Can Marines have Bible verses at workstations? Apparently not. Bible verses are not “religiously important.” What does that even mean?
Washington, D.C. – The military’s highest court ruled yesterday [August 10th] that men and women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces can be punished for exercising their religion if judges deem the practice not religiously “important.” The ruling upholds the government’s criminal prosecution of a U.S. Marine for refusing to discard personal notes that had Bible verses on them. The case may now be appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court.
In 2014, Marine Lance Corporal Monifa Sterling was ordered to remove from her workstation three pieces of paper with a paraphrase from the Book of Isaiah, “No weapon formed against me shall prosper,” even though co-workers were permitted to keep nonreligious messages on their desks. She declined and was court-martialed. A lower court upheld Sterling’s court martial, rejecting her argument that her faith was protected by the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
“This is a real-life example of why judges shouldn’t play theologians,” said Daniel Blomberg, legal counsel of the Becket Fund, which filed a friend-of-the-court brief supporting the Lance Corporal. “Here, a few judges concluded that keeping scripture nearby isn’t ‘important,’ even though more than half of the world’s population belong to religions that teach the exact opposite. Avoiding obvious errors like this is why RFRA protects all religious beliefs, not just beliefs that government officials deem ‘important.’”
I’m pretty sure you can’t disobey an order from a superior officer, but this is clearly a balance between competing rights and responsibilities. Veterans and service members will have more to add, and I hope they do in the underused comment section.
The other case I looked at this weekend is the Washington State football coach who was fired for praying after each game on the 50 yard line. Look here.
What do I do now?
- Resist from watching or listening to talking head rants.
- Refrain from responding to or repeating social media rants, sarcastic comments and cartoons.
- Abstain from posting your own rants, sarcastic comments and cartoons that violate Matthew 5:21-22.
- Pray for our leaders whether we voted for them, intend to vote for them or not.
- Wear the label, “Follower of Jesus” above any other label.
21 “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment.’ 22 But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother[a] will be liable to judgment; whoever insults[b] his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell[c] of fire. Matthew 5:21 -22
I was once told that some Democrats think Republicans are evil, and Republicans figure Democrats are just wrong. This year, everybody is being called everything in the dictionary.
In fact, when the earth is just dust and memories, we will be most aware of how we treated others, and not how we voted. I have political opinions, and concerns about the election, but hope that reconciliation will happen in America. Based upon the actions and reputations of the candidates, that reconciliation make take a while. Like, four and a half years, minimum?
The US State Department put out the report on religious freedom this week, and guess what? There’s not much. The White House put out a Fact Sheet dated Wednesday (8/10/16) which starts with this:
“[P]romoting religious freedom is a key objective of U.S. foreign policy. And I’m proud that no nation on Earth does more to stand up for the freedom of religion around the world than the United States of America.”
[I’ll get to this in a moment. – Dave]
Throughout the Obama Administration, the U.S. Government has prioritized efforts to promote freedom of religion globally as a universal human right, a strategic national interest, and as a key foreign policy objective. The Administration has praised countries that have made strides to promote religious freedom, assisted governments in taking steps to address shortcomings, and denounced severe violators of religious freedom; provided support to individuals who have been persecuted on account of their beliefs, and advocated for the rights of religious minorities. The Obama Administration has also worked closely with civil society organizations, including religious communities, in promoting freedom of religion or belief for all people.
The “Fact Sheet” didn’t have a picture, so I grabbed one from the web:
I’m not insinuating that this administration is slow-rolling the fight against ISIS, or that they could be doing more to save persecuted people around the world. They’ve worked hard on this stuff.
I do think that when the boss wants to send something out to show strength, leadership and commitment, it’s kinda important to include a fresh quote on the subject.
Maybe I’m just being cranky on this particular subject. Pray we find a solution to the slaughter of people at the hands of religious zealots. Pray we can keep not only our Christian brothers and sisters safe, but that we can offer religious and personal freedom to the world. — Your in Christ, Dave Alexander
And in many places, it can get you killed.
The State Department released their annual report on religious freedom:
I edited this for length, but the original is worth a read at the link.
March 19 began as an ordinary day for 27-year old Farkhunda Malikzada. Farkhunda lived in Kabul, Afghanistan…
On March 19, Farkhunda’s dreams came to a tragic end when she was falsely accused of burning the Quran, an accusation that resulted in her brutal and senseless death.
A crowd quickly gathered to hear the incendiary accusations. Quran burning is a grave religious offense in many Islamic countries, where it is viewed as a form of blasphemy.
Farkhunda denied the accusations and tried to defend herself from the increasingly agitated mob. Before long, a member of the crowd urged the mob to take “justice” into its own hands and kill her. Some of the police nearby tried to intervene as the crowd began to beat Farkhunda and pull at her clothing. The police officers gave up, however, and watched as the crowd tormented and killed its victim. She was beaten with sticks and boards, kicked, run over by a car and dragged, thrown into a dry riverbed, stoned, and finally set on fire as bystanders recorded the crime and police watched every act of barbarity.
Three-quarters of the world’s population suffer from severe restrictions on religious freedom, the US State Department said on Wednesday.
The 2015 International Religious Freedom Report released on August 10 said that a quarter of countries around the world, which account for about 75 per cent of the global population, curtail religious liberty through “government policies or the hostile acts of individuals, organizations, or societal groups.”
“Around the world, governments continued to tighten their regulatory grip on religious groups, and particularly on minority religious groups and religions which are viewed as not traditional to that specific country,” the report, which is released annually, said.
The full report tells what we know: Countries with Muslim populations, and those near ISIS/Da’esh strongholds are very dangerous places for Christians, Muslims of the wrong sect, and anybody in the wrong place and the wrong time.
I’m impressed that the US State Department highlighted a tragedy perpetrated by Muslims in the report. Good on them. Now, is anything going to happen?
But on the odd chance he’s wrong, I will continue to stand up for freedom, honor and fairness, regardless of the characters who surround me — Dave
“Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” John Adams – 2nd US President.
I would add to Adam’s observation that our Constitution not only was made for, but indeed requires a moral and religious people
Sad to say, but we are now living in the day and the culture of which Adams was warning about. The era of Barack Hussein Obama has greatly accelerated this slide into an immoral and irreligious nation.
We can survive and thrive, but it is not really a sure bet. We need to reeducate the masses about their freedoms and responsibilities. We need to honor the traditions which made us a great country. We have a lot of work to do.
- It sanctions militant proselytization, mandating forcible imposition on other peoples by coercion, threat and overt violence (Koran 8:39, 9:29, etc.), a practice unique among religions today.
- It punishes apostasy with death (Koran 4:89; Hadith, Bukhari 9.84.57), also a practice unique among religions today.
- It countenances no separation between church and state, that is, it cannot render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s.
We in the US are uncomfortable with discrimination based upon religion, but can we abide with the three ideas above?
As a citizen, I demand that those invited here should have a worldview which will not demand my daughters to wear modest clothing, will not kill those who change religions, and which respects the role of state and religion.
Have I become a bigot? I don’t think so. In fact, those who hold three ideas within their hearts are bigger bigots than I will ever be.
The article is quite long, and thoughtful, and is here.
Thus did Western Man decide to abolish himself, creating his own boredom out of his own affluence, his own vulnerability out of his own strength, his own impotence out of his own erotomania, himself blowing the trumpet that brought the walls of his own city tumbling down, and having convinced himself that he was too numerous, labored with pill and scalpel and syringe to make himself fewer.
Until at last, having educated himself into imbecility, and polluted and drugged himself into stupefaction, he keeled over–a weary, battered old brontosaurus–and became extinct.”
― Malcolm Muggeridge,
“In an effort to help new students of color feel more adjusted and connected to the university, a pre-orientation session will be held on Saturday, August 27th from 4:00 P.M. to 5:30 P.M. in the music band room,” she writes. “All new students of color are expected to attend this meeting” (emphasis in original).
Chatman then goes on to elaborate that the purpose of the meeting is to introduce incoming students of color to the various resources and student organizations that are available “to ensure your involvement, satisfaction, and success during your years at [Concordia].”
In other Campus News, Yale President Has Appointed a Committee to Consider Name Changes on Campus Due to Historical Racism:
The charge of the Committee to Establish Principles on Renaming is to articulate a set of principles that can guide Yale in decisions about whether to remove a historical name from a building or other prominent structure or space on campus—principles that are enduring rather than specific to particular controversies.
One problem, though: Elihu Yale was a slave trader.
In Still More Campus News:
Rohini Sethi, the University of Houston (UH) student body vice president who denounced Black Lives Matter, has seen the sanctions against her removed.
Sethi posted “Forget #BlackLivesMatter; more like #AllLivesMatter” on Facebook hours after a gunman killed five police officers at a Black Lives Matter-inspired July protest in Dallas, Texas. Students, thinking that Sethi was ignoring racial inequities suffered in the black community, began using #RemoveRohini on Twitter, calling on student government officials to force her out of office.
UH president Shane Smith released a joint statement Friday with vice president Rohini Sethi, explaining that the sanctions may not have been allowed under student government rules, though Sethi agreed to punish herself, The Daily Cougar reports.
[I shifted some paragraphs around here. – Dave]
Read it at Campus Reform
Universities are run by the biggest liberals on the planet. They claim to be smart. Of course since many have rejected God, I’ll ponder their wisdom.
153 years after the Emancipation Proclamation, these institutions are still stumbling around. Should they treat all Americans alike? Is it okay to invite only Latinos or only whites to a school sponsored event? Do names on buildings actually matter? Do all lives actually matter?
21st century, and the best and brightest, the deepest thinkers, have no idea.
I’m more troubled by the wrath of men.
Wow. Just wow.
Here I am in the terminal of the Dulles International Airport in Washington, D.C. As of this writing I still have an hour or two before boarding a 777 in route to Ethiopia, then Zimbabwe.
Please make sure to check out the guest posts which I’ve scheduled over the next week or so.
Now, the reason I’m writing this post while sitting in the airport is because I saw something I’ve never seen before.
But what if, after all this travel, I feel DOG TIRED?
Just a thought. But how do you flush that hydrant?