Good afternoon to you. Just popping in for a bit. So much in the headlines this afternoon but this in particular popped out at me. That is because of what ended up on my map outside during my chalk drawing this morning! It seems that the boundaries of expanded religious freedoms President Trump has put forth are being tested by unlikely sources in Belle Plain, Minn! This is the Pandora’s box that we open with regards to religion and the monuments that different religions choose to represent them. Not everyone worships the same God. Not everyone even believes in a God or Goddess. If you promote rigorous and vigorous protections to one walk of faith, you are beholden to them all or none of them at all. If you allow crosses, so comes inverted pentagrams. This is the threshold we are crossing with mixing religion and politics. This is why I do not fly under any one banner or label for religion. This is why I believe our founding Fathers wanted separation between matters of the Church and matters of State. Labels are exclusive, labels are divisive and labels along with greed are at the core of most of the blood shed on past and present battlefields. Kyle and I both agree that if we were still attending a church, if the leader of that church started talking politics we would walk and never return! Tread carefully “Tiger!” Religion and the matters of spiritual beliefs are not just trivial “business deals.”
A small Minnesota town is about to get the nation’s first public Satanic Temple monument
The Satanic Temple announced Friday that it had received approval to install the monument, which is in production. Within a couple of months, it is expected to take its place alongside a flag-lined walkway, a marble plaque and a retired UH-1H Iroquois “Huey” helicopter positioned as if it is hovering above the ground.
The approval of the monument brings a new twist to a long-running battle that began last summer, when someone put up a metal silhouette of an infantryman kneeling before a cross. A resident objected, calling it a religious symbol that violates the principle of the separation of church and state.
After months of acrimony, the city decided to make part of the park a “public forum,” open to virtually any group that wants to honor the town’s veterans. The Satanic Temple took them up on it.
It is not the first such effort from the Satanic Temple, a provocative organization that often pushes the boundaries on free speech and religious liberties to prove a point about religion in public spaces; last year, it started its “After School Satan” clubs as a way of challenging Christian evangelical groups that sponsor after-school religious programming. But this is the first time that the group has succeeded in having a monument placed on public land, said Lucien Greaves, spokesman for the organization, which is based in Salem, Mass.
Belle Plaine officials “didn’t offer any resistance, to their credit,” said Greaves, who also goes by the name Doug Mesner. “We genuinely want something that will honor the veterans. It’s not about being shocking or upsetting the locals, though it’s an inevitable byproduct.”
City officials considered that the new policy could invite provocateurs, but approved it anyway.
“It was discussed during our city council meeting when we authored the policy that groups that were unpopular or otherwise would put monuments in the park,” said Michael Votca, the city administrator.
The flare-up in this town about 45 miles southwest of Minneapolis comes as the country is mired in a heated battle over religious freedom and the rights of people of faith, particularly conservative Christians, to opt out of activities that support same-sex marriage, abortion or birth control.
On Thursday, President Trump signed an executive order aimed at expanding religious protections that, among other things, soften enforcement of the Johnson Amendment, which bars tax-exempt houses of worship from engaging in political speech.
But as the Satanic Temple has tried to demonstrate, expanding religious liberties can have unintended consequences. Because the Constitution bars the establishment of a national religion, it requires that the same protections be extended to people of all faiths, including ones with disturbing connotations such as satanism and those who profess no faith.
Greaves said that his organization is now considering applying for the same tax-exempt status that churches and synagogues enjoy. It previously avoided doing so to freely engage in politics. But with Trump’s executive order, he said, “there’s absolutely no advantage to not be tax-exempt. A lot more organizations should apply and put it to the test.”
He said that his organization does not worship the devil. Rather, he said, it is a “nontheistic religious organization” devoted to art, free speech and individuality, whose values “are no less deeply held” than those professing a belief in God.
In its application to the city, the organization described the monument as a “black steel cube with embossed inverted pentagrams with inlaid gold on four sides. An inverted helmet rests on the top of the cube. A plaque on one side of the cube reads: ‘In honor of Belle Plaine veterans who fought to defend the United States and its Constitution’.”
Belle Plaine has been grappling with its park policy since last summer, when the two-foot statue of the kneeling soldier appeared. Katie Novotny, a Belle Plaine resident and veterans advocate, said it was created by a local vet who died shortly after it was put up. It is affectionately dubbed “Joe.”
Novotny contends that it is not a religious display. Joe, she said, is simply kneeling at a headstone fashioned into the shape of a cross, which is a common way for gravestones to be depicted.
“I don’t think 90 percent of people see it as a religious symbol when it’s in that context,” she said.
Nevertheless, fearing a lawsuit, the city ordered the cross removed in January. Someone from the local Veterans of Foreign Wars group was tasked with sawing it off the statue, she said. The person given that job “said it was the hardest thing he ever had to do,” she said.
The decision immediately prompted protests. People fashioned their own crosses and defiantly installed them next to the statue. Around the town, Novotny said, citizens who supported the original display put replicas in their windows — including the cross.
The city eventually hit upon a compromise. It established a “limited public forum” within the park in which groups could erect, with city permission, a monument honoring the town’s veterans. The permits last for a year, and no more than 10 monuments may be displayed at a time.
The cross was welded back onto the statue. Joe and his cross returned to the park last month.
Novotny said she does not object to the Satanic Temple’s plans. “If they want to come here from Massachusetts and put something up to honor our veterans in Belle Plaine, go for it,” she said. “They deserve to be honored.”
Some other places have opted to ban all religious displays when faced with this type of conflict. In 2015, the Oklahoma Supreme Court ruled that a monument of the Ten Commandments had to be removed from its grounds for violating a state prohibition against use of public property to promote one religion.
Another group planning to apply for a spot at the Belle Plaine park is the Freedom From Religion Foundation, which objected to the cross display. It is planning to commission a stone tribute to “atheists in foxholes” — a take on an old saying suggesting that everyone finds God when faced with death.
Annie Laurie Gaylor, co-president of the Freedom From Religion Foundation, predicted that city officials will come to regret opening the park to all displays.
“They’re going to run out of space,” she said. “It will just be littered. . . . One day, they will look at everything and decide, was it really worth it?”
I typed up the 6 and 7th for you with my notes. I know it’s taboo to write in books but I do, especially this one because I as you can see, I’ve come back to it and I like to see what stuck out at me before about the messages.
*my note Tool of “fit” man inserted into scripture CONTROL (2015)
“The secret of the Lord is with them that fear him.” (Psa. 25:14.)
There are secrets of Providence which God’s dear children may learn. His dealing with them often seem to the outward eye, dark and terrible. Faith looks deeper and says, “This is God’s secret. You look only on the outside; I can look deeper and see the hidden meaning.”
Sometimes diamonds are done up in rough packages, so that their value cannot be seen. when the Tabernacle was built in the wilderness there was nothing rich in its outside appearance. the costly things were all within, and its outward covering of rough badger skin gave no hint of the valuable things which it contained.
God may send you, dear friends, some costly packages. Do not worry if they are done up in rough wrappings. You may be sure there are treasures of love, and kindness, and wisdom hidden within. If we take what He sends, and trust Him for the goodness in it, even in the dark, we shall learn the meaning of the secrets of Providence.- A.B Simpson
*my note – Most of the message here applicable to what comes to me today to include the word “Fear” — I will not Fear the God of my understanding I will LOVE God — I will Fear MEN who play God, overcome my Fear w/LOVE — Tool of God is LOVE!
“Not until each loom is silent,
And the shuttles cease to fly,
Will God unroll the pattern
And explain the reason why
The dark threads are as needful
In the Weaver’s skillful hand,
As the threads of gold and silver
For the pattern which He planned.”
He that is mastered by Christ is the master of every circumstance. Does the circumstance press hard against you? Do not push it away. It is the Potter’s hand. Your mastery will come not by arresting its progress, but by enduring its discipline for it is not only shaping you into a vessel of beauty and honor, but it is making your resources available.
“He spoke a parable unto them…that men ought always to pray, and not to faint.” (Luke 18:1.)
No temptation in the life of intercession is more common than this of failure to persevere. We begin to pray for a certain thing; we put up our petitions for a day, a week, a month; and the, receiving as yet no definite answer, straightway we faint, and cease altogether from prayer concerning it.
This is a deadly fault. It is simple the snare of many beginnings with no completions. It is ruinous in all spheres of life.
The man who forms the habit of beginning without finishing has simply formed the habit of failure. The man who begins to pray about a thing ad does not pray it through to a successful issue of answer has formed the same habit in prayer.
To faint is to fail; then defeat begets disheartenment, and unfaith in the reality of prayer, which is fatal to all success.
But someone says, “How long shall we pray? do we not come to a place where we may cease from our petitions and rest the matter in God’s hands?
There is but one answer. Pray until the thing you pray for has actually been granted, or until you have the assurance in your heart that it will be.
Only at one of these two places dare we stay our importunity, for prayer is not only a calling upon God, but also a conflict with Satan. And inasmuch as God is using our intercession as a mighty factor of victory in that conflict, He alone, and not we, must decide when we dare cease from our petitioning. So we dare not stay our prayer until the answer itself has come, or until we receive the assurance that it will come.
In the first case we stop because we see. In the other, we stop because we believe, and the faith of our heart is just as sure as the sigh of our eyes; for it is faith from yes, the faith of God, within us.
More and more, as we live the prayer life, shall we come to experience and recognize this God-given assurance, and know when to rest quietly in it, or when to continue our petitioning until we receive it. — The Practice of Prayer
Tarry at the promise till God meets you there. He always returns by way of His promises. – Selected
(What I have learned with praying is to not place any attachment or expectation on the outcome to my prayer. For me, prayer has become the latter of the two courses mentioned in this message. When I pray for someone or about something, I try to let it go so that God can do what is best. As human beings we do not always know what is best. Our vision is limited to what has happened up until the moment we are in….the rest is speculation and uncertainty. There are so many individual pieces that must fall into place for a single moment in time to occur. )