Friday, December 09, 2016

Catholic Leader: "Trump Will Be Religion Friendly"

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Bill Donohue, President and CEO of the nation's largest Catholic civil rights organization---Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights---says Trump is both "religion-lite" and "religion friendly."

This, he says, has certain advantages for Christians in the coming days.

I agree.

Apparently so do many of you.

Among all Catholics, 52% voted for Trump (the percentage among conservative Catholics was much higher).

Among evangelicals, 81% voted for Trump.

Exhale! Hillary is gone, and we won't have Bernie's or Obama's socialism come January.

But the recent events of our election has created a current mandate for the Christian church. And God is watching.

As a kid growing up in Sunday School, I recall singing a little song that sometimes caused me to feel a little uncomfortable.

The words went like this: "Be careful little eyes what you see (repeat) for the Father up above is looking down in love, so be careful little eyes what you see."

There were many verses of caution involving what our ears heard, our mouths said and our hands did, because "the Father up above is looking down in love."

I suspect that concept would be politically incorrect today because it would violate a child's rights.

Sometimes as a kid, I felt a little uncomfortable when we sang the song. I wondered. "Does God really know everything about me?"

The Church of Jesus Christ---the Christian church---has a mandate. It isn't a new mandate, but it is certainly a "renewed" mandate and opportunity---and time and maturity have taught me "the Father is indeed looking down from above."

Because He cares and He wants the very best for us. And for His Kingdom.

Donohue gives an excellent overview of the cultural opportunity that is before the Christian church.

He notes that none of the three biggest vote getters in the primaries---Trump, Clinton and Sanders---are known for their deeply rooted religious convictions.

"What makes Trump different," he says, "is his religion-friendly posture."

Donohue recalls that in 1999, the late Tim Russert asked Trump on "Meet The Press" if he was pro-choice. Trump said he was.

Almost immediately after the show Trump reversed himself and said after the show, "I consulted with 2 doctors I respect and, upon learning more about this procedure [partial birth abortion], I have concluded I would indeed support a ban."

His remarks were published in his book, "The America We Deserve." He said he had not given much thought to it before he was asked the question about abortion.

Donohue reviews that Trump has committed himself to appointing conservative, pro-life justices to the Supreme Court who will honor the Constitution.

Trump has not been specific about his personal beliefs regarding the homosexual agenda and marriage, but has promised to treat everyone fairly and bullying has no place in our culture.

However, the choice of cabinet members reveals a cast of people who are very pro-religious freedom, including on the issue of homosexual "rights" and marriage.

For example, Sen. Jeff Sessions (attorney general), Betsy De Vos (education), Rep. Tom Price (health and human services), and Ben Carson (housing and urban development) are all known for publicly refusing to subordinate religious liberty to the homosexual "rights" agenda.

All of these people have deep biblical beliefs.

DeVos is a champion for school choice---including charter and home schooling. She played a prominent role in helping Gov. Mike Pence succeed with a voucher plan in Indiana that was decidedly friendly toward Christians.

Dr. Price, a medical doctor, is a deeply committed biblical Christian as is Dr. Ben Carson. Sessions is said to be a devout Christian.

You will recall that Trump called out Hillary Clinton saying she was "aligned with Obama against the Little Sisters of the Poor," promising his administration "never allow such hostility toward religious freedom."

Nowhere has religious freedom been under attack more than in our military. Not only has Trump promised to address that very issue, but it's encouraging to see the response of those who have been attacking the freedom of Christians in the military.

Mikey Weinstein, who heads up the Military Religion Freedom Foundation---a misleading title for an organization committed to removing religious freedom from the military---is in meltdown over the election of Donald Trump.

Vice-President (elect) Mike Pence is a Christian leader among Christian leaders.

Donohue concludes that when "President" Trump "is attacked for standing for religious liberty---and he will be---it will be up to us to defend him."

He says he plans to do so with vigor.

I agree.

Some are suggesting that because Trump will be 70 years, 7 months and 7 days old when he begins his work in the Oval Office on January 21 following his Inauguration Day on January 21st, this will be a sign of some kind.

I would be very careful with that.

However, something significant is happening in America.

God has not brought these people to political leadership to act in place of His church, rather to release His church to fulfill His plan---our mission.

The Cultural Mandate and the Great Commission

Unfortunately, the church today is, as is our culture, divided on important spiritual issues.

One group strongly believes the church needs to focus on bringing a Christian worldview to bear on the culture and the political process.

The other group strongly believes the church must stay out of politics and only focus on sharing Christ.

The fact is, it should be doing both.

Cultural Mandate

Genesis 1:26-28 describes God's mandate that man, His representative on earth, given authority to rule in His stead, should build a culture that reflects the character of God.

Great Commission

Matthew 28: 19-20 describes the directive that Christ Himself gave at the birth of His Church, which requires that the gospel be carried to the ends of the earth.

In his book, "Earth Restored," John Barber describes the relationship between the Cultural Mandate and the Great Commission.

He writes, "God intends the Cultural Mandate to serve as His directive to redeemed man to maintain the order God placed in His world, better enabling all men to seek the truth."

He says the Cultural Mandate serves the Great Commission, because "where there is a lack of order, men are preoccupied with non-order. But where there is peace, men are free to discern the meaning behind their liberty. They are free to both hear and respond to the call of God upon their lives."

Tom Minnery, long time associate with James Dobson and Focus on the Family, in his book, "Why You Can't Stay Silent," says there are 3 ways social responsibility and evangelism dovetail with each other.

1. Social responsibility is a consequence of evangelism. James wrote, "I will show you my faith through my works."

2. Social activity should be a bridge to evangelism.

3. Social activity not only follows evangelism as its consequence and aim, and precedes it as a bridge, but also accompanies it as its partner. Jesus modeled this in His own ministry.

Dr. D. James Kennedy used to say that the problem with liberal social action by mainline churches in the 1960s was that their efforts were little more than socialism with a religious veneer. And their message did not contain a clear message of the necessity of a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

However, Kennedy emphasized in his day, now the church talks a lot about relationship while failing to emphasize that their relationship should result in actions that will change the culture.

Today the church is so obsessed with being "relevant" that we aren't. Our kids are leaving the church and non-Christians don't need membership in another club.

These next few years can be historical in a spiritual sense. I won't use the term "Great Awakening," but there could be an awakening---and it would be great.

The story is said to be true. I don't know if it is or not, but it certainly illustrates my point.

One time baseball great Joe Garagiola stepped up to the plate when his turn to bat came. Before assuming his stance, however, fervent Roman Catholic Joe G. took his bat and made a sign of the cross in the dirt in front of home plate. New York Yankees catcher Yoggi Berra, also a Catholic, walked out and erased Joe's cross in the dirt. Turning to the astonished Garagiola, Berra smiled and said, "Let's let God watch this inning."

I am certain God is watching this inning in time. He is giving His church a "huge" opportunity to do what we're supposed to be doing---changing the world.

So be careful little eyes, ears, and hands what you see, hear and do.

Be Active. Be Faithful. Be Blessed.