The U.S. Supreme Court today handed a victory on narrow grounds to a Colorado Christian baker who refused for religious reasons to make a wedding cake for a gay couple, stopping short of setting a major precedent allowing people to claim exemptions from anti-discrimination laws based on religious beliefs.
The justices, in a 7-2 decision, said the Colorado Civil Rights Commission showed an impermissible hostility toward religion when it found that baker Jack Phillips violated the state's anti-discrimination law by rebuffing gay couple David Mullins and Charlie Craig in 2012. The state law bars businesses from refusing service based on race, sex, marital status or sexual orientation.
The ruling concluded that the commission violated Phillips' religious rights under the U.S. Constitution's First Amendment.
The vote was narrow not because of the number of justices for and against, but because of the slim precedent it sets.
The justices did not issue a definitive ruling on the circumstances under which people can seek exemptions from anti-discrimination laws based on their religious views. The decision also did not address important claims raised in the case including whether baking a cake is a kind of expressive act protected by the Constitution's free speech guarantee.
"Government hostility toward people of faith has no place in our society, yet the state of Colorado was openly antagonistic toward Jack's religious beliefs about marriage. The court was right to condemn that," said lawyer Kristen Waggoner of the conservative Christian group Alliance Defending Freedom, which represents Phillips.
Waggoner said the decision "makes clear that the government must respect Jack's beliefs about marriage."
#SupremeCourt #ChristianBaker #Colorado #WalkOnWater #JesusSurfedApparelCo
Reported by: CNBC
Why does the Christian right speak so much about the unborn and ignore policies that throw the ones who are born under the bus?
“The children will be taken care of — put into foster care or whatever.” This is the answer White House Chief of Staff, John Kelly gave NPR in response to a question about whether it’s “cruel and heartless to take a mother away from her children.”
He was defending a new policy from the departments of Justice and Homeland Security that separates parents (who arrive at the US-Mexico border with their children and have no visa) from their kids. These families are coming to the United States because they fear for their lives in Central America.
OK. I know that 80 percent of the Christian right voted for this president, and I’ve heard that this support seems to be holding steady. I understand this group of Christians supports the president because of his current stance in regard to abortion. Fair enough. But tell me, why does the Christian right speak so much about the unborn and ignore policies that throw the ones who are born under the bus?
One thing that made Jesus so unique in the 1st century was his love for children. In an age when people tended to ignore anyone below their kneecaps, Jesus saw them, and this makes him unique among the great spiritual exemplars of the world.
Jesus saw them trying to keep up with caravans of people on pilgrimage. He liked to set them on his knee when he taught. Maybe it was because he was the oldest of Mary’s many children. He knew how to hold their wobbly little heads in his carpenter’s palm — how to pass them carefully back to their mothers without dropping them.
Jesus saw children. Once in a while, we see them too. A photo of a drowned three-year-old Syrian boy wearing a red T-shirt, shorts and sneakers went viral. For a moment the whole world took notice. And all he and his parents wanted was a place where he could grow up in safety; the same thing Central American families want for their children; the same thing our immigrant ancestors wanted for us; the same thing Jesus wanted for every child born.
#Jesus #FosterCare #Children #JohnKerry #NPR #WalkOnWater #JesusSurfedApparelCo
Reported by: Salt Lake Tribune
While the opening of the American Embassy in Jerusalem has triggered violence and political debate this week, it also stands as a sharp reminder of the close ties between the Trump administration and evangelical Christians — and of the victories that Mr. Trump has delivered for his evangelical base.
Against a backdrop of violence on the Gaza border, with Israeli soldiers killing dozens of Palestinians, a who’s who of Mr. Trump’s evangelical backers were present in Jerusalem to celebrate the formal relocation of the embassy from Tel Aviv on Monday. The split-screen images of fury and jubilee were striking, with many of the American guests trying to keep the focus on the achievement of their long-held goal.
Penny Young Nance, president of Concerned Women for America, said she has been praying for 20 years that this day would come. As she walked out of the opening ceremony, she saw hugs and smiles all around.
“There’s a sense of unity,” she said on her way to a party at the David Citadel Hotel that was hosted by the Republican Jewish Coalition, Christians United for Israel, and the Jewish Policy Center.
For the religious right, opening an American Embassy in Jerusalem is as significant as when Mr. Trump nominated Neil M. Gorsuch as a Supreme Court Justice. Evangelicals viewed the conservative-leaning judge as likely to advance their anti-abortion cause.
But Mr. Trump has taken other steps that have gratified his evangelical supporters. He personally supported the March for Life, an anti-abortion group; increased the ability of churches to organize politically; and moved against transgender protections throughout the government.
Mr. Trump’s policy promises helped convince reluctant evangelicals to vote for him in 2016 when they were turned off by his language and sexual morality. Social conservatives largely gave Mr. Trump their support, in spite of their moral qualms, because he has championed their policies, especially on abortion and support for Israel.
#MarchforLife #ChristiansUnitedforIsrael #ConcernedWomenforAmerica #EvangelicalChristians #Trump #AmericanEmbassy #Jerusalem #WalkOnWater #JesusSurfedApparelCo
Reported by: New York Times
June 6th will mark the one year anniversary of the U.S. House of Representatives unanimously passing The Iraq and Syria Genocide Emergency Relief and Accountability Act, which would provide U.S. funding directly to Christians in Syria and Iraq impacted by the genocide committed by the Islamic State (ISIS). It would also ensure that evidence is collected for prosecuting the perpetrators of these crimes against humanity.
The bill, however, has languished in the U.S. Senate for almost nine months, and there are no signs that it will be voted on anytime in the near future.
The refusal of the United States Congress to act is just the latest example of leaders and citizens from around the world silently standing by as nothing is done to stop the elimination of Christians from the Middle Eastern lands they have called home since the time of the New Testament. Even the Trump administration, which had promised to make the plight of Middle East Christians a priority, has largely been missing in action since Vice President Mike Pence’s much-anticipated visit to the Middle East in January delivered few results or signs of hope.
With the United States and the West now doing virtually nothing to prevent the extinction of Middle East Christians, the situation may appear to be grim. There are, however, small flickers of hope that we must use to reignite a global effort aimed at protecting this vulnerable population.
If we choose not to foster these signs of hope and progress, Middle Eastern Christians will join the ranks of Rwanda, Bosnia, Darfur, Armenia, the Holocaust, and other preventable tragedies that unfolded as the world was watching. The Spanish-American philosopher George Santayana’s oft-cited warning that those who fail to learn from history are condemned to repeat it is especially relevant in light of a recent survey which found that over a fifth of young Americans have not heard of or are unsure if they have heard of the Holocaust.
On July 7th, Pope Francis will gather heads of churches and Christian communities from the Middle East to join him in Bari, Italy for a day of reflection and prayer with the goal of raising awareness of their plight. Let us resolve to make July 7th also a day of gratitude, where those religious leaders can also deliver prayers of thanks in acknowledgement of the world finally taking action to ensure that future generations of Christians survive and thrive in the Middle East.
#USSenate #Congress #GenocideEmergencyRelief #Syria #Iraq #Christians #PopeFrancis #WalkOnWater #JesusSurfedApparelCo
Reported by: The Hill
Leader of the Washington D.C. based Capitol Ministries, Ralph Drollinger, praised Vice President Mike Pence on Friday for influencing the selection of strong Christians who are "on fire for Christ" to fill President Donald Trump's administration. He is also now looking forward to the government leaders using their powerful political platforms to spread their faith in the world.
Drollinger, who leads weekly Bible studies with the president's Cabinet, has been conducting House and Senate Bible study meetings for several years. Speaking on last week's First Fridays prayer call held by Intercessors for America, he revealed that when it was time to form Trump's cabinet, he noticed that many of the picks came from the House and Senate Bible studies his organization conducts on Capitol Hill and believes the decisions were guided by Pence.
"We could see that the Trump administration once they were elected were actually plucking members from the House and Senate [Bible] study so we had a purview of what was happening in terms of someone, I think it was Mike Pence, who knew the lay of the land and who the strong believers were ... we could see a lot of them had that in common and really loved Jesus Christ," Drollinger told IFA President Dave Kubal and others who had joined the call.
Drollinger made special mention of Secretary of Energy Rick Perry and his faith.
"Rick Perry is one of my best friends after knowing him for 16 months. They call him the teacher's pet because he is hungry for the word of God. He is very sincere in his faith, by that I mean he is without wax. He just always gives the real Rick Perry, every Wednesday morning. So it's like that with all the members and we just picked up a couple members that I don't know too well," he continued. "So these guys are really on fire for Christ and it's a lovely group to lead. It's the best Bible study I've ever led and that's only the Holy Spirit's doing and your prayers."
Reported by: Christian Post
There’s always been diversity of views within individual religions. Now, a new survey sheds light on some of the breadth of viewpoints among people of the same faiths and belief systems.
About 80 percent of American adults surveyed who identified themselves as Christian for the Pew Research Center study said they believe in God as portrayed in the Bible. Eighteen percent said they don’t but believe in some “other” kind of “higher power” or “spiritual force,” and 1 percent of Christians said they don’t believe in any higher power.
About 33 percent of Jewish adults surveyed said they believe in God as “described” in the Bible. Fifty-six percent said they believe in another kind of “higher power” or “spiritual force.”
Among those surveyed who belong to no particular faith, 17 percent reported believing in the God of the Bible, 53 percent said they have an alternative view on a higher power and 27 percent don’t believe in either.
#God #Bible #Christian #Jewish #PewResearchCenter #WalkOnWater #JesusSurfedApparelCo
Reported by: Chicago Sun Times