Freedom Of Religion Is Not Guaranteed–Even In America

CBN News posted an article today about the confirmation hearings for Russell Vought as the Deputy Director of the Office of Management and Budget. Mr. Vought was questioned by Senator Bernie Sanders about his Christian beliefs.

The article reports:

In a blog, Vought had defended Wheaton College for their decision to force out a professor who said Christians and Muslims worship the same God.

Sanders said Vought was unfit for public service due to his Christian beliefs.

“I’m a Christian, and I believe in a Christian set of principles based on my faith,” Vought said at his confirmation hearing.

“That post was to defend my alma mater, Wheaton College, a Christian school that has a statement of faith that includes the centrality of Jesus Christ for salvation,” he continued.

That enraged Sanders who became visibly agitated as he blasted Vought for his belief that Jesus is the only path to salvation.

Would Senator Sanders have been as upset if Mr. Vought had defended a secular college for doing something that reinforced their secularism?

The article further reports:

FRC’s (Family Research Council) president, Tony Perkins, released the following statement after the confirmation:

“It was a shocking moment to watch a United States Senator declare that holding to a central tenet of Christianity that Jesus is the only way of salvation is enough to render a well-qualified nominee unfit for public service. Vought’s biblical view of salvation is no different than what Billy Graham preached for more than six decades.”

“Thankfully, 49 senators and Vice President Pence in his tie-breaking vote sent a message that public servants can express their biblical views on salvation without fear of being held to an unconstitutional religious test.”

“The thought that Sanders is a senator who almost won the Democratic Party’s nomination for president—a man who thinks there’s no room in the public square for people who believe the Bible—is a chilling one.”

“I congratulate Russell Vought and thank President Trump and Vice President Pence for standing up for the freedom of every American to believe and live out those beliefs in the public square,” Perkins concluded.

I am not sure what Mr. Vought’s statement regarding a Christian college has to do with being confirmed as the Deputy Director of the Office of Management and Budget. He was confirmed–Vice-President Pence cast the deciding vote. No Democrats voted to confirm him. This is ridiculous. Resisting an elected President and his choices for positions is not a reasonable party platform, and I hope the Democrats lose seats this year for their continuing partisanship and their lack of any positive platform. Nominees need to be confirmed on the basis of qualifications rather than party lines or religious beliefs. It is unconstitutional to consider someone’s religion during the confirmation process.

Our entire legal system is based on the Judeo-Christian ethic found in the Ten Commandments. It is totally ironic that someone who obviously believes in that ethic would be treated as if that is somehow incompatible with our government.

The Hate Group Supposedly Naming The Hate Groups

The following video was posted on YouTube on September 12th:

The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) has been linked to two shootings in Washington. The shooting at the Family Research Council in 2012 was linked to the SPLC having declared them a hate group and there were some questions as to whether the gunman who shot Steve Scalise was influenced by the SPLC. At any rate, when we start declaring organizations hate groups, we need to be careful. The problem with declaring groups hate groups or speech hate speech is that it involves very subjective judgement on the part of the person making the declaration.

The SPLC has every right to exist and state their views. It is the responsibility of those who hear those views to do their own research and draw their own conclusions. As Dr. Swain noted, the SPLC has done nothing for the poor. So what is their actual purpose? Based on their past performance, it appears that their only goal is to create problems between races rather than to solve them.

The Current Administrative Branch Of Our Government Is Ignoring The Constitution

President Obama has played fast and loose with the U.S. Constitution since he took office. All of the executive orders issued altering ObamaCare after it was passed were not constitutional, and many of his other actions were not. The lack of respect for the U.S. Constitution runs rampant through the Obama Administration. The latest example can be found in the Environmental Protection Agency.

The Daily Caller is reporting today that despite the fact that the U.S. Supreme Court issued a stay on actions by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in February, the EPA is going ahead with a key part of the Clean Power Plan (CPP).

The article reports:

The EPA submitted a proposal to the White House for green energy subsidies for states that meet the federally mandated carbon dioxide reduction goals early. The Clean Energy Incentive Program would give “credit for power generated by new wind and solar projects in 2020 and 2021” and a “double credit for energy efficiency measures in low-income communities,” according to Politico’s Morning Energy.

Generally speaking, ‘clean energy’ is more expensive than traditional electricity-generating sources. Companies involved in green energy are generally heavily subsidized by the government and could not exist without those subsidies. If green energy is ever going to be a reality, we have to let the free market come in and play a role in the industry. That way, inexpensive technology may develop that will give us reasonable green energy.

The article further reports:

EPA has been moving forward with aspects of the CPP despite the Supreme Court’s decision. After the court’s February decision, EPA began signalling it would continue to work with states that want to “voluntarily” move forward.

“Are we going to respect the decision of the Supreme Court? You bet, of course we are,” McCarthy told utility executives in February. “But it doesn’t mean it’s the only thing we’re working on and it doesn’t mean we won’t continue to support any state that voluntarily wants to move forward.”

Likewise, the head of EPA’s air and radiation office, Janet McCabe, has also suggested the rule will eventually be upheld.

“EPA utility rules have been stayed twice before, and ultimately upheld,” McCabe said while participating in a panel discussion in Bloomington, Ind., last week. “It’s only smart for states to keep working on this.”

“We stand ready at EPA to help any state that wants to move forward with their planning activities,” McCabe said, noting that some states pledged to cut CO2 after the Supreme Court stayed CPP.

Whether or not the EPA’s plan is valid is not the point–the Supreme Court has ruled it unconstitutional. Does anyone in the Obama Administration listen to the Supreme Court?

Another ObamaCare Promise Broken

CBN News is reporting today that under ObamaCare federal money will be paying for abortions, contrary to the Hyde Amendment passed in 1977. The Hyde Amendment bars the use of federal funds to pay for abortion (with exceptions for rape and incest).

The article reports:

“One thousand-thirty six plans cover elective abortions and are subsidized by taxpayer funds,” Arina Grossu, with the Family Research Council‘s Center for Human Dignity, said.

“You not only can’t keep your doctor, you also can’t avoid supporting abortion if you’re a taxpayer in this country given Obamacare,” Ovide LaMontagne, general counsel of Americans United for Life, said.

The Hyde Amendment passed by Congress in 1977 has made it illegal for taxpayer money to pay for abortion. President Obama also pledged during negotiations over the Affordable Care Act that would continue.

Jeanne Monahan, president of the March for Life Education and Defense Fund, said the opposite has happened.

“Obama promised up and down, right and left, that abortion would not be covered in the health care law, and that Americans could be assured on his promise that the Hyde protections that we’ve known since the 1970s would still be covered in the health care law,” Monahan told CBN News. “Well, unfortunately, we know now that President Obama has broken his promises.”

Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J, has led efforts in Congress to stop the federal funding of abortion included in ObamaCare. A bill called HR7 has passed the House, but Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has refused to let the Senate vote on its version of that bill.

Unfortunately, we have two more years of the Obama Presidency, so it may not be possible to change this until 2016. However, polls indicate that most Americans oppose abortion, so an educational campaign letting Americans know that their tax money is being spent on abortion might be a really good idea. In the short term, we can elect Senators that will remove Harry Reid from his position and who will allow a bill banning federal funding of abortion to move forward. It would be nice to have a President who kept his promises.

I Guess This Is A Step In The Right Direction

Yesterday the Daily Caller reported that the U. S. Army is ordering a halt to all briefings classifying Christian groups as domestic hate groups. Yes, you read that right. The army needs a memorandum to stop teaching soldiers that Christians are a domestic terrorism threat. Good grief!  A memorandum sent out by the Secretary of the Army, John McHugh ordered all Army leaders “to cease all briefings, command presentations, or training on the subject of extremist organizations and activities, pending promulgation” of a uniform instruction and training program.

The article reports:

As Fox News notes, the Army’s Equal Opportunity Advisor Student Guide highlights the SPLC (Southern Poverty Law Center). Troops at Fort Hood were recently advised that donations to evangelical Christian groups or Tea Party groups could lead to penalties. Also, in May, Fox says, an Army Reserve training memo called evangelical Christians and Catholics as religious extremists.

The irony of this, of course, is that an SPLC law center map was used by Floyd Lee Corkins to find the Family Research Council in Washington, D.C., where his goal was to shoot as many people as possible. Thank God he was stopped by a security guard that he did shoot.

The First Amendment protects our religious freedom. Our military takes an oath to protect and defend our Constitution. Our training memos and lectures should reflect that oath.

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Exactly What Is Hate Speech?

The beginning of this story is about a month old, but there are some recent events related to the story, so I am posting it now. Admittedly, I missed it when it happened.

On July 24, Breitbart.com posted an article about Lt. Col. Kenneth Reyes, a U.S. Air Force Christian chaplain currently serving at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson in Alaska. Col. Reyes has a page on the base’s website called “Chaplain’s Corner.”

The article reports:

Reyes recently wrote an essay entitled, “No Atheists in Foxholes: Chaplains Gave All in World War II.” This common saying is attributed to a Catholic priest in World War II, made famous when President Dwight D. Eisenhower said during a 1954 speech: “I am delighted that our veterans are sponsoring a movement to increase our awareness of God in our daily lives. In battle, they learned a great truth that there are no atheists in the foxholes.”

As reported by Fox News’s Todd Starnes, when Reyes referenced this famous line in his essay, the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF) contacted the base commander, Col. Brian Duffy, demanding he take action on Reyes’s “anti-secular diatribe.”

MRFF’s letter says that by Reyes’s “use of the bigoted, religious supremacist phrase, ‘no atheists in foxholes,’ he defiles the dignity of service members.” They accuse him of violating military regulations.

The essay was removed from the website and Col. Duffy apologized to the MRFF. However, the MRFF wanted more. They stated, “Faith based hate, is hate all the same,” and, “Lt. Col. Reyes must be appropriately punished.” (Emphasis added).

The article quotes the response of Retired Lt. Gen. Jerry Boykin of the Family Research Council, “A chaplain has been censored for expressing his beliefs about the role of faith in the lives of service members… Why do we have chaplains if they aren’t allowed to fulfill that purpose?”

Thanks to the actions of the American Family Association, the essay has been put back up on the website. Base commander Colonel Brian Duffy was influenced by over 70,000 emails and scores of posts on the base’s Facebook page by AFA supporters.

So what is the lesson we can learn from this episode? Anyone can call anything they want hate speech. If you are someone that supports the rights of military chaplains to speak of their faith, you need to be ready to respond when something like this happens. The response of everyday people like us makes a difference–even the military will respond to public opinion. If you hear of an incident like this one, speak up, be heard. If this is important to you, get involved with an organization such as the American Family Association or the Family Research Council. If we do not speak up when something like this happens, we may lose the right to speak at all.

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Being Court Martialed For Exercising The Rights You Are Supposed To Be Defending?????

Breitbart.com reported today that the Pentagon has released a statement confirming that soldiers may be prosecuted for sharing their faith. What? What happened to “There are no atheists in foxholes“?

The article reports:

The statement, released to Fox News, follows a Breitbart News report on Obama administration Pentagon appointees meeting with anti-Christian extremist Mikey Weinstein to develop court-martial procedures to punish Christians in the military who express or share their faith. 

(From our earlier report: Weinstein is the head of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, and says Christians–including chaplains–sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ in the military are guilty of “treason,” and of committing an act of “spiritual rape” as serious a crime as “sexual assault.” He also asserted that Christians sharing their faith in the military are “enemies of the Constitution.”)

Being convicted in a court martial means that a soldier has committed a crime under federal military law. Punishment for a court martial can include imprisonment and being dishonorably discharged from the military.

How in the world did we get to this place? This new regulation also includes military chaplains. Why are they there if they can’t share their faith?

If you are concerned about this violation of our soldiers’ rights, please follow this link to the Family Research Council to sign the petition protesting this new regulation. We need to protect the religious freedom of our troops.

On a historical note, I would like to include this picture which was posted by a friend on facebook:

Somewhere we have gone horribly astray.

UPDATE:  A website called Instant Analysis posted the following today:

UPDATE (May 2, 2013 – 1:30 p.m. Central) – The Pentagon is backing down on a Tuesday statement indicating members of the military could be subject to court-martial for religious proselytizing.

The Department of Defense has issued a new statement, saying that “Service members can share their faith, or evangelize, but must not force unwanted, intrusive attempts to convert others of any faith or no faith to one’s beliefs.”

On Tuesday it was revealed that Lt. Commander Nate Christensen issued a statement on behalf of the Pentagon that court-martials for “proselytizing” would be considered on a case-by-case basis. The statement outraged the Christian community, including current and former members of the armed services.

The question arose as to whether members of the military lose their First Amendment rights at the point at which they enter the military.

– See more at: http://www.instantanalysis.net/latest-headlines-from-american-family-news/2013/05/02/report-court-martials-may-await-soldiers-who-share-their-christian-faith#.UYLPuIWEX-s.facebook

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This Is Not The Path I Think We Should Be On

The statement “There are no atheists in foxholes” came out of World War II. Its origin is uncertain–it is sometimes credited to U. S. Military Chaplain William T. Cummings during the Battle of Bataan and sometimes credited to Ernie Pyle. That information is from Wikipedia, so keep that in mind.

At any rate, it seems that at the present time Christians may not be allowed in foxholes. Fox News reported yesterday that the Christian symbols have been removed from the chapel at Forward Operating Base Orgun-E in Afghanistan.

The article quotes a letter that American Atheists president David Silverman sent to the Pentagon:

“Soldiers with minority religious beliefs and atheists often feel like second-class citizens when Christianity is seemingly officially endorsed by their own base,” Silverman told Fox News. “We are very happy the Pentagon and the Army decided to do the right thing.”

I thought religious freedom was one of the things our military was defending. The military takes an oath to defend the U. S. Constitution which supports freedom of religion. I am sorry if a soldier was offended by the cross, but the Constitution does not tell him that he has the right not to be offended. Is he also offended by the Star of David or the Crescent Moon? Guess what? I really don’t care. Christianity is a part of the heritage of our country and of our military. There is no reason to strip our bases of that heritage.

The article posted one reaction to the move:

The Christian cleansing brought condemnation from religious liberty advocates like Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council.

“Under this Administration, the military has become a Christianity-free zone,” Perkins told Fox News. “As a veteran, there’s an irony here. You put on the uniform to defend freedom — chief among them is freedom of religion. And yet, you are stripped of your own freedom to practice your faith.”

“This is not about imposing religion on a people we’ve freed from oppression,” Perkins said. “This is about American soldiers having the ability to practice their own faith.”

The article concludes:

“My personal feeling is that it is a direct attack against Christianity and Judaism,” one soldier told Fox News. “When you look at the regulation and you notice the four items directly quoted are crosses, crucifixes, the Star of David and the Menorah.”

The Army regulation makes no specific mention of the wheel of Dharma, Pentagram, Pentacle, Star and Crescent or the Yin and Yang symbol, he noted.

And while Christian symbols are being removed from chapels, there has been at least one instance of a gay pride flag being raised at a base in Afghanistan. Click here to read our original story.

Photographs purporting to show the rainbow flag flying over the base stirred widespread debate after it was posted on Facebook.

This is not a good path for America to be traveling.

 

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