For The Last Time, Jerusalem Is The Capitol Of Israel

Many Americans – including Christians – scoff at a spiritual imperative to recognize Jerusalem as the capitol of Israel and Israel as the capitol of God’s Kingdom on earth. They affirm a cuddly Jesus who loves children and awaits our arrival at the heavenly buffet table while denying Him as a warrior King who embodies His Father’s call to let justice roll like a mighty river and sets people free from bondage to embodied evil by shedding His own blood. This fiercely loving Christ is very present in our world while yet rooted in the much larger world of His Holy Spirit. This Spirit world – like the material world so many believe to be all there is – will be fully redeemed with His return in glory. In the meantime, it is populated by the goodness of God and the deprivation of good that is all evil can ever be. Ignoring it makes us as vulnerable to danger as it leaves us bereft of great opportunities to know and be known by our God in His own neighborhood.

When I was in Israel in 2012, I spent my last full day in the old Jerusalem. Visiting the Western Wall, I was literally struck dumb by the overwhelming presence of the Lord in His Spirit as I placed my hands and head on the ancient masonry. I was so overtaken I could not speak. While my forehead was placed against the wall, I could scarcely breathe. But that was not the only spiritual experience I was given that day.

While walking to the Western Wall, I become lost in the maze of Jerusalem alleys and byways leading to the Temple site. A Palestinian offered to guide me to my destination. I explained I was out of money and would be unable to pay him; he assured me he wanted only to serve. He led me to a rooftop overlooking Temple Square and asked me for money. When I reminded him he had agreed to no charge, he began to scream obscenities at me. But that was not all. “I know who you are,” he shrieked. “I know you! You are a priest! You are all alike, you priests!”

I am an Anglican priest. That day, I was dressed in an Aloha shirt and jeans – as I so often am. There was not the slightest indication of my calling in my appearance or speech. Yet the spirit in this man recognized the Spirit in me. A collision was inevitable.

This is not – by the way – the whole story of the spiritual world as it reflects Arab and Palestinian people. During my time in Israel, I met a young man named Omar who helped me that day and the restaurant owner named Abba in whose establishment I dined. God hangs out in the worlds He has made. He is not the sole inhabitant of the spirit world, but He is the owner. One day, His Word will be the only word spoken; and it is already the only one we need to hear and heed.

That said, the United States Supreme Court – in June 2015 – declared Jerusalem to be not the capitol of Israel. In my lifetime, I have never before encountered such colossal arrogance as instructing a sovereign nation on locating its capitol. The Supreme Court has backed the administration, saying the Congress is not constitutionally authorized to conduct foreign affairs, striking down the 2002 federal law. The Court conveniently forgets it has no problem with statutes like the War Powers Act – a clear limitation by Congress of the President’s ability to unilaterally conduct foreign affairs.

The Constitution explicitly authorizes Congress to advise, consent, and limit the President in the conduct of foreign affairs. The Supreme Court again trashes its responsibility to interpret – not re-fashion – law and constitution. There is more at stake.

The Lord our God is on His throne, in the material and spiritual worlds He created. There are other entities who are doomed by the sacrifice of His life undertaken by Yeshua, a sacrifice continuing to unfold in our world and the other. These doomed entities remain capable of manifestation. They recognize the spirit in each of us. They get along with some; they shriek at those bearing the Spirit of Christ. We Americans have an opportunity to bear with a little shrieking for the surpassing glory of knowing and being known by our returning King. The arrogance of the Supreme Court will be replaced by humiliation when we finally grasp Whom we have insulted.

Jerusalem is the capitol of Israel. Israel is the capitol of God’s Kingdom on earth.

The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by WesternJournalism.com.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Equipping You With The Truth

SCOTUS-Care The Fruit Of Lawless Government

Justice Antonin Scalia coined the term ‘SCOTUScare’ in his dissenting opinion on the King v Burwell case that – by a vote of 6-3 – once again rescued Obamacare from the dustbin reserved for bad laws. Scalia references the obvious fact that the Supreme Court again re-wrote the law in order to save what its majority regard as poorly-executed good intentions. Even the pundits applauding the decision agree.

At issue was whether the law permits the federal government – taxpayers – to subsidize insurance purchased from the federal exchange in states that declined to set up their own exchanges.  The law permits subsidies only through “an exchange established by the state.” In backing the government, the Court was forced to ignore the plain language of the statute – and make no bones about it. Chief Justice Roberts stood on the principle that says the court must act to preserve laws passed by Congress whenever they can. He noted the purpose of the law was to “improve health insurance markets, not destroy them,” and opined the Court’s duty was to see beyond what the law actually said and do what its guardians meant to do – as though he is better able to divine its meaning than are its authors.

One of its principal authors – MIT Professor Jonathan Gruber – testified before Congress and was videotaped stating that he deliberately framed the statute for state exchanges being necessary for subsidies as a ploy to force every state to set up exchanges. When nearly two thirds of the states thumbed their noses at Gruber and his presidential leash-holder, the leash-holder gave away the tax revenues on his own recognizance. The Court went along with this usurpation of power – just as they did when Roberts declared a penalty was really a tax after Gruber and congressional leaders said repeatedly it was not – in order to declare Obamacare constitutional in 2012. Oh, that principle of preserving law when one is able…

But the principle over the principle is one word – legitimate. When the language of the law is plain, the logical consequence is to rule for the plain language; there is no legitimate way to preserve perversions of law. When the chief executive has clearly exceeded his authority – he has none with which to re-write a law he has re-created some thirty times – the logic is to rule against him, no matter how well-intentioned a judge thinks the effort. That is called constitutional law. What Roberts did is not law at all – it is decree. And the Taney Court employed the very same logic in 1857 when it preserved the Fugitive Slave Law at all costs in the infamous Dred Scott decision that helped precipitate the Civil War.

The Obama Administration argued successfully before the Roberts Court that many American lives would be disrupted – six and one half million – by the sudden cessation of their subsidies if the Court found against the new and improved version of a law never submitted to the sole agency – Congress – with authority to make federal law. But the Court ignores the fact that it is the administration that has made these millions dependent on an illegal program that Congress has the power to repair – should it wish to. It ignores the reality that this administration has disrupted the lives of scores of millions more by triggering massive insurance premium increases, doctor shortages, and lost medical plans with this moronic healthcare law. When something is the colossal failure we have with Obamacare, the solution is to leave the ship and rebuild, not rearrange the deck chairs while John Roberts whistles a happy tune.

Under our Constitution, the Congress is alone entrusted to make federal law. Let them do their job. And let the citizens of this land – especially the Christians and their leaders – rise in tough love to say we gave government its authority–and we can take it back. We will accept the constitutional government that we established; we will neither accept nor tolerate the perversion Obama and Roberts have made of it.

The Word of God says: “For I know the plans I have for you…plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” In other words, we cannot fail to find our God when we seek Him to the exclusion of all others. The “all others” includes Barack Obama, the Congress, and the John Roberts Supreme Court.

The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by WesternJournalism.com.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Equipping You With The Truth

Marriage And A Scorched Earth Policy

The old story goes that they finally built the ultimate computer–and the first order of business was to ask it the ultimate question: Is there a God? The answer came back in a heartbeat. “There is now.”

On June 26, 2015, five members of the United States Supreme Court declared themselves to be God. I say this because in the United States, only God Himself stands above the Constitution. Justice Anthony Kennedy – in his opinion for the majority of the justices – placed this majority above the Constitution. I do not say he behaved as though they were above it; he said as much. I have read his decision and discussed it with constitutional attorneys.

He says this when he admits the Constitution expects a legislative remedy in cases of injustice – assuming we say leaving the definition of marriage to the states constitutes injustice, as Kennedy does – but when the issue is “fundamental,” he decides the Court cannot wait for legislation to address it. In other words, the issue of permitting or denying gays the right to marry one another is too important to leave to the Constitution for resolution. It must be resolved by those – the five justices – who are wiser.

One trouble is they are clearly not wiser. In his opinion, Kennedy says claims that same sex marriage harms heterosexuals are counter-intuitive and therefore not worth considering. He writes this despite the publication of numerous studies in every nation that has legalized gay marriage to the effect that heterosexual unions in those lands tend to become less frequent, less enduring, and less resilient in terms of their impact on children. Other studies show that children raised in homosexual homes are more likely to suffer abuse and less likely to do well in adult life by a number of measures. But the damage is not done to straight people alone. When gays do not receive the benefits they expect – reduced domestic violence, addictions, mental illness and suicidal tendencies, and a disproportionate share of sexually transmitted diseases including AIDS – they tend to sink into despondency as a group. In 2009, a number of gay groups sued the Canadian government, demanding millions in special medical benefits to compensate for the health improvements they did not receive as a byproduct of permission to marry.

The staggering numbers of divorces and the brevity of the average gay marriage mirrors those same numbers before they were granted the right to marry in Canada and elsewhere. The right to marry does not fix the inherent instability of these relationships.

Aside from revealing themselves utterly unqualified to do social work, the court’s decision does (perhaps) fatal damage to the Constitution and the culture it shapes in three ways. The first is to re-define marriage away from being an institution that provides for the raising of children so that they might become productive adults and raise children of their own. Although our culture has often fallen short of the ideal that we raise children for their own benefit rather than to benefit ourselves as parents, we never subscribed to the European model that says children exist to benefit their parents. This cultural ideal pre-dates our Constitution and has always been central to our identity as Americans. But in declaring a fundamental right for gays to marry in the face of evidence these marriages make it tougher on the kids raised in these households, the justices declare in effect that marriage has nothing to do with blessing children.

The second way is that by claiming – as Kennedy does – that the Due Process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment guarantees a right to self-chosen identity, dignity, and autonomy, we can now see it is no longer saying that no one may be deprived of rights to which they would otherwise be entitled. Now, it must be read as saying that we are entitled to whatever we want. Kennedy goes on to say that the denial of marriage harms gays and is therefore unconstitutional under the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. By that logic – harm being the issue – I have every right to demand pharmaceutical companies produce side effect-free anti-cholesterol medications; I am harmed by having to choose between the fatal alternatives of risking high cholesterol and the serious side effects I endure when I take the drugs.

But the third blow struck is to the Constitution itself, and this blow is to every American. Kennedy asserts that the Fourteenth Amendment requires giving same-sex couples the right to marry, but makes no effort whatsoever to find a basis for such a right in either the Constitution, the Amendment, or the volumes of case law in such cases of the past. He ignores – for example – the Tenth Amendment, the one stating clearly that the federal government has no right to exercise powers not specifically enumerated in the document; all un-enumerated powers are left to the states and the people. Nothing in the Fourteenth supersedes that requirement. Yet Kennedy states that – in his judgment and that of the four voting with him – this issue is too important to leave to the Constitution itself. Their judgment of what is good – and their judgment alone – prevails.

Because I love my country and I have faith in my God, I choose to believe it is not yet too late for a season of repentance in people of faith. Repentance looks like civil resistance on the one hand – supporting county clerks who refuse to license same sex couples or all couples – demanding that all unions be domestic partnerships for purposes of legal linkage, and having the wedding in churches that believe in authentic marriage – and taking to the streets (non-violently) as Dr. King took to the streets for the civil rights of his day. It means on the other hand examining our hearts to see if there is homophobia taking up residence. It means recognizing that God does not hate homosexual people; He hates the suffering they endure, and He longs to see them healed. We need to long as He longs.

The story goes that they built the ultimate Supreme Court and asked it the ultimate question: “Is there a God?” “There is now and they are me,” said the justices. Repentance means seeking the real God and rejecting the counterfeit. Let’s begin by telling five flawed human beings they are neither gods nor above the Constitution.

The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by WesternJournalism.com.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Equipping You With The Truth

West Coast Trifecta — A Rolling Day Of Repentance

About two dozen Christians representing Washington, Oregon, and California gathered in Washington’s state capitol to worship, pray, and hear about California’s Day of Repentance. We took a call from a Hawaiian leader who shared his conviction that God was calling for a trifecta of repentance in the three west coast states.

Trifecta is a well known term. It means someone has picked the horses to finish in the first three places in a race – and in the correct order. More traditionally, it refers to any event that reflects perfection in its symmetry; sometimes, it refers to three-way shared authority like what we see in the Trinitarian Godhead of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

By the time we concluded, we were committed to observing a trifecta of repentance in our states. California’s day is September 9 – our state’s admission-to-the-union day. Oregon will observe the 10th and Washington the 11th – 911 around the rest of the nation. Delegations from each state will participate at the capitols in all three, and we will stand with one another during the run-up time.

There is plenty to stand for and against during this run-up time. Repentance – in terms of renouncing sin and re-focusing attention on God and His plans for our states – is needed in each of four master sin patterns. Oregon and Washington have assisted suicide laws on their books, and California is poised to follow; each has high rates of elective suicide and abortion, and bloody records of massacring Native Americans. The shedding of innocent blood is despised by God since Cain murdered Abel.

Each of our states has a long history of worshiping its own ingenuity from Silicon Valley to aerospace to making and serving coffee. Anything we put in the place of God constitutes idolatry; yet human ingenuity is not the only thing we worship in the place of God. In my own city of Redding, we have a statue to the Hindu goddess, Kali, in front of our old city hall; and (Roman goddess) Minerva can be found in our capitol rotunda. Similar atrocities grace the capitols of Oregon and Washington, and we people of faith have rarely had a problem with any of it.

America’s porn industry is centered in Southern California, and we are a choke-point for human trafficking; the Salem (Oregon) House of Prayer is housed in a building once used to exploit victims of trafficking, and Washington has a similar legacy. Sexual sin needs repenting.

All three of our states have a long and sad history of breaking covenants with everyone from Native American tribes to farmers, not to mention our shared and deplorably high rate of divorce and other anti-family trends. The legalization of same sex marriage in all three states completes the trifecta of broken covenants.

Actually, there is amazingly good news here. God would not be bringing these issues so starkly to our attention through record breaking droughts in each of our states were He not determined to forgive and heal – “If my people, who are called by My Name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways…” If a critical mass of believers actually commits to a season of seeking His face – instead of explaining away the obvious signs of His distress – we will find the Great Awakening birthed in our midst a blessing to all of Biblical proportions.

The commitment to stand with each other as the West Coast Trifecta of Repentance is bigger. One of the leaders had a Hebrew calendar with her. She found that September 9 is the 25th of the Hebrew Ellul. On this day, Nehemiah completed the fifty-two days of restoring the Jerusalem city wall. If we backtrack fifty-two days, we come to July 20 – the anniversary of the first moon landing. Accordingly, leaders in each state are calling for a time of fasting and prayer from July 20 through September 9.

People participating may fast in whatever way God leads them. A fast is simply the sacrifice of something we think we need and God thinks we do not. This season is a wonderful opportunity to stand before God on behalf of ourselves and our state, whichever of the west coast states we call home. It is a chance to build a wall of sacrifice and praise the length of the West Coast. Our states were founded in the love of Christ, whatever revisionist historians may think. We have a chance to return to our first love if we humble ourselves.

The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by WesternJournalism.com.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Equipping You With The Truth

David And Goliath In California: Dedicated Shepherds Versus A Predatory Industry

California’s proposed AB 775 is so sinister for Christians who actually seek and serve Jesus Christ – and the bill’s supporters know it – that they keep changing hearing and voting sessions when they discover how many opponents are showing up. The bill is simple in its majestic arrogance. It would require leaders of pregnancy care clinics – read: ministries promoting life for unborn children and their parents – to advertise and refer their clients for abortion. Apart from the obvious trashing of the First Amendment inherent in forcing people into politically correct speaking is the colossal unfairness. Nobody is trying to force Planned Parenthood – the bill’s chief supporter – to refer their clients to pregnancy care centers.

The bill would also require pregnancy care centers to upgrade their facilities before operating as medical clinics with volunteer doctors and nurses supplying prenatal care. No one has ever died in a pregnancy care center – whether from sloppy procedures or unsanitary conditions. There have been many deaths due to treatment in abortion clinics; yet no one is trying to force Planned Parenthood to upgrade their standards of care – not in this bill.

Truth is Planned Parenthood rakes in hundreds of millions of dollars each year, much of it taxpayers’ money. I never saw a pregnancy care center operated on anything but a shoestring. Yet Planned Parenthood uses its lobbying power – bullying power – to try to force these little centers to send them business with the sanction of state law.

The contest is an unequal one, with David kicking the tar out of Goliath once again. Since 40 Days for Life began less than a decade ago, more than sixty Planned Parenthood or other abortion clinics have closed their doors in response to this campaign alone; more than a hundred workers have quit their jobs. Appointments for abortions taper off by as much as seventy-five percent when the volunteers are praying and blessing and worshiping outside the clinics – that is all they do except to speak when spoken to – and so many doctors now refuse to do elective abortions in California that the legislature changed the law to allow non-physicians to perform them. It is small wonder Planned Parenthood has pulled out all the stops to run David off the road. It is well known they have attempted to invoke anti-racketeering statutes against those keeping vigil; now, they seek to force pro-life ministries to drum up business for them.

They have boasted a board of so-called pastors who stand for “reproductive rights” almost since Roe v. Wade came down. This Spring, several large newspapers carried stories in which these ‘clergy’ say pro-life volunteers are acting contrary to the instructions of their spiritual leaders. Who are these people, and why would I refer to them as so-called pastors?

They all align themselves with the Coalition for Reproductive Choice; this is Newspeak for favoring the killing of unborn children when the prospect of a birth is anywhere from traumatic to inconvenient. A quick trip to the Planned Parenthood website reveals some are rabbis of humanist and/or reconstructionist synagogues – Jews who do not believe there is an actual God, of the Jews or of anyone else. Then you have the Episcopalians; their presiding bishop is on record (Time Magazine) as saying that Jesus is but one of the ways to the Father. There are the Unitarian/Universalist members who never believed there was a savior – or a need for one. The board is rounded out by representatives of other denominations who left the Christian fold a long time ago, and a Muslim or two. When we consider that the words “clergy” and “pastor” traditionally refer to Christian shepherds, and none of these people believe in that Christ from whom we take the name Christian, I can be excused for dismissing all of them as frauds pretending to be Christians. But Planned Parenthood has never had a problem with lying or fraud.

They still hope the rest of us will not uncover the fact their founder, Margaret Sanger, was a devoted believer in ethnic cleansing through abortion and selective breeding, or that even today about two thirds of their clinics are in black neighborhoods. Blacks comprise about twelve percent of the population.

I will never forget the man dressed as a priest – as I was – in the hearing room in which testimony was taken by the Senate Health Committee on SB 128 – the assisted suicide bill – last March 25. As he testified for the bill, he had the gall to cite the most famous verse of the Book of Esther: “You were born for such a time as this.” When I testified against the bill, I pointed out that the verse referred to saving lives – not taking them – and mentioned that twisting scripture was not the same as quoting it. I was booed by the two hundred and fifty supporters of Goliath in that hearing room. Whether the issue is assisted suicide or muzzling the voices for life that has not yet left the womb, the cast of characters changes neither identity nor tactics.

If we wish to back David’s play, we can start with acknowledging that – whatever our own convictions about abortion-on-demand – the Christian Faith as expressed in the Christian Bible is as much on the side of life for the unborn as for God’s other children. One can certainly support abortion, but one cannot claim (truthfully) to be a Christian while doing it. Likewise, legislators can support the assault on freedom of speech and faith that is AB 775 if that seems like a good thing to do. But lawmakers cannot (truthfully) claim to represent a government of laws and not of men while doing it.

There is good news. In 1 Kings, Elijah offered a sacrificial bull and invited the prophets of Baal to do the same thing. It was a level playing field because his challenge was that the deity who answered with supernatural fire would be acknowledged as the only authentic God by all present. When the God of the Jews did indeed answer, the case was closed. (BTW, the drought plaguing Israel ended as well.) The good news is this: If the people of California stand as one and demand of their lawmakers a level playing field – both sides in the abortion debate given unlimited opportunity to make their case to the public instead of Goliath binding David’s hands behind his back – the debate ends sooner or later with all of us standing with truth, with God, and with the voiceless ones whose backs we should always have.

 

The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by WesternJournalism.com.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Equipping You With The Truth