Proposition #1: The United States of America it not now, nor was it ever a Christian nation. It was designed by our founding fathers to be a nation of free peoples, most of whom were Christians when the nation was founded, but now the peoples of our nation have degenerated into a nation of pagans. (Remember, the word pagan doesn't mean someone running through the jungle with a bone in his nose; the word pagan means "one who has little or no religion and who delights in sensual pleasures and material goods; an irreligious or hedonistic person")
Proposition #2: The Republicans lost the Presidential election this year because they isolated large segments of society based upon the fact that they preach freedom in the economic arena and reject freedom in the social arena. (I was up at 5AM yesterday morning writing this document, and last evening on Fox News, I heard former Governor of the State of New Mexico, Gary E. Johnson, make this same statement. The media pundits in this country are searching for the answer as to why the Romney/Ryan ticket got blown away in the electoral college; however, they are looking for the answer "in the trees" instead of "looking at the forest." In other words, they have what I am going to refer to as "political myopia." They are politically near-sighted and are finding blame in everything but the right thing. The issue, brethren, is FREEDOM. More on this later in this study.)
The Body of this lesson begins here.
I am what might be referred to as a fundamentalist Christian or perhaps a conservative Christian. The liberal world might call me "a right-wing whacko." In support of these evaluations, I often tell inquirers that I am to the right of Rush Limbaugh politically and to the right of Jerry Falwell spiritually. I make this point to document where I personally stand politically and spiritually before I make a statement that is diametrically opposed to others who claim to be fundamentalist Christians or conservative Christians.
My statement: the United States is NOT now, nor has it ever been a Christian-Nation. The following information is in support of my two propositions stated above.
As I continue, the difference between two terms must be understood. The two terms: Christian-Nation and Christian Nation - and there is a significant difference. It's the hyphen that makes a difference. The hyphenated term, Christian-Nation, is a compound noun and implies that the United States is a nation of people upon whom the Christian moral code will be imposed. (In other words, the Christian moral code is the law-of-the-land.) The non-hyphenated term, Christian Nation, is a noun, Nation, preceded by an adjective, Christian, the adjective describing the dominant religious influence upon the nation. The United States, from its inception was never a Christian-Nation (hyphenated), nor was it ever intended by our founding fathers to be a Christian-Nation (hyphenated). It might be argued that the United States was a Christian Nation (non-hyphenated) from the time of its founding because the dominant religious beliefs of our founding fathers and early settlers were Christian beliefs. However, as we analyze contemporary history, the United States is no longer dominated by a Christian moral code, but by what might be regarded as a secular influence, wherein the word "secular" means something other than a Christian moral code.
The issue with our founding fathers was not to found a Christian-Nation (hyphenated), but to found a nation whose most fundamental principles were "life, LIBERTY (personal freedom), and the pursuit of happiness." I ask a question. Do you see that word LIBERTY? That word doesn't mean YOUR liberty to the exclusion of the personal liberty of others whose personal thinking, feelings, speech, overt activities, or rationales violate some biblical standard held by you and me.
I find it quite disconcerting that Christians who claim to be fundamentalists talk about freedom, but deny it or attempt to deny it for those whose moral code is different from theirs. If freedom means freedom, then what part of freedom do fundamentalist Christians not understand? We are taught that the Constitution of the United States guarantees the right to life, LIBERTY, and the pursuit of happiness.
Preamble to Constitution: We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
The Declaration of Independence enshrines three basic rights: the rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
Note that the PURSUIT of happiness is guaranteed, but implies that the happiness goal may never be reached. If one pursuit fails, freedom guarantees the pursuit of happiness in another direction. The concept of freedom did not originate with Christianity; and while the principle of freedom IS a biblical concept, freedom originated with God, not man. Freedom is the most fundamental principle of human life required to resolve the angelic conflict. (How long has it been since you heard a Democratic or a Republican candidate mention the angelic conflict?)
Let me restate something I have already said. I find it quite disconcerting that Christians who claim to be fundamentalists or conservative talk about freedom, but deny it or attempt to deny it for those whose moral code is different from theirs. For example, denying the freedom to choose homosexuality or lesbianism as a lifestyle; or denying the freedom to choose a marriage partner of the same sex; or denying the freedom of a woman to choose to terminate a pregnancy; or denying the freedom to purchase marijuana to be used medicinally. I have to say, "Excuse me, as repugnant as each of these examples may be to your Christian sensibility, what part of freedom do you as a Christian not understand?" (This is a case where every "I know but . . ." becomes an old-man rationale.)
Once again, "what part of freedom do you as a Christian not understand?" This statement demands an understanding of both responsible and irresponsible freedom.
Freedom: Responsible and Irresponsible
First, distinguish the word "freedom" from "responsible freedom." Freedom that is not free is not freedom. Anything that infringes upon freedom destroys freedom at the point of infringement. The very nature of freedom necessitates the possibility that one person exercising his own personal freedom will infringe upon the freedom of another person. If that possibility is denied, then freedom has been redefined and that redefined form is no longer freedom.
Freedom intrinsically carries with it the possibility that when one person exercises his personal freedom that exercise may in fact infringe upon the personal freedom of another person. This is why the exercise of personal freedom ought to be responsible freedom.
Responsible freedom takes other people into consideration. Responsible freedom respects the personal freedom of others. Responsible freedom is the exercise of one's own personal freedom to the extent that it does not infringe upon the freedom of another person.
Irresponsible freedom is defined as that form of freedom that seeks to achieve one's own internalized goals the pursuit of which disrupts another person's freedom to do the same. If an act of irresponsible freedom has an attending predetermined consequence, and it should, it is not inconsistent to recognize an irresponsible act as irresponsible and to follow that act with the implementation of the appropriate predetermined consequence.
When it is understood that freedom does not imply the capacity to do as you please without a just consequence if the form of behavior is irresponsible, then we must distinguish between behavior that is sinful, but legal, and behavior that is sinful and illegal.
Sinful but Legal; Sinful and Illegal; and the Principle of Freedom
First, for something to be illegal, there must be a law on the local, State, or Federal level that prohibits a specific behavior. If there is no such law, a specific behavior may be biblically sinful, but not lawfully illegal. Consider a few examples of behavior that are sinful but legal: anger, jealousy, hatred, bitterness. Consider a few examples of behavior that are sinful and illegal: murder, rape, public drunkenness. In both cases, the lists are representative, and not meant to be exhaustive.
Fundamentalist Christians or Conservative Christians need to do one of two things if they are going gain respect among the peoples of the world and honor before God: 1) LEARN and PRACTICE the distinction between sinful but legal and sinful and illegal, or 2) [for those who already know] ACCEPT and PRACTICE the distinction between sinful but legal and sinful and illegal.
"Need to gain respect among the peoples of the world," you say. "Honor before God," you say. "Yes," that's exactly what I say. Have you ever considered why 50 million people have left the church since the year 2000? Have you ever considered why 76 million people have decided to avoid church altogether? Whether you have considered these astounding figures or not, an underlying cause for people leaving the church or avoiding the church is Christian fundamentalist/conservative legalism that strips another human being's personal freedom granted to them by the God of all creation, and recognized by our Dclaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution. We fundamentalist/conservative Christians are not God, although we tend to play God through the manipulation of the lives of others at the expense of their own personal freedom.
"Well," you say, "if I allow a person their personal freedom, they may use that freedom to promote and practice sinful activity that will eventually destroy our nation. How do you answer that, Pastor?" The answer is simple. Fundamentalist/Conservative Christians are not called by God to preach the salvation of the nation. They are called upon by God the Father to PREACH the Gospel of Christ for the salvation of souls and to PROMOTE/PRACTICE personal freedom for the salvation/preservation of the nation.
Democrat vs. Republican
Generally speaking, Democrat connotes liberal and Republican connotes conservative. Democrats are favorable toward homosexuality and lesbianism, same sex marriage, and pro-choice regarding abortion; and the legalization of marijuana - not just medical marijuana. This stance recognizes personal freedom of choice. Republicans, on the other hand, are not favorable toward homosexuality and lesbianism, same sex marriage, pro-life regarding abortion; and the legalization of even medical marijuana. This Republican stance rejects personal freedom of choice and is inconsistent with the personal freedom with which man was created by the God of all creation to resolve the angelic conflict - and if you have a problem with this type of freedom, your argument is with God, not me. Freedom is His plan. I am simply a mouthpiece.
The Republican stance is being rejected and cast aside by the majority in our country today, not necessarily because the majority is in favor of homosexuality and lesbianism as a lifestyle, or in favor of same sex marriage, or in favor of abortion, or in favor of the legalization of marijuana, but because they are in favor of personal freedom of choice. (Freedom is the forest. Homosexuality and lesbianism as a lifestyle, or in favor of same sex marriage, or in favor of abortion, or in favor of the legalization of marijuana are the trees.)
Suppose for a moment there are those who favor homosexuality and lesbianism as a lifestyle, or favor of same sex marriage, or favor of abortion, first, because this is what they want or like, without consideration that these lifestyles are consistent with personal freedom. You and I must recognize, whether they do or not, that these practices as consistent with personal freedom whether personal freedom was considered by those practicing them or not.
I am not in any way suggesting that sinful but legal activity not be regulated. It can and perhaps should be regulated in some form or fashion. As repugnant as it may be to you, homosexuals or lesbians should be free to walk down the street together, but they should not be free to perform a sex act out in public. What goes on behind closed doors is not the business of a fundamentalist/conservative Christian. Same sex marriage may be repugnant to you as a fundamentalist/conservative Christian, but same sex marriage should be permissible, and by law if necessary, because it is consistent with personal freedom granted by the Creator of all creation. The same is true of abortion. Freedom permits it; yet, it is denied based upon the "fact" that abortion is thought to be tantamount to murder, that is, taking the life of a human being while it is in-utero. I say, "No. It is not murder. It is only murder if the embryo is thought to have human life in-utero." Be honest with yourself. Medical science indicates "life" in the womb, and then defines it as human life, but defining it as human life does not make it human life. Life, yes, but what kind of life. I suggest biological life, and not human life. You see, whether it is human life or biological life suggests the question of when does human life begin? There are several opinions on this matter. I appeal to the Bible that indicates that human life begins at the moment of physical birth, and misapplications and misinterpretations of the Bible are the old-man rationales for substantiating human life in the womb. I'm sorry, but this substantiation will not pass the test of honest interpretation. It is simply used to substantiate a position for those who are wanting to hear what they want to hear.
The Freedom Contradiction of Democrats and Republicans
Democrats rally behind personal freedom when it comes to social issues and then take away personal freedom on economic issues through legislation, regulation, or executive order. The Republicans rally behind economic personal freedom through opposition to legislation, regulation, and executive order, and then oppose personal freedom on social issues. Both political parties are conflicted on the issue of personal freedom.
Where Should Fundamentalist/Conservative Christians Stand on Personal Freedom?
The following is suggested:
1. Recognize that personal freedom come from God the Father.
2. Recognize that personal freedom is guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution.
3. Recognize that the U.S. Constitution was given to us by our founding fathers as a static document, not a living document.
4. Recognize that personal freedom is to be protected by government, not diminished or removed by government.
5. Recognize that personal freedom was granted to every member of the human race for the purpose of resolving the angelic conflict. (If the angelic conflict is not understood, none of what I am saying will make any sense to the Democrat or Republican, and the truth is that a anyone who does not understand the angelic conflict does not make me wrong. Ask for understanding and you shall receive.)
6. Desire to hear and learn the truth, not just hear and learn what will substantiate your old-man belief.
7. Recognize and accept the reality of the freedom contradiction within both Democratic and Republican Parties.
8. Recognize and accept the fact that some sins are legal and some sins are illegal.
9. Recognize that sins that are legal, God the Father will handle better that any human being.
10. Recognize that sins that are illegal will be handled by God the Father and should be handled by the appropriate governmental level.
11. Recognize that the positions taken in this document t will align you with Democrats on one hand and Republicans on the other.
12. Recognize that any support for the removal of personal freedom based upon sinful but legal behavior is contrary to biblical guidelines.
13. Fundamentalist/Conservative Christianity should support personal freedom that permits homosexuality and lesbianism, same sex marriage, and the pro-choice position regarding abortion.
14. Recognize that abrogation of personal freedom on any matter can be done so legally only by a Constitutional Amendment on the State of National level.
The positions that I state in this document will not make me popular with Fundamentalist/Conservative Christians, although I am one; however, I am not in a popularity contest. I am in quest for truth and its dissemination. To the homosexual, lesbian community; to the same sex marriage proponents; and to the pro-choice crowd, I support your personal freedom of choices, while I hold the belief that your choices on the first two matters are sinful before the God of all creation and the latter is not murder.
The specific illustrations, homosexuality and lesbianism, same sex marriage, pro-choice, and the legalization of marijuana, again are only representative and not exhaustive. If you have any other illustrations of sinful but legal behaviors or sinful and illegal behaviors, the same principle of personal freedom must be applied to all.