The War Against Christianity

The War Against Christianity

The war against Christianity has grown in the United States. Here are some examples:

*Fowler United Methodist Church in Annapolis, Maryland, suffered $100,000 in damages. Vandals tore down a wooden cross, shredded Bibles, and slashed upholstery. 

*Florida passed a bill to allow public and charter schools to have a chaplain to address student mental health. Opponents called it a vehicle for “Christian nationalism,” and the Satanic Temple indicated it plans to send its chaplains. 

*The war against Christianity involves Madison, Wisconsin’s Freedom From Religion Foundation. It has taken out ads in various periodicals calling for the rejection of “Christian nationalism.” 

*The “Public Religion Research Institute” reports that 26% of Americans identify themselves as religiously unaffiliated, and 67% of those say they have stopped believing the teaching of their old faith. 

*The government continues to issue new rules that violate Christian teachings and precipitate problems for Christian families. One example is the rules prohibiting Christian colleges from having dorms limited to only one sex. Other laws require schools to allow both sexes to use any restroom, resulting in cases where female students complain because males are entering their facilities to “gawk” at them. 

Jesus made it clear that His gospel was not political. In Matthew 22:15-22, Jesus tells his opponents to “give to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s.” In Romans 13:1-7, Paul lays down the relationship between Christians and government. He makes positive comments about the role of government and categorizes government as God’s servant. He tells Christians to pay their taxes and show respect and honor to public leaders.

When the government demands immorality or opposes Christian behavior, it seems like a war against Christianity. However, Christians are not called to strike back militarily. The day may come when churches will not have tax exemption, and the government will take over church property. Even then, God’s people will survive and thrive as they did under the pagan Roman government in the first century. There can’t be a war when one side refuses to fight.

We can find comfort in the fact that Jesus said, “You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come…. You will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. At that time, many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate one another, and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but he who stands to the end will be saved” (Matthew 24:6-13).

— John N. Clayton © 2024

References: USA Today for 4/9/24; The Week for April 12, 2024, page 17; and “Washington Impact Report” from the Family Research Council for April 2024, page 1. 

The Transgender Issue in Women’s Sports

The Transgender Issue in Women’s Sports

The transgender issue in women’s sports grows nearly every day. As we have mentioned previously, biological males have an advantage when they claim to be females and participate in women’s sports. Here are some examples of this issue in women’s sports:

Lia Thomas is a six-foot-four-inch biological male who ranked in the 400s in the men’s swimming division but is now a top-ranked swimmer in the women’s division.

Valentina Petrillo is a biological male who identifies as transgender and won the women’s 400-meter bronze medal at the World Para Athletics Championships in Paris in July of 2023.

Austin Kippips is a biological male who finished five minutes ahead of all female competitors to win the Belgian Waffle Ride, a 131-mile cycling event in North Carolina, in June of 2023.

Terry Miller and Andraya Yearwood ranked first and second in Connecticut in the girls’ 55-meter dash. Previously, they had ranked 120th and 195th in the male category.

In addition to the locker room and restroom problems, coed dormitory issues in private colleges, and now women’s sports issues, the pressure on legislators to do something is growing. However, this issue continues without any action for fear of the political consequences.

We need to keep in mind the growing transgender issue in women’s sports when we vote for politicians. God designed our bodies, and when we make changes to what God created, we invite pain and suffering for everyone.

— John N. Clayton © 2024

Reference: Family Research Council

Extending Life Without Quality of Life

Extending Life Without Quality of Life

One of the challenges produced by the progress in medicine is the question of the role of doctors when a patient nears the time of death. In the old days, doctors had a code that said they would “do no harm,” which resulted in extending life without quality of life.

I had a personal experience with this issue when my disabled son Timothy was in the hospital after contracting COVID from a care worker. Doctors told me that Tim would never recover, but they had to give him a standard COVID treatment. Tim did survive but was not allowed to have any contact with family. He could not talk, was blind, could not stand or sit up, and could not feed himself. Eventually he was placed in a nursing home where I was allowed to visit him, and I did weekly. Although he could hear me, he was unable to respond. I read to him, tried to feed him, and ensured his stuffed animals were around him. After more than a year in the nursing home, he died.

The question in a case like Timothy’s becomes whether a doctor should be allowed to assist in dying when the apparent result was extending life without quality of life. Laws in Belgium, the Netherlands, and Canada allow doctors to administer euthanasia. The next step in these countries is to allow physicians to provide medical assistance in dying for the mentally ill. Canada has delayed the implementation of that option for physicians until 2027 to allow doctors and facilities time to adjust to this new law. Peter Singer, the DeCamp Professor of Bioethics at Princeton University, has advocated for euthanasia for virtually any cause.

For Christians, the issue is especially relevant. The New Testament in 1 Corinthians 3:16-17 says that God’s Spirit lives in our bodies and that the body is sacred for that reason. I Corinthians 6:15-17 uses that view to explain why prostitution is a sin. As modern medical science has advanced to the point of extending human life, it has also found ways to eliminate pain, but my son never showed evidence of suffering from pain. The problem remains of extending life without quality of life.

Euthanasia involves the same issues as abortion. Singer would empty prisons, nursing homes, and mental facilities by applying euthanasia to the people there. The fact is that much of the money spent on medical treatment is spent during the last year of life. Think of the savings if we were to eliminate everyone deemed to be within a year of dying. Do we really want to live in a culture that uses death as a means of removing a person who is inconvenient or difficult to sustain? But isn’t that what abortion is all about?

— John N. Clayton 2024

Reference: “Canada again delays assisted dying for the mentally ill” on BBC News for February 1, 2024.

The Role of Religion in a Democracy

The Role of Religion in a Democracy - U.S. Constitution

People are waging a war of words concerning the role of religion in a democracy and whether the Christian faith should have any role in America’s future. An organization titled Americans United for the Separation of Church and State has sent out a plea for donations to fight what they call “Christian Nationalism.” They maintain that the government cannot support Christian values. With that goal in mind, they are engaged in several lawsuits against prayers at public gatherings and government support of schools with religious connections.

The opposing view comes from groups like the Association of Mature American Citizens, publishers of AMAC Magazine. They maintain that a “moral society flows from a focus on freely held faith” (James Madison). They also quote John Adams: “Our constitution was made only for a moral and religious people.” AMAC also heavily quotes Jefferson and Washington in the view that America was founded by men who saw Christianity as the basis of human rights. What is the role of religion in a democracy?

There is a difference between maintaining that faith has no role in determining the rights of people and believing that there is only one faith that calls for certain moral rules to be law. Jesus made it clear that there is a separation between what we give to the government and what we give to the work of God. Matthew 22:21 says clearly, “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.”

Thomas Jefferson said, “Neither Pagan nor Muslim nor Jew ought to be excluded from the civil rights of the commonwealth because of his religion.” That teaching is biblically sound, but the government must have a moral standard to govern by. In Romans 13:1-6, Paul tells Christians to support those who govern, “For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad” (verse 3). The question is, “How does a government decide what is right and what is wrong?”

There are experts like Peter Singer, the DeCamp Professor of Bioethics at Princeton University, who maintain that the government should put to death anyone who is mentally ill, of great age, or in the late stages of a terminal disease. This flies in the face of Christian teachings, but some states are already implementing it in various ways, such as government support for the destruction of human life. If a politician holds to a religion that teaches that those who reach the age of 50 should be killed, how will that influence the practice of the government?

Madison talks about a “moral society,” and Adams speaks of the Constitution being made for a “moral and religious people.” So, what is the role of religion in a democracy? Christians support the separation of church and state, but the moral teachings of what is right and wrong cannot come from scholars, politicians, or some religions. The future of our children and grandchildren depends on getting people to understand that right and wrong do exist, and not all religions and political belief systems understand that.

— John N. Clayton © 2024

What Book Do You Swear By?

What Book Do You Swear By?

When people are sworn into public office, they commonly place their hand on a Bible and promise to faithfully execute the duties of that office. Courts used the same book for swearing in witnesses. Recently, some have substituted other books for the Bible. In Doylestown, Pennsylvania, on December 4, 2023, Karen Smith, the new school board president, took the oath of office with her hand placed on top of six books frequently challenged or banned from school libraries. What book do you swear by?

Deciding what books are appropriate for school libraries is a nation-wide issue. If school libraries are open to all students, is there an age level where a book is inappropriate? For example, the book Beyond Magenta promotes transgender lifestyle for teens and is one of the books Smith used for her swearing-in. Another is The Bluest Eye, with graphic depictions of a nine-year-old girl being sexually abused by her father. The book Night by Holocaust survivor and Nobel Peace Prize winner Elie Wiesel accurately depicts his experience in a concentration camp, but is it appropriate reading for a second grader?

What book do you swear by? The fact that people are replacing the Bible with other religious books or books promoting atheism and alternate lifestyles is a reflection of American culture today. As society vilifies Christianity and religious belief, the choices of public officials become more secular. Churches, religious colleges, and universities are being forced to close their doors or give up their moral teachings. Public school restrooms must be open to all sexual orientations. As a retired public school high school teacher, I can only imagine the problems schools will face with the new standards.

— John N. Clayton © 2023

Reference: phillyburbs.com

Attacks on People of Faith

Attacks on People of Faith

If you read news reports other than the mainstream media, you have to be disturbed by recent stories about government attacks on people of faith.

One article told the story of an August 11, 2023, police raid on a private newspaper in Marion, Kansas. This small-town newspaper had written stories about government abuse of religious freedom and the immoral actions of public officials. The justification for the police raid was that they were seeking the names of sources of information leaked to the newspaper.

A group called “Reporters Without Borders” has written several reports of violence or intimidation of news reporters who wrote articles on government actions that violated the rights of private citizens. One such story was the case of Joe Kennedy, a coach in Bremerton, Washington, who knelt at the 50-yard line and prayed silently for 10 seconds after a high school football game. Kennedy was fired because the school system had banned any prayer on school property.

Joe Kennedy did not encourage his players to participate in the prayer, and he prayed after the game was over. He sued the school system. His case went to the Supreme Court in 2022, and the court agreed with Kennedy. The fact that the school system tried to stop prayer of any kind indicates where America is headed.

Students of American democracy and the intent of the founding fathers will recognize the abuse of government attacks on people of faith. Such attacks are not limited to the government. We have had phone calls from people threatening us for what we publish on this website. Freedom of the press and religion are enshrined in the First Amendment, and as America turns away from God and freedom, Christians face attacks on their faith.

— John N. Clayton © 2023

Reference: Elizabeth Colton in articles in the South Bend Tribune for August 27, 2023, page 12A, and Jeff Graham writing on September 3, 2023.

Struggles of American Public Schools

Struggles of American Public Schools

As a retired public school science teacher with a family involved in public education, I have been interested in the struggles of American public schools. The recent issue of the “Nation’s Report Card” shows reading scores at their lowest point in 50 years. The same report shows math scores among 13-year-olds at the lowest average level since 1990.

The public school concept was advanced in 1635 with the Boston Latin School. The first tax-supported public school in America was the Mather School, which opened in Dorchester, Massachusetts, in 1639. These schools taught the rudiments of literacy and arithmetic with the purpose that all men could read the Scriptures. In 1642, “proper education” was made compulsory.

Here we are in 2023, with one in four children growing up without learning to read. Students in our prison courses struggle because many Bible study students cannot read above a 4th-grade level. Statistics show that two out of three students who can’t read properly by the 4th grade end up on welfare or in jail. In 2013, 66% of the average 4th-grade children in the United States could not read proficiently, according to the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy.

Because of my experience in public school teaching, I don’t have any problem understanding the struggles of American public schools. During my teaching years, I saw two significant influences that inhibited learning. First, I was not given enough class time with the kids to teach them what I knew they needed to understand. I taught math and science and had the kids an hour a day for 186 days. I couldn’t cover everything I wanted the kids to know in 186 hours.

The second problem was attendance. I had an earth science class with 32 students. Most days, I would have about 20 kids present, but it was never the same 20. Kids would show up three times a week, but then they were often taken out of my class for fire drills, storm drills, pep assemblies, counselor sessions, testing, parent conferences, etc. Nobody ever explained how I could teach a kid I didn’t see.

Those problems were present 50 years ago and are much more true today. In addition, today, public school teachers are asked to teach and deal with social issues during class time. They have to worry about pronouns while teaching about racial issues, LGBTQ tolerance, sexual orientation, and political matters. Special interest groups and modern psychological theories dictate most of these topics. At the same time, the teacher has to avoid any reference to morality or biblical teaching about good and evil. No wonder we have a teacher shortage and low student educational levels.

When you throw out God and the Bible, how can you expect kids to understand today’s issues when even adults have no consensus on them? What do you expect to happen when kids cannot read and think for themselves? The struggles of American public schools only add to our society’s ignorance and misery. Meanwhile, the government persecutes Christian schools that try to offer an alternative to the defunct public education system. Christians can promote change, and it begins at the ballot box. What we need is thinking politicians who aren’t just promoting themselves.

— John N. Clayton © 2023

References: Nation’s Report Card and Wikipedia

Artistic Freedom and Personal Beliefs

Artistic Freedom and Personal Beliefs

A question of concern to Americans who believe in God is whether someone specializing in artistic creativity can be forced to create artwork that they find offensive. Recent cases involve artistic freedom and personal beliefs. The question becomes, can the government force custom art creators to create and display artwork that violates their personal religious beliefs?

Recent examples involve:
1- Cake artists forced to create a cake that celebrates a relationship that goes against the artist’s sincerely held religious beliefs.
2- Flourists required to create floral arrangements celebrating an event they find religiously offensive.
3- Website designers forced to create a website promoting something religiously offensive to the designer.
4- Wedding photographers required to photograph weddings that violate their religious beliefs.
5- Printers of custom T-shirts required to produce religiously offensive shirts.

(We have mentioned these in previous posts.)

In the past, the government has not punished artists who refused to produce art that the artist found offensive. However, recently that has changed. When the government forces an artist to create something that violates the artist’s personal beliefs, we have a real test of freedom of speech and religious freedom. Using our talents to express our beliefs is a fundamental right. Being forced by the government to use our gifts to express something that violates our beliefs and religious convictions violates freedoms guaranteed by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

In Acts 4:16-20, we see political leaders threatening harm to Peter and John if they spoke anything in support of Christ. They responded, “Whether it be right to listen to you or to God, you decide, for we can not give up speaking about the things we have seen and heard.” Historically, authorities have tried to force Christians to deny their faith. America is at a crossroads in the area of artistic freedom and personal beliefs. We should not be forced to deny our faith or express something contrary to our religious beliefs.

— John N. Clayton © 2023

Reference: ADFlegal.org/

After School Satan Clubs

After School Satan Clubs - Satanic Temple

One of the consequences of the rejection of God and Christianity in the United States has been the success of the Satanic Temple. This group, active worldwide, is headquartered in Salem, Massachusetts, and growing in influence in the United States. They have launched a nationwide campaign to bring After School Satan Clubs to elementary schools.

The Satanic Temple claims 700,000 members and has had several successes in opposing Christianity. Recently they gave the invocation at the San Marcos City Council, conducted a Los Angeles Satanic Mass, and administered “un-baptisms” in Boston. In addition, local Satanic Temples have engaged in Bible burning, drinking a blood-like fluid from a cup, and celebrating the sacrifice of goats.

The After School Satan Clubs offer a coloring book published by the Satanic Temple, which engages children in satanic rituals and constructing a pentagram, the official symbol of the Church of Satan. Clubs. The Washington Post commented, “The Satanic Temple is determined to give young students a choice: Jesus or Satan.”

The United States Supreme Court ruled in 2001 that elementary schools could not stop the evangelical “Good News Club” from hosting after school club meetings. The Satanic Temple is using that decision to justify having clubs that promote Satanic beliefs. After School Satan Clubs have reportedly been started in Utah, California, Ohio, Washington, Illinois, and Oregon elementary schools.

The message of the Satanic Temple ridicules Christianity, belief in God, and the Bible’s moral teachings. It seems this group would qualify as a “hate group” which could be legally challenged, but that will probably never happen. Nevertheless, Christians must be aware of this threat. Parents and local church leaders need to educate themselves on what is being taught in the schools and be ready to oppose satanic teaching if it comes to their communities.

— John N. Clayton © 2023

References: The Christian Action Network and The Hill

The Government Punishes those with Biblical Views

The Government Punishes those with Biblical Views

The Bible makes it very clear that God created male and female as two separate sexes. God told Adam, and likewise, future males, that they would provide by “the sweat of your face (Genesis 3:19). Through Eve, God told females that they would be able to fill the roles that males could not accomplish on their own, especially giving birth to children. Yet, today, the government punishes those with biblical views.

The word translated “help meet” in the old English of the King James translation (Genesis 2:20) is “ezer” in the original Hebrew, and it means “help.” It comes from a root that means “surround, protect, or aid” (according to Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance). Modern translations say something like “suitable helper.” The Contemporary English Version from the American Bible Society translates it as “the right kind of partner.” It does not indicate that one sex is superior or inferior. The fact that they would have different roles is clearly stated and is repeated numerous times in the New Testament. (For example, see 1 Corinthians 7:1-16 and Ephesians 5:22-33.)

Society today has decided that respecting the difference between men and women violates the rights of various groups, and we must deny those differences. So the government punishes those with biblical views. We see this in Christian educational and religious organizations and even secular high schools and colleges nationwide. The government has decided that having separate restrooms for men and women violates the rights of men who want to use women’s facilities.

In Christian colleges, we see that the government punishes those with biblical views. Christian colleges with separate dormitories for men and women are receiving crippling fines and threats of closure. College of the Ozarks went to court, maintaining that women should not be forced to have male roommates. The broader question is whether the government can strip a private, faith-based institution of its constitutionally protected freedom because someone disagrees with their views about marriage and sexuality.

Another significant issue is whether a biological male who claims to be a female has the right to compete in women’s sports. The ACLU challenged a West Virginia law passed in 2021 to protect female athletes from having to compete with men. Federal Judge Joseph R. Goodwin ruled in favor of the law, stating it was constitutional. He wisely wrote, “While some females may be able to outperform some males, it is generally accepted that, on average, males outperform females athletically because of inherent physical differences between the sexes.”

Christianity espouses moral conduct found in God’s Word, but the government punishes those with biblical views and forces them to act against their moral beliefs. We must pray for America and those affected by the government’s actions in their distorted attempt to expand human rights. Churches may be endangered if they teach that men and women have different roles or even if they believe there are two sexes that are physically different.

— John N. Clayton © 2023

References: Alliance Defending Freedom and The Hill