A new court ruling has determined that churches can no longer rent public school facilities. Churches in New York City can be evicted from the schools. Despite the good they do in the community, they could be out in the cold.
Writing for Facts & Trends, Bob Smietana observes, "The 2-1 ruling from the Second Circuit Court is the latest twist in a long-running legal battle between the Bronx Household of Faith and the Board of Education of the City of New York."
Indeed, this is not new. This is the latest decision in an on-going battle that the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) has been fighting for years. In fact, I can remember interviewing Rev. Bob Hall, the church's founding pastor, as far back as the 1990s on this case for a religious freedom TV special, hosted by the late Dr. D. James Kennedy. more >>
This week two sex scandals - one involving a national political figure and one a prominent pastor - are making national headlines. Sadly, it's not the first time nor will it be the last we will see these types of stories surface. But as a Christian and a journalist, I am asking myself how I should view and report them.
As I write this column, Rep. Vance McAllister (R-La.) and pastor Bob Coy of Florida both have stories on the main page of The Christian Post and other national media sites highlighting their sins and moral failures. McAllister, a married congressman, for a leaked video of him kissing a staff member at a Christmas party and Coy has resigned because of past "moral failures" that appears to be a sexual affair.
In the interest of full disclosure, I understand exactly how these two men feel. more >>
In the contraceptive mandate case Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby-argued Tuesday, March 25th-the government asserts that corporations can't exercise religion because they're not people – and that the people who own corporations can't exercise religion through them because they aren't corporations. Did you follow that? Me neither. But it's true.
As a result, I expect many more people creating their own LLCs in order to do things that would be wrong for them to do as individuals: "It wasn't me, honey -- it was the corporation!"
I kid. But the government isn't kidding: it's demanding that Hobby Lobby and its owners, the Green family, represented by The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, pay half a billion dollars a year for not covering four emergency contraceptives in its insurance plan. Just to be clear, the government has for political reasons exempted innumerable plans providing these and other drugs (to keep the President's promise that "if you like your plan, you can keep it"). But accommodate the Green family's faith-based moral objections? No way. more >>
The church needs to focus on creating a Gospel-centered evangelistic culture rather than just claiming to be evangelical, says Dave Bruskas, teaching pastor and executive elder at Mars Hill Church.
In a new blog post, Bruskas advises churches to steer away from focusing on baptism numbers and instead work to incorporate seven characteristics of a local church with a similar culture, as noted by the Apostle Paul in the Bible.
"While many churches would consider themselves to be evangelical, I have personally found very few of these same churches to have a strong evangelistic culture, Bruskas writes on theresurgence.com. "I wouldn't evaluate this through the number of conversions reported by churches. That is solely the work of the Holy Spirit." more >>
In the wake of the Mozilla controversy, the Duck Dynasty controversy, the Chick-fil-A boycott/buycott, and the countless examples of intolerance and intimidation against conservatives on campuses across the country, it seems rather clear that - as Michelle Goldberg notes in The Nation – there is a "growing left-wing tendency towards censoriousness and and hair-trigger offense."
But does this increasing intolerance work? In other words, does it help leftists impose their own social norms on society, or does it serve mainly to stiffen resistance and motivate opponents?
It does both, but where it works depends greatly on context. For years we've seen stigma defeat dogma (insults and mockery defeat beliefs) on college campuses, where relentless assaults on conservative values tend to leave students more liberal than when they arrived. It's not hard to understand why. These attacks can make students feel isolated - like there's something wrong with them - and the more casual adherents to any worldview find it relatively easy to shed impediments to social acceptance. This creates a vicious cycle, as shrinking minorities feel less and less empowered and the vocal majority feels increasingly vindicated in calling their opponents extremists or bigots. more >>
It's been over 30 years since the Supreme Court ruled that a woman's right to privacy includes the right to electively terminate the life of her unborn child. In that relatively short span of time, abortion has evolved from a highly controversial social taboo to a celebrated pillar of the progressive feminist agenda. Despite its current status as a sacrosanct symbol of female liberation, however, the debate over the morality of abortion rages on. Pro-life advocates approach the issue from multiple angles, in an attempt to find that one compelling argument that will convince the public of abortion's indisputable moral horror.
In Dostoevsky's epic novel, The Brothers Karamazov, brothers Ivan and Alyosha engage in a deep discussion about God – his existence and his goodness. Expressing frustration at his brother's rejection of faith, Aloysha declares that if there is no God, "everything is permitted." The truth of this observation may be seen in the ongoing debate over abortion and the seeming inability for the pro-choice side's greatest minds to come up with a winsome argument in defense of unborn human life. So long as human society continues its trend of rejecting belief in the divine and relying upon the self as the sole source of moral authority and conscience, there is little chance of popular opinion shifting decisively away from an embrace of legalized abortion.
One popular and rather obvious objection to abortion is that terminating the life of an unborn child is a violation of his or her First Amendment right to life. To deny this, one must get into the muddy question of when life truly begins and when a person acquires those natural rights articulated in our Declaration of Independence. The easy out, of course, is to claim that such matters are above one's pay grade, as our President did, and go along supporting abortion under the nebulous aegis of a woman's right to "make her own health care decisions." more >>