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It's Tuesday, April 26 2022. I'm Joshua Claycamp. And this is The Observer, a reflection upon the news from a biblical perspective in order to help Christians understand how we need to think about current events.
We're going to be looking at three distinct stories today. The first we're going to consider is the announcement yesterday of Elon Musk's decision to purchase Twitter. And we're going to be evaluating the story from the biblical perspective of ownership, and specifically what the Bible has to say about ownership and the stewardship of property to the glory of God. Next, we're going to look at the United States Supreme Court's decision to hear oral arguments yesterday, In a case between a high school football coach who was fired for praying on the 50 yard line after football games, and his decision to enact his faith within the public square. And last but not least, we're going to look at Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announcement yesterday to launch an inquiry into his use of the emergencies act. We're going to look at these three stories in a particular order because we come to the most significant one for us as Canadians. The announcement yesterday from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to establish an inquiry into his use of the Emergency Powers Act, we need to be able to understand that there are several dynamics at play that come to bear on the righteousness or the legitimacy of Troodos use of this emergencies act.
But first, we begin with Elon Musk. Indeed, yesterday, Twitter announced that it had accepted Elon Musk's bid to take over the company, which gave the world's richest man control over the influential social media network, where he is also among one of its most powerful users. The two sides worked through the night Sunday night into Monday morning in order to hash out a deal. And early on Monday, the Wall Street Journal reported that Twitter and Mr. Musk had indeed reached an agreement on Twitter's value. The $44 billion deal marks the close of a dramatic courtship and a sharp change of heart at Twitter, where many executives and board members initially opposed Mr. Musk's takeover approach.
The deal has polarized Twitter employees, users and regulators over the power that tech giants wield in determining the parameters of acceptable discourse on the internet, and how those companies enforce their rules. This takeover if it goes through and as approved by the Securities and Exchange Commission, would mark one of the biggest acquisitions in tech history and it will likely have global repercussions for years to come relating to how billions of people use social media. Mr. Musk, who is also the chief executive of Tesla, an electric vehicle company and Space Exploration Technologies, a rocket launch company, must find a way to balance his commitment to less moderation with the business needs of a company that has struggled to reconcile freewheeling and at times, often offensive conversation with content that will appeal to advertisers. In fact, the decision to purchase Twitter came as a result of Musk's stated commitment to establishing a social media platform as a type of public square where conversation can happen for the purposes of establishing freedom of speech, and free dialogue that is unregulated and unrestricted.
Now as Christians, we need to step back there are two issues here that we need to look at one has to do with ownership as a whole. Now, as Musk has purchased the company, the initial response from Twitter was not favorable to his purchase, because they understood exactly what he was wanting to do with it. And there can be no doubt that the leadership and the board at Twitter objected to Musk's criticism of their management and their leadership of the company in terms of restricting certain users and certain major political figures from being able to freely express their views and their opinions on Twitter, which Musk described as being akin to the 21st century Town Hall, or public square. And so as we think about all of this, we have to ask ourselves the question, is it wrong for an individual a private individual to own a company that is as large and as significant as one like Twitter?
Sometimes people think of ownership of property as a kind of greed that is morally tainted, and they imagine that in a perfect world, people would not even own personal possessions. However, the Bible does not support this idea. In fact, the teaching of Scripture is diametrically opposed. God wants us to have ownership and stewardship for that matter over Possessions. And this is apparent when God gives the command in Exodus chapter 20, and verse 15. You shall not steal When God gives this command that we're not allowed to steal, or take things away from other people, the implication is that there are things that are simply owned by others, you can own things, and other people can own things. And when other people own things, it is not right for you to take those things which they own. This is the nature of stealing. So when God gives the command in Exodus chapter 20, thou shalt not steal, or You shall not steal. The implication is quite obvious. God intends for us to own personal possessions. If that was not God's intention, then the commanded not to steal would simply make no sense.
The reason why God gives us this command You shall not steal, is that the ownership of possessions is a fundamental way that we imitate God's sovereignty over the universe, by being permitted to exercise our own smaller degree of sovereignty over a tiny portion of the universe. That is the things that we own. When we take care of our possessions, we imitate God in His taking care of the whole universe, and he delights to see us imitate him in this way. So in addition, when we take care of our possessions, it gives us the opportunity to imitate many other attributes of God, such as personal wisdom, knowledge, a love of beauty, there is an element of creativity, and there can be a love for others in the way that we use our property. If we use our property, those things that we own, in a spirit of kindness, fairness, and in an exercise of bringing blessing and joy to others. In this sense, Christians sometimes refer to the ownership of personal property as stewardship. This is done in order to remind us that what we own, we do not own Absolutely, but we only own as stewards of these things which we recognize that God has given to us. And as a result, we're trying to remind ourselves that we're really just taking care of what belongs to God. This is because God says in Psalm 24, one, the earth is the Lord's, and the fullness of it thereof, we know that everything belongs to God. Nevertheless, God allows us to have ownership over personal property, possessions.
And so as we consider why it is the God has allowed us to have ownership over our possessions, we have to ask the question, what should we be doing with the things that we own? Indeed, there are many good things we can do, all of which can glorify God. One good use of our resources, paradoxically, is that we could give some of them away. This is so that others can use them wisely and not just we ourselves. For example, we can give to the church in order to help it's evangelism and teaching. And in that way, we build up the church or we can give some of our possessions to meet the needs of others. And especially this is noteworthy in terms of what the Scriptures teach about giving some of what we own, to the poor. And Hebrews 1316. The Bible tells us Do not neglect to do good, and to share what you have. For such sacrifices are pleasing to God.
The Bible frequently speaks of the importance of regularly giving away some of what we have been blessed with. Proverbs chapter three and verse nine says, Honor the Lord with your wealth, and with the first fruits of all your produce. And Acts chapter 20 And verse 35, we are told that we must help the weak and to remember the words of our Lord Jesus, how He himself said, quote, It is more blessed to give than to receive unquote, giving is important, because it demonstrates it demonstrates trust in God. When I give away $100 I'm essentially saying, God, I am trusting you to provide for $100 of my future needs, because I can no longer depend on this $100 that I am now giving away. And this way, giving money away shifts our trust, away from our money, and back to our God. And God is pleased when we give because it is not only a demonstration of our trust in Him, but this action of giving reflects his love for others. In giving, we are showing his mercy we are showing his compassion for those in need.
Now, in understanding all of this, we recognize that God allows us the right to choose, he gives us personal property, he protects that personal property with the command not to steal, and at the same time He invites us to use our personal property in order to bring blessing or mercy and compassion into the lives of others. This is a wonderful privilege. Now ownership can be abused. This is true. We can be greedy with our possessions, but the distortion of something good must not cause us to think that the thing itself is evil. possessions are not evil in themselves, and the ownership of possessions is not wrong in itself. Nor is ownership something that can be understood as being morally neutral. In itself. The ownership of possessions is something that is created by God. Therefore, God intends for it to be a good that we are to enjoy. But the last thing we need to point out is that when God gives us ownership over possessions, that ownership provides multiple opportunities for glorifying God. Therefore, ownership is a moral imperative. And with ownership comes moral responsibility.
I celebrate Elon Musk's purchase of Twitter, because I believe that Musk's desire is to use this social media platform in a manner that would be more glorifying to God than the way in which it is currently being used. As we reflect on various media reports over the past several years pertaining to Twitter, we react, we recognize that various individuals on Twitter have become what is now popularly known as trolls. They seek to elicit hateful and heinous speech, they attack each other. And they generally act at times in manners that are simply out of balance when it comes to Christian conduct, and the morality that is to guide our public discourse. Now, we can see all of this for what it is. And at the same time, we recognize that there is a good that is provided to the community by the social media company known as Twitter. And it is apparent that Twitter and their desires to regulate the content that takes place on their platform, have at times erred and erred badly in terms of allowing their biases, perhaps political inclinations, to dictate the choices that they make with regards to whom they allow on their media platform.
Musk's stated decision in purchasing Twitter really revolved around a commitment to providing an equal opportunity for every individual to be able to share what they think. Now there is a great deal of tension here because if everyone is allowed to share what they think and if there are no restraints placed upon the exercise of free speech on this platform, it seems likely that advertisers will not want to have promotional material associated with their companies, their products, or their services placed right alongside speech that can be hateful, mean and downright cruel. How Musk will balance the need for advertising, in order to prove provide a profit to the employees of Twitter alongside the need to allow for the exercise of free speech. Well, this is a question that Elon Musk is going to have to wrestle with. And it is policies that he is going to have to think through very carefully and implement in order to bring Twitter to the standard which he desires. Having said all of this, though, it is worth noting that Musk's use of his wealth in order to acquire a possession such as Twitter for the goals and the reasons that he has publicly stated, this is commendable. Now Musk is by no means a Christian. Nevertheless, it is apparent that he is acting in a manner in which he is trying to secure a freedom and a good for all for others, not merely for himself. And in this respect, we can be grateful for what Musk is doing and we can pray that it will be used to the glory of God.
But next we turn our attention to a question of the expression of an individual's personal religious beliefs within the public square. Yesterday, the United States Supreme Court seemed ready during oral arguments to side with a high school football coach, who was fired for praying at the 50 yard line after football games. Joseph Kennedy filed suit against the school after he was not retained as a high school football coach by the Bremerton, Washington High School. He had conducted postgame prayers on multiple occasions, which was later determined to be a violation of a district policy. When he would hold these prayers he would often pray at midfield alone. It is considered to be one of the biggest cases in recent years involving free speech, religious liberty and a case involving the United States constitutions First Amendment and establishment clause. That clause reads that the United States Congress shall make no establishment of religion.
The courts six member conservative bloc saved its toughest questions for Richard cat ski, who was the attorney for the school district. Cat ski continuously argued that Kennedy had intentionally drawn attention to himself by inviting media members to the games in order to observe him praying at the 50 yard line after the game was over. Caskey argued that this should be struck down by the court because Kennedy's prayer should be viewed by the court as prohibited because it is government And sponsored speech, which would be a violation of that establishment clause which says that the United States Congress shall make no establishment of religion. Cathy's argument essentially runs this way. His belief was that because Kennedy was praying as a publicly paid employee, that his prayer should be viewed as speech that was being paid for by public funds, and the speech being religious could be misconstrued as being a publicly funded exercise of religion, which Congress is expressly forbidden from doing.
Chief Justice John Roberts asking the questions said, quote, you focused a lot on the facts of Coach Kennedy publicizing the dispute. He went on to say, but what if all of that were off the table? It's simply the coach going out to midfield, kneeling, taking a knee right. Kaspersky said that such a case would be closer from the district's perspective.
But just justice Brett Kavanaugh interjected and asked if the school was arguing that it could legally fire a coach for performing the sign of the cross, either before or during a game. Kavanaugh said quote he is visible to everyone.
Justice Clarence Thomas went on to ask Caskey quote if the coach instead of taking a knee for prayer took a knee during the national anthem because of moral opposition to racism. How would your school district respond in that situation? These are all very pointed questions.
But Justice Amy Kony Barrett told Caskey. Quote, if we disagree with you that this was government speech. So if we think this was actually private speech, we don't even get into the establishment clause because then there's no state action. And quote,
Laurie Wingham, an attorney with the Beckett law for religious liberty said that the oral arguments went very well for Kennedy. And Becca had filed a friend of the court brief on behalf and in support of Kennedy. She went on to tweet after the oral arguments at the Supreme Court yesterday that quote, the court sounds like it will protect Coach Kennedy.
When ham says that the court should overturn the so called lemon test which has been used since 1971. To determine the constitutionality of a law that deals with religion according to this lemon test, a law is constitutional if it one has a secular purpose, to neither advances nor inhibits religion and three, doesn't foster government entangle with religion, went hand went on to say it is time for the lemon test to go under lemon neutrality toward religion basically means no religion in public. This is as unconstitutional as it is irrational.
This leads us questions. This leads us Christians to asking certain questions, is it actually possible to divide the secular from the sacred, if you're a regular listener to the observer, you might be familiar with the terminology. We've used it here before. Perhaps the most dominant religion within society today is the religion which is known as secular humanism. What's interesting about secular humanism, though, is that those who practice and observe secular humanism, would not think themselves to be religion. Within secular humanism, you have a focus on the mundane, that is events which pertain to your everyday life, what you can see right in front of you those events and those responsibilities, which you must take care of immediately right in front of you.
But then you have, in addition to the secular, the sacred, which is this understanding that there is other things beyond this world that are beyond our ability to see and observe. And secular humanism essentially wants to drive a wedge between those things. They want to say that essentially all that ought to occupy our time and our attention is that which is immediately in front of us, we ought not to allow any consideration of the spiritual any, any thought or any, any concern for that which must be above the human plane of existence that is beyond this world. Within our purview, we need to keep those things out of our purview.
Now over the years secular humanism has developed there were a number of manifestos the first Humanist Manifesto was written in 1933. It contained 15 articles, but there were other manifestos as well. A second manifesto was written in 1973. It was streamlined and simplified. It contained essentially more articles, but they were much, much more concisely worded, but then there came last of all the secular humanist declaration. This was a third coalition voice for secular humanism, and it was drafted by a number of prominent individuals who are associated with humanism. The declaration was unique in that It, it's I did not want to describe the adherence of secular humanism. As religious it continued to insist that they were not religious. Even though the previous manifestos of secular humanism has suggested that they were holding to their own religion, and their own religion was essentially atheistic and evolutionary, they believe that humanity evolved, that it came as the classical Darwinian argument suggested from single cells, eventually morphing into gradually more complex organisms, and ultimately arriving at the human life that we see and know and understand. Today.
If we were to look at the Humanist Manifesto, the first one, the second Humanist Manifesto, as well as the later statement or declaration of secular humanism, a study of these three documents which show that they, they have five beliefs in common, whether you're a first manifesto person, a second manifesto, person, or whether you're one of those guys that came much later on, there are five things which secular humanism has in common.
The first is non theism, that is a denial of the existence of God all together. The second is that naturalism is essential to humanism, following from the denial of theism, they argue that everything in the universe must be explainable in terms of natural laws and natural phenomenon alone. Third, evolution is the secular humanists ultimate way to explain the origin of life. Now, either the universe and living things originated by means of the intervention of a supernatural creator. And they were created according to supernatural processes, which were initiated by that creator, or human life evolved by purely naturalistic means, which is to say, evolutionary means non theists, and in this case, secular humanists have no choice but to defend evolution. Of course, if it's the case that we all simply evolved from gradually less complicated organisms and tissues to what we see today, then along the same lines, there must be an ethical relativism, that is advocated. And it is this ethical relativism that unites secular humanists, they have a strong distaste for absolutes.
In fact, evolution dictates it, if it within evolution, we must have survival of the fittest. And so the reason I go in all of this is because within secular humanism, we have a philosophy that is being exerted upon the court, according to the so called lemon test, which was implemented back in 1971, in order to determine the constitutionality of laws. And within this lemon test, there were a couple of stages that were laid out by which judges and justices could evaluate whether or not their laws were to be constitutional. And the very first element of the lemon test was to suggest that the law had a secular purpose. But if it is to be secular, that is to push all thoughts about the spiritual or the supernatural from the realm of consideration. And so what you're saying is that the law has to be structured and written in such a way, that it doesn't give any due consideration for that which might be supernatural for that which exists beyond the realm of what can be seen and measured empirically what can be known. And as Christians looking at all of this, we understand that this is a denial of that, which is good. Because if we don't accept that there's a God, if we will not acknowledge a supreme creator, then what standard, what basis do we have to decide whether or not something is good? You see, this is a major problem, because if we are not going to allow God into our equation, and we're not going to think of human beings as ultimately being morally responsible, and ultimately accountable to God, then we've lost any objective standard by which we might even evaluate the goodness or the righteousness of laws altogether.
And that brings us to our third piece. Of course, yesterday, Justin Trudeau announced that an inquiry would be formed in order to evaluate his invocation of the emergencies act. And all of this was to be headed by a judge. The emergency act, of course, requires an inquiry to be announced within 60 days of the revocation of that act. This is in addition to the parliamentary committee, which we'll hear from public safety Minister Marco Mendocino and justice minister David lametti. On Tuesday night later this evening. Of course, the Ontario Appeal Court Judge Paul RELO, has been announced by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau as the Commissioner who will oversee and have responsibility for the inquiry. And this Ontario Appeal Court judge. Mr. Rolo will have until February 20 of next year 2023. To submit a report to parliament RELO will have people he can have people testify in public or he can demand certain documents be provided to him. In addition, he can hold private hearings. He has a wide array of responsibility and a broad path under which to conduct his business. In several lawsuits that have been filed recently in relation to the Trudeau government's invocation of the Emergency Powers Act, the government has time and again invoked cabinet confidence, which is a kind of a confidentiality that can be invoked in order to avoid providing those documents on their decision making process in invoking the Act.
Now, as we step back and look at all of this, one of the things that we need to understand here is that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is a secular humanist, which is to say that there is no objective standard of reality, he considers morality to be relative, and therefore subjective. It is what is decided upon by a majority of individuals. When we evaluate Prime Minister Troodos worldview, one of the things that we discover is that he is committed to environmentalism. If you look at every single budget that the Trudeau Government has passed, going all the way back to the original Finance Minister Bill Morneau going all the way back to when the Trudeau Government first took office in 2015. Having won a majority within parliament, one of the things we see is that big dollars always big big money is delegated designated within his budgets to the promotion and the advancement of environmental causes.
Most individuals looking at the amount of pollution that Canada contributes every year recognized that any substantial reductions within the carbon footprint and the production of greenhouse gases within Canada will not substantially alter any of these things within the world as a whole. When one considers Iran or China or even Russia for that matter. One recognizes that a 50% reduction in Canada with regards to Canada's carbon footprint would result in less than a half a percent of reduction in carbon and greenhouse greenhouse gases worldwide. Nevertheless, Trudeau obviously aware of this data is rapidly committed to an evolutionary and naturalistic viewpoint, he is committed to these things, that is his worldview. And he is contributing big dollars to this. Therefore, we understand that there is a worldview by which Justin Trudeau operates, and that worldview is human secularism.
And since this is the worldview under which Justin Trudeau operates, we understand that one of the tenets of ethical relativism of secular humanism is ethical relativism, which is to say that there are no god given absolute morals, and humanity will have the power to decide its own values, these standards may be subject to change, and they may be relative to different situations. And since there is no absolute basis for values, and God, there are no absolute values that are to be received from God.
And so as we've seen today, on the observer, we recognize that individuals have been given a God given right by the Lord Himself to own property. We also have looked at today, the fact that within God's Word, we have a right to the public expression of our faith, our religion, perhaps I didn't make this explicitly clear from the scriptures given the constraints of time. But even recently, the United States Supreme Court has struck down and we're as prepared about to strike down this case in Bremerton, Washington between the former high school coach of the Bremerton, Washington High School, Ken Kennedy, and the and the school district, because he was exercising his faith within the public sphere.
The protest, which occurred in Ottawa in February, was fundamentally a reaction against all of these various competing interests. You have the Trudeau Government believing as a result of its ethical relativism, that it is right to shut down and shutter churches to keep Christians from going to the worship of their God. At the same time, the Trudeau Government demonstrated a perfect willingness to seize property to take away the bank accounts and, and the financial possessions of those with whom they disagreed. They did this time and again, and in all of these things, as we step back as Christians and look at this, we recognize that personal property, the ownership of property is a fundamental right that God has given, which is to say the government if they're going to seize an individual's property, they need to recognize that they're interfering with God's mandate to all of humanity to exercise stewardship and have ownership and they need to provide a justification for that.
But when they do so, they recognize that a good portion of these protesters were protesting the fact that their ability to earn an income to make a wage their ability to provide for their families. All of this was restricted was restricted by the government. You will note that government politicians were not restricted in their ability to collect a paycheck off of the backs of Canadian taxpayers. But those Canadian taxpayers absolutely were restricted in their ability to pursue a career and earn a livelihood. These are questions which the Trudeau Government must answer and must give an account for way.
It remains to be seen whether or not this inquiry which the Trudeau Government announced yesterday will provide substantial oversight and meticulous and detailed investigation into what happened. We will reserve judgment until a later time, we will wait to see how judge RELO will prosecute this investigation. But these answers are deserved by the Canadian people not because of who the Canadian people are. But because of the God in heaven who bestows these rights. He gives us the right to the ownership of property and he calls all people everywhere to worship Him. And the two biggest issues which we must recognize, which we must reckon with, with regards to what happened in the pandemic with the invocation of emergency health acts and orders is that the right to property, the right to a livelihood, and the right to worship are taken. And these are a fronts to the Christian, which must be answered.
One last note. I'm always grateful to hear from my listeners. If you have a topic that you would like to see covered on the observer. Please feel free to tweet me on Twitter or to email that topic to me. Every Friday, I'm looking forward to responding in depth to questions, topics or news stories that are of curiosity to you. If you want to know how Christians need to think and respond to a particular item, I would encourage you to send those things to me those items belong to me, along with your questions.
Thanks for listening to The Observer. I'm Joshua Claycamp. You can follow me on Twitter by going to twitter.com/joshua Claycamp. The observer is a ministry of First Baptist Church where Christians seek to discern the news differently. For more information on First Baptist Church of Kamloops just go to first Baptist Kamloops dot o RG or for more information on first Baptist classical Academy. Just go to first Baptist classical.org And I'll see you again tomorrow for more of The Observer.