The first indication that things would not go well for religious liberty this week was when the White House for the first time in her history was used for a political purpose. In years past the buildings in Washington D.C. have always been viewed with respect and above the petty political battles, whether the Supreme Court, the Capital, or the White House. After the Supreme Court decision, the White House was lit up in rainbow, to celebrate.
Shortly after the decision several county clerks resigned their position. In Montana a man applied for a second marriage license citing the marriage case. Already a Catholic School was sued for following their religious precepts.
A gay teacher sued Mount de Sales Academy in Macon, Georgia because he was fired from the position of band director. He claimed discrimination based upon sexual orientation. The school has stated that they were just following the teaching to the Catholic Church. The teacher claims that the school's hand book did not require adherence to church doctrine or living, but the school points out that such adherence should be a logical conclusion of working with a school.
This is only the beginning. Churches will likely lose their tax exempt status. Religious Universities and Colleges will lose their ability to receive government funding - the GI Bill, or student loans, because of this many will close down. Some will possibly loss their accreditation. Religious business will have to close down, stop participating in weddings, or comply. Religious charities will find themselves in trouble. Hospitals and Adoption agencies will find themselves under pressure to comply or close down. Already a religious business has closed down because they refuse to participate in homosexual weddings, and thus have closed their business to all weddings. Businesses that do some work with weddings may be able to survive, but the businesses that mostly revolve around weddings will most likely close their doors. As one former Christian print shop manager told me if he still owned the business all of the preset wedding invitations and wedding planning guides would have gone into the dumpster on June 26 at 10:05am. A Print shop can survive without doing weddings but a photography business likely cannot.
Although this may be sound depressing the fact is that the Church has weathered worst troubles before. We will survive this. In the past the Church has overcome impossible odds. We can overcome this as well. The West has survived tests before our civilization can do so again.
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Pray for Pastor Saeed Abedini -- that his faith will remain strong and be strengthened, that God will continue to protect him through this terrible time, and that international leaders will demand and secure his release.
Two weeks ago, the Supreme Court upheld the right of the owners of Hobby Lobby to practice their religion. Hobby Lobby was threatened with millions of dollars of fines if they did not pay for abortions, but the Supreme Court struck down the HHS mandate. This was a victory for religious freedom and we are all thankful that the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the rights of the owners of Hobby Lobby.
However, this battle is not over. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said last Tuesday, "The one thing we’re going to do during this work period, sooner rather than later, is to ensure that women’s lives are not determined by virtue of five white men, this Hobby Lobby decision is outrageous, and we’re going to do something about it. People are going to have to walk down here and vote, and if they vote with the five men on the Supreme Court, I think they’re going to be treated unfavorably come November with the elections." Then, Senator Pat Murray (D) of Washington introduced S.B. 2578 to "repeal" Burwell vs. Hobby Lobby Inc.
Please note that the Supreme Court would UPHOLD this law. The Hobby Lobby decision was decided under a 1993 law known as the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. This law was enacted after the Supreme Court decision in Employment Div vs. Smith. In this decision, the court stopped using the compelling interest test for religious freedom cases involving a neutral law of general applicability. Because the Hobby Lobby decision was made based on a federal law and not the first amendment, the US Congress is ALLOWED to change the law to ensure that there is no exemption for Hobby Lobby.
We must fight S.B. 2578 to the very end. While it may be unlikely that five republican senators will vote to allow this bill to go up for a vote in the Senate, we must remember that republicans have voted to allow other bills to go up for a vote. And while we would not expect the House to pass this bill we must watch them carefully. Remember, this is an election year and politicians are often more likely to cave to demands in an attempt to gain more votes.
We ask you to join us and tens of thousands of your fellow Americans in petitioning the White House to take action in the case of Meriam Ibrahim, who has been sentenced to death in Sudan for converting to Christianity.
Please read the full petition below. The petition needs 100,000 signatures by June 27th to receive an official response from President Obama's administration. At the time of this post, there are just over 41,000 signatures, which means 59,000 signatures must be added in 17 days. Please SIGN and SHARE the petition on the WhiteHouse.gov petition site.
We strongly urge the administration to take action in the case of Dr. Meriam Ibrahim, the Sudanese mother who with her toddler and newborn baby (who pending the proper documentation are American citizens) is languishing inside a prison in Khartoum. While Meriam awaits execution for the “crime” of converting to Christianity, her children are forced to be at her side in a prison that a 2008 U.N. document reported as having an infant mortality rate of one per day in the summer. No innocent child should be in this situation. We urge you to pressure the Sudanese government to release Meriam and her children so she can escape execution and possible death of her children and be rejoined with her husband in the U.S. Please grant her expedited safe haven in the U.S., where she could seek asylum.
In a five to four decision the Supreme Court upheld a city council's right to pray before a meeting. The first amendment challenge argued that the Town of Greece was establishing a religion by merely recognizing the divine hand of God prior to meetings. The fact that no religion was forced on anyone by the city council recognizing the hand of the Almighty did not seem to make a difference to those opposing the town of Greece. Thankfully the Court sided with Greece. This case along with the other cases in recent years have shown a trend towards a reversal in Court precedent, from the doctrine of separation toward a more traditional interpretation of the First Amendment. The traditional and correct interpretation holds that the First Amendment does allow members of the Government to engage in religious activity - it just does not allow the Government to force a religious belief on the entire nation.
This decision is a blow to those who wish to see religion compartmentalized and taken out of the public eye. Ben Sharipo in his excellent article explains why the break down of religion in public is so important to the left; "The greatest bulwark against an overreaching government, as tyrants know, is a religious population. That is because religious people form communities of interest adverse to government control of their lives; religious communities rely on their families and each other rather than an overarching government utilizing force. The greatest obstacle to the welfare state is not greed but private charity that makes the welfare state irrelevant; the greatest obstacle to re-education of children in the name of the collective is allegiance to a higher power. More than that, the greatest obstacle to the state as god is an actual God above the state."
We are proud to endorse JD Miniear for Congress in Indiana's Seventh Congressional District. JD is a strong conservative who will fight for religious liberty and against Obamacare, advocate for a Balanced Budget Amendment, work to stop Common Core, and bring common-sense Indiana leadership to Washington, DC. After the primary, Miniear will go on to face incumbent Democratic Congressman Andre Carson in the general election.
Here are two easy ways you can help JD Miniear:
“Silence in the face of evil is itself evil: God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.”- Dietrich Bonhoeffer
In recent weeks America has seen an assault on Religious Liberty. After the passage of the Health Care law, Catholic and Protestant non-profit organizations and businesses faced a choice - buy coverage for abortion or pay a fine. In other words compromise their religious beliefs or face heavy fines. Suddenly the First Amendment became merely a sentiment, it no longer protected people as they go about their daily life. Many in the church have refused to speak out about the danger of losing this first freedom. Religious Liberty is about much more than the Government allowing one to believe a set of philosophic and theological principles, it is about the Government allowing individuals to put into practice their belief in their daily lives.
The Supreme Court last week refused to hear the case of a photographer who refused to participate in a homosexual wedding, because she believed that marriage is supposed to be between one man and one women for life. Therefore, by participating in their "wedding," she would be supporting and promoting their way of life - in other words helping these individuals sin.
Whether discussing the case of Hobby Lobby or Elaine Photography, we see a common thread - the Federal Government saying that individuals can only practice their religion in a religious building or setting and not in public. They cannot run their businesses or their public life in accordance to their beliefs, instead they must keep their religion private, and follow the government mandated way of life. If they come after religious liberty the rest will be soon to follow.
Remember Chick-Fil-A Day?
Well it's back -- but this time, it's for Hobby Lobby, the craft store chain that could face fines of up the $1.3 million per day if its Christian owners don't comply with the federal "HHS Mandate" to provide contraception to employees in their health coverage. (Keep in mind that Hobby Lobby still covers, and would continue to cover, 16 out of 20 contraceptives.)
Their case was argued before the Supreme Court on Tuesday, March 25.
Now, you can join Americans across the nation in supporting Hobby Lobby by shopping in-store or online tomorrow, March 29!
Please RSVP to this Facebook event hosted by Family Research Council Action as another way to show that you stand with Hobby Lobby!
You can show your support for Hobby Lobby by using this photo for your Facebook cover! Right-click, save the graphic, and then upload it as your Facebook cover photo.
BREAKING NEWS!!! The Romeikes can stay!!!
This amazing news comes right on the heels of a disappointing announcement yesterday by the Supreme Court that they would not hear the Romeike case. With this new announcement from the DHS, however, the case would have been unnecessary, and the Romeikes can stay in the United States.
Praise the Lord!