Archive for the ‘Religious Discrimination’ Category
If you’re opposed to the idolatrous cult of the Messianic Nanny State, beware…the Obama administration has you in their cross-hairs.
In a blistering letter to President Barack Obama, the Rev. Franklin Graham said the IRS targeted the two non-profits he heads with an audit last year after the organizations took out ads urging people to support biblical principles on marriage and in choosing political candidates.
In the letter, dated Tuesday, Graham said in light of recent revelations that the Internal Revenue Service targeted conservative groups with “tea party” or “patriot” in their names, he does not believe the audit was “a coincidence — or justifiable.” Graham, son of famed Christian evangelist the Rev. Billy Graham, now heads the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association based in Charlotte, N.C., and Samaritan’s Purse, a worldwide relief organization headquartered in Boone.
“I am bringing this to your attention because I believe that someone in the administration was targeting and attempting to intimidate us,” Graham concluded in the letter. “This is morally wrong and unethical — indeed some would call it ‘un-American.’”
James Dobson, the pro-life family advocate disclosed today that he was a victim of IRS discrimination, in a revelation that adds to the growing Internal Revenue Scandal.
Dobson, the founder of Focus on the Family, says he faced discrimination from the federal agency when trying to start a new group.
Family Talk Action Corporation is a Christian ministry that was formed for the purpose of spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ; of providing Christ-oriented advice and education to parents and children; and of speaking to cultural issues that affect the family. Dobson is the president and CEO.
On September 2, 2011, Family Talk Action filed a Form 1024 with the Internal Revenue Service requesting § 501(c)(4) status. The attorney completing this form had submitted scores of similar applications over his 26 year career with none being rejected.
In January and February 2013, Family Talk Action’s counsel called the IRS reviewing agent, R. Medley (ID no. 52402), to inquire regarding when there would be a determination of the application. Her voice mail box was full on each of these calls so no message could be left. On March 6, he called Ms. Medley again and got routed to her voice mail again. This time, he was able to leave a voice mail message and requested a return call.
Medley did not call back until March 19. Family Talk Action’s attorney asked her when the IRS would issue its determination letter. Ms. Medley responded saying, I don’t think your Form 1024 (application for exemption) will be granted because Family Talk Action is “not educational” because it does not present all views. She continued, saying that Family Talk Action sounded like a “partisan right-wing group” because, according to Ms. Medley, it only presents conservative viewpoints.
She then added, “you’re political” because you “criticized President Obama, who was a candidate.”
Dobson and Graham weren’t the only targets during the 2012 campaign:
The Biblical Recorder, the official news journal for North Carolina Southern Baptists, found itself in the same situation in March – audited for the first time since the Baptist newspaper was founded in 1833.
The newspaper garnered national attention last summer after Editor Allan Blume published an interview with Chick-Fil-A president Dan Cathy. In reference to his support of the traditional family, Cathy said he was “guilty as charged.”
The Biblical Recorder also published the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association’s ads affirming traditional marriage.
And then – came the telephone call from the Internal Revenue Service.
“It raised some red flags and made me wonder why we were being targeted for an audit when we have been around since 1833 and have never been audited before,” Blume told Fox News. “Putting it all together made me wonder.”
Blume said the timing may have been coincidental – but “it didn’t seem that way.”
“There seems to be a very anti-Christian bias that has flowed into a lot of government agencies – oppression literally against Christian organizations and groups,” he said. “It makes you wonder what’s going on.
Blume said the newspaper was eventually cleared, but the audit consumed time and money.
“It was a lot of time and energy that we didn’t have,” he said. “It took some of our staff literally several weeks of doing nothing but that (the audit),” he said.
IRS officials refused to grant tax exempt status to two pro-life organizations because of their position on the abortion issue, according to a non-profit law firm, which said that one group was pressured not to protest a pro-choice organization that endorsed President Obama during the last election.
“In one case, the IRS withheld approval of an application for tax exempt status for Coalition for Life of Iowa. In a phone call to Coalition for Life of Iowa leaders on June 6, 2009, the IRS agent ‘Ms. Richards’ told the group to send a letter to the IRS with the entire board’s signatures stating that, under perjury of the law, they do not picket/protest or organize groups to picket or protest outside of Planned Parenthood,” the Thomas More Society announced today. “Once the IRS received this letter, their application would be approved.”
Planned Parenthood endorsed Obama in 2008 and 2012.
The IRS also pressured another pro-life group about its religious activities. “The IRS withheld approval of an application for charitable tax-exempt recognition of Christian Voices for Life, questioning the group’s involvement with ’40 Days for Life’ and ‘Life Chain’ events,” according to the law firm. “The Fort Bend County, Texas, organization was subjected to repeated and lengthy unconstitutional requests for information about the viewpoint and content of its educational communications, volunteer prayer vigils, and other protected activities.”
With this much coordination against his “enemies,” there’s NO WAY Obama didn’t know about it.
Recently, the Pentagon hired a rabid, anti-Christian fanatic to advice them on how to make the military more “tolerant.” His first recommendation has been to court-martial Christians who dare to share their faith with another service member.
“Today, we face incredibly well-funded gangs of fundamentalist Christian monsters who terrorize their fellow Americans by forcing their weaponized and twisted version of Christianity upon their helpless subordinates in our nation’s armed forces.”
Those words were recently written by Mikey Weinstein, founder of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF), in a column he wrote for the Huffington Post. Weinstein will be a consultant to the Pentagon to develop new policies on religious tolerance, including a policy for court-martialing military chaplains who share the Christian Gospel during spiritual counseling of American troops.
[...] Many media outlets are silent on this disturbing new alliance between fanatical secularists and leaders in the Pentagon appointed by President Barack Obama and Secretary Chuck Hagel, under which the U.S. military would officially consult with someone with such foaming-at-the-mouth passionate hostility toward traditional Christians, including Evangelicals and devout Catholics. The military—America’s most heroic and noble institution—includes countless people of faith, and this represents a radical departure from the U.S. military’s warm embrace of people of faith in its ranks.
Yet the little coverage this story is getting is positive, such as thisWashington Post column that somehow manages not to carry any of these frightening quotes from Weinstein and instead actually endorses the Pentagon’s meeting with him. Sally Quinn’s Postcolumn also approvingly quotes MRFF Advisory Board member Larry Wilkerson as saying, “Sexual assault and proselytizing, according to Wilkerson, ‘are absolutely destructive of the bonds that keep soldiers together.’”
Did you get that? They say having someone share the Christian gospel with you is akin to being raped. Weinstein makes sure there are no doubts, being quoted by the Post as adding, “This is a national security threat. What is happening [aside from sexual assault] is spiritual rape. And what the Pentagon needs is to understand is that it is sedition and treason. It should be punished.”
Now, it appears that the military is preparing to court-martial anyone who tries to share the Good News:
The Pentagon has released a statement confirming that soldiers could be prosecuted for promoting their faith: “Religious proselytization is not permitted within the Department of Defense…Court martials and non-judicial punishments are decided on a case-by-case basis…”.
The statement, released to Fox News, follows a Breitbart News report on Obama administration Pentagon appointees meeting with anti-Christian extremist Mikey Weinstein to develop court-martial procedures to punish Christians in the military who express or share their faith.
This regulation would severely limit expressions of faith in the military, even on a one-to-one basis between close friends. It could also effectively abolish the position of chaplain in the military, as it would not allow chaplains (or any service members, for that matter), to say anything about their faith that others say led them to think they were being encouraged to make faith part of their life. It’s difficult to imagine how a member of the clergy could give spiritual counseling without saying anything that might be perceived in that fashion.
Ironic that the very men and women who volunteered to defend liberty are now watching their most basic, unalienable rights being stripped away, all in the name of “tolerance.” Is this what they fought for?
In Egypt, the Muslim Brotherhood government that Obama arms, funds and supports is violently persecuting religious minorities, using our tax money to do it:
Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood’s governing majority, is not actually crucifying the nation’s Christians. But they are nonetheless actively persecuting Coptic Christians who are said to be one-tenth of the population of the largest Arab country. A photograph of two young men set afire during recent demonstrations is pretty striking.
Demonstrations have turned into riots as Egypt’s police cracked down on the Copts. The Copts were protesting against increasing sectarian violence directed at the country’s Christian minority.
Typically, what has been happening is the Copts protest against Islamist violence directed at them and their churches. St. Mark’s Cathedral has been the target of Muslim extremists in recent week. When the Copts face police, they get tear gassed. And then they are the ones arrested. The Muslim Brotherhood authorities will pick up Coptic youth—hopefully the ones not yet set on fire—and jail them.
Then, the police grab some of the Islamists perpetrators and jail them. Later, following a much-ballyhooed “reconciliation,” the authorities release all—perpetrators and victims alike.
In Syria, the rebels that the U.S. is supporting – who are trying to overthrow Assad – are Islamic extremists who are threatening to exterminate any Christians left behind who don’t convert to Islam:
Syria’s Christians fear an Islamist takeover should the current government be overthrown. During the ongoing civil war there has been a well-documented rise in the number of salafi-jihadist groups operating in Syria that pose a direct threat to Syria’s Christian community. These militant opposition forces espouse an Islamist ideology, which incorporates elements of Wahhabism and Salafism and whose stated goals and objectives are by definition hostile towards Christians. Firsthand accounts from Syrian Christian refugees in Lebanon reported by award winning investigative journalist Nuri Kino detail the horror in which they described kidnappings, rapes, harassment, theft and other violent reprisals at the hands of Islamist groups.
Those who survived reported “just being Christian is enough to be a target,” disproving theories that violence and kidnapping directed towards Syrian Christians is purely incidental or for economic reasons.
Once again, our taxpayer money is going towards funding Islamic extremism and the suppression of religious liberty.
Gay activists have been putting pressure on the Boy Scouts for years, but they finally started to get results when they targeted BSA’s large corporate donors and infiltrated the National Executive Committee with members willing to undermine the BSA from within. Fearing losing their funding, the Boy Scouts have now partially caved to allow gay scouts, but not Troop Leaders. It’s obvious that won’t be far behind. The wall has been officially breached, and the bullies of the gay lobby won’t be satisfied until they’ve been brought down completely.
If ever there was a week to quietly announce a major organizational change, this is it.
A spokesman with the Boy Scouts of America on Friday announced that the 103-year-old organization is set to lift its long-standing ban on openly gay youth members but will continue to exclude gays as adult leaders.
However, as Reuters notes, the group’s board “still has to vote in May on whether to ratify the resolution.”
If the vote goes through, “no youth may be denied membership in the Boy Scouts of America on the basis of sexual orientation or preference alone,” Deron Smith, the organization’s spokesman, told Reuters.
Former Eagle Scout John Stemberger writes at the Washington Times:
Virtually every news story on this topic erroneously frames this issue as the Boy Scouts “bans gays” or “discriminates against gays.” This is simply not true. Contrary to what the media might report, the Boy Scouts do not discriminate against homosexuals. The BSA membership application does not even ask about sexual orientation.
[...] The fact is that veterans of Scouting will tell you there are currently Scouts and adult leaders in uniform who have same-sex attractions and who are in good standing with the program. They are discreet, though; they are private, they are discerning, and most of all, they conduct themselves appropriately in front of other young boys. Further, there has never been a witch hunt in the BSA to find or remove its members with a same-sex attraction.
So if homosexuals are already allowed in Scouting, then what is the national controversy about?
The real issue is this: Homosexual-rights activists are not satisfied with membership in good standing and being allowed to fully participate like everyone else. They want to be able to openly promote homosexuality. They want to promote a gay-rights political agenda. They want to act out publicly and be “loud and proud.” They want to inappropriately inject sex and politics into the BSA program, where children as young as six years old are involved. Not on this dad’s watch. This behavior and open homosexual conduct is exactly what the current BSA policy prohibits, a prohibition that we as parents demand that the program reaffirm if it wants our continued support.
[...] Former U.S. Rep. Richard T. Schulze, Pennsylvania Republican, a recipient of the rare Distinguished Eagle Scout Award, recently commented, “What kind of a message are we sending to our young people if the very leaders who are teaching Boy Scouts to be brave cannot even find the courage to stand firm and avoid caving in to peer pressure from Hollywood and political activists?”
I could not agree more.
It’s sad that an institution which has taught boys to stand up for moral principles and against the tide of moral relativism has allowed themselves to be compromised for the sake of money. That’s exactly what this boils down to – and it will destroy them. They may keep their big donors, but thousands of churches and other charter organizations will simply dissolve their charters rather than risk the wrath of gay bullies and potential lawsuits.
Krauthammer Warns: Gay Marriage Case Could Lead to All-Out ‘Assault on Religion’
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Last summer, lesbian journalist and activist Masha Gessen admitted in a radio interview that the purpose of pursuing gay marriage is to destroy the institution of marriage entirely:
“It’s a no-brainer that (homosexual activists) should have the right to marry, but I also think equally that it’s a no-brainer that the institution of marriage should not exist. …(F)ighting for gay marriage generally involves lying about what we are going to do with marriage when we get there — because we lie that the institution of marriage is not going to change, and that is a lie.
The institution of marriage is going to change, and it should change. And again, I don’t think it should exist. And I don’t like taking part in creating fictions about my life. That’s sort of not what I had in mind when I came out thirty years ago.
I have three kids who have five parents, more or less, and I don’t see why they shouldn’t have five parents legally… I met my new partner, and she had just had a baby, and that baby’s biological father is my brother, and my daughter’s biological father is a man who lives in Russia, and my adopted son also considers him his father. So the five parents break down into two groups of three… And really, I would like to live in a legal system that is capable of reflecting that reality, and I don’t think that’s compatible with the institution of marriage.”
The end point of liberalism is a coercive secular state in which the religious have no meaningful rights. American church leaders are kidding themselves if they think the gay-marriage juggernaut is going to stop at civil marriage. It won’t. It will quickly travel past court houses to churches, demanding that all religions bless gay marriages.
Denmark casts a shadow of this future, where the gay-marriage juggernaut has smashed through church doors. Last year the country’s parliament passed a law requiring all Lutheran churches to conduct gay marriage ceremonies. “I think it’s very important to give all members of the church the possibility to get married,” said Manu Sareen, Denmark’s minister for gender equality. Reluctant bishops have to supply ministers to satisfy the right whether they like it or not.
Iceland and Sweden have similar arrangements. Since many of the bishops are in the tank for gay marriage anyways and since these churches are “state” churches, this pressure generates little news. But it is instructive nonetheless. Where gay marriage exists, religious freedom gradually disappears, to the point where ministers have to choose between serving as secularism’s stooges or facing societal oblivion.
In America, this pressure will take the form of “discriminatory” churches losing government grants, permits, and participation in programs. It will be the death of religious freedom by a thousand little cuts here and there: canceled speeches of religious figures at state universities, lost HHS grants, the refusal of city governments to recognize churches that don’t permit gay marriages, “hate crime” legislation that extends to opposition to gay marriage, and so on. All of this will have the effect of pressuring churches into blessing gay marriages. A law forcing priests and ministers to preside at gay marriages won’t need to be passed; the invisible law of indirect governmental pressure will do the trick.
[...] The goal of the gay-marriage juggernaut is to make Christians pariahs, as irrelevant to public life as racists. It doesn’t have to pass a Denmark-style law to force churches to conduct gay marriages; it can achieve the same end through punitive political correctness.
Daniel Smyth writes at the Washington Times about a new scheme in New York to use anti-discrimination laws to force pro-lifers to either compromise their convictions or go out of business:
New York could soon shut down Catholic and other health care providers for not offering or referring for abortions. Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo, with enough support in the New York state legislature, could sign a reproductive health act (RHA) this year. Among other actions, the act would declare that New York “shall not discriminate against the exercise of…[abortion] rights…in the regulation or provision of benefits, facilities, services, or information.”
The New York State Catholic Conference argues this “no discrimination of abortion rights” provision could “permit state regulators…to require support for abortion from any agency or institution licensed or funded by the state.” As the state grants medical licenses, New York could deny licenses to — and thus shut down — such institutions as Catholic and other hospitals or clinics that refuse to support abortion. New York could also deny these institutions Medicaid payments and other funding, which some of these institutions need for financial stability.
Other provisions in New York’s RHA would establish abortion on demand in New York. For instance, the RHA would permit abortions until birth, allow public funding of abortion and repeal the requirement of parental notifications for minors’ abortions.
Sadly, this is only the latest example in a larger agenda to attack and marginalize people of faith:
Catholic adoption agencies have been forced to close their doors in Illinois, Massachusetts and Washington, D.C., because their religious beliefs about marriage were deemed unacceptable by their jurisdictions.
A graduate student in Michigan was expelled from a counseling program because her religious beliefs about marriage were deemed unacceptable by school officials.
Christian pharmacists in Illinois were told to find other professions because their religious beliefs regarding when life begins were deemed unacceptable by the state.
Private business owners are facing enormous fines because their beliefs about when life begins have been deemed unacceptable by the federal government.
Pastor Louie Giglio did not deliver the closing prayer at President Obama’s inauguration ceremony because his religious beliefs about marriage were deemed unacceptable by the administration.
[...] Compared with others around the world, people of faith in America enjoy extraordinary freedoms. Our lives are not in danger. We do not face imprisonment or torture for holding unpopular convictions.
Yet when people of faith are restricted from fully participating in society — owning businesses, entering the medical profession or providing much-needed charitable services — an intolerable trade-off has occurred. The government has exceeded its boundary, and the figurative wall between church and state must be strengthened.
[...] The tide has turned, and we have begun to see the emergence of a state-created orthodoxy. It deems support for traditional marriage unacceptable. It discredits those who believe that life begins at conception. It disfavors their faith — held for centuries by their predecessors — and creates a regulatory framework to prevent them from fully participating in the public square.
When the government says, “You can believe whatever you want, but you will be penalized if you exercise those beliefs,” we have entered dangerous territory. We cannot allow a religious litmus test to determine who may participate in American life. We must defend the Constitution not only in form, but also in effect.
The radical gay left could give lessons in bullying, which is a shame, since I have several wonderful conservative gay friends who oppose this kind of behavior, and these disgusting tactics give the gay community a bad name.
Since the owner of “Sweet Cakes by Melissa” bakery in Oregon declined to bake a wedding cake for a same-sex ceremony, the bullies have been out in full force.
Trolls came in droves to spam the bakery’s Facebook page with hateful, threatening and pornographic comments and images (all in the name of “love” and “tolerance,” of course). They went after anybody who dared post comments of support. They harassed the bakery’s recommended vendors, family and friends, and spammed their Yelp and other business review pages with hate and slander.
They “doxed” the family – who have small children – by publicly posting their personal information where identity thieves and dangerous people could find it:
They sent activists after Aaron and Melissa’s personal Facebook pages to harass them:
Someone even created a fake impersonator page in an attempt to slander them, by posting a racist, homophobic quote and claiming that it was Aaron and Melissa who said it (warning, foul language):
The conveniently cropped screen shot has since gone viral, and a reporter at the Examiner gave false confirmation that the quote was real.
What they’re NOT showing you is the whole picture (click to enlarge):
Notice, the impersonator page only has 8 “likes,” while the REAL page had over 600. Notice also that under “Recent Activity,” it says “joined Facebook,” meaning that the impersonator page was only recently created, while the REAL page has been on Facebook since 2010.
The impersonator page, which used images lifted from their website, was only online for a couple of hours – long enough to post a couple of disgusting quotes and take screen shots to outrage the gullible.
The REAL page looks like this:
Several boycott pages have also been set up on Facebook, as well as one specifically designed to bully, called “Sweet Cakes by Melissa is run by Homophobes,” which uses the same photos as the real page in order to confuse people. Facebook insists the page doesn’t violate their terms of service and refuses to take it down.
Sadly, much of the bullying has come from Christians who blame this family for the treatment they’re receiving and claim that they deserve it. ”Just bake the cake! What’s the big deal?” “Who are you to judge?” “People like you are why gays hate Christians!” “Jesus loves gays, and you should, too!” They compare the owner to the Westboro Baptist freaks, even though he NEVER said he hates gays or called them an “abomination,” or anything of the sort. He simply politely said, “I’m sorry, I don’t make cakes for gay weddings.” When they asked why, he explained it violated his faith. And now some Christians are harassing him for it. It’s really sad. There IS a balanced approach between the ridiculous claim that “God hates gays” and just caving to the entire leftist agenda.
This honestly has nothing to do with Aaron and Melissa or cake. They’re just the pawns these radicals needed to make a frightening example out of anybody that dared to stand in their way. I recommend that Christians and conservatives read Saul Alinsky’s “Rules For Radicals,” so they understand the playbook tactics that are being used against us. My friend Barbara Curtis, a former radical leftist who became a Christian author and mother of 12, did a book study to help Christians understand what we’re dealing with.
Most of us innocently living our daily lives have no idea how cruel and dangerous these people can be if you end up in their cross-hairs. I hope the church is waking up to the fact that the enemy we are dealing with is VERY real, and ignoring the problem is not the answer. Neither is throwing our own under the bus, as many Christians are apt to do to save their own hides. We can’t afford to be naïve and think, “If we just give them everything they want, they’ll leave us in peace.” No. They want to destroy us and everything our faith stands for. They don’t need a provocation to come after us. Our mere existence is a threat. That is the reality.
I hope the church is beginning to wake up and realize that we are ALL on the front lines of the culture war now. Even a small family bakery is no longer safe and off-limits.
Thankfully, this family is also receiving lots of support from Christians, conservatives and libertarians (some of whom are gay) who recognize that nobody should be intimidated by government and harassed by bullies for exercising their 1st Amendment conscience rights. Even if you disagree with their particular stand on this issue, it’s important to remember that someday YOU might be bullied and coerced because of YOUR convictions, whatever they are.
It’s also important to recognize that there are many people who support gay marriage who do NOT condone bullying of this sort. There are some people who are genuinely hurt and offended, who will probably show up to protest, and who just need to be reached out to with love and respect. It’s a great opportunity to start a conversation, but that can only happen in a civil atmosphere where both sides feel safe.
No wonder the left does everything it can to make sure that this debate is hyper-emotionalized and anything BUT civil.
Slew of online hate reviews plagues ‘Sweet Cakes’ bakery
The White House is trying to create the impression that they are not violating religious liberty, but every time they make a “compromise,” it turns out that the central agenda – forcing religious people to pay for contraceptives and abortions against their conscience – hasn’t changed.
Obama wants to be viewed as the benign benefactor who graciously hears his subjects’ complaints and grants them an exemption. But the unalienable right to religious liberty comes from God, not government. It is not something that Obama can take away and then pretend to give back.
This is where Christians MUST draw the line. Even if this particular fight doesn’t affect your own personal liberty, if they win this battle, the next fight WILL.
HHS released a new proposed regulation under the Obamacare law that the department presented as an accommodation to religious “organizations” that object to providing sterilizations, contraceptives and abortion-inducing drugs in their health care plans. However, the proposal does not truly expand the exceedingly narrow religious exemption presented in the initial regulation, which was finalized last year, and continues to offer no exemption at all to Christian individuals or business owners.
“There really is no expansion of the religious exemption,” said Leonard Leo, a Washington attorney, who is a board member of The Catholic Association, a group of Catholic lay persons dedicated to applying the teachings and principles of the church to the issues of the day.
“The HHS mandate announcement today changes nothing, it is just another accounting gimmick and the HHS mandate continues to be a violation of civil rights, religious freedom and First Amendment rights,” said Maureen Ferguson, senior policy advisor to The Catholic Association. “Catholic institutions and other faith based organizations, including hospitals and universities and private employers, still do not get their First Amendment rights back and are still being forced to either violate their faith or pay crippling government fines for practicing their faith.”
Naturally, this is not going over well in the faith community:
“Today’s proposed rule does nothing to protect the religious liberty of millions of Americans,” said Kyle Duncan, General Counsel for The Becket Fund, a conservative legal organization that is representing several groups in the lawsuits against the mandate, including Hobby Lobby.
“The rights of family businesses like Hobby Lobby are still being violated,” said Duncan, adding that lawyers with his group are still studying what effect the rules will have for other non-profits such as Ave Maria University and EWTN.
“Once again, President Obama’s so-called ‘compromise’ is unacceptable – religious and moral freedom is not up for negotiation,” said Susan B. Anthony List (SBA List) President Marjorie Dannenfelser.
“There must be no religious ‘test’ by the government as to who, and what type of entities, are entitled to a conscience. We demand respect for non-religious entities such as the Susan B. Anthony Listthat recognize the taking of human life is the antithesis of health care,” she said.
According to Dannenfelser, “The only acceptable outcome is the complete repeal of the HHS mandate and the restoration of a thriving marketplace where Americans can choose health care coverage consistent with their beliefs.”
Fr. Frank Pavone of Priests for Life agreed.
“We at Priests for Life remind the administration that religious liberty does not just belong to religious groups and individuals,” said Fr. Pavone. “It belongs to all Americans. Objections to contraceptives and abortion-inducing drugs aren’t based just on dogmas and Bibles, but on adverse health consequences and the fact that human beings, no matter how small, should not be killed.”
“We see only one acceptable change regarding the mandate: rescind it completely,” he said.
Obama will never do that voluntarily, but the courts appear to be on our side:
On Friday, the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals issued a preliminary injunction against the contraceptive mandate on behalf of Annex Medical. The Catholic-owned company, which manufactures medical devices, lost its bid for an injunction at the district court level. The 8th Circuit said the district court in its ruling against Annex misunderstood the precedent that came from another 8th Circuit ruling in an earlier mandate challenge (O’Brien Industries v. HHS). The 8th Circuit clarified both Annex and O’Brien Industries qualified for a preliminary injunction.
Annex is unique in that it only has 16 full-time employees, so the owner isn’t required to provide health insurance. The healthcare law requires employers provide health insurance only if they have more than 50 employees, but Annex’s Catholic owner, Stuart Lind, said his faith compels him to provide health insurance coverage to his employees. He objects to contraceptive, sterilization, and abortifacient coverage.
The Annex ruling gives religious business owners an 11-3 record in courts.
A small, family-owned bakery in Oregon is being investigated for “discrimination” by the Oregon Department of Justice because their faith compelled them to refuse to bake a wedding cake for a same-sex ceremony.
A woman and her mother came into the bakery asking about wedding cakes. During the course of the conversation, the baker, Aaron, asked the groom’s name. He was told that there was no groom – rather, a second bride. At this point, he apologized and explained that he did not make cakes for homosexual weddings.
The woman apparently left in a huff, and her mother came back to give Aaron a piece of her mind. A few days later, Aaron discovered that a formal complaint had been filed against him for “discrimination,” by the lesbian partner who hadn’t even been present for the discussion. The Oregon Attorney General is now investigating.
Once upon a time in America, the exchange of goods and services was voluntary, unhappy customers were satisfied with taking their business elsewhere, and signs that said “We reserve the right to refuse service to anyone” actually meant something.
Now, the government wants to tell business owners who and what they must serve, regardless of their convictions. But the sacrament of marriage is particularly sacred and holy to people of faith, and to redefine it in any way is a sin. To take part in a ceremony which seeks to redefine that sacrament would be a violation of this baker’s faith.
Obviously, Aaron has no problem serving gay customers for occasions like holidays and birthdays. This woman had bought a cake from him once before, and had been served with no issue. If she hadn’t been happy with the service, she wouldn’t have come back.
But this time, the customer was asking Aaron to participate in a ceremony which violated his faith. He has a 1st Amendment right to abstain, and the customer has a right to be unhappy about it and never buy there again, but not to force him to accommodate her wedding against his conscience.
A quick peek at their website reveals the reason why this customer’s disgruntled fiance chose to make an intimidating example out of Aaron and his family:
No small business should be bullied into acting against their conscience. I bet if he refused to bake a cake for a Westboro Baptist or Klan rally, nobody would bother him. Or a cake to promote a candidate or cause he doesn’t agree with. Or a Muslim “wedding” with a 6-year-old bride. The only difference here is that he dared to refrain against a liberal pet agenda.
People have a right to discriminate against certain behaviors they find offensive. They have a right to not be bullied by the government for honoring their conscience. The Oregon Attorney General should be ashamed of wasting taxpayer money and pursuing such a spurious complaint. Please show them your support!
They waited until after the election to allow the full impact to hit. Now people are about to discover “what’s in it.”
The White House issued new rules on Wednesday regarding the individual mandate requirements of Obamacare, stressing those that allow for exemptions from the requirement to buy insurance.
The new rules sought to play down the scope of Obamacare’s unpopular individual mandate requirement, The Hill reports.
The exceptions, detailed by the Internal Revenue Service and the Health and Human Services Department, were included in regulations that also outlined the process by which the IRS will calculate penalties for not having insurance, The Hill reports.
The individual mandate requires most taxpayers to buy insurance or pay an IRS fine. It remains one of Obamacare’s most politically unpopular provisions — and it formed the basis of the case argued before the U.S. Supreme Court last year.
HHS called the individual mandate provision a system of “shared responsibility” payments.
But the penalty for not having insurance “applies only to the limited group of taxpayers who choose to spend a substantial period of time without coverage despite having ready access to affordable coverage,” the agency said in a fact sheet provided to The Hill.
Who decides what is “ready access to affordable coverage?” Bureaucrats, of course! Busybodies who decide whether or not health insurance is “affordable” for your budget, no matter what other demands you may have on it.
What if that “affordable coverage” includes something that violates your faith, like abortion? Tough luck, honey! You’ll be forced to buy it against your conscience, because Washington has decided that your “right” to “free” healthcare supersedes your unalienable 1st Amendment rights.
Of course, the central planners aren’t as perfect and omniscient as they think they are, and already a huge “glitch” has appeared:
Some families could get priced out of health insurance due to what’s being called a glitch in President Barack Obama’s overhaul law. IRS regulations issued Wednesday failed to fix the problem as liberal backers of the president’s plan had hoped.
As a result, some families that can’t afford the employer coverage that they are offered on the job will not be able to get financial assistance from the government to buy private health insurance on their own. How many people will be affected is unclear.
The Obama administration says its hands were tied by the way Congress wrote the law. Officials said the administration tried to mitigate the impact. Families that can’t get coverage because of the glitch will not face a tax penalty for remaining uninsured, the IRS rules said.
“This is a very significant problem, and we have urged that it be fixed,” said Ron Pollack, executive director of Families USA, an advocacy group that supported the overhaul from its early days. “It is clear that the only way this can be fixed is through legislation and not the regulatory process.”
But there’s not much hope for an immediate fix from Congress, since the House is controlled by Republicans who would still like to see the whole law repealed.
The affordability glitch is one of a series of problems coming into sharper focus as the law moves to full implementation.
This is EXACTLY what this Alinsky intimidation campaign was designed to do: frighten away donors and dry up the funds for any group that dares to defy the radical leftist gay agenda.
Dan Cathy has to do what he believes is right for his business, and he may think that his decision has proved that he’s not a “hater” or “bigot,” but in fact, this victory will embolden the bullies to use these tactics against other conservative business owners and organizations in the future.
Chick-fil-A CEO Dan Cathy and the head of a national gay-rights group have made peace.
“I’ve gotten to know Dan; he’s gotten to know me,” Shane Windmeyer, executive director of Campus Pride, told ABC News on Monday. “He’s shared concerns about young people, about Chick-fil-A being used for certain purposes.”
[...] Chick-fil-A, he told ABC, had stopped donating to anti-gay groups, according to his review of the company’s 990 tax forms.
Chick-fil-A long has donated to socially conservative groups. In July, the anti-gay group Equality Matters examined tax forms and found that in 2010 the company had donated more than $1.9 million to “anti-gay causes.”
In September, the restaurant chain agreed to stop donating to anti-gay groups.
But Chick-fil-A said in a statement on Monday: “Over the past three years alone, Chick-fil-A has given more than $68 million in contributions to over 700 different educational and charitable organizations around the country, in addition to providing millions of dollars in food donations.
“While we evaluate individual donations on an annual basis, our giving is focused on three key areas: youth and education, leadership and family enrichment and serving the local communities in which we operate. Our intent is to not support political or social agendas. This has been the case for more than 60 years.”
Why is our military imposing the intolerant demands of Secular Humanism on our troops? How is it any different than Sharia law, which seeks to suppress all religious expression at odds with its own ideology?
Religious liberty advocates are denouncing the U.S. military’s order to remove a steeple and dismantle Christian crosses from an Army chapel in Afghanistan.
“We can confirm that those items were removed from the chapel,” said a spokesman for the ISAF Joint Command. “These items were removed out of respect for the beliefs of other faiths.”
The Pentagon confirmed to Fox News that cross-shaped windows on the chapel were boarded up – until they can be replaced with non-offensive doors. Click here to read our original story.
The chapel, located at Forward Operation Base Orgun-E, became the subject of controversy after an atheist soldier complained and the president of American Atheists sent a letter to the Pentagon.
“Soldiers with minority religious beliefs and atheists often feel like second-class citizens when Christianity is seemingly officially endorsed by their own base,” American Atheists president David Silverman told Fox News. “We are very happy the Pentagon and the Army decided to do the right thing.”
A military spokesman told Fox News the cross was literally dismantled and will be removed from the base to be in “compliance with Army regulations and to avoid any misconception of religious favoritism or disrespect.”
[...] Retired Lt. Gen. Jerry Boykin, of the Family Research Council, told Fox News a Christian cleansing of the military is under way.
“I don’t think you can categorize it any other way,” he said. “There is a strong effort, led partially by the Administration as well as by atheist groups to destroy the identity of who we are as a nation and that means robbing us of our history.”
Boykin said he fears that the attacks on the Christian faith of soldiers could destroy the morale and the readiness of the military.
“In the long term, the greatest casualty of the conflict in Afghanistan is probably going to be the First Amendment rights of the American soldiers and the faith upon which America was founded,” he said. “I’m very concerned what the administration is doing to the military on a number of fronts. This is another indicator of how we are trying to impose a liberal agenda upon the people that are protecting the very rights of all Americans to be able to worship freely.”
Hiram Sasser, director of litigation for Liberty Counsel, wondered why Christian soldiers must hide who they are.
“Why are we ashamed of one of the major reasons our Nation is the most generous and self-sacrificing for the benefit of others that the world has ever known – our inherently Christian benevolence,” he told Fox News. “We have freed the oppressed, fed the hungry, and restored nations throughout the world without anything in particular to show for it other than the satisfaction of making the world better than we found it for the sake of goodness and doing the right thing. Why should we hide a major motivation that compels Americans to do this?”
Ron Crews, the executive director of the Chaplain Alliance, told Fox News he was extremely disappointed to hear the news.
“I’m so concerned that the military is caving in to an organization that does not understand the First Amendment,” Crews said. “Christians have every right to exercise their faith in the military.”
If these Atheists were as tolerant and “respectful of other faiths” as they claim, they wouldn’t have a problem with a Christian chapel being designated with a cross symbol.
Pastor Saeed: An American Citizen Imprisoned in Iran
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An Iranian court on Sunday sentenced Iranian-born American pastor Saeed Abedini – a convert from Islam to Christianity – to eight years’ imprisonment for “threatening the national security of Iran” by leading underground house churches, according to a U.S. religious organization closely involved in the case.
The 32 year-old from Boise, Idaho was convicted four months after being arrested while visiting family in Iran. The American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) says Abedini has been assaulted and mistreated while in custody in Iran’s notorious Evin prison.
The State Department and ACLJ have also raised concerns about the conduct of his trial, saying Abedini’s lawyer was given little time to prepare and was excluded from some of the proceedings.
ACLJ executive director Jordan Sekulow called the case “a mockery of justice.”
[...] Tehran’s treatment of a U.S. citizen is a brazen challenge to Washington as President Obama begins his second term and Sen. John Kerry prepares to assume the helm at the State Department.
So what does Obama’s State Department have to say about the fact that an American citizen is being imprisoned and tortured for his faith in Iran?
“We condemn Iran’s continued violation of the universal right of freedom of religion and we call on the Iranian authorities to respect Mr. Abedini’s human rights and release him,” State Department spokesperson Darby Holladay said.
No statement by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Not the slightest recognition from the President. Knowing that real international pressure could be brought to bear through media coverage and strong statements from the White House, they choose instead to trot out an obscure spokesperson in the hopes that demands for a stronger response will die down.
If the media pressure goes away, there is NO WAY this American citizen will ever see his family again.
They won’t be happy until it is literally a “hate crime” to criticize sexually immoral behavior. Christians, it’s long past time to wake up.
We expect the “tolerant-oppressives” on the Left to attempt to smear Christianity as de facto bigotry; it’s just another weapon in their never-ending crusade to destroy religion. But the media and our White House taking an active role in such a thing marks a new era for Christians and Christianity, and, I fear, not a good one.
We have now officially reached a point where the elite media and a sitting president not only believe Christianity is bigotry, but that this bigotry is worthy of ostracizing from public life those who believe in the teachings of the Bible.
[...] What we’re seeing with the left and the media…is that believing in the teachings of the Bible, and more importantly, espousing and professing those beliefs, is now treated as though it’s hate speech, bigotry, homophobia, or worse.
How “tolerant.” The Gay lobby could give lessons in bullying.
Apparently a pastor only qualifies to offer a presidential benediction if they toe the Left’s twisted ideological line on all pertinent theological matters. Hmmm….isn’t that the position that European monarchs used to take: agree with them theologically, or face the consequences?
Leftist bloggers successfully convinced officials for President Obama’s Inauguration to pressure Pastor Louie Giglio of Passion City Church in Atlanta to withdraw from praying the benediction at the ceremony January 21. The Inaugural Committee had selected Giglio to pray two days ago because of his impressive work battling human trafficking and slavery around the world, and his amazing leadership of the Christ-honoring Passion conferences. Just last week, Giglio spoke to 60,000 students in the Georgia Dome for the Passion 2013 conference.
The leftist ideologues cared nothing for that and scoured the Internet until they found a recording of an old sermon Giglio recorded in the mid-1990s, in which he taught that the Bible defines marriage only as one man and one woman, and therefore, homosexual behavior is sinful. Even though Giglio has rarely preached on this subject and focused on helping the needy in the world, the lefties went bonkers, and demanded his ouster from the inaugural platform. Louie Giglio gracious acquiesed to the officials’ pressure and stepped down. His statement explains what his current work has focused on, and carefully avoids repudiating the Biblical view on marriage. Louie Giglio is seeing the bulk of his life’s work ignored and the totality of his decades-long ministry distorted by those who summarize it by one sermon he preached 15-20 years ago. This is a tragic slander, because Giglio’s Passion City Church is no Westboro Baptist.
For the past two decades he has spent his time getting Christians to focus on a topic dear to me — human trafficking. That has been his calling and focus. It is a worthy cause. More than 17,000 people are smuggled into the United States each year to serve as slaves, often in the sex trade. American children are kidnapped and enslaved. Louie has rallied Christians and the secular world to this cause.
But twenty years ago he gave a sermon that could be considered prophetic. He told Christians of the coming pursuit of an aggressive homosexual agenda and that they must not stick their heads in the sand and let happen what happens. You can hear that bit here.
He went further than that. He admonished Christians that, in dealing with the issue, they must do so without hate, but with love. They must not condemn, but lead to Christ. But he also said they must stand their ground.
In the sermon, Louie made clear that the secular world is against Christians on this issue. But most controversially, he said that gays can be saved from their sin by embracing Jesus Christ, through whom all things are possible. Listen to his statement. Louie Giglio’s grievous and offensive sin is that he dares to believe in sin.
[...] 2 Timothy 4:3-4 notes, “For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.” Secularists peddling a secular agenda in the name of tolerance have declared Truth to be myth and myth to be truth. They hear what they want to hear and condemn what they do not understand as intolerance.
Many young Christians either have embraced secularism in a bit of conformity with the modern world or choose not to even discuss it. Louie Giglio, for the last 20 years, has not discussed his views on homosexuality lest it distract people from embracing his cause on human trafficking.
But this should be a lesson for Christians. They will be forced to choose between this world and the next on these issues. This world is preaching a new religion of tolerance and a hostility to orthodox Christian beliefs. A time is coming where Christians will have to choose between the Word of God or the words of a bunch of secularists out to make the uncommon common and the common obscene.
A recent article in Christianity Today claimed that ”fewer than 2 in 5 Americans say homosexuality is sin.” It’s not surprising, when you consider how much cultural propaganda most American Christians allow into their homes, while at the same time churches shy away from teaching about moral, Biblical topics that are considered too “controversial” or “political.”
Read “The Marketing of Evil” by David Kupelian and you’ll understand why they’ve been so effective at indoctrinating the public with their lies.