TRUTH BOMBS: HMMMM…. I would love to know what Catholics are really thinking right now.
ARTICLE: Imagine supporting a presidential candidate and then discovering that your preferred candidate and her election team have utter contempt for you and your dearly held faith-based beliefs.
Well, in this regard, there is no need to resort to your imagination, because in reality, a batch of recently released WikiLeaks emails have torn back the curtain on the religious bigotry of the Hillary Clinton campaign. It is clear: The Clinton team despises Catholics and Christian evangelicals. Among other things, we should ask, what does Clinton’s revealed campaign derision say about her respect for the First Amendment and freedom of religion?
In Clinton’s view, her infamous “basket of deplorables” comment seems to include Christians, too. But I have news for her: Those same law-abiding American citizens she arrogantly dismisses as “deplorable” and “irredeemable” have already been deemed to be saved by the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. We don’t want or require Clinton’s imprimatur of government-subsidized redemption.
But at the very least, she should apologize to Catholics and evangelicals who don’t appreciate her campaign’s ugly comments of religious defamation and intolerance. After all, confession is good for the soul.
Open Doors officials say there could be even more unreported cases.
“The documented cases confirm that the situation of Christian refugees in German refugee shelters is still unbearable. As a minority they are discriminated against, beaten up by and receive death threats from Muslim refugees and partly by the Muslim staff (securities, interpreters, volunteers) on grounds of their religion,” according to a major survey published by Open Doors Germany in October, representing a number of organizations, such as Persecuted Christians and the Needy, European Mission Society Fellowship, and the Central Council of Oriental Christians in Germany.
“Taking these new cases into consideration there are now 743 Christian refugees who have reported religiously motivated attacks. With more staff at hand, a significantly higher number of cases could have been included in the survey,” it added.
The refugees had fled from Syria and other regions, escaping terror groups and the violence from war. Instead, the Christian refugees found violence within what were supposed to be safe camps.
“As a Christian charity, Open Doors is not against Muslims, as CEO Markus Rode has already made clear in a comprehensive statement in January 2015. It is a constitutive element of Christian faith that Muslims are loved by God and are to be met with love and compassion,” the report said.
“At the same time it has to be stated that Islam, which is the majority religion in most of the refugees’ home countries, is responsible for the massive violation of the human right to freedom of religion.”
TRUTH BOMBS: Christianity is the most persecuted religion in the world and there is only one reason for that: Without Christianity, you cannot prove anything true or false. Atheism, paganism, hedonism…… no other belief system can give you a rational explanation for the existence of objective truth. All others are left with autonomous epistemology which is self-refuting. Christianity is the ONLY hope for mankind and most will hate it because it exposes their sins.
ARTICLE: Thousands of Christian refugees who fled their homes in Iraq due to persecution are only finding more persecution in Turkish refugee camps.
ChristianToday.com reports that about 45,000 refugees who fled Iraq are now living in poverty in Turkey and are discriminated against by their Muslim neighbors.
Juliana Taimoorazy, president of the Iraqi Christian Relief Council and a senior fellow with the Philos Project, discussed the stark plight of the Christians.
They cannot reveal their faith, she said, because then their Muslim neighbors would persecute them. She added that mosques would also refuse to help them if their Christian faith was made known.
The refugees are hoping to come to the U.S. or another country where they would be able to live out their faith without fear, but the U.S. State Department is slow to take any action to help them.
Taimoorazy said it may be up to churches to do something about this humanitarian crisis.
“There have been some churches that extended help, financial or prayer, but this is such a monumental situation that we need more churches to wake up,” she said.
One way Christians can help the refugees is to hold prayer vigils, Taimoorazy said. Her organization has even provided a prayer vigil kit called “Rise Vigil” for Christians to use to raise awareness for their brothers and sisters in Christ in the Middle East.
“If we don’t talk to our fellow Americans, our fellow Christians, in our churches, and if we don’t pray unitedly for the body of Christ, the Middle East will be empty of Christians,” she warned.
TRUTH BOMBS: This is the rise of Pagan America. There is a distinct increase in the influence of paganism in our culture. From school clubs to the “Burn Man” festival. The worship of self and false gods are becoming the norm. And you thought that the Christians were just panicking back in the 80s when we warned this would happen.
ARTICLE: BOSTON, Mass. — The Boston chapter of the Satanic Temple recently sought to offer an invocation during their city’s council meeting, but the request was rejected.
“The religious oppression felt by those outside the Christian community in Boston is a blight on an otherwise liberal state,” the request letter, written by chapter head Travis LeSaffre, read. “Consider what your actions could do to increase the diversity of the city council’s current invocation schedule and the light it can shine on religious plurality within the great Commonwealth of Massachusetts.”
He told reporters that the purpose of the mission was to ensure that various religions are represented during city council meetings—not only Christianity.
“Our goal in this specific endeavor is to either receive equal religious protection from the city of Boston or to prove the inequity and hypocrisy of the city’s leadership,” LeSaffre explained to the Boston Globe.
His plans were to use the invocation time to outline the tenets of the Satanic Temple and to speak about the separation of Church and State.
LeSaffre told the Boston Herald that he believes the city council misunderstands the Satanic Temple, as members are not conventional Satanists, but rather “non-theistic Satanists.”
“It is the position of The Satanic Temple that religion can, and should, be divorced from superstition. As such, we do not promote a belief in a personal Satan,” the group’s website reads. “To embrace the name Satan is to embrace rational inquiry removed from supernaturalism and archaic tradition-based superstitions.”
The national organization views Satan as a metaphor for rebellion rather than an actual living entity.
“Satan is symbolic of the Eternal Rebel in opposition to arbitrary authority, forever defending personal sovereignty even in the face of insurmountable odds,”the group outlines. “Satan is an icon for the unbowed will of the unsilenced inquirer—the heretic who questions sacred laws and rejects all tyrannical impositions.”
He sent requests to three entities to ask for sponsorship—Councilors Tito Jackson and Mark Ciommo, and City Council President Michelle Wu—but Jackson and Ciommo did not respond, and Wu declined.
“It’s individual councilors’ choices who they invite,” Wu told the Boston Globe. “It’s not based on anyone’s religious preference, but it does often recognize figures that have done work in the community and are representative of the district.”
As previously reported, in July, Satanic Temple member David Suhor was permitted to deliver a Satanic invocation during the Pensacola, Florida City Council meeting. He delivered a loud song, belting out, “That which will not bend must break” and “That which is destroyed by truth should never be spared. Its demise, it is done. Hail Satan!”
Suhor admitted that the invocation was offered to combat what he saw as “Christian privilege.”
“Adopt some [expletive] rules. Stop pandering for votes. Quit pushing Christian privilege as we’ve seen with the Bayview cross and so many other issues and instead go to a moment of silence, that lets everybody pray or not according to their own conscience,” he declared to councilors, angrily smacking his notebook on the podium.
TRUTH BOMBS: Churches in every country are reporting this same issue. I often wonder: I have heard the same church growth strategy touted by ministers and Church leaders everywhere since I was a child and history teaches me that this movement has been occurring since long before I was born. This is what I call the “Love without Law” gospel. Under this we agree to disagree instead of excommunicate an unrepentant sinner. We ignore difficult scriptures so as not to offend anyone. We change the definitions of biblical words to better fit the unbelievers thinking. And we even poll the heathen to tell us how a Christian worship service should be conducted! Vanity, Vanity all is Vanity! Maybe we should try to obey what the Bible says instead of what the satanic world says.
ARTICLE: London (CNN)Canon laws, which have been in the books for centuries, require churches to hold services every Sunday. In the morning and in the evening.
But there’s a hitch.
Attendance is declining. And there are just way too many churches.
So the Church of England is now thinking of scrapping that law — particularly because many parishes are failing to hold services at all of their churches and consequently, are breaking the law.
“For decades, ever since we started having parishes with more than one church, it has been humanly impossible for the clergy to get around to all of them every Sunday,” a Church of England spokesman told CNN. “[So] according to canon law those clergy and those parishes are breaking canon law and it would be impossible for them not to.”
TRUTH BOMBS: WOW, the liberals are really desperate. I have read articles about facebook shutting down Christian accounts and now there is this full on irrational spin about the Clinton emails. So we should ignore these emails from only 5 years ago but be offended at Trump for statements made over 10 years ago? The problem is this: The democrat party is comprised of many (not all) people who are “morally flexible”. In fact they are completely ok with the corruption of HilLIARy Clinton because of their fallacious unethical thought processes. The different conservative parties are comprised of people who are principled and not morally flexible. The base of which is evangelical Christians. Brothers and Sisters, please understand that one day the King is coming, until that day, NO Candidate will be perfect. Pragmatic choice is all we have in a vote.
“A good Catholic,” Pope Francis says, “meddles in politics, offering the best of himself, so that those who govern can govern.” It seems like a straightforward proposition put forth by the universal leader of the Catholic Church, a sentiment that has been communicated in some way or another by his recent predecessors.
But this past week, meddling in politics has become a “scandal” for some of my fellow Catholics, who’ve tried to spin a 2011 private email conversation between friends into something far more nefarious. In the alleged stolen email threads, John Podesta — who now chairs Hillary Clinton’s campaign — and some of his progressive colleagues have a candid conversation about the internal workings of the Catholic Church.
Since the release of these stolen five-year-old emails by WikiLeaks weeks before the November election, many conservative critics have suggested that these conversations represent damning evidence of a wide-ranging “anti-Catholic” conspiracy to undermine and destroy the church. Ross Douthat of the New York Times cast them as an entry in a “Catholic civil war,” and prominent Republicans, including House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.), and members of Donald Trump’s campaign have called upon Clinton to apologize for the supposed bigotry in the conversation. Others claimed the progressive Catholic groups mentioned are fake, or worse, secretly anti-Catholic.
Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman John Podesta blamed Russia for the hack into his emails that WikiLeaks published on Oct. 7. While speaking to reporters on the campaign plane, he said he believes Trump, “had advanced warning about what Assange was going to do.” (Reuters)
It’s absolute malarkey. And I would know: Since November 2013 — nearly three years after the emails were sent — I’ve been the executive director of Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good (CACG), one of the groups mentioned in the emails.
I take accusations of being part of an anti-Catholic conspiracy personally, because there’s nothing that matters to me and my colleagues more than our faith in Jesus Christ and our love for the Catholic Church. In short, it’s everything to me. So let’s set the record straight: Every day, our group works tirelessly to promote the social mission of Pope Francis and the Catholic Church in American politics, media and culture.
My group lives in the almost impossible position of trying to exhort fellow Catholics to respond to the social teaching of the church, which guides us to lift up the poor and oppressed, while working within a generally secular progressive movement that isn’t friendly to our views on the sanctity of life. For nearly a decade, the abortion rights community has railed against CACG’s consistent support for the dignity of the unborn child. In 2009, Catholics for Choice released a scathing 30-page report on how we were working to build an antiabortion movement within progressive politics. Then, in 2013, conservative Catholic activist Bill Donohue called us a “bogus Catholic entity” because we said Rush Limbaugh was wrong to rip Pope Francis as a practitioner of “pure Marxism.” Our group was once derided as “radical right wingers” and a “lapdog for liberals” by two different national commentators in a single month; and this past summer, I was accused of being a “feminist” on Fox News one week and a “mansplainer” in the Huffington Post the next week.
If we’re nothing but surrogates for the Democratic Party and shills for Clinton bent on collapsing the church from within, we probably should be fired, because we’re doing a pretty bad job.
In July, we fought tooth and nail to stop the Democratic Party from ditching the Hyde Amendment. When they refused to, we said it was growing evidence that Democrats were slowly defying their progressive ideals to become a “party of exclusion.” Catholics are right to strongly protest Clinton and the Democratic Party’s hard-line position on abortion. As we’ve said time and again, we think there’s nothing progressive about abortion. But if conservatives are going to be quick to deride Clinton’s campaign as “anti-Catholic,” they should take an honest look at Trump before doing so.
In March, a group of conservative Catholic intellectuals wrote in the National Reviewthat Trump was “manifestly unfit” to be president of the United States and that his campaign was “offensive to any genuinely Catholic sensibility.” Trump has no history of any antiabortion action — indeed, he’s self-identified as “very pro-choice” in the past — and as recently as March maintained that women who have abortions should be punished, a view held by few if any in the mainstream antiabortion movement. Trump has been openly hostile toward immigrants and refugees throughout his campaign, going so far as to suggest banning Muslims from entering the United States. Meanwhile, Pope Francis has called on Christians worldwide to accept refugees into their countries and homes, and has invited several Syrian refugees to live in the Vatican. As for that border wall Trump has promised? When, back in February, the pope said that good Christians build bridges instead of walls, Trump called him “disgraceful.” And that wasn’t the only time Trump had taken shots at a pope: In a February of 2013 radio interview, he said Pope Benedict XVI — a meek, thoughtful pope considered by many Catholics, myself included, to be a hero of our faith — “should just give up and die. He looks so bad.”
Trump’s entourage hasn’t been much better. Steve Bannon, Trump’s campaign chief executive, claimed that Catholics only support hospitality toward immigrants and refugees because “the church is dying”; and Trump spokeswoman Katrina Pierson tweeted in 2011 that it’s “sad” that Catholics believe the Catholic Church was founded by Jesus. Trump’s running mate, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, attempted to pressure local Catholic charities into refusing refugees aid during his tenure as governor. Add in Trump’s recently released lewd remarks and the mounting allegations of sexual assault levied against him, and it’s impossible to argue that Trump is a good ambassador for Catholic values in public life.
To me, it’s pretty clear: If conservatives want to fight for Catholic values in this election, then perhaps they should save their fire for a candidate who doesn’t praise Russian President Vladimir Putin and slam the pope.
Catholics can disagree on our politics. And we should: That’s a sign of a healthy culture of debate within the church. Genuinely Catholic politics should challenge both Democrats and Republicans — because our love of Jesus Christ and the Catholic Church always goes before politics. To me, there’s no doubt that Trump’s vision for the United States represents a greater threat to the practice of our faith than those of us who take seriously Pope Francis’s message on the dignity of life, the scandal of poverty and the need to tackle immigration reform and climate change.
Given Trump’s trouble with Catholics at the polls, it’s no surprise that he and his allies are fabricating a falsehood about anti-Trump Catholics trying to divide and destroy the church we love.
Don’t fall for it for a second. No candidate has won the White House without winning the Catholic vote since 1972. And if Donald Trump continues down the same path this year, he’ll losebothinrecordfashion.
TRUTH BOMBS: Because liberalism always generates the exact opposite of it’s stated intent! Now we have no healthcare, and are fined for not having it. THANK YOU OBAMA!!
ARTICLE: A growing number of people in Obamacare are finding out their health insurance plans will disappear from the program next year, forcing them to find new coverage even as options shrink and prices rise.
At least 1.4 million people in 32 states will lose the Obamacare plan they have now, according to state officials contacted by Bloomberg. That’s largely caused by Aetna Inc., UnitedHealth Group Inc. and some state or regional insurers quitting the law’s markets for individual coverage.
Sign-ups for Obamacare coverage begin next month. Fallout from the quitting insurers has emerged as the latest threat to the law, which is also a major focal point in the U.S. presidential election. While it’s not clear what all the consequences of the departing insurers will be, interviews with regulators and insurance customers suggest that plans will be fewer and more expensive, and may not include the same doctors and hospitals.
It may also mean that instead of growing in 2017, Obamacare could shrink. As of March 31, the law covered 11.1 million people; an Oct. 13 S&P Global Ratings report predicted that enrollment next year will range from an 8 percent decline to a 4 percent gain.
Last year in Minnesota, Theresa Puffer, 61, used Obamacare to sign up for a BlueCross BlueShield plan after leaving her job following a skin cancer diagnosis. “I would have had a hard time finding any sort of coverage before the ACA,” Puffer said by phone.
Next year, Puffer’s plan is disappearing from Obamacare — making her one of about 20,000 Minnesotans in the same situation. To make matters worse, premiums for other plans in the state will rise by at least 50 percent, though subsidies under the law can help cushion the blow.
“Trying to determine which would be the best plan for my situation is not easy,” Puffer said. Her dermatologist appears to be out of network in other plans, she said. “I’m willing to pay a higher premium to see him, because when you have cancer you want to stay with the same group of doctors,” she said. “I’ve spent so much time trying to figure out what my options are.”
Bloomberg contacted officials in all 50 states and Washington, D.C., and the 1.4 million-person estimate includes 32 states and only plans sold on the individual “exchange” markets. In Texas, Arizona, Georgia and Missouri, insurers have pulled out, but regulators couldn’t or wouldn’t say how many people are affected. Three states didn’t provide sufficient data.
Eleven states said they weren’t affected. In Washington, D.C., because one insurer withdrew some of its offerings, about 7,800 customers will need to choose new plans.
The U.S. agency that oversees Obamacare has said that some disruption is normal, and that choosing a new plan can help people get the best deal.
“It’s part of the normal business cycle for insurers to discontinue, change, and replace plans from year to year,” Benjamin Wakana, a spokesman for the Department of Health and Human Services, said by e-mail on Oct. 5. “Such changes don’t prevent people from obtaining coverage. People can shop for new coverage through a transparent market.”
HHS said Thursday that it will contact people losing their coverage and encourage them to sign up with new plans. The law requires all Americans to have insurance or pay a fine.
Nationwide estimates of the number of people losing their current plans are higher. For example, Charles Gaba, who tracks the law at ACASignups.net, estimates that 2 million to 2.5 million people in the U.S. will lose their current plans, compared with 2 million a year ago. Gaba’s estimate is based on insurance company membership data.
For the people losing plans, there are fewer and fewer choices. One estimate by the Kaiser Family Foundation predicts that for at least 19 percent of the people in Obamacare’s individual market next year there will be only one insurer to choose from.
In North Carolina, for example, a BlueCross BlueShield insurer will be the only option in 95 of the state’s 100 counties after Aetna and UnitedHealth said this year that they would leave. That will leave 284,000 people looking for a new plan, according to the state.
“Without any significant statutory and regulatory changes on the federal and state levels, we may face the crisis again,” said North Carolina Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin, a Democrat who’s up for election this year. “There needs to be a wholesale re-evaluation by leaders in Washington.”
In Tennessee, UnitedHealth and the state’s BlueCross BlueShield plan are pulling back, and about 117,000 people will lose the plans they have now.
Amanda Page Cornett, a 34-year-old musician and athletic trainer in Nashville, is among them. For 2015, Cornett was careful to pick a BlueCross BlueShield plan that covered specialists at Vanderbilt Health, to treat nerve pain stemming from a 2013 accident. Her condition worsened recently, she said, and she’s worried about losing access to her doctor.
“I’m hopeful that he’s going to be able to help me,” she said of her current physician. “I feel like now I have two and a half months to figure it out before they shut me out.”
TRUTH BOMBS: If your actions are different than your stated beliefs then you really don’t believe in the first place. If your stated beliefs and actions are antithetical to Christ’s teaching, you are not a Christian.
ARTICLE: Thousands, maybe even millions, of women sit in American churches each week, hurting silently because of a past abortion.
Abortion is tragically common even among American Christians, despite Christian teachings about the sanctity of life. In 2014, 24 percent of women who had abortions identified as Catholic, 17 percent as mainline Protestant and 13 percent as evangelical Protestant, according to the Guttmacher Institute.
For many years, Susan Chorley, a Baptist minister from Boston, Massachusetts, was one of the women who remained silent about her abortion in church. Chorley shared her story with The Daily Beast this week and urged churches to offer compassion, empathy and healing to women who have abortions.
Unfortunately, Chorley also argued that churches should accept that women’s decisions to have abortions. She never mentioned how that decision destroys the life of an innocent human being in the womb, or how Christianity teaches that killing an innocent human being is wrong.
The Baptist minister said her decision to have an abortion was “wrenching,” and it left her feeling “sad” with a sense of “loss.” Still, she justified her decision to abort her second child 12 years ago.
I was serving in a congregation in New England at the time I realized I was pregnant. I was far away from family and friends. I had always imagined I would have a second child and I knew that it would be a struggle on our family financially as well as add to the stress of our marriage, which was starting to fall apart. I didn’t want to bring a baby into the world that would feel it was a burden—and I prayed to God to help me make the best decision I could in a situation that seemed impossible.
Later, she added:
Faith is so much more than judging right from wrong. Faith is about how we make meaning in our lives, how we understand our God, and how we live our values. Decisions about whether and when to grow one’s family carry the deepest meaning, and religious women make this decision in conversation with God, just as we do every decision.
Chorley is correct that churches need to do a better job of reaching out to women who have had abortions, but she never acknowledges that the root of these women’s pain is the abortion itself. To prevent more pain, churches should not accept abortions. Rather, they should be doing more to help stop abortions by offering pregnant and parenting families love and support.
Abortions are not the answer. They are not good for women or their unborn children. Not only do abortions kill unborn children, they often cause mothers to suffer intense emotional and sometimes physical pain. A number of studies have linked abortion with depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, drug abuse, suicidal tendencies and other psychological problems. Abortions also can have profound emotional effects on other members of the family, especially fathers and siblings of the aborted child.
Churches should be places where women and families can find healing and forgiveness when they are suffering because of an abortion. Debby Efurd, director of Post-Abortion Support for Involved Life in Dallas, Texas, explained that churches must reach out with compassion and understanding toward those who are hurting and need forgiveness.
“Understand their need for forgiveness,” Efurd wrote in 2013. “Many believe that because they knew it was wrong and did it anyway, abortion is a sin too big for God to forgive and often are unable to forgive themselves.”
TRUTH BOMBS: Do you think this sentence was too light? I do; but liberals don’t really consider sexual crimes to be immoral any more anyway so why not just let them do whatever.
6 None of you shall approach to any that is near of kin to him, to uncover their nakedness: I am the Lord. 7 The nakedness of thy father, or the nakedness of thy mother, shalt thou not uncover: she is thy mother; thou shalt not uncover her nakedness. 8 The nakedness of thy father’s wife shalt thou not uncover: it is thy father’s nakedness. 9 The nakedness of thy sister, the daughter of thy father, or daughter of thy mother, whether she be born at home, or born abroad, even their nakedness thou shalt not uncover. 10 The nakedness of thy son’s daughter, or of thy daughter’s daughter, even their nakedness thou shalt not uncover: for theirs is thine own nakedness. Leviticus 18:6-10
ARTICLE: GLASGOW, MT (AP) – An eastern Montana man has been given a 30-year suspended prison sentence after pleading guilty to raping his 12-year-old daughter last year.
District Judge John McKeon sentenced the man to 60 days in jail for incest, giving him credit for 17 already served, the Glasgow Courier reported. The man also was ordered to complete community-based sex-offender treatment and register as a sex offender.
The Associated Press is not naming the man to avoid identifying the victim of a sexual assault.
Deputy Valley County Attorney Dylan Jensen recommended a 100-year prison sentence with 75 years suspended – as called for in state law – as part of a plea agreement that recommended the dismissal of two other incest charges.
“A father repeatedly raped his 12-year-old daughter,” Jensen said during the Oct. 4 sentencing hearing.
A licensed clinical social worker testified that the man was a low-risk to re-offend and that it would be important for him to have social support while he received treatment. The social worker, Michael Sullivan of Billings, said the man did suffer a “collapse of social support” when he lost his family and job.
Court records said the girl’s mother walked in on one of the sexual assaults.
Public defender Casey Moore argued there was more than one way to hold a person accountable, the Courier reported.
“I’m not asking that he be given a slap on the wrist,” Moore said. “He did spend 17 days in jail and he did lose his job,” and will be on supervision for the rest of his life.
McKeon said he diverted from the recommended sentence because the man had support from his family, friends, church and his employer. The Courier reports the girl’s mother and grandmother were among those supporting a community-based punishment. Someone wrote that “he was a good father for 12 years,” and another said he was not a monster, but a man who had made a mistake.
Jensen told the Courier that he was shocked and disappointed with the sentence, but respected the judge’s decision.
McKeon is retiring next month after 22 years as a state judge.
TRUTH BOMBS: We better start cleaning our governmental house. Our Churches are being desecrated by these liberals.
ARTICLE: A move by the state of Iowa to classify churches as “public accommodations” and require them to allow men who say they are women to use women’s restrooms is causing an “objectively reasonable” fear that they will be prosecuted, a federal judge has ruled.
U.S. District Judge Stephanie Rose refused to dismiss a case brought by the Fort Des Moines Church of Christ against the state’s Civil Rights Commission, finding that the church already was self-censoring its statements because of a fear of prosecution.
“The court concludes the chilling of plaintiff’s speech constitutes an injury in fact for the purpose of standing,” she wrote.
The case is being pursued by the Alliance Defending Freedom, which said the ruling – even before the case advances further – provides “much-needed reassurance and clarification to churches.”
ADF explained the Iowa Civil Rights Commission claimed the Iowa Civil Rights Act applied to churches.
“The commission’s interpretation and application of that law could censor church statements on biblical sexuality in certain contexts and force churches to open their restrooms to members of the opposite sex under conditions that the government dictates. Fort Des Moines Church of Christ, which filed the suit through its Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys, also has showers, which the law also affects,” the organization said.
“The government acts outside of its authority when it attempts to control churches. Neither the commission nor any state law has the constitutional authority to dictate how any church uses its facility or what public statements a church can make concerning sexuality,” said ADF Senior Counsel Steve O’Ban, who argued before the court on behalf of the church in August. “As the court found, government bureaucrats don’t get to decide which church activities have a religious purpose; that’s for the church to decide.”
The government had admitted in the court hearing that the church’s restroom policy “likely” is permitted under its antidiscrimination laws.
But the court warned that “such acknowledgement does not prevent the state defendants … from seeking enforcement against” the church.
“That’s why this lawsuit has been so necessary,” said ADF counsel Christiana Holcomb. “Though the state admitted to the court that the church’s shower and restroom policy isn’t subject to the law, those words alone aren’t sufficient to ensure that the state won’t try to enforce it against churches.
“Churches should be free to talk about their religious beliefs and operate their houses of worship according to their faith without fearing government punishment,” she said.
The case arose when the Iowa Civil Rights Act banned places of public accommodation from expressing their views on human sexuality if they would “directly or indirectly” make “persons of any particular … gender identity” feel “unwelcome,” ADF said.
The state claimed the authority to define “bona fide religious purposes” as well as other critical issues.
In fact, the state claimed it could enforce its agenda in a church if “the place of worship engages in non-religious activities which are open to the public.”
It cited such events as child care or a spaghetti dinner.
WND reported last week a similar case is under way in Massachusetts against a “gender identity” definition adopted in the state. The measure makes “gender identity” a special class, with more protections than ordinary citizens. Under the provision, the attorney general has claimed “houses of worship” are places of “public accommodation” and members, therefore, cannot even express ideas concerning “religious expression regarding biological sex and gender identity.”
The case was launched by the Alliance Defending Freedom after the state commission interpreted the law “to force churches to open church changing rooms, shower facilities, restrooms, and other intimate areas [to people] based on their perceived gender identity, and not their biological sex, in violation of the churches’ religious beliefs.”
Four churches are plaintiffs: Horizon Christian Fellowship, Swansea Abundant Life Assembly of God, House of Destiny Ministries and Faith Christian Fellowship of Havarhill. Several individuals also are named: George Small, David Aucoin, Esteban Carrasco and Marlene Yeo.
“The government shouldn’t encroach on the internal, religious practices of a church,” said ADF Senior Counsel O’Ban. “Neither the commission nor the attorney general has the constitutional authority to dictate how any church uses its facility or what public statements a church can make concerning a deeply held religious belief, such as on human sexuality.”
“And even church ‘secular events,’ which I take it means events that don’t involve overt worship, are generally viewed by the church as part of its ministry, and certainly as a means of the church modeling what it believes to be religiously sound behavior.”
Volokh continued: “My guess is that most churches would not turn someone away from a generally open spaghetti supper. … But some religious leaders, as well as the church employees and volunteers, may refuse to use pronouns that they believe are inconsistent with God’s plan as revealed by anatomy.”
“Under Massachusetts law, refusing to use a transgender person’s preferred pronoun would be punishable discrimination. (At least this is true of ‘he’ or ‘she’ – I saw nothing in the document about ‘ze’ and other newly made-up pronouns.) The Massachusetts document … makes that clear in the employment context, and it also makes clear that the antidiscrimination law rules apply to places of public accommodations (including churches, in ‘secular events’ ‘open to the public’) just as much as to employment.”
Volokh warned: “Indeed, a church might be liable even for statements by its congregants (and not just its volunteers, who are acting as agents) that are critical of transgender people. Tolerating such remarks is generally seen as allowing a ‘hostile environment,’ and therefore ‘harassment.’ Indeed, the statement … specifically encourages people to ‘prohibit derogatory comments or jokes about transgender persons from employees, clients, vendors and any others, and promptly investigate and discipline persons who engage in discriminatory conduct’.”
Read more at http://www.wnd.com/2016/10/fear-sweeps-churches-over-bathroom-policy/#YDAw8ZmRG1ojoP1A.99