The church in America is worried; worried about engaging in politics. Some congregants may believe that speaking about politics from the pulpit is not entirely appropriate. There is often the concern of pastors that they may lose their church’s nonprofit status, or perhaps lose some financial support. So, this week I present a challenge – a challenge to pastors and members of their congregations.
I’ve talked with lots of pastors over the years and have come to realize that many simply see there being too many “downsides” and very few “upsides” in addressing political issues from the pulpit. I get it. Pastor Gus Booth, someone personally familiar with this issue, puts it this way in his book entitled SHHHH! Be Quiet Christian: “There are so many in the church who say things like, ‘Don’t preach anything political. I want theology and a spiritual message, but if you get involved in politics, then you schism the church.’” However, I am convinced that the gospel doesn’t exempt any portion of our life being transformed by the saving work of Christ, so if we are preaching the Word and seeking to apply it to our lives, shouldn’t this be one of those areas?
The Johnson Amendment has struck fear in the hearts of pastors for over 67 years. While it doesn’t prohibit churches from providing general information about political topics, it does restrict churches from endorsing particular candidates. Do you know the number of churches that have been successfully prosecuted under this law in the past six decades? As NPR states, “According to the alliance [Alliance Defending Freedom], as reported by the Washington Post, only one of more than 2,000 Christian clergy deliberately challenging the law since 2008 has been audited, and none has been punished.” [Emphasis added]. So why the fear?
Like all nonprofits, churches operate on revenues, and most of these revenues come from donations. Generally speaking, over 90% of church revenues come from regular giving by church members. It is undeniable that giving to their church should be the first giving priority of congregants. The possibility certainly exists that the topic of politics might create a divide or upset certain members of the congregation, with the result that they might take their charitable giving elsewhere. However, I would contend that churches need to lead and educate their members on all aspects of biblical citizenship.
Over the years, my father preached some unpopular sermons and congregants sometimes became upset, stopped their giving, or left. However, I am very proud he chose to preach those difficult sermons. Preaching the Word, and how it applies to all aspects of our lives, is what the church should be about.
Let me close with this. I have a deep and abiding respect for the church as an organization and as the body of Christ. God established it and we must love the church and help it grow. However, I would challenge those in leadership to speak boldly on how Christians can and should allow their faith to flow into all parts of their lives. I also challenge church members to encourage your spiritual leaders to address important political issues. Christianity is not a partial change in our lives, but affects all facets, so let’s help each other translate that faith in a holistic and comprehensive way!
President and Executive Director
Sir William Jones, the renowned eighteenth-century English jurist and scholar, once remarked of his native England, “We live in the midst of blessings till we are utterly insensible of their greatness and the source from whence they flow.”
Sadly, the same could be said of the American people today. Even with all the problems we face today, we are blessed to live in the most prosperous, secure, politically stable, and free nation in the history of the world. Yet too many turn their backs on our national foundations, indignantly sneer at the biblical morality we once shared, and speak with contempt of the founding fathers and other faithful men who have—by their vigilance and sacrifice—secured, maintained and preserved our republic for future generations.
What was, to paraphrase Sir William Jones, the source from whence our blessings of liberty, prosperity, and security flowed? What was the source of our national greatness?
In his first Thanksgiving Proclamation, President George Washington unequivocally answered: “It is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favor.”
That, indeed, was the unanimous opinion of the founding fathers who appended their names to the Declaration of Independence exactly 245 years ago. In fact, Independence Day in early America was celebrated as a day of national thanksgiving to God.
Our founders attested to God’s intervention on our behalf during the War for Independence and His goodness in guiding them as they created a nation rooted in the idea of liberty under God’s law and built upon His unchanging Word. They believed the American people should come together to extend gratitude and worship to God for His protection, favor, and blessing.
Writing to his wife Abigail immediately after joining with his fellow delegates in voting for independence, John Adams presciently foresaw both the importance of the event in which he had just taken part and the traditions that would be celebrated by successive generations of Americans:
“I am apt to believe that [Independence Day] will be celebrated, by succeeding generations, as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be commemorated as the Day of Deliverance by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires and illuminations [fireworks] from one end of this continent to the other from this time forward forever more.”
Yes, John Adams predicted that Independence Day would be celebrated with fireworks, parades, sports, and guns! How’s that for a prediction come true?
But also notice that John Adams says Independence Day ought to be celebrated by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. God, who is the source of all blessings, deserves our worship and thanksgiving today. He has given us our liberty, and He has allowed us to live in a nation that has done better than any other in offering opportunity to all and empowering everyone to exercise their rights freely.
As you celebrate Independence Day, take a few minutes to pray with your family, thanking God for all He has done for the United States of America and asking Him that our nation may reclaim its founding principles.
Join with me in following the wisdom of President Washington, who over two centuries ago encouraged his countrymen to acknowledge God’s providence and authority, obey His law, be grateful to Him for the blessings we have been given, and humbly ask him for his continued protection and favor.
Standing with you this Independence Day,
This coming Sunday will be Independence Day – the day commemorating our country throwing off the yoke of England’s rule. I hope all of you have the opportunity to spend the day with friends and family, celebrating our country’s freedoms.
As Americans, we have a lot to be thankful for. We live in a country founded on biblical principles, which is a huge blessing. We have religious freedom, a society where hard work produces commensurate rewards, respectful dialog happens around contentious issues, Christianity is respected, and societal norms are shifting more toward biblical values every day.
Really? I wrote that last paragraph in November of 2019, less than two years ago. How would I write it today? How about this.
We have many freedoms and live in a nation with liberties based on biblical values, but they are under attack more and more every day. We have a President who rules by fiat. We see biological girls on sports teams having to compete with biological boys who “identify as a girl”. The major media outlets gleefully broadcast almost daily how another company, public figure, church, or other entity has sacrificed traditional values on the altar of political correctness. Social media and other forms of free expression are being censored for those with our views. Our education system is already beginning to teach our children that the structure and core beliefs of our country are inherently based on racial injustice. Hard work no longer guarantees commensurate rewards you can keep. The Left and the Right have never been farther apart on every issue, and the gloves are off. More and more states are giving permission to abort under any circumstances, at any point during the pregnancy (and in some cases, after birth!).
Why am I giving you this litany of things that are going wrong? For four reasons.
First, I want to highlight that the freedoms we still possess in these areas are a precious thing, and once they’re gone, they’re gone for good. It is easy to become comfortable and complacent when it comes to our freedoms. We mistakenly assume that they will always be there, at our own peril.
Second, we may live in what is overall a conservative and Bible-honoring state, but we are not insulated from these issues. I see them every day in my work. Just look at some of the good and bad bills introduced this past legislative session: physician-assisted suicide, girls’ fairness in sports, freedom of speech at public universities, institutions of higher learning partnering with Planned Parenthood, and more. Make no mistake, these issues are already in North Dakota, folks.
Third, we need to actually do something to stop the loss of our nation’s freedoms. As we saw starkly this past November, elections can have devastating consequences. While we’ve thankfully never yet had to fight for our freedoms like the colonists during the revolutionary war, we still need to fight in other ways. For now, our fight is in the halls of Congress, our state capitol, at school board meetings, rallies, in letters to the editor, with calls to legislators, and more.
Finally, I want to ask for your help in upholding these fundamental beliefs and values that make North Dakota what it is. Family Policy Alliance of North Dakota fights for your freedoms every day. We do this through legislation, supporting candidates for office, informing you about key issues that threaten our liberties, providing ways to engage in the political process in a meaningful manner, reporting on legislators’ voting records, etc. Won’t you consider joining us in these efforts through your financial support?
Together, let’s protect the freedoms that have made our country the beacon of the free world it is.
President and Executive Director
|“Onward, Christian soldiers, marching as to war, With the cross of Jesus going on before! Christ, the royal Master, leads against the foe; Forward into battle, see his banner go!”|
Christianity is a warrior’s faith.
The Scripture has two primary themes when it comes to our interactions with culture. First, God’s Word promises us that the culture will hate us – that we are aliens in a foreign land who will see persecution. Second, Scripture commands us to be “salt and light,” to “stand firm and take action,” and to engage that hostility directly with the love of Jesus.
In other words – Christians are to, with full knowledge of the world’s hostility, live boldly, unashamed, and fearlessly do battle against wickedness for the cause of Christ.
That’s been the foundation that has guided Family Policy Alliance of Georgia since I moved my family here in early 2017 to launch this effort.
We’ve been bold and unafraid. We’ve spoken truth. We’ve done battle against a hostile world. We haven’t been concerned with playing political games or seeking favor with those in power. Instead, we’ve been guided by a mission to do battle – winsomely, lovingly, and with a goal to see Christ glorified – in a world that is hostile to us and to use political strategies to achieve great victories for His people.
By God’s grace, our ministry has flourished.
Despite countless struggles, trials, and tribulations – encountering unmistakable spiritual warfare – our Georgia organization is thriving. We’re growing our staff. Our revenue has increased. We’re adding programs. And, our victories are increasing.
Now, God is calling us to a bigger vision – to do battle in an even bigger way for His glory right here in Georgia. And, we are ready to answer that call.
This is going to mean a change for the ministry and a change in how we operate. It’s a change that is an act of faithfulness as we seek to be and to do what the Lord has put before this organization in our state.
We are going to announce this change next week, and we could not be more excited.
Yet, what lies before us will not be easy. When I was growing up, the question that defined our culture was “do you believe Christ is who He says He is?” While that will always be the most important question for every soul, our culture is now asking, “do you believe you are who God says you are?”
|Are you fearfully and wonderfully made by your Creator, as God says, or an accidental and discardable “clump of cells” as the pro-abortion lobby says?
Are you intentionally made male or female, as He says, or an amorphous being set to self-determine their own gender and sexuality as the anti-science Left shrieks?
Are you defined by being made in His image, as Genesis declares, or are you defined by your race or some other identity group, as the woke mob insists?
The nature of these questions – and the nature of what this culture defines as “normal” and worthy of celebration – is alarming. To battle against this, we need a Georgia organization at maximum strength.
We are ready to be that force to Defend Families and Advance Freedom in our state.
I’m excited to share more and fired up for what lies ahead. I look forward to what God has in store.
President and Executive Director
PS. I look forward to sharing our big vision with you. As we answer the call to battle, however, we do need additional resources. Next week, we’ll be asking for your support. Please prayerfully consider how you can help this ministry be what God has called us to be.
It’s not often that we hear of government bodies agreeing on a decision. But yesterday, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a UNANIMOUS judgement in favor of children and religious freedom.
What happened? Here are the facts.
The case: Fulton v. City of Philadelphia
Catholic Social Services (CSS) is a longstanding faith-based nonprofit that serves the foster children of Philadelphia. They exist to help children in need, particularly hard-to-place children, find forever homes. They have many guidelines for the families who are receiving children in their homes – including that there be a married mom and dad in the home.
Their beliefs are essential to their identity and cannot be separated from their work. But the city of Philadelphia thought otherwise.
When the city discovered CSS’s beliefs about marriage, they forced the organization to make a decision: change your beliefs, or the city will stop contracting with you.
CSS chose a third option: seek legal help.
The organization rightly recognized that this was a violation of their constitutionally protected religious freedom, and – represented by our friends at Becket Law – they took that argument to court.
After years of litigation, Catholic Social Services ultimately got their day in court before the U.S. Supreme Court last year. And today, the Justices issued their verdict: Philadelphia violated CSS’s religious freedom.
The implications: good news for children and religious freedom
This decision is good news not only for CSS, but for the many children they serve. When CSS is allowed to participate in Philadelphia’s foster care system, it not only offers a distinctly Christian option, but also increases the sheer number of foster providers – and that matters greatly.
In the U.S., more than 400,000 children in the foster system are waiting for homes. Around 4% of children are adopted within a year of entering foster care, and 85% of children in foster care have at least two placements in their first 12 months. In fact, the foster crisis is so extreme that some states are hosting foster children in hotels and office buildings because there is nowhere else to place them.
Today’s decision is a strong affirmation that foster homes like Catholic Social Services should be able to place children in loving homes while abiding by their religious convictions. Religious freedom is a precious gift afforded to all Americans. The belief that children should be in homes with a married mother and father should not be punished — and the Court affirmed that today.
The decision also reminds us of why the federal Equality Act – which could be up for a vote anytime in the Senate – is unworkable and inadvisable. The Act would redefine “sex” to include a person’s self-declared “sexual orientation and gender identity” throughout federal civil rights law. By doing that, the Act could be used to force foster and adoption agencies into similar dilemmas to Catholic Social Services – something that that the entire Supreme Court rejected today. The Equality Act would threaten religious freedom and the wellbeing of children and must be rejected.
We applaud today’s Supreme Court decision and are thankful for the work of Becket Law representing Catholic Social Services!
Policy and Communications Strategist
P.S. Want to speak out against the Equality Act? Send a message to your Senator now.
The Biden Administration is trying to push the Equality Act through the Senate. And now they have attempted to unilaterally redefine sex in Title IX – putting girl’s opportunities at risk. The City of Philadelphia attempted to punish Catholic Services for living out their beliefs, disregarding the needs of children in their community.
But today in a shocking 9-0 decision, the Supreme Court sided with Catholic adoption agency’s right to care for children consistently with their faith.
In a year when many churches and ministries have caved to the LGBTQ+ agenda, the Court reaffirmed religious ministries right to be just that – religious ministries. The Court saw little to no benefit in excluding religious ministries in helping kids.
In Kansas, we have already fought, and won, the battle to ensure that adoption agencies will be protected through the 2018 Adoption Protection Act. But Governor Kelly has consistently waged war against these protections. She has tried to issue new guidance for foster families, tried to impose a sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) nondiscrimination law through boards she controls, and supported cities in passing ordinances that violate the First Amendment.
Our state has a child placement problem. The foster care crisis in our state has forced children to sleep in offices at points – clearly showing we need to allow more children to be placed in homes rather than excluding families, as Governor Kelly would like.
Caring for the widow and the orphan is one of the most specific commands that Scripture gives. The ability of Christian families and ministries to live out our beliefs by carrying for children that need families is paramount. We recognize as the Supreme Court did today, that these ministries that give families these opportunities are a “point of light” in our state. But we have to utilize their services.
We are thankful that the Supreme Court gave us a legal boost in living out this calling. But we need your help to keep fighting for families and ministries. Will you join us today in fighting for families and children?
Some things you can do:
- Talk to families in your church about considering adoption or foster care.
- Talk to your pastor or Sunday School leader about including the Biblical call to care for orphans in sermons and other teachings.
- Consider a donation to our engagement efforts to support pro-family advocates at all levels of the Statehouse who will fight for our freedom to live out our beliefs.
For Kansas kids,
Brittany Jones, Esq.
Director of Advocacy
Remember when Twitter locked our friends at Focus on the Family out of one of their accounts? Twitter made this decision because a post on the account correctly referred to one Biden nominee as a biological male who identifies as a woman.
Nearly four months later, Focus on the Family’s The Daily Citizen is still locked out of their Twitter account.
When the account was first blocked, many of you joined us in jumping into action and coming to Focus on the Family’s defense. You signed our petition to Twitter, and you joined us in challenging Twitter: #AreWeNext? Because if stating simple biological facts gets you banned on Twitter, none of us belongs there.
Our tweet reached well over a half million impressions, inspiring even Members of Congress to join in—along with many of our friends leading the state family policy councils and other national organizations doing outstanding work. Together, we all sent a strong message!
The Daily Citizen has now been locked out of their account for over three months. During that time, tens of thousands of you have signed our petition to Twitter, and other organizations signed our formal letter to Twitter, encouraging Twitter to reconsider how it blocks user content. In all, over 50,000 of you signed the Family Policy Alliance petition to Twitter, calling on them to reconsider their position, especially in blocking Focus on the Family’s account.
The time has come for us to deliver those letters and your petition to Twitter….which we did just yesterday.
Additionally, we were joined by a few leaders from other outstanding organizations who share our values, like Concerned Women for America, in requesting an official meeting with Twitter’s policy team to discuss these issues. We hope Twitter will be willing to engage with us, and we will keep you updated on whether they grant our meeting request!
In the meantime, we hope you’ll join us for a discussion hosted by the National Religious Broadcasters (NRB) about how the Body of Christ should respond when Tech giants like Twitter block user content in a biased way.
The discussion features Autumn Leva of Family Policy Alliance, Ryan Anderson of The Ethics and Public Policy Center and Jason Thacker of The Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission. The NRB will ask questions like:
- How should Christian ministries and organizations think about the power of Big Tech?
- Should we engage and advocate with the tech platforms?
- Should we regulate Big Tech platforms?
- Are reforms to Section 230 necessary?
- How do we balance the free speech of corporations with the free speech of individuals?
CLICK HERE to register for the NRB “Live at Lunch” panel. The panel will start at 12PM ET today!
If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land. – 2 Chronicles 7:14
It’s easy to blame other people, isn’t it. You look at the radical left, the unsaved, and the unbelieving, and they are “the problem,” right? If only their brokenness were fixed and if they weren’t so evil, all would be ok?
Scripture says the solution isn’t getting the wicked to be less wicked. It’s getting GOD’S PEOPLE to actually behave like God’s people. While, yes, it’s easy to be mesmerized by the darkness evil around us, the far greater problem facing our nation is the lack of radiance of God’s church.
We’re supposed to be a light.
We’re supposed to be salt.
We’re supposed to be different.
Sadly, we aren’t always those things. We need to humble ourselves, pray, seek God’s face, turn from wicked ways, stand firm, take action, and engage culturally for His glory. Then, he will bring true healing to our land.
At our ministry, we are absolutely committed to engaging the darkness, changing hearts and minds, and fighting against evil. But, we’re also focused on equipping, empowering, and educating God’s people.
That’s why we’ve launched the Biblical Citizenship Academy program.
You have received emails about this program before, and you’ve been invited to these events. The first one, in Atlanta, had more than 130 people in attendance and 47 churches represented. We believe this can transform our culture, and we’re committed to doing these throughout the state.
On May 8th, the second Biblical Citizenship Academy will be held in Cartersville. To register, visit fpaofga.com/Cartersville.
On May 22nd, the third Biblical Citizenship Academy will be held in Fayetteville. To register, visit fpaofga.com/Fayetteville.
Currently, we’re working on scheduling the fourth and fifth “BCA” events.
Imagine if we’re able to do 10 of these this year at the same pace as the first one. That means 1300 Christians – attendees of 470 churches – would have received a first class education on what it means to be a biblical citizen. They’d know how to engage in culture and what’s going on in Georgia politics, and they’d be connected to the premier organization making a difference for our values.
What a difference that can make!
So, I’m asking you to pray for this program. Consider signing up. Consider asking us to host one in your area. Stay tuned and alert as we work to transform Georgia for His glory.
Because we know that God’s people can make all the difference,
President and Executive Director
There can be no mistaking it – if you’re a Christian in 2021 America, you are in a battle. Whether you want it or not. Whether you signed up for it or not. Whether you are hoping you can avoid it despite all evidence to the contrary. YOU. ARE. IN. A. BATTLE.
Ephesians 6:13 “Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day and having done all, to stand firm.”
Living in the “Bible belt,” you may have thought you could avoid feeling the heat of battle. Sadly, it is upon us. It was clear when the Chamber of Commerce forced Governor Deal to cave and veto RFRA. It’s been clear as Stacey Abrams and her forces took money from San Francisco and New York and have rapidly made gains in our state election cycle after election cycle.
It was clear again this legislative session as big money groups opposed efforts to Save Girls Sports, establish the Right to Visit, and advance the cause of religious freedom in Georgia.
And, yes, it’s been abundantly clear as Coke, Delta, and the MLB have waged an all-out war against Georgia for having the audacity to pass voter integrity laws – generous laws that make it easy to vote and hard to cheat – in order to protect the will of the people.
We are your voice to fight back. If you want to stand with us, the largest and most effective voice for Christians in Georgia, please consider a generous donation today of $50, $100, $250, or greater to help us counter the “woke” corporations seeking to dominate our state.
Here’s the truth: this isn’t about voting laws. It’s about doing everything they can to install a leftist regime at the helm of Georgia – a state that, as we’ve caught a glimpse in recent months, can give them absolute control of the nation if we cannot hold our ground. This leftist regime would support abortion on demand, the indoctrination of our children, the erasing of gender, and the destruction of the nuclear family.
But, even more importantly, they want to attack the Gospel.
Here’s the message that “Reverend” Raphael Warnock, our U.S. Senator shared on Easter Sunday: “The meaning of Easter is more transcendent than the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Whether you are Christian or not, through a commitment to helping others we are able to save ourselves.”
As one friend commented: “How many layers of heresy can you weave into one tweet!!!???”
The agenda of the radical left in Georgia isn’t purely a political one. After all, we are in a spiritual battle – even more than we are a physical one. The forces aligned against us in this spiritual battle are not interested in politics in and of itself but, instead, as a means to an end.
They want to install politicians who will water down the Gospel, alter what it “means” to be a Christian, and make our faith something that is utterly meaningless and diluted.
That’s why there was great rejoicing in the enemy camp when a “Catholic” who embraces abortion and a radical agenda across the board was elected to the White House. It’s why there were, no doubt, shouts of glee when a “pastor” of a Baptist Church – one who believes we can “save ourselves” – became the most radical member of the United States Senate.
And, if we look in the mirror, it’s why the Enemy dances when churches remain silent on issues like abortion, sexuality, and the centrality of God’s design for the family. It’s why we can be assured that their most treasured vote at the ballot box is from the Christian who votes in a way that is contrary to his faith.
We’re committed to fighting back – against the woke mob, against forces that work to convince politicians to abandon their principles, and against the radical left.
We’re committed to gaining ground – for our faith, for our families, for our values, for the future, and for the Gospel.
As I’ve mentioned, we’re developing plans and we’ve got big announcements coming up. We’ve already achieved much as a ministry, but we know we must step up our game.
We realize we’re in a battle. One for Georgia and for America, yes. But, also, we are in a spiritual battle. While prayer and the Lord’s strength will always be our most powerful weapons, we do need resources. Please consider a generous donation today of whatever you feel led to give.
Having you standing with us means so much in this battle. Your support means more than you know.
For His Glory,
President and Executive Director
PS. This is a critical time in the life of this ministry. Big announcements are coming, and we’re gearing up to make an even greater impact. While I ask for finances in this email – and, yes, those are important and I ask for your considered donation – I covet your prayers even more. As this is a critical time, it’s also a stressful time and one where much wisdom is needed. I ask for your prayers for me, my family, our team, and for all who partner with this ministry as we fight in this battle for Georgia. I promise you, your prayers are felt, and they are valued.
The Senate passed HB1503 minutes ago by a vote of 35 to 12. As a reminder, the bill would codify the protections for religious freedom and free speech on public campuses around the state. For example, opposition testimony to this bill by the North Dakota University System confirmed that on some campuses, religious clubs are not allowed to require that their own leaders agree with the clubs’ beliefs. This is unacceptable.
This win happened because of you. I talked to multiple Senators who stated unequivocally that the emails and phone calls from ND citizens like you made the difference in their mind regarding how important this bill was to them. This is a wonderful example of how taking a few minutes to fill out our email form or call your legislator can truly makes a difference in getting pro-life and pro-family legislation passed in North Dakota.
Thank you so much for making your voice heard on this bill. Religious freedom is one step closer to being fully protected on our state’s college and university campuses!
For Religious Freedom,
President and Executive Director