Where Biblical Morality Violates Government Regulations

Where Biblical Morality Violates Government Regulations

The persecution of Christians by governments began during the time of Paul and Peter and continues today in various countries. There are times and places where biblical morality violates government regulations, resulting in imprisonment. For example, today, in communist China, we see that simply meeting together to worship can result in lengthy jail sentences.

We assume that places where biblical morality violates government regulations are far away in countries where dictators, kings, or dominant philosophies control the population. At the same time, we assume that won’t happen in democratic America, where we are all free to live as the Bible teaches. However, in today’s America, that is not the case.

In 1968, the Fair Housing Act of the Civil Rights Act became law. The law intended to ensure that people were not denied housing because of race, religion, or national origin. On his first day in office, President Biden expanded that to include sexual orientation and gender identity. The administration has further expanded it to include facilities used by the general public, meaning that a bathroom that only one gender can use violates the law.

This regulation has become a particular problem for high schools and colleges. For example, what happens when a young man goes into a bathroom or locker room occupied by a woman, or vice versa? We see the situation where a male cannot be denied access to a female bathroom. A dormitory confined to one gender also becomes illegal. That presents a problem for Christian colleges and universities.

A Christian college is suing the federal government over this issue in the case of College of the Ozarks v. Biden. With elections coming up, it would be good to know the position of politicians in situations where biblical morality violates government regulations.

— John N. Clayton © 2022

Separation of Church and State

Separation of Church and State - Orthodox Patriarch Kirill
Orthodox Patriarch Kirill

The teachings of Jesus Christ show incredible intelligence and wisdom of design, including the separation of church and state. In Matthew 22:15-21, Jesus responded to a question about this issue by saying, “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s.” Romans 13:1-7 instructs Christians to submit to and honor local authority, but there is no command for the Church to get involved in political activity. The Roman government was one of the most brutal and abusive political systems to ever exist on this planet, but Christians did not attempt to change it politically.

The Russian war on Ukraine has shown the consequences when churches get involved in politics. The Russian Orthodox Church has 260 million adherents, half of them living in Ukraine and half in Russia. The Russian leader of the Orthodox Church is Patriarch Kirill, who has supported Putin’s brutal invasion of Ukraine. As a result, 350 Russian Orthodox priests have rebelled against Kirill, and the Orthodox Churches in Ukraine have left the control of Kirill to form the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.

The fundamental problem is that the Orthodox Church has moved away from the Bible as a source of authority, replacing it with human patriarchs who dictate doctrine and follow traditions. Relying on human wisdom and politics instead of God’s Word has resulted in the Orthodox Church’s present situation.

Jesus taught a message of peace, love, and service to fellow human beings no matter their politics or national identity. When humans depend on human values instead of God’s Word, the result is conflict at all levels. The situation in Ukraine is a lesson for Christians throughout the world. Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world” (John 18:36). The separation of church and state is not only biblical but essential to the well-being of the followers of Jesus.

— John N. Clayton © 2022

Reference: The Week for April 1, 2022, page 14.

End-Times Religion, Ukraine, and Jesus

End-Times Religion, Ukraine, and Jesus

Any rational human being has to be horrified by the tragic acts of Vladimir Putin as he orchestrates a military attack on innocent people. As Putin directs the killing of babies, he is also causing incredible loss of resources needed for the peace and well-being of millions of people. This is the act of a madman drunk with power and in total rejection of God. In America, we are disheartened by teachers of end-times religion. Those people are supposed to be Christian leaders, but they are showing incredible ignorance of the teachings of Jesus.

End-times religion is based on the doctrine of dispensationalism. One of the best known of these leaders is Pat Robertson. He claims that Putin “is being compelled by God to invade Ukraine, but that wasn’t his goal. His goal was to move against Israel.” Robertson attempts to base his claim on his interpretation of Old Testament prophesy.

Robertson is just one of several end-times religion preachers who misinterpret prophesy and fail to understand what the Kingdom of Christ is all about. It is “Christian Zionism,” which promotes the idea that Jesus is going to return in something called the “rapture” to take his people away. The doctrine says that He will return to conduct a war against Arab countries, Russia, China, and Iran. Then He will establish Israel as the one world power with Jerusalem as the world’s capital and Jesus as the supreme king. This teaching is destructive, and it opposes the Bible on every turn.

The word “rapture” comes from the Latin “raptus,” which is the translation of the Greek word “harpazo,” meaning to be caught up or caught away. We find “harpazo” used in Acts 8:39, 2 Corinthians 12:2, and Revelation 12:5. Christian Zionists misuse Matthew 24:39-41; 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18; and 1 Corinthians 15:51-53 as references to back up their teaching. There are several versions of this teaching, but they are all in contradiction to the words of Jesus, “My kingdom is not of this world” (John 18:36).

The biblical picture of Christ’s second coming is not political, nationalistic, or geographic. Second Peter 3:10-12 indicates the entire physical universe will be annihilated. Revelation 20:1 and 21:1 tell us that the cosmos and Earth will vanish. This material world will be dissolved, and all the ills that go with it will be gone.

End-times religion conveys a discouraging false promise. None of us wants more war, pain, politics, hate, racism, pollution, or tears. The invasion of Ukraine is the result of atheism, greed, power struggles, and materialism conducted by a madman. It is not endorsed by God, and it opposes all that Jesus taught. Jesus weeps with us at the pain inflicted by Satan’s agents as they show that they are without compassion or empathy.

— John N. Clayton © 2022

The What and Why of JWST

The What and Why of JWST
James Webb Space Telescope with its gold-plated mirrors

If all goes as planned, Christmas Eve will see the launch of the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST or WEBB). It has been a long time in the making with many delays and cost overruns, but it seems that the time has finally arrived. The JWST was supposed to launch in 2007 at the cost of $1 billion. Now it is launching at the end of 2021, and the price has escalated to $10 billion. Let’s examine the what and why of JWST.

First, the what of JWST. The James Webb Space Telescope is a successor to the Hubble Space Telescope (HST or Hubble). It is intended to be a space observatory with capabilities far beyond HST, which was launched in 1990. NASA designed the JWST, and Northrop Grumman built it in California. The European Space Agency will launch it from their launch site in French Guiana, South America.

The why of JWST is that scientists expect it to revolutionize astronomy and expand our knowledge of the universe. Science and technology have made great strides since Hubble was launched and even since astronauts repaired and updated it, most recently in 2009. JWST will observe the universe in infrared light, while HST is limited to visible light. Because galaxies farther away are retreating at increasing speeds, their light shifts toward the red or infrared spectrum. Scientists hope that JWST can observe farther back toward the cosmic creation event known as the big bang. Because of that, astronomers expect to learn more about the formation of stars and galaxies.

Earth-based telescopes must always observe the universe through our atmosphere with particles, pollution, and moisture. That limits their ability to obtain sharp, precise images. Space-based telescopes, like Hubble, eliminate that problem. Webb will give much sharper images with its mirror made of beryllium coated with gold and a diameter more than 2.5 times as wide as Hubble’s.

JWST will locate itself at the Lagrange point where the gravity of Earth and Sun balance each other. That is 930,000 miles (1.5 million km) from Earth. Repairs or upgrades such as those performed on Hubble will not be possible at that distance. That means everything will have to perform flawlessly when the telescope reaches its destination. Deploying the mirror, sun-shield, super-cooling equipment, and telemetry equipment will take a month, which NASA has called “29 days on the edge.”

Another thing that astronomers hope to study with JWST is dark matter, the stuff that’s out there but cannot be seen or detected by any means science has discovered. The way they know dark matter must be there is that it holds the galaxies together. Physics cannot explain why spinning, spiral galaxies, such as the Milky Way, do not fly apart because of centrifugal force. Astronomers hope that JWST’s high-definition images can at least show us where the dark matter is by what they call “gravitational lensing.”

So that is the what and why of JWST. We are excited to see the new images of the universe the James Webb Space Telescope will capture. As we learn about the formation of stars and galaxies, it opens the door to knowledge of God’s handiwork, allowing us to say, “So that’s how God did it!

— Roland Earnst © 2021

Reference: You can find much more about the James Webb Space Telescope at NASA’s fact sheet at THIS LINK.

Life Issues from Beginning to End

Life Issues from Beginning to End

The media have recently reported on several life issues from beginning to end. Here are some examples:

The German Euthanasia Association has announced that those seeking euthanasia must produce proof of COVID vaccination
to legally end their lives. This is apparently to protect healthcare workers.

In Poland, the government has passed a law requiring doctors to report all pregnancies and miscarriages to a government database. The apparent reason for this is to make sure that all pregnancies end with a birth. Unfortunately, Poland has a shortage of workers, and this seems to be the government’s solution to the issue.

Research has shown that women who use marijuana during pregnancy are more than twice as likely to have aggressive, hyperactive children with heart rate and immunity issues.

Babies have a fragrance that comes from an organic compound called hexadecanal. It is found in human skin but is abundant in a baby’s scalp. Research shows that females exposed to the fragrance become more aggressive and strong defenders of their babies. On the other hand, men exposed to it become more gentle and speak with softer voices. Evolutionists claim that this is an evolutionary survival mechanism. We would suggest this is part of God’s design of the human reproductive system.

Research on adopted children shows that some traits are common to adopted children that do not commonly appear in children who are not adopted. In the nine months of pregnancy, there is a “primal bonding that happens by biological design.” Those of us with adopted children can attest to some behavior issues that may be related to the adoption process.

God gave us the ideal arrangement for family–one man and one woman in love with each other produce children they love and care for. Unfortunately, that arrangement is not always possible. Understanding the stress and feelings involved can go a long way toward making adoption a good experience.

As we examine life issues from beginning to end, we know that every child needs a loving family, and every senior adult needs someone who loves them.

— John N. Clayton © 2021

The above information is from a series of articles in The Week for December 10 and 17, 2021.

Drug Safe-Havens Don’t Work

Drug Safe-Havens Don't Work

On December 1, 2021, the United States joined Canada, Australia, and Europe in allowing drug safe-havens for people who wish to use heroin and other narcotics. Mayor Bill de Blasio of New York City announced that having monitored facilities where someone watches for overdoses will save lives. The first facility in New York was set to open immediately.

Federal laws ban operating a place for narcotic use, but those laws have been poorly enforced. It is interesting that there is no evidence that these facilities provide help for those who are addicted. There have been negative results in other places where governments have tried legalization. Other moral issues such as prostitution and sexual abuse become part of the scene.

Setting up drug safe-havens, making it easier for people to use narcotics, is sanctioning people to harm themselves. Even though they may not die immediately from drug usage, the long-term result is not good. Should the government provide a way for people to become addicted? The news releases on the New York City plan do not say that drugs will be provided. If that is true, drug dealing and the problem of contaminated drugs will continue.

Licensing sin has never worked, and neither will drug safe-havens. Instead, the legalization of gambling has increased crime, prostitution, economic damage, and family breakdown. As the world turns away from God and denigrates the teachings of Jesus, we are not surprised that politicians will seek to condone the sin industries and tax them.

In 1 Thessalonians 5:21-22, Paul admonishes Christians to “Bring everything to the test and cling to that which is good and rejecting all that has a look of evil about it.” Therefore, let us oppose the movement of our nation toward embracing the sin industry as it offers an alternative to the teachings of Jesus Christ.

— John N. Clayton © 2021

Reference: Associated Press for 12/1/21.

Treating Animals as Humans

Treating Animals as Humans

The evidence supports the concept that humans are created in the image of God. Humans have a concept of self that we don’t see in other forms of life. Humans are creative in art and music. All human populations share the capacity to worship. Even though that worship sometimes takes bizarre forms, it still recognizes a spiritual nature. The ability to be taught to think and to reason is not something we see in other life forms. The idea of existence after this life is peculiar to humans. With these things in mind, we should not be treating animals as humans.

Instincts built into the DNA of animals direct their behavior. Even when humans raise monkeys to be human, they ultimately revert to instinctive drives that sometimes culminate in violence. Animal “songs” have survival catalysts communicating territory or securing mates. Human trainers have attempted to teach “art” to animals, resulting in anthropomorphic interpretations by those trainers.

People should not cause animals to suffer or subject them to conduct that violates their nature. The biblical admonition to humans was to take care of the creation, not to abuse it. (See Genesis 2:15.) Treating animals as humans with human values does violence to the animals, depriving them of their instinctive behaviors and putting them in unrealistic environments. It is also a huge waste of resources.

In 2011, PETA sued SeaWorld on behalf of five captured orcas they said were protected under the 13th Amendment, which bans slavery. In 2015, a judge ruled that an orangutan named Sandra had “legal personhood,” which resulted in Sandra being moved to special quarters. Recently, on October 15, 2021, a federal judge in Cincinnati ruled that the descendants of hippos smuggled into Colombia by drug kingpin Pablo Escobar are considered “legal persons” under United States law. According to CBS News India, Pakistan, and Argentina have granted legal rights to animals.

God designed life, and we should treat all animals with respect, allowing them to live in the habitat where they were designed to live. However, that doesn’t require treating animals as humans.

— John N. Clayton © 2021

References: Time magazine, November 8/15, 2021 page 18, and CBSnews.com.

Faith and Politics in America

Faith and Politics in America

Jesus Christ made a clear separation between faith and politics when He said, “Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s and unto God the things that are God’s” (Matthew 22:21). Yet, as our culture and our government become more and more atheistic, we see the government trying to stop anything that smacks of faith in God.

For example, in Brookings, Oregon, the city has banned churches from providing meals to the homeless more than twice a week. The government apparently did this because people who lived near churches providing meals complained about the activity. (Reference: The Week for November 12, 2021)

In a similar situation, the American Center for Law and Justice has reported on an elementary school student in Illinois who was reading her Bible during recess. School authorities took the Bible away from her because the school system did not allow Bibles on public school property. (Reference: ACJL report for November 2021)

Politicians such as President Biden take public positions in opposition to the teachings of the Church. The Catholic Church, of which Biden is a member, considers abortion to be a sin. However, in a recent meeting with the Pope, they never discussed abortion.

Issues like these are a significant part of the political scene in America today. Should prostitution be legal? Is Euthanasia an acceptable solution to severe illness? Can chaplains in the military conduct worship services that use the Bible as a source of information?

This is a difficult time for people who believe in God, the Bible, and the teachings of Jesus Christ. As the season of Thanksgiving and Christmas approaches, we can expect to see various efforts by atheists and anti-Christian groups to stop believers from any public display of faith in God or the biblical message, including Christmas music, Bible quotes of the birth of Christ, or manger scenes. That is especially true on government property, military bases, or public schools. Unfortunately, it seems that the view of faith and politics in America today is that everyone should be able to enjoy freedom except those who believe in God.

— John N. Clayton © 2021

Dangerous Chemicals Cause Human Suffering

Dangerous Chemicals Cause Human Suffering

The problem of human suffering has been at the center of debates over the existence of God for hundreds of years. However, in recent years, increasing evidence has come to light that, to a large extent, dangerous chemicals cause human suffering.

In April 2021, a federal appeals court ordered the EPA to ban chlorpyrifos from food. Mounting evidence indicates that it and other organophosphate pesticides are related to a host of human ills, especially in children.

The federal agency regulating nuclear waste recently proposed putting “very low level” nuclear waste into unlicensed landfills. We know that nuclear radiation increases the risk of cancer, birth defects, immune disorders, and a host of other health issues.

The state of Washington decided to get rid of toxic firefighting foam by shipping it to an out-of-state incinerator. Burning the foam releases poly-fluoroalkyl substances, which can stay in the human body for decades and are related to cancer.

The federal government plans to reopen the Homestead Detention Center in Homestead, Florida, to detain migrant children. That center is near a military superfund site saturated with contaminants linked to cancer, kidney failure, blood disorders, and developmental damage. Dangerous chemicals cause human suffering.

The list goes on and on of decisions that can ultimately bring pain and suffering to humans. We can’t blame God for what we do to ourselves by selfishness, bad judgment, greed, and abuse of God’s gifts.

— John N. Clayton © 2021

References: Earthjustice Quarterly Magazine for Summer 2021 and “Pesticides are Killing Our Soils” in Scientific American August 2021.

Tolstoy and Stupefacients

Tolstoy and Stupefacients

One of the most famous authors on the world literary scene was Leo Tolstoy. He is probably best known for War and Peace but is well respected for his other novels. In 1890 Tolstoy wrote an essay titled, “Why Do Men Stupefy Themselves?” For Tolstoy, “stupefacients” were anything that interfered with the rigorous application of a person’s conscience, and he believed they caused most human problems. Tolstoy’s list of stupefacients included wine, beer, spirits, narcotics, and tobacco.

The Bible agrees with Tolstoy. Numerous Old Testament passages tell of trouble coming from the use of alcohol. (For example, see Genesis 9:20-24, Leviticus 10:9, Deuteronomy 29:6, and Judges 13:4-7.) The condemnation of alcohol use in passages like Proverbs 20:1 and 23:21 make it clear this is not God’s will for us to stupefy ourselves with alcohol. There is no product of humanity that has caused more misery, ill health, disruption, and violence than alcohol.

So here we are in 2021, legalizing another stupefacient. We already see the ill effects of the use of marijuana, and yet 70% of all Americans support the legalization of recreational pot. Nearly 80% of people in the 18-29 age category support it. Celebrities like Willie Nelson, Cheech and Chong, Woody Harrelson, and Bill Maher have promoted marijuana as a way to find peace in a confusing world.

People made similar claims about alcohol when prohibition was the law. The promoters of alcohol won, and the result of the legalization of alcohol brought in tax dollars. At the same time, it has cost far more in alcohol-related accidents, broken homes, and broken lives. The legalization of marijuana is also riding on the claim of increased tax dollars.

Tolstoy was a Russian writing in the late 19th century, and he was unsuccessful in turning Russia away from the use of stupefacients. The Russian Republic was destroyed and replaced with Communism with dictators like Lenin and Stalin. The question is, “Will America survive our 21st-century involvement with stupefacients?”

— John N. Clayton © 2021

Data for this came from an article by John M. Crisp titled “We’ll Survive Legal Weed.”