Posts Tagged ‘Church’
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.
Obama deliberately chooses these kinds of radical, extremist religious leaders to guide his family and his faith. That tells you a lot about how radical his core beliefs really are. Obama doesn’t hide the fact that he’s a follower of the “Social Gospel,” which teaches collective salvation through good (government) works, not individual salvation by grace.
The pastor at the Washington, D.C. church where the Obama family celebrated Easter on Sunday said members of the religious right want blacks “in the back of the bus,” women “back in the kitchen” and immigrants “back on their side of the border.”
“It drives me crazy when the captains of the religious right are always calling us back…for blacks to be back in the back of the bus…for women to be back in the kitchen…for immigrants to be back on their side of the border,” Rev. Dr. Luis Leon said in his sermon, according to the White House press pool report.
Reuters reporter Jeff Mason tweeted that Leon also said the religious right wants gays in the closet.
What a classy, uplifting sermon for Resurrection Sunday.
This isn’t the first time his nut-job pastor has said something like this, either. Where does he find these crazies? I’ve grown up in different church across the denominational spectrum all my life, and NOT ONCE have I ever a pastor give sermon that specifically bashed political opponents.
If anyone wants to argue that the same government currently forcing religious institutions to purchase the abortion pill through ObamaCare will not eventually use civil rights violations in order to attempt to force the Church to perform same-sex marriage ceremonies — good luck with that.
But this would have been unthinkable five years ago.
It was just three months ago that the White House and media piled on a reverend for preaching the Bible’s teachings on homosexuality. The result was his invitation to speak at Obama’s inauguration being rescinded.
This would have been unthinkable five years ago.
With the election of Pope Francis, we have news anchors openly clamoring that the Church is out of step on same-sex marriage.
This would have been unthinkable five years ago.
Fifteen years ago, the same leftists and media assuring us today that same-sex marriage won’t be imposed on the Church were telling us that civil unions (which I’ve always supported) would never lead to gay marriage.
With all that in mind, am I really supposed to buy that, within five years (maybe five days), the left and the media won’t be incessantly asking this question: “If the Church cannot legally refuse to marry an interracial couple, how can it legally refuse same-sex couples?”
As long as there are still Christians who actually follow Christ and uphold his word, a vast amount of people around the world — never mind Islam — will never ever see gay marriage as anything other than a legal encroachment of God’s intent.
So those Christians must be silenced. The left exerted a great deal of energy to convince everyone that the gay lifestyle is an alternative form of normal. It then has exerted a great deal of energy convincing people that because the gay lifestyle is just another variation of normal, gay marriage must be normalized.
Meanwhile, those Christians are out there saying it is not normal and are refusing to accept it as normal because of silly God dared to say marriage is a union between a man and woman.
Any Christian who refuses to recognize that man wants to upend God’s order will have to be driven from the national conversation. They will be labeled bigots and ultimately criminals.
Already we have seen florists, bakers, and photographers suffer because they have refused to go along with the cultural shift toward gay marriage. There will be more.
Once the world decides that real marriage is something other than natural or Godly, those who would point it out must be silenced and, if not, punished. The state must be used to do this. Consequently, the libertarian pipe dream of getting government out of marriage can never ever be possible.
Within a year or two we will see Christian schools attacked for refusing to admit students whose parents are gay. We will see churches suffer the loss of their tax exempt status for refusing to hold gay weddings. We will see private businesses shut down because they refuse to treat as legitimate that which perverts God’s own established plan. In some places this is already happening.
Christians should, starting yesterday, work on a new front. While we should not stop the fight to preserve marriage, and we may be willing to compromise on civil unions, we must start fighting now for protections for religious objectors to gay marriage.
Churches, businesses, and individuals who refuse to accept gay marriage as a legitimate institution must be protected as best we can. Those protections will eventually crumble as the secular world increasingly fights the world of God, but we should institute those protections now and pray they last as long as possible.
If there’s one think Planned Parenthood is good at, it’s targeting and destroying the opposition. Prosecutors are terrified of going after them for their crimes. A lone teacher doesn’t stand a chance.
Neither did the people who tried to save the Jews from the holocaust. But they did it anyway, and today they are remembered as heroes.
An exemplary math and computer science teacher has been unjustly escorted out of Benson High School by police following a protracted battle with school officials about Planned Parenthood’s presence in the school and its association with his students.
Bill Diss was notified on Tuesday after the last student left his class that he was being placed immediately on administrative leave “pending a recommendation to the superintendent that you be dismissed from your employment with Portland public schools for reasons that have been discussed with you.” The mild-mannered Mr. Diss told STOPP that he was given only a few minutes to gather his belongings before police escorted him out. He was ordered not to return to the Portland, Oregon, school where he has taught for 11 years.
Mr. Diss is an outstanding teacher, who recently was awarded certification and recognition as the only teacher in Oregon who is qualified to teach college level computer science to high school students for dual credit. He has taught at the college and high school level for a total of 18 years.
Planned Parenthood has been in pursuit of Mr. Diss since 2007 when he began organizing efforts to stop Planned Parenthood. A STOPP press release from February of 2009 noted that Planned Parenthood of Columbia Willamette wanted Bill Diss’ teaching license revoked. The press release quoted American Life League’s Jim Sedlak: “Bill has organized one of the most effective efforts against Planned Parenthood in the country. It’s no surprise Planned Parenthood will resort to anything—even going after his teaching license—in order to silence him.”
Bill was opposing, on his own time, outside of any school activities, the construction of a Planned Parenthood killing center in an African American neighborhood in Portland. The Planned Parenthood business was eventually built, and today targets minority women for abortions.
Planned Parenthood was unsuccessful in its revocation bid but, incredibly, a decree came from the school district that Bill could not indicate that he was a teacher at Benson or that he taught for the Portland schools when he was giving talks outside the school.
Things really started heating up again at the beginning of the 2012-2013 school year when Planned Parenthood of Columbia Willamette began to push its Teen Outreach Program (TOP) in partnership with Benson High School. The program is fueled by a multi-million dollar Obamacare teen pregnancy prevention grant, funneled through a coalition of Planned Parenthood affiliates. Benson High is located in the inner city, where sixty-two percent of the students qualify for free or reduced price lunches.
On September 17, 2012, Planned Parenthood operatives entered Mr. Diss’ classroom where he was tutoring students in basic math skills and other subjects. They expected to be given the floor to recruit students for the Teen Outreach Program. Because Mr. Diss had been notified that TOP representatives were coming to speak to the class and they produced ID showing they were from Planned Parenthood rather than TOP, Mr. Diss asked them to leave his classroom. They left, and a few moments later the principal and vice principal came to remove Mr. Diss from class.
The next day he was forced to sit through a Planned Parenthood presentation. “They were extremely aggressive in obtaining the children’s signatures by promising them all sorts of gifts and cash,” Bill said. Planned Parenthood filed a formal complaint against Mr. Diss with the school. You can read STOPP’s coverage about the events of that day and the TOP permission forms here.
The last pope, Benedict XVI, blamed capitalism for poverty and was a staunch advocate for socialized medicine. Apparently he didn’t see the connection between that and violations of religious liberty such as the HHS mandate.
Argentina, like most of Latin America, is a hotbed of Marxist “Liberation Theology” (Obama is an adherent of the racist version, Black Liberation Theology). But does Francis I subscribe to it? Unfortunately, the reports are contradictory and somewhat cryptic.
The Guardian calls him “a champion of liberation theology.”
Catholic Online says “Bergoglio is an accomplished theologian who distanced himself from liberation theology early in his career.”
According to John L. Allen Jr. of National Catholic Reporters, the Jesuit Bergoglio has long spoken out on behalf of the world’s poor and criticized free-market economic policies.
“We live in the most unequal part of the world, which has grown the most yet reduced misery the least,” Bergoglio told an assembly of Latin American bishops in 2007.
“The unjust distribution of goods persists, creating a situation of social sin that cries out to heaven and limits the possibilities of a fuller life for so many of our brothers.”
Here’s Lynch quoting from that 2011 speech delivered by, now, Pope Francis I:
Said Cardinal Bergoglio in said speech that “The economic and social crisis and the consequent increase in poverty has its causes in ways policies inspiredneoliberalism considering profits and market laws as parameters, to the detriment of the dignity of individuals and peoples. In this context, we reiterate the conviction that the loss of the sense of justice and lack of respect for others have worsened and led us to a situation of inequity. ” Later stressed the importance of “ social justice ”, the” equal opportunity “damage” transfers of capital abroad, “which should be required” distribution of wealth ”, said the damage of economic inequalities and the need to “prevent the use of financial resources is shaped by speculation,” especially in the context of the “social debt”-which in his opinion is of eminently “moral” – is to reform “economic structures” in expressed the sense before.
Again, I may have lost something in the translation, but it appears the new Pope fails to understand markets and holds the concepts of social justice, equal opportunity and distribution of wealth, as important. Concepts which, of course, generally lead to advocacy of much government intervention and much central planning. It as though the new Pope has somehow given up on the good in people, and perhaps even in God, and has decided to replace both with a central role for the coercive state.
The Investors Business Daily editorial board, however, contends that Francis I is no friend to Big Government:
The change that swept Eastern Europe in the 1980s and fueled the collapse of the Soviet Union may find itself repeated by a new pope with similar disdain for the authoritarian governments of his region.
When Cardinal Karol Wojtyla stepped out on the balcony of St. Peter’s in 1978 as Pope John Paul II, Soviet communism still stood astride Eastern Europe and his native Poland.
He would be the moral force helping to lead half a continent out of the human bondage of totalitarianism.
Argentina’s 76-year-old Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, now Pope Francis I, is no stranger to — or compromiser with — the oppression of authoritarian government.
During his tenure as Archbishop of Buenos Aires and head of Argentina’s Conference of Bishops, the new pope had a strained relationship with the governments of President Cristina Kirchner and her late husband, former President Nestor Kirchner, who once called Bergoglio “a real spokesman for the opposition.”
The cardinal who eschewed limousines to ride his bicycle or take the bus, is known as a man of the poor and of the people.
He gained admiration for living in a modest apartment instead of the palace in Buenos Aires that was adjacent to the Casa Rosada where the president resides (and where Juan and Evita Peron often harangued the Argentine people).
The new pope has fought a long battle in Argentina against leftist government, Peronist anticlericalism, the spread of evangelical Protestantism and the secular temptations of modern society.
Like Pope John Paul II, he is likely to resist calls to “modernize” the church, to make it more “popular” and “appealing.”
Like Pope John Paul II, Pope Francis is a strong opponent of what is called “liberation theology,” a bizarre mix of Marxism and Catholicism often embraced by left-leaning politicians and clerics in Argentina and elsewhere in the hemisphere.
Rosendo Fraga, a well-known Argentine political analyst, told the Miami Herald’s Andres Oppenheimer that Pope Francis “is definitely bad news for the Argentine government. His homilies, as recently as two weeks ago, were very critical of economic and social conditions, and of corruption in Argentina.”
“Francis may become a critic of governments such as those in Venezuela, Ecuador or Bolivia, in the same way that John Paul II became a critic of communism in Eastern Europe,” says Daniel Alvarez, a professor of religious studies at Florida International University.
[T]o be sure, South American governments are, with certain exceptions, nothing like the monolithic, totalitarian USSR.
Moreover, Pope Francis I is not as young as Pope John Paul II. Nor does he have a Ronald Reagan and a Margaret Thatcher to work with.
Even so, he does provide a rallying point for a region beset by authoritarianism that badly needs one.
Who knows whether this pope will stand up against the unscriptural tenets of Socialism? I guess we’ll have to wait and see.
Every year, the federal government spends well over a trillion dollars more than it takes in. As a result, it has racked up seventeen trillion dollars in debt, most of it in the last decade. In seven years at current rates, the U.S. will need almost a fifth of the GDP from the rest of the world just to finance our national debt.
Just two of our federal entitlements, Medicare and Social Security, have “unfunded future liabilities” of $46.2 trillion. Total liabilities are $86.8 trillion or more. Entitlements and other mandatory spending will burden more and more of the federal budget in the coming years. At today’s burn rate, before long no realistic amount of tax revenue will be able to service the debt and fund the government’s basic functions.
We need not worry about the federal government defaulting, since, unlike U.S. states or private citizens, it can print the money it needs to pay the bills. It can and will do so if we don’t make a course correction fast. Massive monetary expansion will ultimately devalue every dollar in circulation and trigger the sort of hyperinflation that flattens entire societies in short order. That’s bad enough, but when government borrows and spends for our supposed benefit, somebody else will have to foot some or all of the bill. If our faith applies to every aspect of life, then it must have something to say about this moral outrage.
[...] In the twentieth century, more than a hundred million people were murdered by their own governments. And that was just in communist countries. History and scripture agree: because of sin, governments with too much power become propagators of evil and destruction.
This speaks directly to government debt, since deficit spending is a symptom of government doing more than it can or should. The federal government now borrows and spends with such reckless abandon that it is careening toward a global economic catastrophe. If Christians can’t muster the courage to speak out against what Rep. Paul Ryan has called “the most predictable debt crisis in history,” we won’t deserve to be taken seriously after the collapse.
Sadly, many Christians don’t know how to disciple our nation to turn the tide because they’ve never studied God’s design for economics or the Biblical role of government. They can’t teach what they don’t know. The key to real reformation, says R.C. Sproul, Jr., is for Christians to understand and work to implement Biblical economic principles:
Christian author and teacher R.C. Sproul, Jr. told CBN News Anchor Lee Webb that he believes it’s time to return to the basics when it comes to economics.
“When we’re left arguing about whether or not we should have a marginal tax rate of 45 percent or 48 percent, and the conservative is stuck arguing for the 45 percent we’ve had an insufficient reformation in our thinking,” Sproul said.
Sproul believes that reformation will happen only when we return to scripture to see what God has to say about economics. That’s why he produced a video series called “Economics for Everybody.” It’s a compelling, even entertaining approach to a topic many find boring.
[...] Sproul provides historical evidence that nations most influenced by biblical Christianity are nations that, by and large, have prospered. They are nations marked by decentralized governments and free markets.
But nations that reject God are marked by centralized power, tyranny, and no free markets. Unfortunately, he said he has observed some of those troubling trends in America now.
“The United States is not a free market. It’s an interventionist economy that’s been moving closer to socialism for over a century now,” he said. “I am not optimistic about our nation’s future economically.”
“We live in a country in which the state forbids me to hire a man unless I promise to pay him X number of dollars,” Sproul explained. “We now live in a country where I can’t hire 50 men unless I promise to buy them all health insurance, including access to abortion.”
“This is not economic liberty. This is not free markets,” he said. “We’re missing the fact that we’re the frog and the water is boiling.”
That’s why Sproul believes it’s not enough to think conservatively. We must think biblically and train our children biblically.
“It’s my conviction that education is always and everywhere religious,” he said.
“And it’s not a surprise that when 80 percent of evangelical parents have their children in the government’s schools that they’re going to embrace the religion of the government which is the worship of the state,” he said.
Sproul cautioned Christians to avoid despair. One way to do that is by returning to the beginning, to the Creation Mandate and begin to see that our work is part of worship.
If you have never watched the “Economics For Everybody” series, I highly recommend it! We cannot teach what we do not know!
This afternoon, faith leaders and Oregon United for Marriage Chief Petitioner Jeana Frazzini turned in 2,000 sponsorship signatures on the Freedom to Marry and Religious Protection Initiative—twice the number of signatures needed to move into the ballot title process.
“With Oregon’s help, we did it,” Frazzini said. “We held 17 events across the state, mobilized hundreds of volunteers, and doubled our goal of 1,000 sponsorship signatures to advance the measure that will make it legal for gay and lesbian couples to marry in Oregon.”
[...] Over 70 clergy and faith leaders from numerous denominations signed the sponsorship petition, representing Protestant, Episcopalian, Lutheran, Lutheran-Catholic, Methodist, Jewish, Quaker, and Buddhist faith traditions.
Self-described “faith leaders” in Oregon recently published this “Faith Leader’s Declaration of Support of the Freedom to Marry.” It declares, in part:
We are Oregon & Washington clergy and religious leaders of many faiths, traditions, races, ethnicities, sexual orientations and gender identities. We represent religious institutions, organizations, and movements throughout our state.
We declare that our faith calls us to affirm civil marriage equality for loving same-sex couples. We come from different political parties and philosophies and now lift our voices in unity to speak a faithful word for freedom and equality.
Our religious traditions and scriptures teach us that wherever love is present, God is also present. One of God’s greatest gifts to us is our human capacity to love one another. The ability of two people to enter into relationships and form families of love and care is one expression of this gift. It is holy and good. We therefore affirm the right of loving same-gender couples to legally enter into such relationships on an equal basis with loving heterosexual couples. [...]
“Wherever love is present, God is also present.” Actually, they have that backwards. Wherever GOD is present, true love is present, because God is love (1 John 4:8).
However, God’s definition of “love” is different than the many perversions of that word used by the world. Our culture uses the word “love” to describe everything from our favorite things, to adulation of celebrities, to outright lust. TRUE love is selfless and sacrificial. It wants God’s highest and best for the other person, and that best never includes condoning destructive and immoral behavior. True love encourages us to embrace God’s grace and forgiveness, not our sinful passions.
If they’re going to throw out God’s definition of love, and declare that sexual sins like homosexual relations constitutes “love,” why not adultery? Why fornication, incest, pedophilia, and bestiality? If “love is love,” and love is defined by sexual attraction, what’s the difference?
There is no scriptural justification for redefining love or marriage in this manner, which is why they don’t quote scripture…merely their empty, philosophical rationale. Paul warns us against this in Colossians 2:8: “See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ.”
Sadly, these “liberal Christians” haven’t heeded the warning:
Over the past several decades, liberalism has primarily defined itself by what it is not. Its message is “We’re not like those stodgy old traditionalists-we’re hip and accepting” (as long as they’re not asked to accept unchanging morality or the truth of Scripture). Liberal Christianity rejects the core tenets of Christianity, including the belief that Jesus is God, that all of mankind is guilty of sin and condemned to hell, that God sacrificed His Son to bear the punishment for our sins, that Scripture is the absolute, unchanging, perfect Word of God, and that the only path to salvation is through believing in Christ’s sacrifice and accepting His gift of eternal life by grace through faith.
In place of these tenets, liberal Christianity embraces a series of denials: Christ is not divine, mankind is not inherently sinful, the Scriptures are not authoritative and unchanging, heaven and hell are not literal, morality and theology are not absolute, and social mores do not flow from Scripture, but are an ever-changing product of our evolutionary enlightenment.
All of these beliefs allow liberal Christians to be more “comfortable” in the culture around them. The common message of the liberal Christian is that “God is love” and we need to speak to the rest of culture in the language of loving acceptance. “Love” here is code for the conviction that there is no absolute moral standard which humankind has violated. Hence, to believe in justice, morality, sin, punishment or an unchanging God is to be “judgmental” and “unloving.”
[...] Liberal Christianity undermines the Truth that has motivated so much good work. Liberal Christians reject the core tenets of historic Christianity. They have embraced the contemporary fancies of an ever-changing culture. They have nothing to live for, nothing to die for, and nothing to work for. For them, church is just another social club, devoid of power because it is not animated by transcendent truth and accountability for living in conformity with that truth. They have no authority for faith or action. They embrace a counterfeit Christianity, a pale image of the real thing, a hollow shell, a thin gruel that offers little sustenance for its followers or the culture at large.
As religious leftists, most of the “clergy” behind the gay marriage agenda are socialists, and have therefore already rejected what the Bible teaches about envy, theft, private property, debt, inheritance, and other principles of Biblical economics. Turning their back on God’s moral standard for sexuality and marriage is just the next step. They have traded sound doctrine for that which tickles their itching ears (2 Timothy 4:3).
I’m currently reading Bonhoeffer, about the battle between the Nazi-controlled state church which called themselves “German Christians,” and the Confessing Church, which stood for Biblical truth and urged Christians in Germany to reject the poisonous lies of National Socialism. Sadly, only 20% of religious leaders in Germany partnered with Bonhoeffer and the Confessing Church. 80% cooperated with Hitler, not realizing their mistake until it was far too late.
Millions of people were persecuted and killed because the German church went along with the prevailing lies of the surrounding culture instead of holding fast to the truth and being salt and light. The willful ignorance, willful blindness, apathy and inaction of much of the body of Christ is largely responsible for one of the darkest chapters in human history.
Have we learned our lesson? Sadly, it appears not. Religious leaders across America and Europe are once again allowing themselves to be guided by the culture instead of the Word, seduced by warm-and-fuzzy sounding arguments and a fear of being labeled a “bigot” if they don’t comply.
They launched the initiative on Valentine’s Day, of course.
It’s baffling to me how many clergy and religious leaders they have deceived into going along with this. They’re really going after the faith angle, twisting scripture and trotting out deceived people of faith to try and convince other believers to buy the lie.
It’s the CHURCH that needs to be turned back to its first love! How can we have walked away from such basic scriptural truth? Lord, bring your repentance and revival!
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.
This is one of many reasons why we homeschool, but homeschooling is not for everyone. Parents have a God-given right and responsibility to choose the best education for their children. They should NOT be forced into a government monopoly that deliberately undermines the values they are trying to instill in the next generation.
When discussing the school choice issue with other Christians, I often here responses like “How are we supposed to be salt and light in the schools if we pull our kids out?” and “We can counter-act the bad stuff they learn in school by teaching them about God at home and in church.”
These are valid concerns, but the truth is that our children are not being salt and light; rather, they are being corrupted by the very system they are trying to influence. A recent study by the Barna Group found that approximately 70% of kids who grew up in a Christian church were no longer faithful to the church by their 20s. According to Barna, this is a fairly recent phenomenon. During the first half of the 20th century, young adults pretty much stayed faithful to the Christian faith. But this trend changed during the 1960s, when we saw the Bible and prayer taken out of government-run schools while at the same time witnessing the birth of the Sexual Revolution.
For decades, the anti-Christian crowd has been using government-run schools to undermine and attack Christianity. And that strategy continues today. Just last week, the Southern Education Foundation issued a paper claiming that Georgia’s school choice program (where individuals and corporations can receive tax credits for contributing to charitable funds that award scholarships to enable underprivileged kids to attend private schools) is supporting Christian schools with “anti-gay” policies. SEF claims that any private, Christian school that expects it teachers and students to adhere to Biblical standards of conduct—including those that prohibit pre-marital sex, adultery, and homosexual behavior—is “anti-gay” and that those schools should not be allowed to participate in the scholarship program.
If a private school teaching Biblical morality is “anti-gay,” then wouldn’t parents and churches that teach these same ideas also be “anti-gay.” And this is the message that is being taught 8 hours a day, 5 days a week to our kids attending government-run schools. They are taught that Biblical values and beliefs are bigoted, ignorant, and unacceptable. So we if think that 2 hours a week (if that) at church can counter-act 40 hours a week of teaching that Christianity is wrong, we are fooling ourselves.
If you take seriously the Biblical command that you, as a parent, are to train up a child in the way he or she should go, then you realize that the command means more than just taking them to church once or twice a week. It means making sure that every aspect of their education affirms, not mocks, Biblical principles and values.
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
Obamacare Regs Slam Middle Class Families With Fines If They Can’t Afford Insurance, Cheapest Plan Will Be $20K Per Family
That “free” healthcare they shoved down our throats is going to come as a real punch to the gut for families like mine! Our budget is strapped enough as it is, and now we’ll be slammed with thousands of dollars in fines because we’ve chosen to cash pay our providers.
We haven’t been able to afford health insurance for the past three years. I’d like to just buy catastrophic coverage like you can for other insurance (car, home), but nooooo, you HAVE to buy comprehensive for stuff you don’t want (drug detox, psychotherapy, etc.) which is more than a mortgage payment, and you’re not allowed to shop across state lines for a better deal. They take away your choices and box you in until you have NO CHOICE but to go on a government plan. And that’s EXACTLY the agenda here – they want to bankrupt the insurance industry by taking away their customers and forcing everyone onto single-payer.
This HURTS poor and middle class families, and they don’t give a damn, because they want to force us all into government healthcare. It’s infuriating!
In new, final regulations issued Wednesday, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) said that parents must pay a federal fine under Obamacare if their children or dependent spouses are uninsured for any part of the year.
[I]f a child goes without government-defined health insurance coverage for any month of the year, their parent must pay a fine to the government, regardless of whether they claim the child as a dependent or not.
The only thing that matters to the IRS is whether the parent could claim the uninsured child as a dependent.
The same rule applies for an uninsured spouse if the couple files a single tax return. If they file a joint return, both parents are liable for the fine.
[...] Uninsured adult family members use the full per-person cost of $695 per person when calculating their penalty, while uninsured children are penalized half of the adult cost – $347.50 per child. The amount of penalty parents may face will change every year after 2016, the IRS said, and parents will face a phased-in penalty between 2014 and 2016.
For 2014, parents could face a penalty of either $47.50 per child – under 18 – up to $285 total.
For 2015, the per-child penalty is $162.50 per child up to $975 total.
For 2016, the per-child penalty is $347.50 per child up to $2,085 total.
The per-person penalty is capped at $2,085 for 2016, but that cap will rise with inflation every year thereafter.
While the per-person penalty is capped each year, families can still owe more if their income is high enough because the law states that families must pay the greater of either the per-person penalty of 2.5 percent of their taxable income.
What can you do to avoid the fines? Just put that $20,000 in extra cash you have laying around to good use:
In a final regulation issued Wednesday, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) assumed that under Obamacare the cheapest health insurance plan available in 2016 for a family will cost $20,000 for the year.
Under Obamacare, Americans will be required to buy health insurance or pay a penalty to the IRS.
The IRS’s assumption that the cheapest plan for a family will cost $20,000 per year is found in examples the IRS gives to help people understand how to calculate the penalty they will need to pay the government if they do not buy a mandated health plan.
The examples point to families of four and families of five, both of which the IRS expects in its assumptions to pay a minimum of $20,000 per year for a bronze plan.
For middle-class families that are barely making it right now, this is going to drive millions of them into poverty and forced dependence on the welfare state. It infuriates me how many Christians supported this travesty because they bought the lie that this is “compassion!”
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.
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.
Contrary to the lies of “pro-choice” activists, the pro-life movement works to provide REAL choices for women: crisis pregnancy centers, adoption services, foster homes for unwed mothers, assistance for single mothers, counseling, and dozens of other services provided by people who care for both the baby AND the mother.
Liberal writers such as Matthew Yglesias are given to observing that pro-lifers believe that “life begins at conception and ends at birth.” At Commonweal, David Gibson, a journalist who frequently covers the abortion debate, asks how much pro-lifers do for mothers: “I just want to know what realistic steps they are proposing or backing. I’m not sure I’d expect to hear anything from pro-life groups now since there’s really been nothing for years.”
This lazy slander is as common as it is untrue. Of course, there is much more that needs to be done, but in the decades since Roe v. Wade, pro-lifers have taken the lead in offering vital services to mothers and infants in need. Operating with little support–and often actual opposition–from agencies, foundations, and local governments, pro-lifers have relied upon a network of committed donors and volunteers to make great strides in supporting mothers and their infants. It’s time the media takes notice.
In the United States there are some 2,300 affiliates of the three largest pregnancy resource center umbrella groups, Heartbeat International, CareNet, and the National Institute of Family and Life Advocates (NIFLA).
Over 1.9 million American women take advantage of these services each year. Many stay at one of the 350 residential facilities for women and children operated by pro-life groups. In New York City alone, there are twenty-two centers serving 12,000 women a year. These centers provide services including pre-natal care, STI testing, STI treatment, ultrasound, childbirth classes, labor coaching, midwife services, lactation consultation, nutrition consulting, social work, abstinence education, parenting classes, material assistance, and post-abortion counseling.
[...] If pro-life Americans provide so many (often free) services to the poor and vulnerable–work easily discovered by any researcher or journalist with an Internet connection–why are they sometimes accused of caring only for life inside the womb? Quite possibly, it is the conviction of abortion advocates that “caring for the born” translates first and always into advocacy for government programs and funds. In other words, abortion advocates appear to conflate charitable works and civil society with government action. The pro-life movement does not. Rather, it takes up the work of assisting women and children and families, one fundraiser and hotline and billboard at a time. Still, the pro-life movement is not unsophisticated about the relationship between abortion rates and government policies in areas such as education, marriage, employment, housing, and taxation. The Catholic Church, for example, works with particular vigor to ensure that its social justice agenda integrates advocacy for various born, vulnerable groups, with incentives to choose life over abortion.
One of the significant ironies of accusing pro-lifers of being “anti-vulnerable,” “anti-women,” and “anti-poor” is that poor women tend to be more pro-life than their more privileged counterparts. It is especially important, therefore, to offer them options that do not simply appeal to their economic interest or personal autonomy narrowly understood, but rather that accord with their moral outlook and overall wellbeing.