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-New York: Christian Owners Will No Longer Host Weddings After Losing Lawsuit Over Same-Sex Wedding

by Dr. D ~ August 29th, 2014
Same Sex Marriage

      (Same Sex Marriage: Wikipedia)

The Christian owners of a farm in New York which is rented out for public events will no longer host weddings. The couple came to that decision after a judge fined them $13,000 for declining to host a same-sex ceremony that was against their religious beliefs and convictions.

The judge reasoned that since they rent out their farm as a public venue for weddings then they could not decline to host same-sex ceremonies which are legal in the state even if it was to be conducted in their own personal residence.

The couple actually have some homosexuals on their staff and will continue to offer space for wedding receptions including same-sex events. However since the wedding ceremonies were largely conducted in their own personal home they are going to draw the line there and decline to do any at all in the future.

Here’s the story from The Blaze:

The move comes after Jennifer McCarthy and Melisa Erwin, a lesbian couple, approached Cynthia and Robert Giffords in 2012 and inquired about holding their nuptials at the Liberty Ridge Farm in Schaghticoke, New York.

The Giffordses, who are Christian and hold the belief that marriage is restricted to one man and one woman, said the couple was welcome to hold their reception on the property, but not the actual ceremony.

McCarthy and Erwin complained to New York’s Division of Human Rights, claiming they had been discriminated against as a result of their sexual orientation.

A judge subsequently ruled in their favor…Judge Migdalia Pares ruled that Liberty Ridge Farm is a public accommodation …the fact that the owners live on the premises does not mean that their business is private in nature.

<Read the whole article>

Response: So much for freedom of religion on one’s own property and home? Same-sex marriages and associated LGBT rights are now trumping religious rights in courtrooms all across America. The first amendment in this case is not even allowed to extend into the personal home of this Christian couple. A dubious decision with possible unforeseen consequences in the future. The Alliance Defending Freedom was defending the couple in this case and hopefully will take it to the next level. This should not be allowed to stand.           *Top

-HS Players Pray for Injured Teammate- Atheists Attack

by Dr. D ~ August 28th, 2014

video platformvideo managementvideo solutionsvideo player

Players on a High School football team took a knee and prayed for a teammate who was injured on the field. Something that has been going on in America for many generations. Except this time an activist atheist organization complained and attacked the school administrators for allowing it.

Here’s the story from The Christian Post:

The injured player was on the ground being tended to by trainers and coaches.

So the Seminole High School football team did what many football teams do. The teenage boys took a knee, bowed their heads and prayed for their injured teammate.

But that simple act of compassion and humanity in Sanford, Florida sparked outrage from the Freedom From Religion Foundation – a group of perpetually offended atheists from Wisconsin.

The school district said the prayer was instigated by students… "No adults in the photo, no adults participating, no adults leading it."

<Read the whole article>

Response: It was spontaneous and instigated by the players themselves. A lot of people believe that it is illegal to say prayers in public schools. That is entirely false- only official school sponsored and lead prayers are prohibited. Students actually have a right to pray if they want to in American public schools as long as the prayers are not lead or initiated by school teachers or administrators or any other adult official.

Notice that in this story even the atheist activists from the FFRF eventually backed down since no coach or chaplain led the players to pray. It was completely spontaneous and well within law from anyone’s perspective.            *Top

-Sacramento: “Too Many Churches Already”

by Dr. D ~ August 27th, 2014

Immigrant Christians Have Difficulty Getting Their Place of Worship Approved

Flag_of_Sacramento,_California.svg

Romanian Christians who left their home country because of persecution found a new kind of discrimination in Sacramento, California when they attempted to receive city approval for a place of worship. One of the reasons given for a permit refusal for their new location was that there are “too many churches already” in the city.

That is when the lawyers for Pacific Justice Institute went to work.  PJI’s Brad Dacus said the following about the case:

"Another reason given was that they said there were too many churches already," says Dacus, whose law firm is representing the church. "You know, it’s not the business of government to dictate how many churches we need." …

"They recognized clear similarities of the hostility that they had experienced in Romania, being persecuted as Christians, and they were having some of the same kind of resistance to be able to have a place to worship here in the United States."

Response: Fortunately PJI was able to obtain a favorable 5-0 vote from the city’s Planning Commission after threatening to take legal action.

Unfortunately cases like this in California are not at all rare except for the fact in this situation the affected church was comprised of Romanian Christians who fled their home country because of persecution only to face a surprising form of the same thing in the USA. Surprising because we are supposed to have a Constitution that guarantees religious freedom particularly when it comes to governmental interference.

Nevertheless, cities all over California and all across America are looking for ways to limit and regulate churches through their zoning and building codes. The major reason for this is the lack of tax revenue coming in to the city coffers from churches and places of worship. Undoubtedly this is why Sacramento bureaucrats complained and cited that there were already “too many churches” in their jurisdiction.

There was a time in America, and I remember it well, when churches were actually considered to be an asset for any community but this is no longer the case in our increasingly secular culture.            *Top

-Love Your Neighbor- It’s Good for Your Heart?

by Dr. D ~ August 26th, 2014
a picture of a heart

       (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Love your neighbor”…following this Biblical commandment could actually be good for you in a number of different ways- mentally, spiritually, and physically. There is recent medical research which indicates that good relations with your neighbors might actually be better for the physical condition of your heart:

"Having good neighbours and feeling connected to others in the local community may help to curb an individual’s heart attack risk," said a statement that accompanied a study published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health. …

For the latest research, the University of Michigan team used data from 5,276 people over 50 with no history of heart problems…

At the start of the project, the respondents were asked to award points out of seven to reflect the extent to which they felt part of their neighbourhood, could rely on their neighbours in a pinch, could trust their neighbours, and found their neighbours to be friendly.

When they crunched the numbers at the end of the study, the team found that for every point they had awarded out of seven, an individual had a reduced heart attack risk over the four-year study period.

… study co-author Eric Kim told AFP, and described the difference as "significant".

<Read the who0le article>

Response: Most Christians have discovered that following the teachings of Jesus leads to a happier and more productive life. That evidence is largely anecdotal but this research isn’t.

The researchers don’t claim to understand how this works but having a better relationship with ones neighbor seems to be a predictor of better health. Maybe God knows something about what is best for his creation after all- Love your neighbor and and have a happier and healthier heart.            *Top

-New HHS Contraceptive Mandate Rules Fail Again

by Dr. D ~ August 25th, 2014
Logo of the United States Department of Health...

              (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

On Friday (Aug.22) the Obama administration issued new procedures (the 8th set of rules) for fulfilling their HHS Contraceptive and Abortifacient Mandate. However, the Baptists and the Catholic Bishops have already found the latest revision to be inadequate for maintaining religious freedom.

Here’s the story from the Baptist Press:

In a fact sheet accompanying the new regulations, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) said the rules provide a new option for notification by non-profit religious organizations that object to the mandate. The non-profit may notify HHS in writing of its religious objection. In response, the federal government will notify the insurer or a third-party administrator it is responsible for providing employees of the non-profit with payments to cover the services.  …

The Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC) was among the organizations that found the latest HHS revision unsatisfactory.

"Here we go again," ERLC President Russell D. Moore said in a written statement. "What we see here is another revised attempt to settle issues of religious conscience with accounting maneuvers. This new policy doesn’t get at the primary problem. The administration is setting itself up as a mediator between God and the conscience on the question of the taking of innocent human life."

<Read the whole article>

Here’s a reaction to the change from the Catholic bishops:

Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, Ky., president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, said, in a statement posted on the USCCB Facebook page, the bishops would study the rules in depth but were disappointed at first look.

Kurtz said “the regulations would not broaden the ‘religious employer’ exemption to encompass all employers with sincerely held religious objections to the mandate. Instead, the regulations would only modify the ‘accommodation,’ under which the mandate still applies and still requires provision of the objectionable coverage.”

Response: The ‘new rules’ are really only an accounting dodge and still require organizations and employers who object to abortifacients to be ‘defacto’ agents in the process. After all, who is really initiating the insurance coverage in the first place and paying for the extended coverage?

The new procedure merely puts the government in the middle as the agent to contact and force insurance companies to provide the objectionable additional coverage ‘for free.’ In reality, insurance companies cannot be expected to pickup the tab without increasing their premiums to every one of their customers including the objecting parties in order to cover the additional costs. 

Meanwhile the 102 lawsuits against the HHS Mandate continue to work their way through the federal court system. The newest revision will probably not affect them in any way.          *Top

-HS Student in Trouble For Saying ‘Bless You’ After a Sneeze?

by Dr. D ~ August 21st, 2014

Bless You!

 

Here’s a report that a high school student got in trouble for responding with ‘bless you’ after a classmate sneezed. The teacher reportedly does not allow any ‘God speak’ in her class and ‘bless you’ is included on a list of forbidden classroom words and phases.

Here’s the story from WMCTV:

A young girl, who claims she was standing up for her religious beliefs in the classroom, was suspended…

When Dyer County High School senior Kendra Turner said bless you to her classmate, she says her teacher told her that was for church.

"She said that we’re not going to have godly speaking in her class and that’s when I said we have a constitutional right," said Turner.

Turner says when she defended her actions, she was told to see an administrator. She says she finished the class period in in-school suspension.

<Read the whole article>

Response: This type of thing is happening all too often in schools and school classrooms across America. The religious rights of students are being infringed upon by arrogant teachers and school administrators who are really ignorant about what is and is not legally permitted in public schools when it comes to religion.

The teacher claims that Kendra was being disrespectful in the way she responded to her censure.  However it sounds to me like the teacher may have created the problem in the first place by insisting on a classroom environment where the faith of the students was discounted and disrespected.             *Top

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

by Dr. D ~ August 20th, 2014
Official seal of City of Houston

               (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

LGBT activists have published the names of 31,000 citizens in Houston, Texas who signed a petition in opposition to the Transgender Bathroom Ordinance which also restricted religious liberty in the city.

Here’s the story from LifeSiteNews:

Backers of a Houston city ordinance banning discrimination based on “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” have published the names of 31,000 pro-family citizens who signed a petition opposing the ordinance because they believed it violated freedom of religion and conscience.

<Read the whole article>

Response: This is a continuing ‘bullying’ tactic used by the gay activists to target their perceived opposition. In the past folks like the former CEO of Firefox have lost their jobs or potential for promotion in companies like Chase Bank over similar outings. Also in the past, Churches including Rick Warren’s Saddleback Church and many others including the Mormons were targeted and picketed for their support of traditional marriage through Prop 8 in California.

Ironically, Christians working for the city and the schools who are exposed by this tactic are now vulnerable to possible discrimination themselves for opposing this so-called ‘discrimination’ ordinance.            *Top