The anti-Islamisation movement Pegida gathered record numbers of people in rallies this week in Germany, following the terror attacks in France that left 17 people dead. Larger counter-demonstrations for unity have accused the movement of harboring anti-immigrant xenophobia, however, and some asylum-seekers have spoken out about fears for their safety.
The Independent reported on Wednesday that a record 25,000 Pegida supporters gathered in Dresden, while more anti-Islamisation rallies are scheduled for Cologne. The campaign has spoken out against mass immigration into Germany, particularly by people coming from Muslim countries, who Pegida says are changing the country's culture and having a negative effect on society.
The terror attacks carried out in Paris last week by Islamic extremists who targeted satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo for publishing cartoons of the Muslim prophet Muhammad have escalated tensions to a notable high. more >>
In the Bible is a remarkable statement: "'Vengeance is Mine,' says the Lord, 'I will repay.'" This means that God's honor is not up to us to defend in the ultimate sense---not that we should not lovingly, graciously speak out when we can, if He is dishonored.
But this is a huge difference between the Christian and the Islamist. The Islamist is the radical Muslim committed to Islamic superiority and willing to kill for it. In effect, the Islamist says, "Vengeance is ours. We will repay."
It was Islamists that engaged in the infamous slaughter in Paris at the cartoon magazine offices. more >>
Yesterday morning, I awoke to discover you spoke to me directly on your nationally syndicated, award-winning talk show. I was stunned and humbled because I believe you are such an incredibly gifted comedian with a God-given gift to entertain and make people feel genuinely valued. You also have a megawatt smile that simply makes people feel happy.
You concluded your remarks to me and the audience by saying, "The only way I'm trying to influence people is to be more kind and compassionate with one another." That's one of my goals as well, and in that same spirit, can I appeal to you to consider some thoughts although we share different worldviews? more >>
On January 12th, I attended Supreme Court oral arguments in a case—Reed v. Town of Gilbert—which will determine how easily the government can restrict signs giving directions to church services. Specifically, the Court is set to decide whether, under free speech protections of the First Amendment, a local government's mere assertion that its sign code (despite on its face discriminating based on content) lacks a discriminatory motive renders the sign code content-neutral and justifies the code's differential treatment of signs pointing the way to a church's meeting location.
In this case, the Town of Gilbert had divided signs up based on whether they were ideological, political, or directional—and imposed different restrictions on each category of sign. Good News Community Church in Gilbert, Arizona, and its pastor, Clyde Reed, sued, claiming that signs pointing the way to their Sunday morning service (which contained religious speech and directions, and thus resulted in them being placed in the directional sign category) were treated less fairly and that this unfair treatment violated the First Amendment.
At oral arguments, both sides received their fair share of questions, but the justices were noticeably more skeptical of the town's argument—especially its claim that it could severely restrict a sign containing ideological content announcing an event if the sign also included directions to that event, while at the same time easing restrictions on a sign containing the same exact ideological content and yet lacking directions. more >>
WASHINGTON — While Frank Bruni, a columnist for The New York Times, claims to be advocating a "live and let live" position on gay marriage versus religious freedom, he's actually advocating government coercion, Ryan Anderson, a fellow at the Heritage Foundation, argued Tuesday.
The notion that gay marriage threatens religious liberty is "absurd" and "perpetuates confusion," Bruni wrote Sunday. Bruni mentioned wedding vendors — photographers, florists and wedding cake bakers — who are defending their right to decline service for same-sex weddings due to their religious beliefs. Those beliefs are a "fig leaf for intolerance," Bruni claimed.
Some states have sought to pass, or strengthen, state-level Religious Freedom Restoration Acts to make sure that courts continue to apply an appropriate balancing test in disputes between religious belief and gay marriage such as these. RFRA tells judges that the state can only infringe upon a person's right to behave according to their religious beliefs if there's a compelling government interest for doing so and the least restrictive means are used. more >>
A Texas district court judge has rejected the Mayor of Houston's motion to forgo a jury trial in the "Houston pastors" lawsuit, which seeks to force the city to allow voters decide whether or not to overturn a transgender rights ordinance, which allows self-identified transgenders to use bathrooms designated for the opposite sex.
The lawsuit looks to require Houston Mayor Annise Parker and the city to act on a petition, started by conservative Houston-area pastors and activists, calling for a voter referendum to allow the people of Houston to decide whether the ordinance, which passed last May, should stay or go.
Although the city's secretary Anna Russell verified that the petition had exceeded the amount of signatures needed to force the referendum, Parker refused to put the initiative on the ballot during last November's election. more >>