and the rest of America that religious freedom must be protected. This is an appropriate way to commemorate the National Day of Prayer as our President commits to protect and promote religious freedom,”

Meanwhile Carl Anderson CEO of the Knights of Columbus had this to say, “We applaud President Trump’s executive order on religious liberty. While there is still work to be done to restore the reverence for religious freedom enshrined in the First Amendment, this order marks an important step in restoring those constitutional principles guaranteed to every American. Guided by their beliefs, people of faith contribute in important ways to every aspect of this country, and this order will begin to restore the principles upon which this country was based: that people of faith should be able to exercise that faith with the protection rather than the opposition of their government.”

A leding Hispanic Evangelical added, “This new executive order not only signals President Trump and Vice President Pence’s commitment to fighting for and representing the Evangelical community, but also the larger struggle for religious liberty. For years now, people of faith—especially Christians—have been essentially told that their faith has no place beyond their front door. A subversive oppression has taken a hold of our nation and sincerely held beliefs are subject to not only social ridicule but also legal retribution.” Rev. Dr. Samuel Rodriguez President National Hispanic Christian  Leadership Conference.

Today’s executive order among other things provided relief from the so called Johnson Amendment. This provision enacted in the 1960’s greatly restricted endorsements of political candidates by non-profit groups including churches. This has been a very unpopular provision among evangelical Christians and others since. So rolling it back even if by a bit will meet with at least some pleasure among those groups.

But will it be enough. An earlier draft of the executive order would have provided a much wider range of protections. Especially for average Christians ( as opposed to clergy, churches and ministries.) who acted or refused to act out of religious conscience. From what I can gather it was Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump that convinced the president to leave these additional protections out of the EO. Over time I fear this will be seen as the loss of an opportunity to cement the president’s relationship with a core part of his winning coalition.

My personal opinion is that as time passes today’s order will be seen as doing very little to advance the wishes of evangelical Christians, and will have done much more to anger those on the left. The result will be to leave us father from common ground on some issues not closer. For someone who sees himself as a master negotiator, this move seems like more of a weak compromise than anything else. Evangelicals are growing tired of weak compromises and disappointments. Today’s executive order may cost the administration more than it gains.

A Biblical Case for an Active Patriotism

By Rev. Robert A. Crutchfield
Editor, Faithinspires.org

Scripture tells us that no man is perfect. From this we know that no creation of man is perfect, therefore no nation is perfect. Even so many Christians find themselves very proud of their country. Many born elsewhere have feelings of pride about both their nation of birth, and their new homeland. What does the Bible say about these feelings of patriotism, and what should our reaction be ?

First let us consider the words of Ezra 7:26 “ And whoever will not do the law of your God, and the law of the king, let judgment be executed speedily on him, whether it be to death, or to banishment, or to confiscation of goods, or to imprisonment.”(KJV) So here we see that our obligation to God and our obligation to country are linked. Now combine that with what Christ said at Mark 12:17 “ And Jesus answering said unto them, Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s. And they marveled at him.”(KJV) At the time Jesus was speaking directly about taxes. But notice he didn’t say pay your taxes, or give him his money. He said “things.” By speaking in the plural he tells us that he is answering more than the immediate, specific question. He is in fact saying much like Ezra 7 that we cannot be obedient followers of God and not be concerned about duty to our nation. We see the same idea yet again at Romans 13 :1 “Everyone must submit to governing authorities. For all authority comes from God, and those in positions of authority have been placed there by God.” (NLT) If God is the source of authority, how can we as Christians turn a blind eye to how it is being used. We as people of God must be watchful over that which he has established. This is particularly true in democratic societies such as here in the United States. So we see from these verses that we cannot totally separate our duty to God, and our duty to country. More than mere patriotism we owe an active responsibility to those God has placed in authority.

But what of the argument that we should be in this world, but not of this world based on Romans 12:2 which says “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” This verse does not mean we should be separate from the affairs of our nation. What it means that our involvement in affairs of state should not be our focus, but that our focus should be on God. We should not draw upon political debate for wisdom and knowledge, but on God’s word. In fact it tells us that we and our knowledge of God’s word should shape the political debate, not the other way around.

How then do we serve God, through our duty to our nation. Our most important duty is found in 1 Timothy 2:2 where it says that we should pray “For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.” (KJV) However God can not bless the fruits of our prayers, unless they are paired with action. As Mark 12 tells us we should pay our taxes. We should also vote, attend government meetings etc. Most importantly as Christians we are the advocates for God’s word in every sphere of society. Probably no other sphere depends so heavily on that advocacy than the governing of our nation !

CAIR Releases Results of Muslim Voter Survey in 6 States

THIS ARTICLE PROVIDES SOME INTERESTING INSIGHTS ON ISLAMIC THOUGHT GOING INTO NEXT MONTH’S ELECTIONS. NOTE THAT THE STATES POLLED ARE SIX OF OUR LARGEST ! -PASTOR CRUTCHFIELD

WASHINGTON, Oct. 23, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, today released the results of a survey indicating that 69 percent of registered Muslim voters will go to the polls on November 4 and that more than half will vote for Democratic Party candidates. Domestic issues like the economy and health care continue to top the Muslim voters’ list of priority concerns in this election. Growing Islamophobia in American ranked as the third most important issue for Muslim voters. CAIR’s poll of more than 1500 registered Muslim voters in California, New York, Illinois, Florida, Texas, and Virginia was conducted using an independent automated call survey provider and asked three questions:

  1. “Do you plan to vote in the November 4th midterm election?”
  2. “Which political party do you support in the upcoming election?”
  3. “What is the most important issue to you in this upcoming election?”

Survey Results: Do you plan to vote in the November 4th midterm election? Plan to Vote 69% No Plan to Vote 16% Decline to Answer 14% Which political party do you support in the upcoming election? Democrat 51% Republican 15% Libertarian 2% Green 5% Other 4% Decline to Answer 23% What is the most important issue to you in this upcoming election? Education 7% Civil Liberties 10% Islamophobia 15% Health Care 17% Economy 24% Foreign Affairs 5% Other 5% Decline to Answer 16% “American Muslims continue to play a key role in our nation’s elections, with 69 percent of registered Muslim voters planning to turn out in the midterm election – compared to the 37 percent of all voters who went to the polls in 2010,” said CAIR Government Affairs Manager Robert McCaw. “The more than half of Muslim voters who express support for Democratic candidates reflects that party’s greater openness to the Muslim community and its issues.” McCaw said Republican candidates and officials should take note of this data. CAIR will release survey results for each state beginning tomorrow. CAIR is America’s largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.

Viguerie Book TAKEOVER Rockets to #1 on Amazon Political Parties List

Maps Battle Plan for Conservative Victory in GOP Civil War It’s the Primaries, Stupid! Argues Viguerie.

 

MANASSAS, Va., April 9, 2014 /Christian Newswire/ — TAKEOVER, the latest book by conservative direct marketing pioneer and author Richard A. Viguerie was released April 8 and within hours hit #1 on Amazon’s Political Parties list.

In TAKEOVER Viguerie makes the case that the most important battle in politics today isn’t between Democrats and Republicans — it is the civil war within the Republican Party between limited government constitutional conservatives and the establishment proponents of Big Government Republicanism.

“If you read today’s political news and opinion pages you would think the ‘civil war’ in the Republican Party between limited government constitutional conservatives and big government progressive Republicans started in 2009 with the rise of the TEA Party movement, or maybe after Mitt Romney gave away the 2012 presidential election,” said Viguerie. “The fact of the matter is this civil war for the soul of the Republican Party has been going on for over 100 years.”

Viguerie argues in TAKEOVER that the civil war in the GOP started in 1912 when Teddy Roosevelt split the Republican Party in the pursuit of his personal political agenda and made progressivism the governing philosophy of the Republican establishment.

Even though conservative ideas about how to govern tend to be the majority opinion in America, the Democratic Party is now the political home of secular liberals says Viguerie. In TAKEOVER Viguerie argues that the present leadership of the GOP is a progressive elite that sees big government as often inefficient, but not wrong.

Conservatives must take control of the Republican Party if it is to be a real alternative to the big government secularism of the Democratic Party.

“One can’t really understand today’s battles in the Republican civil war, and the rise of the TEA Party movement,” claims Viguerie, “unless one understands that the TEA Party is as much or more a rebellion against the entrenched leadership of the Republican Party who have accepted big government, as it is a reaction to specific policies of President Obama, such as Obamacare or the growth of spending, the deficit, and the $17 trillion federal debt.”

The lesson for conservatives? For over a century we conservatives have been pointing our political guns at the wrong target Mr. Viguerie argues.

“It’s the Primaries, stupid,” says Viguerie. “The greatest impediment to conservative governance is not the Democrats, it is big government progressive Republicans.”

“Like the Biblical Jews wandering in the wilderness, conservatives are not going to get to the political Promised Land and be able to govern America according to conservative principles until the flawed, big government Republican leaders, such as Mitch McConnell, John Boehner, Eric Cantor and Reince Priebus pass from the scene and are replaced with limited government constitutional conservatives.”

“The fierce reaction of the Republican establishment to the rise of the TEA Party movement and the millions of new troops the TEA Party brings to the field on the conservative side is a sure sign that the GOP elite fears the civil war they started is beginning to turn,” concluded Viguerie. “I wrote TAKEOVER to give grassroots limited government constitutional conservatives the history, the tools and a plan to make sure that when the battle does turn, it turns in favor of conservatives.”

RICHARD A. VIGUERIE, called the “Funding Father of the conservative movement,” transformed American politics in the 1960s and ’70s by pioneering the use of direct mail as the first means for conservatives to bypass the main stream media. The author of a number of books on politics and the conservative movement Viguerie’s latest book TAKEOVER was released to booksellers April 8.