Did you know that September is ex-gay awareness month? Honestly, I did not realize such a commemoration took place either until last year. I received an invitation to attend the first annual Ex-Gay Awareness Month Conference hosted by Voice of the Voiceless, Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays and Gays, and Equality And Justice For All. This introduction coupled with stories shared by some of the most courageous men and women I've yet to encounter illumined me to the love and support the ex-gay community deserves as they face tremendous hostility from gay activists.
But it's not just gay activists who belittle the ministry of ex-gay awareness advocates, therapists and support group leaders. By now you've likely heard RNS News report that Dr. Russell Moore has supposedly "denounced reparative therapy" for same-sex attracted individuals who wish to change their sexual attractions and join the ex-gay community. But if you read all of Moore's statements, you cannot find him downright rejecting sexual orientation change efforts (SOCE). Instead, he's putting therapy in its place on the hierarchy of healing, as I explained over at The Christian Post while rejecting that notion that the solution is ultimately change.
Unfortunately, the voices not heard in this sudden revival of debate are those within the ex-gay community, many of whom have used therapy for wise counsel, accountability and healing. more >>
While the Republican Party is far from perfect, it is currently the political party that polls show most closely matches the core policy beliefs of values voters: evangelical, "born again" Christians and Catholics. According to pollster George Barna, there are 77 million "born again" evangelical and Catholic voters in the United States, but only about 30.6 million of them voted for Mitt Romney in 2012. Roughly 20 million voted for President Obama. The shocking number, however, is that 26 million values voters stayed home, not bothering to vote at all. The reasons cited are complicated and numerous: everything from discomfort with Mormonism to election apathy, to a distrust of the establishment.
As the 2014 midterm election approaches, disengaged values voters must understand that elections at every level of government have consequences. Look no further than Houston, Texas, where Mayor Annise Parker is trampling the constitutional rights of church pastors by attempting to force them to turn over their sermons on same-sex "marriage."
On the federal level, it was the conservative-leaning values voters' lack of participation at the polls that gave us Barack Obama. But there were 20 million values voters who did vote for the president. They, like the rest of America, bought into the president's promise of hope and change — only to find out that what they got was what most people of faith feared, a president who would flip flop on marriage, a president that would force taxpayers to pay for abortions, a president who would seem to turn a blind eye to Christian persecution worldwide as its branches of religious repression grow in our own country, and a president who's lack of support for our Judeo-Christian brothers and sisters in places like Israel would create a playground for terrorists worldwide. more >>
Dear Mr. President:
This morning, you gave a speech in Rhode Island that was centered on women's equality. You addressed the important issues of equal pay for equal work, paid maternity and family leave, and the high cost of daycare.
But you also made a statement that is very concerning to stay-at-home moms around the nation. In fact, your statement makes us wonder if you consider us as equal and contributing members of society. We've always been a substantial part of society, and we're becoming even more so. From 1999 to 2012, the share of stay-at-home moms grew by 6 percent , after a nearly three-decade decline in our numbers. In 2012, there were 10.4 million of us around the nation. more >>
"So no matter how stressful your life can be with juggling family issues, relationships, career advancement, work, school, or any burden that life throws your way, cast it upon the Lord and He will sustain you," the colonel wrote.
It wasn't too longer after the newsletter was posted online before someone filed a complaint – lamenting that the colonel's words had caused great angst and offense.
The Military Religious Freedom Foundation's Mikey Weinstein reached out to Air Force officials at the Pentagon, the Air National Guard is governed by Air Force rules, as well as the 180th Fighter Wing demanding they remove what he called "that odious and offending proselytizing commentary." more >>
During the Constitutional Convention many feared that the proposed form of government granted too much power to the federal institution. Tepid supporters and critics, as well as Anti-Federalist opponents, believed the Constitution should have included a list of citizens' rights. Ardent supporters, like James Madison, believed an articulation of rights was a Pandora's box, fearing that every interest group and nincompoop could and would claim a right exclusive to them.
But the practical politicians they were, the founders, in order to get the Constitution ratified in the state conventions, promised a Bill of Rights. The first right is the right of religion. "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion," they wrote, "or prohibiting the free exercise thereof." The right of conscience and belief is rightly preeminent because it secures all other rights. Without this first freedom there can be no freedom of speech or the press, no freedom to peacefully assembly or petition the government. Civil rights cannot exist without human rights. And human rights cannot exist without religious rights.
But today, religious rights are subject to increasing hostility. Sectarian violence throughout the world, the rise of militant Islam in the Middle East, Europe, and America, and the politicization of the Religious Right in the United States have left many wondering about the wisdom of our first freedom. Os Guinness put it well in The Global Public Square: Religious Freedom and the Making of a World Safe for Diversity: "How do we live with our deepest differences, especially when those differences are religious and ideological, and especially when those differences concern matters of our common public life?" more >>
Conservative groups believe there's still much to be done in Houston after Mayor Annise Parker dropped her controversial subpoenas against five pastors who had spoken against homosexuality and the city's Equal Rights Ordinance.
"Mayor Parker claims she withdrew the subpoenas not because she was wrong to issue them in the first place, but because they were not 'serving Houston,'" said the conservative American Family Association, which noted that while Parker's decision was a success, the matter "was far from over."
"In reality, what they were not serving is the foundation of our nation: religious liberty and the right of conscience." more >>