Religious Liberty Special Update
By Pastor Hal Mayer
This is Pastor Hal Mayer bringing you vital messages to help you understand the times in which we live so you can prepare for the coming of Jesus.
Before we begin this important message concerning religious liberty, let us pray. Our father in heaven, I thank you for your precious truth that has found us and holds us captive to Jesus Christ. Lord, the greatest crisis is yet ahead of your people, and so many are not ready for it. Religious liberties are about to be destroyed, and our hearts and minds don’t comprehend what is happening. Help us to wake up. Help us to understand what we are facing through this vital message we pray. In Jesus name, amen.
The loss of religious liberty is one of the most important issues facing God’s people in the near future. If you are paying attention to the media, you no doubt have noticed that religious issues and controversy have become very high profile. In the recent reelection of George W. Bush for a second term, religious issues took center stage. In fact, it was his positions on moral issues that obviously got him elected. Even the Amish, who normally stay out of politics all together and who are against the war in Iraq, mobilized and voted for Bush because, they say, he supported moral issues that were very close to their hearts. If you want to read about that, see Time Magazine, Nov. 20, 2004.
Here is why I think this election was important. First, it put President Bush in a unique position. His Vice-President Dick Cheney is not planning to run for President in 2008 which means that President Bush does not have the need to be as cautious to protect the chances of his Vice-President’s election as his successor. He can do mostly what he wants so long as he doesn’t damage the overall republican party. He has already indicated that he is going to spend political capital during his second term. This could be dangerous to religious liberties, especially since he is likely to be the one to replace at least two, perhaps three or four, supreme court justices. They would certainly be ideologically aligned with the President and would probably shift the court dramatically into the conservative camp with its increasingly overt religious agenda, including opposition to gay marriage and abortion. The democrats are in turmoil. Traditionally, they support liberal agendas. They are now struggling for a platform however, that will appeal to the religious mindset of voters. Even ultra-liberal Hilary Clinton (wife of Bill Clinton) is softening her tone on abortion and trying to adjust her image to appeal to religious democratic voters.
Secondly, the election was won clearly on fears of America’s moral decline. President Bush has been very careful to paint himself as a religious, moral and praying man. He has also carefully aligned himself with evangelical leaders and Catholic bishops alike on moral issues. He meets weekly with religious leaders and continues to court their friendship.
Perhaps nothing helped President Bush’s re-election more than the aggressive gay movement with its attempt to circumvent legal precedent and historical constitutional interpretations and establish gay marriage in the United States. This galvanized a large number of Christians in the Bush political camp even though many of them have historically voted for the democrats.
President Bush and his evangelical and Catholic allies will no doubt press their moral agenda in ways that will strengthen the opportunities for Sunday legislation. As religious fervor grows in America, there will be a stronger and stronger movement to morally adjust its policies and laws to align with the religious climate.
As some of you may recall there was a law passed in Virginia in 2004 that created quite a furor. The law was an attempt to abolish the old “blue laws” that were still on the books but not enforced. The term “blue laws” is a term used for Sunday laws, like limits on store hours, and other, presently unenforced, restrictions on Sunday activities. The law was an attempt to provide for all employees to have one day off per week of their own choosing. This caused a strong negative reaction within the Virginia business community, and the law was repealed. Articles were written nationwide and generally elevated the day of rest issue in American minds. This could well have been a test of the business climate. If it doesn’t work to give each worker their own chosen day off, then it is perhaps better (in the minds of religious leaders and legislatures) to require that one day off to be Sunday. After all most businesses are closed on Sunday anyway. Watch this for further developments.
Now it is payback time. The following is from ABC News
“Evengelicals to Bush: Payback Time. “Christian conservatives Say They Gave Bush “Moral Mandate.” Call Him to Act on Their Behalf (November 29, 2004). “’Values Voters’ delivered for the president, and the president must now deliver for them — especially in the courts, said Gary Cass, head of the Center for Reclaiming America, a grass roots Christian organization. “Its about the next 40 years and how the courts are going to affect the world in which my children and grandchildren are going to be raised in, “ he said.
Of course Cass and other evangelicals want the supreme court to outlaw abortion and gay marriage. According to the report, conservative Christians comprised 12 percent of the vote, but they see themselves as crucial to the president’s election. They believe that if they don’t get action soon, that God will be angry.
Dr. James Kennedy of Coral Ridge [Presbyterian Church] said that people who are concerned about the influence of Christianity [on government] “have never really surrendered their life to God and submitted themselves to his commandments…”
This interesting comment may leave you cold. There are indeed those of us that are true Christians that are very concerned about the way in which Christianity effects government. It worries me that Christians want to become much more influential in government. Where will that lead us?
Now here is an actual religious liberty case dealing with free speech.
December 17, 2004, Two Christian pastors were convicted of vilifying Muslims in Victoria Australia. This could mark the end of true religious freedom in Australia, with official restriction of the rights of Australians to proclaim the gospel.
The decision declared that the two pastors (Daniel Scot and Daniel Nalliah) broke a section of the Racial and Religious Tolerance Act of 2001 which makes it illegal for a person to engage in conduct which “incites hatred against, serious contempt for, or revulsion of severe ridicule of, [another] person or class of persons.” Though there are exemptions in place for “any genuine academic, artistic, religious or scientific purposes: or any purpose that is in the public interest,” the judge refused to apply them because the two pastor’s conduct could “not be regarded as reasonable and in good faith.” The law also states that a person’s motive is “irrelevant.”
There are many general terms in this law that leave it open to wide variation in interpretation. For instance, the terms “reasonable” and “genuine” are terms that need definition or they could be selectively applied.
The judge however, went beyond mere interpretation of words. Some of the Judge’s vilification ruling was based on literal quotations of the Quran made by the pastors. If quoting a religious book makes one guilty of vilification, will printing or quoting certain portions of the book Great Controversy eventually be considered vilification of other religions? These two pastors were simply quoting an historical document, the Koran, to show the spirit of Islam. Will quoting other historical works, such as the Bible about homosexuality and other sinful behavior. lead to this same problem?
The effect of this ruling is that one religious group cannot frankly and openly speak of another religion, for fear of being accused of vilification. This is a direct threat to the exclusive claims of the gospel and more specifically, they are a terrible threat to the non-ecumenical and distinctive teachings of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. It will also jeopardize freedom of speech in Australia in general.
While this law is apparently only in the state of Victoria, there are those that want this kind of law on a national level. Though all Christians should be concerned about a law like this, apparently the Uniting Church put out a supporting statement shortly after the decision was handed down. It is reported that they said they are concerned about “small Christian extremist groups in Victoria that are damaging the reputation and good name of the broader Christian community!” This is serious. Imagine what it will be like to be isolated as a “Christian extremist,” when all you are doing is teaching the Bible and using the book Great Controversy? Get ready for prison ministry folks perhaps from within the prison.
And now some good news for once concerning free speech.
On February 14, 2005, Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas Judge Pamela Dembe dismissed alleged “hate crimes” charges against four members of a Christian group calling itself “Repent America.” The four had been charged with violating a 1982 Pennsylvania law that criminalizes inciting “hatred” on the basis of race, color, religion, nationality, or sexuality.
The Christian group had been charged with the “crime” of protesting and refusing to move away from Philadelphia’s so-called gay pride “Outfest” last October.
“You cannot stifle free speech because you don’t want to hear it,” said Judge Dembe.
The leader of the group. Michael Marcavage, stated after the ruling: “It’s a good thing to know that there are still some judges who respect the First Amendment [to the US Constitution].”
This law is still on the books in Pennsylvania. What happens when you are accused of inciting hatred by giving someone a copy of the book Great Controversy? I think it is likely to happen when the political climate changes enough.
Now about a US National ID System
For three and a half years I have been predicting that the day would come when the US Federal Government would impose a national ID system on Americans, using coordinated drivers’ licenses eventually linked to huge federal databases at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). That day will now likely come. The Los Angeles Times reported on May 3, 2005 that congressional negotiators have agreed to measures that would make it very likely that congress will pass a spending bill that will include a provision that essentially requires the states to coordinate their driver’s license programs so that there can be uniform identification. Though voluntary, the bill essentially mandates that the states update their drivers’ license programs to meet new federal standards that will be hammered out over the next 18 months. If they choose not to, their citizen’s driver’s licenses will not be accepted for opening a bank account, or for travel. This provision essentially guarantees that all states will cooperate and “volunteer” so that their citizens can live normally.
The new licenses would use technology that could allow information to be stored and eventually used for purposes other than identification. By making an identification document standardized with modern technology, it is possible to use it in other ways beyond identification such as to manage bank accounts, to authorize or decline purchases at the check out counter, medical record keeping, and many other uses. In an interview with the Christian Science Monitor, Daniel Solove, a law professor at George Washington University said “Information tends to spread beyond its original purpose. It’s a rule that works as well as gravity… whenever the government gets information, it invariably uses it for new purposes in the future.”
Even though the legislation doesn’t call for it, there is discussion about using biometric identifiers. Professor Solove said, “I would be surprised if they don’t discuss and push in that direction.” And Ms Dixon of the World Privacy Forum added, “I always get very nervous when someone builds a technology and then decides how to use it later.”
Once this bill is passed, there is nothing preventing modification later, as usually happens. It is certainly possible, even probable, that eventually the ID cards would be linked directly to bank accounts for purchases, making credit cards essentially obsolete, links to health care databases for medical purposes, and even links to a federal database at the Department of Homeland Security. This represents a major step toward providing the government with much more information about the lives of American citizens.
A national ID system is essential to controlling all aspects of life including buying and selling, which is a key element in the final crisis. If drivers’ licenses can be coordinated throughout the US, and for that matter in Canada and Mexico too, it is not difficult to see how bar-coded drivers licenses can be used to authorize or deny any sale within those states or nations. While most people aren’t thinking of these implications, God’s people should be aware that the structure for the end game and final crisis is being established. I can see that Satan is working very steadily and strategically to prepare the citizens of the United States for the coming “no buy, no sell” decree of Revelation 13:17. Once the technology is in place to prevent sales without the ID, it will be an easy thing to bar those out of compliance with any relevant law from making purchases of food, clothing, fuel, etc. When a Sunday law is imposed, those who do not comply with it, will eventually be unable to survive unless they are cared for by a loving and merciful God directly.
Incidentally, Banks and credit card companies are not opposed to the idea of a coordinated driver’s license program. Since all your past and present purchasing information will be included in the databases maintained by Homeland Security, perhaps this would make it possible to eliminate the need to issue credit cards and debit cards. All financial information will be linked to your ID in real time. All you will have to do is show your ID card and you can access available funds. Banks currently making money from credit and debit card transactions can still charge the fees for the transaction directly from the retailer. While this is not in the bill at present what is to prevent it in the future?
Now for a look at the ecumenical movement. For a dramatic insight into the future of apostate Protestantism you should read Time Magazine’s article called “Hail, Mary,” published in its March 21, 2005 issue. Time has documented the changing attitudes of evangelical and conservative mainstream Protestants toward the veneration of Mary as the Mother of God and elevating her status in other ways. This incredible shift in emphasis was predictable, for when a church loses its distinctive identity, it will inevitably shift toward Catholicism. Every Seventh-day Adventist should have seen this coming.
I will quote from the Time article. “In a shift whose ideological breadth is unusual in the fragmented Protestant world, a long-standing wall around Mary appears to be eroding…” The article then goes on to quote Protestant authors like Robert Jenson, a Lutheran, who believes that Protestants, like Catholics should pray for Mary’s intercession. The article also tells of Marian icons adorning the walls of Protestant seminary students, Evangelical publishing houses snapping up books on Mary, and Baptists who identify with Mary’s suffering. One Methodist church in Chicago is featured, where next to the alter, are two statues of Mary with fresh roses and with a rosary hanging from the hands of baby Jesus. The alter covering is again of Mary, this time with a multi-colored halo [which is] a traditional icon of the Our Lady of Guadalupe,” Time said. Some Protestants are even “reconsidering Jesus’ words from the Cross to his mother and John,” which Catholics teach makes her the “Mother of all Believers.” Some Protestants believe that He meant much more than looking after Mary’s extended care.
Protestants are feeling more comfortable these days with Mary as more than human. Calling her “Mother of God,” is excused on the basis that that it reminds the people that Jesus was God in contrast to secularism which sees Him as merely a wise man. Protestant advocates for Mary claim that she is also a reminder of the “mercy and compassion and nearness of God,” all things that Catholics have claimed for centuries. Now that Protestants are opening this theological door of opportunity, there is more reason for Rome to claim them as hers. And they certainly will. The greatest problem is where it leads.
This new Protestant idolatry is going to greatly influence the ecumenical churches toward union with Rome. This did not happen by chance. Veneration of Mary is something that Pope John Paul II studiously cultivated for his entire pontificate, He has even used this as a way to involve Muslims in his ecumenical embrace. Rome has taken another giant step toward the subjugation of it’s wayward daughters. Developing enthusiasm and veneration for Mary among them is a significant step in reunion. The profoundly unbiblical, Protestant Mariology, or perhaps I should say Mariolatry, will lead to the worst excesses of Marian devotion. Listen carefully. I bet you will hear more and more discussion concerning this topic in the future even among our own pastors. Perhaps you have already heard some of these things in your pulpits.
Erosion of the Constitution
Now let us look at some of the things that are eroding the constitution of the United States. Perhaps you remember the statement in the 5th volume of the Testimonies, page 451 which clearly points to the change in government that will cause the loss of religious liberties in the United States. This will effect every one around the globe in every nation and in every land because the United States will lead the rest of the world, and pressure all other nations to worship the Papacy by hallowing its false sabbath. Here is the statement.
“By the decree enforcing the institution of the papacy in violation of the law of God, our nation will disconnect herself fully from righteousness. When Protestantism shall stretch her hand across the gulf to grasp the hand of the Roman power, when she shall reach over the abyss to clasp hands with spiritualism, when, under the influence of this threefold union, our country shall repudiate every principle of its Constitution as a Protestant and republican government, and shall make provision for the propagation of papal falsehoods and delusions, then we may know that the time has come for the marvelous working of Satan and that the end is near.” That is Testimonies for the Church, Vol 5, page 451.
The United States will repudiate every principle of its Constitution. That is amazing considering that it’s constitution was established strongly under the influence of the war of independence. The founders of the United States, were specifically concerned that the United States not repeat the injustices of the old world under the Catholic system of government. Here are some things that may help you see that changes are surely happening to supersede or undermine the Constitution.
The World Trade Organization (WTO) has begun to subvert US sovereignty, thus overriding its constitution. The US joined the WTO in 1994. For years, high-tax Europe has objected to how the United States taxes American companies on their overseas earnings. It is much lower than their own. According to Ron Paul, a representative to congress from Texas, “the European Union took its dispute to the WTO grievance board, which voted in favor of the Europeans. The WTO was clear: Congress must change American law to comply with European rules.” Congress then obediently changed the law quickly. Rep. Paul warns that we should “expect to see more law we live under being dictated by international bodies.” This undermines the sovereignty of the United States, something which the Constitution was designed to protect.
Now some things about Free Speech. Did you know that the UN wants to control the internet? The UN aims to make the Internet one of its Global “Common Heritage” resources. The term “common heritage” simply means global property which the UN claims as its own.
This coming November, the UN will convene a “World Summit on the Information Society” in Tunis. In Tunisia, reported a February 21 Reuters dispatch, “Global control of the world wide web may be decided.”
Presently the Internet is mostly controlled by a non-profit group based in California that regulates domain names and other functional aspects of the internet protocols. The internet is presently market driven, and relatively unregulated by any political body. But the UN apparently wants to change that.
The draft “Declaration of Principles” for the Tunis Summit specifically points to the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 29, which states that “everyone has duties to the community…, and that, in the exercise of their rights and freedoms, everyone shall be subject to such limitations as are determined by law. These rights and freedoms may in no case be exercised contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations.”
What this is saying is that the UN wants to control the Internet and prevent its use for anything that doesn’t comply with its own laws and agendas. While it will likely be proclaimed that there are global economic interests at stake through the internet and that the UN is the best body to regulate it, what will happen when the whole world opposes the principles of your faith? Those who truly love souls and want to see as many as possible in the Kingdom of Heaven will not be able to use the internet to sell books like Great Controversy, provide correspondence Bible courses with certain ideas in them, and provide other loving evangelistic materials which might well be considered “hate” literature by the world body.
I bet you didn’t know that the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 29, stated that everyone must comply with UN laws. This is full of implications. You are no longer merely subject to the laws of the nation in which you live, you are now subject to UN laws as well. The UN declaration states that your “rights and freedoms may in no case be exercised contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations,” and that “everyone shall be subject to such limitations as are determined by law.” So as UN laws change from time to time, you are subject to new laws and requirements as they come along. Think about it. Where is this leading?
This Tunis summit is a blatant attempt to grab control of the power of the internet by the UN. You can read about it on the web. Just do a Google search for the appropriate key words.” It jumps right out at you.
Let me read to you from the book Great Controversy, page 615. “As the Sabbath has become the special point of controversy throughout Christendom, and religious and secular authorities have combined to enforce the observance of the Sunday, the persistent refusal of a small minority to yield to the popular demand, will make them objects of universal execration. It will be urged that the few who stand in opposition to an institution of the church and a law of the State, ought not to be tolerated; that it is better for them to suffer than for whole nations to be thrown into confusion and lawlessness.”
Did you notice the global nature of this statement? It refers to all of “Christendom” and “whole nations.” This is a universal issue. Therefore it may well be the UN in conjunction with the United States and other nations, that will be very instrumental in establishing laws contrary to the law of God. The UN is certainly not going to be interested in preserving the religious rights of a “small minority” when they are blamed for the judgments of God upon the world in calamities by land, sea and sky. This is just not part of the thinking of the UN.
Great Controversy continues, “Romanism in the Old World, and apostate Protestantism in the New, will pursue a similar course toward those who honor all the divine precepts.” It is easy to see that the UN will be used by Romanists and Protestants to bring great trouble on God’s true people who obey His holy law.
From the book Christian Service, page 155 we read, “It is on the law of God that the last great struggle of the controversy between Christ and His angels and Satan and his angels will come, and it will be decisive for all the world…. Men in responsible positions will not only ignore and despise the Sabbath themselves, but from the sacred desk will urge upon the people the observance of the first day of the week, pleading tradition and custom in behalf of this man-made institution. They will point to calamities on land and sea—to the storms of wind, the floods, the earthquakes, the destruction by fire—as judgments indicating God’s displeasure because Sunday is not sacredly observed. These calamities will increase more and more, one disaster will follow close upon the heels of another; and those who make void the law of God will point to the few who are keeping the Sabbath of the fourth commandment as the ones who are bringing wrath upon the world. This falsehood is Satan’s device that he may ensnare the unwary.” —Southern Watchman, June 28, 1904. (ChS 155.2)
When the time comes, the whole world, under the control of the UN, guided by the United States and the Papacy, will enforce a universal Sunday law upon God’s people and make them the objects of universal execration. Their rights and freedoms will cease in the name of the larger good. Are you ready for that?
How is it with you my friends? We are seeing the development of the means by which Revelation 13 can be fulfilled. Let me read it to you.
“And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed. And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.” That is vs. 15-17.
Don’t wait until you see the Sunday laws being agitated in the public press before you get ready for this crisis. Jesus is near at hand. We need His protection to go through the great time of trouble as well as the time of Jacob’s trouble. Is your life so hid with Christ that Satan cannot tempt you to sin? Is your heart so bound up with Jesus that you hate sin? Don’t let this time of probation and the necessary preparation pass you by.
Let us pray. Our father in heaven, please help us! Give to each of us the power of your Holy Spirit so that we will overcome sin and be ready for the powerful crisis that is developing in our world against the truth and those that love the truth. Our hearts want to be ready. Convert our unruly hearts and minds. Give us the sense of peace we need. Forgive us for our neglect to get ready, and help us to live for you. In Jesus name, Amen.