How Then Should We Pray?

During the last four years, the Trump Administration made amazing progress in promoting religious freedom. The Secular Democrats of America object to such an agenda and recommend reversing most of what has been in place going back to many years before President Trump took office.

In 2019, the Democratic National Committee (DNC) included the nonreligious community in their policy discussions. The DNC recognized that Atheists and people of no faith had previously been left “without a seat at the table.” So they enacted Resolution 38 and elected a representative of the secular community to the DNC Interfaith Council.

The Secular Democrats of America PAC (SDA) has now published a detailed set of recommendations that seem to spell out the directions the Biden Administration is likely to take in several judicial, legislative and administrative arenas.

The fact that a group of “secular Democrats” is recommending a certain agenda may not seem like cause for alarm. Many of the items on their agenda seem somewhat innocuous at first glance.

Nevertheless, the fact that the DNC has resolved to embrace a secular agenda raises the issue of how implementation of new laws, legal precedent and administrative policies will impact various faith communities. Evangelical communities sat at the table with the President and his advisors for the last four years largely due to the unprecedented attacks on faith that occurred during the previous Obama-Biden Administration.

The Preamble of a report entitled Restoring Constitutional Secularism and Patriotic Pluralism in the White House urges the Biden-Harris Administration not to underestimate the institutional strength of what the SDA refers to interchangeably in their recommendations as the “Christian nationalist movement” or the “religious right.” The claim is that a pro-American agenda is a cover for White Supremacy.

The idea of your local church being accused of White Christian Nationalism may seem surprising. Despite the initial perception that these allegations may seem like a radical notion, most Evangelical Christians are completely unaware of the vast amount of work that apparently mainstream journalists and operatives from the religious Left have devoted to researching various strains of theology embraced by many Evangelicals and Charismatics.

Many of us, for example, embrace the idea that we should endeavor to bring the Gospel to bear in every area of life. This is loosely referred to as Dominion theology. Charismatics may have been introduced to a version of such theology in references to the Seven Mountains which are cultural spheres like Education, Entertainment and Government. Also known as the Cultural Mandate.

The concepts expressed within various strains of Dominion theology are usually not recognized by the “Dominionist” label in Charismatic, Evangelical or Calvinist bodies of Believers (it is often called Neo-Calvinism— due to Abraham Kuyper’s influence. Abraham Kuijper, publicly known as Abraham Kuyper, was Prime Minister of the Netherlands between 1901 and 1905. He was an influential neo-Calvinist theologian and also a journalist.

Instead the news media and the Left are busy defining this terminology in a way that attacks our motives and makes it look like we are conspiring to subvert the U.S. Constitution and replace Constitutional government with so-called white nationalist Evangelicalism!

Advancing the Gospel hardly sounds like a white supremacy doctrine. But the SDA and the Democrat-Socialist base should be expected to influence much of the incoming Administration’s policy. The activists on the Left  are armed with in-depth scholarship that is very convincing to anyone not extremely well-versed in theological issues.

These journalists, scholars and Ivory Tower theologians referenced above pick up ammunition from the theological battlefields and warfare waged between Jewish Believers, Charismatic & Full Gospel Believers, Catholics, Calvinists and those who take a more Fundamentalist view of the Scripture. But the enemies of faith will tar us all with the same brush if we don’t start to unify around the teaching of the Prophets and Apostles set forth in the Old and New Testaments. The secular humanist ideologues don’t care about the distinctions between varieties of Dispensational doctrine, Amillenialism, or Post-Tribulation Triumphalism. Much of the Modernist theological agenda provides a semantic camouflage screening a Leftist-Socialistic world view. There will be no shortage of church leaders supporting the SDA proposals.

The plain fact is that all laws are promulgated as a result of someone’s sense of public morality which develops out of views about the ultimate meaning of life or, alternatively, the belief that existence is without purpose or meaning. Americans—and especially Believers who recognize how the United States is endowed with a special national destiny (Nationalists)—need to wake up and realize the nature of the public morality that is now at hand:

“The constant entanglement of religion and government—promoted by the religious right and intensified by the Trump administration—sweeps far beyond hot-button “culture war” issues like abortion and contraception. It permeates every aspect of government policy— healthcare, public and private education, foreign policy, tax policy, environmental policy, military policy, and more, all of which will be addressed in this document.

Legal Landscape. The Strict Constructionist Supreme Court has pushed back at activist judicial precedents and the Democrats justifiably fear that Roe vs Wade may soon be reversed. Decisions in the Trinity Lutheran and Espinoza cases have allegedly opened the door to government money being spent for religious purposes. President Biden will nominate federal judges who will push in a direction that limits funding that helps religious schools. Implementing such decisions means that so-called public servants will draft regulations, policies and procedures anticipating, interpreting and avoiding liability in view of what the courts may do as a result of any administrative funding choices.

The Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) was enacted to provide religious exemptions for faith-based organizations that have employment practices based on legitimately held religious beliefs. The SDA advocates that the RFRA violates the First Amendment, presumably because the RFRA allegedly grants special privileges to faith-based establishments. Employment Div. v. Smith held that there is no First Amendment right to religious exemptions from laws of general applicability.

The RFRA was invalidated as applied to the states by the Supreme Court. See City of Boerne v. Flores. But it was allowed with respect to the federal government and decisions like Hobby Lobby allegedly treat RFRA as a “superstatute,” granting “near constitutional status” by endowing private for-profit corporations like Hobby Lobby with religious rights.

Government Funding.The SDA recommends utilizing all bureaucratic mechanisms to ensure that the Department of Education does not funnel taxpayer dollars to private schools. Private schools receiving any taxpayer funding should be held to the same nondiscrimination and accommodation requirements of public schools. This includes subjecting employment practices to laws promoting un-Scriptural lifestyles, behavior and beliefs that conflict with the mission of Christian churches, schools, charities and businesses.

Religious schools. Church schools and other private schools would be expected to meet curriculum standards for secular subjects, including science, sex education programs and history. Thus, no religious institution would be able to benefit directly or indirectly from any government funding unless the school complies with federal criteria promulgated by unelected bureaucrats who would dictate curriculum and subject matter. The definitions of indirect benefits are always subject to interpretation by various levels of local, state and federal bureaucrats.

Federal Contractors. SDA advocates that the Biden Administration reverse all executive orders, rules, memoranda, and other actions that exempt faith-based organizations contracting with the federal government from nondiscrimination requirements that apply to secular organizations, including employment discrimination.

DOJ Religious Liberty Task Force. Dismantle the Department of Justice Religious Liberty Task Force. Dismantle the HHS Conscience and Religious Freedom Division. Repeal Executive Order 13798, Promoting Free Speech and Religious Liberty and reverse its implementation across various executive agencies.

DOJ Memorandum. Rescind and replace the Department of Justice Memorandum, Federal Law Protections for Religious Liberty.

Science-based programs? The SDA wants Biden-Harris administration to disincentivize state funding for programs that are not “evidence-based” and which supposedly cause harm by spreading misinformation, such as crisis pregnancy centers and abstinence-only education programs. The claim is that such programs are an ineffective use of taxpayer dollars and they cause demonstrable harm to vulnerable communities.

●          Vaccinations. Work with Congress to incentivize states to increase their vaccination rates by repealing all nonmedical exemptions to mandatory vaccination for children in schools and day care centers.

●          Adoption Services. The recommendations are for the Biden Administration and Congress to reverse Trump administration policies that have allowed faith-based government-funded contractors to provide adoption and foster care services to discriminate on the basis of religion. If Congress passes the Every Child Deserves a Family Act, Christian adoption agencies would be constrained to place children into “families” that hold to lifestyles that are offensive to faith-based organizations that are Biblically oriented.

●          Medically-accurate sex education. Fully and robustly fund comprehensive, “medically-accurate” sex education.

●          DHS/FEMA. The SDA seeks to reverse DHS/FEMA policies enacted under President Trump that allow disaster relief to be used to directly fund houses of worship for sectarian purposes, including public funds for disaster related facility repair, if those funds are not made available for all private nonprofits—the federal government should not grant privileges to houses of worship suffering from natural disasters that are not available to secular non-profits and institutions that equally suffer from these tragedies.

Paycheck Protection Program. In past administrations, Small Business Administration policy held that “businesses principally engaged in teaching, instructing, counseling or indoctrinating religion or religious beliefs, whether in a religious or secular setting” were not eligible for receiving business or economic disaster loans. As a result of Trump Administration policies, millions of federal dollars from the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) have allegedly funded explicitly religious activities, including paying clergy salaries, rent, and utilities.

●        Stem Cell Research. SDA and most Democrat leaders seek to reverse restrictions on federally funded fetal-tissue and stem cell research.

Constitutional Secularism.  Biden is urged to appoint an Attorney General who will reverse the Trump Administration’s  Memorandum on Federal Law Protections for Religious Liberty. The Memorandum would be replaced with a policy pursuant to which all executive agencies will ” interpret religious freedom in such a way that protects the separation of religion and government, prohibits discrimination on the basis of religion, and prohibits government funding of explicitly religious activities.”

●        Presidential Proclamation 9645. SDA would seek to rescind “Presidential Proclamation Enhancing Vetting Capabilities and Processes for Detecting Attempted Entry Into the United States by Terrorists or Other Public-Safety Threats,” also known as the Muslim Ban, which restricted travel to the United States by individuals from Muslim majority counties.

●        Immigration. Work with Congress to pass H.R.2214/S.1123, the National Origin-Based Antidiscrimination for Nonimmigrants Act, or NO BAN Act.

●         IRS Restrictions on Free Speech. The Trump administration instructed the Internal Revenue Service not to enforce the Johnson Amendment which threatens the 501 (c)(3)  status of churches that speak in favor of candidates. The SDA wants the new administration to crack down on nonprofits operating as businesses, including mega-churches; and work with Congress to pass legislation that would strengthen enforcement of the Johnson Amendment and increase transparency among nonprofits by requiring all 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations to file the Form 990, including houses of worship.

●           Do No Harm Act. The Do No Harm Act would  reverse RFRA, thereby requiring employers to disregard matters of conscience and religious conviction. The legal requirement for people of faith to maintain workplaces with hiring practices, codes of conduct and benefit packages that are identical to those of non-religious employers, violates the free expression of religion under the First Amendment and violates 14th Amendment interest in religious liberty.

●            Shifting Rhetoric to Target White Nationalism. The SDA claims that the rise of “white Christian nationalism” is a national security threat. The recommendation is for the Biden Administration to encourage the Department of Homeland Security and Department of Justice to dedicate resources to deradicalization programs aimed at hate groups, including, but not limited to, white nationalists and shift rhetoric to label violent white nationalist extremists as terrorists

Ecclesia. The ecclesia needs to wake up and realize the nature of the public morality that is now at hand. So why do we call the Church the Ecclesia? According to Merriam-Webster the Greek word refers to a political assembly of citizens of ancient Greek states. The Greek citizens were called out or summonsed to periodic meetings of citizens to conduct public business and consider affairs proposed by the council. The koinia (common Greek) term is translated as church in most versions of the Bible.

The use of the Greek term “ecclesia” emphasizes the call to exercise administrative and governmental authority. It is important to clarify, however, that the submission to Ecclesia authority is voluntary and not by means of coercive force. The only force available to the ecclesia in the U.S. is moral persuasion.

The distinction between the word church and ecclesia is important to draw attention to the fact that we are not talking about denominations or religious organizations in the sense of brick & mortar religious institutions but the Body of Christ at large.

U.S. Constitution. The U.S. Constitution is based on the assumption that Believers will  seek to influence the laws of the land in a direction that provides for good order within the boundaries set forth in the Constitution. Non-Christians, including those with no faith, are therefore protected in their adherence to what they believe.

All Americans’ religious and secular practices, on the other hand, are subject to the laws of the land, provided that those laws do not infringe on rights of life, liberty and property. These concepts are important because the SDA alleges that non-theistic minorities have been stigmatized and scape-goated by the religious right supposedly claiming that nonbelievers believe in no public morality.

White Nationalism. The allegation that white Evangelicals are seeking to impose a Theocratic dictatorship is a false play on words. Exactly the opposite is true. Conflating Evangelical & Charismatic followers of Christ with “White Nationalism” is a dangerous and deceptive semantic trick. On the one hand, most of those who support an agenda that seeks to maintain America’s greatness as a sovereign nation under God, support aspects of President Trump’s Nationalist agenda.

White Evangelicals & Nationalism. Much to the surprise of the news media. the recent election revealed the fact that many Black and other minorities voted for Trump. Evangelical Christians who are White are still his biggest supporters. But calling us white Christian Nationalists conflates the Left’s accusations of Trump’s alleged racism with false allegations that white Evangelicals want to create a “Dominionist” theocracy that discriminates against racial and religious minorities.

Conclusion. The only constituencies that seek to run roughshod over Constitutional protections for minorities are White Supremacists and the Socialists. Socialism, by definition, does not recognize clear boundaries between public & private interests such as the 14th Amendment protections for freedom of speech, property rights and other Constitutionally protected interests. You might say that the Left is seeking to take dominion over the ecclesia and everyone else in America, In fact the SDA recommends removing “In God We Trust” (allegedly a product of McCarthyism and Cold War paranoia) and replacing this phrase with E Pluribus Unum (out of many, one), which they think is the more appropriate motto for the U.S.

 CASTING DOWN STRONGHOLDS.

What is the strategy of the wise for laying siege to the Gates of Hell?

The following Scriptures and commentary will shed light on how we should resist efforts to diminish U.S. sovereignty. The Climate Change agenda is also an important part of the Secular Democrats’ recommendations because the SDA argues that white Nationalist Christians are opposed to science which supposedly endorses abortion, sex education, international treaties to reduce global carbon emissions and the medical science behind mandatory vaccinations and the locking down of the U.S. economy. The following Scriptures suggest the outlines of a strategy to deal with all of the above:

A wise man scales the city of the mighty, and casts down the trusted stronghold.

Proverbs 21:22

Comment: The stronghold is the political-media complex that is rooted in the secular academic world and the network of Tax-Exempt foundations that fund, promote and advance the so-called secular agenda. The fact that laying siege to such a fortified vantage point calls for a wise man or woman, indicates that strategy is needed.

They that forsake the law praise the wicked: but such as keep the law contend with them.

Proverbs 28:4.

And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove (expose) them.

Ephesians 5:11

Who by the mouth of thy servant David hast said, Why did the heathen rage, and the people imagine vain things? The kings of the earth stood up, and the rulers were gathered together against the Lord, and against his Christ.

Acts 4:25,26

The Kings of the Earth.
(See also Acts 4:23-31)
Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD, and against his anointed, saying, Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us. He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision. Then shall he speak unto them in his wrath, and vex them in his sore displeasure. Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion. I will declare the decree: the LORD hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee. Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession. Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel. Be wise now therefore, O ye kings: be instructed, ye judges of the earth. Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him.
Psalm 2

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