The religious persecution in Syria deepened this week, as evidenced by a written ultimatum purportedly distributed by the rebel jihadist group ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) to Christians in the northern provincial capital of Raqqa. Rejecting conversion to Islam or death, some 20 Christian leaders of that city held firm in their faith and submitted to the Islamists' demands to live by as dhimmis.
Under this arrangement, in exchange for their lives and the ability to worship as Christians, they must abide by purported seventh-century rules of the Caliph Umar. According to the Raqqa ultimatum, these include bans on renovating and rebuilding churches and monasteries, many of which need repair because they've been shelled and blown up over the past three years, and bans against the public display of crosses and Christian symbols and the ringing of bells. They are forbidden from reading scripture indoors loud enough for Muslims outside to hear, and the practice of their faith must be confined within the walls of their remaining churches, not exercised publicly (at, for example, funeral or wedding processions).
They are prohibited from saying anything offensive about Muslims or Islam. The women must be enshrouded, and alcohol is banned. more >>
I know this headline sounds like a tasteless joke or like something out of a bad dream, but it's not.
As reported on CNN.com, "The Walt Disney Company has given notice to the Boy Scouts of America that it will pull all funding to the group starting in 2015 because of a BSA membership policy that bans gay leaders."
That's right. The creators of Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck and Goofy and Pluto and the makers of classic children's films like Bambi and Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs will stop funding the Boy Scouts of America until the BSA allows openly homosexual scout leaders. more >>
Albert Einstein once said, "Never do anything against conscience even if the state demands it."
He was right.
In the aftermath of the Arizona religious freedom skirmish, I have a few questions for those who would presume to compel religious business owners, under penalty of law, to "provide goods and services" to homosexuals in a way that violates that business owner's conscience. more >>
A recent poll commissioned by the Family Research Council found that 61 percent of Americans agree that pastors and churches should challenge the Obama administration when religious liberty issues are at stake. That being the case, then why are so many pastors afraid to speak up on these issues from the pulpit?
The poll, conducted February 20-23 by the polling company, inc./WomanTrend, surveyed 1,000 people over the age of 18 and called both landline and cell phones. Of the 61 percent in agreement, 41 percent strongly agreed, compared to the 28 percent who disagreed. The poll has a margin of error of +/- 3.1 percent.
The findings were presented during a press conference I attended at the National Religious Broadcasters annual convention in Nashville earlier this week and I was able to speak with three pastors who are in the trenches of the religious liberty battle. more >>
An alumnus of Purdue University claims his First Amendment rights were violated after the school refused to inscribe a reference to God on a donation plaque.
In 2012, Dr. Michael McCracken and his wife made a $12,500 pledge to Purdue University's School of Mechanical Engineering. Purdue University, located in West Lafayette, Ind., is McCracken's alma mater. In return for the generous donation, the school allowed McCracken to select the wording for a dedication plaque due to grace a conference room in the school's Herrick Laboratories.
McCracken chose to dedicate the plaque to his father, Dr. William McCracken, and his late mother, Glenda. "To those who seek to better the world through the understanding of God's physical laws and innovation of practical solutions. In honor of Dr. William 'Ed' and Glenda McCracken," the original inscription read. more >>
Arizona Governor Jan Brewer was right to veto SB1062, which would have amended the Arizona Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
The bill, per most interpretations I've read, would have given broad discretion to business owners, because of their religious convictions, to refuse to do business with anyone associated with homosexual lifestyles.
Religious freedom is about protection of your right to practice your religion and not being forced to violate it. more >>