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In compliance with the state mandate to curb storm water run off, the Prince George’s County Department of the Environment is considering a proposal that would waive the unpopular impervious surface property tax assessment for their properties if churches agree to preach environmentally friendly sermons or engage in other forms of mental conditioning.
What’s the big deal, some will ask.
After all, does the Bible not teach us to be good stewards of God’s creation?
God’s word also instructs the believer to be on guard against wolves in sheep’s clothing.
If governments grant tax code favors to religious organizations for ideological compliance in regards to one issue, what is to prevent them from doing so in regards to more controversial matters?
In the name tolerance and diversity, what if governments granted tax and regulatory relief to congregations supporting gay marriage?
What if a government wanted to promote pluralism and inclusion by lavishing all manner of benefits upon a church that agreed not to lift the name of Jesus above all names but instead only reference a nondescript generic God or no God at all but rather just the Ultimate Concern as formulated by Paul Tillich?
How about putting the shoe on the other foot for a moment?
What if to bolster declining birthrates a government lavished tax favors upon churches promising to preach prolife messages?
It is said that the power to tax is the power to destroy.
Advocates insist that that the program is strictly voluntary.
However, government programs that start off voluntary can easily end up becoming mandatory.
Anybody remember the assurances of if you like your healthcare plan you can keep your healthcare plan?
From one perspective, the program is completely voluntary with no government shocktroops raiding churches failing to put in the environmental upgrades or enunciating church dogma in such a way to win the approval of the state (at least not yet anyway).
Yet from another perspective, aren’t churches that refuse to have their very thoughts policed in this manner punished by having to pay the tax?
Courts have forbidden graduation prayers for being less of a mental intrusion.
By Frederick Meekins
In a series of sermons against C.S. Lewis posted at SermonAudio.com, Pastor Jason Cooley creates the impression that it is wrong to read that particular author’s works because of areas in which the famed scholar’s theology was deficient by the standard of Biblical orthodoxy.
So why is it not wrong for the pastor to have either read these works or to have familiarized himself with this material?
At one point in the sermon, Pastor Cooley shouts like a lunatic asking if anyone in the congregation still wants to read the disputed books or watch movies inspired by these particular texts.
And what if someone responded back “YES!”
In this series of sermons, Pastor Cooley insisted that the title alone of “The Lion, The Witch & The Wardrobe” ought to be enough to get the believing Christian to avoid the book.
So if witches are evil, what is wrong with casting one in the role of the villain?
Maybe that role should instead, as in the case of many of Stephen King’s works of speculative literature, be reserved for ultralegalistic ministers attempting to assert too much control over their congregations and parishioners.
From the sermons, it becomes increasingly apparent that, while Pastor Cooley has a commendable grasp of these areas where caution regarding Lewis would be prudent, the minister does not have much appreciation for the techniques of the literary arts.
This is particularly evident in regards to the scenes Cooley analyzes of Lucy’s encounter with the fawn Mr.Tumnus.
For example, Rev. Cooley insists that, since fawns are noted in mythology for their seductive powers, that what Lewis is advocating are indecent carnal relations between underage minors and demoniac spirit beings.
Instead, the greater truth Lewis could be attempting to convey might be for the need to be cautious of that which we might initially find appealing if we consider the literary motif associated with the fawn and how the narrative plays itself out with Mr. Tumnus wanting to capitalize on his initial encounter with Lucy by handing her over to the White Witch.
Sometimes these unsettling realities that we are reluctant to face can be easier to grapple with or stick in the brain in the form of an engaging story rather than be constantly hollered at alone.
However, apparently Pastor Cooley is not much of a proponent of the old adage about a spoonful of sugar getting the medicine to go down.
In his tirades against C.S. Lewis, Pastor Cooley remarked that science fiction is nothing but witchcraft.
As justification for such a claim, Pastor Cooley posits that witchcraft consists of any power that does not come from God.
Once again, what Pastor Cooley possesses in terms of a desire to preserve sound doctrine he sadly lacks in literary understanding.
Admittedly, magic is often an intrinsic component of many forms of fantasy.
However, though science fiction can contain certain mystical elements such as the Force in Star Wars, over all, the genre attempts to provide a technological basis for the impressive wonders described in these works of imagination.
As such, though science fiction can be utilized to promote questionable philosophies, science fiction is morally neutral like most other forms of technology.
As such, does Pastor Cooley condemn the use of electricity or the internal combustion engine?
For though these are based upon natural forces set into motion by God’s sustaining power, as in the case of literary speculation in conjecture like science fiction, these are the result of the human mind reflecting upon a fact or a concept and extrapolating from these to configure them in such a way as to result in an until then unrealized application or insight.
Interestingly, developers of these technologies expressed affinities towards ideas and affiliations perhaps even more questionable than those to which C.S. Lewis was drawn.
Henry Ford disseminated “The Protocols Of The Elders Of Zion” to promote his particular brand of anti-Semiticism.
Thomas Edison wasn’t just at one time a member of Theosophical Society; his research into electricity was intermingled with speculation regarding spiritualist phenomena and communication.
Therefore, does that mean that to remain consistent with Pastor Cooley’s call for a radical degree of separation, that Pastor Cooley must repent of his electronic ministries and instead must in faith rely only on those methods utilized by the Apostles in the early days of the Church?
By Frederick Meekins