Top Of My Head

Thoughts on everything from Politics to Video Games

Category: Religion

Separation of Church and State

“Because religious belief, or non-belief, is such an important part of every person’s life, freedom of religion affects every individual. Religious institutions that use government power in support of themselves and force their views on persons of other faiths, or of no faith, undermine all our civil rights. Moreover, state support of an established religion tends to make the clergy unresponsive to their own people, and leads to corruption within religion itself. Erecting the “wall of separation between church and state,” therefore, is absolutely essential in a free society.” — Thomas Jefferson

To My Gay Brothers and Sisters: God Loves YOU!

I realize that not all of you are Christian, but hear me out anyway.  I was praying the other day on my way into work.  (I do that.)  And, the following thoughts occurred to me.  God doesn’t make mistakes.  God loves me.  God made me who I am.

For a good portion of my life, I have struggled in my relationship with God and being gay.  Right-wing “Christians” will point to all sorts of passages in the Bible as proof that God hates gays.  Just last week, a right-wing co-worker proclaimed that if I am secure in being gay, it must be because Satan has been answering my prayers.  Satan – not God.

And, they wonder why we hate them.

Actually, I don’t hate my co-worker, I pity her.  And, her comment led to a very interesting discussion with my pastor (yes, I attend church – although, I admit that I miss some Sundays).  And, that conversation led to something I believe that God revealed to me while I was praying.  Ready?  Because I’m serious:

God loves us – every single one of us – and He wants us to be happy. On top of that, He wants us to have a relationship with Him and His Son. And – anyone who interferes with our relationship with God is not working for God and they are not taking orders from God – they are doing Satan’s work.

Think about that. I’ll wait. Read it again, if you must.  I’ll even repeat it – if someone interferes with your relationship with God, they are doing Satan’s work.

See, Satan wants our souls.  He has a deal with God.  He can tempt us and if we give in to him, he gets our soul.  BUT, we have to freely give Satan our soul.  I’ve never done that – have you?  Well, if you have, you can get it back, by asking for forgiveness from God.  But, that’s another topic.

See, Rev Phelps from the Westboro Baptist Church – you know, the “God Hates Fags” guy – He’s working for Satan.  NOM – the National Organization of Marriage people – Satanists.  American Family Associations – HUGE SATAN FOLLOWERS.  And, all these groups have something in common – they are very sad and we should pray for them.  They don’t realize that they are working for Satan.  They have been so overtaken by believing in themselves, by their destructive self-righteousness, that they have scales on their eyes.  These people are the modern day Sadducees and Pharisees – you know, those people who were so against Jesus in the Bible and tried to trick Him. They had an answer for everything.  And, they were wrong.

God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son so that all who believe in Him shall not perish, but have everlasting life. (John 3:16).

Don’t forget that.

I’m not saying that we aren’t sinners.  We are.  Everyone is a sinner.  But, we’re not sinners solely because we’re gay.  Should we try to live a righteous life?  Well, I can’t speak for you, but I try to do so.  Do I succeed?  Not always.

And, now a quote from Spencer Tracy: “Don’t let the bastards get you down.”  If you have a relationship with God, don’t hide it.  Live it, breathe it and pass it on.  If you don’t, don’t hide from Him.  He loves you and He wants a relationship with you.  Don’t run from Him.  And, don’t let the bastards get you down.  Don’t let the right-wing terrorists separate you from the love of God.  Living in His light is better than living in their darkness.

God Bless!

Thoughts

I’m sure you’ve heard about the New York Congressman who went looking for booty (and not the pirate kind) by advertising himself on Craigs list or is it Craigslist? Anyway, I am just wondering when the Republican Party will lose its reputation for their non-existent moral fiber? What will it take for the scales to fall off the eyes and people will see what they really are: flawed, failing human beings – just like the rest of us – who should not be preaching to anyone.

Which brings me to my next thought I’ve written about many times over, but I’m going to write about again: When are we going to become a true Christian nation?
The answer is, of course and as it should be, never. And, if that is the case, can we just drop the facade?

We are a nation built on Christian morals and Christian values – you hear some form of that all the time from right wing pundits and it sounds nice, but it is just not true.
Ask yourself: What Would Jesus Do about illegal immigation? Would He stand on the border protecting it? Would He complain about it in Congress and pound the repeated thought that something must be done?
No, He would not. He would stand at the border, with His arms opened wide saying, “Come, follow me into the land of milk and honey.” You know He would and if you would just open your heart and listen for His voice, you would hear him tell you. Close your ears to the thought that there is something wrong with our brothers and sisters to the south. They just want what you want – a nice, safe place to raise their kids and live their lives. Hate begins with the devil – love comes from God.

And, we’re NOT a Christian nation until we live as He lived, so let’s stop pretending and stop invoking His name in our political battles.

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Separation of Church and State

I had been planning on writing a blog regarding the idea of separation of Church and State.  Our founding fathers felt that the wall between the two was so important that they put it right in the Constitution at the beginning.  Now, with all the talking bobble heads throwing around what our founding fathers intended or what they would want, I thought it would be a good time to write about it.

Except, I was beaten to it by Stephen D. Foster, Jr. over at The Pragmatic Progressive.  His article, The Wall Between Church And State, is well thought out, well researched and well written.

Enjoy.

A Rand Paul Quote and Thoughts on the First Amendment…

Rand Paul said the following (according to PolitiFact): “You mentioned faith-based intermingling — government and faith-based,” Paul said. “George (W.) Bush did that, and I think it was a horrible mistake. One, I think the money sort of pollutes the mission of a purely Christian organization, or Muslim or whatever organization it is, and it obscures the church-state separation that there really ought to be. We shouldn’t have tax money flowing into churches. We should let churches do charity work, and that’s wonderful, but they shouldn’t be corrupted with government money.”

I wish more politicians would stand up and end the federal money that flows into faith-based organizations. The very First Amendment to our Constitution states: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;” I would think that pouring money into a church is thisclose to establishing a religion.  Money equates power.  Money is what makes the world go ’round.  (I wish it was love, but it isn’t).

Today, too many people believe that religion should have something to do with politics.  But, I say, keep your god out of MY politics and I’ll keep my God out of yours.  I’m Roman Catholic and I’ve heard that some Priests said that if you voted for a pro-choice candidate, then you couldn’t take Holy Communion!  Well, I just about flipped my lid over that one.  Quite frankly, I think any church where the Pastor or Priest speaks out about politics on a regular basis, should lose its non-profit status and have to start paying taxes on property, etc.  If the church (any church) wants to be a political entity, then you should treat it like one.

Ron Johnson

Ron Johnson is running for Senate against Russ Feingold.  I wanted to know more about the man who is taking on Russ, so I went to his website.  He has a page that lists the issues as follows:

  • Reducing Taxes and Cutting Government Spending

  • Under this heading is a posting there that discusses the out of control spending of the government, but no discussion on how he would reduce it. What programs will he cut? It doesn’t show how he will reduce taxes, either. If the national debt is truly that high and we need to cut our defict, just how do you cut taxes at the same time?

  • Improving the Economy and Creating Jobs
  • After a quote by Ron, there’s this: “As our next US Senator, Ron will work to create a jobs friendly environment by reducing and simplifying taxes and regulations on business.” Well, that answers my question on where the tax cuts will happen.

  • Real Reforms for Health Care
  • The heading may say reforms for health care, but the post beneath states: “Ron will vote to repeal the Health Care Bill and replace it with market-based solutions that will include: portability, malpractice reform, mandate reduction, insurance purchase across state lines, lower costs, and a safety net for those with pre-existing conditions.” With the except of malpractice reform and mandate reduction, the rest is what the Health Care Bill does now.

  • Energy Solutions
  • The quote: “Ron will work to safely increase domestic production of oil, clean coal, natural gas, nuclear and alternative energy. Roughly 60 percent of America’s oil is imported from other countries, which creates both security and economic threats to the nation.” Well, I do agree that our national dependence on foreign oil is hurting us. But, I’m not so sure – especially after the gulf oil spill – that I want oil domestically. I do want more money for research and development in to alternative energy.

  • Preserving Wisconsin Values
  • I love when a politician says preserving values. They add such a nice touch to it. It means imposing their values on the rest of us. And, that’s what it says right there on his site: “Ron is pro-life, pro-family, and believes that freedom of religion doesn’t mean freedom from religion. Ron will take these principles with him to Washington and will stand up to those who would attack these cherished traditional values.” The emphasis is totally mine. I worry when someone thinks that I have to have a religion imposed by them.

  • Improving Education
  • “Ron supports reforming the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) to reduce waste in education spending and return more flexibility and decision-making powers to states, local school boards and teachers. A one-size-fits-all approach doesn’t fit Wisconsin.” I’d like to know what reforms he plans, because I’d be happy if they threw out the whole No Child Left Behind Act and started over. I do agree that too much is handed down from Washington when it comes from our schools.

  • Cracking Down on Illegal Immigration
  • I’m putting up almost the whole post (I didn’t include the candidate’s quote at the top). I do approve of amnesty in some fashion, which he doesn’t judging from the post. I’d like to know what he means by blanket amnesty and for what kind of amnesty he would approve. I’m against a National ID card, which is what REAL ID is. I think businesses should be penalized for hiring illegals. That said, you should ask an Arizona businessman what he thinks, now that the tough enforcement has caused them to have to fired the illegals who worked for them.
    “The first step towards controlling illegal immigration is securing our borders. Ron believes the federal government has failed to enforce current immigration laws and tighten our borders to stop the flow of illegal immigration.
    Ron opposes blanket amnesty.
    Ron also supports REAL ID, requiring employers to verify the Social Security numbers of potential employees. Ron supports providing law enforcement the necessary tools, such as the Patriot Act, to protect our country.
    Businesses or employers who knowingly hire illegal immigrants should be penalized and we should take steps to prevent abuse or exploitation of workers due to their immigration status.”

These were all posted – according to the site – on June 10, 2010.

I’m 100% sure that there isn’t a snowball’s chance in you know where that would convince me to vote for Ron Johnson. I think you should check out his site and make up your own mind.

Hate Church Targets Comic-Con

I saw this post over at kotaku.com. Apparently, the Westboro Baptist Church has nothing to do. They are planning on protesting Comic-Con in San Diego. Don’t these people have lives?  Don’t they have to work for a living?  Apparently not.  I wonder how many of them are living on the government dole – hey, if people can think it about me, I should be able to think it about them, right?  But, seriously, just how do the members of the Westboro Baptist Church support themselves?

These people give Christianity a bad name.  They’re the kind of Christians that make me cringe every time someone proclaims their Christian status in front of me.  I know it isn’t very nice of me, but my first thought is always, “When is the crazy going to start?”

If you’ve checked out the blog over at kotaku.com, then you had to see the sign that says, “God Hates Nerds” Romans 9:13. But, I seriously doubt that the maker of the sign has ever read Roman 9:13. The passage states, for those of you who are not familiar, states: “As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated.” What in the world does that have to do with Nerds?

Absolutely nothing.

The chapter deals with whether or not all Israelites “are truly members of God’s people” (Romans 9:6). Apparently, according to Saint Paul, they are not, for “being descendants of Abraham doesn’t make them truly Abraham’s children” (Romans 9:7). Only those born to descendants of Issac, who was the chosen one. The whole point of the passage is that God can choose to send some of us away to, I’m assuming, burn in the fires of Hell and take the rest of us into Heaven to be with Him. Now, I understand that, but I still have no idea what that has to do with nerds. Further, why would any people put much stock into the crap Saint Paul wrote? He isn’t God. God didn’t write through him. The only words in the Bible that should be held with any weight in our lives are the ones that Jesus spoke.

The front page on their website states that, “God doesn’t love everyone, you simpleton.”  The really big question, if it is true that “God doesn’t love everyone”, what is their proof that God loves them? The complete line is: “…Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated. Rom. 9:13. God doesn’t love everyone, you simpleton. How long will you love simplicity? Prov. 1:22.” So, they have take two completely unrelated verses in the Bible and tied them together to make their own, well, simple point.  God doesn’t love everyone.  So, is that why Rev Phelps is dying of cancer?  That’s what I heard.  That he’s in real pain and suffering, which seems pretty fair, since according to Exodus 33:19, God said: “I will show mercy to anyone I choose, and I will show compassion to anyone I choose.”

But, what does that have to do with nerds and why waste a trip to San Diego to protest Comic-Con?

Apparently, they think that because you like comic books, you’ve turned your back on God and you’re into worshiping idols. I’m serious, that’s what their website says (yes, I went to god hates fags and looked around.): “They have turned comic book characters into idols, and worship them they do! Isaiah 2:8 Their land also is full of idols; they worship the work of their own hands, that which their own fingers have made: 9 And the mean man boweth down, and the great man humbleth himself: therefore forgive them not. It is time to put away the silly vanities and turn to God like you mean it. The destruction of this nation is imminent – so start calling on Batman and Superman now, see if they can pull you from the mess that you have created with all your silly idolatry.”

Does the Westboro Baptist Church realize that they couldn’t spread it’s message of hate (god hates fags) without a nerdy webmaster. (If this man or woman has one brain in their head, they should be ashamed of themselves to help such an anti-Christian group spread such hate.)

You know, here’s something I don’t understand – and I’m serious here – as a Christian, I’m looking forward to the end of my life. I really am. I really can’t wait to place my gaze on my Lord and Savior. I don’t fear death and I don’t fear the destruction of the world as we know it. Truly. I’d like to make the world a better place before I reach that death. I don’t believe that “the destruction of this nation is imminent”, so I believe we need to work together to make America a better nation. But, this is what I don’t understand. If you believe that the world is coming to an end, shouldn’t you be rejoicing? If the world ends, then Jesus will rule upon the earth, as discussed in Revelations. Isn’t that something a Christian should be thrilled about? Shouldn’t the Westboro Baptist Church be happy that Jesus is coming to rule? Shouldn’t they put down their signs of protest and start bowing their heads in prayer? If Jesus is going to be here any minute, shouldn’t they be absolutely sure that their hearts and lives are pure and stop pestering the rest of us?

I pray for these people all the time. I hope that God shows them the mercy they refused to show others. (And, if I’m honest, I hope He doesn’t listen to me too much. I’d like to see them suffer, a little. Okay, a lot. I’m not a perfect Christian.)

One final thought – for today – With all their disgusting and offensive material on their site, I found the icon on the top – in the address bar – with the upside down American flag to be the most disturbing. An upside down flag means that you are in distressed and while I support everyone’s First Amendment right, it doesn’t mean that I can’t find this kind of disrespect for the symbol of our nation anything but absolutely unpatriotic and denigrating.

Faith

Today’s gospel is from Matthew 22 where Jesus states, “Render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s and render to God what is God’s.” In his homily, Father Chuck said that even though Jesus said this, what we needed to remember is that everything is God’s and we need to keep our faith in mind when making political decisions.

I agree, this does not say that we can’t have separation of church and state, just that we need to remember that when we separate church and state, it still all belongs to God. Everything. Our decisions on how we vote, as Christians, should be based on our Christian faith.

Father Chuck’s homily made a lot of sense to me and for once, I didn’t need to feel guilty. I all ready use faith in making political decisions. I believe in tax breaks not for the wealthy, but for the working poor. All child care costs should be pre-tax. I believe that the EPA should help improve the environment. God entrusted us with the earth and we aren’t taking very good care of it for Him. I, also, believe that the EPA should recognize other fuels besides gasoline for powering our vehicles (more on this at a later time).

I am pro-life and that includes the death penalty. In answer to your unasked question, no, I probably wouldn’t feel that way if it was my wife or child, but I would hope that after my mourning was over that I could start the healing process with forgiveness. This isn’t to say that I am somehow soft on crime. I don’t think murderers should get ten years and I do believe that rapists and child molesters should never be set free.

I believe that when we make cuts in our local, state and federal budgets, we should never cut what will hurt the least of us — the poor and downtrodden. Also, when the military budget is raised, decent raises should be handed out to the men and women who serve.
One last thought for today, I’m really tired of being lumped into a category of being a secular liberal. Just because I don’t want my tax dollars supporting faith base organizations who can discriminate against those who believe differently than they do, does not make me a secular liberal. I think it is time that all us Liberal Christians stand up and clearly let the other side of the aisle know that we are out here. We believe in Christ Jesus as the way to our Lord God.

God Bless,
Julie

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