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Church and State

Is There a Disconnect Between Church-goers and Their Pastors?

in Blog, Church and State, Newsletters 9 Comments

As a national defender in the fight for religious freedoms and parental rights, Advocates for Faith & Freedom has increasingly seen pastors back away from teaching biblical worldviews from the pulpit, primarily because of their perception that their congregants don’t want to hear it. This has resulted in a growing disconnect between Christian conservatives and their pastors.

Interestingly enough, a new survey titled “What God’s People Want to Know,” commissioned by WallBuilders and the American Culture & Faith Institute shows conservative Christians actually want to hear more about political issue-related teaching from the pulpit. The fascinating survey asked moderate and conservative Christians about the types of issue-related teaching they wanted to hear from their pastors during the 2014 and 2016 elections.

Contrary to the notion of many pastors that religion has no place in the public square, the findings demonstrate that Christians who hold politically conservative views believe that churches should be more involved in the political process—the opposite message we hear from progressives and the media.

Two out of three respondents said they want more information from their church about what the Bible teaches in relation to current social and political issues.  At least 80% of the respondents indicated their greatest need for information related to the following six issues of “high importance”: Abortion (91%); Religious persecution/liberty (86%); Poverty (85%); Cultural restoration (83%); Sexual identity (82%); and Israel (80%).

Sadly, the survey also found that one out of every five conservative pastors did not even encourage their congregants to vote in November 2014. It is also alarming that one-quarter of conservative pastors did not teach their congregants biblical principles

about important social and political issues during the six months preceding the election.

The results also underscored just how tone deaf the media and political candidates are when it comes to the issues most important to conservative Christians. Topics frequently pushed by the media, such as healthcare, foreign policy, immigration reform, jobs/unemployment, taxes, gun rights, military spending, and campaign finance reform, did not make the list of issues that mattered.

          What does all this mean and why is it important? The survey reinforces what we have already seen in our legal defense ministry: There is a correlation between the declining spiritual and social health of America and the lack of engagement of our pastors. In the words of the survey summary, “The nation has been demonstrably worse off ever since pastors chose to disconnect faith from politics and governance. America urgently needs cultural direction from those whom God has placed in positions of spiritual leadership. One way of providing such leadership is by shaping the thinking of Christians by teaching them foundational biblical principles related to pressing social and political issues of the day.” To that, we say Amen!

          So, what can congregants do to encourage their pastors to preach on what the Bible says about social and cultural matters?  Try telling your pastor the following:

  • You’re interested in learning what the Bible teaches on the topics and would consider them appropriate subjects for the pastor to teach from the pulpit.
  • You have appreciated the times when the pastor has addressed current issues from a biblical perspective, and you hope to experience more of that kind of teaching on a broader range of issues.
  •  You believe learning about what the Bible says in relation to current issues of importance – beyond abortion and same-sex marriage—would be a significant contribution to the body of Christ.

        I believe that pastors have more than an opportunity to teach on these matters; they have a responsibility and calling to do so. While pushback from some congregants is likely, especially those who are more theologically moderate, addressing these issues may serve as an impetus to developing a more biblically centered worldview among many people in the congregation.

We at Advocates for Faith & Freedom are holding free seminars for pastors, administrators, and other non-profit ministries to equip them in leading the Church to positively impact social and political issues. (Check our website at http://www.faith-freedom.com/events for upcoming details).

If you would like more information on what your pastor or church can legally do in terms of speaking about political issues from the pulpit, we have numerous resources available on our website, including the handout “Pastors & Politics: What is Legal and Illegal” and a 10-page booklet, “The First Amendment in Crisis: The Intersection of Church and State.” You can access this information at http://www.faith-freedom.com/learn/church-and-state/.

Thank you for your financial support! We have much to accomplish to change and shape the moral culture of our communities, but we can only move forward with your help. Please continue to hold our attorneys up in prayer as they continue protecting our cherished religious freedom.

Is the War on Christianity in the United States Exaggerated?

in Blog, Church and State, Newsletters Comments Off on Is the War on Christianity in the United States Exaggerated?

Conservative Christian leaders across the nation have repeatedly warned us of the ongoing war waged against Christianity here in the United States of America. However, the mainstream media is working hard to discredit the notion of a war on Christianity as grossly exaggerated and even non-existent. Read More

Presenting the Gospel while “Under Oath”

Dear friend,

More and more, we are experiencing governmental lawyers who seem to have no religious affiliation, no exposure to Christianity, and no knowledge of some of the most basic Christian principles like the “Great Commission.”  To many governmental lawyers, the concept of a Christian spreading the Gospel is almost putrid to their senses.

I am writing my thoughts as I ponder upon a deposition currently ongoing in one of our cases. Our client was questioned by an attorney from the California Attorney General’s Office and I anticipate, based on her questions, that she will eventually argue that our client’s attempts to share the Gospel is not protected religious speech because it is offensive to some members of the public. Read More

US Supreme Court Upholds Prayer

This week, the United States Supreme Court issued a great ruling in favor of religious liberty. The court ruled that legislative bodies may begin their meetings with prayer, even if the prayer is Christian in nature or directed toward a specific deity.Prayer

In the 5-4 decision, Justice Kennedy wrote, “Ceremonial prayer is but a recognition that, since this Nation was founded and until the present day, many Americans deem that their own existence must be understood by precepts far beyond the authority of government.” Read More

A Victory in California…and The National Day of Prayer

A Victory in California!

          Let us give you some good news from California! Recently, we were contacted by Texas-based Liberty Legal Institute and Pastor Rick Moore of Calvary Church and StateChapel Laguna Niguel. Pastor Rick was attempting to rent city facilities from the City of Laguna Niguel in order to launch his new church. However, when Pastor Rick contacted the City, he learned that although the City rented their facilities to nonprofit organizations, the City could not rent to religiously based organizations because of a discriminatory provision embodied in the City’s ordinances. Read More

Religious Liberty – Vanishing Before Our Eyes

in Blog, Cases, Church and State, Legislation, Newsletters 0 Comments

Dear Partner,

Something concerning religious liberty in our nation happened recently, and with a minimal amount of media fanfare, the event came and went without much recognition.  We’d like to bring attention back to it, because we Christians need to WAKE UP to what is happening to our religious liberties!

Earlier this year, Arizona Governor Jan Brewer (Republican) vetoed a bill that would give greater religious liberties to individuals and organizations, exempting them from any state law if it substantially burdens their religious beliefs and the exercise thereof.  Currently, Arizona, California, and several other states have non-discrimination laws in place for businesses and places of public accommodation, and this Arizona bill sought to increase the religious liberties of individuals and business owners.  Here’s a little background about why this bill was introduced…

Since the Bill of Rights was established in 1791, our Constitution has granted individuals the highest protection of religious We the peopleliberty.  From that time until 1990, if a law substantially burdened a person’s or business’s free exercise of religion, the government needed a compelling interest to force that individual or organization to comply to the law. Read More

How Hobby Lobby and Others are Taking a Stand for Religious Liberty

Yesterday, March 25, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in two cases challenging the religious liberty issues at stake with the Affordable Care Act (AKA Obamacare): Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. andConestoga Wood Specialties Corp. v. Sebelius.

          What are these important cases about?
Religious Liberty in the Courts
Obamacare requires that businesses provide health care for their employees, and that health care must include coverage for all contraceptives, at no cost to the employees. Read More

Another Victory! Bible Accepted into Public School’s Library

Dear Friend,

Recently, Advocates for Faith & Freedom was contacted by Gary Nelson regarding his third grader, Victoria, who attends an elementary school in the Temecula Valley Unified School District. The family was disheartened a couple of years ago—when Victoria was in first grade—and was not allowed to donate a Bible to the school-sponsored book donation program.  Read More

Teacher Tells First Grader: “You’re Not Allowed to Talk About the Bible in School”

This past December, first grader Brynn Williams’ presentation of her family’s Star of Bethlehem was shut down because she’s “not allowed to talk about the Bible in school.”

Brynn Williams

Brynn with her family Star of Bethlehem

Brynn’s incident at Temecula Valley Unified School District comes on the heels of a candy cane case involving West Covina Unified School District first grader Isaiah Martinez who was told, “Jesus is not allowed in school.” You can read the full story of that case here.

On Wednesday, December 18, 2013, Brynn Williams brought home a “share” bag as part of a school assignment.  Brynn’s teacher had given every child in her class a canvas bag with verbal instructions to find something at home that represents a family Christmas tradition, put it in the bag, bring it to school, and be prepared to share the family tradition. Read More

Teacher to First Grader: “You’re Not Allowed to Talk About the Bible in School”

Advocates for Faith & Freedom Press Release

January 13, 2014

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact:  Lori Sanada (951) 500-7854, (888) 588-6888

Teacher to First Grader: You’re not allowed to talk about the Bible in school

Temecula, CA., First grader Brynn Williams’ presentation of her family’s Star of Bethlehem was shut down because she’s “not allowed to talk about the Bible in school.”

Brynn’s incident at Temecula Valley Unified School District comes on the heels of a candy cane case involving West Covina Unified School District first grader Isaiah Martinez who was told, “Jesus is not allowed in school.” A copy of that press release was sent out by Advocates for Faith & Freedom last week and may be found here. Read More