To all who have any interest in the First Amendment and its guarantees of freedom of religious expression and freedom of speech please read the following report from the Family Research Council.
In my October 2008 article posted on Crosswalk.com just prior to the presidential election (See: http://www.crosswalk.com/blogs/EPiper/11583035/) I warned that governmental “de-recognition” of Christian colleges (and even our respective churches) was NOT simply conservative hyperbole (or in the parlance of the day “fear mongering). I said then and I will say it again now: If you go back and listen to the exact words of our President in his Ohio campaign speech and to his comments at the Saddleback Civil Forum he explicitly said that ALL organizations receiving any form of federal assistance MUST comply fully with the Civil Rights ACT of 1964. I have repeatedly argued that this WILL mean that ANY institution receiving ANY moneys that are deemed by Congress to be “government funds” WILL be forced to stop ANY and ALL practices that are defined as discriminatory by that same Congress.
Do any of us really believe that this Congress will continue to grant Christian colleges or evangelical churches the “religious exemption” that we have enjoyed since the GI Bill of the 1940s?
Do any of us really believe that in matters of hiring and firing that this Congress will continue to honor a church’s or college’s definitional obligation and legal right to prefer one applicant who is an orthodox Christian over and above another who is not?
Do any of us really believe that Christian organizations will continue to be legally permitted to refuse employment to (i.e. discriminate against) any applicant whose sexual choices are antithetical to historical Christian social and behavior norms?
Now some may say “Well – we don’t get federal funds so we don’t need to worry.” But before you rest easy please remember that even though Christian colleges may not receive direct federal grants that almost all are like my school (Oklahoma Wesleyan University) where over 95% of our students – as private citizens — do benefit from some form of financial aid (see Pell Grants, Stafford Loans, and federal work study programs as examples). Also, please remember that almost 100% of our Christian colleges, churches, or para-church ministries are recognized as 501c3 tax exempt organizations by the Federal Government and therefore are eligible to receive tax deductable contributions.
So here are some questions to consider…
What will happen if (or I should say WHEN) the present Congress issues an edict declaring that ANY person who is eligible for federally recognized financial aid (grants or government backed loans) can ONLY use such aid to attend a college that fully complies with the Employment Non-discrimination Act (ENDA) that is being pushed through Congress as we speak?
What will happen when the U.S. Department of Education refuses to recognize the accreditation of any university that isn’t compliant with the Fed’s present Orwellian definition of “non-discrimination?”
And finally, what will happen when the IRS takes away the tax exempt status of all churches and other non-profits who refuse to capitulate to Big Brother and his doublespeak (because after all – if your church is breaking the law it shouldn’t be tax exempt for doing so — should it? See article below)?
Christian leaders (i.e. college presidents, church pastors, government officials, members of the local town council and all of us who have the responsibility to speak for freedom in the public square) must be willing to stand up and say that the emperor has no cloths. The consequences for doing so may not be pleasant but how can any of us hold our head high at the end of the day if we didn’t at least have the courage to fight? If we lose this one then most of our other concerns will pale in comparison.
On Constitution Day—A Drive-By Assault
by Robert Morrison, Family Research Council September 17, 2009
“The power to tax involves the power to destroy.” That was the famous line of Chief Justice John Marshall in the case of McCullough v. Maryland (1819). Today, the power of government control also involves the power to destroy. Today, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to take over all college student loans in the United States. This is the 220th Anniversary of the Constitution. You may well ask where in that storied document Congress gets the power to take over such an important part of the economy?
If you ask the average American family what are their greatest expenses, they can readily report: their home mortgage, their car payment, and their sons’ or daughters’ college loans. We have seen liberals in Congress move to take over Fanny Mae and Freddie Mac—governing home mortgages–and the hash they made of that. We have seen them move to take over GM and Chrysler, as well as major banks. Now, they are completing the takeover: college loans.
It’s not a stretch to see how they will exercise this new power should the Senate go along and the Obama administration complete the latest power grab. Does the Student Health Center at your Christian college refuse to dispense condoms and refer for abortions? Does the chapel refuse to solemnize same-sex “marriages?” Well, we may have to have a little chat with your government college loan officer. (They’ll probably house that officer in the same building with your government-issued “end-of-life” counselor.) Maybe you could find another college—“a public option”—to send your kids to.
Back in the `80s, Bob Jones University was denied its tax-exempt status because it refused to countenance interracial dating. No other college or university in the country, no major church group condoned BJU’s policy. Most of us condemned as racist that policy. But we all recognized that denying a school’s tax exemption was an effective way to drive it out of business. The power to tax involves the power to destroy. Happily, BJU reformed its practices. Still, the point was made.
For those of us who, for religious and moral reasons, refuse to go along with abortion-on-demand, refuse to approve counterfeit marriages, today’s House action is menacing. We must recognize that the increasing power of government—a power growing beyond all limits—is a grave threat.
Last week, at a 9/11 ceremonial Freedom Walk at the Reagan Library, All My Children TV star J.R. Martinez spoke. He’s a wounded Iraq war veteran. J.R. quoted Ronald Reagan: “The most frightening words in the English language are these: I’m from the government and I’m here to help you.”
Government “assistance” reminds us of Broadway’s Yul Brynner in the old hit musical, The King and I. “It’s a puzzlement,” sang the bald baritone playing the King of Siam. When he spoke of allies, he asked: “If allies have power to protect me/Might they not protect me out of all I own?”
There’s no puzzlement now. This administration and this Congress are showing themselves daily to have no interest in limited government, no interest in the careful system of checks and balances the Founders established “to secure the blessings of liberty.”
The student loan takeover has not yet been approved by Senate and signed by the President. But Founding Father James Madison said it best: “The people are right to take alarm at the first advance on their liberties.” Take alarm!
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