When the Light is Secret
This can be made into a very complicated matter. We have the secular state competing directly with the interests of God.
What the Church won't do
You do not need to opt-out of anything with the Real Church to make sure your contact information will not be given out. The Real Church will not sell, rent, trade, give, or otherwise divulge your contact information (addresses, phone numbers, email addresses, or other identifying information) with any other entity accept 1) as required by mundane law 2) without your prior authorization or 3) in a manner consistent with Matthew 18:15-17 (see below).
We will not honor administrative subpoenas. Meaning, we will not honor mere letters from the FBI demanding information, as if those letters are on a par with formal, court-approved subpoenas. The FBI may come back with a legitimate warrant, which we will honor. We will not honor any requests from the NSA, CIA, DIA, or any of the like. They are not domestic agencies.
We agree with the actions of Qwest when it refused to allow the NSA to tap into its system. They didn't trust that the NSA would not abuse the information for political gain. It was a brave and correct position to take. AT&T, BellSouth, Verizon, Sprint, and MCI allegedly provided data without requiring a warrant. If the allegations are correct, those corporations were very wrong to go along with subverting the constitutional standard, as low as it is.
We cannot guarantee to contacts or members that such agencies will not gain access to entities that act as middlemen in our communications with contacts and members. We cannot guarantee that such agencies will not use unethical and secret means to attempt to spy externally and internally on the Church.
The Church is not, and will not be, involved in immoral activities. We don't have anything to hide; however, we stand on principle. Our members and those who make inquiries may wish to divulge to the Church certain confidential information in the form of confessionals for instance. That is protected speech and rightly so.
People have a right, even an obligation, to repent. The mundane authorities don't put much stock in that. We must abide by the highest authority that is God. God wants repenters. God wants forgiveness. This is the highest law. It is obviously, therefore, higher than even the US Constitution.
This does not mean that the Church will be a sanctuary for those who will go out to prey on others only to return to the Church and continue being recidivistic. Christian progressive discipline [Matthew 18:16-18] does not allow for such heathen practices. We will always forgive, which is our Christian duty; however, the perpetually and egregiously recidivistic will not be considered part of the Church body.
What the Church will do
The Church will use member names and general locations (country, state, nearest city or town) in newsworthy articles and the like. The Church will also share membership information with those with whom we contract for services, etc., where such information is required for them to carry out contract obligations. An example might be dental care for commune members before we have in-house capabilities and to supplement our preventative practices such as good oral-hygiene and eating properly, etc. Church policy includes that providers not pass on such information except where they must to carry out their contract obligations. Of course, under the mundane law, no such contracts may require anyone to break the civil law. All secular-contract provisions that run contrary to civil statute are deemed unenforceable.
Concerning donations, we may state the donors name, town or closest town name, and donation. We will do that solely to show others that people are supporting the Church and so they may understand our reasonably open-book accounting. We won't do it for the sake of pride or ego on anyone's part. We won't give out more information than that, because giving should be done in secret and not for human accolades. It is enough that God knows that one is giving for righteousness' sake.
Scripture says to give secretly. We can think of this as giving without fanfare. We don't want to give for the sake of having our egos built up by people patting us on the back. That's the wrong motive. That's selfish giving. Those who give that way have already received their reward. It's fine that people encourage others and to let them know they've done the right thing. Receiving that just must not be the motivation. It can only be reinforcement after the fact. The real pat on the back comes from God who says, "I'm pleased you gave for the right reason, out of mercy and compassion and not to be lauded by your fellows."
Jesus said to do some things secretly to avoid the temptation of an ego boost from those who would laud one for the wrong reason rather than glorifying God. Jesus also said to do other things very much out in the open to shine the light of God without whom no one can do anything really, especially beyond the mundane. He preached openly but prayed secretly with the exception of the Lord's Prayer his followers asked him to demonstrate. He also forgave others allowing them to live down their shame without being held up to the world to ridicule and abuse. The Church will strive to be consistent with how Jesus handled such matters.
Member confidentiality and non-disclosure understanding
Members who leave the Church are legally and honor bound not to divulge contact information (addresses, phone numbers, email addresses, or other identifying information of Church contacts or members or former members or to use any of it for their selfish gain without the prior and express authorization of those entities.
Remember, anyone may repent. This is why we will protect identities. If such is not the case that anyone may repent, by what standard shall any of us be judged? All have sinned. Each has at the very least a blameworthy past. Only those who are no longer even tempted in anything have reached perfection.
May any of us rightfully lay claim to having yet achieved sublimity?
We seek it. We seek righteousness.
Of course, generally members are otherwise encouraged to identify as such, as members. It is required for evangelizing and proselytizing.
Progressive openness in Church discipline (voluntary, uncoerced obedience to God's will)
We will all respect the confidentiality of pastoral counseling. When a fellow member or anyone comes to any of us for help or guidance and confides in us, we will guide that person to overcome. If the person persists in offenses against God, the Church will follow the progressive rules set down by Jesus Christ.
But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican. Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. Matthew 18:16-18
Where we are called to be open
The Church will keep matters within the Church where possible and correct to do so. The real prophets spoke of general and specific iniquity and publicly called for repentance.
Understand though that heathens and unrepentant and continuing publicans are not members of the flock. The Church must practice the golden rule, but that rule is qualified. We must want instruction and expect to be corrected and to change.
Protecting the children
We cover this whole subject area in some detail in There Is No Such Thing as a Conservative-Republican Christian: Jesus is a small-c communist. Especially important is knowing how to handle child abuse. Any church that knowingly retains unchanged abusers or that doesn't take appropriate steps to accomplish a transformation and protect others from evil is not the Real Church. It is not of the fold. In addition, many states require clergy to report cases of neglect, physical abuse, emotional abuse, and sexual molestation concerning anyone under eighteen. The clergy-penitent privilege (confessional) is no protection in such cases.
We don't agree with this requirement; however, we understand the impetus behind it. It never would have been created except for the absolutely evil way in which the church of Rome dealt with, and still deals with, its numerous pedophilic clergy members. They just move pedophiles around and work to silence the abused. It remains the devil's work. Yet, that church claims dominion over the whole of the earth. Well, yes, knowingly allowing child sexual abuse shows that as ravening wolves in sheep's clothing they bow down to worship Satan.
They were, and are, obligated to defrock practicing pedophiles and to keep those with admitted pedophilic tenancies well away from children. They should have treated the pedophiles with Christian treatment per Jesus Christ. Not to do so reveals that pedophilia is well networked within their church.
Still, they may repent. We neither judge nor condemn anyone to hell. How may they escape though unrepentant?
The Real Church is not about punishment. It is about mercy. Mercy though applies not just to sinners but also applies to the innocent victims of abusers. How does the Church balance pacifism with protecting the innocent?
We are not violently to resist evil. Yet, there are things going on that are beyond the common perception of the un-tuned senses. Jesus exorcised demons and cast them into the bottomless pit simply by commanding them with his words. Was this violence? Why couldn't they rebel?
This is where the deepest faith in God comes in. This is where what is best eternally comes in. This is where the members of the Real Church must ask, seek, and knock.
Read the applicable sections of There Is No Such Thing as a Conservative-Republican Christian: Jesus is a small-c communist. Read the scriptures. Consult your conscience, and ask the Holy Spirit for direction. Discuss the topic with others.
Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. Matthew 18:18
This is the most awesome responsibility of human souls in the here and now. The Church must dread error. The standard by which we judge others will be the standard by which we will be judged. A low standard retards salvation for the many. This is why the Church must mightily strive to avoid hypocrisy.
It also speaks to the truth of the new heaven and earth conflating as one. You'll have to read the work, There Is No Such Thing as a Conservative-Republican Christian: Jesus is a small-c communist, and the Gospels and other scripture to delve deeply into the connotations and contexts where this will begin to make clear and plain sense to you if it doesn't already.
The Church must seek and do God's will. This requires the greatest reflection, soul searching, and consensus.
Clergy-penitent privilege (confidence)
The clergy (full members) cannot be moved to violate confidences. It is sacred. The attorney-client privilege certainly is of no greater importance. In fact, it shares a similar motivation: Counsel against an accuser. If a member or other person earnestly repents and is not recidivistic, then that's as far as the matter ever need go. The counselor has helped save his fellow human being.
We have digressed here, because in order to give a sense of the difficulties facing the Church over matters of privacy and confidentiality, it is necessary to explain the balancing involved.
The Church also wants such matters stated upfront for those who may enthusiastically wish to join the Church without first having a clear understanding of Church positions. It is important that people understand so they don't confuse themselves with false expectations. We will do what is best for both the individual and the whole body of the Church. We have to take care of the whole, and doing so means taking care of each real member of the whole. Putting the good of the whole body first is doing what is ultimately best concerning each individual member as well. You see that, surely.
Intrusive, invasive caesar
The government (caesar in the biblical sense) often though demands to know in ways that makes otherwise private information very public. It can tread upon the free exercise of Real Christianity. What are donors and members to expect? The Church will do its best (our best) to give you a strong sense of where we stand vis-à-vis the worldly government.
First though, concerning giving quietly only to have the government make it public, God knows your motives. God knows your heart. God will know whether or not you gave for the sake of gaining the admiration of men and women.
Jesus said the following to Peter:
Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men. Matthew 16:23
Therefore, give without fanfare and don't worry about what the worldly government will want to know. Money is Satan's invention anyway, and the only proper thing to do with it is turn the tables (turn money to this righteous cause, which will eliminate money in the end). Jesus paid his taxes and accepted mammon/money contributions. It's what his disciples and he did with those contributions that made the difference.
Don't fear persecution
In addition, there are people who are just shy about making their dealings, associations, or views known outside a tightly knit and trusted circle. That's understandable considering the abuse people have historically heaped upon others. Some people have been deeply wounded (traumatized) and need equally deep understanding, compassion, and truth. Coming to have complete faith that no one can take any soul that belongs to God dawns on different people at different rates.
Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also. John 15:20
At the same time that we are through God affording people the atmosphere where they may come to know this, we wish to be as open, honest, and direct as possible. The Church must balance all these things to the best of our ability as guided by the Holy Spirit.
We want our base position to be one of encouraging openness for the right reason at the right times and in the right places while protecting privacy the same way.
Dealing with caesar
As for the worldly government, the Church will cooperate with them consistent with how Jesus paid his own taxes. The Church will not though render unto caesar what is not caesar's. Our souls do not belong to caesar, and he may not have them.