By Tyson Thorne

April 3, 2019

BiM40 Large

"Media" used to mean "print media" like books and newspapers, but the world has grown. Today media can also mean radio, television and movies delivered to personal computers, tablets and cell phones. As the world's best selling book of all time the Bible continues to make headlines, both good and bad, across all forms of media: A church operating a school for disadvantaged youth with learning disabilities finds itself under attack by the state government, and Think-Biblically warns its readers of the dangers of socialism and socialist politicians.

Englewood Church of the Nazarene (known as Crosspoint Church) in Florida is a church doing the right thing. In 2013 the started a school focusing on children in their area who are from underprivileged homes and have learning disabilities. A narrow focus to be sure, but a worthy one. Who could possibly be against such an effort?

As it turns out, the state government. After having operated for three years the state informed the church that they needed to obtain a special permit to operate their school. The process to obtain said permit involves hiring an engineer to write a "development concept plan", written notification of those in the neighborhood, and hosting a workshop to inform the neighbors about the school. The process costs more than $10,000. Even though state law is clear about charter schools operating in churches (they can, and without special exemption), the school played ball and completed the application process. The state then promptly denied their application and began fining the church $250 per day that they continue to operate. So far the church has racked up $40,000 in fines.

Enter the Alliance Defending Freedom, who is representing the school in a federal lawsuit against the state of Florida. In their written brief they state their primary argument: “Under state law, any charter school may operate in a church building as of right without obtaining a special exception. At least two charter schools and one public school are currently operating in the residential, single-family zone without a special exception. But religious schools such as Englewood Christian must go through a costly special exception process to operate in a church building.” The suit accuses the state of violating the federal Religious Land Use act, the Institutionalized Persons act, and the US Constitution's First Amendment.

As mentioned last week, there is a global rise in opposition to Christianity. I'm not going to make any predictions as to what this means from a prophecy perspective, but it is important that we understand the times. The opposition may be more fierce and brutal in places like China, Africa and the Middle East, but western Europe and the United states are not immune. While the Constitution provides the US with Religious freedom and protections, it cannot stand up for us. Instead, we must stand up for it, and it's guarantees. For this reason, agencies like the Alliance for Defending Freedom are important. As believer's we ought to look out for each other, fight for religious liberty both in the courts and at the ballot box.

One final note for this weeks Bible in Media, the form of government known as "socialism" by nature is opposed to Christianity. It takes the ministry of the church, that is caring for the poor, elderly and disadvantage and makes them state responsibilities. What is more, it denies churches the ability to perform these ministries because socialist governments need to communicate that the people cannot do without the government. In America, most socialists call the Democrat party home, but not all. They others usually describe themselves as "big-government conservatives." They may have some different ideas about how the economy works, but the end goal is the same: government control. So I ask you to take a careful look at your elected local, state and federal government workers. There is an election coming up next year, and we need to make good choices if we want the oppression of the Christian church to end.

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