Tuesday, June 19, 2012


Marion County, Fla., commissioners are now considering their response to an Americans United for the Separation of Church and State complaint that their prayers opening commission meetings are tooChristian.
According to a report in the Star-Banner of Ocala, Fla., Americans United said it was acting on a complaint from an unidentified source and that it had reviewed video from eight regular commission sessions since the beginning of the year. They claimed that on five occasions the name of Jesus Christ was specifically mentioned during the opening prayer. It was the mentioning of the name of Jesus Christ to which the legal group was protesting.
The group’s lawyer, Ian Smith, requested that the board of commissioners bring its “prayer practice” into compliance by using a “nonsectarian” invocation or by abandoning the practice of prayer altogether.
According to the Star-Banner, Smith suggested that the board switch to a more inclusive moment of silence, make the prayers nonsectarian or invite members of the community and “prayer-givers” from varying faiths to present the invocations.
“The Commission’s prayer practice,” Smith said, “unconstitutionally affiliates the county with Christianity.”
But Pastor Carl Gallups, author of the Amazon No. 1 Bestseller “The Magic Man in the Sky: Effectively Defending the Christian Faith,” says the United States is affiliated with Christianity, a fact he says even Americans United could embrace if they understood its significance.
“Here is a classic example of the collision of two worldviews,” Gallups told WND. “I have an entire chapter in my book devoted to this phenomenon. The chapter is titled, ‘When Two Worlds Collide.’ The collision is the clash between the completely unique and distinctive message of the Christian faith with the secular worldview that there is no God. Or, conversely, it is a clash with the universalism message that ‘all religious views hold equal value and consideration.’”
“When was the last time that you heard of a lawsuit in America dealing with a public prayer that was ‘too Muslim’ or ‘too Hindu’ or ‘too secular in nature?’” asked Gallups.
Gallups continued, “There is such an emphasis on political correctness in our culture that I am afraid we have gone mad in our assessment of what is reality. The truth is that our nation has its definitive and indisputable roots in the Judeo-Christian heritage. We were not founded upon the principles of atheism, or Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism or secularism. We were founded as a constitutional republic with a distinctly Christian underpinning.
“From the earliest history of our nation,” Gallups continued, “our Founding Fathers opened meetings, conventions and Congress with distinctly Christian prayers. Often what made these prayers distinctly Christian was that they were made in the name of Jesus Christ. The Constitution itself ends with the words ‘In The Year of our Lord.’ Those words, in that period of time, in the early United States of America, were indisputably referring to ‘Our Lord Jesus Christ.’ Every one of the signers of the Constitution penned their names under that declaration.”

Quiz finds many Christians neglect Bible, prayer

An online quiz shows that an increasing number of people who claim to be Christians are not living out the principles of the faith.

The Quiz, which is being conducted by a ministry called Changing the Face of Christianity, has helped evaluate the face of Christianity as well as lead people through a self-assessment. Brad White, a spokesman for the ministry. discusses the The Quiz with OneNewsNow.
"Not enough people are reading the Bible consistently," he explains. "Not enough people are, in fact, reading it at all. I think even less so, people often don't have sort of a daily quiet time where they're actually in a relationship with Jesus Christ. I think a lot of times, even when people are in Bible studies, it is a little bit more of an intellectual type of thing as opposed to a seeking and a desire to know God."

Australia Christian Leader Unite Against Gay Marriage

Some of Australia's most prominent Christian leaders are expected to read out and distribute anti-gay marriage letters at their Sunday services tomorrow.
Statements from Anglican, Catholic and Greek Orthodox leaders have been coordinated ahead of further debate on gay marriage in Parliament next week.
Churchgoers will be urged to contact their Federal MPs to register their opposition to gay marriage.
The head of the Greek Orthodox Church has written to his congregation saying that altering the traditional form of marriage is, in his view, against the sacredness of marriage and of the family as taught by the Christian faith.
The Anglican Archbishop of Sydney, Peter Jensen, has written a letter to all his parishioners saying that for the good of society, the definition of marriage should not be changed.
Archbishop Jensen told Saturday AM he decided to act after the Catholic church told him it would be circulating anti-gay marriage material on Sunday.
"We ought not to feel that the whole matter is being inevitably going in one direction but that we ought to make our voices known so that we make it clear that the Christian faith opposes this for the good of all," he said.
In his letter, Archbishop Jensen says it is beyond the power of parliament to change the definition of marriage.
He says legalising gay marriage would have a "bad impact" on society.
"If for example the Federal Parliament were to change the definition of marriage in the Marriage Act, it would be a symbolic victory for those who think that it is possible for two men or two women to be actually married," he said.


Following a massive public outcry, Adidas has canceled its line of JS Roundhouse Mids “shackle shoes.”  Originally debuted on Facebook, the shoes have been deemed “ignorant,“ ”racist,“ and ”repulsive” for their connotation with slavery and prison inmates.
CNN explains:
The high-top sneakers, dubbed the JS Roundhouse Mids, were expected to be released in August, according to the Adidas Originals Facebook page. “Got a sneaker game so hot you lock your kicks to your ankles?” a caption below a photo of the sneakers read.
The June 14 post prompted plenty of criticism from around the Web, with many of those commenting saying they felt the shackle invoked the painful image of slavery.
“Wow obviously there was no one of color in the room when the marketing/product team ok’d this,” said a commenter, identifying herself as MsRodwell on nicekicks.com.
“I literally froze up when I saw a new design from Adidas set to hit stores in August,” Dr. Boyce Watkins said in a post for the website Your Black World.
Though dismissing the criticism in a written statement by defending the sneaker’s designer, Jeremy Scott, as having a “quirky” and “lighthearted” style, Adidas nonetheless said Monday that it planned to cancel the shoe’s release.


ATHEIST BLOGGER Leah Libresco Converts to Christianity

Atheist blogger Leah Libresco shocked the secular community this week when she announced on her Patheos blog that she has converted to Christianity. Her article, entitled, “This is my last post for the Patheos Atheist Portal,” explained her conversion to Catholicism, which has sent shock-waves through the atheist blogosphere.
In her post, Libresco details her personal struggles with understanding the root of moral law. Obviously, non-believers don’t see morality as coming from a central source. Instead, they see humanity as living on its own, disconnected from any fertile source of knowledge and goodness. For Libresco, this ideal has come full-circle, as she inevitably arrived at an understanding that aligns with a Christ-centered world-view.
Debate after debate and discussion after discussion, the non-believing blogger details how she found herself constantly exploring this paradigm — that is, until she finally accepted the notion that truth and moral goodness come from God. She explains:
I believed that the Moral Law wasn’t just a Platonic truth, abstract and distant.  It turns out I actually believed it was some kind of Person, as well as Truth.  And there was one religion that seemed like the most promising way to reach back to that living Truth.  I asked my friend what he suggest we do now, and we prayed the night office of the Liturgy of the Hours together (I’ve kept up with that since).  Then I suggested hugs and playing Mumford and Sons really, really loudly.



Help still needed building New Orleans seven years after Katrina

USA (MNN) ― Think of all that has happened in your life since 2005. There could be big moves, job changes, new friends, marriages, deaths, births. Seven years is a long time.
Yet that time has still not been sufficient to complete rebuild efforts in New Orleans. Thework remains overwhelming.
"Believe it or not, we still have a major effort ongoing in New Orleans following up on Hurricane Katrina," says Mark Lewis, director of the EFCA TouchGlobal Crisis Response. "There are still over 20,000 Katrina-blighted properties in the city. So there continues to be an ongoing effort there of recovery and working with families."
The needs are not only ongoing, but they're urgent. Lewis just spoke with one woman who has been living on couches of friends and family since 2005. She just wants to go home.
"For those homeowners who are still displaced and still trying to get back into their homes, it's just an ongoing impact that has been totally forgotten," Lewis notes.
For the last seven years, TouchGlobal has been using volunteer labor to build one home at a time in New Orleans. But the rebuild effort has been much more than physical. Emotional and spiritual needs continue to be significant. TouchGlobal has been working with multiple local churches and has even been planting new churches in response.

Canada’s Assisted Suicide Ban Struck Down in Court

The British Columbia Supreme Court has issued an opinion declaring the law in Canada against assisted suicides unconstitutional. Justice Lynn Smith issued a 395-page ruling Friday calling the law discriminatory in the case of Gloria Taylor, a British Columbia woman with ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s disease.
Taylor was one of five plaintiff’s seeking to strike the law and Judge Smith agree with her saying that, because suicide itself is not illegal, assisted suicides should not be illegal either. Judge Smith said the law contravenes Section 15 of the Charter, which guarantees equality, because it denies the ability to disabled people to kill themselves in the same way an able-bodied person could.
“The impact of that distinction is felt particularly acutely by persons such as Ms. Taylor, who are grievously and irremediably ill, physically disabled or soon to become so, mentally competent and who wish to have some control over their circumstances at the end of their lives,” Smith wrote in the decision. “The distinction is discriminatory … because it perpetuates disadvantage.”
Smith, ironically, also claimed the law violated the right to life and liberty guaranteed under Section 7 of the Charter by claiming the assisted suicide ban could prompt people to take their lives while they’re physically able to do so.
Will Johnston of Euthanasia Prevention Coalition immediately critiqued the ruling and the group had sided with federal and provincial governments in opposing the case to strike the law. He urged Canadian officials to appeal the decision to the BC Court of Appeal and to seek an order stopping the decision from taking effect and nullifying the law until that appeal is heard.
“Most elder abuse is hidden from view – and if we can’t detect the abuse now, how are we going to do it when the stakes are raised? I have seen how easily influenced older people can be, and how inadequate are our national strategies against suicide. The present decision, which should be immediately appealed and corrected, is a huge step backwards, a blow to public safety, and would force changes in public policy which would do more harm than good,” he explained.
He added: “Today’s decision would point Canada towards the Oregon assisted suicide regime, which has become notorious for its erosion of medical standards and abuse of psychiatry to rubber-stamp suicide requests. The wish to avoid Oregon’s mistakes has been reflected in over 100 rejections of assisted suicide by legislatures in North America and by medical associations around the world.”

Pastors Urged to Sign Newly Released Code of Ethics

The National Association of Evangelicals has developed and released a "Code of Ethics for Pastors" document and is asking church leaders across denominational lines to sign and uphold its outlined principles in their lives as ministers.

"This is to remind people who they are in ministry and how important their personal integrity, their personal conduct and lifestyle really are for what they are trying to accomplish," Dr. Joel C. Hunter, senior pastor of Northland, A Church Distributed in Longwood, Fla., told The Christian Post.
Hunter, who is a board member of the NAE and one of several pastors who have already signed the code of ethics, said that the document is an important way to reemphasize that those in ministerial leadership need to live above reproach.
"Personal conduct is as important as any theological knowledge – the medium is the message," he said. "With a lot of people coming into the ministry these days without a lot oftraining or a lot of growing up in the church, many ministers may not be aware or may have forgotten what the expectations are of someone in ministry. It's a great teaching device as well as a reminder."

New York Principal: 'God Bless the USA' is still out

The American Center for Law & Justice (ACLJ) is asking a New York schoolto reverse its decision to prohibit kindergartens from singing the song "God Bless the USA."

After months of rehearsals, Principal Greta Hawkins of PS 90 abruptly announced that the graduating kindergartners would not be singing Lee Greenwood's song at their moving-up ceremony. She thought it might offend people of other cultures (see earlier story). But Jordan Sekulow of the ACLJ reports that many multicultural families in that district are upset by her decision.

"This is a school with a lot of immigrants, a lot of people who fought hard to get to America," he details. "This has always been an important part of their graduation. Parents were excited about this, and then you have this kind of controversy erupt over 'God Bless the USA.' It kind of tells you what point we're at."

Jordan Sekulow (ACLJ)He says Hawkins' decision is not a "separation of church and state" issue; this is something new.

"There's also this new idea creeping in, this multi-culturalism political correctness, which misses the point. In our belief, a song like this is what unites America, because we don't all come from the same background," the attorney offers. "We all come from different places -- whether your family's been here since the Revolutionary War or has been here ten years."



Authorities in Wayne County attempted to keep calm and order between the two parties, as they tried to separate them — a difficult task considering the religious nature of the fighting at hand. The Detroit-Free Press has more about the festival and past drama that has unfolded there between Christians and Muslims:
The three-day festival is the largest public gathering of Arab-Americans in the U.S.; it has drawn Christian missionaries for years, but in 2009, some become more aggressive, leading to arrests and legal feuds. Dearborn has the highest concentration of Arab-Americans in the U.S., many of them Muslim, making it a magnet for some Christian missionaries.
The Bible Believers [one of the groups present among the protesters] also protested at last year’s Arab Festival, holding up both anti-Muslim and anti-Catholic signs and causing one Arab-American Muslim girl to cry.
As the Free-Press notes, there were also peaceful Christian protesters at the event. These individuals spoke kindly to the Muslim attendees and handed out flyers. One Christian woman work a shirt that read, “I [heart symbol] Muslims,” while handing out gospel pamphlets.