God and Country and the Tea Party

TEA Party to GOP establishment: enough already.
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The New Jersey Tea Party Caucus will host its first annual God and Country Conference this Saturday in East Windsor, NJ. Caucus leaders say they want to galvanize pastors to fight actively for liberty, before Americans lose it.

God and Country conference: goals

The New Jersey Tea Party Caucus sets out the goals of the God and Country Conference on its site:

to inspire and motivate the people of God to [play active roles] in matters of citizenship….Our First Amendment right to worship as we see fit is [under attack. So we must] understand the threats [to] our Judeo/Christian values [and] how to rise up and defend against these threats.

RoseAnn Salanitri, who leads the Caucus, told CNAV what those threats are. The key threat: government presumes to censor the pulpit. Anyone can see that easily. Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code forbids a pastor to endorse a political candidate. (Thanks, Lyndon Baines Johnson.) Many liberal groups, like Americans United for the Separation of Church and State, construe that to mean that no pastor may say anything remotely politically sensitive.

The Gadsden flag: symbol of the Tea Party. The NJ Tea Party Caucus will address God and Country.

Christopher Gadsden’s “Don’t Tread On Me” flag, the unofficial symbol of the Tea Party movement. Photo: User Vikrum/Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 3.0 Unported License

Worse than this law are proposals for “hate crimes laws” that forbid a pastor to preach any part of the Bible that criticizes, or condemns, the activities of “protected groups.” Until 2008, Pennsylvania had a “hate crime law” on its books. Police arrested 11 Christians for preaching against homosexuality. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court struck that law down. (Marcavage v. Rendell, 951 A.2d 345 (2008).) Specifically the Court unanimously adopted a lower court order as its own, together with the court’s reasoning. But the lower court said only that the legislature had not enacted this law properly. It did not rule on freedom of religion or speech.

This kind of legislative and judicial sleight-of-hand is one motive for the God and Country Conference. The other is to object to the notion that a Christian mustn’t take part in politics, because “the Kingdom of God is not of this world.” (See also “Christians and Pseudo-Christians” by long-time activist Nick Purpura.)

God and Country conference: program and speakers

The God and Country conference program has two keynote speeches and three breakout sessions. Demetrios K. Stratis, a lawyer in Fair Lawn, NJ, will speak first. He has pressed or defended many religious-freedom cases. He will speak on The First Amendment Under Fire.

The Rev. Stephen Louis Craft is a long-time prison chaplain. He will talk about “social justice” and why it cannot be a Christian principle. It sounds good, but it breaks at least one and possibly two of the Ten Commandments. It also makes people lazy, another thing the Bible condemns.

In the three breakout sessions:

  • Frank Cottone of Monmouth County, NJ, will remind listeners that America has a Christian heritage.
  • RoseAnn Salanitri will discuss “globalism” in light of end-times prophecies by Daniel and by John the Revelator.
  • Brad Winship serves as pastor of the Harbor Bible Fellowship in Laurence Harbor, NJ. He will contrast liberalism with conservatism and show which of these comports with the Bible.

If you go…

The God and Country Conference will take place at the Holiday Inn at East Windsor, 399 Monmouth Street, East Windsor, NJ 08520. Doors will open at 9:30 a.m. The program will run from 10:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. and will include continental breakfast and lunch. Admission is $65.00 per person, payable on-line or at the door. (Clergy admission is $30.00 per person.)