This term, the U.S. Supreme Court will be considering a religious liberty case so historic that the central issue winds like a distant road all the way back to a question raised 369 years ago: is government above God?
NRB has begun preparations to file an amicus curiae (friend of the court) brief in an appeal that pits the U.S. Government against Hobby Lobby, owned by the Green family, as well as Conestoga Wood Specialties, another family-owned, faith-based company that has religious objections against being forced to provide abortion-inducing drug coverage in their health insurance plans. The insurance issue has arisen because, in implementing the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the Obama Administration has expressly refused to afford for-profit companies, even religiously founded ones, an exemption from the abortion mandate provisions of the Act.
The tension between government and religious liberty was addressed by 17th Century Scottish pastor and divinity professor Samuel Rutherford in his treatise Lex Rex, published in 1644. Rutherford wrote that law should be above government, not the other way around, and that God, who is the only rightful force that "can lay a band of subjection on the conscience," resides squarely above law. But the lawyers for the Obama Administration have it backwards. In court filings, they have argued that family-owned businesses, founded on spiritual principles, have no right to place God above government regulations, and cannot complain that their religious consciences have been coerced by ACA regulations - coerced, in fact, to the tune of millions of dollars in penalties if the government's view prevails (in the case of Hobby Lobby, a minimum of at least $26 million per year). more >>
The Baby Jesus has been kicked off Shaw Air Force Base in South Carolina, according to an organization who relishes any opportunity to eradicate Christianity from the U.S. military.
The Military Religious Freedom Foundation praised officials at Shaw Air Force Base for removing a Nativity scene located near Memorial Lake on Friday. The traditional Nativity included plastic statues of Mary, Joseph, the Baby Jesus and an assortment of animals.
Apparently, an undisclosed number of Airmen were so emotionally troubled by the sight of a manger scene that they immediately notified the MRFF. more >>
For those who believe that life begins at conception, abortion hangs over society like a dark cloud. So long as the culture and the courts continue to embrace this barbaric practice as simply a matter of "women's health care," there remains a need for pro-life advocacy and activism. According to the most recent statistics gathered by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, however, the pro-life community has reason to feel hopeful. As of 2010 abortion was at its lowest level in 30 years, and rates continue to fall.
One possible influence on the falling abortion rate lies in the twin realms of science and technology. As reproductive science has advanced, the humanity of an unborn child has become increasingly apparent. We now know that unborn children begin interacting with their uterine environment at a very early point in the pregnancy. They respond to physical stimuli. They can feel pain. With each progressing week in the pregnancy an unborn baby acquires new capacities and abilities. The antiquated notion that an unborn baby is merely an extension of the mother's body has been proven false. Since the baby is a separate and genetically distinct person, the argument that abortion is simply a matter of "my body, my choice" has less resonance. Even if that argument were true (never mind the fact that the law places all sorts of limitations on what we can do with our bodies, e.g. cannot smoke before 18 or drink before 21, can't ingest illegal drugs, etc.), the argument doesn't apply to another individual. A person's right to swing his fist ends where another's nose begins. Increasingly, society is recognizing that a pregnant woman is bound by certain moral – and perhaps one day soon, legal – obligations to the person residing within her womb.
The increasing sophistication of ultrasound imaging might also be a factor in abortion's falling rates. For year's pro-lifers maintained that if only we could put a window on the womb, the rate of abortions would decline. Why? Because people would see that the subject of the potential abortion really is a baby and not just a blob of tissue. They would see just how vulnerable and precious an unborn child is, and the monstrosity of abortion would be cast into stark relief. A picture is truly worth a thousand words, and since an unborn child is unable to speak up for himself and incapable of defending himself from the abortionist's instruments of destruction, the images conveyed via ultrasound are crucial. For too long the "rights" rhetoric deployed by the Left has obscured the reality of what we are dealing with in the womb. Anecdotally, I can say that when I served on the Board of Directors for Care Net, an organization dedicating to supporting and educating pregnant women with life affirming alternatives to abortion, I was told that the reversal rate for abortion minded women was as high as 90 percent at crisis pregnancy centers where ultrasound imaging was available. more >>
The small tent, about the width of a subway car, sits on the National Mall in the shadow of the nation's Capitol. In a town where power and influence is determined by money and access, what happens inside this tent might seem irrelevant. But over the last few weeks this tiny structure has become a potent challenge to the ways of Washington.
Each day, people arrive at the tent to fast and pray for immigration reform. Some are powerful political actors and cultural icons. The President and First Lady, Cabinet Secretaries, several celebrities, and members of Congress from both parties have all visited.
However, most visitors are far less well known, though their stories are no less compelling. Some are undocumented immigrants themselves with heartbreaking stories to tell-and most are people of faith. Some have close relatives who are undocumented. Others testify to their own immigrant histories. Many are people whose faith inspires them to support common sense immigration reform. more >>
It's that time of year when Christmas carols remind us of the message the angels sang, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men." We all want that illusive idea of peace on earth, but some new polling data indicates we are anything but a people satisfied and at peace.
America has long been seen as the nation that could potentially lead the planet to some kind of lasting peace but a new Pew Research Center poll seems to indicate we have lost our place of standing in the world. According to the newly released information, a majority of Americans think that U.S. power in the world is steadily declining.
The Pew Research Center found, "For the first time in surveys dating back nearly 40 years, a majority (53 percent) says the United States plays a less important and powerful role as a world leader than it did a decade ago. The share saying the U.S. is less powerful has increased 12 points since 2009 and has more than doubled – from just 20 percent – since 2004." more >>
Various conservative and evangelical leaders who commended Nelson Mandela's work to end racism in South Africa have stated that these compliments come in spite of his views on other issues.
In addition to his highly publicized efforts to end Apartheid in South Africa, Mandela expressed opinions on other views. These included opinions on abortion, Israel, and Communism that were at odds with what most conservative and evangelical Christians believe.