In my new book, You Were Born for More, I give spiritual principles that will help any believer to have courage in an overwhelmingly negative environment and it will help them take a confident personal stand when persecution, mean-spiritedness and ridicule come their way. Why do we need these spiritual and emotional skills? Let me give you an example.
Recently, many Christians were alarmed to learn that military leaders had begun classifying mainstream Christian organizations such as the American Family Association (AFA) as "domestic hate groups," comparable to the Ku Klux Klan. The briefing in question took place at Camp Shelby (Mississippi) in early October. What has happened in the last few years to bring about such confusion in an arm of our government that has traditionally honored God unapologetically?
There is much confusion over what we mean when we talk about America's Christian heritage. For some, the words conjure up images of strict social norms and puritanical moral codes, while others may point to slavery and segregation as trump cards, negating their meaning. In reality, America's Christian roots can be best understood as an experiment in human liberty, based on the idea that God created people to be free. Before the American Revolution, hereditary kings or military strongmen had almost always ruled humans. Outside of nomadic tribes and small-scale tribal confederations, to live in a settled "nation" meant to be ruled. more >>
A school district in New Jersey that already excludes the word "Christmas" from its calendar of events for December is banning religious Christmas music during winter concert performances at its elementary schools, according to a religious freedom advocacy group.
Alliance Defending Freedom sent a letter Monday to the Bordentown Regional School District after administrators pointed to a New Jersey court ruling that states religious music should not be a part of elementary school programs.
"Schools should not have to think twice about whether they can allow students to perform Christmas carols," said ADF Legal Counsel Matthew Sharp. "Courts have unanimously upheld their inclusion in school productions – even when songs deal with Christian themes that are naturally a part of the holiday." more >>
Two weeks ago, at Camp Shelby in Mississippi, counter-intelligence officers presented a briefing that identified the American Family Association – a non-profit Christian organization – as a "domestic hate group." This was not the first time something bizarre like this had happened. On another army base, evangelical Christians and Catholics were listed as prime examples of religious extremism. On yet another, the Founding Fathers were portrayed as extreme.
Then, last week, a similar report came out about a briefing at Fort Hood in Texas where Tea Party supporters, in addition to evangelical Christians, were labeled as extremists.
Each time, senior military officials downplayed the shocking classifications as isolated incidents. But a string of incidents reflect a pattern. more >>
American pop singer Ke$ha has been banned from performing her upcoming concert in Malaysia after the government said her lyrics and image go against the country's conservative values. The pop singer claimed via Twitter that she was even threatened with imprisonment if she chose to go through with the performance.
The country's Ministry of Communications and Multimedia said in a brief statement late last week that its decision to cancel Ke$ha's upcoming performance "touches on religious sensitivities and cultural values of Malaysians." Sixty percent of Malaysia's 28 million-person population is Muslim, while only nine percent is Christian. Ke$ha's lyrics often make reference to partying, binge drinking, and a sexually promiscuous lifestyle, all topics that are taboo under strict Islamic culture.
The 26-year-old pop artist, whose real name is Kesha Rose Sebert, took to Twitter to defend herself in light of the news. "To be clear. I did NOT cancel. I was not allowed to play. [sic] and then I was going to play anyways and was threatened with imprisonment," she wrote. more >>
Former Republican Congressman and outspoken conservative commentator Allen B. West has expressed his disapproval at an Islamic billboard sign campaign.
West posted his thoughts on the group's "Why Islam?" billboard evangelism campaign Saturday on the former Florida congressman's website.
What does gun control have to do with health care? As odd as it seems, Obamacare contains provisions that jeopardize gun ownership, especially for veterans. Anti-gun provisions were added to initial drafts of Obamacare legislation under the pretext of prohibiting people with mental illness – which can include PTSD - from owning guns. Fortunately, the NRA stepped in and got some of the worst language revised last December. Senate amendment 3276, Sec. 2716, part c. prohibits the creation of a firearms database and stops doctors from disclosing or collecting information relating to a patient's firearms. Ironically, this provision was probably the only positive result of most members of Congress not bothering to read the bill before voting on it.
However, the provision does not go as far as prohibiting doctors from asking their patients if there are any firearms in their home. In January, Obama issued 23 executive actions and orders regarding firearms. Order 16 stressed that Obamacare does not prohibit doctors from asking patients about their firearms, and the fact sheet includes, "Clarify that no federal law prevents health care providers from warning law enforcement authorities about threats of violence." What constitutes a "threat of violence" could be very arbitrary. This puts doctors in a difficult position by suggesting they act as pseudo-law enforcement agents. It is damaging to doctor-patient privilege. If doctors have a patient with PTSD or mental illness, and they fail to ask the patient about their firearms, or report them to law enforcement, they could be on the hook later. It encourages them to err on the side of snooping into their patients' guns. This is especially troubling considered the definition of mental illness keeps expanding.
The state of Florida implemented legislation that would have severely restricted a doctor's ability to ask a patient about guns at home, but a federal court struck it down as unconstitutional. After the NRA got that provision added, the organization backed off on pressing for further changes, no doubt because trying to get more changes done at that time would have been impossible with the Democratic-controlled Senate and presidency. But there are still areas within our healthcare laws that could prohibit Americans from owning firearms – specifically our veterans. more >>