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First Amendment | Noah Stepro

Noah Stepro

Noah Stepro

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Thank God For Satanists

We recently had a group from The Satanic Temple of Los Angeles come up to Lancaster to perform a GPS pentagram and give their “Seven Tenets” to the city…this cause quite a stir and slew of responses. There was a prayer rally, protest and even some sky writing (not all from the same groups).

Everything Christians do should look and sound like Jesus

Jesus didn’t picket people, in fact he almost never engaged in non-personal forms of interaction and when he did it was kind, gracious and uplifting. I can’t see Jesus picketing anything, boycotting companies or lambasting someone from social media. Seeing these kinds of responses should give all Christians pause to consider…are you following a “Christian culture” or Christ?

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The First Amendment is for everyone

If we want to campaign for reform, let’s campaign. If we want to stop shopping at a particular store, stop shopping there. If you don’t want Satanists (or any other group) in your down, convert them. One of the best things about our Constitution is the First Amendment’s protection of religious freedom…if we start taking that away from one group, it will disappear for everyone. (plus, last time I checked…it is impossible to convert people through laws). Aren’t we glad to live in a country where we are free to worship without (too much) government interference?

Satanist aren’t the worst

Let’s be objective…if we take the incendiary word “Satan” away this is a small group of people that are basically atheistic humanists. There are way bigger evils in the Antelope Valley than the Satanists. Satan sounds scary, but the monsters of Greed, Bigotry, and Isolation (to name a few) are wreaking havoc on our community and have many more converts and any religious group (including Christians). I am willing to say there are more churches in the AV doing damage to the Kingdom of God than Satanists or cult followers. Are you rejoicing (if you are a Christian) in the VICTORY in Jesus?

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Spiritual warfare is real

I am not saying we should be excited about a group claiming to follow Satan being in the neighborhood, or that their presence isn’t something to take seriously. The event raised everyone’s spiritual “Spidey sense” – suddenly there is evil in our community! The reality is we should pray for our neighbors and neighborhoods regularly. Just look at the evil and oppression that took place in Orlando (and almost West Hollywood) this weekend. How many people protested and prayed when the Hindu temple opened in town? Are we living as a “house of prayer” all the time, with heightened alertness to the Spiritual forces behind our present “realities”?

Many Christians have little faith in the Church or the power of the Holy Spirit

I find that very often people who are quick to want change in government policies and city ordinances to make the world more “Christian” fail to embody them. In other words, we want to direct change in others but fail to produce it ourselves. This can happen for so many reasons, but at the heart of it is a lack of faith. Faith that Jesus is good, his spirit is transformative, that the Church is the best hope for the world and that “the gates of Hades won’t prevail against it“. Do you really believe these words of Jesus?

So…thank God for Satanists, they come and remind Christians why we follow Jesus and how we are to go about it.

 

Sister Wives and Sincere Marriages

My wife loves the show Sister Wives – so by default I have picked up an affinity for the disappointingly undramatic reality show about a Mormon Fundamentalist family that is living a modern polygamist scenario. As soon as I saw this show and the hostility it generates in Utah, I thought to myself “I wonder how long it will take before this becomes muddled with gay marriage rights?” Well this last week U.S. District Court Judge Clark Waddoups ruled against Utah’s laws prohibiting “Cohabitation” – stating it was in incompatible with the First and Fourteenth Amendments.

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Is this a victory for people wanting to practice polygamy? No, not really…because it is still illegal to be married to more than one person in all 50 states. Does it take a swing at the DOMA? No, the recent decision doesn’t really move in that direction either. It does beg the question “Who has the right to legitimize marriages?” Both sides of the culture war surrounding same sex marriage for some bizarre reason continue to argue that the government has the right and the final say so to legitimate and/or bar marriages…why? Historically this hasn’t been the case, and I don’t think it should now.

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This recent case and the national focus around the Brown family highlight the hypocrisy and silliness around the marriage debates. Judge Waddoups argued against the punitive Utah laws asking what difference exists between a polygamous marriage between a man and three women or a man fornicating with three separate partners of his choice. Jerrold Jensen, Attorney General for Utah argued a large distinction existed because the polygamous family was perpetuating the image of a marriage.

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So, what the state of Utah is arguing is that someone in a committed marriage with three people presents a greater threat to society than a man having three casual, uncommitted relationships which could begin families and create children…that makes a lot of sense.

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I have to hand it to the Brown family, though I think polygamy sounds like a form of strange torture and am somewhat morally opposed to the idea, they have sincerity in their marriage. Maybe more marriages would work and have a fruitful commitment if they were based on ethical, moral, and religious convictions than a state license. Those things aren’t mutually exclusive, but as long as we see the state as the justification and origin of our “cohabitation” we can also blame the state for our moral short comings. Maybe we could take a lesson from the Brown family?