Your Eyes and Ears at the Nation's Capital

Archive for the category “Religious Freedom”

VP Pence: ‘America Will Stand by Followers of Christ’

In his speech at the World Summit for Persecuted Christians sponsored by Franklin Graham, the vice president assured those facing persecution and discrimination the U.S. won’t forget them.

Franklin Graham says that even believers here in the U.S. are also starting to face discrimination, such as attacks by homosexuals or their allies on Christian businesses that won’t service or supply gay weddings. “We’ve seen businesses put out of business, attacked, targeted,” Graham said. “And then the gay activists come in and liberal judges in those states support these decisions. And we see businesses now afraid and Christians who are afraid that they’ll be attacked.”

A Voice for the Suffering Church: Trump, Pence, Graham Team up for Christians

The Trump administration’s commitment to defend persecuted Christians is a “breath of fresh air from God,” Rev. Franklin Graham told CBN News at his World Summit for the Defense of Persecuted Christians.

“No question it’s a breath of fresh air, I think it’s a breath of fresh air from God, because they are listening to God’s people and we didn’t see that under President Obama,” Graham told CBN’s George Thomas in a one-on-one interview.

Unlike the former president, Graham said, President Trump is not afraid to acknowledge Islamic terrorism.

“You have now a president who isn’t afraid to use that word and calls it as it is, truly is. And he’s willing to stand up for Christians and we’ve already seen that if he says something he means it,” he said.

“I thank God that we have an administration that is finally listening to the voice of the suffering Church around the world.”

Graham’s experience leading a Christian humanitarian agency has given him decades of experience in the Middle East where he has witnessed the growing violence against Christianity in countries like Lebanon, Sudan, Syria and Iraq.

Preaching an Easter Sunday service to Iraqi Christian refugees from Mosul reinforced his commitment to taking action on behalf of suffering Christians.

“They had to flee for their lives and they were given 30 minutes to leave the city or they’d be killed. So all they left with was the money in their pocket and the clothes on their back and many of them did not escape,” he said.

The three-day event in the U.S. capital goes through May 13; it brought together 600 believers from 130 nations. Graham notes how “Donald Trump, is very supportive of defending Christians and he said this during his campaign, that he was going to defend Christianity and he’s not ashamed of saying that and Vice-President Pence is not ashamed of that, but they’re going to do what they can to not only to protect Christians here at home, but Christians around the world.”

Members of Congress stand together as front line defenders of faith in our nation’s capital.

Congressional Prayer Caucus Co-Chair, Senator James Lankford, Senator Rubio and Senator Coons introduced a timely bipartisan Resolution to ensure America’s commitment to promote religious freedom and condemn persecution based on faith. Read excerpts from the Resolution below.

This important Resolution comes just two weeks after the US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) issued its Annual Report describing the alarming rise in religious persecution worldwide. Read the full report.

Source: CBNNews.com; Congressional Prayer Caucus Foundation

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Celebrating Passover and Resurrection Week by Protecting Religious Freedom

The Congressional Prayer Caucus Foundation sent a letter to President Trump, signed by over a thousand legislators and citizens, encouraging him to sign an Executive Order and uphold his promise to protect religious freedom. You can read the letter here. We are proud to stand for freedom, along with the efforts of the Members of the Prayer Caucus. Please commit to praying for them, their families, and staff daily. 

Each week Congress is in session, members of the Congressional Prayer Caucus meet before votes to pray in Room 219 of the U.S. Capitol.

There are over 100 Members of the Congressional Prayer Caucus, a bipartisan and bicameral caucus, that is spearheading a strategic movement of national, state and local leaders and citizens who are working together to promote prayer, protect religious freedom and restore, upgrade and popularize America’s founding spirit and the principles related to faith and morality that shaped this Great Republic. 

The Congressional Prayer Caucus co-chair, Senator Lankford, encourages the Trump Administration to Protect Religious Freedom:

In April, Senator Lankford, Co-Chair of the Congressional Prayer Caucus, sent a letter to President Trump to encourage his Administration to protect the basic human right of religious freedom, both in America and around the world. The letter is very well-written and emphasizes the vital importance of keeping our First Amendment Rights a priority, and providing clear guidelines for doing so:

“Religious freedom – the right to practice any faith or to choose no faith at all – is a fundamental human right of all people. I was encouraged to hear you say that a “first priority” of your administration will be to “preserve and protect our religious liberty,” and I believe there are several steps you can take to make that commitment a reality”.

Specifically, the letter encouraged the administration to clearly condemn ISIS genocide; integrate religious freedom throughout American foreign policy; nominate a new Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom in the State Department; advocate for prisoners of conscience abroad; fill the White House Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships Director’s position; and affirm civil rights hiring protections for faith-based nonprofits. Lankford sent this letter as people of various faiths celebrate religious holidays around the world this week, including Easter and Passover. 

In March, Lankford encouraged the Trump Administration to develop a strategy for imprisoned Americans abroad. On March 17, Lankford wrote an op-ed about State Secretary John Kerry’s genocide designation a year ago. In February, Lankford and Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) led a Senate letter to President Trump and Secretary Rex Tillerson urging that they prioritize the nomination of the Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom within the State Department. 

Senator Lankford is co-chair of the Congressional Prayer Caucus, which protects the right of Americans to practice a faith of their choosing or to practice no faith at all.

Pray For Our President And All Those In Authority 

“I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people— for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness” (1 Tim. 2:1-3; Psalm 91). 

Include the Judicial Branch, Legislative Branch, Executive Branch, Military, Faith Leaders, First Responders, Etc.

Source: Congressional Prayer Caucus Foundation

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Looking Ahead!

After 32 years, serving the Church in the most powerful city in the world, one observation stands out: America remains strong because it was built on a foundation of faith and prayer. Each generation inherits the duty to keep that beacon of light shining.

During this election year, we saw a true spiritual awakening as thousands upon thousands of Christians committed themselves to prayer and action, attended prayer rallies, voted, and took to heart the admonishment of 2 Chronicles 7:14 – to humble ourselves, pray, seek God’s face, and turn from our wicked ways.

Nevertheless, there are many loud voices in our country dedicated to eroding that foundation. In times as challenging as these, it is exciting to see so many people taking a stand for their faith. 

We fought and worked hard this year to help Turn the Tide, but there is still much to do. We ask you to join with us with your prayer and support while we stand against those who believe God and prayer should be stripped from the public square. Also, there are those who are determined to undermine the U.S. Constitution.

Our Washington Report serves to be “Your eyes and ears at the Nation’s Capital.” Our agenda for 2017 is aggressive as we mobilize a nationwide outreach to unite the Christian voice from grassroots back to Washington, D.C. A single voice can have a huge impact when united with thousands of other like voices. 

A silent Church is like salt that has lost its savor. In 2017, we are positioned to advance God’s enduring place in America, but we need you as a partner. With your help we can continue our mission to unite the body of Christ and stir up revival.

Without you, we cannot accomplish all that God has commissioned us to do. As we face the New Year, we need your help to clear the books of a remaining deficit of $5,600. by December 31st.  Please pray about what the Lord would have you to do with a special end of the year contribution.

We “must work the works of Him who sent Me while it is day; the night is coming when no one can work” (John 9:4).

We are grateful for all the continued support that has helped us represent the Christian voice at the nation’s capital. My third book, Power of the King’s Blood, is headed to the publisher in January. Look for it on our website. Available in paperbook and eBooks.

Let freedom ring in America!!  Shalom to all.  (Ruth)

Ruth Schofield, Founder/President
Embassy for World Peace
P.O. Box 5649
Washington, D.C. 20016

P.S. Contributions can be mailed to Washington, D.C.  Credit card gifts can be made on our website. www.embassyforworldpeace.org (Click the Donate link).

Pray for the Persecuted Church

Remember the prisoners as if chained with them—those who are mistreated—since you yourselves are in the body also (Hebrews 13:3).

The Middle East has become a death trap for those who profess faith in Christ. In 1947, 12 percent of Iraqis were Christian. Now, the percentage is 0.8, as ISIS empties cities and villages of millennia-old Christian presence. In Saudi Arabia, the Grand Mufti has declared it necessary to destroy all the churches in the region. In Pakistan, our Christian sister Aasiya Bibi is on death row for blasphemy charges for her Christian faith. Nigerians daily live in terror from Boko Haram, which is in a competition with ISIS to see who can murder more innocents.

Geographically, they are far removed from us, but spiritually, our Christian family should be wrapped in our arms through prayer and activism.

In Jeremiah 20:11, we read of the Lord’s provision for us, a reminder that the persecutors will stumble and fail. 

Please link arms with us on behalf of our persecuted Christian brothers and sisters. 

We pledge to never forget them or abandon them. Please join us in praying for our persecuted brethren. Visit our website and click the World Prayer Map for more specifics on how to stand in the gap for persecuted Christians.

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Christian leaders threaten civil disobedience if SCOTUS redefines marriage!

“We will not obey.” That’s the blunt warning a group of prominent religious leaders is sending to the Supreme Court of the United States as they consider same-sex marriage. SCOTUS will announce their decision on June 30th.

“We respectfully warn the Supreme Court not to cross that line. We stand united together in defense of marriage. Make no mistake about our resolve.” Read (and sign) the pledge…..

Over 50,000 clergy sent a warning to the U. S. Supreme Court and any court that crosses the line on the issue of marriage. Their pledge appeared as a full page ad in the Washington Post. The signees are a who’s who of religious leaders including former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, former U. S. Senator Rick Santorum, National Religious Broadcasters president Jerry Johnson, Pastor John Hagee, and Franklin Graham, president and CEO of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and Samaritan’s Purse.

They believe America is facing a real Constitutional crisis if the Supreme Court rules adversely from the biblical perspective on same-sex marriage. The institution of marriage is fundamental and it must be defended.

“Christians are being declared the lawbreakers when we are simply living by what we have always believed, and by a set of laws that the culture historically has agreed to,” Dr. James Dobson said. “There’s no doubt that LGBT activists are targeting Christian business owners.”

Religious leaders across the nation agree, “We have no choice. We cannot compromise our clear biblical convictions, our religious convictions.”

To be clear – the men and women who courageously signed this pledge did so knowing the hell storm that could be unleashed on them – and their families. Once same-sex marriage is elevated to the level of protected status – it will transform the face of society and will result in the “beginning of the end of Western Civilization.”

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Capitol Hill Hearing: Religious Accommodations in the Armed Services

(Overview of the discussion on the First Amendment right of conscience and religious beliefs: The line of defense is that military personnel and chaplains do not lose their first amendment rights when they are called to serve. Atheist Mikey Weinstein was present to defend his Military Religious Freedom Foundation. Weinstein’s argument is that non-religious people feel offended, coerced and proselytized by religion.)

In November, Members of the Congressional Prayer Caucus participated in a hearing on religious accommodations within the U. S. Military. It is well worth the time to listen to Members of the U.S. Congress defending religious freedom.  Click here to watch the Armed Services Committee hearing:

The hearing was the result of the “whiteboard” incident where an Air Force cadet was told to remove a scripture he posted. This incident resulted in rewriting the definition of religious freedoms in the military and for chaplains, which has not been fully instituted. The Founder and Co-Chair of the Prayer Caucus, Congressman Forbes, made some particularly meaningful statements at the 59:16 mark of the video.

The second part of the hearing was specifically supported by Congressional Prayer Caucus members who have taken a special interest in protecting the rights of our men and women in uniform. These soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines and National Guard personnel are the heroes who risk their lives every day for the very freedoms we consider so sacred.

Rep. Lamborn, the Congressman representing Colorado’s fifth district where the US Air Force Academy is located in Colorado Springs, spearheaded an amendment to upgrade the National Defense Authorization Act, enhancing religious freedom protections for all service members. Representatives supporting the legislation clearly acknowledge the intent of the amendment is not focused on defending efforts to proselytize or coerce other service members, but to help ensure our dedicated military are not forced to violate or compromise their moral convictions at work or in their personal lives. The point being made that government cannot legislate the human conscience.

The need for such action has been precipitated by a relentless assault from individuals like Mikey Weinstein and his Military Religious Freedom Foundation, seeking to systematically eradicate almost every vestige of our Judeo-Christian heritage among the military community. Sadly, these attacks—often made in the name of liberty—in fact, are tangible steps that actually attempt to strip away real choices. This process results not in a freedom “of” religion, but a restriction “from” religion.

Even a casual review of history gives rise to hundreds of examples where government legislators, presidents, battle-tested generals and many others have staunchly expressed a profound dependence upon God and His providence during times of war and global conflict. Abraham Lincoln, who guided a war torn nation through some its darkest hours, expressed the following in a telegram, “Enough is known of army operations within the last five days to claim our especial gratitude to God; while what remains undone demands our most sincere prayers to, and reliance upon, Him, without whom, all human effort is vain.” 

Again, General George Patton, just prior to a campaign, looked heavenward and prayed, “God of our fathers, who by land and sea have ever led us to victory, please continue Your inspiring guidance in this the greatest of all conflicts. Grant to our armed forces that disciplined valor and mutual confidence which insures success in war. Let me not mourn for the men who have died fighting, but rather let me be glad that such heroes have lived. If it be my lot to die, let me do so with courage and honor in a manner which will bring the greatest harm to the enemy, and please, oh Lord, protect and guide those I shall leave behind. Give us the victory, Lord.

Statements such as these speak to the reality of men and women in combat when putting their lives on the line, are confronted with their own mortality and the potential of eternity before them, offering humble confession to a God they passionately believe in. This is not a government “establishing” religion or compelling worship. What nonsense! This is a freedom of expression. A right guaranteed by the First Amendment to the Constitution. 

The Congressional Prayer Caucus Foundation is on a mission to recruit an army of prayer warriors and collectively deploy our time, efforts and resources to safeguard America’s legacy as a Christian nation, including her core tenets of freedom. Together we must go on the offensive and take back ground from the determined few who want to hijack the freedoms for which so many have paid the ultimate sacrifice.

This message is provided by: The Congressional Prayer Caucus Foundation, Inc. is a non-profit organization established to protect religious liberty, preserve our nation’s spiritual foundation, and sustain the elected leaders who are uniting in prayer and calling the nation to action.

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ObamaCare Nov. 15th Deadline: Will your coverage pay for abortions?

Now that pro-lifers have taken control of the Senate, the House, and governors’ races nationwide, abortion radicals are reeling. Open enrollment for Obamacare is right around the corner. With a November 15 start date, Americans deserve to know whether the plans they’re considering on the insurance exchange cover elective abortion and if so, how much they are paying for the abortion coverage, and how the abortion surcharge will be billed. Arina Grossu is Director of the Center for Human Dignity at Family Research Council in Washington, D.C. Her article Obamacare Needs Transparency on Abortion Coverage, appeared on ChristianHeadlines.com on September 15, 2014:

Arina’s report indicates: “Obamacare’s abortion subsidy section contains a secrecy clause and it requires a person who signs up for a plan that covers elective abortion to pay an abortion surcharge of at least $12 per year. We investigated Colorado, for example, and discovered that it was very difficult to obtain accurate information.

“The Colorado state exchange website lists seven insurers, but two additional insurers have insurance plans also linked to the exchange website (Colorado Choice and Denver Health Medical Plan are not listed as carriers). There are a total of 97 plans that we could find, even though only 85 are listed in the main search.

“Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield HMO Colorado (14 exchange plans, Colorado Choice (12 exchange plans), and Denver Health Medical Plan (four exchange plans), and Access Health Colorado (six exchange plans) seem to only have pro-life plans according to the representatives and the website. But that’s where the clarity ends.”

Section 1303(b)(3)(A) of the Affordable Care Act contains a clause stating that the insurer “shall provide a notice to enrollees, only as part of the summary of benefits and coverage explanation, at the time of enrollment, of such coverage” (emphasis added). The law is deliberately written, in other words, to make it difficult to get this information.

Americans in 25 states who have been able to opt out of abortion coverage still pay federal taxes and that revenue is used by the Obama administration to subsidize health plans with elective abortion coverage elsewhere. There’s no way around it: Taxpayer funds are being used to pay for abortion.

How can Americans get clear answers on this? Congress should pass Representative Chris Smith’s “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion and Abortion Insurance Full Disclosure Act,” which would ensure that Americans get clear answers about abortion coverage when purchasing plans and that no taxpayer money goes to pay for abortions. That status quo, whatever defenders of Obamacare say, isn’t acceptable.

(Research Sources: Family Research Council, FRC.org)

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Blog: washdcreport.com

Subpoenaing Houston Pastors Part of A Larger Strategy

Time For Christians To Awake After Houston Pastors Incident

Newt Gingrich and Vince Haley Comment:

The Mayor of Houston’s recent subpoena of sermons by Christian pastors in the country’s fourth largest city is a shocking violation of First Amendment rights to free speech and free exercise of religion. There is no clearer violation of First Amendment freedoms than for government officials to attempt to censor religious speech.

Lawyers for the Christian pastors were prepared to sue to quash these subpoenas — and would have succeeded quickly in the courts on Constitutional grounds – when the Mayor withdrew the subpoenas amid an uproar of protest.

So why would Annise Parker, the Houston mayor, issue such subpoenas at all if a court would have stopped her from forcing the pastors to comply? Probably because she is playing for much larger political and constitutional stakes than the power to coerce disclosure of the communications five Houston pastors.

Her signature initiative–the so-called “bathroom bill”, a city ordinance that she championed and signed last May–is being threatened by a public campaign to repeal it in a referendum . The City has challenged the validity of the signatures the citizens collected to force a vote on the ordinance, which led a group of them to sue the City. Mayor Parker responded by subpoenaing five Houston pastors who oppose the ordinance, but who are not even parties to the lawsuit.

In politics, if politicians are not succeeding in their arguments, they change the subject. And Mayor Parker apparently is not succeeding in her defense of a law that opponents claim creates a right, among other newly created sexual and gender identity rights, for anyone to use public bathrooms of the opposite sex in the name of gender rights equality.

Losing her own argument, she’s changing the subject. And if you’re a liberal mayor trying to create new sexual and gender identity rights, there’s apparently no better object on which to refocus the public than the Christian pastors and their beliefs on gender and sexuality.

An attempt to set up the pastors as the foil to her radical agenda would explain the Mayor’s outrageous subpoenas, which demand, among other things, all of the pastors’ emails, texts, and sermons relating to the bathroom bill, the Mayor, the City attorney, restroom access under the bathroom bill, the topics of homosexuality or gender identity, and the petition drive to repeal the bathroom bill. And it would explain the Mayor’s tweet the morning after the subpoenas came to light: “If the 5 pastors used pulpits for politics, their sermons are fair game. Were instructions given on filling out anti-HERO petition?-A” (“HERO” is an acronym for the “bathroom bill” ordinance.)

Clearly the Mayor is trying to shift the debate from a fight over the merits of her sexual and gender identity agenda to a fight over the Christian worldview of sexual ethics. That’s exactly what the subpoenas were intended to accomplish.

There are three reasons why she might have expected this to be effective.

First, Mayor Parker likely believed that issuing the subpoenas, even if later withdrawn, would cause Houston pastors to think twice about criticizing her or her bathroom bill. She would not be the first politician to harass and attempt to intimidate people with opposing beliefs. The right response to such intimidation is for citizens of all stripes to vote out of office those politicians who practice it.

Second, in the case of pastors, Mayor Parker is clearly aware that there is a provision of U.S. tax law that already tends to chill the speech of some pastors from the pulpit. Known as the “Johnson Amendment” because it was authored by then-Senator Lyndon B. Johnson, the statute states that tax-exempt organizations–churches, for instance–may not “participate in, or intervene in…any political campaign on behalf of…any candidate for public office.”

Although the 1954 Johnson Amendment is brazenly in conflict with the free speech and free exercise protections of the First Amendment, Mayor Parker implicitly threatens the churches’ tax-exempt status when she attacks pastors who dare to challenge her ideological agenda. Again the goal is to have pastors back off their criticisms.

The right response to this long-standing threat is for Congress to repeal the Johnson Amendment at the first opportunity. Congressman Walter Jones (R-NC) has a very simple bill to do just that.

Third, there is now an established and successful political and constitutional strategy to paint the protection of traditional moral values — and opposition to newly-invented sexual and gender identity rights — as motivated by malice. In the 2013 Supreme Court decision (United States v. Windsor) that invalidated Congress’ enacted definition of marriage as between one man and one woman, Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote in the majority opinion that the only purpose of those who supported this traditional definition of marriage was to “disparage,” ”injure,” “degrade,” ”demean,” and “humiliate” certain groups of fellow citizens.

In a word, hate is all that Justice Kennedy sees when he encounters someone who supports a traditional definition of marriage. Under this newly-invented constitutional standard, if the Court feels today that a particular law is hateful, then the Court will simply invalidate the law, no further justification needed. And it will do so whether or not a vast majority of the public believes reasonable people can disagree about the definition of marriage in particular and about sexual ethics more generally.

We can be confident that Mayor Parker has taken note of Justice Kennedy’s insidious two-part strategy of (1) making skeptics of the left’s sexual and gender identity agenda into “enemies of humanity”, to paraphrase Justice Scalia, and (2) thereby ending political debate over these newly-invented sexual rights by declaring them constitutional rights beyond public debate. Mayor Parker’s attention-grabbing subpoenas of five Christian pastors seems intended to do just that – to persuade the public that ‘these are the hateful haters who oppose my agenda to conjure up new constitutional rights.’

In other words, under the Kennedy-Parker telling, if you are against the Mayor’s law to let anyone in America’s fourth largest city go into any bathroom he (or she?) wants on any given day, then you must be a hateful bigot–one of those intolerant Christians who hates people who don’t think like they do. In the Kennedy-Parker telling, you must be one of those Christians who are using their pulpits to ‘impose their beliefs on the rest of us.’

If this analysis is wrong, Mayor Parker can clear this up by answering these two questions: 1) Does she believe that everyone who does not support her bathroom bill is a hateful bigot? 2) Does she support a citywide referendum on her bathroom bill?

The right response to the supersized intimidation and anti-democratic pretensions of the Justice Kennedys and Mayor Parkers of this country is faithfulness on the part of Christians and a political awakening on the part of all citizens.

Source: CBN News | David Brody| The Brody File | Commentary by Newt Gingrich along with Vince Haley, the Vice President of Policy at American Solutions

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SCOTUS Turns Down Marriage Proposal

(Report from Family Research Council’s Washington Update

For once, it isn’t what the Supreme Court said that’s making news — but what it didn’t say. After weeks of speculation, the justices surprised everyone by sidestepping what most people thought was a sure thing: a hearing on state marriage laws. What was supposed to be the biggest political hot potato of Chief Justice John Roberts’s 10th year was instead left in the laps of the appeals courts, where both sides continue to slug it out over state sovereignty and the rule of law.

As usual, there was no explanation for the Court’s decision, which will have an immediate impact on at least five states — Virginia, Indiana, Wisconsin, Oklahoma, and Utah — where “weddings” had been on hold in hopes the justices would intervene. While the Left races to spin the news as a victory for its cause, the reality is that today’s announcement doesn’t mean that the justices would rule against marriage. What it does show is that the Court is hesitant to jump into the fray and impose a Roe v. Wade-type decision on a nation still sharply divided on the issue.

If liberals should be anything, it’s worried. When it comes to marriage, time is not on their side. Deep down, the Left knows it needed the Court to force same-sex “marriage” on America before more people saw the fallout for Christians like Aaron and Melissa Klein. Or sportscasters like Craig James. Or CEOs like Brandon Eich. Ask them if same-sex “marriage” is just about two people who love each other. For them, it was about losing their business, their livelihood, and their freedom.

If the Supreme Court thinks America isn’t ready for same-sex “marriage,” they’re right. As more states are forced to recognize it, people will see the ensuing attacks on religious freedom. They’ll feel the wedge driven between parents and their children when school curriculum is changed to contradict the morals moms and dads are teaching at home. They’ll shudder as more people lose their jobs because they refuse to celebrate (not just tolerate) same-sex “marriage.” Maybe then they’ll realize that the true goal is not about the marriage altar — but fundamentally altering society.

As disappointing as the Supreme Court’s silence is, the good news is that the debate over same-sex “marriage” will continue. With 92 cases on marriage flooding the courts, conservatives have a chance to push back and demand that Congress step in where SCOTUS has not. By refusing to get involved in a mess it helped create, the justices are leaving our laws vulnerable to rogue judges on the lower courts. With the exception of one district court, the benches have been filled with black-robed tyrants who insist on substituting their radical ideology for history, legal precedent, and the consensus of voters and the law.

That has to stop. And the only way to do it is putting the ball back in Congress’s court. When it comes to judicial meddling, members of the House and Senate have just as much stake in upholding the rule of law as anyone. At its core, this debate is about far more than marriage. It’s about the fundamental value of self-governance and the constitutional right of people, through their elected officials, to decide marriage policy. And the people (of whom the government is “of,” “by,” and “for”) aren’t exactly tripping over themselves to jump on the courts’ runaway train for redefining marriage. Support for the Left’s cause is dropping significantly — from 54% to 49% — according to Pew Forum’s latest poll.

For Republicans, this is exactly the momentum they need to push Rep. Randy Weber’s (R-Texas) and Sen. Ted Cruz’s (R-Texas) State Marriage Defense Act, introduced to protect voters from the judicial chaos that suggests marriage laws (or any laws!) are fair game. Under the House and Senate bills, the government could no longer barge in to states and stomp all over their marriage amendments. Instead of undermining state laws, the federal government would be bound by them.

If the Supreme Court won’t move on marriage, Congress must. Contact your representative and senators. Ask them to sign on to the State Marriage Defense Act — and help put an end to Government of the courts, by the courts, and for the courts.

Source:  FRC Washington Update, Oct. 06,2014

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Where are my brothers?

We have shouted out to the world, but no-one has listened to us. Where is the Christian conscience? Where is human consciousness? Where are my brothers?

This is the cry coming from 50 hot spot nations around the globe. We invite you to connect with the persecuted Church through Open Doors World Watch List (WWL), which targets the top 50 countries where the persecution of Christians for religious reasons is most severe. You can adopt a country each day and pray along with the prayer points for each one. Visit our website and click onto the World Prayer Map: www.embassyforworldpeace.org

North Korea is #1 – PRAY for the 50,000-70,000 Christians imprisoned in labor camps. Ask God to sustain them. That God would change the heart of Kim Jong-Un, and use him to reform the country. For protection for Open Doors workers and contacts bringing practical and spiritual support to believers.

Syria is #3 – PRAY for protection for the many believers who have chosen to stay in Syria to serve their communities. For Open Doors workers and partners bringing relief to thousands of displaced Christian families. For a peaceful end to the conflict that has torn this country apart.

Iraq is #4 – As the mass exodus of Iraq’s Christians continues, so does the call for ending the plight of those who have remained. Like Iraq’s ancient Jewish community before them, one of the world’s oldest Christian communities may soon cease to exist. The disappearance of Iraq’s religious minorities has been a troubling trend since the US-led invasion in 2003, and it has threatened to end the cultural diversity of Iraq. As the violence in the country spikes and religious intolerance grows, many Christians, Yazidis, Mandaeans and other minority community members are leaving the country. The head of the Iraqi Catholic Church sent a chilling warning that Iraq’s 2,000-year-old Christian community is on the brink of extinction as new waves of Christians take the journey of exodus.

Sudan is #11 – PRAY that God will strengthen and unite Christians as they face increasing pressure from their Islamic extremist government. Praise God for strong civil rights bodies fighting for the oppressed, including Christians; pray that the government will pay attention to their requests. Give thanks that Open Doors is supporting the small but courageous local church in Sudan with discipleship training and community development projects. After being given a death sentence for her Christian faith, Sudanese Meriam Ilbraham and her family miraculously migrated to the U.S. 

South Sudan is the world’s newest nation, gaining independence from Sudan three years ago. But it’s also one of the poorest and most troubled. The neighboring states have clashed periodically since independence, but the most recent fighting has been between the South Sudan’s government and rebels, a quarrel that has been a major factor in their food shortages.

NPR reported that a U.N. helicopter apparently was shot down yesterday (Aug. 26, 2014) while on a routine cargo flight over South Sudan. It illustrates the difficulty of bringing food aid to the war-torn country and the challenge of figuring out how serious that food crisis is. There’s a U.S. agency that’s supposed to make that determination – the Famine Early Warning Systems Network, or FEWS NET. However, as NPR’s Gregory Warner reports, “a lesser-known fact is that by the time the word famine was declared (in Somalia), at least half of its 260,000 victims had already died. In other words, by the time a situation gets as bad as famine, you’ve already arrived too late.”

PRAY for the global Church to respond to Southern Sudan’s food shortages. It is the world’s newest country, and many of South Sudan’s 12million people are on the brink of being wiped out. With the eyes of the world on the escalating violence in the Middle East and the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, the plight of South Sudan is going almost unnoticed. Four million people are in desperate need of food and child malnutrition is three times the emergency levels.

Nine years after the peace agreement that ended Sudan’s long war and three years after South Sudan gained independence, Africa’s youngest country is grappling with a new round of conflict, which has created another devastating humanitarian crisis. The UN and other humanitarian agencies refrain, for reasons both technical and political, from calling the conditions a famine. Instead, they speak of “catastrophic food insecurity” and “the world’s worst food crisis.” But no matter what you call it, many South Sudanese are currently facing hunger, disease and death.

In Matthew 25:40, Jesus said, “Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.”

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