Archive for the ‘freedom of religion’ Tag

Leninist Heretic-Hunters   Leave a comment

Just another example of a good person who found that they can no longer practice freedom of religion in the Totalitarian States of Amerika. In fact, they are’t even allowed to think about it.

Leninists and Heretic-Hunters: The Thoughtcrime Prosecution of Ruth Neely

During her years as a Magistrate Judge in Pinedale, Wyoming, Ruth Neely performed dozens of civil marriage ceremonies. State law (Sect. 20-1-106[a]) specifies that magistrates, like “every licensed or ordained minister of the gospel, bishop, priest, or rabbi … may perform the ceremony of marriage in this state.”

Presiding at a civil wedding is a discretionary function of the magistrate’s office, not a mandatory duty. Neely had an unqualified right to decline a request to preside at a wedding, for any reason that suited her.

Prior to December 2014, she had never performed a same-sex wedding ceremony, because they were not recognized by the State of Wyoming.  Shortly before Christmas that year, Neely was interviewed by a newspaper reporter named Ned Donovan, who asked her if she was “excited” to begin officiating at same-sex wedding ceremonies.

A few weeks earlier, the US District Court in Wyoming had issued a ruling prohibiting state officials “from enforcing or applying” Wyoming’s existing marriage statute. Neely had made formal inquiries about how this would affect her responsibilities and had been counseled to refrain from public comment on the matter until official guidance was given.

In dealing with Donovan, Neely acted in good faith, not aware that the reporter with whom she was speaking was actually playing the role of  pursuivant – a heretic hunter working on behalf of the state and its allied “tolerance” industry. She explained that “When law and religion conflict, choices have to be made. I have not yet been asked to perform a same-sex marriage.”

Source: Leninist Heretic-Hunters

Swiss Anabaptists   2 comments

Courage comes in all shapes and sizes. Check out my fellow blog hoppers on this subject or link in and share a profile in courage of your very own.

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After the Waldensians (more or less) came the anabaptists. I suspect Waldensians became anabaptists, but the history is unclear on this. I use the small “a” because they weren’t just one group. Anabaptists were heavily persecuted by all sects of Christianity who aligned themselves with governments. Anabaptists were separatists who rejected infant baptism and believed that the outward church should consist only of saved and baptized believers. For this reason, they re-baptized adults who professed Christ and had been previously made ritually wet as infants. The preposition ana means “again”. Anabaptists were those who “baptized again.”

It is really difficult to classify anabaptists as a single group (which is why I don’t), for there was wide diversity among them. Some claiming the anabaptist title were fanatics, pantheists, mystics, anti-Trinitarians, extreme millennialists, and other Christian heretics who brought great shame upon the Reformation.  The majority were spiritual people and devoted students of the Bible who felt the Reformers were not purifying Christianity of Roman Catholic dogma quickly enough or properly applying the principles taught in the New Testament.

Prior to 1523, most anabaptists in Switzerland were known by the generic term “Brethren”. They were among the least understood and most persecuted groups of the early Reformation — the Catholics, Lutherans, Calvinists and even some other Anabaptists opposed the Brethren violently.

They believed in:

  • Separation of church and state. They called for this for the protection of the church from persecution by the state. They held no government offices, opposed military service and some became completely pacifistic.
  • Liberty of the conscience. They opposed the establishment of state churches, asserting freedom of religion and teaching that the faithful for free to believe according to the dictates of their conscience, even though an individual could be wrong. The Reformers thought this was a “radical” belief because the Reformers believed you had to adjust your beliefs to their beliefs or be jailed and possibly executed within their domains.
  • Purity of the churches. For the anabaptists the church was not an institution but simply a local fellowship of believers who voluntarily joined a congregation following a salvation experience, placing himself under the governance of the church for so long as he and the church were in agreement. This relationship could be severed by either party.
  • Believer’s baptism. While anabaptists were flexible on some points, they were completely inflexible on the subject of baptism. They opposed infant “baptism” as unscriptural and felt it was the churches’ responsibility to test those who came seeking baptism to assure they were actually believers.

Anaptists stood for religious liberty at a time when neither Catholics nor Protestants fully appreciated the importance of freedom of conscience. They were the forerunners of the modern Brethren, the Amish, the Mennonites and the Baptists (although many modern Baptists include a fair dollop of nationalism in their religious “liberty” cocktail) . Their emphasis on the purity of the external local church set a standard for congregationalist churches going forward.

They would also, in many subtle ways, influence the founding of the United States, for they stressed individual standing before God, voluntary interaction, and freedom of conscience, which were precursors to the concept of individual liberty. They were horribly persecuted and many were martyred for believing what they read in the Bible. While some of them did fight back, those are not the recognized “heroes” of the faith. The majority of the anabaptist Swiss Brethren held to the principle of non-aggression, and some to non-violence, while steadfastly refusing to give up their beliefs.

And, for that, I consider them to be courageous. There is something to be said for quietly turning the other cheek while saying “No, I will not comply to that which is ungodly.” Christians today should take a good hard look at what living for faith in times of persecution really means. The Swiss anabaptists didn’t give up their faith even when they were faced with burning or drowning for their refusal.

Are any of us that brave today?

Another Colorado Baker Faces Discrimination Charges   5 comments

I predicted this, by the way.

I don’t know Bill Jack, the man who ordered the cake, but I suspect this was a set up to do exactly what he is doing, pushing this into the courts to force Colorado courts to a major decision.

The Masterpiece Cake case last year involved a Christian who refused to bake a “wedding” cake for a same-sex couple because he believes God does not want him to participate in homosexual activities even to this degree. Colorado’s Civil Rights Commission with the backing of Colorado courts ruled that Jack Phillips had no right to exercise his freedom of religion and opt out of same- sex weddings. He has since stopped baking wedding cakes altogether.

On the surface, Bill Jack did a deplorable thing. He asked the baker to bake a wedding cake that said “God Hates Gays”. You’ll have to look back in my blog for my full position on this, but God does not hate gays, only the sexual behavior gays participate in, and Christians are not called to hate, but to live in love with God, which will sometimes put us at odds with the world. While I fully support Jack Phillips’ right to practice freedom of religion and refuse to bake a “wedding” cake for a same-sex couple, I call Bill Jack a sinner for the hateful nature of what he requested. And I fully support Marjorie Silva’s right to refuse to participate in his act of hate.

But I suspect Mr. Jack is pushing an issue that needs to be pushed. I don’t think this is about hatred of homosexuals at all. I think this is about civil rights — the right of Christians not to participate in objectionable activities through our businesses.

Jack Phillips, the Masterpiece Cake baker, chose not to bake a cake because he believes God does not approve of homosexual lifestyles, including same-sex “marriage”. He further believes that he as a Christian should not participate in homosexual lifestyles, even by giving them the tacit approval of baking a cake for a same-sex “wedding. So he refused to bake a “wedding” cake. In doing so, he stood firmly on the 1st Amendment and the Bible. The Colorado Civil Rights Commission chose to ignore the long-established definition of “freedom” and forced him and his employees to submit to “reeducation” classes and promise to be the go-to bakery for gay wedding cakes.

Now Marjorie Silva is making a stand on her right not to inscribe a hateful message on a cake. I fully support that decision and for the same reason. If Mr. Jack wanted his anti-gay cake, he could have found another baker willing to do it for him or taken Silva up on her offer to provide the tools for him to do it himself. Instead, he filed a civil rights complaint. The article I am posting insists the cases are different. I would argue that they are not. It really comes down to this:

If Christians can be forced to participate in the activities of the world that we consider to be sin — if we have no freedom of conscience to refuse — than we have no freedom of religion and we might as well be living under a totalitarian state.

In fact, I would argue that we are living in a totalitarian state and just haven’t acknowledged it yet. If you belong to a marginalized minority — which is what Christians have become in this nation — you do not have the same standing before the courts as someone who is a member of a protected class of citizens.

This case is going to prove that.

I predict the Human Rights Commission and the Colorado courts will rule in favor of Marjorie Silva, the owner of Azucar Bakery. They will pontificate that Silva was exercising the correct sort of conscience and therefore had every freedom to deny Bill Jack service. In doing so, they will make it clear that Christians are no longer considered equal citizens who have a right of conscience unless they align their beliefs with the current worldview.

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