Category Archives: Culture

CultureWatch: Islam and Religious Freedom

There was a somewhat unhelpful article in the National Review recently entitled “Why Baptists Should Support Muslims’ Right to Build Mosques.” The link to it can be found below. It is not my intention to deal with everything found in the article, but to discuss a debate that sprang from it.

This article and a fan of it appeared on my social media page, so I replied, and that ended up being a major discussion with a few other folks as well, including the one who posted the piece in the first place. So here I want to share some of what I said in that discussion.

Let me preface all this by saying that this debate centres on a particular law case in New Jersey about Muslims seeking to build a mosque. I am not a lawyer or someone with legal training, so I am not competent to comment on the legal pros and cons of this or related cases.

Religious-freedomBut groups like the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) and its Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC) led by president Russell Moore have supported the rights of the Muslim group in the name of freedom of religion. So I will not weigh into the legal debate, but into the broader issues which arise here.

I merely write as someone who knows a little bit about how the American political system works, and how the Islamic political system works. And from that vantage point, I believe that the two are all rather incompatible, and so care must be taken as Christians seek to support the Muslims here.

The gist of the National Review article and the case of those pushing it is that American Baptists have had a rocky history in the US and know the importance of religious freedom, and therefore Baptists should extend that same freedom to Muslims as they seek to build mosques in the country.

I made a brief reply to this post with words like this: Positing a moral equivalence between Islam and Christianity is his first big mistake. His second is to foolishly think that setting up a mosque is the same thing as setting up a church. Just one line from the NR article highlights this: “It was not so long ago that Baptists were ‘the Muslims’ fighting for the right to construct their own houses of worship.”

Um no, not quite. So I posted a link to my article which explains what the mosque actually means for Muslims in non-Muslim countries:

I urge everyone to read that article. But I then got a reply saying that this debate is not about Islam versus Christianity. “The issue is whether, in the context of civil government, free exercise of religion is equally a right for every religion, including Islam.”

To that I said that she was missing the point. When the Founding Fathers spoke about religious freedom, it was mainly in the context of various Christian denominations, not something as wholly other as Islam. And no, there is no right of every religion to do whatever they want – not when they hold to fundamental values and beliefs that are seditious and treasonous and anti-Constitutional.

The response I got to that was that ‘this is a topic that can get people riled up quickly’, I assured her that I was not getting riled up, and went on to say this:

I simply stated the glaring shortcomings of this article and why he is missing the point big time. The bottom line is this: Christians can live in many different countries with different types of government and various sorts of political setups and be good citizens while still being good Christians. But this is not true for a devout Muslim. Unless a nation is in submission to Allah and sharia law, the devout Muslim cannot be a good citizen. Their loyalty is to Allah and his will alone, not to any non-Islamic, infidel government. So by definition they cannot make for good citizens, unless they renounce their overriding loyalty to Islam and sharia.

Another person weighed in about the “guaranteed Constitutional right” to religious freedom and the like. I reminded him that the establishment clause of the First Amendment on religious freedom had to do with the state not establishing any one religion as a state religion. It never intended to say that all religions were equal in terms of being compatible with the Constitution.

The gal offered a lengthier reply stating in part 1) ‘free exercise of religion is the freedom of every American citizen to believe whatever they wish,’ and 2) my point about sedition and the like is a straw man. ‘The Constitution certainly does not allow every religion the right to DO whatever they want–including Christians.’

I replied:

1) Beliefs lead to and are inseparable from actions, and not every religious belief is given complete immunity, especially when it is directly seditious, etc. 2) There is no straw man here. I take it you did not read my article on what Islam teaches concerning the mosque and its political importance. It is among other things a political unit and a declaration of Islamic intention of territorial expansion. And of course even Christians do not enjoy complete open slather in what they may want to do – often rightly so – at least with some aberrant groups. For this discussion to properly succeed and go forward, we need to know something about the Constitution and the Founding Fathers’ intentions, but we also need to know some basics about Islam. Sadly it seems not everyone here does as far as the latter is concerned. The US government has no reason to turn a blind eye to religious beliefs and practices which are inimical to its very values and foundational principles. Indeed, the Constitution forbids that. That genuine Christian beliefs and practices can wrongly be targeted by the government is of course a real concern, but it is apples and oranges when talking about Christianity versus Islam.

To expand on this a bit further, religious freedom is not an absolute, and there is always a juggling act in preserving religious freedoms while upholding other important values and goods. For example we know that the religious freedom of Jehovah’s Witnesses to follow their beliefs and keep their sick or dying children from getting blood transfusions has been overridden in some American law courts.

Another person said this: ‘if you give the government that power to ban certain things for Muslims, they’ll turn their guns on us as well’. Sure, I understand how dangerous it is for governments to decide which religious freedoms can be allowed and which cannot.

But as stated above, there are no absolutes here – many good things can be restricted in the interests of national security and the like. Do we have the right to shout “fire!” in a crowded theatre? Do we have a right to call for the overthrow of the US government and have it replaced by an Islamic caliphate based on sharia law?

So government already is deciding what is allowed and what is not. And we can discuss and debate those various things. So it seems to me only a radical libertarian would argue that there should be zero restrictions or limitations on all religious beliefs and practices.

That is because they are not all equal. And that sure is the case when we compare Islam with Christianity. The loyalty of a devout Muslim is usually to all sorts of things which are anti-constitutional – things impacting on the equality of women, religious pluralism, freedom of speech, freedom of conscience, the rule of law, and so on.

So those mixed loyalties can make many devout Muslims rather poor citizens indeed in a free democracy. And when they openly say – as many do – that they will not be ruled by human law but only sharia law, they show that they reject the very values and basis of the American system of government.

Do I believe religious freedom is important? Yes I do, and in principle, I think we need religious freedom for one and all. As I said years ago about a case in France when they decided to ban Islamic religious symbols in public, that meant that Jewish and Christian symbols were also targeted.

So yes in a sense to allow restrictions to one group may well mean other groups get restricted as well. But there are limits to everything in a fallen world, including religious liberty. All social goods need to be weighed against other social goods.

Religious freedom is vitally important, but so too are the principles enunciated in the US Constitution. Allowing one religious and political ideology like Islam open slather can put at risk the very heart of the American system of government and the values of freedom and democracy.

Thus these are complex matters indeed, and we need to think through them prayerfully and carefully as we seek to find a way forward. As I mentioned above, many folks in this debate are pretty cluey about American law, the US Constitution, and the like. And that is essential.

But sadly it seems many of them are not very cluey about Islam and what it is all about, what its stated goals are, and so on. And that is essential to comprehend as well. Otherwise we will find our freedoms being used against us, and we may well lose our freedoms in the name of preserving freedom.

So we need to be wise and cautious here. Yes we must work to defend religious freedom. But we also must be aware of how this pans out with other religious groups that share few if any of our values of freedom, diversity, pluralism and the rule of law.

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Here’s How the New Christian Left Is Twisting the Gospel

Popular liberal evangelical writers and preachers tell young evangelicals that if they accept abortion and same-sex marriage, then the media, academia and Hollywood will finally accept Christians. Out of fear of being falsely dubbed “intolerant” or “uncompassionate,” many young Christians are buying into theological falsehoods. Instead of standing up as a voice for the innocent unborn or marriage as God intended, millennials are forgoing the authority of Scripture and embracing a couch potato, cafeteria-style Christianity, all in the name of tolerance.

Peek behind the curtain of some “progressive” or “hip” evangelical churches, past the savvy technology and secular music, and you will find more than just a contemporary worship service. You’ll find faith leaders encouraging young evangelicals to trade in their Christian convictions for a gospel filled with compromise. They’re slowly attempting to give evangelicalism an “update”—and the change is not for the good.

It’s painful for me to admit, but we can no longer rest carefree in our evangelical identity—because it is changing. No doubt you have seen the headlines declaring that evangelicalism is doomed because evangelical kids are leaving the faith. It is no secret that there is an expanding gulf between traditional Christian teachings and contemporary moral values. But the sad truth is that the ideological gulf between America’s evangelical grown-ups and their kids, aka the millennials, seems to be widening too.

Somehow the blame for this chasm is being heaped on traditional churches. They are accused of having too many rules as well as being homophobic and bigoted. Yes, we’ve heard those false claims from popular culture in its desperate attempt to keep Christianity imprisoned within the sanctuary walls. But now popular culture is being aided by Christ-professing bedfellows whose message to “coexist,” “tolerate” and “keep out of it” is more marketable to the rising generation of evangelicals.

The seasoned Christian soldiers are noticing these distortions of the gospel. But for young evangelicals, the spiritual haze is harder to wade through. Desperate for acceptance in a fallen world, many young evangelicals (and some older ones) choose not to take Christ out of the chapel, and so they are unwittingly killing the church’s public witness. In this uphill cultural battle, mired by scare tactics and fear, three types of evangelical Christians are emerging:

  • Couch-potato Christians: These Christians adapt to the culture by staying silent on the tough culture-and-faith discussions. Typically, this group will downplay God’s absolute truths by promoting the illusion that neutrality was Jesus’ preferred method of evangelism.
  • Cafeteria-style Christians: This group picks and chooses which Scripture passages to live by, opting for the ones that best seem to jive with culture. Typically, they focus solely on the “nice” parts of the gospel while simultaneously and intentionally minimizing sin, hell, repentance and transformation.
  • Convictional Christians: In the face of the culture’s harsh admonitions, these evangelicals refuse to be silent. Mimicking Jesus, they compassionately talk about love and grace while also sharing with their neighbors the need to recognize and turn from sin.

I know about these three types of Christians because at one time or another, I have fallen into each of these three categories. My parents will tell you that even though I was raised in church, I morphed into a full-fledged feminist, told my parents they were ignorant for not endorsing homosexuality and bought into the distorted social justice rhetoric that confuses caring for the poor with advancing socialist or big government systems and demonizing the United States for its free-market system.

I’m not ashamed to share my story because my experiences and those of my fellow bold evangelicals are a testimony of God’s awesome, transforming power. Being countercultural for Christ isn’t easy. What does the Great Commission say? Jesus commanded us to go, “teaching them to observe all things I have commanded you” (Matt. 28:20a).

Where Did We Go Wrong?

I see so many parents scratching their heads trying to figure out where they went wrong with young evangelicals. Following the instructions of Proverbs 22:6—”Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it”—many evangelical parents took their children to church and prayed with them every night before bed. Yet the values those children now hold dear do not reflect the traditional teachings of Jesus.

To be perfectly clear, I want to let you know up front that this isn’t a parenting how-to guide that, if followed, will lead your loved ones to salvation. Instead, what I can offer you is a glimpse into the world of a 20-something who sees thousands of young evangelicals being spiritually and emotionally targeted on Christian university campuses, in college ministries and at churches nationwide by a growing liberal movement cloaked in Christianity.

Research tells us evangelicals are drifting further away from the orthodox truths their parents and grandparents held dear.

Our churches have rarely—if ever—faced the exodus we are seeing today. This will have a direct effect on the spiritual and moral values that will shape the nation in the coming years. That is why it is urgent that concerned Christians start acting now before the situation gets worse.

The Collision of Faith and Culture

Faith and culture will continue to collide in America.

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The post Here’s How the New Christian Left Is Twisting the Gospel appeared first on The Aquila Report.

The Gathering Storm: Religious Liberty in the Wake of the Sexual Revolution

In this essay, Dr. R. Albert Mohler, Jr. discusses the challenge to religious liberty Christians will face in this generation. Mohler writes:

“These are days that will require courage, conviction, and clarity of vision. We are in a fight for the most basic liberties God has given humanity, every single one of us, made in his image. Religious liberty is being redefined as mere freedom of worship, but it will not long survive if it is reduced to a private sphere with no public voice. The very freedom to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ is at stake, and thus so is the liberty of every American. Human rights and human dignity are temporary abstractions if they are severed from their reality as gifts of the Creator. The eclipse of Christian truth will lead inevitably to a tragic loss of human dignity. If we lose religious liberty, all other liberties will be lost, one by one.”

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Disney’s Rainbow Activism

About the only thing worse than rabid anti-Christian bigotry is all the clueless Christians who do not know or care about it. There are so many believers who have their heads in the sand – they are totally oblivious to the very real war that has been declared against us and our children.

The homosexual militants have especially been targeting faith and family, including our children. As I wrote in my book Strained Relations:

A well-known saying states that the hand that rocks the cradle rules the world. Homosexual activists know this all too well. As one lesbian put it, “Whoever captures the kids owns the future”. Thus the constant attempts by homosexual activists to influence children….
Another article in the homosexual press on the same issue reported that there are “probably around a hundred gay characters out there” in comics right now. Given that children are usually the main readers of comics, one has to ask if recruitment is not part of the strategy….
And we also have homosexual cartoon characters in both TV series and in the movies….
One quite well known homosexual blog site openly admits to just how intent the activists are in targeting young children in our schools. He says in an article entitled, “Can We Please Just Start Admitting That We Do Actually Want To Indoctrinate Kids?”: “‘NOOO! We’re not gonna make kids learn about homosexuality, we swear! It’s not like we’re trying to recruit your children or anything.’ But let’s face it – that’s a lie. We want educators to teach future generations of children to accept queer sexuality. In fact, our very future depends on it.”

I mention all this again because another tool of homosexual propaganda is coming to Australia on March 23, yet most believers seem utterly clueless about it all. I refer to the new Disney film Beauty and the Beast. Every parent should be aware of what is happening with the film, and keep their children away from this homosexual propaganda stunt.

For those who are still not aware of what is happening, a petition is circulating about this, and it offers this background:

The director of the much-anticipated Disney live action version of Beauty and the Beast has proudly revealed that the movie will feature Disney’s first-ever “exclusively gay moment.” The “gay” moment involves character Lefou, the sidekick of villain Gaston, played by actor Josh Gad.
“LeFou is somebody who on one day wants to be Gaston and on another day wants to kiss Gaston,” director Bill Condon said this week. “He’s confused about what he wants. It’s somebody who’s just realizing that he has these feelings. And Josh makes something really subtle and delicious out of it. And that’s what has its payoff at the end, which I don’t want to give away. But it is a nice, exclusively gay moment in a Disney movie.”
Gad has confirmed the “gay moment” in the movie involving his character, tweeting today that he is “beyond proud of this.” This comes days after The Disney Channel aired a same-sex kiss on one of its shows. In recent years Disney has come under increasing pressure from LGBT activists to promote their agenda in their kids films, including a campaign to make Elsa from “Frozen” a lesbian.

Yet far too many believers seem to think the film is just hunky dory. One “Christian” review of the film I read said it was no big deal and that kids would not know or be impacted by the homosexualisation found in the film. Thankfully not everyone was so clueless.

beautyAs one Christian mum said on the social media: “I was incredibly disheartened this morning, (actually disheartened is understating it – shocked and angry is closer to the mark), to hear the supposed ‘Christian’ Sydney radio station Hope 103.2 giving away free tickets to families, to go see Disney’s sodomy promoting version of Beauty and the Beast.”

Incredibly the station replied saying, “The admiration of one male character for another is shown as nothing more than that, and we easily saw this as friendship, as would any child.” Good grief. And another fellow weighed into the discussion by cavalierly saying, “It’s a movie not real life.”

But as another much more cluey Christian replied, “Advertising isn’t real life either. Ditto for porn.” What the ‘it’s no big deal’ folks just do not fathom is that the activists are deliberately targeting our children, and they know that the piecemeal approach is quite successful.

Thus you do not throw all your agenda items out in the first film, or TV show, or cartoon, or comic. You slowly, incrementally keep adding more and more, so that it is almost undetectable. It is the old frog in the pot of water routine: the frog will jump out of real hot water, but if you slowly turn up the heat while the frog is in the pot, it will stay there and die.

That is exactly what is happening here, yet most Christians just don’t get it. But all we need to do is listen to what the homosexual activists are saying about all this. I already mentioned above how proud those involved in the film are about the homosexual activity.

More can be said. Consider this from a secular site:

In an interview with People (via Variety), Gad talks of the moment in question, saying the “gay moment” is “subtle but incredibly effective” and “everything that needed to be said on this issue has definitely been said”. He added, “There is so much fear out there of that which we don’t understand, that which we don’t know. The “film is one of inclusiveness” and noted that the core theme is “never to judge a book by its cover.”

“Incredibly effective” he says. Yet most Christians are sleeping through this entire assault on biblical and family values. Another actor in the film, Ian McKellen, is also very proud of the homosexual content:

“I love the fact that there’s a little gay moment in this movie, you know, here we are in the 21st Century. There’s a lot of gay people around, why shouldn’t they be in the film. Just briefly, it’s lovely – lovely, lovely color,” McKellen said. McKellen was making reference to those who have raised concern or spoken out like the recent Alabama theater that refuses to show it – as “stupid” and “prejudiced.” McKellen even went on to joke that “Beauty and the Beast” has become “a gay extravaganza.”

And then we have the director of the film Bill Condon spilling the beans about his real agenda. In an interview a few years ago the openly gay director was asked: “What is first thing you do when you get into a hotel room?” He replied, “I wish I could say I’m like Ian McKellen and immediately go rip pages out of the Bible, but there don’t seem to be bibles in the hotel rooms I stay in these days.”

One homosexual has even warned about this film:

As a proud member of the LGBT community, I smile when shows I watch — such as “NCIS New Orleans” and “How to Get Away With Murder” — include LGBT characters. But I am an adult… Somewhere along the line, Disney went off course. No longer did it see itself as a defender of children’s innocence. Instead, it saw itself as a conduit to social change. Walt Disney became Harvey Milk.
For those of us watching Disney over the past two decades, such a transformation was evident. Disney has worked to infuse its brand with political activism, and the LGBT left lobby has always been a primary benefactor….
Why do we have to expose our kids to such mature themes? Do they not have plenty of time to grow up? Or maybe the point is to make them grow up too soon and that is where I part ways with my community.

Thankfully some countries are aware of what is going on here and taking action. In Russia the film has been given a 16+ rating.

In Malaysia the homosexual content was edited out of the film, so Disney threw a hissy fit and pulled the movie from the country.

And in Singapore Christian leaders have warned parents to stay clear of the film.

In Australia Kevin Donnelly said this: “Ignored is that the original story and earlier adaptations celebrated love between a woman and a prince without any reference to a gay relationship. And rewriting Beauty and the Beast is just the most recent example of the cultural left’s campaign against classic fairy tales and stories.”

Some voices have been heard in the US as well, warning about this film. Franklin Graham said this:

They’re trying to push the LGBT agenda into the hearts of your children—watch out! Disney has the right to make their cartoons, it’s a free country. But as Christians, we also have the right not to support their company. I hope Christians everywhere will say no to Disney. I met Walt Disney when I was a young boy—he was very gracious to me, my father Billy Graham and my younger brother when we visited. He would be shocked at what has happened to the company that he started.

At John Piper’s website we read this warning:

Disney’s agenda may or may not come as a shock to us, but it should come as a timely reminder that we cannot relegate the work of teaching our children to Disney or Pixar, to Dora or Sesame Street. We can no more blindly take our kids to Disney movies than we can blindly sit them in front of the television to watch cartoons. This world is not our home, and this culture is not our ally, and our level of vigilance should reflect that.

We should all follow the lead of one concerned mother:

We’ve officially come to the conclusion that we won’t be seeing the live action version of “Beauty and the Beast” and we’ve cancelled our $6000 Disney World Vacation…. There comes a point where you have to take a stand for the things you believe in, this is my stand…. I’m not paying for simple entertainment that doesn’t accurately align with my personal beliefs.

By way of conclusion, I offer these words from the family friendly MovieGuide:

Introducing modern leftist, homosexual politics into a timeless fairy tale for children is the height of self-righteous smugness. It not only offends viewers who don’t agree with such controversial politics, or who don’t agree with inserting controversial politics into a movie for children. It also takes the viewer’s attention away from the main story behind the movie to stroke the selfish egos of the leftist filmmakers behind such a narcissistic movie. Ironically, the kind of homosexual references included in this version of Beauty and the Beast contradicts the story’s main message that sacrificial love, not lust or bizarre fetishes, is what lifts people up and ennobles them.

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The post Disney’s Rainbow Activism appeared first on CultureWatch.

Polemics Term: Cultural Marxism


The term Cultural Marxism, which is also known as multiculturalism (although the latter term has various meanings and implications), is a philosophy that is perhaps as old as 1919. According to William S. Lind, Cultural Marxism came into thought when the classical Marxist scheme did not work in Western Civilization in the post WWI era, as predicted by classical Marxists. Two Marxist philosophers, Antonio Gramsci in Italy and Georg Lukacs in Hungary, theorized that Marxism didn’t take root in the West because “Western culture and Christianity” had buffeted the philosophy, along with the mortal enemy of Marxism – upward economic mobility. In economically free nations in which fortunes could be earned and economic classes changed in a single generation, the workers were not nearly as interested in rising up against the wealthy because they, themselves, had hope of becoming wealthy (link).

Instead of traditional economic Marxism, what was proposed and advanced in Western Civilization far more successfully was Cultural Marxism.

But, it’s impossible to understand Cultural Marxism without first understanding Economic Marxism.


Marxism is a method of sociological analyzation that seeks to understand differences in class relations. Originating with Karl Marx, the system desires to view society in different socio-economic classes, and lists conflict between the classes as the cause of all social ills. While there are divergent schools of Marxist thoughts, it’s plainest definition is:

a theory in which class struggle is a central element in the analysis of social change in Western societies, which stands in contrast to capitalism, an economic system based on the private ownership of the means of production and distribution of goods, characterized by a free competitive market and motivation by profit (link, multiple sources)

Put plainly, Marxism recognizes “class struggle” (economically so, chiefly) as the source of problems and the socialization of all property and resources as the solution to those societal problems.

Critics of Marxism argue that not only does socialization of property and resources decrease the overall wealth of a population and is unfair to those who produce wealth, but it artificially reduces people to members of a particular “class,” and seeks to cause conflict between the classes to bring about social change (IE, the “haves versus the have-nots”). The Judeo-Christian understanding of the 8th Commandment, which undergirds the notion of private property rights, is historically the reason for great resistance to socialism in the West.


To turn classical Marxism into Cultural Marxism, members of what is called “the Frankfurt School” (which included Max Horkheimer, Theodor Adorno, Wilhelm Reich, Eric Fromm and Herbert Marcuse) argued that culture was not a part of Marx’s original idea regarding society’s “superstructure,” and was an important variable in the over-all Marxist experiment. They argued that the working class would not revolt against the “bourgeoisie” in places where the poor could become rich. So then, the Frankfurt School intellectual leader, Herbert Marcuse, argued that Marxist ideology should enlist a cultural contingent; chiefly a coalition of blacks, students, feminists and homosexuals (link).

As Lind explains…

Fatefully for America, when Hitler came to power in Germany in 1933, the Frankfurt School fled – – and reestablished itself in New York City. There, it shifted its focus from destroying traditional Western culture in Germany to destroying it in the United States. To do so, it invented “Critical Theory.” What is the theory? To criticize every traditional institution, starting with the family, brutally and unremittingly, in order to bring them down. It wrote a series of “studies in prejudice,” which said that anyone who believes in traditional Western culture is prejudiced, a “racist” or “sexist” of “fascist” – – and is also mentally ill (link)


The goal and design of Cultural Marxism was very intentionally thought-out by its intellectual progenitors in order to undermine both Western Civilization and Christianity. While Cultural Marxism may seem like a purely political ideology, like Classical Marxism, it has deep consequences for the realm of Christendom.

By viewing everything through the lens of ethnicity, Cultural Marxism is actually the enemy of true and authentic, Gospel-centered racial reconciliation, which is based upon the premise of Galatians 3:28. Cultural Marxism seeks to dis-unify, rather than unify the Church (although it is practiced under the veiled disguise of racial harmony).

It is not uncommon to hear evangelical leaders today use the term “racial justice,” a term that is steeped in (and directly derives from) Cultural Marxism. Certain evangelical leaders seeking to bring ethnic harmony to the church are actually and inadvertently falling into the century-old game plan of Cultural Marxists when they insist on seeing culture through the lens of race (and more liberal denominations may do this with gender as well, which is equally as dis-unifying).

The Evangelical Intelligentsia is especially prone to espouse Cultural Marxism, and examples of them falling for the scheme are multitudinous, as best seen in recent years in writings by both The Gospel Coalition and the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission.

Source: Polemics Term: Cultural Marxism

The Facts about Beauty and the Beast Disney Movie

“Le Fou starts giving Gaston a hand / shoulder / ear massage during the Gaston song that is definitely sensual from Le Fou’s perspective. This song also includes a moment where La Fou briefly sits on Gaston’s lap, leans in, puts Gaston’s arms around him and then says “Too much?” Gaston is perturbed.”

Yesterday my eighteen-year-old daughter and I were privileged to see Disney’s Beauty and the Beast in the new live action format for 2017.

Overall, the Disney retelling of the classic story of love between Belle and the Prince was magical. The original is one of my favorites so I was pleased to see that the new live action version stuck very closely to the original with only a few slight twists from the animated movie I know and love. Sadly one of those twists was in the addition of overtly homosexual content sprinkled throughout the movie’s subplot, as I’ve described below.

The cast choices for Belle, the Beast, and the animated characters who become human again in the end were delightful. One of my favorites was Maurice (Belle’s Father) and of course I loved the actress who played Belle. Even the choice of character for Gaston was spot on.

This movie is currently causing quite a stir in the news and online in social media because of the leaked comment from the director, Condon, who mentioned an “exclusively gay moment” in the movie. Everyone who knows I’ve seen the movie already is now asking me the question – what exactly does that mean? What is this exclusively gay moment everyone is talking about? If you don’t want to know ahead of time, stop reading here.

Here are my observations about the sexual content in Disney’s Beauty and the Beast.

Disney’s Exclusively Gay Moment

1) Le Fou (Gaston’s sidekick) is clearly gay and clearly infatuated with Gaston much more obviously than any gay character has appeared in any other Disney movie. Unlike in Finding Dory, the homosexual content in this movie will not be missed.

2) Le Fou starts giving Gaston a hand / shoulder / ear massage during the Gaston song that is definitely sensual from Le Fou’s perspective. EDITED TO ADD: This song also includes a moment where La Fou briefly sits on Gaston’s lap, leans in, puts Gaston’s arms around him and then says “Too much?” Gaston is perturbed.

3) At one point toward the end, Gaston gets very close to Le Fou’s face; they are face to face and it looks like a romantic angle but Gaston is actually angry and yelling. It draws a direct contrast between what Le Fou wants and the fact that Gaston has really just been using his devotion all along.

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The Religion of Secularism

Secularism is the belief that man does not need God or God’s laws in man’s social, governmental, educational, or economic affairs. Ironically, secularism rejects religion, yet is itself a religion. In these United States of America, many of our politicians, courts, schools, and businesses embrace and promote the religion of secularism under the rubric of freedom from religion and by the advancement of human autonomy, which inevitably leads to anarchy.

“In God we trust” officially became the national motto of the United States in 1956 when President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed it into law. Originally implemented in part to distinguish the United States from the Soviet Union and its explicit state atheism, the motto has remained to our day. Like many mottoes, however, the phrase has unfortunately become more of a throwaway statement for many Americans than a declaration of true faith in the one and only God of Scripture.

It is indeed our hope that our nation—and every nation—would genuinely trust God. Although many people claim to trust God, they act as if He has no authority whatsoever over their lives. They are an authority unto themselves, and the foundation for their self-appointed authority is as unstable as the emotions of their ever-changing hearts. Whether or not they know it, they have succumbed to secularism, which begins in the heart and ends in death. Secularism is the belief that man does not need God or God’s laws in man’s social, governmental, educational, or economic affairs. Ironically, secularism rejects religion, yet is itself a religion. In these United States of America, many of our politicians, courts, schools, and businesses embrace and promote the religion of secularism under the rubric of freedom from religion and by the advancement of human autonomy, which inevitably leads to anarchy.

It’s bad enough that secularism is a growing problem in our culture, yet it’s even worse that it’s making inroads in the church. Worship is often shaped by the felt needs and wants of secularized people. Many pastors will not preach on hell for fear of scaring people away. Some of our most popular religious leaders do little more than take self-help messages and dress them up with a veneer of Christianity. Even some preachers have embraced secularism’s teaching that we define our own reality. Thus, they are happy to redefine gender, marriage, and a host of other divinely revealed institutions and norms.

Secularism is not only a problem out there in the culture, it is something we must fight in our hearts, our homes, and our churches. We are too easily tempted to forget God and to avoid conflict with the world. It sometimes seems easier to live as if God really isn’t there, to go about our days without reflecting on His authority and that we’re called to live all of life coram Deo, before His face. But if we forget Him, we’ll forget who we are. We are His people, and we are called to stand firm against the creeping darkness of secularism, declaring to our hearts, our homes, our churches, and our nation that the Lord God Almighty has authority over all and that, unwaveringly, in God we trust.

© Tabletalk magazine. This article used with permission.

The post The Religion of Secularism appeared first on The Aquila Report.

Namaste, Satan

Na-ma-stay is the pronunciation. It’s a Hindu salutation that is said at the beginning and end of most yoga classes. Participants place their palms together before the heart, bow their heads, and utter “Namaste,” which means “The divine in me bows to the divine in you.” But wait! We all know professing Christians who participate in yoga classes.  Many of them have been warned that there are spiritual dangers associated with yoga and are not concerned in the least. According to Baptist Theological Seminary president Albert Mohler, who has warned of the spiritual dangers for years, “The bare fact is that yoga is a spiritual discipline by which the adherent is trained to use the body as a vehicle for achieving consciousness of the divine.”

So, should believers avoid yoga altogether?  What about “Christian yoga“?  And what is the association between yoga and Satan? Pam Frost answers these questions in a piece she penned for truthXchange.  Some of what Frost reveals about this Hindu practice is chilling. She writes:

Photo credit: truthXchange

Namaste, Satan.

These are surely shocking words to the ears of most yoga enthusiasts, who find the association of yoga with Satan to be both disturbing and incongruous with their own understanding and experience of yoga. Yet, so begins an article announcing yoga classes to be held in the Satanic Temple of Salem, Massachusetts. How could something so widely considered beneficial in every way suddenly be associated with the devil? After all, yoga has achieved status in the West as the seemingly ubiquitous answer for the general well-being of just about everyone—from children in our public schools to the elderly in assisted living, from those with robust health in the prime of their lives to those with terminal illnesses nearing the end of their lives, and everyone in between. Many healthcare professionals recommend yoga for purported benefits such as the increased strength, flexibility and balance attributed to yoga’s postures; for the reduced blood pressure and heart rate attributed to yoga’s breathing techniques; and for the inner peace and global harmony attributed to yoga’s meditative spirituality. Yet, while most acclaim what they believe to be the positive benefits of yoga, William J. Broad, in his New York Times Magazine article How Yoga Can Wreck Your Body, warns that it can actually cause serious physical injuries such as trauma to the back, neck and head, as well as brain injuries and even stroke. But as Christians, we also need to ask whether there could be real spiritual dangers associated with the practice of yoga. We need to understand what the essence of yoga really is.

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Children, Mums, Dads and the Gender Benders

“It is not just religious conservatives who have problems with the transgender revolutionaries,” says Bill Muehlenberg. “Many others also have some valid concerns about it, and how it impacts our culture and our kids.” In this piece over at Culture Watch, Muehlenberg offers examples of non-religious people who have problems with the trans agenda. He writes:

That the trans revolution is causing massive devastation to countless families and children, as well as to society and culture as a whole, is something I have now documented numerous times. So too have many others. But our concerns are often dismissed as mere ‘religious bigotry’ and the like.

However I can assure you that there are plenty of non-religious folks who also have problems with the trans agenda and their radical take on gender (that it is fluid and a social construct, and has no biological basis, etc). Non-Christians, feminists and even lesbians among others have all expressed real concerns about the gender activists.

There would be plenty of these folks out there, but let me just highlight four of them who have spoken on these issues at various times. Consider as my first exhibit the lesbian academic and social commentator Camille Paglia. She has often been critical of feminist excesses, and is not too keen about the trans mania as well.

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Barna Update | The Credibility Crisis of Today’s Pastors

Barna’s State of Pastors report, produced in partnership with Pepperdine University, reveals that pastors in America face several hurdles to their cultural influence. It’s not that people dislike pastors; it’s just that they don’t really care about them. Watch experts discuss the impact of these findings from our recent State of Pastors event.

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Weekly Watchman for 03/17/2017

The Selective Morality of the Transgender Agenda

In the last several decades, we’ve seen a public push by those on the left to accept evil as good in just about any form, and to accommodate behaviors we would have called “sins” fifty years ago. (or at least our great grandparents would have)

I can hardly imagine how hard this is on innocent children growing up in this world today. The moral confusion and social pressure are intense, and now there is the expectation that everyone else abandon absolute truth and comply with the gender theory claim that biological facts are now mere ‘social constructs.’

Do you think most people in Hollywood, the liberal media, public education system, or leftists in government care about truth or about the morality of this ideology? Tragically, some parents are imposing their own will on their children and encouraging them to “identify” as the opposite of who God made them to be.

Then there are sad, cultural indicators of how far we have fallen for the lies.

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Faith: But faith in Whom?

“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no man may boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9

Jesus Christ, God in the flesh, took the wrath of God against sin on the cross in our place, so through our faith in Him we might be forgiven of our sins and have eternal life with God. Faith plays a crucial role in the life and eternal destiny of every human being. Today we discuss our faith in Jesus Christ and God’s faithfulness toward us even when we are not faithful to His will for us with Pastor Mike Abendroth.

We also discuss a movement within a certain sect of Roman Catholicism calling on Pope Francis to proclaim Mary “co-redemptrix” with Jesus Christ. But the group claims this will point people to Jesus rather than distract them away from the only one who can save us. We’ll discuss their argument in our final segment today. Join us live at 9am central Thursday.

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Islam, ISIS & National Security

President Trump has vowed to destroy ISIS. But will that really do anything significant in ending the scourge of Islamic terrorism? Or will the next radical organization simply step up and fill the void?

The truth is we are not merely fighting a minority of radical terrorists…we are fighting against an ideology bent on world domination and elimination of any religious beliefs that do not submit to the false god Allah.

Ryan Mauro of The Clarion Project joins us to discuss ISIS and president Trump’s new “travel bans”. He will also contrast the “Woman’s March” in our nation with the strong women fighting ISIS in Iraq and Syria.

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Apostasy & Lies: Will Fans of ‘The Shack’ Care?

Can we at least agree, as Christians, to hold up Young’s words and beliefs against the truth of God’s Word revealed to us in Scripture? As we approach this program today, we should ask what your thoughts are and do you think Young’s description ad understanding of God line up with the Bible or contradict it?

The Shack appeals to our human desire to be loved and forgiven, but it discounts what is required by God: confession and repentance. The movie plays right into the growing mindset in America about wanting benefits without responsibilities. It’s overall message is that God conforms to us instead of our need to be transformed into the image of Christ which produces holy living. The Shack is the prefect message for people who want to think we are all basically good in nature and character.

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Prophecy & the Flood of Noah

Today we revisit one of the most basic and debated topics involving our understanding of God and this world: Creation. Is there an intelligent ‘Designer’ and if so, how long ago did He create the Heavens and the earth? Does the age of the earth matter? What about Noah and the Great Flood – true history or a clever fable taught to young children in Sunday school?

These are important questions, and the Bible has the answers – if we are honestly pursuing truth and are open to revisiting some of our assumptions about God and creation based on what we were taught and told by man. Jay Seegert (TheStartingPointProject) helps us sort all this out today thanks to his expertise on the subject and clear explanation.

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They Hate Everything We Love

“Why do liberals hate God?” inquires Lee Duigon? “Because they’re after His job. They want to sit where He sits, and they insist that they can and will do all the things He should have done, but couldn’t do because He doesn’t exist.”  In his piece over at News With Views, Duigon considers the affect liberalism has had on society.  He writes:

Remember when they booed God at the Democrat National Convention, 2012? It should have told us what we were in for, but Mitt Romney found a way to lose the election in spite of that display.

Now, five years later, we have managed to win a national election—and Democrats are back to booing God. The latest example was at a Republican town hall meeting in Louisiana, hosted by Sen. Bill Cassidy, at which Democrat “protesters”—do they even know what they’re “protesting”?—loudly booed both the opening prayer and the Pledge of Allegiance.

The prayer got them really riled up. “Prayer? Prayer?” cried one incredulous progressive. “Pray on your own time!” bellowed another. And a woman, at the top of her lungs, invoked the name of Lucifer, who runs American leftism when George Soros is otherwise occupied. They got especially raucous at the mention of Jesus’ name; and then they heckled and booed the recitation of the Pledge. At this point we usually hear liberals deny they’re anti-Christian and angrily declare, “Don’t you dare question our patriotism!”

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