By Robert Barron, Staff Writer
Enid News & Eagle
ENID, Okla. —
Cal Thomas, a nationally syndicated newspaper columnist and commentator for Fox News, spoke about Christian living today, and answered political questions Sunday at Emmanuel Baptist Church.
During his two morning addresses, Thomas spoke on living as a person of faith in today’s society.
Thomas’ column is featured in the Enid News & Eagle.
During an evening session, Thomas answered questions from those attending, some who were not members of Emmanuel Baptist Church.
When asked about a line between preaching and being political, he said the idea when churches were granted tax exemption was they would not indulge in politics. However, that is perverted by black churches that regularly endorse candidates, he said.
“The purpose of pastors is to preach Jesus Christ and to disciple. I don’t go to church to hear a political message,” Thomas said.
During a recent National Prayer Breakfast, a Washington, D.C., physician attacked President Obama over his policies, and Thomas was asked about the incident. He told the audience while he agreed with everything the individual said, the prayer breakfast is not intended to embarrass any president, Democrat or Republican. It is to draw people closer to Jesus, he said.
Many of the questions related to the new Affordable Care Act, commonly referred to as Obamacare. Thomas said the principal behind it is to have young people who are not sick paying into the system to cover older Americans who have health issues. He said the law will have a devastating impact on American business. Many are cutting back on full-time employees to get below the federal requirements. Businesses also are not hiring people, which is one reason the unemployment rate remains high.
“The money would be better spent finding a cure for Alzheimer’s,” he said.
He said a number of conservative organizations had a plan, which is market-driven. He said to get politicians out of the way and let the market drive it.
In response to one question, Thomas said the pressure in Washington, D.C., is tremendous.
“The hubris, the egos, the narcissism. They make Hollywood look humble,” he said.
In response to another question, Thomas said Washington is broken. But local actions can make a difference. The actions of states can limit the federal government. He told Christians to pray for their politicians.
Discussing the Middle East, Thomas said the doctrine of Muslims is to kill America.
“The problem with the Middle East is those people are crazy. They say America is the great Satan, women have no rights, they should keep themselves completely covered at all times. Why don’t we believe them?” he said.
If the U.S. knocks out Assad, Syria will have another fanatic take place, or an al-Qaida group. America must strengthen, he said.
“There is value in being feared by your enemies,” Thomas said.
During an interview with the Enid News & Eagle earlier in the day, Thomas said people of faith should not expect others to behave as they do.
“We shouldn’t expect righteous behavior from people who don’t share our beliefs,” Thomas said.
He said the social movements in the United States did not consider that rule. Morality cannot be legislated. According to Scripture, everything is going in the right direction. It is not more difficult for people of faith now than it was in Jesus’ time, and Christians are not persecuted for their faith, although that is coming, Thomas said.
“The Scripture teaches that’s an inevitable part of the future,” he said.
There are laws and rules enforced now that limit Christians’ right to express their views. In England, there are lawsuits filed against people who speak against a “homosexual lifestyle,” Thomas said. In schools, a student can write an essay opposing religion, but if they write one in favor of religion, the principal can censor them, he said, quoting The Rutherford Institute.
“It’s all a part of the package. You can’t change on your own — the power of the gospel is the only thing that changes life,” he said.
Thomas said most attempts to make wholesale change start with changing the cultural impact, but he said people must change themselves before trying to change cultural impact. That is a lesson learned from Prohibition, he said.
Those who would eliminate guns do not address the real cause of violence in America, he said. Speaking on the Duncan shooting of an Australian man, Thomas said the Australian prime minister said it is because of America’s weak gun laws. But laws do not change people.
“Laws can’t make people moral or respect human life. Christians follow their leader and feed the hungry, clothe the naked and (lower) their enemies,” he said.
To put those commands in a practical way, he said, people should volunteer to work in their local resource centers that help women, and feed the hungry and care for people in need. He called on them to share the gospel with people while helping to care for them.
“If every church in America cared for one hungry person, we would eliminate poverty in America,” Thomas said.
Thomas said conservatives want to make poor people “unpoor.” However, they have missed the boat by letting the Democrats set the agenda in the past. Now they must prove they are not racist, or do not care for the poor.
“You can’t prove a negative,” he said.
Thomas said his whole point is that people must start locally and do the things they can do. Even if they elect moral people, morality will not trickle down. No laws or politicians can force a man to be loyal to his wife and stay married to her. People are limited in what they can do.
The people themselves are more empowered to make changes. The founders of the nation wanted limited government and checks and balances so Americans would be free, Thomas said. He said the American people do not pay enough attention between elections.
“You need to keep your eye on them. These are people who can tax your business, tax your income, start a war and send your children off to fight,” he said.
Later Sunday night, Thomas talked about the Great Revival of 1857, in which two New York City businessmen began praying for America regularly. That caught on, and more and more people joined. At the height of the revival, 10,000 people a week were being saved.
“Change comes from within,” he said.