Sunday, April 6, 2014

Hiding from Our Convictions

I am a Canadian, and I am proud of my Canadian heritage.  However, I have spent much time in my life in America.  My children are American citizens, Canadian as well, and are direct lineal descendants of one of the passengers on the Mayflower.  As a child, I was raised on Canadian and American history, and of course, the American history was more exciting, as was the American fiction, or at least it was presented as being more exciting.

A number of years ago, my wife and I had the opportunity to become snowbirds, northerners who head to the south of the US (or elsewhere warm) for the winter.  Though we have had occasion to travel to Florida, Texas, and California, we have settled in Southern Arizona and have a "candominium" in an over 55 RV resort there.  A candomium is a humorous epithet for a park model trailer, and these abound in most over 55 RV resorts throughout North America.

Living here for a significant part of each year, I have had the chance to study the people, their attitudes and history, as well as their founding documents, and their understanding of them.  Reading the documents upon which this nation (America) was founded is an inspiration, from the Declaration of Independence to the Constitution and its Amendments.

Accordingly, watching how the Executive Branch, the Legislative Branch, and the Judicial Branch of the government have largely destroyed the intent of the founding fathers particularly in the last 50 years though is particularly disturbing.  Needless to say, seeing how our Canadian politicians abuse our rights and freedoms is also extremely tortuous.

In both of our once great nations of North America, we have moved from standing on the bedrock of our faith in Jesus Christ to sliding around on the sands of political correctness, where what we once knew to be sin has been glorified, tolerated and in fact, encouraged.

For fear of offending others, we have put down the biblical principles of our faith in Jesus Christ, and taken up this mantle of tolerance for our own sins and the sins of others.  Where the Bible tells us to lovingly reprove our brothers and sisters in grave sin, not by judging them, but by confronting them for their own salvation, we instead, have stood idly by, while pornography, abortion, contraception, adultery, and homosexuality have run rampant in our society.

I say this not to judge, since I had a lengthy period of grave sexual sin in my life, and am easily tempted by the rampant, and continually growing list of books, television shows, movies, both mainstream and pornographic, web sites, and other media, to sexual sin.  I know that the proliferation of things alluding to or directly supporting sexual sin in our society create for me the "near occasion of sin", and believe that it is not me alone that faces these temptations.

If we tell someone who is living with her boyfriend, or his girlfriend in a sexual relationship, or is living a homosexual lifestyle, that they are in a state of grave sin, then we are considered haters and intolerant.  The same is true if we confront a man or woman, who is having an extramarital affair.

During the period of my life, when I was in grave sexual sin, not one of my Christian friends confronted me.  All were tolerant and "understanding" of my personal sadness at the time over the general situation of my life, and ignored what else was going on, even though it was pretty obvious.  For my part, I was in a period of emotional turmoil, but I was medicating my emotional distress with sexual license.  A couple of people did talk about me behind my back, and as word of what they said about me filtered its way to me, it was so distorted as to qualify as gossip, and not be corrective nor instructive.

In America, people trumpet the First Amendment to the Constitution as a license to say what they want, and by extension, do what they want, except when they hoist up the Second Amendment, so they can carry a gun, in case someone doing what they want appears, or might appear, physically harmful to them.

The First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America reads as follows:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.
That Amendment has been used by pornographers to justify selling smut everywhere, or displaying it on the internet for all to see.  And we, the people, including those of us who are not citizens, have stood silently by.  By the way, in Canada it is the same.

But, interestingly, and more importantly, religious people, who have strong convictions against funding contraception, which is really a form of abortion in many cases, and directly against funding abortion, are having to fight against the government of the day and the Health and Human Services (HHS) mandate, requiring virtually all employers to provide these facilities in their health care plans.

Corporations like Hobby Lobby are in a fight for their lives literally.  The owners, and principals of dissenting and litigating businesses and institutions are fighting to have the right to have conscience objections to providing these things in their health care plans, while wanting to provide real health care to their employees and members.

So, the government that the people of America have selected to govern their affairs is forcing an ideology of sexual freedom (the apparent right of anyone to have sexual relations with anyone they choose at any time, regardless of sex, religion or race) upon the people of America, with nary a whimper from most, and from rampant bloviating by those who claim that Hobby Lobby and their ilk are mere troglodytes from a dark, evil age that has passed out of fashion.

In Canada, the provision of contraception entered into health care plans, including those of private school boards, and religious institutions, also with nary a whimper, and our Catholic bishops stood by, even fanning the flames of this travesty by issuing the Winnipeg Statement in 1968, after Pope Paul VI had released the seminal, and tragically prophetic encyclical letter Humanae Vitae. In the Winnipeg Statement, our Canadian Catholic bishops basically stated that Humanae Vitae was too harsh, but not in so many words, and told Catholic Canadians to follow their consciences, without providing them with the proper guidance to help them do so, in accord with Catholic teaching.

And, in Canada, we have no laws whatsoever governing abortion.  Nothing.  Nada.  Zero.  Not only that, but our national health care system pays for them, as just one more necessary health care procedure.

In Canada, we have the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and like the First Amendment to the US Constitution, section two of that charter grants certain rights as follows:
2. Everyone has the following fundamental freedoms:
(a) freedom of conscience and religion;
(b) freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press and other media of communication;
(c) freedom of peaceful assembly; and
(d) freedom of association.
What is shocking and most frustrating is how the freedom of religion has been scourged in both countries by courts and pseudo courts such as human rights commissions, who, in the interests of political correctness have eroded these rights and supplanted them with artificial rights of individuals to not feel judged, or hurt, or discriminated against.

So, in both our countries, where certain Christians in keeping to their principles, have either refused to perform a marriage ceremony for a homosexual couple, or to photograph such an event, or  to provide flowers or a cake for such a ceremony, they have been taken to task by the preservers of political correctness.  Apparently, if you have a Bed and Breakfast in your home, you cannot exclude a homosexual couple from renting your room either.

What is also shocking is that there seems to be no practical instances of heterosexual couples who are not married being denied accommodation.  It may be easier to draw the conclusions that two people of the same sex are a couple, and therefor assumed to be homosexual, whether that is in fact true or not.  However, since lots of married couples have different last names, and many marrieds do not wear wedding bands, knowing that a couple entering your hotel or B&B are in fact not married would require asking a question of them to confirm their marriage status, and that seems, well, out of the question.

To use discrimination in its non pejorative meaning as merely to differentiate between two things, why would a resort, hotel or other place of accommodation not refuse a room to all couples that are unmarried, in the biblical sense of that word?

Christians have found it all too easy to not really stand on all the principles of our faith. 

Last evening, I watched a movie where a man was forced to figure out if what he believed in was important enough to take a stand on.  The principle of the movie was based on the loss of Christmas in our society, which is rapidly being replaced with "winter holiday", but the issues he faced, including the difficulties of taking a stand are similar.  What was most clear to me was that the right of Christians to express their faith in public has been being eroded for a long time, and we have generally stood by and watched it happen.

I have linked the video below if you wish to see it.  I believe that it is worth your time.

So, I have a closing question, and my question is this.  Have we lost the courage of our convictions, or have we lost our convictions? 

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