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-SCOTUS: Should Two Justices Recuse Themselves From the Same-Sex Marriage Case?

by Dr. D ~ March 4th, 2015

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Two Supreme Court Justices have gone out of their way to demonstrate their opinions on same-sex marriage by actually officiating at gay weddings. Should they recuse themselves from the upcoming same-sex marriage case?

Here’s an article about this situation from the Christian Post:

…In April, the Supreme Court will hear arguments in an appeal from the Sixth Circuit regarding the constitutionality of state constitutional bans on same-sex marriage.

Calls have been made by some conservative groups for Justices Elena Kagan and Ruth Bader Ginsburg to recuse themselves from the case because they’ve officiated gay weddings. …

Regarding the calls for Kagan and Ginsburg to recuse themselves, Loewentheil (Columbia Law School) replied that there "is no reason for Kagan or Ginsburg to recuse themselves from the case regarding state-level gay marriage bans."

"The justices in question performed an act, at the request of a third-party, which was lawful in the state where and when it was performed," Loewentheil said.

"They have no financial interest or other inappropriate stake in the outcome in the case, and have no obligation to recuse themselves."

<Read the whole article>

Response: It is obvious that these two justices at the very least already have a well formed opinion on same-sex marriage or they would not have participated in the ceremonies.

Should Kagan and Ginsburg recuse themselves? Yes. Their actions were an ‘in-your-face’ participation in the very act coming up for review before the court. They very well knew what they were doing and they were obviously thumbing their noses at the opposition- outrageous!

The legal opinion in the article coming from legal experts at several major law schools is that they do not need to recuse themselves. However the reputation of those institutions of higher learning is that they are quite progressive and leftist in their leaning so also would probably be rather biased toward accepting same-sex marriage.

You could bet the farm that if conservative justices telegraphed and demonstrated their own opinions on the conservative Christian side by participating in a very act coming up for review in another case before them that the very same law professors would be calling for them to be disqualified. Then the drum beat of the press would continue unabated hounding all the folks involved and everyone else in the media until it was a done deal.            *Top

-Obama Foreign Policies Leading to Christian Persecution?

by Dr. D ~ March 3rd, 2015

Franklin Graham of Samaritan’s Purse (a Christian relief organization0 and BGEA believes that  President Barack Obama’s sympathy towards Islam is bringing on a ‘Storm of Islam’ that will result in Christian persecution in this country and around the world. From the Blaze:

“We’re going to see persecution, I believe, in this country, because our president is very sympathetic to Islam…growing up his frame of reference and his influence as a young man was Islam. It wasn’t Christianity, [it was] Islam.”

…“Our foreign policy has a lot of influence now from Muslims,” he said. “We see the prime minister of Israel being snubbed by the president and by the White House and by the Democrats and it’s because of the influence of Islam. They hate Israel and they hate Christians, and so the storm is coming, I believe.”

Graham warned that “radical Islamists” are “advising various levels of government” and that the situation will get worse.

“Nobody is saying anything about this and we as Christians are going to lose,” he said.

See the video above or a expanded 12 minute version on YouTube.

Response: I believe that Franklin Graham is correct but that it is even worse than he has stated. Fact is that some of President Obama’s closest advisors have close ties with Islam. Graham is framing it as a ‘future’ consequence but I believe that Obama’s foreign policies have resulted in the worst Christian persecution around the world since the 1st century.

Here is what has happened in the six years since Barack Obama became president:

Libya: Surrendered to Bush under Gaddafi, Obama supported his overthrow -now a hotbed of Islamic extremists. Remember the destruction of the Benghazi consulate and the killing of the American ambassador along with others. Then last week a faction of ISIS beheaded 21 Christians there.

Tunisia: The Obama administration supported the so-called ‘Arab Spring’ and the moderate west leaning government was overthrown and replaced and now it is run by Islamists who have established radical sharia law and persecute Christians.

Egypt: Obama supported the ‘Arab Spring’ there and the overthrow of Mubarak who was replaced by the Muslim Brotherhood leader-  Mohamed Morsi who tried to suspend the Parliament and re-write the Constitution to make it compliant with Sharia law. Christians suffered persecution under the Morsi government but the army overthrew him and established a more moderate regime under Abdel Fattah el-Sisi which the Obama administration does not support even though it is far better for Christians now and they are fighting ISIS.

Nigeria: The Boko Haram have declared sharia law over a large territory in the north and have called themselves an ‘Islamic Caliphate.’ Current rumors have them establishing new ties with ISIS. Meanwhile they have destroyed hundreds of Christian villages and churches and have killed tens of thousand of Christians while the Obama administration is doing nothing substantial to help.

Israel and the Palestinian Authority: The Obama administration has shown unprecedented support for the Palestinians while being the worst ever administration to the Israelis. Meanwhile Arab Christians are being persecuted in Gaza and the West Bank by the Islamists which the Obama administration supports.

Syria: At one point the Obama administration had a chance to support a moderate faction battling the present regime but declined. Since then, the radicals under ISIS have taken substantial territory and have destroyed Christian villages and churches and while killing thousands and forcing hundreds of thousands to leave their homes and flee to neighboring countries like Jordan. Meanwhile the Obama administration has sent weapons to the area but they always seem to end up in the hands of the extremists and ISIS.

Iraq: The Obama administration pulled the American army out of Iraq and left the Iraqis to fend for themselves. Meanwhile we all know what has happened since. ISIS has become a real threat and not just the ‘B team’ that Obama was ignoring. The result- Tens of thousands of Christians and other religious minorities killed, hundreds of thousands driven out of their homes, with hundreds of historic churches and artifacts destroyed. Now the ‘B team’ is threatening Europe and America and plans to put their flag on the White House.

Afghanistan: The Obama administration spent billions on building up the country hoping to gain the support of the people but the Taliban continues to take back territory and gain influence. Meanwhile the American army is going to be pulled out of the country regardless and the administration is trying to negotiate with the Taliban leaders in order to create some kind of face saving peace. While this is going on, Christian relief workers continue to be killed and the last church in that country is in shambles.

Iran: The Obama administration continues to try and negotiate with the Iranian Mullahs over their nuclear program. Rumor is that President Obama is willing to let them have a limited supply of bombs as long as they ‘promise’ not to use them. Meanwhile the Islamist leaders tell their own people that they plan to destroy Israel and wipe it off the map while they continue to jail Christian pastors and try to force Iranian Christians to convert.

Another rumor has it that President Obama has told Israel that it will shoot down any Israeli planes that try to attack the Iranian nuclear facilities.

Yemen: Recently the American allied government was overthrown by Islamist radicals. Obama closed the embassy and pulled everyone out.

Turkey: A member of NATO and an American ally for 80 years but now becoming more radical Islamist and Christians in the country are experiencing an increase of persecution.

Point is, the problem is not a future one. The Obama administration has created a foreign policy environment where radical Islamists have increased in power and influence while moderates have been replaced and Christians have experienced the worse persecution ever.             *Top

-Costco Lawsuit: Is this Really Religious Discrimination?

by Dr. D ~ March 2nd, 2015

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A former employee is suing Costco for religious discrimination after he complained about some of the requirements of his job which went against his faith. Then he was reassigned to a different position that he obviously did not like.

As a Muslim he didn’t want to touch pork or liquor which was required in his position as an assistant checker. The manager reassigned him to get the shopping carts outside instead after he complained. Here’s the story from abc7NY:

…The devout Muslim says he was working as a cashier’s assistant at the Costco in Sunset Park Brooklyn in September of 2012 when pork came across the conveyor belt.
It’s against his religious beliefs to touch either pork or alcohol. Camara says after telling his managers this, they transferred him outside collecting the shopping carts.

Camara says they never told him why he was reassigned.  …

Camara says he asked his managers if he could work in the electronics department, but his requests were repeatedly denied. He ended up filing a human rights complaint against the company.

<Read the whole article>

Response: Is this really ‘religious discrimination’? What do you think? The man did not want to handle pork or alcohol for religious reasons and was reassigned by the manager to do a different job which did not require anything against his religion.

In order to avoid ‘religious discrimination’ should Costco be forced to offer a ‘no pork or alcohol’ checkout line so this worker could keep on working as cashier’s assistant without compromising his religion? Or should the store be required to stop selling pork or liquor because it might restrict the jobs that Muslim workers might be able to do. Should a manager be required to assign a worker to the electronics department so he doesn’t have to handle products that are against the worker’s religion even if those positions are already filled?

I don’t believe that this is really ‘religious discrimination.’

If a Muslim got a job in a liquor store should he expect to be exempt from handling alcohol because of his religion? No! A religious person should merely get a job that does not require them to compromise their beliefs.            *Top

-The Biblical Origins of : “Live Long and Prosper”?

by Dr. D ~ February 28th, 2015

Leonard Nimoy passed away this week and on Facebook I literally read dozens of references to his famous saying in the Star Trek series and movies:

“Live Long and Prosper”

View the video above where Leonard Nimoy talks origins of Spock’s famous greeting as having its origin in a Jewish Cohen blessing over a congregation. Then read what I have to say about the Biblical origins of this famous saying on my Apologetica page.             *Top

-Pew Study: “Latest Trends in Religious Restrictions and Hostilities”

by Dr. D ~ February 27th, 2015

China Among the Worst and Anti-Semitism on the Rise Internationally

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A new Pew study on religious liberty and persecution across the world entitled- “Latest Trends in Religious Restrictions and Hostilities” showed that China headed the list of the most restrictive nations. North Korea was not included in this study since it is too difficult to get real data from that country which undoubtedly is the real ‘worst’ nation when it comes to the freedom of anything.

The study showed that religious minorities were the recipients of most of the ‘restrictions and hostilities’ noted in the study with a majority of the actual persecution coming socially or culturally rather than due to official government policy:

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Anti-Semitism on the Rise Internationally

The study also shows that Anti-Semitism has been on the rise for seven years internationally:

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Read the whole report, it is chock full of charts and information. Far more than can be mentioned or evaluated in this one article.

Response: Notice that most of the top offenders on the list are Muslim dominated nations. While restrictions and harassment is shown by this study to be static or slightly decreasing internationally, the reality is that the seriousness of the attacks against people of faith is on the increase particularly where the Boko Haram and ISIS are involved.

This report also seems to indicate that Muslims have been singled out for harassment nearly as much as Christians (Europe & USA). However, the severity of that persecution is vastly different particularly when it comes to the actual destruction of property, physical injuries and deaths.             *Top

-Anti-Semitism on the Rise in American Universities

by Dr. D ~ February 25th, 2015

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There is a new report out that confirms what many have anecdotally thought or experienced. Anti-Semitism is on the rise in American institutions of higher learning. Here’s a quote from an article about it in the Washington Free Beacon:

Anti-Semitism on college campuses is growing, with more than half of Jewish students claiming they have witnessed or been subjected to some form of anti-Jewish harassment, according to a new report by a leading human rights organization.

With college campuses across the country acting as a hotbed for anti-Israel activism, Jewish students say they are beginning to be targeted on the basis of their religion, according to a nationwide survey conducted by Trinity College and the Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law.

The survey, which interviewed 1,157 self-identified Jewish students at 55 U.S. colleges, found that 54 percent experienced or witnessed “anti-Semitism on campus during the first six months of the 2013-2014 academic year.”

Also here’s a list of the top ten most offending colleges and universities in 2014:

1. Columbia University
2. Cornell University
3. George Mason University
4. Loyola University Chicago
5. Portland State University
6. San Diego State University
7. San Francisco State University
8. Temple University
9. University of California Los Angeles
10. Vassar College

UCLA is listed as #9 but recent events on campus may indicate that Anti-Semitism is even a greater problem on that campus in 2015. Recently one Jewish student running for the Judicial Board was questioned about whether she could make impartial decisions because of her divided loyalty as an active part of the Jewish community.

Response: The rise in Anti-Semitism can be correlated with the increase of opposition to the Jewish state of Israel on college campuses across America. It is also related to a greater number of Muslim students in American institutions.

Most of the blatant examples of Anti-Semitism on college campuses comes from student organizations that support statehood for the Palestinians. On a number of different occasions, when there have been rallies and conferences supporting the Palestinian movement, Jewish students have been singled out and subjected to persecution and discrimination.

This is particularly true at institutions with large Muslim student organizations like in my own area, San Diego State, UCLA, and UC Irvine. In fact the Muslim student organization at UC Irvine has ended up in trouble over their treatment of fellow Jewish students in the past. I am surprised that Irvine was not on the list.            *Top

-The Clash Between LGBT ‘Special Rights’ and Religious Freedom Increases

by Dr. D ~ February 24th, 2015

After the passage of the ‘Transgender Bathroom Rights’ bill in Houston, Texas and the obvious challenges that ‘discrimination’ provision made to religious freedom, I noted that this was just the beginning and that progressive activists would soon try to pass similar legislation all across America.

Already a number of state legislatures are now considering similar ‘special rights’ bills protecting sexual orientation and gender identity even though some of these laws may directly conflict with our Constitutional right of religious freedom. See the video above from Citizen Link.

Charlotte N.C. is the latest city to consider a ‘transgender bathroom’ bill and there is considerable reaction within the Christian community over how it would affect religious liberty and public safety. Franklin Graham in particular has commented on it:

"I cannot see why City Council would even consider this. It is not only ridiculous, it’s unsafe," Graham, the 62-year-old president of Samaritan’s Purse humanitarian organization and Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, said in a statement.

"Common sense tells us that this would open the door, literally, to all sorts of serious concerns including giving sexual predators access to children. It violates every sense of the privacy and decency for people."

Meanwhile in Arkansas, the state lawmakers are trying to pass a law restricting any similar  ‘discrimination’ policies that might clash with religious freedom.  However, the City of Eureka Springs quickly passed their own version of a ‘special rights’ discrimination ordinance beating the state to the punch. (HT: Brian-loyal reader and contributor)

The provision supposedly gives an out to religious institutions if they can demonstrate that they are acting according to their stated theological beliefs or teachings. In the case of a lawsuit, a judge would decide? Also it seems to leave a door open to force  religious institutions, who rent out their facilities, to allow anyone to use as long as there is no ‘ceremony.’ Which could mean that churches might be forced to rent out their halls for parties, anniversaries and receptions including same-sex celebrations.

So the beat goes on and eventually some of these bills that specifically challenge religious liberty will end up in court as churches and religious institutions are sued for non-compliance. Then we will see if the First Amendment is still worth the fading ink on the original parchment or whether it’ll be trumped by ‘special rights’ never mentioned or foreseen by the founders.          *Top