Capitalism and Its Biblical Basis

Series: Protecting and Preserving Our Republic, Part II – By Drs. Eric and Kelli Criss

This week’s blog, Capitalism and Its Biblical Basis, aims to encourage the faith community to study God’s Word concerning the structures and systems that undergird our Republic.  Today, we discuss the Scriptural pattern for capitalism and answer the questions:  

  • What is capitalism from a Biblical worldview? 
  • What perspective does the world at large, particularly, the media and liberal pundits, hold of the faith community in light of our Biblically based embrace of capitalism? 

Capitalism  

For the purpose of this blog, we will use the terms capitalism, democratic capitalism, free market economy, and free enterprise interchangeably.  Capitalism is an economic system with three characteristics: private ownership, free markets, and profit-driven nature.   

“You shall not steal,” the eighth commandment is the primary basis for a free market economy (Exodus 20:15, New King James).  Indeed, a Scriptural view of legal ownership and private property means that a person or institution, governmental or otherwise, is not permitted to steal anything which is not legally his/hers/theirs from another person or institution. 

In addition to the right to private property and legal ownership, Scripture undergirds capitalism in additional ways.  Within Scripture, private property co-exists with maintaining said property.  Stewardship is a concept frequently linked to property maintenance in Scripture.  Taking care of one’s private property relates to how a free market economy allows individuals the chance to take responsibility by amassing funds and assets as well seeking future financially lucrative prospects.  A Biblical worldview also aligns with capitalism because hard work is rewarded and giving to those in need is possible because individuals have amassed wealth.    

Likewise, John Calvin’s theology is credited as the source of the “protestant work ethic” which helped his followers create wealth.  John Calvin, himself, is frequently named as the founder of capitalism.  

The Biblical Pattern for Free-Market Economics 

Throughout the Bible, numerous verses compose a Biblical pattern for a free-market economy.  The following are examples of the laws governing private ownership and of the principles driving a free market which is profit-driven.   

God said, “You shall pay your neighbor according to the number of years after the jubilee, and he shall sell to you according to the number of years for crops” (Leviticus 25:15, English Standard Version). 

God said, “You shall purchase food from them with the money, that you may eat, and you shall also buy water from them with money, that you may drink” (Deuteronomy 2:6, English Standard Version). 

God said, “Fields shall be bought for money and deeds shall be signed and sealed and witnessed, in the land of Benjamin, in the places about Jerusalem, and in the cities of Judah, in the cities of the hill country, in the cities of Shephelah, and in the cities of Negeb for I will restore their fortunes, declares the Lord” (Jeremiah 32:44, English Standard Version). 

Jeremiah said, “I signed the deed, sealed it, got witnesses, and weighed the money on scales.  Then I took the sealed deed of purchase to Baruch the son of Neriah son of Mahseiah, in the presence of Hanamel my cousin, in the presence of witnesses who signed the deed of purchase, and in the presence of all the Judeans who were sitting in the court of the guard” (Jeremiah 32:10-12, English Standard Version). 

These verses demonstrate Biblical support for free-market economics: the free-will exchange of goods and services between consenting individuals.  With the support of a Biblical worldview, the faith community has the strength of Scripture undergirding the democratic capitalism that powers our Republic’s economy and the laws that protect commerce.  Knowing God’s truths is a step toward internalizing these truths personally.  We can each glorify God by following His design and ensuring our country’s governance is based upon Scriptural principles.   

Go Ahead – Call Us Names 

As you well know, we are faced with opposition to our Biblical worldview.  Operating constantly is a propaganda machine of lies from the liberal media, Hollywood, the elites, the insiders, the socialists, the atheists, entertainers, and the abortionists who mock us, laugh at us, and call us names.  As we are confronted by these playground bullies, we read the tweets and the articles and listen to the news reports about how we are Islamaphobes, racists, bigots, xenophobes, sexists, red necks, uneducated, and the poor working class.   

They hope to socialize our economy and to turn our Republic into a dictatorship tyrannized by their whims rather than Scripturally based systems.  They seek to discourage, suppress, bully, deceive, and intimidate us and our vote.  They say the election is over.  Socialism has won.  They proclaim that we will never win.  But God has told us to proclaim His truth on political issues.  Will you listen and will you believe the voice of truth which is His voice? 

Next week, we will define socialism and explain how it is contrary to Scripture. In addition, we’ll discuss what the faith community can do to resist socialism and wisely cast our votes in the upcoming 2020 election to reflect God’s glory.     

Defeating Islamism

Series: Protecting and Preserving Our Republic, Part I – By Drs. Eric and Kelli Criss

This week we begin a new blog series, Protecting and Preserving Our Republic.  The threats against our country are many and emerge both from within America and outside of our nation. Each blog in this series will emphasize various ideologies that seek to undermine our Republic and ways that the faith community and its leadership can preserve our treasured liberty. Let us all seek God’s protection and join the prophet Daniel in proclaiming, “I set my face toward the Lord God to make request by prayer” (Daniel 9:3, New King James Version).

Defeating Islamism

Today’s blog, Defeating Islamism, focuses upon the recent Iranian acts of terror against the American embassy as well as the Asad and Erbil bases housing American troops in Iraq.  Our president responded swiftly to the embassy attack through a drone assault upon an Iranian convoy.  Our country’s response resulted in the death of a top Iranian special forces commander, Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani, who has masterminded attacks against Americans.

To better understand the recent terror attacks, let’s define the ideology known as Islamism, discuss why despotism contrasts with liberty, and remember how previous presidents responded to despotism and attacks. 

Islamism:  The Ideology Undergirding the Iranian Regime

Islamism undergirds the Iranian government and military.  What is Islamism, anyhow?  First, Islamism is a frequently misunderstood and misapplied term. On the most basic level, Islamism is sometimes incorrectly used as a synonym for Islam or Islamic.  A more sophisticated definition holds that the addition of the “ism” suffix implies the politicization of the religion of Islam. By this definition, Islamism denotes the active seeking of power, authority, and other resources, beyond the basic practices of religion, often through violent means. 

 Today, we consider three distinct types of Islamism:  Political, Missionary, and Jihadi. We make such distinction not to excuse one group of Islamists or another, or to somehow give a kind of benefit of the doubt.  Rather, we seek a more erudite view of the forces driving the politics of the Middle East—one that is capable of driving a wedge between the Iranian people and the regime.

 Political Islamism generally accepts the governmental and constitutional architecture in which it exists, but seeks to acquire political power to implement reforms and promote governance of and by the principles of Islam.  This is done through peaceful means by participating in the political process.

 Missionary Islamism, on the other hand, does not seek political power, but rather endeavors to safeguard the distinctive values and character of the Islamic faith and to defend against moral decay and unbelief. 

 Finally, Jihadi Islamism represents the politically violent branch of Islamism which seeks to cleanse Muslim lands of all Western influences and establish a Caliphate, or Islamic state. Our consideration focuses on Jihadi Islamism which frequently employs the shorthand references Jihadism or Jihadist to refer to the latter violent faction of Islamism.  Indeed, Jihadi Islamism undergirds the Iranian military’s violent acts against American civil servants and soldiers in Iraq.  Not only is Iran a threat to the US, but also to Israel.  In fact, Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has proclaimed that Israel is a “cancerous tumor” that “must be eradicated.”

 Liberty versus Despotism

 Liberty and limited government are fundamental ideals of our Republic.  The twenty-eighth president of the United States (191-1921), Woodrow Wilson, a distinguished historian and a well-read student of government, had much to say about the history of liberty and what we can learn from that history today.  President Woodrow Wilson said, “The history of liberty is the history of resistance.  The history of liberty is a history of limitation of governmental power, not the increase of it. When we resist the concentration of power, we are resisting the powers of death.  Concentration of power precedes the destruction of human liberties.”

The particular “concentration of power” in Iran occurs under a regime which culls authority through I Jihadi Islam and despotism.  The Iranian regime employs violent means to actively seek power, authority, and other resources, beyond the basic practices of religion.  Such Jihadi Islamism and despotism stand in stark contrast to America’s commitment to “human liberties” and religious freedom.

 Our Presidents’ Responses to Despotism

As we have seen in recent weeks after the downing of the Ukrainian airliner, the Iranian people will demonstrate against their own Jihadi Islamist rulers when driven to do so by an overwhelming anger.  The world further witnessed this phenomenon when, during President Obama’s administration, Iranian students filled the streets in massive protests and were harassed and murdered by their own government.  Sadly, President Obama did little to support these protests, neither privately nor publicly.

 During the harrowing battles of World War II, President Franklin D.  Roosevelt led the nation by turning to God and calling on our citizens to stand along with our leadership in prayerPresident Roosevelt read this prayer over the radio to an anxious nation as Allied troops were invading Nazi-occupied Europe on D-Day June 6, 1944:

 Almighty God, our sons, pride of our nation, this day have set upon a mighty endeavor; a struggle to preserve our Republic, our religion, and our civilization, and to set free a suffering humanity.  Lead them straight and true; give strength to their arms, stoutness to their hearts, and steadfastness in their faith. 

They will need Thy blessings.  Their road will be long and hard.  For the enemy is strong . . . Success may not come with rushing speed, but . . . we know that by Thy grace, and by the righteousness of our cause, our sons will triumph . . .

[Our men] fight to liberate.  They fight to let justice arise and tolerance and goodwill among all Thy people.  They yearn but for the end of the battle, for their return to the haven of home.  Some will never return.  Embrace these, Father, and receive them, Thy heroic servants into Thy kingdom.  With Thy blessings, we shall prevail over the unholy forces of our enemy . . . Lead us to the saving of our country, and with our sister nations into a world unity that will spell a sure peace . . . Thy will be done, Almighty God. Amen.

Victory Through Faith in God and Thoughtful Response

In World War I, 117,000 Americans were killed.  In World War II, 405,000 died to defeat the evil forces of Nazism, fascism, socialism, and communism – the enemies of Christianity and liberty.  We thank God for hearing our cry as a people then – even as we pray today for God to deliver the U.S. and Israel from the evil forces of Islamic terrorism and to emancipate the Iranian people from the despotic rule of Jihadi Islamism.

As we turn to God in prayer, Americans and our leaders also should seize upon the stress factors in Jihadi Islamism in Iran and other parts of the Middle East.  Given the opportunity and support, it’s possible to defeat the terrorism perpetrated worldwide by Iran and its surrogates.

Join us next week as we consider threats posed to our Republic from within.

SOURCES CONSULTED:

International Crisis Group, Understanding Islamism, Middle East/North Africa Report, Number 37 (March 2005), i.

https://www.fdrlibrary.org/d-day

https://www.woodrowwilson.org/blog/2019/1/21/woodrow-wilson-quotes

https://www.timesofisrael.com/khamenei-israel-a-cancerous-tumor-that-must-be-eradicated/

The 2020 Vision of Florida’s Faith Community

Series: How Faith Shapes Government, Part VIII – By Drs. Eric and Kelli Criss

Welcome to Florida Faith and Freedom Coalition’s weekly blog!  This week we’re focused upon the 2020 presidential election.  Our priority is to proclaim our faith and to impact government as a community of faith.  We’ll be sharing about: a) Trump’s recent efforts to mobilize Florida’s evangelicals, b) Florida’s importance in 2020, c) Trump’s record of enacting the conservative agenda, d) the Liberals’ efforts to squelch the conservative movement, and e) Florida Faith and Freedom Coalition’s 2020 plan to advance the faith community’s agenda.   

 Miami’s El Rey Jesús Church Welcomes President Trump 

 On Friday January 3, 2020, President Trump kicked off his Evangelicals for Trump coalition alongside Apostle Guillermo Maldonado at El Rey Jesús Church in Miami. This very church is where Florida FFC conducted a voter registration drive in October 2019. Trump’s Sunday rally was meant to stir evangelicals to vote and to support Trump’s candidacy in order to continue the progress he has made in advancing the faith community’s conservative agenda. 

 At Florida FFC, we engage Christians and prospective conservative voters across the state through various activities.  Our connection to FFC National enables us to keep our finger on the pulse of what is happening in D.C. In fact, during our October 2019 voter registration drive at El Rey Jesús Church in Miami, we welcomed FFC National Chairman, Dr. Ralph Reed, who spoke about important issues such as appointment of pro-life judges, limitation of the Johnson Amendment, and restoration of the Mexico City Policy.  In December 2019, Dr. Reed, spoke on behalf of Florida FFC to hundreds of residents in Central Florida’s The Villages.  Dr. Reed discussed the 2020 presidential election’s challenges for the faith community and encouraged believers to admonish government to act righteously by exercising their right to vote.   

Florida – 2020’s Largest and Most Important Swing State  

 Why does Florida matter so much in the faith community’s effort to influence government with our faith?  Three words – Florida’s electoral votes.  Our state’s 29 electoral votes represent a major chunk of the 270 electoral votes needed to capture the White House—behind only California (55) and Texas (39). But California consistently votes for the Democrat nominee while Texas votes Republican. Among the three largest states, that leaves Florida to sway the outcome of presidential elections.  

 Who can forget 2000, when George Bush won the state by only 537 votes out of six million cast . . . and hanging chads dominated the news across America?  What about 2012 when Barack Obama defeated Mitt Romney in Florida, 50.0% to 49.1%.  In 2012, Florida was the only state decided by less than 1%.  And finally, there was Donald Trump’s 2016 stunning victory, when he narrowly defeated Hillary Clinton by 1.2% in Florida.  Florida also has a reputation for picking winners.  With the sole exception being President George H.W. Bush’s Florida 1992 loss, Florida voted with the winner in every presidential election since 1964. 

 Keeping Campaign Promises Made to Conservatives 

 Our message is simple.  President Trump made promises and he kept those promises.  That surprised a lot of media elites and politicians in Washington, D.C. What is President Trump’s record on the economy, judicial matters, international policy, and the military? 

 As for our economy, let’s consider that retail sales are up and China is being held accountable for its unfair trade deals, intellectual property theft, and currency manipulation.  President Trump has helped business owners and created almost 4 million jobs since 2016—400,000 of those jobs are in the manufacturing sector! More Americans are now employed than ever recorded before in our history. By helping 4 million people get off welfare, he established the lowest unemployment rate in the United States in fifty years.  President Trump’s massive tax cut poured $300 billion back into the U.S. economy in the first quarter alone and small businesses now get the lowest top marginal tax rate in more than 80 years. He also concluded a U.S.-Mexico Trade Deal to replace NAFTA, withdrew America from the job-killing Paris Climate Accord, and ended the Obamacare individual mandate penalty. 

  In the judicial arena, President Trump fought for and signed major criminal justice reform.  He promised to reshape the judicial branch with conservative appointments and appointed two conservative, pro-life Supreme Court Justices and wow, how he delivered! The Boston Globe recently asserted that “the breadth of the Donald Trump legacy on the federal courts…will be with us for decades to come.” (Trump Reshapes Judiciary in His Image, Boston Globe, Editorial Board, December 29, 2019).                                                           

Internationally, President Trump is fighting against Christian persecution worldwide and he moved the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem!  Our President protected Americans from terrorists with the Travel Ban and walked away from Obama’s dangerous Iran deal. 

Since President Trump was elected, we’ve seen the military supported through securing a record $700 billion in military funding, signing of the VA Choice Act and VA Accountability Act, designating the Space Force as the 6th branch of the Armed Forces, and signing an Executive Order to keep open Guantanamo Bay.  President Trump is equipping our warfighters.  He is also giving them raises. 

 President Trump delivered on his promises.  Let’s show our support for him by fighting the flood of tainted radical money pouring into Florida from distant states like California and New York. 

 The Battle Raging Against Our Conservative Florida Agenda 

 Soros has already given hundreds of thousands of dollars to his front group, Forward Florida. Bloomberg has already spent $18 million attacking President Trump and will ultimately spend $300-$400 million assaulting the President during the primaries alone.   

 The Trump-hating group, Way to Win, announced it will spend $50 million in the Sun Belt states, including Florida.  Yet another radical group called ACRONYM announced it will spend $10 million to register voters and plans to target Florida. And the Florida Democratic Party recently announced it will spend $2 million on voter registration alone.  Finally, former Democrat nominee for Governor, Andrew Gillum, has pledged to spend millions in leftover campaign funds to elect Democrats in Florida. 

 If we can’t match their spending, Chief Justice John Roberts may swear in Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren on the East Steps of the Capitol.  Or, maybe it will be Joe Biden.  Of course, we know it doesn’t really matter who the Democrat nominee is, he or she will owe their election to the Radical Left and be a willing partner to implement their agenda. 

 They’ll raise taxes, waste even more of your hard-earned dollars, and attempt to pack the Supreme Court by increasing the number of Supreme Court justices. They’re supported in this endeavor by radical groups like Demand Justice and Indivisible.  And that’s just the beginning. 

 You know the Radical Left’s playbook.  They attacked and lied about Robert Bork, Clarence Thomas, and most recently, they promoted baseless, libelous attacks, and in several cases, demonstrable lies, against Judge Brett Kavanaugh. 

 Expressing Our Faith through Action 

 Sure, Florida FFC was busy in 2019 as we conducted voter mobilization meetings across the state and reached 17,000 plus people of faith through weekly newsletters and our website’s blog, but we’re adding more initiatives to our current efforts.  After all, even President Trump has taken notice of FFC’s national partnership with the faith community.  Indeed, President Trump said himself last summer in Washington, D.C., “the Faith and Freedom Coalition is the largest faith-based get out the vote organization in modern American history.”  And he should know.  President Trump has spoken at six of our annual Road to Majority Conferences, including just last summer when he spoke of the need to rally people of faith in 2020. 

 What Can You Do? 

 We need your help to expand our network in all 67 counties in Florida and knock on over one million doors.  The stakes are too high to wait on the sidelines and see what happens.  Please support our Trump 2020 Florida Task Force.  You can help the President in two ways.  First, help to fund our public education and Christian voter registration activities with your financial support.  You can visit our website at www.floridaffc.com to make a donation.  Second, if you’re willing to join our activist network, please visit www.floridaffc.com, and sign up as a volunteer in our voter mobilization effort. 

 In spite of the massive spending campaign by Liberals, it’s not too late to win Florida and continue President Trump’s revolutionary changes to the economy, foreign policy, the federal judiciary, and the nation’s pro-life policies.  We need your support to keep up this fight. 

Admonishing Leadership to Act Righteously, Part VII

Series: How Faith Shapes Government, Part VII – By Dr. Kelli Criss

In our blog series, How Faith Shapes Government, we’ve discussed the impact of people of faith upon secular government in Scripture and history. Moving from a historical perspective to present day, we ask the question, “What about our civic duty today?”  This week’s blog, Citizens of Faith, explains why civic duty exists and how your vote, among other responsibilities, helps to fulfill your duty to impact secular government.  

How Can You Actually Owe Anything to Your Country?    

Look no further than the price paid by men and women who have perished in war.  During the Revolutionary War, it’s estimated that 4,500 died.  The Civil War casualties are the heaviest losses in American history with 550,000 dead.  Bearing the full weight of the Battle of Gettysburg’s 6,650 dead soldiers and the suffering of 29,000 additional wounded soldiers, Abraham Lincoln admonished us at the Gettysburg Address:  “We here highly resolved that these dead shall not have died in vain – that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom – and that government of the people, by the people, and for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”  The gravity of Lincoln’s admonition “that these dead shall not have died in vain” urges us not to enjoy our hard-won freedom and liberty passively.  We must preserve our nation and repay, however fractionally, our debt through available opportunities like financially supporting candidates and organizations devoted to faith’s influence on government.  What about volunteering to educate and register voters who will impact our nation through Judeo-Christian moral absolutes? With so much sacrificed to establish and preserve our republic, certainly we can read up about the issues and candidates to be well informed voters.   

 What Impact Has Florida FFC Made Already?  

The Faith and Freedom Coalition has been working to elect conservatives in Florida since 2009.  We are over 148,000 members strong in Florida!  During the 2016 and 2018 Elections, we knocked on 800,000 doors and sent over 2 million pieces of voter contact mail.  From past Honorary Chair, Will Weatherford, to current Honorary Chair, Congressman Neal Dunn, we continue to work with Florida’s best and brightest leaders to pursue a bold conservative agenda. Most recently in October 2019, hundreds of citizens took the first step toward exercising their civic duty by registering to vote at El Rey Jesús Church in Miami. In addition, Faith and Freedom Coalition National Chairman, Dr. Ralph Reed, joined pastor, Apostle Guillermo Maldonado, to discuss important issues such as appointment of pro-life judges, limitation of the Johnson Amendment, and restoration of the Mexico City Policy.  Likewise, in December 2019, Dr. Reed, addressed hundreds of residents in the Central Florida community, The Villages.  Dr. Reed discussed the political challenges that will be faced by the faith community in the 2020 presidential election and encouraged people to impact government with their vote and thus, their faith.    

 Worship Through Faith and Service 

Service can be a tricky aspect of our lives.  Acts of service are not a substitute for faith and yet, James 2: 14 reads “What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works?” (English Standard Version). Ultimately, our service to God is multi-faceted.  Ask God to guide you about your role in impacting government with your faith.  With whatever we offer, we worship God and express our gratitude for all He has done in the United States of America and in our individual families.  

 How Do I Get Started?  

Knowing the issues, the candidates, and how the Scriptures guide you regarding your vote, are powerful aspects of fulfilling your duty, as a part of the faith community.  Florida Faith and Freedom Coalition does its part to empower America’s active faith community through voter education resources (be on the lookout for these resources in Fall 2020).    

We also offer additional opportunities to influence government with your faith.  Check out our website’s homepage where you can complete the Voter Mobilization Form.  Completing this form puts you into our volunteer bank and enables us to get you plugged into FFC efforts in your area.  

We’ve enjoyed sharing this blog series about affecting government with your faith.  Next week, we begin a new series about socialism, communism, capitalism, and a Biblical worldview. 

Admonishing Leadership to Act Righteously, Part VI

Series: How Faith Shapes Government, Part VI – By Dr. Kelli Criss

Our most recent blogs have explored the life of an African American pillar of faith, Reverend Richard Allen.  In particular, we discussed Richard Allen’s fight for the civil rights of Philadelphia’s black community and his admonishment of faith leaders to act righteously. Today’s blog, Admonishing Leadership to Act Righteously, Part VI, addresses Allen’s impact upon civil government leadership.  

Free African Societies: Serving God across Early America 

 Forming the Free African Society in 1787, Allen and his contemporaries were a catalyst for unifying blacks under godly leadership in Philadelphia and beyond.  The influence of the Free African Society spread among free blacks in additional areas of the country. Quickly, similar Free African Societies emerged in Boston, Massachusetts; Newport, Rhode Island; New York City, New York; and Charleston, South Carolina.   

 Under Allen’s leadership, Philadelphia’s Free African Society drafted articles of association emphasizing Biblical tenets like: a) membership dues served the community’s needs, b) the society was responsible for the care of widows and orphans; and c) members had to conduct themselves according to Biblical principles, including the prohibition of drunkenness and immoral actions.   

 Allen’s Fruitful Efforts: Righteousness in Civil Government 

Allen’s campaign for liberty and justice for black Americans is evident in the spread of Philadelphia’s Free African Society.  Of particular note is the miraculous work God accomplished through the Boston African Society, a sister organization of Philadelphia’s Free African Society.  In 1777, Prince Hall, a leader in the Boston African Society, petitioned the General Court of Massachusetts to abolish slavery entirely.  Indeed, Massachusetts was among the first states to abolish slavery in 1783.   

The Free African Society’s proximity to Philadelphia’s Independence Hall indicates the sovereignty of God in America’s affairs.  George Washington’s 1790 arrival at the President’s House, located next to Independence Hall, began a ten-year period in which America was led from Philadelphia.  Strategically located just down the street from Independence Hall were the homes of Allen and additional faith community leaders who were among our nation’s Black Founders.  Allen and fellow Black Founders held the newborn republic in their arms, nurturing faith in God and civil rights. 

Fighting Godless Legislation 

Upon the Fugitive Slave Act’s passage in 1793, Allen and his fellow Free African Society leaders in Philadelphia were outraged.  This law legalized the arrest, re-capture, and return to their masters of fugitive slaves.  The law ensured enforcement in every city by tasking magistrates with the law’s application and by designating fines for any person aiding a fugitive slave.  Clearly, abolitionists and runaway slaves were the target of the law.  

Allen and Philadelphia’s Free African Society took swift action to exert their influential status in the city. The Society’s efforts involved a focused campaign to fight the Fugitive Slave Act: a) writing letters, newspaper articles, and pamphlets, b) gathering petitions, and c) preaching sermons condemning the unrighteous law.  Their fight admonished the Independence Hall leadership, including Congress and the President, to restore justice.   

The National Convention Movement: Admonishing Fledgling America to Act Righteously 

As if founding one of Philadelphia’s first black churches, Bethel, and the African Methodist Episcopal denomination were not enough for God to accomplish through Allen and his contemporaries, God helped Allen unite African Americans nationwide in the fight for civil rights in early America.  In September of 1830, Allen along with fellow Black Founders met at Philadelphia’s Bethel Church along with forty delegates for the first national convention of the American Society of Free Persons of Colour.   

Together the delegates drafted a constitution drawn from the Declaration of Independence’s guiding principles.  Having their travel restricted by recent laws controlling the free movement of free blacks, additional delegates were unable to meet in Philadelphia.  Such injustices were the key fights undertaken by the newly established society.  The American Society of Free Persons of Colour united a nationwide system of patriots fighting for all Americans “endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights,” just as the Declaration of Independence had proclaimed. 

Through a Legacy of Godly Leadership 

 In March 1831, Allen passed away, shortly after the historic beginnings of the National Convention Movement.  One wonders if Allen, as a young slave, could ever have imagined that God would use him to found one of Philadelphia’s first black churches, establish a denomination, set the stage for Massachusetts’ abolition of slavery, and begin the National Convention Movement devoted to civil rights.  Allen’s story exemplifies how God can use one life to execute His righteousness on the earth.   

We’ll see you next week as we discuss how you can affect change in civil government and admonish our nation’s leadership to act righteously.   

RELATED SITES:

 Africans in America: Richard Allen   

 REFERENCES:

 Alexander, E. Curtis.  Richard Allen. New York: ECA Associates, 1985.  

Mathews, Marcia M.  Richard Allen.  Baltimore: Helicon, 1963.   

Wesley, Charles H.  Richard Allen: Apostle of Freedom.  Washington, D. C.: The Associated Publishers, 1969.    

Newman, Richard S.  Freedom’s Prophet: Bishop Richard Allen, the AME Church, and the Black Founding Fathers.  New York: New York University Press, 2008.    

Admonishing Leadership to Act Righteously, Part V

Series: How Faith Shapes Government, Part V – By Dr. Kelli Criss

Last week, we discussed the life of an African American pillar of faith, Reverend Richard Allen, who shaped early America’s church and lit the sparks of the modern civil rights movement.  Today’s blog, Admonishing Leadership to Act Righteously, Part V, explores Allen’s fight for the civil rights of Philadelphia’s black community and his admonition to the faith community to act righteously. 

Admonishing the Church to Act Righteously: Walking Out for Freedom 

In Pennsylvania, a Philadelphia congregation, St. George’s, founded for and lead by whites, often welcomed Allen’s preaching.  A 1780 Pennsylvania law gradually emancipating slaves carved a role for Philadelphia as a refuge for runaway Southern slaves.  As Allen preached at the early Sunday service at St. George’s church, the congregation filled with black members.  Another later Sunday service, considered the main service, also filled with black members.  St. George’s leadership implemented rules to limit African American attendance at the main Sunday service by providing seating only along the walls for blacks.  

Subsequently, as they attended the main service on Sunday, Allen and fellow African Americans were relegated to gallery seats only.  During this particular service, black congregants and Allen, who were seated in the gallery, kneeled for the prayer.  Allen, distracted by motion nearby, gazed over in time to see a white church trustee forcing his friend, Absalom Jones, to rise from his prayers.  The trustee informed Jones he couldn’t kneel in his current location.  Jones asked that the trustee wait until prayer ended.  The trustee called over another white trustee.  Yet another man, William White, was pulled up from his kneeling position to be moved by the white trustees.   

The African American congregants chose then to leave St. George’s, at that moment.  Such a decisive action in the early American church was incredibly historic.  Such a “walk out” of African American congregants consisting of myriad former slaves was the first of its kind in our nation’s history.  As during the trials of his earliest ministry on the New England circuits, Allen again experienced the goodness of God amid trouble.   

The Beginning of a Church for Philadelphia’s Black Faith Community 

St. George’s segregation denied many of Philadelphia’s African American Christians a place of worship; however, Allen and three close fellow sojourners, Absalom Jones, William White, Dorus Ginnings, knew God would use them to begin the journey toward founding their own Methodist Episcopal church.  They desired to establish a church in which blacks could worship without racism.  In the face of threats from St. George’s white elders to revoke their Methodist Episcopal membership, a 27-year-old Allen and his three brothers in Christ began prayer meetings.  Even these meetings occurred in defiance of St. George’s white leadership.  Allen set about fundraising to prepare for founding a church to serve Philadelphia’s black community and to operate the Free African Society.   

Born Together: The American Nation and the Free African Society 

At this watershed moment in American history, the adoption of the Free African Society’s articles of association coincided with the 1787 meeting of the Constitutional Convention.  Philadelphia’s Independence Hall hosted the Constitutional Convention beginning May 25, 1787 while Allen’s nearby home held the May 17th, 1787 inaugural meeting of the Free African society.  The momentous significance of the Free African Society’s inaugural meeting is twofold: a) it preceded the Constitutional Convention and b) it was the first entity of its kind devoted to, led by, and operated by devoted black people of faith.  What a tremendous indication of the importance of America’s birth as a nation where all people are created equally under God.  As a people of faith, we thank God for the significance of Allen’s leadership for our entire nation and for the kingdom of God.   

RELATED SITES:

Africans in America: Richard Allen

REFERENCES:

Alexander, E. Curtis.  Richard Allen. New York: ECA Associates, 1985.  

Mathews, Marcia M.  Richard Allen.  Baltimore: Helicon, 1963.   

Wesley, Charles H.  Richard Allen: Apostle of Freedom.  Washington, D. C.: The Associated Publishers, 1969.    

Newman, Richard S.  Freedom’s Prophet: Bishop Richard Allen, the AME Church, and the Black Founding Fathers.  New York: New York University Press, 2008. 

Admonishing Leadership to Act Righteously, Part IV

Series: How Faith Shapes Government, Part IV – By Dr. Kelli Criss

Last week, we focused upon how an imprisoned Paul confronted the Roman governor, Felix.  Today’s blog, Admonishing Leadership to Act Righteously, Part IV studies the life of an African American pillar of faith, Reverend Richard Allen. Through his leadership and faith, Reverend Allen shaped the church during America’s earliest years and blazed a trail for the modern civil rights movement.   

The remarkable power of God within Allen’s life is too commanding for only one blog, so Allen is the focus of two upcoming blogs as well. Today, we delve, particularly, into how Allen admonished leaders in society and the faith community to act righteously.  

Liberty for America and Allen

Allen worked from the age of seven in the fields of a Delaware plantation owner, Stokely Sturgis.  At the age of seventeen in 1777, Allen became a man of faith because of Methodist camp meetings occurring in the woods near the Delaware plantation where he was enslaved.  Thus, his faith blossomed just as America emerged as a nation.

Both blacks, free and enslaved, along with whites attended the camp meetings.  Preachers came weekly to teach at the meetings attended by Allen and some of his siblings.  Upon hearing about the meetings, local plantation owners told Allen’s master, Sturgis, that slaves should be prohibited from attending. 

Allen and his brother decided to use daily hard work to prove to Sturgis that involvement in the camp meetings and their faith made them better people in every way.  They wanted Sturgis to witness that faith enhanced people’s lives.  Allen and his brother planted spiritual seeds to help Sturgis become open to hearing the Methodist preachers who taught about freedom in Christ.

Allen’s faith was so strong that even at the age of seventeen, he knew God could change the beliefs of the plantation master.  If Sturgis could hear the gospel and be influenced by Allen and his brother’s own hard work and faith, then Sturgis would serve Christ and be convicted by the Holy Spirit to allow Allen to be free.  What a testimony of faith in God’s power to convict a man of his sin and to lead him to repentance!

God’s Intervention: A Master’s Salvation and a Slave’s Freedom  

Allen talked with Sturgis to ask about inviting a preacher to come to the plantation and Sturgis agreed.  A Methodist preacher did come to the plantation to preach about the gospel and to condemn slavery.  Many other preachers came weekly for months.  The message of the gospel pierced Sturgis’ conscience and enabled him to see that slavery was contrary to the Bible’s principles.  Sturgis suggested to Allen and his brother a plan for them to buy their freedom for 2,000 continental dollars or 60 pounds in gold and silver.  By the age of 20, Allen bought his freedom.

The Free African Society: Unifying Under the Gospel

As a free man in a newly birthed America, Allen spent his days cutting and selling wood and brickmaking at a brickyard.  Evenings and Sundays were spent sharing the gospel with neighbors.  This initial period of ministry brought various illnesses like rheumatism for Allen who was only 24 years old when he traveled through New England preaching.  Constant arduous travel in the elements was the source of his illnesses.  Not surprisingly, Allen’s woes coexisted with tremendous blessings, particularly, through his relationships with fellow sojourners, both black and white.  Across the nation, a Second Great Awakening unfolded.  (The First Great Awakening deluged the colonies as the country prepared for the American Revolution.) 

Through Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Connecticut, Allen and fellow ministers shared the gospel along the “circuits” or communities where ministers were sent to visit.  In Pennsylvania, a Philadelphia congregation, St. George’s, often welcomed Allen’s preaching.  At this time, Philadelphia’s population, port, and commerce exploded.  A 1780 Pennsylvania law gradually emancipating slaves carved a role for Philadelphia as a refuge for runaway Southern slaves. 

The burgeoning black population caught Allen’s attention.  He observed the economic and spiritual needs of Philadelphia’s inhabitants and ministered through forming a Free African Society.  This society, established in 1787, was a catalyst for unifying blacks under godly leadership.  The unity and identity formed among Free African Society leaders and those to whom it ministered, ultimately, led to Philadelphia’s first black churches.

Next week, join us for a discussion of Allen’s fight for the civil rights of Philadelphia’s black community and his admonition to the faith community to act righteously.

RELATED SITES:

Africans in America: Richard Allen  

REFERENCES:

Alexander, E. Curtis.  Richard Allen. New York: ECA Associates, 1985. 

Mathews, Marcia M.  Richard Allen.  Baltimore: Helicon, 1963.  

Wesley, Charles H.  Richard Allen: Apostle of Freedom.  Washington, D. C.: The Associated Publishers, 1969.   

Newman, Richard S.  Freedom’s Prophet: Bishop Richard Allen, the AME Church, and the Black Founding Fathers.  New York: New York University Press, 2008.   

Admonishing Leadership to Act Righteously, Part III

Series: How Faith Shapes Government, Part III – By Dr. Kelli Criss

Welcome back to our series, How Faith Shapes Government.  In Part II, our blog described how God used Joseph to shape civil government.  This week, Admonishing Leadership to Act Righteously, Part III, explores the truth of God’s dominion and a New Testament example of the leadership of people of faith. 

God’s Dominion – A Biblical Worldview 

As people of faith, we understand that God reigns over the destiny and leaders of our nation and the entire world.  Last week, we described Joseph’s role in the preservation of the Egyptian people and leadership during a seven-year famine.  God’s dominion over the world was clearly evident during Egypt’s national crisis. Let’s consider several truths from the Scriptures further exemplifying the dominion of God: a) God rules over all the world’s leaders; b) God reigns over even the boundaries of every nation; and c) God reigns over all nations and people. 

God rules over all the world’s leaders. 

“The Most High rules the kingdom of men and gives it to whom he will and sets over it the lowliest of men (Dan. 4:16).”  

“The king’s heart is a stream of water in the hand of the Lord; he turns it wherever he will (Prov. 21:1).”  

“Let every person be subject to the governing authorities.  For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.” (Rom. 13.1) 

God reigns over even the boundaries of every nation. 

“And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place (Acts 17:26).”  

God reigns over all nations and people. 

“For kingship belongs to the Lord, and he rules over the nations (Ps. 22:28).”  

“Who rules by his might forever, whose eyes keep watch on the nations – let not the rebellious exalt themselves (Ps. 66:7).” 

With this Biblical worldview, we make sense of the world.  Sharing our Biblical worldview with the public arena’s leadership is one way that people of faith affirm the dominion of God over all things.  We admonish civil authorities, as Daniel proclaimed, to “break off your sins by practicing righteousness and your inequities by showing mercy to the oppressed” (Dan. 4:27). 

New Testament Example: Imprisoned Paul Confronts a Roman Governor 

In the book of Acts, we observe an imprisoned Paul sharing a Biblical worldview with secular leadership.  In Caesarea, Paul admonished the Roman governor, Felix, while he faced trial during his imprisonment.  Paul “reasoned about righteousness and self-control and the coming judgment” (Acts 24:25).  The governor, Felix, “was alarmed and said, ‘Go away for the present.’” (Acts 24:25).  Hearing of God’s pending judgement being imminent for everyone, Felix was “alarmed” as he heard the certain condemnation faced by all the Roman Empire.  We see in this example, Paul executing his responsibility to confront civil government with the truth of God’s righteousness and dominion, even at his own trial. 

Interestingly enough, the conversation did not end at this point. Felix’s greed drove him as he “hoped that money would be given to him by Paul” when Felix “sent for him often and conversed with” Paul (Acts 25:26).  Although Felix’s greed was not satisfied by any exchange of money, Felix continued to converse with Paul.  If their initial conversation was any indication of their continued discussions, Felix experienced an earful about the reality of God’s dominion over humanity.  How remarkable that even as an imprisoned person of faith, Paul spoke God’s truth to a Roman governor.   

Faith during Trials 

Many Americans of faith experience silencing of their Biblical worldview and violating of their religious rights that are sanctioned by various American government branches (e.g., Obama-appointed judge rules that healthcare workers with strongly held religious convictions are prohibited from abstaining from various procedures like abortion which defy their faith).  At Florida FFC, we observe these struggles within our national faith family and consider the boldness with which Paul addressed Felix.   

We draw strength from God as well as from our connection with fellow sojourners who travel the journey of faith with us.  Like Paul, we experience faith during our trials through the grace of God to speak truth to people in power who are under God’s dominion, whether they acknowledge it or not.   

Next week, we invite you to experience the life of an African American pillar of faith, Reverend Richard Allen, who shaped the church during America’s earliest years and blazed a trail for the modern civil rights movement.   

REFERENCES:

Grudem, W. (2010). Politics according to the Bible: A Comprehensive resource for understanding modern political issues in light of Scripture. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

You Are God’s Ambassador: Admonishing Leadership to Act Righteously, Part II

Series: How Faith Shapes Government, Part II – By Kelli Criss

Welcome back to our blog series, How Faith Shapes Government.  This week, we dive further into how your Biblical worldview can impact the public arena.  Today’s blog, You are God’s Ambassador: Admonishing Leadership to Act Righteously, further considers the relationship between civil government and God’s kingdom.  We also detail the actions of another Old Testament person of faith who greatly influenced a secular government and saved a nation. 

Two Realms – Binary and Unified

Last week, we detailed Jesus’s conversation with the Pharisees regarding a separation of “Caesar’s” and God’s power in Matthew 22.  To explain more about the novel power structure Jesus described to the Pharisees, we review Jesus’s conversation with the Pharisees.  After Jesus was asked, “Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not?” Jesus requested a denarius, the Roman Empire’s coin (Matt. 22:17,19 English Standard Version).  He wanted to know whose image was on the coin and those present replied “Caesar” (Matt. 22:21).  Subsequently, Jesus stated, “Therefore render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s” (Matt. 22:21).   

For the Pharisees and those present, it was critical to understand that Jesus’s new order was both binary and unified.  The new order’s structure is binary because two realms, God’s and “Caesar’s” exist.  The new order’s structure is unified because God’s dominion expands over all people.  As people of faith, we are God’s representatives on earth who serve as a moral compass, expressing His views and desires. We can survey Scripture and history for examples of the serious impact people of faith have exerted upon secular government.  The influence of Joseph is one such example which reveals how a person of faith admonished secular government leaders to act righteously, but never infringed upon these leaders’ freedom to choose or neglect religious faith.  

Joseph Delivers God’s “Favorable Answer” to Pharaoh

Joseph’s authority in Egypt is formidable. He serves second only to Egypt’s Pharaoh after he interprets Pharaoh’s dream (Gen. 41:41-45).  When Pharaoh needs his dreams interpreted because no one else in the kingdom has been able to provide interpretation, Joseph tells Pharaoh “It is not in me; God will give Pharaoh a favorable answer” (Gen. 41: 14-15). By interpreting Pharaoh’s dream, God uses Joseph to reveal that seven years of plentiful harvest will be followed by seven years of famine (Gen. 41: 28-32).  As an instrument of God, Joseph even supplies Pharaoh with a strategic plan from God – select leadership to store and set aside food during the abundant harvest years so that resources are available during the famine (Gen. 41:33-36).  When the famine comes and the Egyptians are desperate, Pharaoh tells the people “Go to Joseph. What he says to you, do” (Gen. 41:55).   

It’s particularly significant that God saves the Egyptian population, a nation of people who, during Joseph’s leadership, neglect faith in God.  Furthermore, God uses a man of faith, Joseph, to guide a secular government’s ruler, Pharaoh.  The act of saving Egypt from starvation exemplifies the goodness and dominion of God over all people.  God’s power is exerted through Joseph without coercing Egypt or

Pharaoh to choose or neglect faith in Him.  Indeed, Joseph is God’s spokesman who guides Pharaoh in preserving the nation, without even a mention of Egypt’s lack of faith.  

Freedom of Religious Expression

Considering the current onslaught of suppression of free speech and religious expression in America, we want to assert a final reality:  Although leaders of faith respect the free will of others and, thus, do not command or coerce those within their sphere of influence to follow or support a specific religion, the United States’ Constitution protects freedom of religious expression in public spaces (e.g., Maryland’s “Peace Cross” honoring veterans permitted on public land and public school students’ rights to express religious beliefs at school, wear clothing displaying religious messages, and pray at school, etc.).  We balance our need to respect man’s free will with a coequal mandate to protect and engage in the freedom of religious expression. 

You Are God’s Ambassador

Certainly, God can shape civil government, even now, through people of faith, just as he did through Joseph.   They simply admonished civil government leaders to act righteously and care for all people.  We are called to follow their example and to serve as a moral compass for secular government. 

Take a step today toward fulfilling your role in shaping government with your faith by completing the volunteer form on Florida FFC’s homepage.  Let’s lock arms together in partnership as we serve God and shape America with our faith. 

Next week, we describe leaders from the New Testament as well as the United States who have shaped civil government with their faith. We are God’s ambassadors, praying for government officials and asking God to use us to influence secular government. 

REFERENCES:

Grudem, W. (2010). Politics according to the Bible: A Comprehensive resource for understanding modern political issues in light of Scripture. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

Admonishing Leadership to Act Righteously, Part I

Series: How Faith Shapes Government – By Kelli Criss

Welcome to our blog series, How Faith Shapes Government.  At Florida FFC, we join people of faith from around the state to express a Biblical worldview in the public arena.  Today’s blog, Admonishing Leadership to Act Righteously, describes Jesus’s views on the relationship between civil government and God’s kingdom as well as provides an Old Testament example of a person of faith acting to influence secular government.   

God’s Dominion over Two Realms 

When he was asked about the power of God versus the power of civil government in people’s lives, Jesus faced this question in Matthew 22 from the Pharisees (religious scholars of Israel): “Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not?” (Matt. 22:17 English Standard Version).  Jesus requested, “Show me the coin for the tax” (v. 19).  The Pharisees brought him the coin of the Roman Empire, the denarius.  Jesus wanted to know whose image was on the coin and those present replied “Caesar” (Matt. 22:21).  Next, Jesus stated, “Therefore render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s” (Matt. 22:21).   

Both the state and the kingdom of God have unique power and influence.  Jesus neither denies either entity’s existence, nor diminishes the authority of either.  Israel, during this period, existed as a “theocracy” in which all citizens were under God’s power and laws.  Israel’s civil government and God’s government were, thus, one in the same.  Jesus’ declaration regarding two realms of power is, therefore, revolutionary for the Israelites.  A new structure of worldly governance meant that God’s realm was not to be under the sphere of civil government.  From this novel organization, a central governing principle of our democracy emerged: the freedom to choose or neglect a religious faith must exist under every civil government. Namely, “the things that are God’s” supersede the authority of “Caesar” and yet, both possess realms of influence.   

Daniel Counsels King Nebuchadnezzar  

A prominent Old Testament example involves Daniel’s counseling the pagan king, Nebuchadnezzar, in the Babylonian kingdom. Daniel proclaims to the king “break off your sins by practicing righteousness and your inequities by showing mercy to the oppressed” (Dan. 4:27).  Not only does he advise the king, but also Daniel serves as “ruler over the whole province of Babylon” and “chief prefect over all the wise men of Babylon” (Dan. 2:48).  By today’s standards, Babylon certainly could match our nation “toe-to-toe” for sin and inequity; yet, Daniel was a godly leader in a secular nation who exhorted leadership to “practice righteousness.”   

Your Role in our Society 

Through Daniel’s example we see God’s plan to provide guidance to secular government through people of faith.  In our present-day society, admonishing leaders to act righteously begins with you!   

How is God calling you to be an influence? 

At Florida Faith and Freedom Coalition, we believe you are called to speak God’s truth to power and to allow your admonishing words to serve as a moral compass for secular government.  One thing you can do today is sign up to volunteer on our home page, under the “Voter Mobilization” section.  We cannot wait to see how God will use YOU to admonish leadership to act righteously! 

Next week, we describe another Old Testament man of faith who shaped civil government with his faith. Let’s keep praying for government officials and asking God to use us to influence those officials. We’re looking forward to sharing with you again next week.  

REFERENCES: 

Grudem, W.  (2010).  Politics according to the Bible: A Comprehensive resource for understanding modern political issues in light of scripture. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.  

PEOPLE OF FAITH REGISTER TO VOTE IN MIAMI

Registering Voters in Miami

This week’s blog focuses on Florida Faith and Freedom’s efforts to impact civil government with faith and Biblical principles.  During October, we’ve been busy signing up new voters and welcoming, Dr. Ralph Reed, National Chairman of the Faith and Freedom Coalition.  Dr. Reed came to Florida to speak alongside pastor, Apostle Guillermo Maldonado, at Miami’s El Rey Jesús Church.  Among other topics, Dr. Reed and Apostle Maldonado explained the current need for people of faith to impact the world.

Miami’s El Rey Jesús Church Welcomes Dr. Ralph Reed

Approximately 90 million Christians are eligible to vote in the United States, but less than half that number actually turn out on Election Day.  Furthermore, about 15 million Christians aren’t even registered to vote!

As part of our ongoing voter registration efforts in Florida, we held a major voter registration event last weekend.  Hundreds of citizens took the first step toward exercising their civic duty by registering to vote at El Rey Jesús Church in Miami. In addition, Faith and Freedom Coalition National Chairman, Dr. Ralph Reed, joined pastor, Apostle Guillermo Maldonado, to discuss important issues such as appointment of pro-life judges, limitation of the Johnson Amendment, and restoration of the Mexico City Policy.

Pro-Life Judges: What’s Our Current Status?

Noting that he was not speaking on behalf of any candidate for president or political party, Dr. Reed, emphasized that President Trump has appointed 150 conservative, lifetime federal judges and two pro-life Supreme Court Justices.

In addition, we note, at this point in his term, President Obama had not confirmed nearly as many appeals court or district court judges while President Bush had confirmed more district court judges by now.  That said, President Trump is way ahead of past presidents on appeals court judges, who have the final say in most federal appeals.

Nearly 1 in every 4 seats on U.S. appeals courts is now filled by a judge appointed by Trump.

Protecting Pastors’ and Churches’ Freedom of Speech

Dr. Reed also discussed the importance of limiting enforcement of the Johnson Amendment, which prohibits organizations that are exempt under section 501(c)(3) of the IRS code from engaging in political campaign activities.  It is this amendment that causes many pastors and churches to fear loss of their tax-exempt status simply by exercising their right to free speech. In 2017, President Trump signed an executive order directing the executive branch to limit its enforcement of this unfair provision.

Preventing U.S. Taxpayer-Funded Abortion Abroad

Lastly, Dr. Reed pointed out that President Trump restored the policy preventing organizations that promote abortion overseas from receiving your taxpayer dollars. Sometimes called the “Mexico City Policy,” the rule was put in place by President Reagan in 1984 at an international population-control conference in Mexico City. It requires private organizations to avoid promotion of abortion.

Pastor, Apostle Guillermo Maldonado, summed up the spiritual basis of these worldly public policy issues: “Contrary to what many believe, life begins in heaven, not on earth…We were a fully formed idea in His mind before we ever got our physical bodies.”  He continued, “Abortion is a sin, not only because it is the taking of a human life, but also because it is an attack on a divine purpose…Nobody has a right to truncate that divine purpose.”

Policy matters.  Voting matters.

The Florida Faith and Freedom Coalition will continue to work with our national leadership to register voters and help elect leaders who faithfully adhere to our shared principles.  May God empower us to impact civil government with faith.

Be sure to read our blog next week about how faith shapes government through God’s leaders.  We’ll explore Biblical and early American people of faith who admonished civil government leaders to act righteously and protect all of humanity. 

Planned Parenthood and the Factory Abortion Industry Part III

October 18, 2019, by Eric Criss

Our blog series, Planned Parenthood and the Factory Abortion Industry, explores the Protect Life Rule.  In part II of our series, we described the burden placed upon women with low incomes by Planned Parenthood’s refusal of Title X funds.  This week, our blog focuses upon pro-life groups’ perceptions of the Protect Life Rule. 

Protect Life Rule Takes Effect

After legal challenges from abortion rights advocates, Planned Parenthood among them, the San Francisco-based U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled on July 11, 2019 that the Protect Life Rule may take effect even as legal challenges continue.  This court ruling and the Protect Life Rule, in general, received a delighted welcome from pro-life groups like the Susan B. Anthony List, March for Life, Students for Life of America, and Americans United for Life.  

Taxpayers, Especially Young Women, Don’t Want TFund Abortion 

Americans United for Life’s president and CEO, Catherine Glenn Foster stated that under the Protect Life Rule, “no physician in America is being stopped from referring a patient for an abortion – they just can’t demand taxpayer funding to do so.” 

Kristan Hawkins, President of Students for Life of America explained, “Planned Parenthood has violated the spirit of the Title X family planning program for years by collecting millions of dollars while they marketed abortion.”  Further clarifying the pro-life movement’s position toward the value of women’s health and unborn children’s lives, Hawkins insisted, “Pregnancy is not a disease cured by abortion, and ending the connection between abortion and family planning is a victory for common-sense health care.”   

Hawkins’ group, Students for Life of America, commissioned a poll conducted by The Polling Company/Woman Trend, finding that, by a 3 to 1 margin, 18 to 34 year olds would rather their tax dollars support Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHC) than Planned Parenthood.  FQHC refers to centers with a government designation that offer health care services to U.S. locations which are not being adequately served.

Future for America’s Unborn Looking Brighter

Concerning the on-going legal challenges to the Protect Life Rule, there is hope.  A 5-4 U.S. Supreme Court 1991 ruling held that the establishment of rules to grant tax dollars exclusively to family planning clinics that neglect to “encourage, promote, or advocate abortion” was the government’s right.  

Legal challenges mounted against the Protect Life Rule may thus be doomed by legal precedent. Either way, this sad chapter in American history continues to be written.

Be on the lookout for our follow-up blog, detailing the life span of Title X from its 1970 inception to the present.  We will demonstrate the historical ebb and flow of Executive policymaking on behalf of women and the unborn.

Check out these links for more about the national Pro-Life groups mentioned in this blog.

The Susan B. Anthony List https://www.sba-list.org/

March for Life https://marchforlife.org/

Students for Life of America https://marchforlife.org/

Americans United for Life https://aul.org/

Planned Parenthood and the Factory Abortion Industry – Part II

Welcome back to our blog series, Planned Parenthood and the Factory Abortion Industry.  Last week, we explained the connection between the Protect Life Rule and Title X’s original intent.  This week, our blog focuses upon Planned Parenthood’s greed and their decision to marginalize women with low incomes.

Straining Women’s Finances Even Further

In the U.S., Planned Parenthood is one of about 100 groups that run hundreds of clinics receiving Title X funds.  Planned Parenthood traditionally serves 40 percent of the 4 million women with low incomes who benefit from Title X; however, the national network of clinics bowed out of funding in August 2019 because of the Protect Life Rule’s insistence on adherence to Title X stipulations.  Particularly, the stipulations barred Title X grantees from providing abortion. (Note: A grantee is an organization which receives Title X funds.) Planned Parenthood has 400 clinics nationwide that have foregone Title X funds.  Approximately $60 million in Title X funds annually has gone to Planned Parenthood. 

The Trump administration addressed Planned Parenthood’s decision to forego Title X funding as a “self-inflicted” injury.  Planned Parenthood plans to make up the financial shortfall by tapping into reserves and reaching out to private donors for funding.  The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) website states that Planned Parenthood “is actually choosing to place a higher priority on the ability to refer for abortion instead of continuing to receive federal funds to provide a broad range of acceptable and effective family planning methods and services to clients in need of these services.”

In states like Minnesota, areas of New Hampshire, Utah and Vermont, Planned Parenthood is virtually the sole Title X provider for women’s health services.  Thus, these states will have patients forced to pay higher fees.  “This means that women are going to have to struggle with maybe trying to come up with $10 to contribute to their health care when before they only had $5” stated Karrie Galloway, chief executive officer and president of Planned Parenthood Association of Utah. 

Rural Women With Low Incomes Set To Suffer Most

Smaller health clinics, especially in rural locations, that have no connection to Planned Parenthood will be particularly hard hit by a refusal to comply with the Protect Life Rule.  Without Planned Parenthood’s extensive donor list, rural clinics will have to search for funds elsewhere. 

The decision by large conglomerates like Planned Parenthood and smaller rural clinics to forego Title X funds so they can continue offering and providing abortions is ominous.  Their actions paint a dismal picture of the value placed upon human life and women’s health.  The current situation certainly sheds light upon an expanding hole left among women’s health services providers and, thus, an opportunity for faith-based clinics to meet women’s health care needs. 

Planned Parenthood Worships The Almighty Dollar

So why has Planned Parenthood chosen now to turn its back on women with low incomes? Title X funds enabled Planned Parenthood’s abortion focus to be unencumbered until the Protect Life Rule demanded they separate Title X resources from abortion services. “Money is fungible,” points out Jeanneane Maxon, associate scholar with the Charlotte Lozier Institute.  Maxon notes that “Money designated for one purpose (e.g., family planning) necessarily frees up funds for other purposes (e.g., abortion/abortion referrals).  As such, organizations that provide abortions or abortion referrals have consistently opposed measures that require them to bifurcate or designate Title X funding . . . Such organizations have prioritized reliance on abortion as a method of family planning over the provision of Title X-funded services to women seeking assistance with family planning.” Clearly, Planned Parenthood is sincerely interested in abortions and money.

  Related Articles

Ten Truths About Title X

Title X Final Rule Compliance and Enforcement

Planned Parenthood and the Factory Abortion Industry Part I

September 4, 2019

By Dr. Eric Criss

This image is above the blog post

Press coverage intensified in August as the deadline for compliance with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Title X Protect Life Rule came and went.  This blog series, Planned Parenthood and the Factory Abortion Industry, covers the current Protect Life Rule’s impact and its origins. Today let’s talk about the history of Title X, specifically the recent rule’s link to Title X’s original intent, and the reason Planned Parenthood’s sacrificed its Title X funding. 

The Act’s Original Intent

Pro-life groups, the Trump administration, the medical establishment, and pro-choice groups alike have reacted to the Protect Life Rule also known as Title X’s Abortion Provider Prohibition Act.  The original intent of Title X reveals the necessity for the current Protect Life Rule.  In 1970, under Nixon, Congress passed the Family Planning Services and Population Research Act which included Title X.  Significant for the 2019 Protect Life Rule is section 1008 of the original 1970 act, which reads “none of the funds appropriated under this title shall be used in programs of facilities where abortion is a method of family planning.”  At issue under the current rule lies taxpayer funded abortion and, more specifically, funding family planning and women’s health services as opposed to abortion. 

HHS clarified the need for clear streams of funding saying there is a need for “clear financial and physical separation between Title X funded projects and programs or facilities where abortion is a method of family planning.  This separation will ensure adherence to statutory restrictions and provide needed clarity for the public and for Title X clinics about permissible and impermissible activities for Title X projects.”  In other words, the Protect Life Rule requires grantees (clinics receiving Title X funds) to be located separately from abortion clinics and expects grantees to receive funding which remains entirely separate from moneys which cover abortion. 

Planned Parenthood: Factory Abortion Provider

Now, the response of some women’s health clinics is telling and, considering their disregard for human life, their refusal of Title X funds falls right in line with their political and fiscal agenda.  We know clearly who responds to politics rather than the needs of American women in rural and urban areas who struggle financially.  Guess who doesn’t prioritize women’s health care?  Clinics who provide abortion and women’s health services, namely, Planned Parenthood, who have refused Title X funds since the Protect Life Rule’s passing.   The need for cancer screenings, annual exams, pregnancy testing, and STI testing exists among 4 million women with low incomes.

Planned Parenthood’s decision to turn down Title X funds reveals the priority they place upon abortion services and their pro-abortion political agenda even above providing health services for women with low incomes. According to its 2017-2018 Annual Report, Planned Parenthood performed 332,757 abortions.   Do you wonder how much Planned Parenthood makes for performing abortions?  You guessed it . . . Planned Parenthood obscures their abortion earnings.  Within the same annual report, Planned Parenthood claims over $2 billion in net assets, including income of $1.6 billion for its last fiscal year and $244.8 million in excess of revenue over expenses. 

Factory Abortion Profits

Jeanneane Maxon, J.D., an associate scholar for the Charlotte Lozier Institute, estimates Planned Parenthood’s possible range of abortion income as roughly $216 million to $334 million.  Maxon explains, “Assuming that the prices shown in Planned Parenthood of Southern New England’s Cost Calculator are reflective of nationwide prices, Planned Parenthood would have received income between $216,292,050 on the low-end (an in-clinic abortion under 12 weeks without sedation) to $334,420,785 on the high-end (an in-clinic abortion between 16-18.6 weeks with sedation).” Planned Parenthood’s significant abortion earnings reveal why they chose to turn down Title X funds which serve women with low incomes.  They prefer raking in the dough by discussing and promoting abortions and sharing locations with abortion facilities over providing health services for women.  Next week, we further consider the impact of clinics’ refusal of Title X funds upon women with low incomes and describe the responses to the Protect Life rule by pro-life groups.

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