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$Free Speech?

Twitter made it official today: banning the phrase “illegal aliens.”  Twitter officials believe this expression is a form of hate speech.  This social media giant announced on Thursday, September 13th before noon that anyone who tries to use this language in a tweet will be blocked, shadowed banned or have their account deleted.  After hearing this news update, one has to wonder who is deciding what is acceptable and unacceptable?  What criteria, measuring stick or standard is being applied to determine free speech?

And now, Lord, look upon their threats and grant to your servants to continue to speak your word with all boldness, Acts 4:29.

The First Amendment to the United States Constitution may have something to say against Twitter’s decision.  This document prevents Congress from making any law respecting an establishment of religion, prohibiting the free exercise of religion, or abridging the freedom of speech, the freedom of the press, the right to peaceably assemble, or to petition for a governmental redress of grievances.  While Twitter is a private company, future lawsuits by anyone discriminated against could open the door for government regulation of social media sites like a public utility.  Perhaps, this reality caused Twitter to reconsider, reversing their decision Thursday night.

Proclaiming the kingdom of God and teaching about the Lord Jesus Christ with all boldness and without hindrance, Acts 28:31.

During the first century, the Roman Emperor Nero began to attack, imprison and persecute Christians.  In the beginning of the book of Acts, a Jewish zealot named Saul oversaw the execution of the apostle Stephen.  Despite the fear of death, the Holy Spirit emboldened these followers of Christ to fulfill the great commission, Matthew 28:16-20.  These saints didn’t have the luxury of freedom of speech.  Rather, early Christians boldly proclaimed the kingdom of heaven, trusting God to protect them from their enemies.  May modern believers learn from their example, having the conviction to share what is on your heart.

by Jay Mankus

Who is Offending Who?

Last week I read an article online about why atheists are offended by Christianity and religious symbols.  Some point to excessive evangelism by leaders who don’t always emulate or live out the love of Christ.  Others are turned off by the exclusive nature of Jesus’ teaching, that there is only one way to heaven, John 14:6.  Meanwhile, public displays of Judea Christian values in the form of monuments, statues and religious symbols cause atheists to be offended by many of America’s founding fathers due to their unadulterated faith.

One of the lawyers answered him, “Teacher, in saying these things you insult us also,” Luke 11:45.

Around 30 AD, Jesus received several invitations to meet with curious religious leaders.  One day a Pharisee invited Jesus and his disciples over to his house for lunch.  While reclining at a table the disciples and Jesus did not follow ceremonial laws, failing to wash their hands before eating.  While this lack of action offended the Pharisees, Jesus was insulted by their lack of concern for the heart and soul.  This dialogue in Luke 11:37-54 makes me wonder who’s offending who?

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth., Romans 1:18.

The First Amendment to the United States Constitution prevents Congress from making any law respecting an establishment of religion, prohibiting the free exercise of religion, or abridging the freedom of speech.  While American citizens are able to exercise this freedom daily, this doesn’t mean you won’t be offended.  Depending upon your worldview, elementary principles, progressive ideology or philosophy may threaten your current belief system.  However, if you aren’t open to seeking the truth, God may be offended by your lack of conviction.  Therefore, don’t worry about offending others as long as you strive to follow God’s will for your life.

by Jay Mankus

Don’t Be So Hysterical

Crazed, distraught and frantic are words associated with hysterical.  In this day and age, if you post, say or tweet something contrary to the secular worldview, the mainstream media goes bonkers.  Instead of participating in an honest debate of ideals, individuals on the wrong side of political correctness are attacked, defamed and trashed publicly.

But in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, 1 Peter 3:15.

One of Jesus’ disciples explains the appropriate way to convince others who currently disagree with you.  Peter talks about being prepared for various questions opposing views may ask you.  This requires research, study and words of wisdom.  Nonetheless, when someone refuses to come to your side, gentleness and respect must be offered.

Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with all eagerness, examining the scriptures daily to see if these things were so, Acts 17:11.

As a former teacher, its sad to see the immaturity that exists when it comes to debate in this country.  College students who are fearful of opposing worldviews are offered safe spaces on campuses to protect their minds.  Meanwhile, conservative voices are being silenced, with many having their freedom of speech revoked and shut down by protesters.  If only more people would emulate the practices of the Bereans perhaps this current state of hysteria might end.  As for now, apply the words of Peter by sharing your views with gentleness and respect.

by Jay Mankus

My Opening Monologue

Opening monologues are usually found at the beginning of cable and radio talk shows.  This serves as an outline for a daily program, guiding discussion for the day.  In the past few months, I’ve noticed a disturbing pattern.  While freedom of speech exists in theory, its appears that powerful figures within America fueled by a secular worldview are using exaggeration, gossip and lies to distort the truth.  Subsequently, alternative, conservative and progressive minds are waging war in the media attempting to gain the support of a majority of Americans.

Whoever goes about slandering reveals secrets, but he who is trustworthy in spirit keeps a thing covered, Proverbs 11:3.

Whether this is accomplished through hacking, leaking or spying on individuals, I’m surprised that no voice of reason has intervened.  Why hasn’t there been an outcry proclaiming, “we’ve gone too far.” What happened to honest civilized debates where the best and brightest ideas decide the outcome.  Rather, a lack of standards has caused cable news, print media and social media to invoke smear campaigns on anyone who does not hold their political view.  At some point, people are going to tune out completely.

To speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people, Titus 3:2.

The apostle Paul has a plan to reverse this current trend of cruelty and mean spirited words.  First, don’t attack the person, address disagreements with dignity and respect.  Second, when you reach a point of tension, be gentle in the words that you chose.  Finally, follow the golden rule by treating others as you want to be treated with courtesy.  There will always be conflict, disagreements and power struggles, but if this is done in a civil manner, decency will be restored.  May these words give people a sense of hope for restoration and unity.

by Jay Mankus

You’ve Got to Be Kidding Me?

The other day I caught the end of a news update of a female student suspended by the University of Houston.  Initially, I thought, maybe she failed a drug test or was involved in some type of plagiarism scandal.  During the next news cycle, I discovered Rohini Sethi was disciplined for a public post on Facebook.

While evildoers and impostors will go from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived, 2 Timothy 3:13.

While maybe I would have altered a few words in this post, essentially Rohini was punished for expressing her first amendment right of free speech.  Unfortunately, in this politically correct culture, saying that all lives matters, not just black lives is considered racism.  Subsequently, once this suspension ends, Rohini will be programmed through sensitivity training to correct the error or her ways.  If this a sign of higher education, count me out.

But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, 2 Timothy 3:14.

I’m not sure what has brought America to this place in time, but this latest attempt of liberal indoctrination breaks my heart.  Since education has been high-jacked by atheists, naturalistic scholars and the progressive movement, absolutes no longer come from the Bible.  I wish I was kidding, but unless a spirit of revival breaks out soon, the America I once knew and loved might cease to exist.  May God help us all!

by Jay Mankus

When Obeying God Trumps Man

From an early age, the concept of obedience is reinforced within many childhood games.  Simon Says, Mother May I and Red Light, Green Light rewards and penalizes players for either obeying or disobeying.  Perhaps, the creators of these activities understood obeying God trumps man.

“We gave you strict orders not to teach in this name,” he said. “Yet you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching and are determined to make us guilty of this man’s blood.” – Acts 5:28

Following the legalization of abortion in 1973 after the Roe vs. Wade ruling, the Senate passed the Church Amendment which eventually led states to enact conscience clauses.   While the wording may be different, these laws prevent individuals from performing procedures that go against their religious beliefs.  Unfortunately, as political correctness replaces the Bible as the moral gold standard, many are faced with the dilemma, “do I please man or God?”

Peter and the other apostles replied: “We must obey God rather than human beings! – Acts 5:29

The disciples of Jesus found themselves in a similar situation around AD 30.  Jewish leaders and Roman officials attempted to quench their freedom of speech.  Thus, after authorities encouraged Peter to stop telling others about Jesus, he faced a crisis of faith.  Prior to the Holy Spirit, Peter would have likely retreated, blending into society like a chameleon.  However, after Pentecost Peter was a different man, unable to remain silent anymore.  Thus, this is one of those occasions in life when obeying God trumps man.

by Jay Mankus

 

Forced to Conform or Else

There was a time in my youth when news anchors were believable, reliable and trusted by those who tuned in to watch.  Sometime over the past twenty five years, news have become altered by hidden agendas seeking to convince the masses of a specific ideology.  Today, every daily event is examined, filtered and portrayed in such a manner as to control the headlines.  Unfortunately, media outlets are forcing viewers to believe their worldview or face the wrath of negative press.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths, Proverbs 3:5-6.

Like a bully, opposing individuals and groups are targeted.  Sometimes to prove a point, expose a religious belief or brought on by a poorly timed comment.  In Oregon, Sweet Cakes by Melissa was forced to close after refusing to prepare a wedding cake for a gay couple about to get married.  Since closing, the state has decided to fine the owner 125,000K, setting an example for anyone else who dares to discriminate against homosexual couples.  In other words, if you want to run a business in America, you better keep your religious convictions to yourself or face the consequences.

So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ, Romans 10:17.

The event from March of 2015 in Indiana seems more like a set-up unless having pizza at wedding receptions is now the new in food.  Anyway, Memories Pizzeria was also forced to close following their denial of another gay couple.  Perhaps each of these businesses could have come to a happy medium or maybe they did but it was not reported.  Yet, in their hearts, mind and soul, neither could betray their religious beliefs detailed in Leviticus 18:22 and Leviticus 20:13.  Unfortunately, their freedom of religion and speech was not honored since it is now politically incorrect.

And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him, Hebrews 11:6.

There are two ways to view this ongoing persecution of Christians.  First, God has given every individual free will.  The Lord doesn’t force anyone to believe in the Bible.  Rather, the Word has been written so that those who hear or read may come to faith in Christ.  The second perspective relates to the days of Daniel when a decree made it illegal to pray in public.  Despite the threat of being thrown into a den of lions, Daniel chose to obey God rather than adhere to man’s law.  This is where faith is put to the test, separating the genuine from who are blown and tossed by changing tides.  As the world continues to change, may every person of faith be prepared to overcome the challenges and trials of the future.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

Has God Left America Yet?

You don’t have to be a historian to recognize the United States of America aren’t so united.  Sure, negative news overshadows any decent, encouraging or trace of optimism out there.  Nonetheless, even if a positive news network did exist, remaining realistic in this time of hate crimes, moral decay and political hypocrisy would be difficult.  In my mind, there’s only one thing left to ask, “has God left America?”

Then the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the LORD and served the Baals, Judges 2:11.

If the Supreme Court is a foreshadowing of the future, its only a matter of time before the Lord removes his blessing.  In recent days, Oklahoma courts have ruled the 10 Commandments monument outside the state capitol must be removed.  While atheists, progressives and revisionist historians will say, “what’s the big deal,” the founding fathers are shaking in their graves at the removal of one of the last beacons of truth in America.  Though history goes in cycles, when you eliminate concrete absolutes, leaders of this country are opening the doors to a chaotic society.

They forsook the LORD, the God of their ancestors, who had brought them out of Egypt. They followed and worshiped various gods of the peoples around them. They aroused the LORD‘s anger, Judges 2:12.

No one likes to be told what to do, except for the government who is regulating what you eat, say and so on.  In the past, God allowed Israel to be taken captive, living in exile for hundreds of years.  Despite these tangible lessons, individuals still strayed from the Lord, only turning back during the tough times.  The events of 9/11 did the trick for a little while, but now the hearts of many have turned cold.  Has God left America completely, probably not.  Yet, if the cultural trends continue, there won’t be any room left for freedom of speech, religion or worship.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

Waking Up in the Minority

When you fall asleep each night, only God knows what will occur in the dark of night.  However, you don’t have to rest for the world to change.  Rather, the moment you begin to stop standing up for what you believe, eventualy you will wake up in the minority.

America is a good case study to test this theory.  Prior to the 1960’s, faith was a foundation for most communities with the local church serving as a beacon of hope.  Yet, when the religious community was lulled to sleep by apathy, Woodstock transformed the worldview for future generations.  Subsequently, only 33 % of Americas believe in absolute truth, now in the minority.

All you have to do is take a look at the war on Christmas, banning Nativity Scenes even in the Bible belt to recognize this societal change.  It’s no wonder that public schools are erasing Christian holidays from its calendars.  Freedom of speech is free unless you profess Christ, then you will be silenced.  If this trend continues, you too may wake up one day, finding yourself in the minority.

by Jay Mankus

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