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-A Win For Religious Liberty of Public Officials

by Dr. D ~ October 18th, 2018

City of Atlanta

  City of Atlanta

Last December we asked the following question in an article: “-Must Public Officials Give Up Their Religious Liberty?” We cited among others the case of Cochran v. City of Atlanta.

Kelvin Cochran was fired from his job as a Fire Chief in Atlanta, GA after he self-published a Christian devotional book meant to be used in his home church that in a few lines referenced Biblical teaching on homosexuality. LGBT activists demanded that Cochran be fired and the Mayor of Atlanta complied stating:

 "We will not discriminate on the basis of race or gender or religion or creed or sexual orientation or physical ability or gender identity."

Apparently however, it was ok to discriminate against Cochran’s Biblical Christian beliefs along with his free speech and his freedom of religion?

Since then a judge has ruled in his favor and the City of Atlanta has agreed to pay the former Fire Chief $1.2 Million for violating his First Amendment rights. From the Daily Wire:

After a December 2017 ruling found that the city discriminated against Mr. Cochran and violated his First Amendment rights by firing him for expressing Christian views with which they disagree, the city council on Monday agreed to pay out $1.2 million to the former chief for damages and attorneys’ fees, reports Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), the organization which represented Mr. Cochran.

     "The government can’t force its employees to get its permission before they engage in free speech. It also can’t fire them for exercising that First Amendment freedom, causing them to lose both their freedom and their livelihoods,"

said ADF Senior Counsel Kevin Theriot.

Theriot said he hopes the pay-out "will serve as a deterrent to any government that would trample upon the constitutionally protected freedoms of its public servants."

<Read the whole article>

Response: With this large pay out to Cochran for violating his religious freedom, we can expect the religious liberty of public servants and officials to be more secure in the future. What a great victory for the freedom of religion.

It should be pointed out that the former Fire Chief was never even accused of discriminating against anyone at any time. The city officials merely maintained that they did not want anyone in their employ that held Biblical beliefs about homosexuality:

"If you hold to these beliefs and express these beliefs, you cannot work for us."

That of course would mean that no conservative Bible believing Christians would be able to work for the City of Atlanta if they ever verbally admitted to holding those Biblical beliefs.

If all of the city’s employees were held to that standard and were queried about their Christian beliefs about homosexuality quite a few city workers would have lost their jobs. Even presumably some Muslim workers for that matter? This of course would be a religious test, religious discrimination, and a real violation of the Constitution. Just like the judge ruled.

Here’s a great article from Dr. Michael Brown also celebrating this outcome and analyzing what it might mean for religious freedom in the future: “Another Major Victory for Religious Freedom in America

*Top

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-Devotion and Prayer for the Day: Psalm 96

by Dr. D ~ October 18th, 2018

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Join us in today’s prayer and devotion: -Praying Thru the Psalms: #96:

96 O sing unto the Lord a new song: sing unto the Lord, all the earth.

2 Sing unto the Lord, bless his name; show forth his salvation from day to day.

3 Declare his glory among the heathen, his wonders among all people.

4 For the Lord is great, and greatly to be praised: …

Continue: <Link to the rest on our Prayer & Devotion page>

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-Devotion and Prayer for the Day: Psalm 95

by Dr. D ~ October 17th, 2018

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Join us in today’s prayer and devotion: -Praying Thru the Psalms: #95:

95 O come, let us sing unto the Lord: let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation.

2 Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving, and make a joyful noise unto him with psalms.

3 For the Lord is a great God, …

Continue: <Link to the rest on our Prayer & Devotion page>

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-Weekly Bible Study: An Application of Philippians 4:5b

by Dr. D ~ October 17th, 2018
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An Application of Philippians 4:4-7

LESSON THREE: Verse 5b- The Lord is Always With Us

Phil 4:4-7

4 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. 5 Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; 6 do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.  -ESV

One of the most important lessons that all of us need to realize as Christians is that our Lord is with us through it all–good and bad. He is there when we lose our job, he is there when we fight with our wife, he is there also when we respond to his Spirit and reach out to others around us.

He is there through thick and thin. He promised us that he would be with us to the very end of the age. We might be facing tough times right now, but if you take a time out and read what Jesus and his Apostles lived through, we probably aren’t facing circumstances quite as severe as they did–as least not those of us in America. Some  Christians are and we may face similar trials in the future.

Remember Paul and Silas who were in a jail singing praise songs after they were beaten up? The Lord was with them that night. Also with Peter- when the chains fell off of him and he escaped from a Roman prison.

It reminds me of the testimony of a modern day Christian pastor that I personally know who was thrown into a Cambodian prison during the ‘killing fields’ era when all Christians were rounded up and killed. While he waited for his execution, he was beaten every day and his legs were broken, nevertheless he sang a praise song in his cell everyday: “I have a river of life flowing out from me…” and told everyone around him about the good news of Jesus Christ, the Kingdom of God, and his blessings for all eternity.

Eventually all those in cells around him were converted. One night he crawled out of prison right passed the guards and through the ‘locked’ doors. He was later found and put in a hospital. The authorities hoped to bring him back to health so that they could torture him some more and get him to reveal the identities of any fellow Christians. A East German (supposedly Communist) doctor who was actually a closet Christian helped him escape. Praise the Lord.

He found his way to Southern California and pastored among the Cambodian community here until the Lord sent him back to re-establish the church in Cambodia (which is another miraculous story). The point is this Cambodia bother testifies that the Lord was with him in all of those situations and continues to be. A real lesson for us all.

The Lord is at hand and with us through it all- praise his name always regardless of the circumstances.            *Top

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-Devotion and Prayer for the Day: Psalm 94

by Dr. D ~ October 16th, 2018

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Join us in today’s prayer and devotion: -Praying Thru the Psalms: #94:

94 O Lord God, to whom vengeance belongeth; O God, to whom vengeance belongeth, show thyself.

2 Lift up thyself, thou judge of the earth: render a reward to the proud.

3 Lord, how long shall the wicked, how long shall the wicked triumph? …

22 But the Lord is my defense; and my God is the rock of my refuge.

23 And he shall bring upon them their own iniquity, …

Continue: <Link to the rest on our Prayer & Devotion page>

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-Devotion and Prayer for the Day: Psalm 93

by Dr. D ~ October 15th, 2018

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Join us in today’s prayer and devotion: -Praying Thru the Psalms: #93:

93 The LORD reigneth, he is clothed with majesty; the LORD is clothed with strength, wherewith he hath girded himself: the world also is stablished, that it cannot be moved.

2 Thy throne is established of old: thou art from everlasting.

Continue: <Link to the rest on our Prayer & Devotion page>

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-Devotion and Prayer for the Day: Psalm 92

by Dr. D ~ October 12th, 2018

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Join us in today’s prayer and devotion: -Praying Thru the Psalms: #92:

92 It is a good thing to give thanks unto the Lord, and to sing praises unto thy name, O Most High:

2 To show forth thy lovingkindness in the morning, and thy faithfulness every night,

3 Upon an instrument of ten strings, and upon the psaltery; upon the harp with a solemn sound.

4 For thou, Lord, hast made me glad through thy work: I will triumph in the works of thy hands.  …

Continue: <Link to the rest on our Prayer & Devotion page>

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-Devotion and Prayer for the Day: Psalm 91

by Dr. D ~ October 11th, 2018

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Join us in today’s prayer and devotion: -Praying Thru the Psalms: #91:

91 He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.

2 I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust.

3 Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence.

4 He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler. …

Continue: <Link to the rest on our Prayer & Devotion page>

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-Texas: City Law to Regulate Church Hiring?

by Dr. D ~ October 10th, 2018

Religious-Freedom-Web-146x180

A lawsuit has been filed against a City of Austin (TX) law which could force churches to hire folks who do not reflect their Biblical and theological beliefs and standards. Meanwhile, the city is not backing down and vows to support their ordinance in court. From the Christian Post:

… According to the lawsuit, the churches believe that the "Bible is the Word of God" and they "rely on the Bible rather than modern-day cultural fads for religious and moral guidance." As such, the churches will not hire "practicing homosexuals or transgendered people as clergy."

Additionally, the member churches require that employees live "according to the Bible’s teachings on matters of sexuality and gender." Because of this, the lawsuit states, these churches will "not consider practicing homosexuals or transgendered people for any type of church employment." 

As the Austin ordinance also bars discrimination on the basis of sex, the lawsuit also seeks protection of some member churches who feel the Bible doesn’t allow women to serve in the role of senior pastor because of the words of 2 Timothy 2:12.  …

<Read the whole article>

Response: This is not the first city to try and force churches to bend to the prevailing popular culture. In 2014, city leaders in Houston, Texas tried to force churches to comply with a ‘transgender bathroom’ ordinance and even subpoenaed churches which opposed the law to hand over recordings and notes of any sermons or teaching that opposed homosexuality in the process. As you can imagine that situation became a national  controversy. Also this will not be the last.

The city administrators are adamant about forcing everyone, including churches and religious institutions, to comply with their ‘anti-discrimination’ ordinance. According to city spokesperson David Green:

"The ordinance reflects our values and culture respecting the dignity and rights of every individual. …"We are prepared to vigorously defend the City against this challenge to the City’s civil rights protections."

What Green obviously means without saying it- the city’s ‘civil rights’ protections should trump the First Amendment and religious freedom from their perspective. However, it is doubtful that the courts will ultimately agree with Green and rule in favor of the city.

If taken literally, the ordinance would force the Catholic Church to ordain women priests and churches who do not believe in woman pastors to accept them any way? Not to even mention ordaining or hiring LGBT folks if it is contrary to church teaching. Fact is, the churches would never comply with this law regardless of what any city administrator may think or even how any judge may rule.

Fortunately the current makeup of the US Supreme Court means that this law will never even come close to trumping the First Amendment nor will it probably even challenge Texas state laws which protect religious freedom.               *Top

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-Devotion and Prayer for the Day: Psalm 90

by Dr. D ~ October 10th, 2018

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Join us in today’s prayer and devotion: -Praying Thru the Psalms: #90

A Prayer of Moses

90 Lord, thou hast been our dwelling place in all generations.

2 Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God. …

Continue: <Link to the rest on our Prayer & Devotion page>

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