Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Hip-Hop, Idolatry, & The Church Pt. 6

As continued from
"Can Hip-Hop Be Redeemed?"

Additional Scriptural Insight Pt. 3:
The Removal Of "Curious Arts" From Among The People

Probably one of the most universally overlooked passages of scripture when dealing with this subject is

Acts 19:18-20 "18-And many that believed came, and confessed, and shewed their deeds. 19-Many of them also which used curious arts brought their books together, and burned them before all men: and they counted the price of them, and found it fifty thousand pieces of silver. 20-So mightily grew the word of God and prevailed."

This passage butresses an event in which the 7 seven sons of Sceva (The Left Hand) try unsucessfully to cast out the town demon (v.16). This demon, possessing a man, beat all 7 brothers naked, but prior to that admits that he is aware of and has a certain honor for both Jesus and Paul. (v.15)

We have looked at the traditions in Ephasus earlier in the previous segment. Quite naturally, because of these events, people understood that there was "real power" in town and because of this there was an uproar to say the least. But something happens here that is quite unusual. The bible says:

"Many that believed came and confessed and shewed their deeds" (v.18)

Now we can assume that individuals became believers or converted to Christianity as a result of these events, however the scripture is somewhat ambiguous in the nature of the "many that believed". Were these people also "believers" at the time of these events? Or did they become "believers" afterward?

The word in question is "believed" (GK. pisteuo) This word was used to indicate those who came to saving faith like those of Berea in Acts 17:12 and was also the same word used to indicate those who exercised a lifestyle of faith and practice as Christians such as those converted Jews in Acts 15:5. The ambiguity of this scripture is not the primary focus, neither does that ambiguity relinquish the message of the scripture. The results, either way, are…

Over One Million $$$ On The Trash Heap!

No matter how one views this scripture, the result was the same..."Believers" [whether converted at that moment or before hand] who were using "curious arts" became so convinced of the power of God until they came together, confessed their deeds, and got rid of their ungodly items.

There was over a million dollars worth of items that were burned and thrown away. Some of those items, I’m confident, had been in the family for quite some time and were probably very useful in the superstitions society or culture in which these believers lived. Could they not have used these items as a witnessing tool? Surely God could have used even the price of these items to help establish HIS New Testament church? Was there no way that God could have redeemed any of these items?

NONE of those items had any redemptive value.

An Encounter With The Culture:

"An Encounter With The Culture" was the title of the eulogy I preformed at the funeral of my Godson Mario McGee, who was recently killed in a home invasion. When trying to reconstruct Mario’s life, I was surprised to find that he was literally baptized within the hip-hop underground movement with all of the trappings that I’ve stated in this series and then some. Mario was a rapper with a completely and totally non existent sense of biblical requirements as it pertained to hip-hop and hip-hop street inculturation. His personality in no way matched his hip-hop persona.

Known as "Rio" and "King Swagg", the profanity, the gang signs the clothing etc. were all parts of the hip-hop lifestyle that he was enamoured with and by. Even though he was raised in a controlled environment, educated and working full time with a great paying job, hip-hop became his life, and I believe promoted his ultimate death.

What happened was that some years ago his parents left the church and left God. They didn’t live indecently but they had no living standard whereby to maintain safety and peace of mind and keep a blessing on their home. I had to preach the funeral to over approximately 500- 700 young people from all over the city who were seriously affected by his death. The thing that stood out to me is that death was inevitable within the culture. There was something or someone that had to give without question. There were too many tentacles by which Mario was trapped and entangled. Unfortunately, that something that had to give was his 19 year old life.

To the glory of God, as a result of that funeral, there have been young people saved. At various churches some youth that heard the message decided that life was worth living and that the culture didn’t have to hold them hostage. Thank God!

That’s why I continue to do this, with no or little money ever received, and larger churches not wanting my information to "rock their boats". I do this because I don’t want another young (or otherwise) life cut short or disillusioned because of the promise of the devil through hip-hop or any other culture. Yes, there is Goth, punk rock- and heavy metal cultures that are just as evil and dangerous if not more dangerous than hip-hop, but none of that gives hip-hop a free pass.

All I know is that hip-hop has not offered anything positive to my community ever since I have known it, which was before I got saved, and what positive things it did offer were and are short-lived and too expensive to maintain.. Hip hop cannot be redeemed. It is an inculturation which can only be laid aside and placed in it’s proper place, and that’s under the feet of the Saints along with sin and the devil himself.

Common Questions That I Encounter:
Question: "I have children that listen to hip-hop music. They have reviewed modern gospel and find it no different than the music they listen to. In fact some of the popular gospel artists often have their secular hip-hop icons on their gospel songs. How do I get my children out from under the influence of the hip-hop industry when it's almost everywhere you go?"

Answer: This is a very good observation. Many Gospel artists lace their Gospel music with secular and hip hop artists. All too often this is the "brainchild" of the record company who holds the contract and pulls the strings. There are two things that you want to do and one thing you definitely don’t want to do in this situation. Let’s begin with the later.

1- DO NOT alienate your child or place them on trial for everything hip-hop that they either listen to or enjoy. This by itself will drive them further into the culture and away from your advice as they may feel that you will not or do not understand them.

Instead, Implement The Following Techniques:
  • Make the children investigators of the culture under your guidence? Teach them to begin to think critically and explain what they hear to you. By verbalizing and investigating some of what they hear they are not only becoming accountable to you, but they are beginning to process what they hear differently. If you’re maintaining godly teaching and a moral standard, they will recognize the moral conflict on their own. They will also come to realize that they have a higher and better sense of morality than their icons and will begin to pity then instead of admire them. You want your children to learn and effectively relay information and give you their opinion before you make a value judgement on what they’ve brought to you. Let them take responsibility and they will gain a sense of pride because they are becoming the "expert" on something that not only effects them, but more than likely effects all of their friends too.
2- Model righteousness and a hip-hop free lifestyle in front of them. You can’t expect them to put down hip-hop when you’re wearing "gangsta fashions", promoting hip-hop artists, and banging the music all day long. If you’re not delivered, and you're more excited about what’s going on in the hip-hop culture than your child is, then don't expect them to give up what they do (at least by your example) anytime soon.

Question: "Christmas and Easter were originally pagan ceremonies and festivals but now they represent Christianity. Why can’t hip-hop be used to do the same?"

Answer: This is a question that we often hear. A little research is in order. You can go HERE CHRISTMAS for that. And go HERE EASTER for that. Please be careful because there is MUCH misinformation out there and atheists as well as radical Christians love to confuse people on these issues claiming that their church is better than someone else’s church. One thing to keep in mind, a parrallel DOES NOT a holiday make, Christian or otherwise. In short it can be arguably stated that the secular world sought to eclipse Christian practice by bringing their practice into the church and the church allowed this to flourish. Which is apripos to this complete writing. None of that speaks to the fact that the bible doesn't condone using the world or worldly practices in the service of the Lord. Just because something happened does not mean that God wanted it to be that way. Consequentely, we can't always think that the church tried to emulate the world, sometimes it was the other way around and sometimes there is great confusion as a result.

Question: "What are we supposed to listen to if we can’t listen to "Christian" hip-hop?"

Answer: Are you able to create your own music or center yourself around others who are dedicated to God enough to allow their creative and spiritual talents to flow? Who’s in your circle? Usually people given to prayer and dedication to the Lord will sing a "new song" instead of a revamped 70’s hits with a Jesus wrapper on it. Besides, the greater point is that we identify the message and the encouragement of the music. If what you’re listening to is encouraging you to continue to be a "gangsta in Christ" then how can it be redemptive? That simply reinforces the old lifestyle. Find redemptive music from reputable artists and don't be afraid to do some research. Remember the beat is not so much of a problem as it the presentation and what the song incites.

Question: "Man, it's a financial crunch and I don’t have the money to change my child’s complete wardrobe. What can I do in the meantime?"

Answer: The section on clothing was pretty heavy, and as I acknowledge, some clothes were bought because they were (are) cheap and you didn’t see the emblems and names until you got home or until the kids had already worn them. What you can do now is teach and just like you found those on clearance, find some more, but now look at then with a spiritual eye, discerning the messages that come along with the clothes. The power of the blood of Jesus will cast off any "spell" if there is one so don’t become paranoid. Just live to HIS glory and redeem the dolla correctly next time.

Blessed!

Read more!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Are "Human Rights" "Gay Rights"? Pt. 2

As stated in Are "Human Rights" "Gay Rights"?, the Universal Declaration Of Human Rights (UDHR) has taken front and center in a debate over whether The Church Of God In Christ (COGIC) should or should not have signed onto or endorsed the document. Please note that my interest here is not to "bring down" a church or call an individuals (specifically Presiding Bishop Blake's) personal integrity into question. I don't feel that either of those efforts are in the best interest of Christianity in general, however the purpose here is to foster helpful dialogue and provide necessary information as COGIC members and friends examine the issue of the UDHR and what it means to our church, the nation and to all Christian churches in general.

The difficulty of this debate stems over the recognition of injustice in the world and what the church can and should do about that injustice. To be honest, we will have to admit that there are certain injustices that take place and that have taken place against groups of people almost since the beginning of human history. The whole "civil rights" era in the United States focused on the injustice that lingered from the practice of slavery within American society.

The part of this debate that is problematic, is not so much the acknowledgement of injustice, but the segment of individuals that this declaration has repeatedly been used to focus on. That is the homosexual right. While fighting against job discrimination, for equal housing, healthcare access and all the liberties that one should be afforded as a human being, (ie: Human Right), the homosexual lobby has clearly and methodically invoked the UDHR as a means and method of bringing the fight for moral sexual equality into national, international and even world courts.


A Little History:

According to the University Of Minnesota's Human Rights Center,

"The UDHR was drafted in reaction to the inhumanity committed during World War II. Like Jews, gypsies, and the disabled, gay men and lesbians were singled out by the Nazis for slave labor and extermination. As many as 100,000 gay men were sent to the concentration camps where they were killed or worked to death. They were required to wear pink triangles, a symbol that has since come to stand for the international gay rights movement. Several thousand lesbians, considered "anti-social elements" and forced to wear black triangles, met similar fates." The study also notes that "Despite these atrocities, the UDHR contains no specific guarantees of fundamental human rights regardless of sexual orientation."

Special Note: It would seem that even the General Board of our great church was misinformed regarding this point. The General Board Of Bishop's statement in support of the UDHR endorsement shows complete obliviousness to this vital and crucial information. In fact you will see this caveat referenced nowhere on the COGIC web site.
At heart we have a fundamental societal challenge that has some dangerous underpinnings. The church should fight for the poor, disenfranchised, and for those suffering injustices and discrimination when those struggles are about righting the wrongful effects of sin that exist in the world. That in my book is a given and certainly within the mission of the Christian church. However, that is a far cry from struggling for behaviors that are both immoral and unbiblical.

Comparing The Discrimination Experienced
Because Of The Color Of Skin
Doesn't Equate To The Struggle For Sin!


The New "Unequal" Class Of "Sexual Minority"???

Through the use and implementation of the UDHR a new class of "separate and unequal" individuals have been identified called the "Sexual Minority". This is where the "tire meets the road" with the UDHR, because the UDHR is and has been increasingly used to fight for this class of sexual minority on the basis of equality and ultimately "human rights".

Isn't it also true that pedophiles are sexual minorities? What about rapists? They are sexual minorities also. Then there are a host of other sexual relationships that are condemned both by the state and the bible. Many of these classes including polygamists, bigamists, swingers, the polyamorous are all "sexual minorities". Taking the UDHR literally, which is the only way that it can be taken, all classes of sexually deviant behaviors, such as sadomasticist, dominatrix, and even "johns" who visit prostitutes, can be described as "sexual minorities". The only problem is that the law does not facilitate certain classes of sexual minorities based on current societal standards of morality. Under the UDHR, however all it takes is mass appeal for a certain behavior and it could become a "human right".

How Has The UDHR Been Used?

Although I alluded to how the UDHR could potentially be used in my previous post because of it's broad language, there is actual history of how it has been used to promote and allow certain aspects of "gay rights" claiming that they are simultaneously "human rights". Here are a few examples:

  • In Canada, that nation's Supreme Court ruled that when the Alberta legislature omitted sexual orientation from the province's anti-discrimination laws, it was violating the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The court ruled that such protection should be read into the law. (Article 8 of the UDHR describes the right to an effective remedy by the competent national tribunals for acts violating the fundamental human rights granted by the constitution or the law.)
Those with varying "sexual orientation" had to be supported and given consideration as a class of individuals under Canadian law because the country was bound by the standards of the UDHR.

  • In Colombia, the Constitutional Court decreed that private religious schools cannot ban gay students and that firing gay teachers is unconstitutional. (Article 26 of the UDHR says everyone has the right to education.)
In this case the UDHR was invoked to change the practice of private religious schools especially as it pertains to what was conferred as "human rights" to gay students and teachers within institutions who held doctrinal beliefs against such behaviors.

  • In 1994, the UN Human Rights Committee (the body that upholds the International Bill Of Human Rights (IBHR)~ which is the flow INTO entity of the UDHR) ruled that laws criminalizing homosexual acts in the Australian state of Tasmania violated Australia's obligations under Articles 2 (non-discrimination) and 17 (right to privacy) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. In 1997, Tasmania repealed its anti-gay law.
Once again, we have a country that is bound by the UDHR and it's offspring document, the IBHR, that changes and modifies its laws for the entire country to be in harmony with the UDHR document.

The problem is that the UDHR has been invoked to create a level of moral equality resulting in normalizing homosexual activity in particular. Through the UDHR tendencies and preferences take precedent over established, functioning, and exclusive moral values while simultaneously blurring if not obliterating the line and definition of Christian and biblical moral rights in particular. In essence the UDHR has been used and continues to be used to remove rights from individuals and organizations that hold moral values on a higher scale.

Yes, we are going there. in some way shape or form we are heading into a universally sanctioned "human right" for the sexual minority" class of homosexual. Need I remind you what our President stated during his campaign for office:



"I am not willing to have the state deny American citizens a civil union that confers equivalent rights on such basic matters as hospital visitation or health insurance coverage simply because the people they love are of the same sex – nor am I willing to accept a reading of the Bible that considers an obscure line in Romans to be more defining of Christianity than the sermon on the mount."

~Sen. Barack H. Obama (Now President)

The Moral Re engineering Of Our Children

As noted in my previous post, "When "Gay Day" Comes Your Way~The Homosexual Rite Becomes Law" one of the areas of growing interest is childhood education and especially early childhood education (ECE). President Obama has declared his resolve to focus on ECE and to revamp the complete educational system of America. As noted on ABC's 20/20 program with John Stossel on Friday March 13th, 2009 the greatest current push of the national educational system is to create and require what is called Universal Pre-K. Although pre-K is currently available to all it is not mandatory for all and neither is it a requirement to be enrolled in a national brand of educational Pre-K. What 20/20 did not go into great detail about was that current efforts will use Pre-K as a forum to begin the educational indoctrination of children centered around what is and will become a national education agenda. Undoubtedly, that agenda will not and can not be shaped apart from the UDHR or the UN Council's directives on human rights.

This is all particularly interesting as we take special note of the group Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) and the Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund who holds that "human rights" education and awareness should take front and center within our schools because of the recognition of a growing number of cases of physical abuse and harm against "sexual minorities". In fact, their annual event, known as ALLY Week is an effort to teach children as young as Kindergarten that "sexual minorities" are only diversities within society consequently concluding that the morality of such individuals should not be questioned or compared to traditional norms and the safety of sexual minorities should be undertaken by those who are in the sexual majority.

What hasn't been said up until this point is that there is also a UDHR for children. Yes that's right, the concepts and language are broken down so that even a child can understand what's being said. Let's do a little comparison between the child and adult versions to see if there are additional insights gained from the document itself:


Adult Version: Article 1 ~ All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.

Child Version: Article 1~ All human beings are born free and equal. You are worth the same, and have the same rights as anyone else. You are born with the ability to think and to know right from wrong, and should act toward others in a spirit of friendliness.

Notice that Article one establishes the principle of human morality. the adult version calls this being "endowed with reason and conscience", while the child version states that we "are born with the ability to think and to know right from wrong". In essence one can know morality without having to know the moral law giver. Morality is something that one is born with NOT that one learns either through religious or societal experience.


Adult Version: Declaration 16 which says: (1) Men and women of full age, without any limitation due to race, nationality or religion, have the right to marry and to found a family. They are entitled to equal rights as to marriage, during marriage and at its dissolution.(2) Marriage shall be entered into only with the free and full consent of the intending spouses.(3) The family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and the State

Child Version: Declaration 16: 1) Grown men and women have the right to marry and start a family, without anyone trying to stop them or make it hard because of their race, country, or religion. Both partners have equal rights in getting married, during the marriage, and if and when they decide to end it. 2) A marriage shall take place only with the agreement of the couple. 3) The family is the basic part of society, and should be protected by it.

Notice the language of the child version changes to "partners have equal rights in getting married" as opposed to "they are entitled to equal rights as to marriage, during marriage" Subtle but quite effective technique of language acceptance going on. One of the false assumptions about this statement is that reading of "Men and Women have the right to marry". This simply states just that. The declaration DOES NOT restrict endorse or encourage men and women to marry one another cross-gender or otherwise. This is totally open to the exercise of the individuals free and unfettered rights ie: human right.



Adult Version: Article 18 ~ Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.

Child Version: Article 18 ~ You have the right to believe the things you want to believe, to have ideas about right and wrong, and to believe in any religion you want. This includes the right to change your religion if you want, and to practice it without anybody interfering.

This article changes the language in the child version to "and to practice it (religion) without anybody interfering". In other words evangelization is a definite NO-NO under this document (at least in the kids version) Further, far from being religious neutral which is what one would assume would be best, the document establishes the right of practice of religion. For some this is a good thing, but notice that it comes with a price and a deal with the devil himself...Now, we understand that modern religion especially Islam has been the source of many modern problems as it pertains to the promotion of Sharia Law. One could say that the intent of the article is to address Islam, but notice that the article IS NOT restricted to the practice of any religion. Therefore, the practice of Christianity is certainly included in these guidelines. The question is can the Christian, by virtue of the Great Commission not "interfere" in the practice of any other religion? Is our call to remain silent and friendly as it pertains to truth?

Adult Version: Article 26 ~ (1) Everyone has the right to education. Education shall be free, at least in the elementary and fundamental stages. Elementary education shall be compulsory. Technical and professional education shall be made generally available and higher education shall be equally accessible to all on the basis of merit. (2) Education shall be directed to the full development of the human personality and to the strengthening of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. It shall promote understanding, tolerance and friendship among all nations, racial or religious groups, and shall further the activities of the United Nations for the maintenance of peace.(3) Parents have a prior right to choose the kind of education that shall be given to their children.

Child Version: Article 26 ~ 1) Everyone has the right to an education. It should be free of charge, and should be required for all, at least in the early years. Later education for jobs and college has to be there for anyone who wants it and is able to do it. 2) The idea of education is to help people become the best they can be. It should teach them to respect and understand each other, and to be kind to everyone, no matter who they are or where they are from. Education should help to promote the activities of the United Nations in an effort to create a peaceful world.

In this article the educational system "shall promote understanding, tolerance and friendship among all nations, racial or religious groups, and shall further the activities of the United Nations for the maintenance of peace." in the child version "teach them to respect and understand each other, and to be kind to everyone, no matter who they are or where they are from. Education should help to promote the activities of the United Nations in an effort to create a peaceful world." Pardon me if I sound like a conspiracy theorist here but this sure sounds as if the only thing that our education should promote is the furtherance of the United Nations effort to create a "peaceful world"...Therefore all human efforts are reduced to these efforts. WOW!

Daniel 8:25 ~ "25-And through his policy also he shall cause craft to prosper in his hand; and he shall magnify himself in his heart, and by peace shall destroy many: he shall also stand up against the Prince of princes; but he shall be broken without hand."

Further, the direction that the church was to take was to be able to teach what Jesus said. The concepts that the church was to bring to the world are concepts of Christ, not ecumenism for it is ONLY through the gospel that men and women are saved and set free from their sins. our command superceeds the UDHR articles and tenents of tolerance and peace:

Mt. 28:19-20 ~ "19-Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 20-Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen."

The message of the church is a life saving message that may and will cause divisions for the sake of truth:


Romans 1:16 ~ "16-For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek."


Removing Human Emotion From Concepts Of Biblical Truth

The part that is confusing to many is that the UDHR plays upon human emotions. Christians want to see individuals benefitted and treated rightly according to both human and biblical standards. The UDHR allows immoral standards to "piggyback" upon it therefore causing it to be the standard bearer for some wrong, unjust and immoral causes.

One is reminded to look at what the scripture teaches about such agreements that are broad in frame, inclusive and not based upon biblical absolutes.
Deut.12:29-32 ~ "29-When the LORD thy God shall cut off the nations from before thee, whither thou goest to possess them, and thou succeedest them, and dwellest in their land; 30-Take heed to thyself that thou be not snared by following them, after that they be destroyed from before thee; and that thou enquire not after their gods, saying, How did these nations serve their gods? even so will I do likewise. 31-Thou shalt not do so unto the LORD thy God: for every abomination to the LORD, which he hateth, have they done unto their gods; for even their sons and their daughters they have burnt in the fire to their gods. 32-What thing soever I command you, observe to do it: thou shalt not add thereto, nor diminish from it."
Prov.6:2 ~ "Thou art snared with the words of thy mouth, thou art taken with the words of thy mouth."
Prov. 22:26-28 ~ "26-Be not thou one of them that strike hands (enter into or make agreements), or of them that are sureties for debts. 27-If thou hast nothing to pay, why should he take away thy bed from under thee? 28-Remove not the ancient landmark, which thy fathers have set."
One thing is for sure that within secular, worldly, and universal documents that uplift mankind there are bound to be problems both in application, useage and the ultimate carrying out resolutions to maintain spiritual integrity. In fact biblical consistencies DO NOT exist in worldly and non-Christ centered documents no matter how well they claim to uphold humanity. Why? Because these documents are not based on the true moral law giver or HIS word of truth. The system is under the influence of the enemy of our souls:
1 John 2:15 ~ "15-Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him."
John 18:36a ~ "36-"Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world:..."
Summary & Questions:

It goes without saying that this topic is one that must be addressed and redressed within our church and society in general. It would seem that with the use of the UDHR that America is on an inevitable course to relieve whatever soveriegnty that it has left and deliver more power and authority to the United Nations as a whole. It is disconcerting that in light of all of this the church has directly become captive to the document and it's tenents and case law because of it's desire to serve humanity on a more broad and recognizeable scale. These are actions, in my opinion, that nether God nor HIS word favors as it pertains to the place, position and mission of the church to the world.
Through the examination of the UDHR and how it's message is proliferated, we better observe the "mystery of iniquity" that now works and the system by which one of it's elements is proliferated.
2 Thess. 2:7-12 ~ "7-For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way. 8-And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming: 9-Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, 10-And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. 11-And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: 12-That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness."
In the forum of world courts and councils, which are bereft of God and HIS council, we cannot find safety, shelter or direction as it pertains to the will of God and the direction of our church.
Prov. 14:12 ~ "There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death."
The positions and alignment of the Church Of God In Christ with this document and other world treaties should be immediately examined and in the best case COGIC hands should be withdrawn from such documents and ecumenical efforts that weakens our base and our constituency both in our native land and abroad. Further, in our effort to become all things to all men, we should not forget who we are and what we have become to those millions who live sacrifically adhering to the biblical teachings of holiness (Heb. 12:14). It is to that household that we first owe a great debt and special gratitude of service.
Galations 6:10 ~ "As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith."

Could the UDHR be used to fight for immoral behavior?

YES. When it is invoked to fight for homosexuality under the guise of the homosexual being a "sexual minority" it's is doing just that.


Could the UDHR be used to fight for other types of sexually deviant behavior?
YES, and as it stands there is no limitation to what it can be used to fight for as long as the "state" or nation endorses certain behaviors. In fact the specific language of the declaration is:
Article 2. ~Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind,

In other words, without any distinctions "of any kind", the UDHR sets the standard for morality without naming any potential activity. The standards are based on what society dictates, what people agree to and what the courts, sometimes without legislative actions, mandate.

This should shed some light on WHY in the face of the citizens of California that the California Supreme Court could so easily overturn Prop. 8 and unilaterally make gay marriage the law of the land for at least a time. It should also give us insight into why the gay rights movement feels that Prop. 8 should be repealed because according to their interpretation of the rights afforded by the UDHR, and the direction that the country must go in because of the agreement with the United Nations, restriction of marriages to heterosexual couples is ultimately a violation of both "human" and "civil" rights.

The UDHR DOES NOT mention sexual orientation one time. Why is that important?
TRUE. The UDHR does not mention sexual orientation or homosexuality in any manner. However the language of the document leaves the door open for the homosexual aganda, and further has been used to support the homosexual agenga, considers individuals who are in favor of hetrosexual rights as opposed to homosexual rights, homophobic, and holds traditional moral values and beliefs in contempt in world courts. Further the document revolves around what is called, evolving concepts of human rights. Countries such as The Netherlands, South Africa, Ecuador, Canada, and Colombia, are especially significant because in each of those areas the UDHR has been used to condone portions of international homosexual agenda, including, but not exclusive to homosexual marriage and domestic partnerships.

Does the UDHR hamper or restrict the church's ability to evangelize and preach the gospel message?
Yes it does. In it's most strict sense the UDHR establishes its own brand of religious freedom and promotes religious tolerance to the point that noone should be made to serve in any religion that they do not choose. This is a good thing as it pertains to getting one's head cut off IF they are not a Muslim or being compelled to become a believer. However Christianity, which is proliferated through evangelization and shared faith, IS NOT excluded or given preferential treatment. Many countries that invoke the UDHR also claim that speech against homosexuality and homosexual behavior is to be considered "hate speech". Now, because of UN agreements and treatys, one is restricted on what truths to bring forth in and has to be mindful of what venue a particular set of truths may be applicable. If the CHURCH is signed onto or is in endorsement of the document, I believe that by virtue of that signing, it may place an even greater weight of restriction upon representatives associated with the church or evangelical organization. In short, the UDHR requires that the message is preached according to it's standards with no regard for the standards of Christ.

I'm not a lawyer, but it's certainly worth us asking what affect this agreement has on current COGIC doctrine and policy from this point forward.
Blessed!
3/18/09: The Associated Press reports that President Obama will endorse a UN declaration that decriminalizes homosexual activity around the globe. The basis for this action is the UDHR. The decriminalization of homosexuality is based on the activity being a "human right" as defined under the UDHR. Although this is not a legalization of homosexual marriage, it does place it as an activity that is legal and one that human beings have all rights to within the United States.
3/23/2009: The argument recently laid out regarding the use of the UDHR at COGIC.org suggests that this should be no big deal because the Constitution of the US has been also used to fight for homosexual rights, but the courts have correctly interpreted the Constitution as to NOT endorse homosexual rights up until this point. This statement is an effort to minimize the arguments presented both here and at GCMWatch.org. First, that is a ridiculous argument and what is called a "red-herring". 1- The US Constitution was NOT created with the express purpose of liberating a "sexual minority" or a group of individuals who suffered sexual persecution. Contrarily, the UDHR was instituted with that purpose in mind. 2- The gay rights movement has not successfully argued that the US Constitution liberates a sexual class of individuals. That same gay rights movement has SUCCESSFULLY attached the UDHR and its sister documents to uphold rights for "sexual minorities" INCLUDING but not limited to homosexual marriage, partnerships etc. Subdifusion or pandering on this issue is not flattering. In fact I personally find it totally offensive to suggest that Bishop C.H. Mason endorsed UN agenda in any way. This is totally atrocious and only speaks to the "mystery of iniquity" that works in this issue.

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Friday, March 6, 2009

Are "Human Rights" "Gay Rights"?

Is The Universal Declaration Of Human Rights A Doorway To Homosexual Rights Disguised As Human Rights?

Short Answer: COGIC Leaders Don't Think So BUT Gay Rights Advocates Do.
My Question: Did Anybody Ask BEFORE It Was Signed?

Here Are The Details:

In a sometimes scathing 22 page denounciation of both Elder D. L. Foster of GCMWatch and homosexuality as a human right under the recently signed Universal Declaration Of Human Rights, the Presiding Bishop of the Church Of God In Christ Bishop Charles E. Blake has authorized the release of a statement entitled Same Sex Marriage & Homosexuality (The Presiding Bishop's response) Clarifying The Online Blogosphere Attack Against COGIC

What We Know:

The COGIC document is an attempt to provide the most accurate, clear and detailed information as it pertains to The Church Of God In Christ's position on homosexuality and homosexual marriage.The document references the April 2004 declaration adopted by the then Presiding Bishop G. E. Patterson and the General Assembly of the Church Of God In Christ in Memphis, TN. Part of that declaration states:

"We, the Presiding Bishop, the General Board and the Board of Bishops of the Church of God in Christ, solemnly proclaim that the institution of marriage was established and ordained by God (Genesis 2:24). Therefore "God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him, male and female created he them" (Genesis 1:27). He created "the woman for the man" (I Corinthians 11:9). Therefore, "marriage is honorable" (Hebrews 13:4)."
"We believe that since the beginning of recorded history, in most cultures of the world; marriage has been defined as the lawful union of one man and one woman. The traditional form of marriage is one of the bedrock institutions of most societies. We, therefore, affirm the preservation of the present definition of marriage as being the legal union of one man and one woman as husband and wife".

"Therefore, in spite of the progressive normalization of alternative lifestyles and the growing legal acceptance of same-sex unions; we declare our opposition to any deviation from traditional marriages of male and female. Notwithstanding the rulings of the court systems of the land in support of same-sex unions; we resolve that the Church of God in Christ stand resolutely firm and never allow the sanctioning of same-sex marriages by its clergy nor recognize the legitimacy of such unions."~pg. 2

Prior COGIC statements are not new news and are not at the heart of the controversy. Therefore it appears That COGIC Policy has not been in question. Only The current Administrations actions.

Timing, Place & Circumstance Of This Renewed Declaration:

The Hague, The Netherlands was the place that the Universal Declaration Of Human Rights was signed onto by Dr. David Hall as emissary for Bishop Charles E. Blake Presiding Bishop Of The Church Of God In Christ Inc. Memphis, TN. and as representative of the approximately 12,000, Bishops, Pastors, and church leaders of the international church organization:

"On the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 10 December 2008, we, representatives of various world religions, are gathered at the Peace Palace, seat of the International Court of Justice, in The Hague, The Netherlands, to pronounce and confirm that our religions recognise and support the human rights and fundamental freedoms of every human person, alone or in community with others." ~ Pg.3

Note Of Interest: In 2001, the Netherlands (Including The Hague)became the first country (in the world) legalizing same-sex marriages.

The declaration preamble states the following:

"We wish to state clearly that the Declaration should not be regarded as a ‘pick and choose’ list. There is an urgent need for a thorough reflection on the integral acceptance of each right." ~ pg. 4

This means that all rights specified within the document are inclusive of what human rights are defined to be. The document names equality, freedom, freedom from religious intolerance, freedom of justice, peace, freedom from hunger and additional "human rights" as specified with the declaration. As we will note the actual definition of "human rights" is left up to the International Bill Of Human Rights which encourages the ascribing countries and organizations to create acceptable universal standards of human rights. (See below)

"The United Nations sponsored event was a commemoration of a similar document written 60 years prior when the world, on a more global scale, was confronted with wars, dislocation, and victimization of the least among us. Marking this historic moment in world events, it called for the repudiation by world religious leaders, who among their tenets of faith, hold to a common principle that respects the right to live without fear of lost of life." ~ pg.7

According to the COGIC official statements regarding the matter, "The Universal Human Rights Declaration" WAS NOT the same document as the one written 60 years ago and was only a "commemorization of a similar document written 60 year prior" Therefore, is the definition of Human Rights under this document what it was in 1940 or what it is being pressured to represent in 2009?

Point Of Refrence and Reason For The Question:

On March 5th 2009, The Gay Rights Movement has petitioned the California Supreme Court to overturn Prop. 8 partially CLAIMING that Homosexual Marriage is a "HUMAN & CIVIL RIGHT."

What Is The Nature & Scope Of This Document?
"Furthermore, as a member of the United Nations, the United States has a duty to respect the principles set forth in the United Nations Charter. The U.N. Charter is a treaty which binds member states of the United Nations. The U.N. Charter reads, in relevant part, that the purpose of the United Nations is to promote and encourage respect for human rights. While the U.N. Charter fails to define what human rights are, such rights may be defined by reference to the various human rights conventions subsequently adopted by the United Nations, known as the International Bill of Human Rights. The Universal Declaration and the ICCPR,
instruments included within the International Bill of Human Rights, recognize the international right to family. The rights contained within the International Bill of Human Rights are incorporated into the larger definition of human rights under the U.N.
Charter that should be adhered to by the United States.
Lastly, the United States may have a duty under customary" ~ Lena Ayoub JD "Seperate And Unequal" National Ctr for Lesbian Rights


The International Bill of Human Rights incorporates the following instruments: Universal Declaration of Human Rights; International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights; International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights; Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights; Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, aiming at the abolition of the death penalty. Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Fact Sheet No. 2 (Rev. 1), the International Bill of Human Rights, June 1996, http://www.unhchr.ch/html/menu6/2/fs2.htm.


What Are The Church's Belief On The Limitations Of The Definition Of "Human Rights"

The Church of God in Christ’ support of human rights: all humans, as God’s creation, advocates for the right to adequate education and healthcare, a living wage, freedom of religion, freedom of assembly, democracy, life, security, right to own property, the right to vote, and freedom from slavery. Presiding Bishop Charles E. Blake Sr., as a pastor, diocesan leader, and spiritual leader of the denomination, has repeatedly affirmed his unequivocal support of the church’s position on these matters. (James 1:27) But, it is not just a matter of towing the line with the denomination, it is a matter of his own conscience and moral underpinning that guides his decisions regarding this matter.~ Pg. 7

"The Faith in Human Rights document, signed by Presiding Bishop Blake and nine other global religious leaders, was written sixty years later to reaffirm the tenants of the original document. Neither document makes any reference whatsoever to same sex marriage or homosexual rights. The practice of homosexuality is a preference, and therefore cannot be considered a human right". -Pg. 8

On BEHALF of Bishop Blake the document renders statements from the following 4 servants of the church. Specific Statements are as follows:


Dr. David A Hall
Presiding Bishop’s Emmissary to the Editor/Publisher of Whole Truth Magazine CEO of COGIC Publishing House
"The Hague group had no other agenda than the signing of a declaration that would speak to religious organizations and inspire them to decisively eliminate those fanatical influences over their practitioners. Religion must never be used as a source for intolerance, hatred, and terror."..." The writer (Referring To GCMWatch) erroneously said the human rights document was about gay rights and gay marriage. Read the document for yourself! There is not one line explicitly or implicitly mentioning gay marriage or
gay rights."
pg. 15

"With God as my witness, not one person spoke about homosexuality and its issues. In fact to my knowledge I never saw one item with a homosexual emphasis." pg. 16


The Reverend Oscar Owens
Director of Christian Education West Angeles Church
"Bishop Blake’s endorsement of “the Faith in Human Rights” statement is not an endorsement of gay marriage, absolutely not! The “Faith in Human Rights” document does not refer to gay marriage or gay rights at all, implicitly or explicitly. It does not imply an affirmation of gay marriage, not at all. The “Faith in Human Rights” document was developed to bring world religious leaders together to affirm the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights which was written 60 years ago." -pg.17

"In 1948, gay marriage was not part of the conversation; on the contrary, this was the time of the affirmation of the traditional, nuclear family in America." -pg. 17

"Furthermore, the document that Bishop Blake is a signatory to is the “Faith in Human Rights” document. Neither does the “Faith in Human Rights” document refer to or affirm gay marriage." -pg. 18


The Reverend Eugene Rivers
Senior Advisor to the Presiding Bishop
"The Church of God in Christ does not endorse, support or in any way affirm any religion, any spiritual beliefs or positions that are not in accordance with biblical Christianity. In signing the Faith in Human Rights declaration we in no way enter a religious union with any religion or spiritual teaching which is contrary to biblical standards. We nevertheless believe that in the proper context interfaith dialogue that can promote justice and freedom for the oppressed and poor is important for us as Christians who are called to live in the world, even as we are not of the world. (Matt 25:31-46)." pg. 19

"Therefore for the Christian homosexual marriage is not a human right, nor a morally and legally sanctioned entitlement. Sexual preferences do not constitute rights...pg. 20

"The Church of God in Christ supports human rights: all humans, as God’s creation, are entitled to adequate education and healthcare, a living wage, freedom of religion, freedom of assembly, democracy, life, liberty, freedom from slavery, security, right to own property, the right to vote….But gay marriage is not a human right; it is a preference. Sexual orientation is specifically not mentioned in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights regarding marriage and family."-Pg. 20

"And nothing in the Universal Declaration or in the Faith in Human Rights Statement supports gay marriage. By endorsing the statement we affirmed what the Civil Rights Movement affirmed, what America affirms, and what the gospel of Jesus Christ affirms: life and liberty, healthcare and education, a living wage and freedom of speech." pg. 21


Dr. Paul Alexander, Ph. D.
Professor, Theology and Ethics Director, Doctor of Ministry Program The Haggard Graduate School of Theology Azusa-Pacific University

"Gay marriage is not a human right." -pg. 21
"I support human rights – education, healthcare, a living wage, freedom of assembly, democracy, life, liberty, freedom from slavery, security, right to own property, the right to vote…. But gay marriage is not a human right. Sexual orientation is specifically not mentioned in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights regarding marriage and family."-pg. 21

"As Christians, we believe that the family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and should be protected. As a Christian, I do not support gay marriage. And NOTHING IN THE UNIVERSAL DECLARATION OR IN THE FAITH IN HUMAN RIGHTS STATEMENT SUPPORTS GAY MARRIAGE. By endorsing the statement we affirmed what the Civil Rights Movement affirmed, what America affirms, and what the gospel of Jesus Christ affirms: life and liberty, healthcare and education, a living wage and freedom of speech." -pg. 21

For now I will avoid the scathing attacks leveled against Elder D. L. Foster and GCMWatch he is more than able to defend himself. I will only deal with the substantive issues at hand. I will make the following observations:

Observations:

1- It is good that leaders of our church have not equated Human Rights with Gay rights and have by virtue of that strongly condemned homosexuality and homosexual marriage according to scripture. This statement should go far in uniting member churches all around the country in authoritively establishing agenda against the homosexual move to proliferate same sex marriages and same sex unions and also assist in supporting California citizens in their struggle to uphold Proposition 8.
2- The Universal Declaration Of Human Rights offers ambiguous language for the express purpose of allowing the ascribing state the encouragement to make broad and uninhibited "human rights" laws and affirmations.
3- It would seem that the COGIC respondents were EITHER not familiar with, or oblivious to the current trends within the United States to ratify homosexual agenda by appealing to human and civil rights.

Who Believes Gay Rights (including the right to marry) are Human Rights?

There are many organization that view gay rights as human rights and they are winning many battles in courtroom venues to prove such. however there are organizations in particular who are in the forefront in this area representing large, diverse, constituentcies. Here are a few of them:
1- Intl. Gay & Lesbian Human Rights Commission ~ This group SPECIFICALLY hales the "Universal Declaration Of Human Rights" as one of the primary grantors of world wide human rights for gay and lesbians. This is from their website:
"The Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other international treaties specify that everyone is entitled to equal protection under the law. But people who challenge sexual and gender norms regularly experience discrimination related to housing, social security, and employment, such as when they are denied jobs because of their appearance or evicted from their homes because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. Together with our partners, we work to eliminate discrimination and to foster laws and policies promoting the equality of all citizens, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity or expression."
In fact in this organization's publication Newsletter Spring/Summer 2008 Bishop Desmond TUTU is hailed as a defender of "Human Rights" for his fight against "Racism and Homophobia"

2- The Human Rights Campaign Foundation ~ This group advocates and hales homosexual rights both as civil and human rights also. They also hail gay marriage as a "human and civil right". This is directly from their website:
"Through research, educational efforts and outreach, the Human Rights Campaign Foundation encourages lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans to live their lives openly and seeks to change the hearts and minds of Americans to the side of equality."

Under it's "About Religion & Faith" program the organization states the following:
"The Human Rights Campaign Religion and Faith Program’s mission is to change the conversation about gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people and faith. Because of the pioneering efforts of brave religious people speaking out for equality, a new movement for change is emerging that embraces a culture of welcome, compassion, and hospitality, values that are at the heart of all our faith traditions."

3- The National Center For Lesbian Rights ~ One of the primary advocates against Prop. 8, This group offers legal services to defend gay rights all over the country. From their web site:
"The National Center for Lesbian Rights is a national legal organization committed to advancing the civil and human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people and their families through litigation, public policy advocacy, and public education."

Point Of Interest:
"In expanding its immigration law and policy to include same-sex couples, the New Zealand government relied upon the New Zealand Human Rights Act of 1993 which prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation."

Conclusion & Questions:

1- Since "human rights" have been used as a doorway to provide homosexual rights, does COGIC have any plans to help revise or change that trend at the national and UN level since it has signed onto the document?
2- Has the COGIC definition and limitations of "human rights" been extended to the UN Committee for approval? it would seem that the definition of "human rights" according to COGIC and the definition of "human rights" according to the International Bill Of Human Rights are in conflict.
3- Since the Universal Declaration Of Human Rights will not allow members to "pick and chose" what rights to extend as "human rights", has this church vicariously endorsed gay rights while fighting for human rights under it's own definition? (The Short and Terribly True Answer Is YES. This Document has been used and is being used in real time to endorse, uphold and support gay rights such as homosexual marriage. COGIC CANNOT in good conscience place their motif on top of the motif of the document and claim that because WE don't support gay right's that the document does not. There is a trail of proofs and evidences to the contrary, not only contained within this article but als contained within My Second Article on this subject.)
4- If the gay and lesbian community are invoking the same Declaration Of Human Rights to promote gay equality, civil rights and ultimately homosexual marriage, how can ascribing to this document be beneficial to those who ascribe to none of those current trends?
5- Since the document signed in 2008 was an updated version of that signed over 60 years ago, was the church aware that the definition of "human rights" changed to reflect the times in which we live where "human rights" are under pressure by the courts and legislatures to also be representative of gay rights?
I'd like to know more. After all you ascribed me to this!
Blessed!

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Monday, March 2, 2009

Atheists Hold Out Hope For Their Ordination

A quick break from our regularly scheduled information...Yes, you read the title right.

On a recent trip to one of my favorite debate sites Debunking Christianity, I found an article stating that the Presbyterian Church central North Carolina has approved a measure to let gays and lesbians in partnered relationships be ordained. According to the News & Observer of Raleigh, the amendment was approved in a good ole Presbyterian vote

  • "the amendment carried by a vote of 177-139 with 10 abstentions during a meeting of church leaders of the New Hope Presbytery, a region covering 36 counties from the Triangle to the Outer Banks."

Yes, you read it right...the 2.2 Million member REFORMED believing, no women preaching (at least initially), Presbyterian Church USA, which has been allowing and ordaining homosexual elders and clergy for years...has officially amended their documents and will officially amend their documents to allow HOMOSEXUALS to be ordained as long as they are "chaste" and don't have "extramarital" relationships and "live lives obedient to Jesus Christ, the Head of the Church." ...WHAT???
This decision is known as the "voice of the middle-ground"

  • "We all held hands and sang 'Blessed be the Tie that Binds' in the Presbyterian way," the Rev. Moffit Churn, associate pastor at West Raleigh Presbyterian, told the newspaper. "The voice of the middle ground is being heard, at least in this presbytery. That was my sense."
All this has caused an atheist debate friend of mine to hold out hope that even he AN ATHEIST can be ordained within the Christian church one day...The problem is it sounds like that's already happening, and as I told him that idea isn't too far fetched based on the total moral breakdown that we are witnessing around the country in various pulpits...

Now this is all very interesting especially as it pertains to the allegiance that My church, The Grand Ole Church Of God In Christ has signed onto with the endorsement of the Universal Declaration Of Human Rights. As reported by Elder D.L. Foster of GCM Watch we be in TROUBLE if this declaration proves to be a way to sneak in an endorsement of homosexual rights, marriage and agenda into the church as it appears to be. The article can be viewed at the Tri-State Defender.

Of special interest is not only the eagerness of our Presiding Bishop, Bishop Charles E. Blake to sign onto the document,
“As Presiding Bishop of the Church Of God In Christ, International, it is my great honor and privilege to attach my signature to the 2008 Faith in Human Rights Statement. On behalf our 12,000 plus Church of God in Christ congregations in America and in 60 nations of the world, I endorse and encourage the great ideas and ideals of this document.”
The wording of the declaration is particularly problematic and without any qualifications. Please note these sections in particular:
  • Declaration 2 ~ "Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status. Furthermore, no distinction shall be made on the basis of the political, jurisdictional or international status of the country or territory to which a person belongs, whether it be independent, trust, non-self-governing or under any other limitation of sovereignty"

And Declaration 16 which says:

  • (1) Men and women of full age, without any limitation due to race, nationality or religion, have the right to marry and to found a family. They are entitled to equal rights as to marriage, during marriage and at its dissolution.
    (2) Marriage shall be entered into only with the free and full consent of the intending spouses.
    (3) The family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and the State.

"Without any limitation"??? Are these the ideas and ideals that we wish to endorse? I mean I thought that we held that marriage was exclusively between one man and one woman...Now it seems that we view "human rights" above any biblically instructed or restricted actions. Is that so? We must ask what the bible says about any limitation of humanity? You can read my thoughts by reading Homosexuality & The New Testament.

It's just much more simple to let it all flow isn't it? Don't worry about answering to God for anything, just make your life comfortable right here and right now...What a farce!

Matt: 7:12-14 ~ "12-Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets. 13-Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: 14-Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it."

Hopefully we can see that SIN is a problem of all churches and denominations, even normally conservative ones. I won't go into great detail here, I believe it speaks for itself, but I'd be interested in hearing your thoughts.

Blessed!

UPDATE: You can hear Bishop Blake address his endorsement for the document and it's signing 2008 personally HERE. Be sure to let us know what you think.


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