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

by Dr. D ~ July 2nd, 2014
Monument on Mt. Soledad,San Diego,CA

              (Monument on Mt. Soledad:  **Mary**)

The Supreme Court of the US refused to hear the Mt. Soledad Memorial Cross case for now. The controversy over the memorial cross on a hill in the LA Jolla area of San Diego, California started way back in 1989 and has been in and out of court ever since.

At one time the US Congress voted to purchase the memorial cross for the Federal Government and the people of San Diego voted to support a sale of the land but Lawsuits and judges have kept the case from being resolved with the cross still intact.

For now the Supreme Court has sent the case back to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals for a ruling. Here’s the story from Citizen Link:

Supreme Court Associate Justice Samuel Alito issued a statement about the case. He said that because the cross is in no danger of being removed — while the case moves forward — the justices would wait until the lower court ruled before they decide whether to hear it.

The cross, erected in 1954, has been the subject of litigation for the past 26 years. The 29-foot-tall cross contains the names of more than 3,500 veterans who served our country with honor. The monument is cared for by the Mt. Soledad Memorial Association, which is comprised of veterans.

<Read the whole article>

Response: This is a case which is close to my heart since I do occasionally see Mt. Soledad during my weekly business trips to San Diego. It is a case that started with one rather infamous and litigious atheist Lawyer in San Diego who objected to the large cross which is the center piece of the war memorial. Lately the ACLU has been leading the opposition to the Cross.

I see some hope that the case might finally be resolved after all of these years and court cases and lawsuits with the cross intact. In 2010 the US Supreme Court ruled on a similar case that allowed the Mohave Memorial Cross to be transferred into private hands rather than be destroyed. Maybe the same accommodation might also be eventually made for the Mt. Soledad Cross. Though on at least two occasions in the past the transfer of the land into private hands was blocked but with the support of SCOTUS it could finally be accomplished.  One can hope.

Here are links to some of our previous posts with further info on the ups and downs of this case:

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

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

-9th Circuit Rules Mt. Soledad Cross Unconstitutional

-Memorial Cross is Constitutional


-Hobby Lobby Wins Case Against HHS Contraceptive Mandate

by Dr. D ~ July 1st, 2014
English: Hobby Lobby store in Stow, Ohio

                                                             (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Monday the US Supreme Court ruled in favor of Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood Specialties in the case against the Obama administration’s HHS Contraceptive Mandate.

Here’s the story from the Citizen Link:

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled this morning that families can run businesses based on Christian principles.

In a 5-4 decision, the court said the federal government cannot force Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood Specialties to offer potential abortion-inducing drugs in employee health plans. …

In today’s opinion, Justice Samuel Alito said the HHS mandate violates the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 (RFRA):

In holding that the HHS mandate is unlawful, we reject HHS’s argument that the owners of the companies forfeited all RFRA protection when they decided to organize their businesses as corporations rather than sole proprietorships or general partnerships. The plain terms of RFRA make it perfectly clear that Congress did not discriminate in this way against men and women who wish to run their businesses as for-profit corporations in the manner required by their religious beliefs.

<Read the whole article>

Response: This is a real victory for religious conscience and freedom in the marketplace. These two companies were privately owned corporations by Christian families who were pro-life and wanted nothing to do with paying for abortifacients.

The narrow decision was hard fought and indicates how divided the justices really are when it comes to religious liberty. Freedom won this time but a change of only one justice on the court could bring a far different result. We should be praying for the health of the current court while we celebrate this win.

The Obama administration’s response to the decision is telling. They are immediately attempting to make political hay on the issue casting the decision as another skirmish in the ‘War on Women’ and typical of what the country would get if the Republicans took the Senate in the elections this year.

The administration and their allies attempt to make the case that these companies and 5 ‘old men’ justices are trying to dictate healthcare choices for women employees. But it is nothing of the sort. Women working for these companies are still free to seek out and pay for any drug or procedure they may want just like always. It was the Obama administration who was really dictating and forcing their pro-abortion stance on others by running roughshod over religious liberty through their HHS Mandate.

Here are a few articles on this decision which provide greater detail and analysis:

World Mag: “Hobby Lobby wins big, but questions linger

DR. Albert Mohler: “The Hobby Lobby Decision: A Big Win for Religious Liberty — and a Very Revealing Divide on the Court

NY Times: “A Ruling That Both Sides Can Run With


-Did the Death of DOMA Sow the Seeds of a Crisis in Religious Liberty?

by Dr. D ~ June 28th, 2014
Supreme Court Pediment

                          (Photo credit: Kevin H.)

One year ago the Supreme Court of the US struck down the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and opened the door to challenges in nearly every state that defined marriage as between one man and one woman.

The deluge of lower court cases based upon that decision shows that it was a major turning point in redefining marriage in America.  The establishment of same-sex marriage in all 50 states is now a legal ‘fait accompli’ despite the current laws to the contrary in a large number of states. It is just a matter of time and court cases. The judiciary is changing America.

It is my contention that the decision not only affected marriage in the United States but also sowed seeds that could eventually lead to a an undermining of religious liberty and a major Constitutional crisis over an attempt to redefine the First Amendment.

The question will soon revolve around how the government (both local and federal) is to respond to Christians and Christian organizations and institutions that refuse to go along with the redefinition of marriage and continue to limit the participation of LGBT folks in their employment and leadership. I am not the only one who sees this crisis coming. Dr. Albert Mohler in an article on this same issue in the CNN Belief Blog observes:

A year after the death of DOMA, it is also clear that very real threats to religious liberty now loom before us. This is perhaps the inevitable consequence of a moral revolution of this scale.

Will the government now coerce the consciences of churches, religious institutions, schools, colleges, social service agencies, and the like? There is now strong evidence that government at every level will attempt such coercion. Will America abandon religious liberty for the sake of erotic freedom?

Those of us who believe same-sex marriage to be a moral impossibility now face a very daunting challenge — how to live in a society that is moving so rapidly against our moral worldview, even as the society shared that worldview for over 2,000 years.

We have already seen some indications of how government officials and the courts might proceed. last year, San Antonio (Texas) city officials passed an ordinance with a ‘non-discrimination’ policy that would seem to target and prevent Christian organizations from using the city’s convention center.  Then recently also in ‘conservative’ Texas, the city of Houston passed an ordinance that was suppose to be about ‘transgender bathroom choice’ but unreported was a provision in the law that would force Christian business owners to participate in same-sex ceremonies regardless of religious convictions or beliefs. And finally, there is the  New Mexico Supreme Court decision last year which blatantly declared that homosexual rights trump religious liberty and conscience. This is a case that SCOTUS refused to deal with during this session. Their inaction will encourage similar decisions in lower courts and actually lead to the crisis we are talking about.

Meanwhile, President Obama and his administration is in the forefront of encouraging a change in policy within Christian churches and organizations when it comes to homosexuality.  But far more ominous is his approach towards redefining the First Amendment as merely ‘Freedom to Worship’ which would limit religious freedom and liberty to inside the four walls of an official place of worship.

Make no mistake, freedom of religion is under assault in America even though we have a Constitution that guarantees it.  The judiciary and SCOTUS in particular has the power to limit, reinterpret, and redefine the First Amendment nearly at will.           *Top

-U.S. Supreme Court Rules in Favor of Free Speech and Pro-Lifers

by Dr. D ~ June 27th, 2014
U.S. Supreme Court building.

                                  (U.S. Supreme Court building: Wikipedia)

The US Supreme Court yesterday unanimously struck down a Massachusetts law that limited free speech within 35 feet of an abortion clinic.

The intent was to deny access to pro-life counselors and demonstrators on public sidewalks in the immediate vicinity of an abortion facility.

Here’s the story from the Citizen Link:

Signed in 2007, the law required a 35-foot “buffer zone” around abortion sellers. Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) filed suit a year later on behalf of a group pro-lifers. The group, many of whom are grandparents, simply want to provide information on abortion alternatives, and offer support to those who want it. …

In today’s ruling, the nation’s high court underscores the pro-lifers’ constitutional rights to share their ideas in public:

It is no accident that public streets and sidewalks have developed as venues for the exchange of ideas. Even today, they remain one of the few places where a speaker can be confident that he is not simply preaching to the choir…. In light of the First Amendment’s purpose “to preserve an uninhibited marketplace of ideas in which truth will ultimately prevail…,” this aspect of traditional public fora is a virtue, not a vice.

<Read the whole article>

Response: A great victory for free-speech and pro=life. The ruling puts on notice similar laws and statutes in other states and cities across America. The 9-0 ruling adds particular force to this decision. The Constitution and free speech is alive and well in America 2014. This is another loss for the Obama administration who went out of their way to file in support of the Massachusetts law.            *Top

-UPDATE: Meriam Ibrahim Now Charged with ‘Forging’ Exit Documents

by Dr. D ~ June 27th, 2014
Seal of the United States Department of State.

              (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

UPDATE on the UPDATE: Meriam Ibrahim and her family are now safe inside the U.S. Embassy in Khartoum while the charges against them are being addressed by their lawyer and U.S. diplomats.

Meriam Ibrahim, who was released from a death sentence, and her family including her husband who is a US citizen are now in Jail in Khartoum facing charges of forging the exit papers and visas that the US diplomats provided to them from South Sudan and the US.

Her Muslim relatives on her father’s side including a half brother lodged a complaint against her which resulted in her arrest at the Khartoum airport.

US State Department diplomats subsequently insisted that the Sudanese officials reveal the current charges that she was being held under. Apparently the family is now being detained under the dubious charge of ‘forging’ the very papers given to them by US officials. Read about this latest development in the World Watch Monitor.


-California Baptist Pastor Who Now Accepts Homosexuality Gets Invite to White House

by Dr. D ~ June 26th, 2014
911: White House Grounds, 09/14/2001.

                          (Photo credit: The U.S. National Archives)

The California Southern Baptist pastor who lead his congregation to accept Homosexuality and reject his denomination’s traditional view has now been rewarded with a trip to the White House and a congratulatory reception with the President.

Here’s the story from The Christian Post:

Danny Cortez, who leads New Heart Community Church in La Mirada, California, and his 15-year-old son Drew, who came out as a gay earlier this year, received an invitation to a reception with President Barack Obama at the White House on June 30…

The California pastor, a graduate of Biola University’s Talbot School of Theology, told his congregation in February that he had recently informed the church’s elders that he now personally affirmed same-sex relationships.

…the church voted in May not to dismiss Cortez and instead become a "Third Way" church.

<Read the whole article>

Response: Just a few short years ago when he was running for president, Barack Obama claimed that he supported traditional marriage but now supports the same-sex redefinition. With his invite of pastor Cortez, the President is going out of his way to be an actual cheerleader for change in the Christian community.

In some ways this could be viewed as an ‘in your face’ response to the hundreds of black Christian pastors who condemned his change of heart and have asked him to continue to support traditional Christian view. Recently over 100 Black pastors in Detroit came out against the current progressive push to identify and compare homosexual rights and same-sex marriage with the struggle for racial civil rights. An approach the president and his administration seems to be supporting.

As we have stated on a number of different occasions, every church in America will soon be forced to make a choice when it comes to homosexuality, same-sex marriage and the Bible. With this invite to the White House, President Obama appears to be leading the charge and encouraging pastors and American churches to leave behind traditional Christian teaching and accept a progressive view of same-sex marriage and homosexuality.            *Top

-UPDATE: Meriam Ibrahim and Family Still Being Detained in Sudan

by Dr. D ~ June 25th, 2014
Farewell bidders at Khartoum Int'l Airport

                    (Khartoum Int’l Airport-Photo credit: simsimt)

According to the latest sources that I could find this morning, Meriam Ibrahim and her family including her husband who is a US citizen and her two young children are still being detained by authorities in Sudan.

Yesterday there were a couple of reports that they had been released but the story was not confirmed and apparently that was not the case. A news release from Christian Solidarity Worldwide claims that they are currently being held by Khartoum police:

Mrs Ibrahim, her husband Daniel Wani and their children Martin Wani and Maya Wani were initially detained by the Sudanese National Intelligence Security Service (NISS) on 24 June at Khartoum Airport and taken to the NISS offices near Khartoum Airport, before being transferred to a police station in Khartoum.

The police have refused to release the family on bail and have stated they require 24 hours to conclude their investigation. Mrs Ibrahim has not been charged with any offence; however the police are investigating alleged irregularities with her travel documents.

<Read the whole article>

An interesting winkle to this case was provided by ASSIST News Service. According to their report, the family was protected and driven to the airport and provided with papers and visas by US diplomats who argued with Sudanese officials on their behalf to no avail. On the other side, Mariam’s older bother who brought the charges against her in the first place claims that she was ‘kidnapped’ by her husband and US diplomats and insisted that the police arrest her husband and not allow her to leave the country.

According to State Department officials, the Sudanese government has given them assurances that the family is safe and will be protected even though there have been numerous death threats issued against them.

We will keep on following this case and please keep on praying.              *Top

Here are links to our earlier posts concerning this family and their saga:

-Sudanese Christian Woman Under Death Sentence Released by Appeals Court Then Arrested Again

-More On Christian Pregnant Woman Facing Death in Sudan

-Sudan: Pregnant Christian Woman Facing Death For Conversion