Prayer Targets: Franklin; Whitefield, Arizona, Religious Liberty; the Romeike Family
March 06, 2014
Wilt thou be angry with us forever? Wilt thou draw out thine anger to all generations? Wilt thou not revive us again: that thy people may rejoice in thee? Show us thy mercy, O LORD, and grant us thy salvation. Psalm 85:5-7
Dear Praying Friends,
Self-educated and brilliant, Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790) was an elder statesman among the Founding Fathers, revered for his knowledge, wisdom and maturity. Franklin lived a colorful, worldly life, yet considered himself a Christian. However, his beliefs were more closely aligned with Unitarianism. A Freemason at 25 and Grand Master of Pennsylvania at 28, he edited and published the Western Hemisphere's first Masonic text. Franklin died a Freemason, after 59 years in the secret society.
Despite his errant doctrinal beliefs and questionable associations, Franklin had genuine reverence for Christian faith and morality. When delegates to the Constitutional Convention reached an impossible impasse, it was Franklin who called the delegates to seek God daily in prayer before proceeding to business. While he never became an evangelical Christian, he was fascinated by the preaching of George Whitefield and the phenomena of the Great Awakening. He wrote in his first autobiography:
In 1739 arrived among us from Ireland the Reverend Mr. Whitefield, who had made himself remarkable there as an itinerant preacher. He was at first permitted to preach in some of our churches; but the clergy, taking a dislike to him, soon refus'd him their pulpits, and he was oblig'd to preach in the fields. The multitudes of all sects and denominations that attended his sermons were enormous, and it was matter of speculation to me, who was one of the number, to observe the extraordinary influence of his oratory on his hearers, and how much they admir'd and respected him, notwithstanding his common abuse of them, by assuring them that they were naturally half beasts and half devils. It was wonderful to see the change soon made in the manners of our inhabitants. From being thoughtless or indifferent about religion, it seem'd as if all the world were growing religious, so that one could not walk thro' the town in an evening without hearing psalms sung in different families of every street...
He had a loud and clear voice, and articulated his words and sentences so perfectly, that he might be heard and understood at a great distance, especially as his auditories, however numerous, observ'd the most exact silence. He preach'd one evening from the top of the Court-house steps, which are in the middle of Market-street, and on the west side of Second-street.... Both streets were fill'd with his hearers to a considerable distance... I had the curiosity to learn how far he could be heard, by retiring backwards down the street towards the river; and I found his voice distinct till I came near Front-street.... Imagining then a semi-circle... fill'd with auditors, to each of whom I allow'd two square feet, I computed that he might well be heard by more than thirty thousand. This reconcil'd me to the newspaper accounts of his having preach'd to twenty-five thousand people in the fields... (Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin, 1771, p. 95).
Whitefield, a great man and preacher, was not without flaw. His ministry to the slaves in the South was unique in his day. He believed blacks were equal to whites, and treated them as brothers. He was beloved by a multitude of black people, slave and free, who came to know Christ through his ministry. Yet he advocated legalization of that "peculiar institution" and owned slaves himself. God uses imperfect men. Surely He can anoint imperfect preachers in our day and use them to usher in the Great Awakening we need in America! Let us pray!!!
Remember Arizona! -- Those words may become the rallying cry for all who hold our Creator's design for men and women sacred, who know that there are consequences for any society that militantly denies God's natural order and eternal law (e.g., Dt 28: all; Jude 7).
Pro-homosexual activists and their supporters in the media mounted and won a shockingly dishonest campaign to provoke Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer (R) to veto a religious liberty bill passed by the Arizona legislature. Intended to strengthen the state's "Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA)," SB 1062 is similar to the federal RFRA. The federal bill, introduced in 1993 by then-Rep.(now Sen.) Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), was passed by huge majorities in both Houses, was signed into law by then-President Bill Clinton. The ploy used against Gov. Brewer was to call this an "anti-gay" bill that would allow Arizona businesses the freedom to discriminate against homosexuals: denying them a cup of coffee in a diner, a hamburger in a fast-food restaurant - or other goods and services because of their perceived sexual "identity," having nothing to do with religion.
Nothing could be further from the truth. The law was intended to prevent government from overstepping its authority by compelling businesses, charities and individuals to suppress their sincerely held religious beliefs. Defendants would have had to prove their faith was sincerely held and prohibited them from complying with some government dictate. The government would have had to demonstrate a compelling government interest that required them to demand behavior prohibited by the entity's faith. The law would actually have given greater protection to homosexuals than they now have under the current law.
The legislature's goal was to protect religious businesses and charities - like Hobby Lobby, Little Sisters of the Poor, Elane Photography, and others from being forced by government to provide abortifacients, participate in same-sex "weddings" (e.g., Christian photographers, bakers, wedding consultants, florists, etc.), against their conscience.
Opposition to such a law would have been unthinkable in years past. But when the White House and Justice Department openly encourage State Law Enforcement Officers to ignore their marriage laws, lies become the new coin of the realm. Natural marriage laws are under legal assault in 25 of the 33 states that have such laws (17 states and DC have legalized same-sex "marriage"). There are more than enough liberal federal judges in the natural marriage states to declare one-man, one-woman marriage laws unconstitutional, as a Kentucky judge did last week. Kentucky's Attorney General refuses to defend the law, so the Governor will hire outside counsel to do so.
We did not reach this crisis overnight. For years, homosexual activists have been winning over the public by convincing them that sinful sexual behavior is an expression of love, that it defines an individual's identity and personhood, and therefore it is an inherent right that must be protected in the law and even celebrated by society. They've converted most of our colleges and universities, and persuaded Congress to introduce open homosexual behavior into our military forces (radically weakening our military and creating an atmosphere where Christian servicemen are viewed as seditious if not dangerous). They've persuaded mainstream Christian denominations to abandon Scripture, even convinced leading evangelicals either to be silent or to twist Scripture to persuade believers that loving homosexuals means affirming their behavior and opposing laws prohibiting same-sex "marriage." The massive assault against Gov. Brewer included multi-billion businesses threatening to take their new projects elsewhere. Arizona's U.S. Senator John McCain and 2012 Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney both urged her to veto, and an army of moneyed activists and the national media used unrestrained disinformation, misinformation to win the day. With overwhelming pressure to confuse and intimidate Gov. Brewer, it was not surprising that she gave in.
The defeat of the Arizona RFRA has erased any idea that "tolerance" is the homosexual movement's goal. Their objective is to crush any protection of religious liberty that allows anyone to speak of homosexuality as sin, and harmful to individuals and society. We cannot shrink from defending religious liberty, the cornerstone of all American liberties! Only God's praying people can turn the tide of this dark delusion (see Remember Arizona and Stand with us; Could RFRA Pass Today?; Angry Activists Demand Lawmaker to APOLOGIZE!; Latest on SB 1062 & Religious Liberty; Excellent Analysis by Mollie Hemingway; Brave News World for Religious Freedom).
- May God keep his own people from deception! May they arise to stand for righteousness, whatever the cost! May God raise an army of great men and women, who will preach the Gospel with Great Awakening power AND expose dishonesty by speaking the Truth in Love - without wavering - in Arizona and every state! (Jn 8:31-32; 10:10-15; 2 Th 2:8-12; 1Jn 3:7-8; Acts 1:8; 4:24-33)
Finally, good news: The Romeike family, who in 2010 fled Germany for asylum in the U.S. after authorities threatened to jail them and seize their children for their refusal to cease Christian home schooling. The Obama Administration, unwilling to provide them permanent asylum, argued against them in a legal case that went to the Supreme Court, which last week refused to hear it. The Romeike's pastor and supporters in the Tennessee town where they have been living warned the administration that it would have to get past them, before deporting the Romeikes. On Tuesday, the DHS announced that the family could stay in the U.S. indefinitely, providing they break no laws. Amid the darkness, God is watching over his people. Thank you for praying!