Have nothing to do with the [evil] things that people do, things that belong to the darkness. Instead, bring them out to the light... [For] when all things are brought out into the light, then their true nature is clearly revealed...

-Ephesians 5:11-13

Category Archives: Religion

Street Preacher Wins $50,000 Settlement in Suit Against Portland

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Sunday, May 31, 2020: 

A street preacher whose First Amendment-protected rights were violated received a settlement last week from Portland, Oregon. It’s a tiny win in a big war, but an important one.

In June four years ago, Mark Mayberry, a 59-year-old electrician, was handing out Gospel tracts in Portland’s Waterfront Park. He was also holding a pro-life sign and engaging passersby in conversation. A city park official decided he was in violation of the park’s regulations and cited him. When Mayberry refused to leave, he was cited for “failure to obey a park officer,” local police were called, and he was removed from the park with instructions not to return for 30 days.

Mayberry complained and his case was heard by Hearings Officer William Guzman, who found in Mayberry’s favor, deciding that the citation was

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Lead Singer in Christian Rock Band Declares “I No Longer Believe in God”

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Friday, May 29, 2020: 

In a long post on Instagram, Jon Steingard, the lead singer in the Canadian Christian rock band Hawk Nelson, said on Tuesday: “After growing up in a Christian home … I am now finding that I no longer believe in God.” But he added, “I want to be open. I want to be transparent with you all — and also open to having my heart changed in the future.”

He raised the issue of God and evil in the world: “There were things that just didn’t make sense to me. If God is all loving, and all powerful, why is there evil in the world? Can he not do anything about it? Does he choose not to?”

Although he claimed that he didn’t want to start a debate, he said that he is “open to the idea that God is there. I’d prefer it if he was. I suspect if he is there, he is very different than what I was taught. I know my parents pray that God reveals himself to me. If he’s there, I hope he does.”

So do a myriad of believers who have had the same questions.

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Amazon Keeps Southern Poverty Law Center as Gatekeeper at AmazonSmile

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Thursday, May 28, 2020: 

At the urging of Amazon’s board of directors, Amazon shareholders attending the company’s online annual meeting on Wednesday rejected a resolution to reevaluate the company’s reliance on the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) to vet charities under its AmazonSmile charity portal.

The resolution, offered by Amazon shareholder Justin Danhof on behalf of the National Center for Public Policy Research (a conservative think tank that supports religious liberty), asked the board to investigate its reliance on the SPLC. When the resolution was rejected, Danhof, a director at the NCPPR, reported, “Today, Amazon’s board of directors publicly and unequivocally endorsed viewpoint discrimination against Christian and conservative organizations. The board rejected our request that it reevaluate its reliance on the discredited Southern Poverty Law Center as the de facto gatekeeper of the AmazonSmile charitable program.”

That program, initiated in 2013, allows a purchaser to designate 0.5 percent of the sale price of eligible items he might purchase to go to the charity of his choice — but only if that charity is approved by the SPLC.

An Amazon spokesman explained:

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Romanian Churches in Chicago Could Face “Summary Abatement” if They Continue to Meet

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Tuesday, May 26, 2020: 

The letter sent to three Romanian Churches near Chicago from the city’s health commissioner was chilling: “If you continue to operate in defiance of the Executive Order [the “Stay at Home” order issued by Governor J.B. Pritzker], the City will pursue all available legal remedies, including … Summary Abatement.”

The three churches — Elim Romanian Pentecostal Church, Metro Praise International, and Philadelphia Romanian Church — received orders on Friday, May 15, not to hold in-person worship services until public-health officials deemed that it was safe to do so. On Sunday the 17th, they held in-person services anyway.

This generated a letter on May 22 from Allison Arwady, MD, Commissioner of Chicago’s Department of Public Health (CDPH) that was hand-delivered to each pastor. In it, she reviewed some history and refreshed her threats:

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1,200 California Pastors Defy Governor Newsom, Plan to Reopen May 31

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Friday, May 22, 2020:  

The day after the Department of Justice warned California Governor Gavin Newsom about discriminating against churches in both his shutdown and his reopen orders, a lawyer announced that more than 1,200 pastors have said they will open in-person services in defiance of those orders on Pentecost Sunday, May 31.

The attorney who drafted the “Declaration of Essentiality” sent a letter to the governor, declaring that the pastors were not asking permission: “This letter was not sent for the purposes of asking for permission.”

The Declaration began with this quote from Martin Luther King, Jr.: “The church must be reminded that it is not the master or the servant of the state, but rather the conscience of the state. It must be the guide and the critic of the state, and never its tool. If the church does not recapture its prophetic zeal, it will become an irrelevant social club without moral or spiritual authority.”

After briefly reviewing the case against Newsom’s onerous and unconstitutional edicts, it ended with this: “NOW THEREFORE, WE DECLARE THAT WE WILL RESUME IN-PERSON RELIGIOUS ASSEMBLIES BEGINNING ON THE DAY OF PENTECOST, MAY 31, 2020, OR SOONER.”

The letter to the governor ran 15 pages, outlining the legal case against Newsom’s infringements of precious rights guaranteed in the Constitution’s Bill of Rights. In addition, it quoted large portions of the Declaration of Independence.

It included this from founders Madison and Jefferson:

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Churches Refuse to Cower Before Caesar; Court Victory in Kentucky

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Sunday, May 10, 2020: 

Some churches are suing. Some are asking permission to reopen in-person church services. Some are announcing they are opening in-person church services — with or without the government’s permission.

U.S. District Judge Gregory Van Tatenhove issued a temporary restraining order on Friday against Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear’s edict banning in-person church services.

The complaint was brought by Tabernacle Baptist Church of Nicholasville on Wednesday, May 6. The judge issued the order on Friday and the governor officially backed off that same day. The judge’s ruling applies to all churches in the commonwealth.

On March 25 Governor Beshear issued an executive order that required all organizations that are not “life-sustaining” to close. According to his edict churches were not considered to be “life-sustaining,” but laundromats, accounting services, law firms, hardware stores, and other secular entities were. This formed the first basis of the complaint: blatant discrimination.

But the meat of the complaint rested on constitutional violations:

Requiring Plaintiff [Tabernacle] to abstain from its religious gatherings, despite substantial modifications to satisfy the public health interests at stake, violates Plaintiff’s Constitutional right to free exercise of its religion;

 

By denying Plaintiff the ability to assemble via an in-person church service, Defendants [Governor Beshear and another official in his administration] are in violation of the Freedom of Assembly Clause [contained in the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution];

 

Requiring Plaintiff to abstain from its religious gatherings, despite substantial modifications to satisfy the public health interests at stake, violates Plaintiff’s Constitutional right peaceably to assemble [also in the First Amendment].

On Friday the judge granted what the church demanded: a temporary restraining order against the governor’s edict.

Later that day the governor backed off:

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Circuit Court Blocks Kentucky Governor’s Limit on Church Services

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Sunday, May 3, 2020:

A three-judge panel of the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled on Saturday, prohibiting Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear from enforcing his edict banning attendance at church services:

Orders prohibiting religious gatherings, enforced by police officers telling congregants they violated a criminal law and by officers taking down license plate numbers, amount to a significant burden on worship gatherings….

 

The breadth of [his] ban on religious services … should give pause to anyone who prizes religious freedom.

Two days before Easter, Governor Beshear announced that Kentucky police would record the license-plate numbers of all vehicles near mass gatherings, including church services, and transmit that information to various health departments, who would then enforce a mandatory 14-day quarantine for the violators.

Said Beshear:

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Coming Economic Rebound to Reverse Present Negative Business, Consumer Sentiment Readings

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Wednesday, April 8, 2020: 

Consumers and small business owners who are also Bible believers often open Psalms 31 in times like these, to read: “My hope is in the LORD … Be of good courage, and he shall strengthen your heart, all ye that hope in the LORD.”

Those who aren’t are telling pollsters that things are bad and likely to get worse.

Polls taken by the Conference Board, the University of Michigan, the New York Federal Reserve and the National Federation of Business (NFIB) are consistent: consumer and business sentiment is taking a dreadful hit thanks to the “social distancing” and “sheltering at home” protocols put in place last month to fight the virus.

With 250 million Americans affected, or about 75 percent of the country’s population, the results, although widely anticipated, were worse than expected.

The Federal Reserve Bank of New York reported on Monday that

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Holy Week or Pearl Harbor Week?

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Monday, April 6, 2020: 

The timing could not be more propitious. Bookended by Palm Sunday yesterday and Easter Sunday next Sunday, believers are celebrating the “death of death” with the resurrection of their Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

The Surgeon General of the United States, on the other hand, is calling the week ahead our “Pearl Harbor” week, or our “9/11” week, in remembrance of the surprise attacks on our country by its enemies.

He expects that the coming peak in coronavirus deaths, expected either this week or next, to be “the hardest and the saddest week of most Americans’ lives.” He told Fox News on Sunday:

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It’s Been a Long Five Years for Coach Kennedy

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Wednesday, March 11, 2020: 

For Joe Kennedy, the former coach of Washington’s Bremerton High Junior Varsity football team, it’s been a long five years. He coached the team from 2008 until his contract wasn’t renewed in 2015. For those seven years, after every game, he would take 15 seconds to go out to the 50-yard line and pray for his players.

And for seven years nobody minded. Nobody said anything. Nobody sued. Nobody even threatened to sue.

But when a school administrator paid a public compliment for how the coach was positively impacting the lives of his players, the school board told Kennedy to stop. When he didn’t, the board decided not to renew his contract.

Kennedy enlisted the help of First Liberty, a non-profit public interest law firm that specializes in such First Amendment cases. Together they sued the board, claiming it violated his First Amendment rights. And they lost.

So they appealed to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. And they lost again. So they appealed to the Supreme Court. And lost. But with a disclaimer: there were enough loose ends to the case that needed to be resolved at the lower court’s level to keep the court from reviewing Kennedy’s claim.

In the Supreme Court’s denial in January 2019, Justices Samuel Alito, Clarence Thomas, Neil Gorsuch, and Brett Kavanaugh added a statement to the public record, explaining that “important unresolved factual questions would make it very difficult if not impossible at this stage to decide the free speech question that [Kennedy] asks us to review.”

The justices then excoriated the Ninth Circuit Court’s reasoning: “The Ninth Circuit’s opinion applies our decision in Garcetti v. Ceballos to public school teachers and coaches in a high tendentious [i.e., biased] way.”

That decision ruled that statements made by public employees in the normal conduct of their official duties are not protected by the First Amendment. It ruled that public employees are not speaking as citizens when they are speaking to fulfill a responsibility of their job. It held that the First Amendment does not prevent employees from being disciplined for making statements that are made “pursuant” to their professional duties.

But the Ninth Circuit stretched that ruling out of all recognition, according to the justices:

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Football Coach Fired for Praying Likely To Get Case Reviewed by Supreme Court

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Tuesday, March 10, 2020: 

U.S. District Court Judge Ronald Leighton ruled against Bremerton High School’s football coach Joe Kennedy last week, saying that “although the Court is sympathetic to Kennedy’s desire to follow his beliefs, the former must give way to the latter in this case.” The “latter” to which Leighton referred is the right of Bremerton High School to fire the coach when he took 15 seconds at the end of a football game to pray for his players on the 50-yard line.

Kennedy coached the school’s JV football team for seven years, and for seven years he took time after each game to pray for his players. And for seven years nobody minded. Nobody said anything. Nobody sued. Nobody even threatened to sue.

But when a school administrator paid a public compliment for how the coach was positively impacting the lives of his players, the school board told Kennedy to stop. When he didn’t, the board decided not to renew his contract.

Kennedy enlisted the help of First Liberty, a non-profit public-interest law firm that specializes in such First Amendment cases. Together they sued the board, claiming it violated his First Amendment-protected rights. And they lost.

So they appealed to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. And they lost again. So they appealed to the Supreme Court. And lost, but with a caveat: There were enough loose ends to the case that needed to be resolved at the lower court’s level to keep the court from reviewing Kennedy’s claim.

In the Supreme Court’s denial in January 2019, Justices Samuel Alito, Clarence Thomas, Neil Gorsuch, and Brett Kavanaugh added a statement to the public record, explaining that

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How My Fight for Student-Led Prayer Took Me to the White House

This article was first published at The Daily Signal on January 29, 2020. It was written by Chase Windebank, a high school student attending Pine Creek High School in Colorado Springs. 

How does a young man find himself standing behind the president of the United States in the Oval Office of the White House?

I invited a friend to pray with me.

Actually, I invited several friends during my freshman year at Pine Creek High School in Colorado Springs, Colorado. We had a free period in the middle of the school day. A lot of my classmates used the time to just hang out, or to text or talk about their plans for the weekend.

I thought it might be a good time to find an empty room and a few good friends who would enjoy praying together and encouraging one another in our shared faith.

We did that for three years. Gradually, word got around, and more and more young people joined us.

By the time I was a senior, some 90 other students were in that room twice a week. We enjoyed a strong sense of community as we met to pray for each other, our teachers and school, and even our nation.

During my senior year, however, something changed.

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Trump’s Apologies During Victory Celebrations Largely Ignored

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Friday, February 7, 2020: 

During his victory celebrations following the Senate’s vote to acquit him of wrongdoing, President Donald Trump apologized: first for his own shortcomings, second to the American people, and finally, to his family. These apologies revealed a side of the president the mainstream media rarely presents.

Near the end of his remarks at Thursday’s Prayer Breakfast at the Washington Hilton, Trump said, “I’m sorry. I apologize. I’m trying to learn. It’s not easy. When they impeach you for nothing and then you’re supposed to like them, it’s not easy, folks. I do my best.”

This is where the president presently is on his journey of faith. He is referring to Jesus’ demand in His Sermon on the Mount, recorded in Matthew, Chapter 5, where the Savior said: “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven.” Jesus didn’t say it would be easy, just that it should be done.

Later that same day,

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Why Is Religion so Important to the Health and Strength of the American Republic?

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Monday, January 20, 2020: 

The answer was missing last Thursday when Trump celebrated National Religious Freedom Day by confirming and expanding those freedoms for American citizens.

The guidance issued by nine of his executive branch agencies was certainly welcome. It addressed the issue frontally, declaring that there is war against religion in the United States, and that it has, until recently, been going badly for people of faith.

The president said:

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On National Religious Freedom Day, Trump Expands Religious Freedom

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Friday, January 17, 2020:

President Trump chose Thursday — National Religious Freedom Day — to announce a flurry of guidance from nine Executive Branch agencies that not only confirms Americans’ freedom to worship under the First Amendment but rolls back incursions on that freedom that occurred under previous administrations.

The guidance empowered students who want to pray at school by reaffirming their right to do so, including reading religious materials or praying during non-class periods, organizing prayer groups, and expressing their religious beliefs in their school assignments. It warned state governments not to discriminate against religious organizations and affirmed that the granting of federal funds by Executive Branch agencies likewise will not discriminate against them.

The president said:

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Gallup Says Millennials Have Lost Their Way; Louie Giglio Says No

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Friday, January 3, 2020:

Gallup reported last October that Millennials (born 1980-2000) have lost their way. Twenty years ago 62 percent of them belonged to a church. Today that number has dropped to 42 percent. This was part of Gallup’s revelation that barely two thirds of all American adults describe themselves as Christian, down 12 percentage points in the last 10 years.

But Glenn Stanton, director of family formation studies at Focus on the Family in Colorado Springs, say that such polls prove nothing; that instead the church of “real believers” has never been stronger:

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65,000 College Students Celebrate Jesus and New Year at Passion Conference in Atlanta

What were 65,000 college students from all 50 states and 81 foreign countries doing at the Mercedes Benz stadium in Atlanta this week? This twitter from the Passion Conference explains:

We [are saying] goodbye to 2019 and hello to 2020. Imagine what God will do through you in the new decade; what opportunities will He lead you to, what challenges will He overcome on your behalf?

 

The 20s are overflowing with possibilities, and we are ready and willing, full of expectation.

Since its founding in 1997 by Louie Giglio, pastor at Passion City Church in Atlanta, more than a million college students age 18 to 25 have been lifted up at his conferences. Giglio says his purpose is clear:

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In Hoc Anno Domini

The Wall Street Journal publishes this piece penned by the late Vermont Royster in 1949 every Christmas: 

When Saul of Tarsus set out on his journey to Damascus the whole of the known world lay in bondage. There was one state, and it was Rome. There was one master for it all, and he was Tiberius Caesar.

Everywhere there was civil order, for the arm of the Roman law was long. Everywhere there was stability, in government and in society, for the centurions saw that it was so.

But everywhere there was something else, too. There was oppression—for those who were not the friends of Tiberius Caesar. There was the tax gatherer to take the grain from the fields and the flax from the spindle to feed the legions or to fill the hungry treasury from which divine Caesar gave largess to the people. There was the impressor to find recruits for the circuses. There were executioners to quiet those whom the Emperor proscribed. What was a man for but to serve Caesar?

There was the persecution of men who dared think differently, who heard strange voices or read strange manuscripts. There was enslavement of men whose tribes came not from Rome, disdain for those who did not have the familiar visage. And most of all, there was everywhere a contempt for human life. What, to the strong, was one man more or less in a crowded world?

Then, of a sudden, there was a light in the world, and a man from Galilee saying, Render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s and unto God the things that are God’s.

And the voice from Galilee, which would defy Caesar, offered a new Kingdom in which each man could walk upright and bow to none but his God. Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. And he sent this gospel of the Kingdom of Man into the uttermost ends of the earth.

So the light came into the world and the men who lived in darkness were afraid, and they tried to lower a curtain so that man would still believe salvation lay with the leaders.

But it came to pass for a while in divers places that the truth did set man free, although the men of darkness were offended and they tried to put out the light. The voice said, Haste ye. Walk while you have the light, lest darkness come upon you, for he that walketh in darkness knoweth not whither he goeth.

Along the road to Damascus the light shone brightly. But afterward Paul of Tarsus, too, was sore afraid. He feared that other Caesars, other prophets, might one day persuade men that man was nothing save a servant unto them, that men might yield up their birthright from God for pottage and walk no more in freedom.

Then might it come to pass that darkness would settle again over the lands and there would be a burning of books and men would think only of what they should eat and what they should wear, and would give heed only to new Caesars and to false prophets. Then might it come to pass that men would not look upward to see even a winter’s star in the East, and once more, there would be no light at all in the darkness.

And so Paul, the apostle of the Son of Man, spoke to his brethren, the Galatians, the words he would have us remember afterward in each of the years of his Lord:

Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ has made us free and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.

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The American Bar Association Just Exposed Its Bias Against Believers

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Friday, November 1, 2019: 

Despite its claim to be unbiased, the ABA exposed the canard by declaring an eminently qualified nominee as “not qualified” for a seat on the Ninth Circuit Court.

The group claimed to be unbiased in its letter to Senate leaders on Tuesday concerning Lawrence VanDyke, a Trump nominee to the Ninth Circuit: “The Committee’s work is based solely on a review of integrity, professional competence, and judicial temperament.” Nevertheless, despite VanDyke’s impressive CV, “a majority of the Committee has determined that Mr. VanDyke is “Not Qualified” … to serve on the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.”

How is such a conclusion possible?

It didn’t matter that

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ABA Declares Trump’s 9th Circuit Court Nominee “Not Qualified”

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Thursday, October 31, 2019:  

The American Bar Association (ABA) sent a letter to Democratic Senate leaders on Tuesday declaring President Donald Trump’s nominee for the Ninth Circuit Court, Lawrence VanDyke, “not qualified” despite his evident qualifications for the position. Said the letter:

Mr. VanDyke is a highly educated lawyer with nearly 14 years of experience in appellate law, including one year as a law clerk, an associate in a law firm, and as a Solicitor General for over five-plus years, first in Montana and then Nevada, two states in the Ninth Circuit where he would serve if confirmed…

 

Mr. VanDyke’s accomplishments are offset by the assessments of interviewees that Mr. VanDyke is arrogant, lazy, an ideologue, and lacking in knowledge of the day-today practice including procedural rules. There was a theme that the nominee lacks humility, has an “entitlement” temperament, does not have an open mind, and does not always have a commitment to being candid and truthful.

Accordingly, “a substantial majority of the Committee [charged with vetting nominees for the Senate] has determined that Mr. VanDyke is ‘not qualified’ … to serve on the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.”

And just who are those “interviewees” on which the committee based its conclusion? The letter doesn’t say.

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Many of the articles on Light from the Right first appeared on either The New American or the McAlvany Intelligence Advisor.
Copyright © 2020 Bob Adelmann