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A ‘wrong-thinker’ can feed his family, right?

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Do you have a right to participate in the American marketplace, a right to feed your own family?

Some people say, “No.”

On Friday, a farming family in Michigan celebrated a small victory. Federal judge Paul L. Maloney granted a preliminary injunction barring the city of East Lansing from prohibiting the Tennes family of Country Hill Farm from participating in their annual Farmer’s Market. “On the evidence before this Court, the City amended its Vendor Guidelines and then used the changes to deny Country Mill’s vendor application. There exists a substantial likelihood that Plaintiffs will be able to prevail on the merits of their claims for speech retaliation and for free exercise of religion,” stated the judge.

The case has been summarized nicely by the Arizona Daily Independent:

At issue is an unconstitutional, unlawful, and complex policy that city officials adopted specifically to shut out Tennes and Country Mills Farms, his family’s fruit orchard, purely because he posted on Facebook his belief in biblical marriage. The city did this even though Tennes, his family, and the orchard are in Charlotte, 22 miles from East Lansing, well outside the city’s boundaries and beyond its jurisdiction.

After seeing Tennes’ Facebook post from August 2016, city officials took several actions to drive him out of the market. First, they told him they did not want Country Mill Farms at the next scheduled market, and they warned him that protests could occur if his farm continued to participate. Tennes, a military veteran, decided to continue to serve his customers at the market. No one protested. That did not change city officials’ resolve that Tennes could no longer participate in the market due to his statement of his religious beliefs.

For the first time in six years, when applications opened for the 2017 farmer’s market, the city did not invite Tennes to participate in the market. City officials also changed the application process for Country Mill Farms only, removing Tennes’ vendor application from the normal committee review process and reviewing it directly instead. Since Tennes and Country Mill Farms did not violate any law while at the market or in Charlotte, the officials crafted a new vendor policy that extended the city’s Human Relations Ordinance, bypassing jurisdictional limits under Michigan law, to expel Tennes from the market.

East Lansing’s Mayor, Mark Meadows, has maintained his stance against allowing Country Mills Farm the ability to participate in America’s economy via the selling of fruit at the Farmer’s Market within city limits, stating “They can say whatever they want, but their corporation needs to act in a certain way to qualify to sell products at the East Lansing Farmer’s Market on publicly owned land.” The mayor seems to have forgotten that observant Christians are taxpaying members of the American public and, as such, have equal access to publicly-owned land. Though it appears that the only criminal and unconstitutional act committed in this case was committed not by the Tennes family, but by the city officials of East Lansing, the city is still considering an appeal to block the judge’s injunction.


There is no social justice to be gained though depraved ostracization. Instead, one only finds anger, hate, and revenge… a sinister soup for the impotent and ignoble.


In the meantime, many will claim this small victory to be a win for religious freedom; others will claim it as a win for free speech rights. As a new report details, religious freedom has come under increasing attack in recent years, and free speech is, based on recent events, quite evidently no longer widely regarded as sacred. However, what this temporary injunction truly amounts to is a win for all of us in our efforts to feed our own families: a win for all Americans’ right to participate in the marketplace.

This win doesn’t come without a cost. While the Tennes family has finally been allowed to participate in the East Lansing Farmer’s Market, the family has already missed approximately 3 ½ months of marketplace participation, with only 6 short weeks left before the season ends. There will no doubt be an economic toll on this family due to 3 ½ months of sitting on the side lines. Yet, some of the very people who extoll diversity and equality or some of the people who condemn poverty and hunger will remain opposed to the Tenneses’ ability to sell fruit- to feed and to provide for their family.

No, the Tennes family does not think “right.” For many of the very people lecturing the rest of America about tolerance, the Tenneses simply think “wrong.” They hold the “wrong” opinions, they speak the wrong words in the public forum, and they subscribe to the “wrong” faith. Therefore, this family and their business should be shunned from the economy, prohibited from making a living through participation in the marketplace, and, most of all, absolutely forbidden from pursuing the American Dream.

Constitutional rights? – Never heard of them.

Human rights? – You aren’t really human anyways.

For this very reason, the small victory in the case of the Tennes family is actually a large victory for us all. There is no nobleness to be found in depriving a family their right to earn a living. There is no honor to be found in petty vengeance. There is no justification for imposing poverty on a farming family in Michigan for “wrong think.” There is no social justice to be gained though depraved ostracization. Instead, one only finds anger, hate, and revenge… a sinister soup for the impotent and ignoble.

Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against anyone among your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the LORD.” ~ Leviticus 19:18

Paige Rogers is a Christian artist and author, and a former professional practitioner in the field of Early Childhood Development. She is the creator of ThePaintingPastor.org, a blog offering Christian reflection, exhortation and discernment alongside various artistic techniques visually documented through Paige's unique artistic endeavors. A lover of learning, Paige is an avid enthusiast of history, civics, political geography and human nature, physical geography and the sciences. She is an incurably inquisitive and chronically creative “egghead.” Paige is a strong supporter of America's service members and veterans.

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Culture and Religion

Evangelicals prostitute themselves to a pimp running for Nevada state assembly

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Regular readers and listeners of the Strident Conservative are no doubt familiar with my views when it comes to the so-called leaders of the evangelical community and their goose-stepping loyalty to Donald Trump. Spreading the same “cheap grace” theology that gave rise to Hitler and Nazi Germany, this Fellowship of Pharisees peddle moral relativism and lukewarm Christianity as they gleefully accept the crumbs falling from Trump’s table under the delusion that they have a seat in his dining hall.

In an article I wrote back in March about how “God’s man” in the White House was fundamentally transforming the GOP and America into his own hedonistic image, I issued a warning about how this compromising attitude by evangelicals would give rise to an army of “mini-Trumps” across America who would not only be completely sold-out to Trump, but who would be equally lacking in moral character.

In that piece, I introduced you to Dennis Hof, a self-proclaimed pimp who owns a strip club and five legal houses of prostitution, who had just announced his campaign for a state assembly seat because he was just like Trump.

“We’re both famous and infamous. We’re both high-profile. We’re both successful businessmen. We both have reality television shows. We both have written books. We’re both rich and can’t be bought. There’s a lot of similarities.”

Hof left out other things they have in common–multiple divorces, serial adultery, and sex with porn stars–but you get the idea.

I joked at the time how, since Hof was exactly like Trump, evangelicals would eventually support the man who campaigned as the “Trump of Pahrump,” the Nevada town where Hof’s notorious Love Ranch Cathouse is located. Unfortunately, as so often happens when discussing Trump and evangelicals, Hof’s primary victory proved that it wasn’t a joke after all.

As we learn in a recent Reuters article, Hof is sitting pretty and is likely to win the seat in the Nevada legislature thanks to the support of evangelicals willing to set aside morality and religion–just as they did for Trump. Ironically, Hof recognized evangelical hypocrisy as the reason for his success while simultaneously praising Trump for his “honesty.”

People will set aside for a moment their moral beliefs, their religious beliefs, to get somebody honest in office. Trump is the trailblazer, he is the Christopher Columbus of honest politics.”

And the evangelicals shouted in unison, “Amen!”

Evangelical pastor Victor Fuentes, in a calling evil good and good evil sort of way, boldly declared his support for the Nevada pimp.

“People want to know how an evangelical can support a self-proclaimed pimp. We have politicians, they might speak good words, not sleep with prostitutes, be a good neighbor. But their decisions, they have evil in their heart. Dennis Hof is not like that.”

Robert Thomas, a retired prosecutor and evangelical who voted for Hof in the primary and will support his election in November, essentially agreed with Hof about evangelicals laying aside their morals to embrace Trump’s brand of morality. Even though Hof’s prostitution business bothered him “a lot,” Thomas promised to support the self-proclaimed pimp because he “seems to be a man of his word and he does what he says.”

Trump’s fundamental transformation of America is only a symptom; evangelical transformation of America is the real disease; and the prognosis for America’s future is terminal.

Originally posted on The Strident Conservative.

 


David Leach is the owner of The Strident Conservative. His daily radio commentary is distributed by the Salem Radio Network and is heard on stations across America.

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Culture and Religion

Snatching Defeat from the jaws of Victory: ‘Writing out’ Most Guns with the Bump-Stock ban.

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Bump Stock

The latest Liberty grabber wave has crested, but Trump is about to give them a tremendous victory over the 2nd amendment.

Now that the Sturm und Drang of the March for gun confiscation has ‘died down’ it has become evident that, much like previous movements of the past, it came to nought aside from some localised suppressions of Liberty. The problem is there a vestige of this assault of freedom that is still rearing it’s ugly head, that of the infamous ban on so-called “Bump-Stocks”.

Those who are rightly concerned about this assault on Liberty can still inscribe their opposition with the Moonshine, Cigarettes and Fire-sticks bureaucracy [Better known as the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms – BATF]  pushing through a new ‘law’ that all by himself, Trump has taken to “Writing Out”.  The deadline is June 27, 2018 11:59 PM ET for everyone to post their opposition to this ‘Law’.

First they came for the Bump-Stocks.

For those who may not care about someone else’s concerns over freedom, just be mindful of a reprise of Martin Niemöller Poem starting with the line: “First they came for the Bump-Stocks, and I didn’t object – For I didn’t care about Bump-Stocks…. Soon enough, they get around to coming after the firearms everyone else cares about, and eventually that will be hunting rifles or shotguns. If you chose to remain silent those guns will be “written out” as well.

But don’t just take our word for it, listen to what the Liberty grabbers have stated in bragging about the subject:

Delaney Tarr [March for Our Lives]

When they give us that inch, that bump stock ban, we will take a mile.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.):

Upon being asked if the bill was a slippery slope toward further gun restrictions, she said, “So what? … I certainly hope so.”

Apparently we’re not supposed to notice when the Liberty grabber Left broadcasts their intentions to the world. We’re supposed to let them get a foot in the door of a pretext for further bans before objecting.

Giving up the question.

David Deming over on the American thinker, Made the very important point that sacrificing one more time to the Liberty grabbers of what seems to be nothing is in essence:

If we agree to ban bump stocks because they facilitate rapid firing, we have given up the question. We have agreed in principle that any dangerous gun can be banned and confiscated by an arbitrary executive order. All guns are capable of rapid fire, and all guns are inherently dangerous. Pump-action shotguns can be rapidly fired and reloaded. Jerry Miculek can fire five shots from a double-action revolver in 0.57 seconds. High-capacity magazines most certainly facilitate rapid fire, so they also will have to go. A writer who wants to ban all “private individual ownership of firearms” recently argued that “even bolt-action rifles can still fire surprisingly fast in skilled hands.” He’s right. All magazine-fed guns will be outlawed.

Automatic redefinition.

In point of fact, the ATF previously ruled that Bump-Stocks [and presumably other ways of ‘bump-firing a gun – Fast fingers, Rubber bands and Belt-loops] don’t actually convert ordinary semi-automatic firearms to a “Machine gun” because the trigger has to be pulled for every shot. Now with the President’s authorising this linguistic legerdemain, this definition codified in the law has been blurred to the point that any gun that can be ‘Bump-fired’ could also be banned. However, they can’t very well ban fingers, belt-loops or rubber bands, so they will just ban each and every gun that can fire too fast.

Just ‘Write-out’ this legal requirement and Voila! Any gun that can be fired too fast for the sensibilities of the Liberty grabbers can be thought of as a “Machine Gun” and banned instantly – converting most of the 120 Million gun owners into instant felons. With a bit of training,  most guns can be fired faster, so in essence, letting them change this legal definition could have them ban just about every gun in existence.

The Takeaway.

One might not care about the fate of thousands of inert pieces of plastic or what happens to those who have them. One might not care if someone won’t be able to bump-fire a weapon in this particular way. But we on the Pro-Liberty Right will rue the day that we let this go through in exchange for nothing.

If we let the powers that be arbitrarily proclaim that some guns with these pieces of inert plastic are “Machine Guns’, the day will soon dawn when ALL guns are dishonestly ‘written out’ as the same. It will then just be a slippery slope to everyone having to undergo a background check, registration and of course – TAXES – on guns that we already own. Followed by the inevitable confiscation of those guns.

Those who remain silent now will only have themselves to blame when this happens – so now is the time to stop this dead in it’s tracks. The comment window is only open for a few more days [Jun 27, 2018 11:59 PM ET], make the best of it.

 

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Culture and Religion

Is Mike Pence too political for church?

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There have been a lot of talk lately about Mike Pence speaking at the SBC. Many complained claiming it was divisive and political. Jonathan Leeman wrote an article for The Gospel Coalition criticizing the very idea of Mike Pence speaking. I will address this article in greater detail on the points that I agree and disagree with. But first, let me answer the very question I posed: Pence isn’t too political to address a congregation, but his speech was.

In short, Mike Pence’s address offered zero substantive theological content. It was merely about his privilege as serving as Vice President. While acknowledging this privilege merited a short section in the beginning, it needed no more continuation. Instead, Mike Pence droned on and on about his experiences and the administration’s accomplishments.

I think there’s only one way you can sum up this administration: It’s been 500 days of action, 500 days of accomplishment. It’s been 500 days of promises made and promises kept. 

Pence’s address followed a pattern of praising Trump with loosely intertwined references to God and praising his hosts as guest speakers often do. The intertwined religious language while praising the accomplishments, not of God, but of the President is the briefest summation of Pence’s speech to the SBC that can be offered. The only biblical passage cited was Psalm 126 in reference to a story that served as praise to the Trump administration. God wasn’t working though Trump in Pence’s speech. Instead, Trump was working. At the end of his speech, Pence did offer a superficial message about praying for America with a quoting scripture.

Mike Pence had an opportunity to address the leaders of many churches. He blew it. But would all politicians do the same?

Politicians Should Be in the Pew, Not the Pulpit?

Jonathan Leeman’s article for The Gospel Coalition draws this conclusion. He has five reasons for not allowing politicians to address a church event.

  1. No reason to give attention to a politician’s words over a plumber’s or an accountant’s, at least not in our assemblies or associations.
  2. Having a political leader address our churches or associations of churches tempts us to misconstrue our mission.
  3. Undermines our evangelistic and prophetic witness.
  4. Hurts the unity of Christ’s body

Reason one is most certainly true. However, I believe we ought to separate the person from the profession. On the basis of spiritual maturity and calling should a politician or any notable guest address an assembly. This first reason is the one I believe to have the most merit in regards to the situation at hand. Inviting a politician to address a Congregation is wrong if the only reason is that they are a politician. However, if the politician is a member of the church, what is wrong with having a fellow member speak?

Reasons two and three are certainly tied together in there logic. I believe these reasons hold merit for Pence’s sacrelidgious speech but are not inherently true of all politicians who accept such similar offers. Reasons two and three open a multitude of separate issues both independent and dependent on the circumstances. Meaning, yes this could happen, but the degree in which we can mitigate the temptation are limited for Satan is the tempter. In the case of Pence, reason three was definitely true. Many would see that the SBC tied itself to Trump. But that is not the fault of the SBC per se. But that is Pence’s fault for giving a campaign rally speech instead of a message. If Pence gave a theologically sound speech there should be little temptation to misconstrue the mission. The third reason is inevitable. Since the beginning, Christians witness has been undermined by the lies of Satan. The original Christians were thought to be cannibal and even atheists. We can’t always prevent these lies, but it would be good not to validate them which Pence did.

Now hurting the unity of the body of Christ is a weak point. Leeman’s fourth point is basically saying that Pence is too polarizing, because Trump is… Trump, on a National level to address a church. Pence is polarizing, but he was polarizing before Trump. The polarizing premise is true but, assuming Pence is indeed a follower off Christ, this would be the result of living a Christian life. Here’s another polarizing figure: Jack Phillips, the owner of Masterpiece Cake Shop. Would polarity disqualify him from speaking? If we are to apply national likability to our church speakers, we’re going to end up with a lot of TV personalities who don’t comprehend dyophysitism.

Like Jack Philips, Pence has taken a lot of flak for being a devout Christian. Isn’t this the kind of person who may have a good message to the assembly? Seemingly so. Again Pence under-delivered. To be fair, Leeman clearly states he doesn’t blanket outlaw politicians from speaking.

I can envision a few circumstances where there is some measure of mission overlap that could justify it. Maybe a group of Christian college presidents asks the secretary of education to address them. Or a Christian conference on work asks a Christian congressman to talk about working as a Christian on the Hill, so that attendees can apply the principles to their own settings.

But while it’s not an outlaw, such an unwritten policy places constraints on the church that are not inherently necessary. Leeman supposes some similar justification was used when The Gospel Coalition had Ben Sasse speak. In 2017, Ben Sasse addressed The Gospel Coalition and gave a theological speech. He was noted for sounding more like a pastor than a politician.

To me only two things matter:

  1. Theological substance
  2. Correct theological substance

On these two requirements I think the body of Christ would remain unified with a clear picture of its mission.

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