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-Happy Thanksgiving 2014

by Dr. D ~ November 27th, 2014

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       ("The First Thanksgiving at Plymouth": Wikipedia)


Happy Thanksgiving 2014 to you and yours. Our traditional Thanksgiving message follows:

Thanksgiving is a uniquely American celebration that began nearly four centuries ago with a deeply religious people, the Pilgrims, giving thanks to God for preserving them though a very hard year and bringing them their first bountiful harvest which they gratefully shared with their indigenous neighbors.

It was our first President George Washington who proclaimed that our first official national day of public thanksgiving should be dedicated by observing and:

“…by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God.

In recent years the ‘politically correct’/secular crowd has rewritten the history of the first Thanksgiving placing an emphasis upon the hand that the indigenous American Indians played in helping the original Pilgrim community to survive. In the process they have redirected the emphasis on thanks towards neighbors and friends and away from the providence of Almighty God.

While it is always good to be thankful for others who have enriched our own lives and certainly that has a good part to play in the celebration. Nevertheless the major emphasis of Thanksgiving should always be upon God as it was on that very first occasion.

For my family and I, we will be praising and thanking the Lord God Almighty for the bounties and the providence that he has bestowed upon us this year in the name of his Son Jesus Christ. May Our Heavenly Father bless your family today and continue to bless all of us and this nation during this holiday season and in the year to come.           *Top

-High School Student Suspended for Sharing His Faith?

by Dr. D ~ November 25th, 2014

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A high school senior in Everett, Washington has been suspended three times and faces potential expulsion for sharing his Christian faith. Here’s the news release about this case from the Pacific Justice Institute:

A new lawsuit filed this week in Seattle federal court challenges what attorneys are calling “egregious” speech restrictions in an Everett high school.

Attorneys with the Pacific Justice Institute are representing Michael Leal, a senior at Cascade High School. Leal is a devout Christian who shares his faith with his fellow students through gospel tracts and the spoken word. He has been suspended three times so far this school year and faces expulsion if he continues to share his faith. School officials have claimed that Leal’s tracts, such as one entitled, “How to Know God,” and other messages concerning the Ten Commandments may be offensive.

In investigating the suspensions, PJI attorneys were shocked by the sweeping nature of school restrictions on speech. While the Supreme Court famously declared 45 years ago in the Tinker case that students do not shed their constitutional rights at the schoolhouse gate, …

<Read the whole article>

Response: Some schools in America are getting out of control in their restrictions against students praying together, studying the Bible voluntarily in their spare time, and sharing their beliefs or faith with each other. SCOTUS has spoken long ago on this issue but many educators are either ignorant of past rulings or do not care. In this case the school district did not back down from their un-Constitutional demands upon their students even after they were challenged.

Nevertheless, students still have Constitutional rights when it comes to free speech and religious liberty in their spare time and in their communication with each other. No where in the Constitutional is there an enumerated right not to be offended which is what the district administrators claim they are trying restrict.  However, their actions against this student actually are religious persecution and cannot be allowed to stand.            *Top

-Rick Warren: “We Cannot Cave on This Issue”

by Dr. D ~ November 21st, 2014

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          (Picture from Wikipedia)


Speaking before a Vatican-sponsored international conference on marriage, evangelical (SBC) pastor Rick Warren spoke out in favor of traditional marriage proclaiming: 

“…we cannot cave on this issue”

Here’s the story from LifeSite News:

Speaking at Pope Francis’ Humanum conference November 17, Evangelical pastor and author Rick Warren talked about God’s plan for marriage, and along with Southern Baptist ethicist Russell Moore, decried the ruin of marriage resulting from today’s sexual mores.

“To redefine marriage would destroy the picture that God intends for marriage to portray, and we cannot cave on this issue,” Warren said. “It’s a picture of Christ and his Church."

"What are we going to do about this?” he said, according to a report from Christian Today. “The Church cannot cower in silence. The stakes are too high."

Never give up and never give in, was Warren’s message, saying the Church cannot be salt and light in a crumbling culture if it caves in to the sexual revolution and fails to provide a counter-cultural witness.

Warren called it a “total myth” to have to compromise and give up on biblical truth and marriage in order to evangelize.

<Read the whole article>

Response: Pastor Rick Warren is completely correct on this. Churches in America must continue to teach Biblical truth and stand for traditional Christian standards or cease being true representatives of the Church of Jesus Christ. Already some of the more liberal mainline denominations have abandoned the faith on many different levels and their approach towards acceptance of same-sex marriage and homosexual clergy is only one manifestation of their departure from Biblical teaching and authority.

On this website we have recently predicted that all churches and clergy in America would soon be forced to decide between Biblical teaching and traditional marriage or whether to join with the dominant culture in the  acceptance of same-sex marriage and homosexuality.  The choice is really between obeying God and his teaching or cultural accommodation. There will be consequences either way. Bottom line, there will probably be some re-positioning and re-alignment of churches over the marriage issue. Particularly within the evangelical movement.             *Top

-Catholic Priests Choose to Disobey DC Circuit Court Contraceptive Ruling

by Dr. D ~ November 19th, 2014

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A pro-life group of Catholic priests,  Priests for Life, has chosen civil disobedience rather than compliance to a court ruling to provide birth control and abortifacients through the insurance plans for its employees. Here’s the story from Christianity Today:

The United States DC Circuit Court of Appeals rejected a claim from Priests for Life that it should be exempt from the Obamacare legislation on grounds of religious freedom. A three-judge panel said that the regulations "do not impose a substantial burden on the Plaintiffs’ religious exercise."

A statement from the national director of Priests of Life and Gospel of Life Ministries, Father Frank Pavone, denounced the judgement as "absurd".

"Priests for Life will not obey the mandate! Not today. Not tomorrow. Now ever!" he said.

Father Pavone also told the Washington Times that "To ask a group of priests to cooperate in the government’s plan to expand access to birth control and abortion-inducing drugs is about as contrary to religious freedom as you can get."

<Read the whole article>

Response:The DC Circuit decision is the worst so far in the cases challenging the Obamacare HHS Mandate. The DC Circuit is considered the 2nd highest court in the land but SCOTUS has already ruled on this matter and released a couple of businesses from obeying the HHS Mandate for religious reasons in the famed ‘Hobby Lobby’ case.

The Obama administration has responded with an opt out to the mandate through filing a set of paper explaining ones wish for non-compliance for religious reasons. But still the mandated contraceptive coverage would be provided but supposedly in those cases ‘for free’ by the insurance companies. However, nearly all of the religious organizations that object to the Mandate do not wish to recognize the legality of it by filing.

In any case, if insurance companies end up providing contraceptives ‘for free’ then the cost of it all will eventually be spread out among every plan the companies provide. So in the long run the religious organizations who object would end up paying for at least part of the provided contraceptive and abortifacient coverage. The naivety and the business inexperience of the president and members of his administration is glaring in this case if they actually believe that the insurance companies will pay for this coverage out of their own pockets.

Obviously this case will be appealed to the Supreme Court. In the meantime, it will be interesting to see how the administration responds to the civil disobedience of the Catholic priests.            *Top

-7th Circuit: Pastors Can Keep Their Housing Allowance

by Dr. D ~ November 18th, 2014

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The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals has overturned a lower court decision that would  have denied pastors their traditional tax exempt housing allowance which is normally a major part of their compensation package. Here’s the story from Christianity Today:

Today, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals overturned a lower court’s high-profile 2013 decision that the longstanding clergy housing allowance was unconstitutional. The 60-year-old tax break excludes the rental value of a pastor’s home from their taxable income.

The Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) challenged the law last year in Wisconsin, and federal district judge Barbara Crabb agreed that the allowance violates the First Amendment because it provides “a benefit to religious persons and no one else, even though doing so is not necessary to alleviate a special burden on religious exercise.”

Her November 2013 ruling… ended up "sending shockwaves through the religious community," … The housing allowance is "the most important tax benefit available to ministers," according to GuideStone Financial Resources.

In response, a broad spectrum of religious groups and the Obama administration urged the appeals court to reconsider.

<Read the whole article>

Response: This is good news for thousands of pastors and ministers. Also for church boards trying to find ways to fairly compensate them for the huge number of hours they usually put in helping others. It is also nice to see the atheist group-FFRF lose one for a change. Note that even the Obama administration came out against the original decision and pushed for it to be overturned.

The following is part of my response to the original ruling:

Many churches own the houses that the pastors and ministers live in. This is particularly true among the Catholics. How this would be accounted for under a new ruling is unknown.

Fact is one of the reasons that pastors and ministers receive the allowances in the first place is that the minister’s homes are not just strictly private residences but usually function as smaller church meeting venues for counseling, Bible and prayer meetings, and for leadership gatherings. Also many pastors have their offices in their homes and how all of these different uses would be accounted for when it comes to taxes could be rather problematic and in final analysis would end up putting pastors and ministers at a distinct disadvantage rather than the claimed ‘benefit’ that they now receive. 

Finally I really do question whether the writers of the Constitution envisioned that the First Amendment would ultimately be used to combat and diminish religion in America and put ministers at a disadvantage.

This issue may not be completely over if the FFRF tries to appeal it to SCOTUS. However, it is doubtful that the Supremes will take it on in which case this decision should stand.             *Top

-SBC President Pleads for Churches to Pray for Another Great Awakening

by Dr. D ~ November 13th, 2014

Dr. Ronnie Floyd, president of the Southern Baptist Convention, is pleading and encouraging and calling the 46,000 churches in his denomination and beyond to “extraordinary prayer” for revival and another Great Awakening. Here’s the message from his blog:

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<Read the whole message>

He has also made available his complete message in an 16 page e-book which can be downloaded for free:

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Response: I would like to see and plead with other denominational leaders and non-denominational pastors all across America to follow Dr. Floyd’s lead.  We have long held that revival and a new Awakening is needed now in America as never before.

The nation is currently going through radical cultural changes that could make it very difficult for conservative Bible believing Christians in the future. Political power and pressure will never bring the nation back to its Biblical foundations. Our only hope now is that the Holy Spirit will sweep once more across our great nation and bring revival and another Great awakening.            *Top

-National Cathedral to Host a Friday Muslim Prayer Service

by Dr. D ~ November 11th, 2014

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The National Cathedral in Washington DC is going to host a Muslim prayer service on Friday. About 100 Muslim leaders are expected to attend the service which will be  closed to the public. Here’s the story from the Washington Post:

Washington National Cathedral, known for presidential funerals and other major spiritual services, will host a Muslim prayer service for the first time Friday.

… organizers said Monday that they are seeking to make a statement by having Muslim leaders come and hold their midday service in such a visible Christian house of worship.

“We want the world to see the Christian community is partnering with us and is supporting our religious freedom in the same way we are calling for religious freedom for all minorities in Muslim countries,” said Rizwan Jaka, a spokesman with the prominent ADAMS mosque in Sterling, Va., one of the co-sponsors of Friday’s service. “Let this be a lesson to the world.”

…“This is a dramatic moment in the world and in Muslim-Christian relations,” (Ebrahim) Rasool (South African Ambassador) said in a prepared statement. “This needs to be a world in which all are free to believe and practice and in which we avoid bigotry, Islamaphobia, racism, anti-Semitism, and anti-Christianity and to embrace our humanity and to embrace faith.”

<Read the whole article>

Response: I would like to say that this service is a good thing and marks cooperation between two faiths. However, the event will be viewed in a number of very different ways around the world.

In America and in Western nations it will be looked upon positively as an affirmation of religious liberty, and an example of cooperation between religions in the face of bigotry and prejudice. However there is another very different message that most Muslims around the world will receive from the event. After all the National Cathedral (even though it is an Episcopal church) represents the head church in America. They will see it as Islam progressing and finally receiving more power and influence in this nation. The symbolism is unmistakable. In some ways it will be seen as ‘planting a flag’ and claiming the land for Islam in the future.

The Muslim leaders claim that the service will be good example to Muslims around the world that religious freedom should be extended to religious minorities like Christians in the Middle East. Which sounds well and good to Western and American ears. If that was the real and complete intent than the ADAMS mosque would also be hosting a Christian service. That is not going to happen but would be a real demonstration of interfaith cooperation.

Why is it that cooperation only goes one direction when it comes to Islam? Churches and synagogues are asked to host Muslim prayer services but the opposite never happens? Christian and Jewish leaders are also invited to attend Muslim services and conferences but when did a Muslim religious leader attend a Christian service? Rare for sure and never in a synagogue. The answer to why is found in the Quran and its primacy doctrine that requires Islam to always be in a dominate position over other religions.

The Christian leaders involved are doing so with only the greatest intensions reflecting the teaching of Jesus even if they are somewhat naïve. The Muslims leaders on the other hand are undoubtedly fully aware of how it will be received by their people and seen as a victory for Islam.           *Top