Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Seattle Times: Fuiten and "A Leaderless Army"

REFERENDUM 71 UPDATE: It has all come down to this: The number of signatures mailed in and hand delivered today and tomorrow will determine whether Referendum 71 is on the ballot or not. It is that close. The mail volume yesterday was very high, if that continues today and tomorrow we should have enough.

If you plan to mail in your signatures, you must do so today. If you need to have them picked up, we can arrange to have someone meet you and hand deliver them. If that is the case, please contact our office at info@faithandfreedom.us or Larry Stickney at 360-631-1894.

Your efforts, in many cases, have been above and beyond what most would do. We know this is a spiritual matter, not a political one for those who are involved. Please join in prayer today that God will bless the effort and give us the needed signatures to put this issue on the ballot.

We will report more as we know more regarding exact numbers.
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Seattle Times: Fuiten and "A Leaderless Army"

The Seattle Times reported yesterday that the religious right is deflated and in disarray. Pastor Joe Fuiten agrees.

He told The Times, "As a political movement, it is a leaderless army milling about the field."

Fuiten says his, "position on what role the church should play on gay rights is shifting."

He said he holds, "the idea that people ought to be free to live their life and live the way they want to---I don't object to that."

He also affirmed that he is publicly opposed to Referendum 71, won't personally sign it and that the Referendum effort, "drags us backward into a negative fight we're not going to win."

"I don't want the church to be viewed as oppressive," Fuiten explained, "and opposed to people living their lives and eking out whatever happiness they can."

Pastor Emeritus Jan Hettinga of North Shore Baptist said Christians at his church feel, "they've been there and done that on the social issues and all we got was really, really bad press and a bad image."

He says branding the disagreement over same-sex marriage as hatred and bigotry was a smart strategy by gay rights supporters.

Whatever the intention of this article, it may serve all Christian conservatives or evangelicals well. It may cause us to rethink what we do and why we do it.

I would like to share some personal comments, observations and possibilities.

Perhaps the appearance of being "deflated and in disarray" may be greater to those who are in transition as their personal positions are shifting. Or to those outside the evangelical Christian community. It is true that 20,000 gathered at Safeco Field a few years ago in a rally for marriage, however, a few months ago, 2400 people gathered on the steps of the Capitol, in the rain, for marriage, with only a few days notice. And this was without the support of those in transition in their thinking. And without any media advertising to promote the event.

It has become apparent through the R-71 effort to gather signatures that there are many across the state who believe deeply that Christians are called to speak to the culture and in this country, that can be done through the established political system. Preaching the Gospel and standing for Godly principles in government, such as natural marriage, is not mutually exclusive.

They do not feel they are making a choice between standing for what they believe to be biblical values in the culture and also being a witness of the transforming grace of Jesus Christ and His Gospel.

They do not believe they are choosing a message of "hell" over "hope".

And political activism on the part of evangelical Christians has never been the "most important thing" or "the defining piece". A personal relationship with Jesus Christ has always been the most important and defining thing.

James Wellman, a professor at UW, says the religious right is in crises, "I don't think they know what they are going to do next."

Admittedly, some are in transition and are struggling to understand what God wants them to do next. Some, however, are not.

Perhaps our death is exaggerated.

I agree with Pastor Hettinga, it is unfortunate and uncomfortable that anyone who resists the deconstruction of marriage is branded as a hater or a bigot. I have not seen hate or bigotry on the part of those standing for marriage on R-71. I have seen conviction and conscience.

Christian advancement and advocacy has often been unpopular. The word Christian, itself, was not originally intended to be complimentary. Perhaps we will always be "labeled" if we publicly express the absolute biblical values on morality.

But is that reason to withdraw from the dialog on the culture?

America is unique and exceptional in many ways. In fact, there are those who believe America was birthed for special reasons---a manifest destiny.

America's Founders were clear that our country's future was connected to the principles upon which it was founded. America's pastors and Christian leaders were essentially responsible for leading and shaping what this country would become. And they did not abandon their "call" to preach the Gospel in doing so.

If Christians do not speak to the culture, who then will be the conscience of the culture?

Clearly there is a redefining of positions within the Christian community. This is a time in which I believe all people of faith need to reconsider what they do and why they do it.

This is a time of realignment. Those who feel people of faith must continue to stand for righteousness and principle in the culture will find each other and form new and meaningful alliances and relationships. Those who do not will also find new alliances.

That may be interpreted by some as crises or dysfunction, but I believe new and effective voices and methods will emerge.

I do not personally believe that because some leaders have passed away or are aging and tiring of the process that Christian activism in our culture is disappearing.

There are those of this generation that defy the statistics. They believe in traditional biblical values and will assume their role in leadership in the culture as others fade from the scene.

There has been a forceful and public effort to undermine and defeat the efforts of Referendum 71 by those who seek to advance the homosexual agenda and those within the Christian community whose position may be shifting.

Today we do not know if there will be enough signatures to put R-71 on the ballot. That will be decided over the next couple of days. It's close.

Whatever the final verdict will be on R-71, this effort has more clearly defined two distinctly different views within the Christian community. It will likely have a lasting effect in redefining relationships in both churches and organizations.

I sincerely hope and pray that a shifted position, aging and weariness will not result in a repeat performance of attempting to undermine and discredit each time those who have not shifted, attempt to address an important cultural issue.

I am personally not weary and will continue to work with those who are willing to stand for what is right in our culture and in our government. There are others who agree.

There are new leaders to be elected to our government and new legislation to be passed that will advance and preserve Judeo-Christian values for this generation and generations to come.

I trust you will stand with us.

God bless you.

_________________
Gary Randall
President
Faith & Freedom

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27 comments:

  1. We WILL be vilified and labeled as haters simply because of our alignment with Christ, and the beliefs His teachings impart. We might as well add adherence to principle to the list.

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  2. Absolutely we stand with you! After doing petitions, I personally am much more eccouraged. I got a lot of 'God bless you's', and lots of sharing and conversations of how we all as Christians need to stand up and be God's instruments dealing with the moral issues. These are God's issues, as well as our government issues, that has unfortunately gotten into OUR lives and churches! We need to contunue speaking up, it's our freedom that is being in jeapardy! I had a lot of 'why the need of this Ref' and why we can't accept the love these people have for each other,and let them marry. etc. I consistently said the laws, the goverments and more importantly, God's laws of what authentic marriages are! I had Christian mom's sharing that their daughter was gay, and how she was handling it. I asked, as my own daughter put that question to me also, even though she is NOT gay, she has yet come to understand my commitment to this cause! I repeated several times to the Christians who hesitated and to the several churches who did not support the petitions 'fully', that the phrase of 'Chrisians hate gays' is FROM the gay community, as a tactic to stop us as Christians to speak up! Think about it, we do NOT hate, we love them and pray for them. We know better than to hate. It's their tactic to attempt to stop us from speaking up, and more importantly, to sign these petitons! PTL for those of us who went forth and reached many many people, and at the same time, got them to thinking about our true Christian lives, and what we should be doing, for God's princiles to be heard!
    Bless everyone connected with Faith and Freedom, for giving us an opportunity and a means of encouragment to 'stay the course' with yoU! God Bless you all!

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  3. Gary, my family is going to increase our support of Faith and Freedom. Thank you for continuing to stand on behalf of all of us who hold biblical beliefs and feel they should be advocated in our culture.

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  4. That was an excellent commentary Gary. Well stated . Good book Blinded by Might by Cal Thomas , speaks to the issues Friten spoke too. Importantto note that Cal Thomas is often mocked and rejected because he is a Christian also , even though he takes the position that religion and politics do not mix . The right and wrong of this matter really has nothing to do with this culture accepting or rejecting us , the praise of man has nothing to do with this .

    Mick

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  5. Those of us on the receiving end of your "conviction and conscience" feel hated by you. How would you feel if someone was trying take away your pension from your family or death benefits from your children? That's what your doing, after all.

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  6. I am so saddened by those pastors who have the opportunity to stand for righteousness as we face this issue and, instead, use their influence to attempt to fracture the Body of Christ. May God strengthen and embolden His people for the challenges of our day.

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  7. We are not angry or upset at anyone personally but have dedcided to find a new church home that is more supportive of advocating Christian principles in our society. Thank you much for your stand. Count on us.

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  8. i hope dr. futen doesnot try to defeat every attempt we make for righteousness in our laws.

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  9. Your movement is literally reaping what is has sewn. Intolerance and hatred.

    You claim to adhere to the basic teachings of Jesus, but your actions speak louder than your words.

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  10. anon 10:01 We are not trying to take away anything from you. Marriage is not about money. It is much much more than that. Marriage is specificly for bringing a man and a woman together to form a family unit and produce children that are raised and nurtured by their biologicial parents. I know it doesn't always work. Marriages fail and some couples cannot or choose not to have children, but marriage is about more than money and pensions. Gary we support you.

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  11. Our movement has not sown intolerance and hatred. We did not address the homosexual issues from a legislative perspective until you began to demand that marriage be redefined to accomodate your lifestyle. We are not taking anything away from you. You have the right to marry just like anyone else and homosexuals who choose to live together have never had the benifits that are afforded to married couples. How is that taking something away?
    Must we affirm and celebrate homosexuality before we are acceptable to Jesus? I don't think Jesus taught that. He taught that God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son and that whoever believed in Him would have everlasting life and would be delivered from their sin and immoral ways. His salvation is one of forgivness and deliverance, not affirming what the Bible condems as sin.
    I am a pastor who is not shifting in his view on the churches role in addressing these issues. I support you Gary.

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  12. 11:15 AM,

    SB 5668 is NOT about marriage, it is about rights and benefit. By supporting referendum 71, you ARE trying to take away the rights and benefits granted by SB 5668. You can argue that up is down all you want, but things you drop will still end up on the floor not the ceiling!

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  13. SB 5688 is about marriage. The Seattle Times said it was when it was passed and your leader Senator Ed Murray said it is the last step in the incremental strategy to obtain homosexual marriage. It is about marriage and everyone on your side knows it and so do we.

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  14. 11:32 AM,

    Some of us have longer memories than you seem to think and can spot your revisionist history for what it is. Christian activists pushed the state DOMA through the legislature before there were any legislative attempts to grant rights to same-sex couples in this state.

    They have also opposed the decriminalization of homosexuality in this state, the granting of equal protection from discrimination in employment and housing etc. etc. When one looks at the cold hard facts, they find that the Christian activists' reputation for intolerance and hatred against their LGBT fellow citizens is well earned. Oh, you may dress it up in niceties like "love the sinner, hate the sin", but the fact is you take affirmative action to make life more difficult and unpleasant for LGBT citizens where ever the opportunity arises. Be it killing an anti-bullying bill for our schools that didn't even mention sexual orientation because it might infringe on students "right" to condemn homosexuality or trying to take away rights granted by our elected representative.

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  15. 11:57 AM,

    That is a bald faced lie. I thought Christians were supposed to be against lying. Then again the referendum 71 campaign is based almost entirely on lies, they even top the petitions themselves.

    If SB 5668 is about marriage why was did Senator Murray introduce a bill to legalize same-sex marriage as well?

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  16. Gary says:

    "who believe deeply that Christians are called to speak to the culture and in this country,"

    However, the confusion is that Gary advocates legalized oppression rather than genuinely spirit filled sanctification - (though he will claim otherwise and, as he did, try to manipulatively integrate two entirely incompatible activities).

    While I don't have any faith in Gary coming to repentance before the Lord Jesus Christ (with his both economic and ideological dependence on this fleshly battle), I am delighted to see that a few of the saints are realizing they do not need to give into their flesh but can indeed serve God in the Spirit.

    Thank you Father that there is finally a turning - esp. for Joe Fuiten..

    Amen

    Greg

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  17. 10;11
    You can have your needs met via a lawyer, who can write up all your needs legally, and be covered, and not seek two single-same sex people to become something that is rejected by us--and God! We do NOT hate--we reject your requests of 'marriage'--that is against God's ways! period!

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  18. 12.06 because he is 'smart' and knew with this bill, our DOMA would become nil, and a shoe in for the gays to become as Mass=thus, we are just as smart-and rejecting this idea of his!!

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  19. 9:23 PM,

    Not true. As has happened countless times, one party need only relocate to a less equality minded jurisdiction and get the courts to overturn said contracts. If said party claims to have found Christ they will even get free legal representation like the (ex)lesbian in Utah.

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  20. SB 5668 does not overturn DOMA, it grants the same legal rights and privileges as to domestic partnerships. Despite what Gary claims, this is about rights.

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  21. Anon 9:23

    Your confusion is that what you are advocating belongs to the Kingdom of God - NOT to civic supported that is equally the habitation of ALL (ALL means ALL) its members - that includes those whose sexuality that you are personally uncomfortable with. God NEVER called you to police morals - He called you to lift up the name of Jesus Christ.

    Sincerely,
    In Christ,
    Greg

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  22. Yikes Greg , you sound a bit self righteous from what I read. Regardless how you feel about religious involvement in politics.

    I just received a list of religious folks promoting same sex marriage . Why do i doubt very much your prayer of them not giving in to their fleshly battle ? The real loosers in this are those people in same sex relationships if you believe scripture . They are fine with their lives according to the majority of them , and in a democratic republic marriage laws can be changed . However I find it strange any one who has studied scripture , professes Christ as Lord and Savior, and seeks the Mind of Christ , will be happy with the legalized deception to people this will re enforce. Because I agree with much about Joe Friten is saying , however does not diminish my love and respect for Gary . Our culture is changing quickly , any one past 50 who grew up in a lower middle class neighborhood or better relizez kids will never have it as good as we did . Who would want to be a Kid growing up in this world of anything goes , where all roads are the same , and most all roads lead to confusion.

    In other words , your a bit on the pompous side if you ask me, hopefully the Church will get back to reaching out to the poor and mirroring the Love of Jeus to this world . Politics I agree does not do that .

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  23. God will punish me for my sins , you for your sins and homosexuals for theirs. His punishment will be just and fair I might add.

    We do not have to punish others for their sins!!!!

    Follow Christ and not the
    Pharisees.

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  24. The late Dr. D. James Kennedy, my personal hero and one that was on the forefront of the culture war, said that every Christian must run on two tracks, the Cultural Mandate and the Great Commission. In all of his messages broadcast on TV he always had a proper balance between saving souls and inspiring Christians to be active in restoring communities to Biblical values. Too many years have passed by where the church has said nothing and look where we are today. It is time for all believers to say "Enough is Enough" and to take a stand on issues and help make a difference.

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  25. Those of you who think that this matter is about 'rights' and not about what's right, Do you have a standard about what's right that will stand before God?

    Do you really believe that God will say to the man who lived his life as a witness to the one he believed in, "You really should have protested against those who believed that only those in one man & one woman marriages should have licenses, and other entitlements, as I do not believe
    in promoting sin, injustice, unjust weights, and such."?

    We have to ask ourselves, "Will God be for the things that he is against?"

    Does a government of men under God
    have to accept anything as 'right'?

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  26. 8:26 AM,

    God doesn't set public policy in this nation. Whether good public policy (ie equal treatment of our citizens) will stand before your God, the Hindu God, the Muslim God or any other is irrelevant.

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  27. You are just being mean spirited to some of your fellow humans on this earth.

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