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

by Dr. D ~ October 27th, 2014

The City of Houston has somewhat backed off of initial demands that key pastors in the city turn over sermons mentioning homosexuality but still are demanding any material that mentions the ‘transgender bathroom ordinance’ or the mayor.

Meanwhile the video above shows a poignant response from the author of ‘Bonheoffer.’ From the Blaze:

When Eric Metaxas, author of “Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy,” first read about the Houston city government subpoenaing the sermons of five church pastors, he said he couldn’t believe it.“This has to be a joke,” he told Fox News on Sunday about his initial reaction. “This cannot be happening in America.”

But once Metaxas got deeper into the subject, he said he knew “a bold red line” had been crossed. “If there was ever a time to throw the tea into the harbor, this is it,” Metaxas told Fox News. …

“It’s a shocking thing,” he said of the similarities to what’s happening in Houston, adding that “everyone in America should be freaking out.”

“If we tolerate this kind of abrogation of religious freedom in this nation, all of our liberties will be unraveled,” Metaxas continued. “It is that serious. America needs to wake up. The church, especially, needs to know that this is a huge trampling of something that the Founders said was at the heart of all of our liberties.”

Response: This is one issue that cannot be allowed to quietly pass from the scene without proper response and adjudication. This is a story that we will continue to monitor and update including any important responses to the situation. I deemed the response of author Metaxas to be particularly important because of his insights and understanding of what the German pastor and theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer went through in his refusal to bow down to the Nazi regime shortly before and during WWII.

The actions of  Mayor Annise Parker in this case are fascistic to say the least and should not be allowed to be minimalized or excused away. Our freedoms are far too important to allow government functionaries of any level or type to trample on them in any way or form without a fight. Religious freedoms in this generation are particularly under risk since the American culture is becoming more secular and religion holds an increasing lessor place in the lives of many Americans.             *Top

-California Mandated Abortion Coverage Includes Churches?

by Dr. D ~ October 24th, 2014


It started as a mandate that would force religious institutions and universities to include Insurance coverage for elective abortion. Now the state appears to be including churches in their new abortion mandate even if it is contrary to the stated beliefs of that religious organization? Here’s the story from the Blaze:

A recent regulatory change in California now requires all employer health plans in the state — including those offered by churches and faith-based organizations — to cover elective abortions …

The abortion policy immediately took effect August 22, with the government giving 90 additional days for the language in health care plans to officially change, according to state documents. …

<Read the whole article>

Response: This is even worse than I initially thought since the new mandate has no stated limits and state officials seem to be predisposed to force it on all religious institutions including churches. It doesn’t seem to matter that this would seem to be a clear violation of the First Amendment?

This is way beyond what the Obama administration attempted and failed to do with their HHS Contraceptive and Abortifacient Mandate. According to SCOTUS the First Amendment protects religious organization and institutions even religious business owners from violating their religious liberty and conscience by providing contraceptive or morning after pill coverage.

So California responds by dropping forced contraceptive coverage but still requires everyone including churches have to go one step worse and provide coverage for abortion? One would think that this would not stand but the crazy 9th Circuit will probably approve. Also one cannot depend that SCOTUS will even take this case or rule in a way similar to the HHS Mandate. The make-up of the court could be far different by the time this case is appealed past the circuit court.            *Top

-A Muslim Connection to the Spread of Ebola?

by Dr. D ~ October 21st, 2014


This is a story that the mainstream media refuses to touch but is common knowledge in Western Africa in the areas where Ebola is spreading exponentially. Muslim burial practices may be contributing to an unchecked spread of the disease.

Here’s the story from Investors Business Daily:

Washington and its media stenographers won’t tell you this, lest they look intolerant, but Islamic burial rituals are a key reason why health officials can’t contain the spread of the deadly disease in West Africa. …

When Muslims die, family members don’t turn to a funeral home or crematorium to take care of the body. In Islam, death is handled much differently.

Relatives personally wash the corpses of loved ones from head to toe. Often, several family members participate in this posthumous bathing ritual, known as Ghusl.

Before scrubbing the skin with soap and water, family members press down on the abdomen to excrete fluids still in the body. A mixture of camphor and water is used for a final washing. Then, family members dry off the body and shroud it in white linens.

Again, washing the bodies of the dead in this way is considered a collective duty for Muslims, especially in Muslim nations. Failure to do so is believed to leave the deceased "impure" and jeopardizes the faithful’s ascension into Paradise (unless he died in jihad; then no Ghusl is required).

<Read the whole article>

Response: The bodily fluids coming from the dead bodies of Ebola victims are known to be especially contagious with huge amounts of active virus. Red Cross and WHO (World Health Organization) officials have been trying to get Muslim Leaders to counsel their people to refrain from this traditional burial practice in the case of Ebola victims but they have largely been unsuccessful. As a result the disease in Muslim areas is spreading unchecked and taking whole families with it.

This whole issue has been hush-hush in the US but Saudi Arabia has recognized this unique threat coming from the Muslim community and has taken the extreme action of closing its borders to all Muslim pilgrims wanting to come to Mecca from the three most affected Western African countries- Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia.            *Top

-City Gives Choice to Christian Ministers: Perform Same-Sex Weddings or Go to Jail

by Dr. D ~ October 20th, 2014


                                                                     (ADF Photos)

City officials are demanding that a couple who are ordained Christian ministers conduct same-sex weddings in their wedding chapel or face fines and jail time. From Alliance Defending Freedom(ADF):

Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys filed a federal lawsuit and a motion for a temporary restraining order Friday to stop officials in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, from forcing two ordained Christian ministers to perform wedding ceremonies for same-sex couples.

City officials told Donald Knapp that he and his wife Evelyn, both ordained ministers who run Hitching Post Wedding Chapel, are required to perform such ceremonies or face months in jail and/or thousands of dollars in fines. The city claims its “non-discrimination” ordinance requires the Knapps to perform same-sex wedding ceremonies now that the courts have overridden Idaho’s voter-approved constitutional amendment that affirmed marriage as the union of a man and a woman.

<Read the whole article>

Response: This case is particularly interesting since it involves not only a Christian business but two ordained ministers. Here is what an ADF attorney has to say about it:

“The government should not force ordained ministers to act contrary to their faith under threat of jail time and criminal fines,” said ADF Senior Legal Counsel Jeremy Tedesco. “Many have denied that pastors would ever be forced to perform ceremonies that are completely at odds with their faith, but that’s what is happening here – and it’s happened this quickly. The city is on seriously flawed legal ground, and our lawsuit intends to ensure that this couple’s freedom to adhere to their own faith as pastors is protected just as the First Amendment intended.” …

“The government exists to protect and respect our freedoms, not attack them.The city cannot erase these fundamental freedoms and replace them with government coercion and intolerance.”

It should be noted that most denominations, churches , and ordaining bodies in the USA do not allow their members to conduct same-sex ceremonies. The government in this case is not only demanding that this couple violate their own religious beliefs but probably also the rules and restrictions of their church or denomination regarding licensed  ordained ministry.             *Top

HT: The Blaze

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

by Dr. D ~ October 16th, 2014
English: Annise Parker, city controller of Hou...

                     (Mayor Annise Parker: Wikipedia)

After a firestorm of criticism across the entire country, yesterday Houston’s activist mayor seemingly backed away from subpoenas demanding Pastor’s sermons on a variety of subjects including homosexuality and LGBT issues.

The update initially sounded good but in reality the demands from the pastors have merely been refocused to only include any communication or sermons specifically mentioning the mayor and the transgender ‘bathroom ordinance.’

Here’s the story from the Washington Times:

After calling church sermons “fair game” for subpoena, Houston Mayor Annise Parker backed down Wednesday from the city’s effort to force local pastors to turn over speeches and papers related to a hotly contested transgender rights ordinance. …

The pastors and their allies called the city’s broad demand a threat to religious freedom and proof that gay and transgender rights bills can be used as weapons to demonize Christianity. …

Ms. Parker’s office initially doubled down in the face of such criticism but issued a statement late Wednesday saying the mayor “agrees with those who are concerned about the city legal department’s subpoenas for pastors’ sermons.” …

The statement says the city will “move to narrow the scope during an upcoming court hearing” and that city attorney David Feldman “says the focus should be only on communications related to the petitions to overturn the ordinance.” …

<Read the whole article>

Response: So the subpoenas are still active but the focus has been narrowed to cover any and all communications and sermons that mention the mayor and the transgender bathroom ordinance. Much better than the initial ‘witch hunt’ including all mention of homosexuality but still a questionable abuse of government power against pastors who oppose the bill because of the possible abuses of religious liberty inherent within the provision.

We agree with the ADF attorney who characterized the mayor’s supposed turnaround and the narrowing of the subpoena’s focus as being “wholly inadequate.”             *Top

-City of Houston Subpoenas Pastor’s Sermons on Homosexuality

by Dr. D ~ October 15th, 2014
Official seal of City of Houston

      (Seal of City of Houston: Wikipedia)

In one of the greatest abuses of government power against religious liberty in memory, the City of Houston has issued subpoenas demanding that a number of local pastors turn over any of their sermons dealing with homosexuality, gender identity, or those that even mention the mayor. The ministers who refuse to comply are threatened with  being held in contempt of court.

Here’s the story from Fox News:

…The subpoenas are just the latest twist in an ongoing saga over the Houston’s new non-discrimination ordinance. The law, among other things, would allow men to use the ladies room and vice versa.  The city council approved the law in June.

The Houston Chronicle reported opponents of the ordinance launched a petition drive that generated more than 50,000 signatures – far more than the 17,269 needed to put a referendum on the ballot.

However, the city threw out the petition in August over alleged irregularities.

After opponents of the bathroom bill filed a lawsuit the city’s attorneys responded by issuing the subpoenas against the pastors.

The pastors were not part of the lawsuit. However, they were part of a coalition of some 400 Houston-area churches that opposed the ordinance. The churches represent a number of faith groups – from Southern Baptist to non-denominational.

<Read the whole article>

Response: This is a frightening development and another situation where homosexual and LGBT rights are attempting to trump religious liberty.

In this case, which we have posted on before, over 400 Houston pastors and churches are actively opposing a misnamed ‘non-discrimination’ ordinance which not only allows for transgender bathrooms use but also includes a hidden provision that would force all schools, businesses, and institutions, even religious ones, in the city to render their facilities and services to same–sex ceremonies regardless of religious beliefs or standards. It also could force religious schools and institutions to drop their policies which require Biblical standards of behavior for students and staff.

Here is what ADF (Alliance Defending Freedom) lawyers supporting the pastors have to say about this intrusive development:

“The city’s subpoena of sermons and other pastoral communications is both needless and unprecedented,” Alliance Defending Freedom attorney Christina Holcomb said in a statement. “The city council and its attorneys are engaging in an inquisition designed to stifle any critique of its actions.” …

“Political and social commentary is not a crime. It is protected by the First Amendment.”

“City council members are supposed to be public servants, not ‘Big Brother’ overlords who will tolerate no dissent or challenge,” said ADF attorney Erik Stanley.  “This is designed to intimidate pastors.”

Recently I posted that churches and pastors would soon be required to literally choose where they stand when it comes to homosexuality. However I had thought that it would come from cultural pressure and not from a government lawsuit. If the mayor and the city council of Houston get away with this action then the First Amendment no longer means a thing. However, I do not expect these Houston autocrats to be successful.             *Top

-ISIS Cites ‘Theological Support’ for Selling Women into ‘Sexual Slavery’

by Dr. D ~ October 14th, 2014


President Obama and more than several Muslim leaders have decried the actions of ISIS as being ‘un-Islamic.’ The capturing and selling of non-Muslim Yazidi women into sexual slavery is particularly abhorrent to everyone in the West including most Muslims. Nevertheless, ISIS in a recent declaration gives Islamic theological support for their outrageous actions. From the UK Telegraph:

A new article in the Islamic State English-language online magazine Dabiq not only admits the practice but justifies it according to the theological rulings of early Islam.

"After capture, the Yazidi women and children were then divided according to the Sharia amongst the fighters of the Islamic State who participated," the article says.

It says there is a difference between women from Muslim sects the jihadists regard as heretical, who can be considered as "apostates", and the so-called mushrikin – polytheists and pagans. 

"Their women could be enslaved, unlike female apostates."

<Read the whole article>

Response: It would seem that the ISIS folks are tired of folks claiming that they are ‘un-Islamic.’ Fact is that ISIS supports nearly all of its actions, even the selling of Yazidi women into slavery, by citing the Quran but particularly the Hadith which are the sayings and actions of Muhammad. So it would seem that if ISIS is ‘un-Islamic’ so is Muhammad and all of the early Muslims.

Frankly it is time for Western Muslim leaders to own up to an ongoing needed ‘reformation’ of Islam similar to what Christianity went through to identify the real teachings of Christianity and separate the church from ‘un-Christian’ historical actions of former popes and leaders which included burnings at the stake, pogroms, Inquisitions and religious wars which were actually contrary to the teaching of Jesus.

In the case of Islam, modern Muslim leaders need to decide whether all of the sayings and actions of Muhammad are still relevant and should continue to have authority in addition to the Quran in 21st century Islam. ISIS says ‘yes’ while many Western Muslims would seem to say ‘no’ by their opinions and actions without officially saying so and owning up to it.             *Top