Religious Rights

Christians arrested for giving out the Gospel in Michigan

As hard as it may be to believe, it's true.  Four Christians were arrested in Detroit this week for distributing copies of the Gospel outside of an Arab International Festival.  In addition to being arrested, the camera (with any video of what they were doing, as well as how event security and police reacted) was confiscated.

In many ways you expect to see this sort of thing in some third world countries. But this is America.  And now it's here.

(Via the Christian Examiner)

Vandalism of war memorial cross demonstrates anti-Christian sentiment

If you needed an example of just how far some elements in our country have gone to breed a sense of hostility towards Christianity (and anything that remotely reminds them of the Christian faith), then look no further than to what happened this week to the war memorial in the Mojave Desert.

Under cover of darkness, vandals removed the cross-shaped memorial from its place atop a hill in the desert.

The memorial had been at the center of a long running legal battle over whether or not it was constitutional for the symbol to be on public land, but within the past month the US Supreme Court finally weighed in and found the monument to be constitutional.

Given the fact that it's in such a remote location, (only a few dozen cars pass that way each day), and the theft comes so soon after the Supreme Court decision, it's pretty clear that this was motivated by anti-religious sentiment.

From the story:

Seniors in Georgia told not to pray before federally funded meals

As incredible (or not) as it may seem, senior citizens at a Georgia rest home have been told by a company that contracts with the city of Port Wentworth that, since the meals they provide are primarily subsidized by the federal government, they should not openly pray before meals.

The result?  This past Thursday's meal was preceeded by a "moment of silence" instead.  The city's Mayor and City Attorney are trying to find a way out of the problem.

Via the AP:

Mayor Jones said he was outraged by the change and has promised to find a solution.

"It was one of the hardest things I ever did as mayor is to look those people in the eyes and ask them to be patient with me and honor their God in a moment of silence until I can have a resolution to this," Jones said. "For me to look at their eyes and tell them they can't thank God for their food, it's unheard of - I can't take it."

Jones said he flirted with the idea of ending a contract the city has with Senior Citizens Inc.

"Like one lady said, 'You can stop me from speaking, but you can't stop me from praying what's in my heart,"' he said. "But the best answer right now is that we're trying to get the best information possible and legal council is looking at what would happen if we continued to pray."

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English preacher jailed for calling homosexuality a sin

So it's come to this (at least in England at this point...).  Several days ago (May 2nd), a Baptist preacher on the streets of Workington, Cumbria (Unitied Kingdom) became involved in a heated discussion with a pedestrian who disagreed and took offense when the preacher said that he believe that homosexuality was a sin.  But that wasn't the end of it.

It turns out that merry old England is a good bit farther down the "political correctness" road than America and, as a result, the preacher was put in jail for "abusive or insulting" language.

So how did it get to this point?  The law in question began with the English 1986 "Public Order Act", which was initially meant to deal with actual violence.  But like everything else having to do with government, it metastasized and grew into a legal code covering everything from violence and public disorder to simple speech that the hyper-sensitive, politically correct crowd (read: liberals) might be offended by.

In fact, the law has "evolved" to the point where they have "Police Community Support Officers" which are essentially busybody citizens who have power to enforce things like this speech code and, as you can guess, the offended liberal dutifully reporter the street preachers "hate speech" to one of these officers and he was arrested and thrown in jail.

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Supreme Court hears case on Christian student club

The Supreme Court heard a case this week involving the First Amendment rights of the Christian Legal Society and whether or not it's lawful for public schools and colleges to deny Christian groups the same recognition or benefits that are offered to other campus organizations which are secular.

The case hinges on the fact that the society maintains a membership clause that requires members to sign a statement attesting to their Christian Faith.  As a result, they've been denied recognition by the University of California's Hastings College of Law in (you guessed it) San Francisco.

As one can imagine, the Court is "divided" along the usual liberal/conservative lines, with newly added Justice Sotomayor seeming to come down on the "liberal" side of things and taking the position of the school's right to dictate policy.  On the other hand, Justice Scalia pointing out that the school's policies would "require this Christian society to allow atheists not just to join, but to conduct Bible classes...", adding that "That's crazy".

Support the National Day of Prayer

Recently, a US Federal Judge made a ruling that would surely surprise our Founding Fathers.  She ruled that the "National Day of Prayer" is unconstitutional!

Officially, the current Day of Prayer was instituted by our government in 1952 when it was established by Congress, but the practice stretches all the way back to the 1700's and our Continental Congress.  Presidents from George Washington, to Abraham Liconln and even Franklin Roosevelt have recognized it.

And now a liberal judge decides it's unconstitutional!

Of course, you won't be surprised to learn that this ruling is the result of a lawsuit brought by a group of atheists known as the "Freedom From Religion Foundation".  No doubt you'll also not be shocked by the fact that the ruling was issued a Democrat appointed judge, in this case Cater appointee Judge Barbara Crabb.

Our dependence on God's mercy has been recognized by our government since before the Founding Fathers even brought our current Constitution into existence, and our country's recognition of that need should not be discarded by a left-wing activist judge.

Currently, a bipartisan group of over twenty US House members have co-sponsored a resolution calling on President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder to appeal this decision all the way to the Supreme Court if necessary.

We need to give them our support!

National Day of Prayer ruled "unconstitutional"

Here we go again...  In what would surely be a surprise to the Founding Fathers who gave us our Constitution, a federal judge in Wisconsin has ruled that the National Day of Prayer is "unconstitutional".

Officially, the day has been recognized by the federal government since 1952 when it was established by Congress.  And each year, on the 1st Thursday in May, Presidents have issued a National Day of Prayer proclamation encouraging Americans to pray.  So how did we end up with this court ruling?  The usual; more atheists.  In this case, the Freedom From Religion Foundation, complaining that it violates the separation of church and state.

In her decision, the judge stated:

"It goes beyond mere 'acknowledgment' of religion because its sole purpose is to encourage all citizens to engage in prayer, an inherently religious exercise that serves no secular function in this context,"... "In this instance, the government has taken sides on a matter that must be left to individual conscience."

No God in the classroom?

In what seems like a more and more familiar tale, a high school teacher in San Diego was told by his school board that he could no longer hang signs or banners in his classroom with phrases like "One Nation Under God", "In God We Trust", or "God Bless America". In fact, even a direct quote from the Declaration of Independence, "All men are created equal and they are endowed by their Creator", was put on the school district's naughty list.

And it's not as though this was a new thing.  It turns out that the teacher in question, Bradley Johnson, had been putting up such signs in his classroom for over twenty-five years without complaint.  San Diego's Ponway Unified School District leadership complained that the signs "over-emphasized" God, "conveyed a Judeo-Christian viewpoint", and that they might "offend" others.  At the same time, teachers in the district were allowed to display signage celebrating or promoting other things, such as gay rights.

We fail to see why anyone (least of all Americans) should be "offended" by things like our national motto or Declaration of Independence.  And, believe it or not, a federal judge in the liberal 9th Circuit agreed.

Woman not allowed to wear pro-life pin in National Art Gallery

This is a story that's both hard to believe and not hard to believe at the same time.

It seems that this past Saturday, a woman who had participated in the March for Life in Washington was told by security guards that she had to remove her pro-life pin that she had on from the march before she entered the building.  She was told that you can't wear religious or political items in a federal building.  (??) Via Lifenews:

...after searching her bag, two guards at the Gallery told her, "You're good to go in, but first you need to remove that pro-life pin.”

"He was indicating the small lime green pin with the message 'impact73.org' and the silhouette of a small hand inside that of a larger hand that I had attached to the lapel of my coat," Duke writes today.

"The pin, they informed me, was a 'religious symbol' and a symbol of a particular political cause and it could not be worn inside a federal building," Duke continues.

"Why, I asked, can I not wear a religious or political symbol inside a federal building? Bringing to bear the full weight of the supreme law of the land, the guards informed that it was a violation of the First Amendment of the United States Constitution: The combination of me, wearing a pro-life pin, in a federal building was a violation of the separation of church and state," she explained.

NC school backs down on prohibiting anti-abortion speech

Over the years, Christians and conservatives have lost a number of (what were once considered) liberties via our over-active judiciary.  A trend that has become so strong that many times the mere threat of lawsuit by groups such as the ACLU would result in another loss.  But things are changing.  At least in terms a more successful conservative focus on using the judiciary as a weapon in the culture wars as well.

An example of a recent success comes from North Carolina, where a high school student was prohibited from wearing a shirt with a pro-life message and distributing literature.  One legal letter (and one the threat of a lawsuit one would guess) and the school district backed down.

From the story:

A North Carolina high school is backing down after a pro-life legal group helped a pro-life student who faced a revocation of her free speech rights. Brianna Cardwell wanted to participate in the Pro-Life Day of Silent Solidarity sponsored by Stand True Ministries.

The day is an opportunity for students to wear red tape or armbands to show their solidarity with unborn children who can't speak for themselves.

It features pro-life t-shirts and fliers explaining how abortion kills unborn children and has adversely impacted society.

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