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Monday, September 18, 2006

Islamic Holiday-Stamp Maddens the Mindless


I received the political e-mail below at work today, which is an unusual occurrence. The e-mail, however, is typical of what I receive at my home address. My thoughts can be found below the e-mail. For those who can't wait, my conclusion is that those who would want a Mulsim holiday-stamp to be done away without also wanting the religion to be outlawed by the U.S. Government are at the very least arbitrary in their opinion and at the very most outright bigoted.

The e-mail, which can be found on the Web, concerns itself with the re-issuance of a U.S. postage stamp that commemorates the Islamic holidays of Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha.

THE E-MAIL:

How ironic is this??!! They don't even believe in Christ and they're getting their own Christmas stamp, but don't dream of posting the ten commandments on federal property?

This one is impossible to believe. Scroll down for the text.

If there is only one thing you forward today.....let it be this!

REMEMBER the MUSLIM bombing of PanAm Flight 103!

REMEMBER the MUSLIM bombing of the World Trade Center in 1993!

REMEMBER the MUSLIM bombing of the Marine barracks in Lebanon!

REMEMBER the MUSLIM bombing of the military barracks in Saudi Arabia!

REMEMBER the MUSLIM bombing of the American Embassies in Africa!

REMEMBER the MUSLIM bombing of the USS COLE!

REMEMBER the MUSLIM attack on 9/11/2001!

REMEMBER all the AMERICAN lives that were lost in those vicious MUSLIM attacks!

Now the United States Postal Service REMEMBERS and HONORS the EID MUSLIM holiday season with a commemorative first class holiday postage stamp.

REMEMBER to adamantly and vocally BOYCOTT this stamp when purchasing your stamps at the post office. To use this stamp would be a slap in the face to all those AMERICANS who died at the hands of those whom this stamp honors.

REMEMBER to pass this along to every patriotic AMERICAN you know!

END OF E-MAIL

Sundry Comments:

1. It is false that the stamp is a “Christmas stamp.” Accordingly, it is nonsensical to argue that it is “ironic” that “They don't even believe in Christ and they're getting their own Christmas stamp…” It’s a holiday stamp!

2. Does it even bother the average American Christian that the three-day Eid Al-Adha commemorates the alleged willingness of Abraham to sacrifice his son Ishmael(!) in response to God's command? (It was Isaac who was offered up to God.)

3. The writer seems to be outraged over those who would remove “the ten commandments [from] federal property.” In a sense, I’m outraged as well but I believe in the Ten Commandments. Do culture Christians, let alone evangelical Christians, embrace the Ten Commandments properly understood? Do they even know what they are, let alone what they actually mean? Do these Americans really want the civil magistrate to enforce the Law of Moses when appropriate -- given that they believe what this country stands for, at least on paper, demonstrates the "genius" of a pluralistic utopian society? Or do they simply oppose (even despise) minority groups who would desecrate anything American, whether religious or purely secular? With respect to God’s commandments, do evangelicals and culture-Christians earnestly desire that U.S. citizens not be permitted by law to publicly worship other gods than the Triune God of Scripture who lives? Does the culture-Christian and evangelical desire that the civil magistrate use everything within its power to remove the statues and public idolatrous worship of Roman Catholicism, a communion that is in flagrant violation of the Second Commandment? Do they, in other words "disapprove, detest and oppose, all false worship; and, believe that all who love the Lord should, according to each one's place and calling, remove it, and all monuments of idolatry?" In other words, in principle, do they believe that false worship should be considered illegal based upon the word of God, fully appreciating that it is the job of civil magistrate – not maverick citizens – to enforce such laws with force if necessary?

Are these Christians outraged that “freedom of speech” allows for taking the Lord’s name in vain and blasphemy? Or would they prefer that the civil magistrate apply the general equity of Moses, per the Westminster Confession of Faith and Larger Catechism? Now I'll really step on some toes... Are these same culture-Christians who are so outraged over a Muslim holiday-stamp pleased to work and watch football on the Christian Sabbath? Do they dine out on Sunday without Scriptural cause, contributing to the breaking of the Sabbath by restaurant workers? Would these American Christians want to see Congress legislate laws that would put an adulterer to death? How should the abominable practice of homosexuality be treated by civil magistrate? What is it to be pro “Ten Commandments” after all? Is it merely a feel-good sentiment that is on par with being pro-Fourth of July, Apple Pie and Chevrolet? Or, are God’s commandments covenantal in nature and therefore, being such, often time require temporal sanctions that are to be administered by the civil magistrates? Aren’t civil laws to be considered moral in nature and, therefore, routed in the Ten Commandments? Therefore, isn’t it only reasonable that such laws along with any accompanying sanctions be justified by God’s law? Or is our moral code merely a matter of opinion or conventional, in which case 9-11 was indeed justifiable? How does one expect to justify capital punishment apart from also arguing for a rapist to be put to death, or a man guilty of steeling a loaf of bread to feed his family not to be put to death?

We must face the facts – the American Christian does not really love God’s law (unless it suits him of course) otherwise he would submit to it in faith, without remainder, while expecting his elected officials, civil and ecclesiastical, to do the same. The problem with the culture Christian is that he is arbitrary, inconsistent and in some respects outright unwilling to follow God's word in all areas of life. The evangelical is really no different.

4. With respect to “Remember the Muslim bombing of Pan Am flight 103,” what exactly is the writer’s point? Does he believe that the bombing of Pan Am flight 103 was consistent with – even a logical extension of - the practice of Islam? If so, would he want to outlaw Islamic worship in the U.S.? Would he want the U.S. Civil Magistrate to actually order the destruction of all Mosques in the United States on the basis of the word of God? Doubtful, I'm sure! If I’m wrong, however, then on what concrete basis would he begin to try to justify such military action that would sanction Islamic practice in the U.S.? I have an answer to such questions but by the grace of God I'm a presuppostional theonomist!

It would seem to me that American culture-Christians such as these have concerns that are so mindless, inconsistent and arbitrary that they would want the un-biblically instituted, independent executive branch of the U.S. government called the U.S. Postal Service to stop printing and selling stamps based upon an arbitrary whim and unbiblical hatred, which is anything but a holy hatred grounded in the word of God; yet at the same time, they are not willing to argue that false worship should be illegal in the land. In other words, such culture-Christians and evangelicals are not prepared to argue against the public practice of false religion, while at the same time they happily give themselves (sometimes mind and soul!) to arguing that mere postage stamps that honor religions that they themselves deem lawful in the land are not appropriate and should even be outlawed! The absence of any semblance of logic and the twisted priorty of concern is simply remarkable.

Again, those who would want a Mulsim holiday-stamp to be done away without also wanting the religion to be outlawed by the U.S. Government are at the very least being arbitrary in their opinion and at the very most being outright bigoted. I would argue that until one becomes thoroughly presuppositional in his thinking, which entails an appreciation of the theonomic thesis, he cannot avoid remaining arbitrary and inconsistent with respect to his worldview in general and political views in particular. For a concise defense of theonomy, please visit http://reformedapologist.blogspot.com/2006/04/theonomy-epistemological-matter.html.

Ron

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12 comments:

JonathanB84 said...

Excellent post! Thanks.

Ronald W. Di Giacomo said...

Thanks, Jonathan. It's a hard read, I'm sure. I see some positive things in your profile, which I resonate with. What else can you tell me about yourself that is not too private of course.

Ron

Ronald W. Di Giacomo said...

p.s., I'm always curious how people stumble across this site... Care to share? :)

JonathanB84 said...

Well, I'm 22 and this whole worldivew is relatively new to me. I was raised as a dispensationalist arminian. I went Reformed about 6 months ago becuase I had an interest in apologetics and philosophy and about a year ago a friend suggested I read Van Til's Apologetic by Bahnsen. After seeing its cogency in philosophy and apologetics I decided whatever foundation it is standing on deserves a fair look as well... and here I am.

I found your website through Paul Manata's old blog Pressing the Antithesis. I found his website through Aaron Kinney's atheist blog Killing the Afterlife. I happened upon his blog by 'chance'.

Anonymous said...

Ron, have you considered that we might not know what sins to punish? What if we had that knowledge under the old covenant but God has left us to our own wisdom today?

Thanks!

Ronald W. Di Giacomo said...

Great question!

First off, we'd have to have a scriptural basis for abrogating the equity of the civil case law. Let's assume though, (for argument's sake that is), that God did abrogate the equity of the civil case law. How would we begin to decide which transgressions are to be punished by civil magistrate and the associated sanctions for those transgressions? We'd reach for God's wisdom in order to become wise! We'd reach for our Bibles in other words to determine whether a particular sin is worthy of civil sanction. Finally, are we to think that conventional wisdom (whatever that is) can contradict God's wisdom, or that special revelation can contradict general revelation? If not, then where else are we to find the answers to theonomic questions but in God's word? If there were answers in God's word under Moses, why would those answers ever have disappeared? If Christ did not come to abolish the law, then why would we think that he did? Where does Scripture argue that Christ abolished the civil law? All I read is that he did NOT come to ablish the law! :)

Ron

razzendahcuben said...

Speaking of abolishing the law, could you shed some insight on Ephesians 2:13-17 when it speaks of abolishing the law in the ordinances? Does this relate to only the flesh or might this involve civil law?

Well, I realize it doesn't involve civil law, but I'd appreciate your commentary on it nonetheless. Thanks.

Ronald W. Di Giacomo said...

A wonderful passage indeed, Raz!

The apostle refers to these saints early in the chapter as those who were once "Gentiles in the flesh, called the *uncircumcision* by those called the *circumcision*, which is done in the flesh by human hands..." He is speaking of the ceremonial distinctives that were requisite for being considered withing the covenant and, therefore, clean. In Christ, there is no "dividing wall of enmity." If the passaged referred to other than the ceremonial law alone, then it would have to refer to the moral law too, which of course cannot be abolished for it is a reflection of God's character.

Ron

razzendahcuben said...

Thanks. Nice summary, as always. Why is circumcision not considered a ceremonial distinctive? (Or if it is, why do you still practice it?)

By the way, I found this site through Paul Manata's blog when he tipped his hat to your presence in the "blogosphere". (What a word...)

Ronald W. Di Giacomo said...

Circumcision is no longer a ceremonial distinctive because the Lord cleary abolished it as such. He did not abolish it as a matter of health consideration. If we were to circumcise in a ceremonial sense, then of course we'd be disobedient. In addition, Timothy was circumcised in order to win some yet the Galatians were not to circumcise for they were doing it for the wrong reason, which was to gain the Lord's approval so that they might be saved. Neither circumcision nor uncircumcision matters; what matters is a new creation in Christ, which in part is realized through the abandonment of the shadows of the OT ceremonial law.

Off to worship the Triune God! :)

Ron

razzendahcuben said...

I thought circumcision was more than just ceremonial law---I thought it was a sign of the covenant. And if baptism parallels circumcision in this regard it seems that you have labeled paedobaptism as disobedience.

Hopefully in your answer I can get a clearer picture of covenant theology. Thanks.

Ronald W. Di Giacomo said...

Circumcision was the sign of the covenant and it was ceremonial in nature, which is precisely why it could be abrogated. The practice of baptism is not disobedient since it is commanded by God. Your fallacy in reason is that you have applied the abrogation of a specific covenantal-ceremonial law to all ceremonial-covenantal signs. In anticipation of your next remark, ceremonial laws are indeed present within the new testament, yet they are fewer in number (baptism and the Lord's Supper) and more simplicistic... but hold forth more fullness of the covenant promise.