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Archive for the ‘Perplexity’ Category

from The Most Important News:

Based on how Americans are handling the coronavirus lockdowns, it is hard to be optimistic about what will happen when a really severe crisis hits us.  Yes, this pandemic is definitely a great tragedy.  There are more than 700,000 confirmed cases in the U.S. and more than 40,000 Americans have died.  But it isn’t the end of the world.  I am sorry to tell you this, but COVID-19 is not the worst thing that we are going to face.  In fact, it is not even close to the worst thing that we are going to face.  So it is a bit disheartening to see so many Americans responding to this pandemic so poorly.

Let me give you some examples of what I am talking about.  Polling firms have been extremely active lately, and even though nearly 40 percent of all U.S. adults are obese, one survey found that Americans are binging on snack foods during these lockdowns like never before

About 40% of people say they’ve been eating more snack foods since the outbreak began, with 26% admitting they’re finding comfort in chocolate, specifically, according to a Harris Poll of 2,013 US adults conducted over the weekend.

If overeating was all that we had to worry about, I could live with that.

But it turns out that Americans are also indulging in a whole bunch of other self-destructive behaviors during this time.  At a moment in our history when alcohol-related deaths in the U.S. are already at an all-time high, heavy drinkers have decided that this pandemic is a perfect opportunity to drink even more

One in five said they are guzzling more alcohol, though that number was higher, at 30%, among those 18 to 35 — or millennials and Gen-Zers.

In areas that have been hit extremely hard by COVID-19, sales increases have been especially dramatic.  In New York City, one liquor store owner says that it is “like New Year’s every day” during his city’s lockdown…

With the initial surge of panic buying over, wine and marijuana sales are still way up, presenting an opportunity — and a challenge — for the businesses scrambling to meet the demand spikes and shifts in consumer behavior.

“It’s like New Year’s every day,” said Mark Schwartz, the owner of Little Mo Wine and Spirits in the Crown Heights neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York, who has seen alcohol sales shoot up fourfold.

Of course while they are eating and drinking they need something to do, and so the average American is streaming approximately eight hours of shows and movies every single day…

The average American is passing the time amid the new coronavirus pandemic by streaming roughly eight hours of shows and movies every day, a recent survey shows.

OnePoll surveyed 2,000 Americans with access to at least one streaming service and found that not only was the average person watching eight hours’ worth of content but also likely went through three series in a week alone, StudyFinds reported.

This helps to explain why Netflix stock has been absolutely soaring recently.

Personally, I have never watched “Tiger King” and I have absolutely no desire to do so.  In fact, I have not had a Netflix subscription for over a decade.  Very few corporations have embraced pure evil to the extent that Netflix has, but most Americans don’t seem to care, and right now Netflix is absolutely rolling in revenue.

In addition to binge watching television, Americans are also doing much more online gambling

Online poker revenues were up more than 100 percent from February, and iGaming revenue reached a new record of $64.8 million according to the figures released Wednesday for New Jersey, one of two states that allow online gambling.

To me, this doesn’t make any sense at all.

One recent survey found that about half of all Americans will have run through all of their savings by the end of April.  If you aren’t going to have enough money to pay your bills next month, why would you want to be gambling the little money that you do have away?

Sadly, it does not appear that our society is equipped to handle hard times.  Even before this pandemic started, the suicide rate in the U.S. was at an all-time record high, and more Americans were overdosing on drugs than ever before in our history.

But everything that I have shared with you so far pales in comparison to what I am going to share with you now.

As this pandemic has sent a wave of fear sweeping across the country, it has also created a boom in business at abortion clinics all over America

The Trust Women abortion clinic in Wichita, Kansas, reported performing 252 abortions in March, up from 90 in March, 2019. Julie Burkhart, the chief executive of Trust Women, told RT.com this week that between the Wichita, Kansas clinic and her other clinic in Oklahoma City (which was briefly closed but has since reopened), they have seen a “300 to 400 percent” increase in their patient load.

“The women who have been calling are uncertain about having a baby when the world is so unpredictable all of a sudden, and they’re worried about money due to the sharp rise in unemployment,” she said. “We’ve been seeing more women calling earlier than usual in their pregnancy, and there’s this urgent nature to it.”

Just like with individuals, great challenges tend to reveal who we truly are as a nation.

And right now the message that we are sending to the rest of the world with our behavior is not a good one.

Past generations of Americans were called to go to war, but we have been called to stay at home for a few weeks, and we can’t seem to even handle that very well.

Amazingly, the mainstream media has somehow convinced a majority of the American people that the lockdowns should continue.  Just check out what a NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll just found

Nearly 60 percent of American voters say they are more concerned that a relaxation of stay-at-home restrictions would lead to more COVID-19 deaths than they are that those restrictions will hurt the U.S. economy, according to a new national NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll.

But while strong majorities of Democrats and independents are more worried about the coronavirus than the economy, Republicans are divided on the question, with almost half of them more concerned about how the restrictions could affect the economy.

The longer these lockdowns persist, the more self-destructive Americans are likely to become.

But eventually they will end, and most people will attempt to resume their normal lives.

Of course it is just a matter of time before an even bigger crisis than this pandemic comes along, and if we are failing so badly this time around, how in the world will people be able to handle something even worse?

 

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from The Federalist:

There’s nothing like a crisis to bring clarity. The response of some mayors and governors to the coronavirus pandemic in recent days has made it clear they think they have unlimited and arbitrary power over their fellow citizens, that they can order them to do or not do just about anything under the guise of protecting public health.

We’ve now witnessed local and state governments issue decrees about what people can and cannot buy in stores, arrest parents playing with their children in public parks, yank people off public buses at random, remove basketball rims along with private property, ticket churchgoers, and in one case try—and fail—to chase down a lone runner on an empty beach. All of this, we’re told, is for our own good.

Some Authorities Are Targeting Christians

The most egregious example of this outpouring of authoritarianism was an attempt by Louisville, Kentucky, Mayor Greg Fischer to ban drive-in church services on Easter. On Holy Thursday, one day before Christians were to begin their most important religious celebrations of the year, Fischer declared that drive-in Easter services would be illegal.

To remove all doubt about his seriousness, he also threatened arrest and criminal penalties for anyone who dared violate his order, and in an Orwellian twist, invited people to snitch on their fellow citizens. Fischer justified this by saying it was “to save lives.”

Thankfully, a federal judge made short work of the mayor’s idiotic power-grab, issuing a temporary restraining order against the city of Louisville on Saturday, writing so as to remove all doubt, “The Mayor’s decision is stunning. And it is, ‘beyond all reason,’ unconstitutional.”

The mayor shouldn’t have needed a federal judge to tell him that. Anyone with a passing familiarity with the U.S. Constitution should know the government can’t single out religious worship for special regulations and prohibitions, which is precisely what the clueless Fischer did here. His order would have barred Christians from driving to their church parking lots and sitting in their vehicles for Easter services—all while maintaining proper social distancing—while imposing no such restrictions on drive-up and drive-through restaurants, liquor stores, grocery stores, or parking lots generally.

Mayors or governors—or even presidents—can no more single out Christians on Easter than they can single out Muslims during Ramadan or Jews on Yom Kippur. If you’re going to ban parking in parking lots, it has to apply to everyone everywhere.

But this didn’t just happen in Louisville. Two churches in Greenville, Mississippi, that were holding drive-in services for Holy Week said police showed up and ordered churchgoers to leave or face a $500 fine.

In a video posted on Twitter from Pastor Hamilton of King James Bible Baptist Church in Greenville, a police officer tells Hamilton that because of the governor’s order, “your rights are suspended.” To the good pastor’s credit, he correctly notes that the governor cannot suspend his rights because his rights come from God, not the government.

Pandemic or not, this stuff has no place in American society. Petty tyranny of the kind these mayors and local officials are scheming is wholly alien to our customs and way of life, and destructive to the social contract on which our nation is built.

Thankfully, the Department of Justice has taken notice of this fledgling authoritarian streak among the country’s mayors and governors. A DOJ spokesman said Saturday Attorney General William Barr is “monitoring” government regulation of religious services and may take action against local governments as early as this week.

Overreaching Orders Expose Arbitrary Rule

That’s a good start, but the targeting of churches, while undoubtedly the most offensive overreach by state and local governments, is hardly the only instance of government gone wild. In Michigan, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has taken it upon herself to declare what items are and are not “essential,” dictating to grocery stores what they can and cannot sell as part of a sweeping order issued Friday.

Among the nonessential, and therefore banned, items are fruit and vegetable plants and seeds. Never mind that growing fruits and vegetables at home right now would help maintain social distancing during the pandemic, the governor has spoken and her word is law. (Lottery tickets, on the other hand, are still permitted.)

Beyond the fruit and vegetable ban, the governor’s order is an object lesson in the absurdity and inconsistency of arbitrary power and rule by fiat. Michiganders are banned from traveling “between residences” if they own a cottage or a summer home, but the ban only applies to Michigan residents, so an out-of-stater with a cottage in the Upper Peninsula could presumably still visit. The ban also still allows travel between states, so if a Michigander has a cottage in Wisconsin or Ohio, he can travel without fear of being arrested or fined by state police.

Why did Whitmer tailor her order this way? Probably because she knows she has no authority to ban travel between states, or issue orders to Americans generally—no more than a mayor has the authority to shut down drive-in Easter services in his city.

That these officials need to be reminded of that, and in some cases restrained by federal judges, bodes very ill for America. Now more than ever, we need leaders who don’t just care about protecting us from the pandemic, but also care about preserving liberty in a time of crisis.

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2 Thessalonians 2:7:

“For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only He who now restrains will do so until He is taken out of the way.”

from Pulpit & Pen:

What We Know

Today, a mad gunman burst into the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs, Texas, and killed (at least) 26 people and shot approximately 20 more. Average attendance for the church is in the fifties, meaning that almost everyone was shot. The youngest victim was reportedly two and the oldest is in their 70s. The pastor’s 14-year-old daughter was murdered. The gunman was Devin Kelley, a 26 year-old with a dishonorable discharge from the military. Reportedly, he was a registered Democrat, former VBS instructor, and by some reporting, involved with Antifa (no one knows at this point how valid the reporting has been in its earliest of stages). Also, Kelley had posted a photograph of his AR-15 rifle on Facebook in late October. It is unknown what his connection is with the church, but it is not believed he had one. One Citizen grabbed his rifle when seeing the shooting, and took up pursuit with another Citizen who stopped and let him in his vehicle. They pursued Kelley until he ran off the road, and they kept point until police arrived. It is unclear if Kelley was shot by the Citizen or by his own hand.

What Else We Know, and What We Expect

We know that this little town near San Antonio is reeling in agony. For them, this tragedy is Apocalyptic in scale. An entire church was wiped off the face of the Earth, entire families were decimated, an entire community for the rest of time will be remembered as the place where it happened. No doubt, this little hamlet of civilization has been flooded with news agencies from around the world, agents with the FBI and ATF, ambulance-chasing opportunists of the worst varieties, and well-meaning helping hands (who often get in the way).

Whenever schools resume, they will need an army of people trained in crisis therapy. Life will not get back to “normal” in this town for a long, long time – if ever. Likewise, we can expect for liberals to call for gun control (in fact, they already have started) and conspiracy theorists will find reasons to explain that this is a “false flag” designed to confiscate firearms. If Kelley is indeed an activist with Antifa or a registered Democrat, conservatives will claim this is the fruit of an increasingly anti-Christian culture. If Kelley was on psychotropic prescription drugs, it will be used as further evidence that we are medicating people into sociopaths. Anti-military activists will claim that the army is creating killers. If Kelley was a conservative, liberals will seek to draw him to some kind of militia movement and perpetuate the stereotype of dangerous white men. All of those conversations will be had in coming days.

It will be easy to get sucked into the political volleying back and forth between conservatives and Marxist fascists who want to disarm America. It will be easy to make that the substance of our concern. We can expect political opportunists to take as much advantage of this situation as ambulance-chasing lawyers at a horrific crash scene.

What We Should Do

Clearly, the first thing we must do is pray for the survivors and loved ones of the deceased at the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs. Our petitions should be made to the God of mercy without ceasing in coming days (1 Thessalonians 5:17). We mustn’t just drop a short, drive-by prayer – a “God be with them” – a prayerette in passing, but repeatedly throughout the day drop our heads and pray for those who are left behind this tragedy, who must slowly but surely pick up the pieces to their shattered lives and figure out how to move forward with their loved ones buried in the ground.

We should pray that the Holy Spirit intercedes with groanings too deep for words (Romans 8:26), because in a time like this, words fail us. Certainly words are failing those in Sutherland Springs this evening. Sometimes there is little to say, and the Holy Spirit intercedes for us when our spiritual brokenness exceeds our mental ability to convey those thoughts into words. We should also give supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgiving to the city, county and state officials who have to clean up the mess (1 Timothy 2:1-4), distribute justice, dispense mercy, and provide law and order in the midst of tragedy. Likewise, we should force our flesh to cry out in prayer for the wicked, which would include the shooter (if he weren’t already gone to his own place) and those capitalizing on the tragedy for their own political agenda, being instructed in Scripture to even pray for our enemies (Luke 6:27-28). Finally, concerning prayer, we should mourn with those who mourn and enter ourselves into a time of grief and grieve with and alongside Sutherland Springs, Texas.

Secondly, we should preach the Gospel. We are told to preach the Gospel in season and out of season (2 Timothy 4:2). This means that the Gospel had better be on our lips in the midst of turmoil, trouble, and suffering. If anyone thinks that it is not a proper time to preach Gospel and repentance, they should be reminded of Luke 13, when Jesus was interrupted by the news heralds proclaiming that there had been a massacre in the temple (sound familiar?) and Jesus responded in Luke 13:3, “I tell you, no! Unless you repent, ye likewise will perish.”

People are especially receptive to the Gospel in times of terrible travesty. We are not Gospel opportunists because this would imply we only share the Gospel when times are bad. In fact, we simply share Gospel in all seasons, which include seasons of suffering. This world is a broken mess and life is short and full of sorrow (Job 14:1). There is no better time to discuss these matters than when examples of their truthfulness are still fresh in our minds.

Third, we should take note. While tragedy creates emotionality, emotionality clouds wise judgment. While liberals cry out that it is now time to discuss gun control, we know that policy decisions are best made when people are thinking rationally, and not thinking emotionally. Without being rash, we should nonetheless take note of the lessons here, and make future use of them when we have fully thought out their implications. For example, we should take note that this was a small church, with probably few enemies in the world. This was not a megachurch that might attract throngs of people with perverse political agendas or mental disorders. And yet, a madman decided to approach this small church and wage war against it, ambushing it on a bright Sunday morning. What this means is that any church, at any time, can be attacked, for any reason.

Likewise, we should take note that a lot of people were murdered in a very short period of time. Reaction time, for those of us who steward churches, is very limited. We are simply not afforded time in such an active shooter scenario. Our churches must be prepared to protect the flock against imminent threats, guard and lock doors, and fire back at a moment’s notice (for a Biblical defense of self-defense, read this post, “Why Some People Need A Good Killing“). There are fewer ideas with less Biblical warrant and less historic support among orthodox churches than the absurd notion of pacificism, which has largely been relegated to sub-Christian cults. Christians have always been people who fired back in order to protect the innocent, and we must be prepared to do so.

What We Should Definitely Not Do

We should not be armchair quarterbacks when it comes to church security. We do not know if anyone in the congregation was armed (or if its armed members had a chance to return fire before being sucker-punched with semi-automatic gunfire through the wall). We do not know if that church had a security plan in place. And frankly, you and I (probably) do not know what it is like to use a firearm in a crisis situation, and we do not want to pretend that it is as easy as we’ve made it out to be in the movies. The fact is, a madman with a gun can kill a lot of people before he is stopped, even in a community with lots of Citizens carrying their own self-defense firearms – especially when he attacks without warning.

We should also not forget that at the very center of this mess are approximately 50 victims, some of whom are alive and some of whom are dead. People are important, and the people of this community are hurting. Remember that when you are tempted to use the facts surrounding this tragedy to bludgeon the political enemy. That club is covered with blood, so be conscientious about how (or if) you swing it.

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And if anyone wonders why things like this: “26 killed in church attack in Texas’ deadliest mass shooting” are occurring you only need to read this article. We have lost an entire generation and what we have seen in Texas this week is only the beginning!

(The Texas Church shooter was a former Christian who turned to Atheism)

from Berean Research:

The following blog post is a response to Kari Paul’s “Why millennials are ditching religion for witchcraft and astrology” (here).  In his piece, John Paul Ferguson specifically addresses the move away from traditional religion to an interest in paganism on college campuses. According to Ferguson “a number of universities around the country have officially recognized Pagan or Wicca student groups, usually housed under their respective religious student activities departments.” There is little doubt that the increased interest in pagan spirituality can be traced to people’s obsession with the environment.

To shed light on what Wiccans believe, Ferguson quotes author Catherine Edwards Sanders who says that those who practice witchcraft (Wicca) have “monistic and pantheistic beliefs that all living things are of equal value. … Humans have no special placenor are they made in God’s image. … Wiccans believe that they possess divine power within themselves and that they are gods and goddesses. …Consciousness can and should be altered through rite and ritual.” (emphasis added)

John Paul Ferguson’s piece is over at The College Fix. He writes:

As millennials continue to leave traditional Christian religions, interest in Wiccan and pagan practices have seen increased interest in recent years, a trend also spotted among young people and on college campuses.

Pagan or Wiccan student groups are present on a number of college campuses — both secular and religious — across the nation. The growing normalization of such practices, albeit still a minority, corresponds with the decline in Christian believers, some observers note.

A recent report in Market Watch headlined “Why millennials are ditching religion for witchcraft and astrology” argues as much, for example.

“Whether it be spell-casting, tarot, astrology, meditation and trance, or herbalism, these traditions offer tangible ways for people to enact change in their lives,” Melissa Jayne, owner of the Brooklyn-based “metaphysical boutique,” which has seen a big increase in 20-something customers in recent years, told Market Watch.

“For a generation that grew up in a world of big industry, environmental destruction, large and oppressive governments, and toxic social structures, all of which seem too big to change, this can be incredibly attractive,” she said.

The article goes on to cite several businesses that have successfully latched on to this trend, from online purveyors of tarot cards to popular astrology apps.

The article also cites recent Pew Research Center data that found 25 percent of Americans now identify with no religion, as opposed to 2011’s 18 percent. Underscoring that, a 2014 National Science Foundation poll found nearly half of all Americans say astrology is either “very scientific” or “sort of scientific,” UPI reports.

With that, it may be no surprise to see interest in paganism is also alive and well on campus. Continue reading

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“In broad terms, the teaming up of large countries indicates that a regional anti-terrorism entity or even a military block independent from the US might emerge at some point in future.”

Everyone should keep their eyes on what is occurring in the Middle East. Egypt and Saudi Arabia have been the main Sunni Islam Arab nations facing off against the Russia and Iran axis, whose aim is to become the dominant power in the Middle East.

Under Obama, the U.S. has pulled back and left a western power vacuum in the Middle East, which Russia has been more than willing to step in and fill! First with Iran, then Turkey went to their side, and now Egypt is falling in line. this leaves only Saudi Arabia as the sole large powerful Sunni Islamic Arab state to oppose Shiite Islamic Iran. And Saudi Arabia will fall!

Many thought that by electing Trump, that he would halt this power drift to Russia. But he will not. He has already stated that he may be willing to give Russia a free hand in the Middle East for concessions from Russia to back off in Eastern Europe! This would only solidify Russia’s role as the new power in the Middle East.

The thing to remember: No matter what man does, God’s Eschatological plan moves forward!

from Zero Hedge:

Finally, Egypt has taken a clear stance on Syria. This is an event of great importance to drastically change the situation. Speaking on the Portuguese TV network RTP on November 22, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi publicly affirmed his support for the forces of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. In response to the question of whether Egypt will send troops to Syria or not he stated: «Our priority is to support our Army in issues such as controlling some parts of Libya and dealing with extremist forces for establishing peace, including in Syria and Iraq».

President al-Sisi restored diplomatic relations with Syria after coming to power in 2013.

Last month, Egypt backed a Russian-backed motion calling for a ceasefire in Syria. Egypt had known the support for the Russian measure would put it at odds with the West and Saudi Arabia. Riyadh responded by suspending oil shipments to the country but the Egyptian government does not give in under pressure. For instance, it has defied the US and Saudi Arabia by refusing to get involved in the Yemen’s conflict.

Citing «well-informed Arab sources», Lebanese newspaper Al-Safir reported that 18 Egyptian pilots arrived at Hamah military airbase in Syria on November 12. The servicemen are part of a special helicopter squadron. A source «close to the Syria file» told the newspaper that a large deployment of Egyptian troops will arrive in Syria in late January to take part in military operations «not limited to air support at Hama airbase»

Last month, Syrian security services chief Ali Mamlouk met with Egyptian officials in his first public foreign visit in five years to discuss Egypt publicly backing the Syrian government. According to Middle East Observer, the first group of 4 high-ranking Egyptian officers from the Egyptian General Staff entered Syria a month ago and was deployed in the Syrian army’s base in Damascus. The military officials visited the armoured division stationed near Daraa and an airbase in Sweida province.

Also last month, Syrian National Security Bureau head Ali Mamlouk visited Cairo to meet Khaled Fawzy, the head of Egypt’s General Intelligence Service. The two sides agreed to coordinate political positions and strengthen cooperation in «the fight against terror» according to Syria’s Sana news agency.

Egypt’s open support of the Russia-backed coalition in Syria is a game changing event of fundamental importance. In the West, the war in Syria has been widely believed to be a conflict between Sunni and Shia forces – the 1400 old Islam schism. Now the largest Arab Sunni state has taken the side of the Syria’s government to become a coalition ally with Russia. The sectarian interpretation of the conflict is not valid anymore.

The conflict is about fighting terrorists. As the Egyptian president noted he believes that the national army the Syrian government forces are best positioned to combat extremists and restore stability in the war-torn nation.

Recently, Russia and Egypt have intensified their bilateral ties in many areas, including defense cooperation. Joint military exercises were held in Egypt in October. Both countries see eye-to-eye on Libya and many other issues.

There is another event to demonstrate the strengthening of the Russia-supported coalition joined by Egypt. According to Iranian Fars News Agency, Iranian Defense Minister Hossein Dehghan stated on November 26 that Tehran could allow Russia to use Nojeh airbase near Hamadan for Moscow’s aerial operation against terrorists in Syria. Also, Mr. Dehghan told reporters that purchase of Russian-made Sukhoi Su-30 fighter jets is on the agenda.

The same day, Victor Ozerov, the Russian upper house of parliament’s defense committee chair, said Russia could use Iran’s Hamadan airbase in case the Admiral Kuznetsov aircraft carrier moves away from Syria. On August 16, Russian bombers used Iran’s Nojeh to launch attacks on terrorist positions in Syria.

On November 26, Syrian armed forces and allies managed to seize control of Hanano, key district in the northwestern city of Aleppo, which has been a flash point over the past few months. After Aleppo is retaken, the Russia-supported coalition in Syria will control vast swathes of land in the country. With the government of Bashar Assad firmly in power, the post-war settlement no longer seems to be a pipe dream and the US-led coalition will hardly be the one to call the shots.

Russia’s military effort in Syria has become an operation of a much broader scope than it was back in September 2015, when the first Russian aircraft flew its first sortie. The operation has marked Russia’s spectacular return to the Middle East as a major player. New actors, like China, Egypt and others, get involved. Interaction between the coalition members gets closer as illustrated by Russia and Iran.

Egypt’s decision to support the Syria’s government provides a good opportunity to influence the events in the region in a positive way.

In broad terms, the teaming up of large countries indicates that a regional anti-terrorism entity or even a military block independent from the US might emerge at some point in future.

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The worst mistake that I see Christians doing is publicly endorsing Trump and encouraging other Christians to not only vote for him but to publicly support him! And the reasons that many Christians give for this is out of a sense of fear of what is coming on America, and they separate out Christian living from actively supporting Trump!

from The Resurgent:

You really have to read this to believe it. It is by a preacher’s wife who is so courageous she writes anonymously. I notice a lot of Christians who vote for Trump have such courage in their convictions that they are anonymous.

One point I see a lot of Christians make about supporting Trump that I find to be unbelievably shallow is this one:

I would first ask you to remember that we are NOT electing Trump to a sacred or ecclesiastical office. We are electing him to a political office. If this was a question of placing Trump in charge of my church or Christian organization, you would have to hogtie and hold me down in order to get me to vote for him. I am not arguing for Trump’s morality here.

We see it here too.

“Is Donald Trump able to lead anyone’s congregation? Absolutely not,” said Pastor Mark Burns, a South Carolina-based minister who delivered a prayer at last month’s Republican convention. “Is Donald Trump the Bible-totin’, scripture-quotin’ Christian? To me, that’s irrelevant. We’re not voting for the next pastor of the United States, we’re voting for the next president … [Trump] himself knows that he has not been the churchgoing choirboy, and he admits to his former lifestyle.”

Now read Paul in 1 Corinthians 5:9-11.

I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people— not at all meaning the sexually immoral of this world, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world. But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler—not even to eat with such a one.

Compare what Paul wrote to what Wayne Grudem writes about Trump.

He is egotistical, bombastic, and brash. He often lacks nuance in his statements. Sometimes he blurts out mistaken ideas (such as bombing the families of terrorists) that he later must abandon. He insults people. He can be vindictive when people attack him. He has been slow to disown and rebuke the wrongful words and actions of some angry fringe supporters. He has been married three times and claims to have been unfaithful in his marriages. These are certainly flaws, but I don’t think they are disqualifying flaws in this election.

Paul specifically tells us that if someone holds himself out as a Christian, but “is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler” we are to disassociate from such a person until that person repents. Trump has said repeatedly he has never had a need to repent.

So the rationalization that this pastor’s wife makes along with people like Wayne Grudem, Ralph Reed, Mark Burns and others is that we’re talking about the Presidency, not the church.

But Christians are Christians seven days a week inside and outside the church. These Christians are arguing that we should put our American citizenship ahead of our citizenship in the kingdom, or that we can bifurcate them and firewall ourselves between being American and being Christian. Frankly, we find ourselves in moral collapse as a country because a lot of well meaning Christians have behaved like a Christian on Sunday and then a non-Christian for the other six days.

For a Christian to say, “I know this guy is a really terrible person, but he’s not running for church office,” is a cop out to license immorality.

If Trump is really God’s chosen candidate, God can put Trump in office without Christians advocating for him. There is not an instance in the Bible where God, his prophets, or Christ Jesus himself encourages the faithful to support an immoral person to advance the kingdom. No one was encouraged to hold open the gates of Jerusalem for Nebuchadnezzar. No one was encouraged to cheer on Judas to accomplish God’s redemptive plan. And no one was encouraged to cheer on Herod as he slaughtered the children. In all ways, these people accomplished God’s will, but God did not ask his people to support them.

What this pastor’s wife, Wayne Grudem, Ralph Reed, Mark Burns, and others are asking us to do is be a little less holy and principled to “make America great again.” We make America great again by being better Christians, not telling Christians to get off their high horse and support someone who is “egotistical, bombastic, and brash [who] lacks nuance in his statements…sometimes blurts out mistaken ideas (such as bombing the families of terrorists) that he later must abandon [and who] insults people [and who] can be vindictive when people attack him [and who] has been slow to disown and rebuke the wrongful words and actions of some angry fringe supporters [and who] has been married three times and claims to have been unfaithful in his marriages.”

Just read the conclusion of this pastor’s wife:

If you do not vote for Trump and therefore vote for Hillary, don’t tell me you were being self sacrificial and that you did it “for your country.” Because you didn’t. You did it for yourself.

I am not arguing that Trump is a great man.

I am not even arguing that Trump is a good man.

I am arguing that in the words of Christ Himself, God can use an individual that is “not one of us” to further His purposes and protect His people.

So she is not arguing that Trump is great or good, but that God can use Trump. So let God do it. God never asked his people to support the evil and wicked even when God used them to accomplish his purpose.

And I’m not doing this “for [my] country.” I’m doing this because my God tells me that I should not associate with any unrepentant person who claims to be a Christian but is guilty of Trump’s sins. And God is not just talking about on Sunday, but everyday.

This pastor’s wife and the others want to be a Christian on Sunday and an American every other day. I’m a Christian first. So I cannot vote for what I think is immoral. If God wants Trump in office, God is big enough to do it without me. He does not need you or me or the church to be an instrument to prop up an immoral man.

How then can we witness in faith and truth telling others we supported an unrepentant adulterer who swindled the old and single mothers out of money because he wasn’t running for preacher, justPresident of the United States of America?

This pastor’s wife has a shallow faith and is worshiping the idol America.

Let God’s will be done. But don’t collaborate in immorality thinking you’re helping God. You aren’t.

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1 Kings 19:18:

“Yet I have left me seven thousand in Israel, all the knees which have not bowed unto Baal, and every mouth which hath not kissed him.”

from The Daily Mail:

Religion and faith is having less of an influence on people’s lives, especially the young, according to new research.

The US study claims that millennials – recent teenagers – are the least religious generation of the last six decades and possibly in the nation’s history.

It said recent adolescents are less likely to say that religion is important in their lives and spend less time praying or meditating – and future generations are likely be even less religious.

Researchers led by psychology professor Jean Twenge from San Diego State University analysed data from 11.2 million respondents from four nationally representative surveys of US adolescents aged 13 to 18 taken between 1966 and 2014.

They found that millennials, also known as Generation Y, are less likely to belong to a religious group, or say that faith plays an important role in their daily lives.

‘Unlike previous studies, ours is able to show that millennials’ lower religious involvement is due to cultural change, not to millennials being young and unsettled,’ said Professor Twenge, who is also the author of Generation Me.

‘Millennial adolescents are less religious than Boomers and GenX’ers were at the same age.

‘We also looked at younger ages than the previous studies. More of today’s adolescents are abandoning religion before they reach adulthood, with an increasing number not raised with religion at all.’

The researchers said the study may be the largest ever conducted on changes in Americans’ religious involvement.

Compared to the late 1970s, twice as many 12 graders (17 to 18 year olds) and college students never go to religious services, according to the study, published in the Plos One journal.

And 75 per cent more of this age group said religion is ‘not important at all’ in their lives, than in the 70s.

Compared to the early 1980s, twice as many high school seniors and three times as many college students in the 2010s answered ‘none’ when asked their religion.

And 20 per cent fewer college students described themselves as ‘above average’ in spirituality compared with the 1990s, suggesting that religion has not been replaced with spirituality.

‘These trends are part of a larger cultural context, a context that is often missing in polls about religion,’ Professor Twenge said.

‘One context is rising individualism in US culture. Individualism puts the self-first, which doesn’t always fit well with the commitment to the institution and other people that religion often requires.

‘As Americans become more individualistic, it makes sense that fewer would commit to religion.’

Similarly, in 2013, psychologist Dr Nigel Barber said religious people in many developed countries will be a minority by 2041.

A study into the beliefs of people in 137 countries, which forms the basis for his book, found atheism increases in more developed places as people become increasingly materially rich.

The book, called ‘Why atheism will replace religion,’ proposes that people do not have to rely on supernatural influences when material possessions are catering to their needs.

Religion declines not only because people are becoming richer, but also due to the increasing quality of life, decline of serious diseases, better education and welfare states, the author said.

He believes there is less demand for religion in societies such as Japan and Sweden where normal people are relatively comfortable and consequently the majority of the populations are already secular.

However, a survey released in April claims two thirds of people across the world consider themselves to be religious and the number is expected to grow.

The Win/Gallup International Association study claims people under the age of 34 around the world are actually more religious than older generations.

Another study by the Pew Research Centre, released two years ago, showed the percentage of atheists across the globe is expected to fall across the same time frame, while Muslims will outnumber Christians by 2070.

It predicted Islam will become America’s second largest religion by 2050 and the number of Christians in the US will decline from three quarters of the population in 2010 to two thirds in 2050.

At the same time, those who do not affiliate with any religion, including atheists and agnostics, will make up a ‘declining share of the world’s population’ – even if their numbers are increasing in countries such as the United States, the United Kingdom and France.

A map created by Razzmazz shows the status of the world’s faiths in 35 years’ time, and how the percentage of those that consider themselves ‘religiously unaffiliated’ is expected to increase in the West.

By 2050 in Europe, Muslims will make up one in ten of the overall population. The region’s Christian population will shrink from 553 million to 454 million, according to projections.

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