web analytics

Don’t Miss an Update! -Subscribe:

Follow AforFaith on Twitter

Categories

vineyard-roll.gif

Religion Blogs - Blog Top Sites

Visitor Map

Locations of visitors to this page

-Summing Up the Assault on RFRA’s and Freedom of Religion in America

by Dr. D ~ August 4th, 2015

Religious-Freedom-Web-146x180

We have been writing on the issue of Freedom of Religion for over nine years. Lately we have been observing that religious liberty is under assault in America and the traditional understanding of the First Amendment is in the process of being redefined. Our greatest disappointment is that so many Americans appear to accept the substitution of ‘freedom of worship’ for the traditional understanding of freedom of religion.

Here’s one of the best articles I have read summarizing what has happened lately to the freedom of religion in America:

“The Decline—and Fall?—of Religious Freedom in America” by Bruce Abramson

The essay appears in the Mosaic Magazine and not only brings a Jewish perspective to the table, but provides a good summary of the on-going process to change and limit our First Amendment rights to religious liberty and religious practice in the USA.

If you really want to begin to understand this issue more fully and the possible ramifications for the future, I highly recommend reading this essay in its entirety. I have a longer summary of the essay along with several poignant quotes from the article on my Apologetica page.            *Top

>>>Don't Miss an Update! **CLICK NOW** & Receive ANSWERS For The Faith by Email<<<

-IRS Commissioner: No Plans to Target Christian Colleges Over Same-Sex Marriage

by Dr. D ~ August 2nd, 2015

Obama administration’s IRS Commissioner recently told Congress that there were no plans to target the non-profit tax status of Christian Colleges over their same-sex marriage policies. Here’s the story from the Blaze:

IRS Commissioner John Koskinen made a pledge before the U.S. Senate’s Judiciary Oversight Subcommittee on Wednesday, saying that his agency would not go after the tax-exempt statuses of any religious colleges and universities that oppose same-sex nuptials.

“Will you commit to me that while you remain on as the commissioner … you will not in the absence of a directive by Congress or by the courts, that you will not take any action to remove the tax-exempt status from religious colleges and universities based on their belief that marriage is between a man and a woman?” Republican Sen. Mike Lee asked Koskinen.

The commissioner affirmatively responded that he would be able to make that commitment, with Lee expressing his deep appreciation for the pledge. Koskinen did go on to explain how such a change would potentially be made beyond his tenure.

<Read the whole article >

Response: I wonder if he checked with the President on this. Nevertheless it is great to hear his commitment.

Many were speculating that Christian organizations, particularly Christian schools would be the next targets after SCOTUS legalized same-sex marriage. In fact Obama’s own US Solicitor commented during deliberations before the Court that “it might be a problem.” In addition, I have read a number of comments from LGBT folks that the tax-status of Christian orgs. and schools would soon be challenged and ultimately all churches who oppose their agenda.               *Top

>>>Don't Miss an Update! **CLICK NOW** & Receive ANSWERS For The Faith by Email<<<

-Pakistan: Christian Mother Kidnapped, Forced to Convert to Islam and Marry Muslim

by Dr. D ~ July 31st, 2015

crescent-50

A Pakistani Christian mother of three was recently kidnapped, raped, forced to convert to Islam and marry her Muslim rapist. Here’s the story from the Christian Post:

A young Pakistani Christian mother of three has been abducted and raped by her 55-year-old Muslim landlord who forced her to convert to Islam and enter into Islamic marriage. Her family has demanded her return.

Fouzia Sadiq, a Christian woman who is believed to be in her mid-20s, was kidnapped last Thursday …

… the family went to the landlord’s house and demanded the return of Sadiq, but were told by Nazir that Sadiq had converted to Islam and entered into a marriage with him.

… she may still be forced to remain in the forced Islamic marriage, despite existing legal precedents from Lahore High court which clearly state a ‘married Christian woman cannot be remarried to a Muslim even if converted.’"

… Sadiq’s family attempted to file an information report with the local police department but a senior police officer refused to file the report and now the family is terrified.  …

An April 2014 report by "Movement of Solidarity and Peace in Pakistan" revealed that over 1,000 girls — 700 of them being Christians — are kidnapped, raped and forced into marriages every year.

<Read the whole article >

Response: I chose to post on this because it’s not a rare case at all but happens to Christian women all of the time in the Middle East and in Africa. A week does not go by without a report somewhere that a Christian woman has been kidnapped and forced to convert and marry or was enslaved by a Muslim. Even if the woman was married, Islamic sharia law does not recognize it if the woman supposedly converts to Islam.

This is particularly frustrating since it is actually against the law in Pakistan. However, local Pakistani authorities refuse to do anything about it. Only international pressure may have an effect in this case.

This is happening all of the time in Pakistan where the laws are typically not enforced by local authorities if the victims are Christian. In fact according to the CP article over 700 Christian women are kidnapped in that country every year.

It is also a common practice in Egypt for Muslims to capture a Christian Coptic woman and force conversion and marriage. It is even worse in Nigeria where the Boko Haram attack entire villages and enslave the Christian women and children after killing the men. Then there is ISIS which is the worst of all in the treatment of Christians.           

In this case, the best that we can do is pray for the woman and her family. Also posting about it on blogs and in social media can bring about the necessary International pressure that will force the Pakistani federal government to do something about it.               *Top

>>>Don't Miss an Update! **CLICK NOW** & Receive ANSWERS For The Faith by Email<<<

-Texas Supreme Court: Houston Must Put Controversial ‘Transgender Bathroom’ Bill Up for Vote.

by Dr. D ~ July 28th, 2015

Seal_of_Houston,_Texas

The Texas Supreme Court has ruled that the City of Houston must put the controversial LGBT rights ‘transgender bathroom’ bill up for a vote by the people or repeal the ordinance. Meanwhile the court suspended the law. Here’s the report from the Christian Post:

… Houston’s controversial equal rights ordinance, known as HERO, will appear on the November ballot, as Texas Supreme Court has suspended it, ruling that City Council must repeal it by August 24 or put it to popular vote.  …

The gay rights ordinance, which, among other things, allows members of the opposite sex to use each other’s restrooms, hit the headlines after a group of conservative pastors, known as the Houston Five, were subpoenaed by the city in a lawsuit.  …

The city’s lawyers at the time demanded that the pastors turn over all communications addressing homosexuality, gender identity or the city’s first openly lesbian mayor, Annise Parker. Although the mayor later withdrew the subpoenas, it was not before she received national scrutiny for doing so.

Opponents of the ordinance launched a petition that generated more than 50,000 signatures which was well above the 17,269 signatures needed to put the ordinance on the ballot. City Secretary Anna Russell also determined there were enough valid signatures.

"Mayor Parker decided to ignore the will of the people and the city charter, and unlawfully rejected the almost 55,000 signatures," Worrdfill said.

The Texas Supreme Court ruled Friday that "the legislative power reserved to the people of Houston is not being honored."

The state’s highest civil court’s ruling stated, "The City Council is directed to comply with its duties, as specified in the City Charter, that arise when the City Secretary certifies that a referendum petition has a sufficient number of valid signatures.

<Read the whole article >

Response: Finally the people will be able to vote on this matter. The City’s activist mayor and city council were completely out of control. First in trying to silence Houston pastors from even talking and preaching about homosexuality and later by denying a lawful petition to put the matter before the people.

We have been following this issue from the beginning. It will be interesting to see how this turns out and how the mayor and her supporters respond to the will of the voters.

Here are links to our past articles on this:

-UPDATE: Houston Passes Transgender ‘Special Rights’ Ordinance

-City of Houston Subpoenas Pastor’s Sermons on Homosexuality

-Response to Houston’s Demand of Pastor’s Sermon’s from ‘Bonhoeffer’ Author

-Houston Backs Down On Subpoenas for Pastors’ Sermons? Sort of But Not Quite

-Houston: A Referendum Against the Transgender/Anti-Religious Freedom Ordinance

-Houston: Activists Publish Names On Petition Against Transgender Bathroom Ordinance

-UPDATE: Houston Mayor Disregards Call for Referendum on Transgender Bathroom Ordinance

*Top

>>>Don't Miss an Update! **CLICK NOW** & Receive ANSWERS For The Faith by Email<<<

-Kentucky: Pro-Homosexual Religious Test for Volunteer Ministers for Juvenile Offenders

by Dr. D ~ July 25th, 2015

1ano8

Pastors who volunteer to minister and counsel in juvenile detention centers in Kentucky must now sign a state-mandated letter of agreement that homosexuality is not ‘sinful.’ At least one pastor who refused to sign the agreement has been dismissed. Here’s the story from WND:

The state of Kentucky has begun imposing a religious test on volunteer pastor counselors in its youth division, insisting that they refrain from calling homosexuality “sinful” and dismissing those who cannot bend their religious faith to accommodate the state requirements.

The policy was uncovered by Liberty Counsel, which has sent a letter to Bob Hayter, commissioner of the Kentucky Department of Juvenile Justice, demanding that the state religious test be dropped and that a dismissed counselor be reinstated.

“Liberty Counsel writes regarding the blatantly unconstitutional revocation of volunteer prison minister status of ordained Christian minister David Wells, who has provided voluntary spiritual counseling and mentorship to juvenile inmates under the control of the Department of Juvenile Justice. … This revocation was issued by Warren County Regional Juvenile Detention Center on the basis of the April 4, 2014, DJJ Policy 912, which mandates full DJJ support of homosexuality and transvestism.

“With no evidence of any violation of DJJ policy on Mr. Wells’ part, his volunteer status was revoked by the Warren RJDC superintendent because he could not sign a state-mandated statement that homosexuality was not ‘sinful,’ among other things,” the letter said.

<Read the whole article >

Response: This cannot be allowed to stand. This is tantamount to the establishment of an official government ‘religious teaching’ when it comes to homosexuality. In this case Pastor Wells was dismissed because he could not sign the policy letter and not because he was ever actually accused of violating the policy.

This policy would eliminate most Christian pastors and ministers from volunteer ministry in Kentucky juvenile facilities. A real loss for the state and the kids in particular.

I wonder if Muslim imams are also forced to sign on to this same policy. I doubt it. I would bet almost anything that none of the Muslim volunteers have ever even been asked about their teaching on homosexuality.               *Top

>>>Don't Miss an Update! **CLICK NOW** & Receive ANSWERS For The Faith by Email<<<

-9th Circuit Ruling: Pharmacists Must Serve Abortifacients

by Dr. D ~ July 25th, 2015

Pro-life symbol

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that pharmacists must serve the public with ‘emergency contraceptives’ (abortifacients) even if it is against their religious convictions and beliefs.  Here’s the story from Reuters:

The state of Washington can require a pharmacy to deliver medicine even if the pharmacy’s owner has a religious objection, a federal appeals court ruled on Thursday, the latest in a series of judgements on whether religious believers can opt out of providing services.

The ruling, from the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco, came in a case filed by pharmacists who objected to delivering emergency contraceptives. The 9th Circuit overturned a lower court that had said the rules were unconstitutional.  …

In Washington, the state permits a religiously objecting individual pharmacist to deny medicine, so long as another pharmacist working there provides timely delivery. The rules require a pharmacy to deliver all medicine, even if the owner objects.

<Read the whole article>

Response: This ruling will undoubtedly be appealed. There is no guarantee that SCOTUS will pick it up but the chances are good since a lower court ruled differently.

Pharmacists may join bakers and wedding service providers as occupations and businesses that may bar Christians who do not wish to compromise on their closely held religious beliefs. There is also the real possibility that some pharmacists in the future may opt for civil disobedience.            *Top

>>>Don't Miss an Update! **CLICK NOW** & Receive ANSWERS For The Faith by Email<<<

-Mt. Soledad Cross Controversy Settled After 25 Years

by Dr. D ~ July 23rd, 2015

300px-Mount_soledad

   (Mount Soledad Memorial Cross: Wikipedia)

The 25 year Mt. Soledad controversy over the prominent cross displayed at a war memorial in San Diego CA has finally been settled. There have been millions spent on lawsuits and court cases over that time and voters in San Diego even voted to sell the property but the action was blocked by a judge. Now once and for all it appears that it has finally been settled. Here’s the story from Christianity Today:

The quarter-century controversy over the Mt. Soledad Veterans Memorial has finally ended, after the US Department of Defense sold the government land on which the 29-foot cross stood.  …

Supporters of the memorial celebrated the sale.

"Today’s actions will ensure that the memorial will continue to stand in honor of our veterans for decades to come,” said Liberty Institute attorney Hiram Sasser in a statement. “This is a great victory for the veterans who originally placed this memorial and the Korean War veterans the memorial honors.”

The Mt. Soledad Memorial Association (MSMA), which has long provided upkeep for the cross, paid $1.4 million for the memorial’s half-acre of land.  …

Constructed in 1954, the iconic war memorial honors nearly 4,000 veterans and stands between the Pacific Ocean and the San Diego freeway. Surrounding walls display granite plaques that commemorate veterans of varying religious convictions.

<Read the whole article>

Response: We have followed this story from the beginning. For years the opponents of the cross complained that it was ‘unconstitutional’ since it was on public land. However every time the government tried to resolve the issue by selling the land it was block by these same folks. The fact is, the opponents of the cross keep the controversy going because they really did not want it legally resolved unless the cross was actually taken down.

It is a war memorial after all and other religious symbols are also displayed at the site. But it was the fact that the cross could be seen for miles that seemed to bother the opponents. The cross will still be there but now it is on ‘private’ land. This is a well deserved victory.

Here’s some of my posts from the past on this issue:

-Mt. Soledad Cross: DOJ Holding Secret Meetings with ACLU?

-Supreme Court Sends Mt. Soledad Cross Case Back to District Court

-Supreme Court Refuses to Hear Mt. Soledad Memorial Cross Case for Now

-9th Circuit Rules Mt. Soledad Cross Unconstitutional

*Top

>>>Don't Miss an Update! **CLICK NOW** & Receive ANSWERS For The Faith by Email<<<