A Christian couple in Sacramento, Calif., who say God told them to "open up a pot shop" where they administer prayer to customers, are now locked in what could be a history-making fight with the Internal Revenue Service over a nearly $875,000 tax bill.
The couple, Bryan and Lanette Davies explained in a TIME report, that they are refusing to pay the bill because Canna Care, their legal "Christian-based" medical marijuana dispensary, is being penalized under a 1982 law that was designed to stop drug traffickers from deducting business expenses.
This law should not be applied to Canna Care or any other legal medical marijuana dispensaries in California, argue the couple, because they are not criminals. more >>
Leaders from the Evangelical Immigration Table and U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops joined in a letter to Congress asking for passage of a bill this year that fixes the immigration system.
"Common sense fixes to our immigration policies are long overdue. As a nation founded upon the principles of the rule of law and the centrality of family, we can no longer delay fixing this system," the letter states.
The leaders note that they encounter the difficulties caused by the nation's immigration system through interactions they have with people in their faith communities. more >>
I don't venture too much into politics in my writing… or even in my own personal thought life. I really just don't care; which is probably due to my young age and my ignorance about the political terminology being thrown around in the news. But the recent talk of Arizona's SB1062 and other changes in legislature regarding gay marriage (and the twitter warfare among a few high profile Christians surrounding them all) has finally got me thinking on these things.
As I've seen people (Christians) like Kirsten Powers and Jonathan Merritt advocating against SB1062, and others advocating in favor of SB1062 (the more popular Christian response to these issues), I've tried to step back and objectively see things from both perspectives. And as I've done that, I've found that I sympathize with both sides.
From a secular worldview, which does not adhere to Christian doctrine or Christian morality, it would most certainly be discriminatory to be denied service based on sexual/relational gender preference. Because based on this worldview, sexual/relational gender preference is morally neutral. more >>
Many people said ho-hum when President Barack Obama threatened to change any law with his pen or phone, and even use that power to personally alter Obamacare and the welfare law, and to "legislate" the Dream Act that Congress refused to pass. But Americans are rising up by the tens of thousands to stop Common Core, which is the current attempt to compel all U.S. children to be taught the same material and not other things parents might think important.
Ever since Congress began pouring federal tax dollars into public schools, parents have been solicitous to have Congress write into law a prohibition against the federal government writing curriculum or lesson plans, or imposing a uniform national curriculum. Parents want those decisions made at the local level by local school boards, which are, or should be, subject to the watchful eyes of local citizens and parents.
Parents are supported in this view by the U.S. Constitution, which gives the federal government no power over education. Here is some of the repetitive language included in federal school appropriation laws. more >>
As someone who is often asked to speak my opinion on radio or television, I know that sound bites can bring powerful results, either positive or negative. Take for example the words of Rev. Fred Lucas Jr., the chaplain for the New York City sanitation department, which he prayed at the recent inauguration of Mayor Bill de Blasio, "Let the plantation called New York City be the city of God, a city set upon the hill, a light shining in darkness."
The imagery of New York as bastion of modern slavery shocked people from both sides of the political aisle. Democratic leader Betty Ann Canizio of Brooklyn tweeted: "I find these speakers offensive. Didn't know we had a plantation."
I am very familiar with the rhetoric that Rev. Lucas employed, and let me say first that I agree with what I believe to be the sentiment of his prayer. Of course we all want our cities to become beacons of light to others. Still, I think it does a disservice to our ancestors who lived through actual chattel slavery (and to those who are living through it now in various parts of the world) to compare life in modern America to what they suffered. more >>
Gathering under the vision of impacting a generation for justice, the third annual Justice Conference convened this weekend in Los Angeles. Filling the beautiful and historic Orpheum Theater and simulcast around the country, this gathering brought organizations, activist, business leaders, and students together to encourage one another to soldier on in their fight for the vulnerable and oppressed. Conference speakers consistently offered a solid and ordered definition for justice. Defining it as right relationship with self, others, and creation which is rooted in scripture, core to the gospel, and at the heart of God. The application of justice was more varied. Ranging from largely apolitical issues like trafficking and the exploitation of women to the explicit political advocacy of comprehensive immigration reform. Same-sex marriage, abortion, and persecution of Christians around the world were left for "those other conferences."
In a pre-conference session, Justice Conference founder Ken Wytsma offered a refreshingly biblical and philosophical understanding of justice. He noted the distinction between primary justice, when things are as they ought, and restorative justice, when things are brought back to how things ought to be. Highlighting the words of Jeremiah concerning justice, Ken warned against rejecting the term social justice, "Just because we don't like how the social justice has been use doesn't mean we can just hate and reject the phrase. People misuse the word love too."
After nearly a half dozen speakers spoke on a variety of issues Eugene Cho, pastor of the self-described "multi-cultural, multi-ethnic, and multi-lingual" Quest Church in Seattle, offered a word of warning to those doing "the work of justice." Eugene asks, "The question isn't just do we do justice, but how we do justice? Are we open to the idea that justice must do us…cause if not, we are just peddling things. If we are not pointing people to the gospel or the savior named of Jesus we are elevating our own savior complexes." more >>