The following is close. I'm heartened to have been directed to it. The last two paragraphs especially echo long-time themes of the RLCC.
Tuesday, June 10, 2008
When Taking The First Step To Peace, Follow Jesus
A long, long time ago, there was once an epic battle between Good and Evil. Good was more powerful and thus it had a choice. Good could have resorted to using force and annihilate evil but decided not to. Rather, Good decided to live in peace with Evil. Good didn't want to appease Evil but Good didn't want to destroy Evil either. So what did Good do?
Romans 5:6-10 tells us how Good won without appeasing evil. In particular, verse 10 tells us that while we were Good's enemies, Good reconciled us by having his Son die for us. So what we have today are followers of Good who were once evil.
The problem that is occurring is that Good's followers are not treating others as they have been treated. Rather than trying to be reconciled with those who have proclaimed themselves to be their enemies, Good's followers have decided that they must use all of their strength to destroy evil. As a result, Good's followers, and the rest of us, are now engaged in two wars and will possibly be fighting a third one. And how do they defend their behavior? These followers claim that, like a leopard's spots, evil cannot change.
But despite these actions by Good's followers, Good's example of how win over enemies still stands. And so the question becomes why don't Good's followers follow Good's example? The answer might be that doing so would be too costly. For example, in describing Good's Son and what he would have to go through, part of Isaiah 53: 4 says:
"Surely our griefs He Himself bore, and our sorrows he carried;"
Feeling the pain of others was the first installment that Good's Son had to pay so that Evil could be changed and reconciled. And perhaps in this world where we learn to crave comfort and enjoy escaping, following the example that Good's Son provided has become too costly. So instead of being bothered by the troubles of others, we prefer to believe that Evil cannot change and thus our only solution is to eliminate it by force. But in so doing, we forget how we have been both treated and changed.
It is not that we can change everyone who is evil, but we will never know who can be changed and thus saved without treating others as we have been treated. To care for others as we have been cared for, we must start with understanding what they are going through and being disturbed by what they suffer.
The following should appear at the end of every post:
According to the IRS, "Know the law: Avoid political campaign intervention":
Tax-exempt section 501(c)(3) organizations like churches, universities, and hospitals must follow the law regarding political campaigns. Unfortunately, some don't know the law.
Under the Internal Revenue Code, all section 501(c)(3) organizations are prohibited from participating in any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for elective public office. The prohibition applies to campaigns at the federal, state and local level.
Violation of this prohibition may result in denial or revocation of tax-exempt status and the imposition of certain excise taxes. Section 501(c)(3) private foundations are subject to additional restrictions.
Political Campaign Intervention
Political campaign intervention includes any activities that favor or oppose one or more candidates for public office. The prohibition extends beyond candidate endorsements.
Contributions to political campaign funds, public statements of support or opposition (verbal or written) made by or on behalf of an organization, and the distribution of materials prepared by others that support or oppose any candidate for public office all violate the prohibition on political campaign intervention.
Factors in determining whether a communication results in political campaign intervention include the following:
- Whether the statement identifies one or more candidates for a given public office
- Whether the statement expresses approval or disapproval of one or more candidates' positions and/or actions
- Whether the statement is delivered close in time to the election
- Whether the statement makes reference to voting or an election
- Whether the issue addressed distinguishes candidates for a given office
Many religious organizations believe, as we do, that the above constitutes a violation of the First Amendment of the US Constitution.
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
That said, we make the following absolutely clear here:
- The Real Liberal Christian Church and Christian Commons Project not only do not endorse any candidate for any secular office, we say that Christianity forbids voting in such elections.
- Furthermore, when we discuss any public-office holder's position, policy, action or inaction, we definitely are not encouraging anyone to vote for that office holder's position.
- We are not trying to influence secular elections but rather want people to come out from that entire fallen system.
- When we analyze or discuss what is termed "public policy," we do it entirely from a theological standpoint with an eye to educating professing Christians and those to whom we are openly always proselytizing to convert to authentic Christianity.
- It is impossible for us to fully evangelize and proselytize without directly discussing the pros and cons of public policy and the positions of secular-office holders, hence the unconstitutionality of the IRS code on the matter.
- We are not rich and wouldn't be looking for a fight regardless. What we cannot do is compromise our faith (which seeks to harm nobody, quite the contrary).
- We render unto Caesar what is Caesar's. We render unto God what is God's.
- When Caesar says to us that unless we shut up about the unrighteousness of Caesar's policies and practices, we will lose the ability of people who donate to us to declare their donations as deductions on their federal and state income-tax returns, we say to Caesar that we cannot shut up while exercising our religion in a very reasonable way.
- We consider the IRS code on this matter as deliberate economic duress (a form of coercion) and a direct attempt by the federal government to censor dissenting, free political and religious speech.
- It's not freedom of religion if they tax it.
And when they were come to Capernaum, they that received tribute money came to Peter, and said, Doth not your master pay tribute? He saith, Yes. And when he was come into the house, Jesus prevented him, saying, What thinkest thou, Simon? of whom do the kings of the earth take custom or tribute? of their own children, or of strangers? Peter saith unto him, Of strangers. Jesus saith unto him, Then are the children free. (Matthew 17:24-26)