I Have A Friend Who is Starting a Church

And he posted this to Facebook.  I ‘whited out’ the name of the church, just so nobody pesters him based upon my article.  What do you think?

Church

I don’t remember posters at St. Augustine’s Church with this message.  He’s not going to attract anybody with closed minds.  I think specifically offering love and attention to others shows an excellent understanding of Christ’s message.

On the other hand, the last thing you need at a pot luck dinner is an anarchist.

I Have A Friend Who is Starting a Church

Who Should We Vote For? Or Should We?

[If you are comfortable with our presidential choices, maybe you can skip this one.  The tone of today’s message is ambivalence mixed with melancholy.    — Dave]

He changes times and seasons; he deposes kings and raises up others. He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the discerning. Daniel 2:21



Some very good thoughts from a blogger at Trusting or Tripping:

Here’s the deal, folks.  There is not now, nor has there ever been a perfect candidate for the office of President of the United States.  Democracy is not God’s form of government, and even though we live in a privileged nation with a unique opportunity to be a part of the decision making process, your vote (or lack thereof) is one hundred percent between you and God.

2016 election

A well thought out article.  This stands out:

Because we are seeking to honor God in a broken system, we must always remember that God is in sovereign control.  He alone establishes kings, governments and systems and the person who is elected next to the office of President of the United States will be stationed there by God and God alone (Dan 2.21).  

He works out those plans in mysterious ways, and we would be wise to remember that there are times when He works the miraculous completely outside of our input and there are times that He utilizes our efforts towards His ends.



Romans 13:1
Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which is from God. The authorities that exist have been appointed by God.

James 1:5
If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.


Some of our greatest frustrations can be our objections to God’s plan.  Really God?  This is the best we could do?  Is this the best You could do?  Except that in God’s plan, there is a beginning and an end.  Tough times come between, and there’s not much you can do to change that.  I know how this story will end, and I can’t be drawn under by negativity.

 

 

 

 

Who Should We Vote For? Or Should We?

Keep Praying: The World is Not Safe

This is what the front page of Morningstar News looked like this afternoon:

 

GOOD NEWS.png

Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed. If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. – 1 Peter 4:12-14



And for those of us tempted to complain about the trials of our days, the brothers and sisters suffering because of these stories above deserve some of your prayer time.  Give thanks for their courage, and pray that their burdens are lifted.  – Yours in Christ, Dave Alexander

Keep Praying: The World is Not Safe

WHAT IF I MADE YOU BUY A GUN?

 

I won’t.  Because I know the difference between a right and mandate.

The federal government demands that you buy coverage which covers abortions and contraception.

Townhall:

Single-Payer System Stops Religious Freedom Challenges to Abortifacient Mandate

U.S. District Judge Jean Hamilton ruled last week that the federal government cannot force Paul and Teresa Wieland — an American mom and dad — to violate their religious beliefs by compelling them to purchase a health insurance plan that covers sterilizations, contraceptives, and abortion-inducing drugs and devices.

But in making the Obama administration’s case that the government should be able to do so, lawyers for the U.S. Justice Department made a telling claim: A single-payer health care system would effectively put a stop to such arguments in defense of religious liberty.


 

Now, are these folks being forced to pay for abortions and contraception?  In a way, yes.  If their insurance must cover these things, then a portion of their premiums must fund these procedures and medicines for others.

The Obamacare law is designed to change the basic relationship between citizens and the government.  Our privacy, our responsibility and our religious freedoms are slipping away. Every week or so I see a case of state legislatures battling over “religious freedom laws” which are designed to protect the jobs of religiously faithful government employees.

Very soon, people of faith will no longer be able to serve with good conscience in certain government positions.  This is not an accident.  This is a plan.

God help us.  No, really.  God, help us.

Yours in Christ  —  Dave Alexander

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

WHAT IF I MADE YOU BUY A GUN?

Dear Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Trump, do you pledge to help persecuted Christians if you win?

David Curry is the President of Open Doors USA. This is from Fox News:

In April of 2014, 276 women were kidnapped in Chibok, Nigeria by Boko Haram. They were taken from a school and held as prisoners or sold as sex slaves.

In May of that same year, First Lady Michelle Obama posted online a photo of her holding a sign encouraging us to #bringbackourgirls.

Many people at the time sensed that it marked the beginning of something different in foreign policy. But what exactly? Why would the first lady of the United States need hashtag diplomacy to move a country to action when the Obama administration was in power and presumably had the ability to influence action?

Perhaps Mrs. Obama was simply trying to raise public awareness of an important issue. But the question remains: why didn’t the United States government put more action behind the appeal to #bringbackourgirls

It didn’t work.

Neither of the leading candidates in the 2016 presidential campaign has seriously addressed the issue of the persecution of Christians around the world and its impact on religious freedoms as a whole.

I’d say the entire issue of religious freedom has slipped off the political radar.  I claim no special status for Christians, except to say that they are being slaughtered by this century’s monsters — ISIS.  I pray for religious freedom and personal liberty for all the people of the world, regardless of their faith.

Read the whole thing.




Freedom of religion is a canary in the coal mine for other freedoms. When this fundamental freedom is extinguished, all other freedoms are at imminent risk. — David Curry

Dear Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Trump, do you pledge to help persecuted Christians if you win?

Russia Cracks Down on Religion

According to Christian Today (a British site, not the similarly titled American magazine)

Russia’s new anti-terrorism laws, which include measures imposing sweeping restrictions on Christian evangelising and teaching the faith, have officially come into force.

The ‘Yaroyava’ package, named after their sponsor in the Russian Duma, has been fiercely condemned both by Russian Christians and rights activists and internationally. It makes house churches illegal and limits religious activity to registered buildings.

Russia and the Soviet Union have poor records on human rights in general, so I don’t expect much better.  What does surprise me is this:

However, while the new laws have the potential to be extremely disruptive for Protestant Christians and other religious minorities in Russia, some observers believe their implementation may be patchy. Release International chief executive Paul Robinson said: “Let’s wait and see what actually happens in terms of implementation on the ground. There is often a temptation in these situations to immediately fear the worst.”

 

I’m too young to have experienced anything like the Holocaust, except through movies.  In every film set in 1930’s Germany there’s always that one Jewish character saying something like “It’s just a star. So, they paint on my shop windows.  Don’t complain.  This will pass.”

Sometimes it just gets worse.

“It’s just a few windows.”

 

 

 

 

Russia Cracks Down on Religion

A Win for Religious Freedom on Campus

N.C. State Settles Free-Speech Lawsuit by Revising Disputed Policy

A Christian student group has withdrawn a lawsuit alleging that North Carolina State University administrators violated the group’s free-speech rights after the university revised a disputed policy, The News & Observer reported.

Under the policy, the Christian group was required to obtain a permit to speak or distribute its literature on the campus.

A federal judge last month ordered the university to temporarily cease enforcing its policy while the lawsuit by the student group, Grace Christian Life, was heard. Such orders are often a sign of how a court is likely to rule on the merits of a case.

But now the university has changed the 23-year-old policy so that no permit is needed for noncommercial speech, the newspaper reported. North Carolina State also agreed to pay $72,500 in legal fees accumulated by Grace Christian Life.




On the same day this  was resolved, I finally heard back from NC State on my Freedom of Information Request regarding the number of groups and types of groups which were required to fill out a form to appear on campus.  From the email satisfying the request:

The figures below represent the number of requests for campus activities during the 2015-16 fiscal year. Campuswide requests reflect all requests made on campus during the last fiscal year. “Student Involvement” requests reflect all requests made through Student Involvement.

Campuswide (2015-16)
Religious Groups – 1919
Total – 23060

Student Involvement (2015-16)
Religious Groups – 248
Total – 860




To me, the last two numbers still seem suspect.  The previous batch of requests I received from the university also showed a large percentage of the overall requests were from religious groups.

As you can see, roughly two thousand religious requests were filed campus wide, against a total of twenty-three thousand requests.  That actually seems logical.

This indicates that the university was requiring many other groups to fill out requests.  My cynical self thought for sure that religious groups were being singled out, and the lawsuit made that allegation.

I would call this a win for free speech and religious expression.  We don’t get these everyday.

A Win for Religious Freedom on Campus

NC State University and Freedom of Religion

 

A student group at NC State sued in April over the university policy that requires a permit for folks to pass out information or set up a table.  A judge issued a preliminary injunction putting aside the rule for now.  The university is expected to appeal. My previous story here.

Early in June, I filed a Freedom of Information Act request for all permit requests.  I did this out of a basic notion: if large numbers of groups requested permission to distribute literature, then there should be a huge file of requests.  The requests should also reflect a broad spectrum of college life.  If the spiritual groups needed to fill out a request, then the fraternities, on-campus clubs and other groups would need to also, right?

The University Chancellor sent a letter to the entire campus April 28th with this statement:

NC State University issues hundreds of permits each and every year to religious, political, healthcare, public and special interest oriented groups. Over the past 3 years, NC State University issued 2280 permits to student and non-university groups to either speak or distribute information on campus. Of those issued, close to 500 were issued to faith-based groups or individuals. None of these individuals or groups have ever been denied the right to speak or distribute materials based upon their message content or beliefs.

This is in stark contrast to what I see.

My request for all the permit requests was delivered by email Friday.  There were many redacted portions, and not just in minor areas.  I expected that some personal information might be left out.  Actually, some pages were 50% black, which made compiling the numbers rather difficult.  I counted the redacted sections as requests.

By my count, There were 119 requests for facilities use in the file I received.  Twenty-eight were for the kinds of groups you’d expect: The Offroad Club, a food ordering company, and the Entrepreneurship Initiative, for example.  Seven requests came from fraternities and sororities.  Three political groups or campaigns made requests.  There were 32 blacked areas which I interpreted as requests.

41 requests were from Christian Organizations and 8 from a group called Students for Enlightenment and Visionary Activism.  They’re a spiritual yoga group.  No Jewish groups, no Muslim or Buddhist groups. Call it 49 religious requests.

34 percent of all requests were from religious organizations.

That seems like a lot.  If you like bullet points, and who doesn’t:

  • 119 total requests, including the redacted requests
  • 26 for various groups
  • 7 fraternities/sororities (there are 29 fraternities and 21 sororities)
  • 3 political campaigns
  • 41 Christian group requests (most are from the same organizations)
  • 8 requests from a Spiritual Yoga group

 

There are 34-thousand students at NC State.  The campus is about 2,000 acres.  



If I have an accurate and total count of all requests for the entire 2015-2016 academic years, then this is the most politically inactive, socially dull university campus in America. There were no requests which obviously relate to Black Lives Matter, anti-rape demonstrations or even House Bill 2, which is often called the “bathroom bill.” The HB2 controversy began in late March.  So, nobody needed to fill out a request for an event to hand out literature?

I have calls in to NC State, the Alliance Defending Freedom which represents the student group involved in the lawsuit and with the church group.

There’s always the chance someone will say “oh, you want ALL of the requests….I thought you meant just some of the requests, with some of them redacted and most of them missing.



Quote of the week:

NC State FIOA Representative: Are you a member of the media?

Dave Alexander: Yes.  I’m a blogger. 

 

 

NC State University and Freedom of Religion

NC State vs Religious Speech on Campus

A Christian student group at NC State in Raleigh has had to sue for the right to distribute literature on campus at the Raleigh, NC university without a permit. We have already covered the temporary injunction which stopped the university.

A Conservative Christian Man filed a Freedom of Information Act request for all of the public requests. The results are interesting. Monday we’ll have a write up.

Untill then, pray for your neighbors, find a shady place and enjoy the weekend.

NC State vs Religious Speech on Campus

Persecuted Christians Must Know We Are Praying for Them

The US Commission on International Religious Freedom came out with a report identifying places where religious freedom is under fire, in some cases, literally.  Iran was singled out for concern.

Attorney Jay Sekulow’s group ACLJ promises more analysis later, but you know what is going on:

Our international affiliates around the globe know this reality first hand. Our affiliates in Africa, the Middle East and across Europe are on the ground fighting religious persecution everyday. They are standing up against the slaughter of Christians and religious minorities by ISIS. They are fighting for the lives of Pakistani Christians who are facing the death penalty due to Pakistan’s blasphemy laws. They are demanding religious liberty for Christians who are facing persecution at the hands of oppressive regimes and radical Islamists.Crosses

 

Please join me an offering a prayer for these brothers and sisters, and those who don’t share our faith, but who are also being oppressed. And don’t doubt the ability of the fools in America, Canada and the UK to misjudge.  There are clear and strong efforts to marginalize and even criminalize Christian faith.

Am I wrong on that point?  Please weigh in if I’m all wet.  Let me know if you agree.

 

Persecuted Christians Must Know We Are Praying for Them