Christian Coalition

Two Christian ministers who own an Idaho wedding chapel were told they had to either perform same-sex weddings or face jail time and up to a $1,000 fine, according to a lawsuit filed Friday in federal court.

Alliance Defending Freedom is representing Donald and Evelyn Knapp, ordained ministers who own the Hitching Post Wedding Chapel in Coeur d’Alene.

“Right now they are at risk of being prosecuted,” their ADF attorney, Jeremy Tedesco, told me. “The threat of enforcement is more than just credible.”

According to the lawsuit, the wedding chapel is registered with the state as a “religious corporation” limited to performing “one-man-one-woman marriages as defined by the Holy Bible.”

But the chapel is also registered as a for-profit business – not as a church or place of worship – and city officials said that means the owners must comply with a local nondiscrimination ordinance.

That ordinance, passed last year, prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation, and it applies to housing, employment and public accommodation.

City Attorney Warren Wilson told The Spokesman-Review in May that the Hitching Post Wedding Chapel likely would be required to follow the ordinance.

“I would think that the Hitching Post would probably be considered a place of public accommodation that would be subject to the ordinance,” he said.

He also told television station KXLY that any wedding chapel that turns away a gay couple would in theory be violating the law, “and you’re looking at a potential misdemeanor citation.” 

Wilson confirmed to Knapp my worst fear -- that even ordained ministers would be required to perform same-sex weddings.

“Wilson also responded that Mr. Knapp was not exempt from the ordinance because the Hitching Post was a business and not a church,” the lawsuit states.

And if he refused to perform the ceremonies, Wilson reportedly told the minister that he could be fined up to $1,000 and sentenced to up to 180 days in jail.

Now all of that was a moot point because, until last week, gay marriage was not legal in Idaho.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit issued an order on May 13 allowing same-sex marriages to commence in Idaho on Oct. 15. Two days later, the folks at the Hitching Post received a telephone call.

A man had called to inquire about a same-sex wedding ceremony. The Hitching Post declined, putting it in violation of the law.

City officials did not respond to my requests for an interview, nor did they respond to requests from local news outlets.

“The government should not force ordained ministers to act contrary to their faith under threat of jail time and criminal fines,” Tedesco said.

“The city is on seriously flawed legal ground, and our lawsuit intends to ensure that this couple’s freedom to adhere to their own faith as pastors is protected, just as the First Amendment intended.”

Alliance Defending Freedom also filed a temporary restraining order to stop the city from enforcing the ordinance.

“The Knapps are in fear that if they exercise their First Amendment rights they will be cited, prosecuted and sent to jail,” Tedesco told me.

It’s hard to believe this could happen in the United States. But as the lawsuit states, the Knapps are in a “constant state of fear that they may have to go to jail, pay substantial fines, or both, resulting in them losing the business that God has called them to operate and which they have faithfully operated for 25 years.”

The lawsuit came the same week that the city of Houston issued subpoenas demanding that five Christian pastors turn over sermons dealing with homosexuality and gender identity.

What in heaven’s name is happening to our country, folks? I was under the assumption that churches and pastors would not be impacted by same-sex marriage.

“The other side insisted this would never happen – that pastors would not have to perform same-sex marriages,” Tedesco told me. “The reality is – it’s already happening.”

Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, told me it’s “open season on Americans who refuse to bow to the government’s redefinition of marriage.”

“Americans are witnesses to the reality that redefining marriage is less about the marriage altar and more about fundamentally altering the freedoms of the other 98 percent of Americans,” Perkins said.

Why should evangelical Christian ministers be forced to perform and celebrate any marriage that conflicts with their beliefs?

“This is the brave new world of government-sanctioned same-sex unions – where Americans are forced to celebrate these unions regardless of their religious beliefs,” Perkins told me.

As I write in my new book, “God Less America,” we are living in a day when those who support traditional marriage are coming under fierce attack. 

The incidents in Houston and now in Coeur d’Alene are the just the latest examples of a disturbing trend in the culture war – direct attacks on clergy.

“Government officials are making clear they will use their government power to punish those who oppose the advances of homosexual activists,” Perkins said.

I’m afraid Mr. Perkins is absolutely right.

No one should be discriminated against but have you noticed that any time a city passes a “nondiscrimination” ordinance, it’s the Christians who wind up being discriminated against?

Henry A. Kissinger, 91, former Secretary of State and Asst to President Nixon for National Security Affairs, has long pushed a thinly veiled plan for a New World Order.  It is finally in print in the Wall Street Journal – a one world government idea. 

It sounds reasonable – after all the world is in a mess – broke and 75% of the people are hungry or near starving and many in the Middle East are living under the constant threat of Islamic terror suffering beheadings and torture simply because they are not of the Islamic faith.  Why wouldn’t you want a world system that a dynamic leader could control?  One problem!  Read the Bible!  It is the end time’s greatest deception.

Online you will find a proposed map of the one world order broken into ten sections and the map is labeled “10 Kingdoms.”  Does that sound familiar?  Read of the ten horns of the Beast that comes forth in the end times – translated as ten countries (Revelations 13: 1-10) & (Revelations 17:12).

You may have heard of it as a one world order, new world order, one world governance – the latest label is globalization – it is all one and the same. It would remove current borders from countries and reset them at the pleasure of those chosen to make such decisions. Gone would be the governments currently in place and they would be replaced with a one world dictator with his cronies overseeing each of the ten new “kingdoms.” 

They would have power or influence that transcends national boundaries or governments. Government constitutions and leaders would disappear.  This authority would regulate world commerce and industry; an international organization that would control the production and consumption of oil; an international currency that replaces all others; a world development fund that would make funds available to free and communist nations alike; an international police force to enforce the edicts of the New World.

How many times we Americans have heard the expressions from Obama – “spread the wealth” – “level the playing field.” Sounds like we would have very little control of our money or how we would live.

Hillary Clinton in her review of Kissinger’s book, “World Order,” indicated that she had worked closely with Kissinger when she was secretary of state and that he often sent her reports of his activities.  She also said, “I was proud to help the president (Obama) begin reimagining and reinforcing the global order.” As we all know she is almost certainly going to run for president in 2016.

Kissinger, a German born Jew, who reportedly is guided by psychics, is not the only one pushing for globalization but he appears to be the leader.  There are many, many more who have been working secretly behind the scenes for many years.  Most of these people are very well known and very wealthy.  They would benefit greatly from the changes.

When will all this “change” take place? It could be coming soon or years from now and depends largely on how much or how little the people of the world voice their concerns and opinions or if we just swallow it like a pill to cure what ails us.  It also depends on how the free people of the world cast their votes in upcoming elections.  This “change” falls into line with Bible prophecy but we must beware.  This “change” is not for the good of the people. Can we alter the course?  Yes, through prayer and action.  The worldwide Christian community must wake up.  We know what the Bible says and it’s time we start living fervently and faithfully to that which we say we believe.  God’s Word tells us we should stand with Israel and the Jewish people yet so many who call themselves Christians are doing just the opposite.  While you still can, read The Book.  In it God tells us He will bless those who bless Israel.    

 

With mid-term elections roughly two weeks away, Democrats are choosing not to have President Barack Obama campaign for them.
    
The news comes as the president's job approval ratings are hitting a record low.

In fact, the Ebola crisis and other domestic and international issues are taking a toll on both the president and his party.
    
Americans believe Obama is leading the country in the wrong direction. A new ABC News-Washington Post poll finds his job approval rating at 40 percent - the lowest of his presidency.

Seventy-seven percent of Americans say they're worried about the economy.

The president's ratings are also at a career low in his handling of immigration, international affairs and terrorism.

The city of Houston has issued subpoenas demanding a group of pastors turn over any sermons dealing with homosexuality, gender identity or Annise Parker, the city’s first openly lesbian mayor. And those ministers who fail to comply could be held in contempt of court.

“The city’s subpoena of sermons and other pastoral communications is both needless and unprecedented,” Alliance Defending Freedom attorney Christina Holcomb said in a statement. “The city council and its attorneys are engaging in an inquisition designed to stifle any critique of its actions.”

ADF, a nationally-known law firm specializing in religious liberty cases, is representing five Houston pastors. They filed a motion in Harris County court to stop the subpoenas arguing they are “overbroad, unduly burdensome, harassing, and vexatious.” 

“Political and social commentary is not a crime,” Holcomb said. “It is protected by the First Amendment.”

The subpoenas are just the latest twist in an ongoing saga over the Houston’s new non-discrimination ordinance. The law, among other things, would allow men to use the ladies room and vice versa.  The city council approved the law in June.

The Houston Chronicle reported opponents of the ordinance launched a petition drive that generated more than 50,000 signatures – far more than the 17,269 needed to put a referendum on the ballot.

However, the city threw out the petition in August over alleged irregularities.

After opponents of the bathroom bill filed a lawsuit the city’s attorneys responded by issuing the subpoenas against the pastors.

The pastors were not part of the lawsuit. However, they were part of a coalition of some 400 Houston-area churches that opposed the ordinance. The churches represent a number of faith groups – from Southern Baptist to non-denominational.

“City council members are supposed to be public servants, not ‘Big Brother’ overlords who will tolerate no dissent or challenge,” said ADF attorney Erik Stanley.  “This is designed to intimidate pastors.”

Mayor Parker will not explain why she wants to inspect the sermons. I contacted City Hall for a comment and received a terse reply from the mayor’s director of communications.

“We don’t comment on litigation,” said Janice Evans.

However, ADF attorney Stanley suspects the mayor wants to publicly shame the ministers. He said he anticipates they will hold up their sermons for public scrutiny. In other words – the city is rummaging for evidence to “out” the pastors as anti-gay bigots.

Among those slapped with a subpoena is Steve Riggle, the senior pastor of Grace Community Church. He was ordered to produce all speeches and sermons related to Mayor Annise Parker, homosexuality and gender identity.

The mega-church pastor was also ordered to hand over “all communications with members of your congregation” regarding the non-discrimination law.

“This is an attempt to chill pastors from speaking to the cultural issues of the day,” Riggle told me. “The mayor would like to silence our voice. She’s a bully.”

Rev. Dave Welch, executive director of the Texas Pastor Council, also received a subpoena. He said he will not be intimidated by the mayor.

“We’re not afraid of this bully,” he said. “We’re not intimidated at all.”

He accused the city of violating the law with the subpoenas and vowed to stand firm in the faith.

“We are not going to yield our First Amendment rights,” Welch told me. ‘This is absolutely a complete abuse of authority.”

Tony Perkins, the head of the Family Research Council, said pastors around the nation should rally around the Houston ministers.

“The state is breaching the wall of separation between church and state,” Perkins told me. ‘Pastors need to step forward and challenge this across the country. I’d like to see literally thousands of pastors after they read this story begin to challenge government authorities – to dare them to come into their churches and demand their sermons.”

Perkins called the actions by Houston’s mayor “obscene” and said they “should not be tolerated.”

“This is a shot across the bow of the church,” he said.

This is the moment I wrote about in my book, “God Less America.” I predicted that the government would one day try to silence American pastors. I warned that under the guise of “tolerance and diversity” elected officials would attempt to deconstruct religious liberty. 

Sadly, that day arrived sooner than even I expected.

Tony Perkins is absolutely right. Now is the time for pastors and people of faith to take a stand.  We must rise up and reject this despicable strong-arm attack on religious liberty. We cannot allow ministers to be intimidated by government thugs.

The pastors I spoke to tell me they will not comply with the subpoena – putting them at risk for a “fine or confinement, or both.”

Heaven forbid that should happen. But if it does, Christians across America should be willing to descend en masse upon Houston and join these brave men of God behind bars.

Pastor Welch compared the culture war skirmish to the 1836 Battle of San Jacinto, fought in present-day Harris County, Texas. It was a decisive battle of the Texas Revolution.

“This is the San Jacinto moment for traditional family,” Welch told me. “This is the place where we stop the LGBT assault on the freedom to practice our faith.”

We can no longer remain silent. We must stand together - because one day – the government might come for your pastor.

The U.S. Supreme Court has sided with abortion rights advocates in Texas.

On Tuesday, justices blocked key parts of a new Texas law that caused most abortion facilities in the Lone Star State to close.

The high court's move suspends a lower court ruling that allowed the state to immediately demand improvements at abortion clinics statewide.

With three dissenting votes, the court also halted a provision that required doctors to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals.

"We're relieved that the court stepped in to stop this, and we hope this dangerous law is ultimately overturned completely," said Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America.

But Joe Pojman, executive director of Texas Alliance for Life, had a different take on the court's decision.

"This does not protect the health and safety of women who are undergoing abortion. This is definitely a short-term loss, but not necessarily a long-term loss," Pojman said.

More than a dozen states plan to cancel health care policies not in compliance with ObamaCare in the coming weeks, affecting thousands of people just before the midterm elections.

"It looks like several hundred thousand people across the country will receive notices in the coming days and weeks," said Jim Capretta of the Ethics and Public Policy Center.

The policies are being canceled because states that initially granted a reprieve at the request of President Obama are no longer willing to do so.

In coming weeks, 13 states and the District of Columbia plan to cancel such policies, which generally fall out of compliance with the Affordable Care Act because they don’t offer the level of coverage the law requires.

Virginia will be hardest hit, with 250,000 policies expected to be canceled.

And because federal law requires a 60-day notice of any plan changes, voters will be notified no later than November 1, right before the Nov. 4 midterms.

Many of those forced out of their current plans and into ObamaCare may not be able to keep their doctors. They also could face higher deductibles and out-of-pocket expenses, making ObamaCare an election issue on the eve of voting.

Obama had originally unequivocally promised that underhis health care plan, everyone could keep their doctors and plans.

In 2009, he told the American Medical Association, "If you like your doctor, you will be able to keep your doctor. Period.If you like your health care plan, you will be able to keep your health care plan. Period.No one will take it away. No matter what."

The president later was forced to admit that any plan without the additional benefits required under ObamaCare faced cancellation.

But that unleashed a nasty political backlash, forcing him to back down and call for states and insurers to extend those policies forthree more years.

Some said he didn’t have much choice. "There were some five or six million people who were at stake here and the federal exchange was in no condition to even process a few hundred thousand people much less millions," said Joe Antos of the American Enterprise Institute.

Many states flatly refused to extend and now comes the new round of states that plan to cancel policies.

More than half of Americans label President Barack Obama's presidency a failure, according to a new poll by Investor's Business Daily and Tipp.

The survey found that 53 percent of adults see the Obama administration as a flop while 41 percent said it is a success and 6 percent said they weren't sure.

The president's standing among Independents is even worse with 58 percent giving his presidency a failing grade.

The poll also found that if the 2012 election were held today 43 percent said they would vote for Obama while 49 percent said they would now vote for former presidential candidate Mitt Romney.

As the mid-term elections looms, 34 percent of those polled said they are less likely to vote for a candidate who supports Obama compared to 16 percent who would.

A Missouri clergyman says the state's nondiscrimination bill actually discriminates against people of faith.

Bishop James Johnston says forcing believers to recognize same-sex relationships violates their religious freedoms, and essentially makes Christians criminals.

Johnston, a leader in the Springfield-Cape Girardeau Catholic Diocese, issued a letter opposing the measure.

"Do the people of Springfield really want to make criminals out of persons who are merely trying to live their faith?" the Springfield News-Leader quoted the letter. "Does the government have a compelling interest in forcing every member of our society to participate in the celebration of same-sex relationships?"

"In the name of preventing discrimination against some," the council would "impose it on others," he wrote.

The bill is an expansion of Springfield's nondiscrimination ordinance, which the City Council plans to vote on at its Oct. 13 meeting. It would add sexual orientation and gender identity to the list of protected classes.

 

The Supreme Court on Monday turned away appeals from five states looking to prohibit gay marriage, effectively legalizing same-sex marriage in those states and likely others -- but also leaving the issue unresolved nationally. 

The justices rejected appeals from Indiana, Oklahoma, Utah, Virginia and Wisconsin. The court's order immediately ends delays on gay marriage in those states. 

Couples in six other states -- Colorado, Kansas, North Carolina, South Carolina, West Virginia and Wyoming -- also should be able to get married in short order. Those states would be bound by the same appellate rulings that were put on hold pending the Supreme Court's review. That would make same-sex marriage legal in 30 states and the District of Columbia.

With no other state cases currently pending before the court, the decision to reject the appeals means the justices -- for now -- will not be considering the question of same-sex marriage nationwide. 

Experts and advocates on both sides of the issue believed the justices would step in and decide gay marriage cases this term. The justices have an obligation to settle an issue of such national importance, not abdicate that responsibility to lower court judges, the advocates said. Opting out of hearing the cases leaves those lower court rulings in place. 

However, several other lower-court cases still are percolating and eventually could make their way to the Supreme Court. 

Two other appeals courts, in Cincinnati and San Francisco, could issue decisions any time in same-sex marriage cases. Judges in the Cincinnati-based 6th Circuit who are weighing pro-gay marriage rulings in Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio and Tennessee, appeared more likely to rule in favor of state bans than did the 9th Circuit judges in San Francisco, who are considering Idaho and Nevada restrictions on marriage. 

It takes just four of the nine justices to vote to hear a case, but it takes a majority of at least five for an eventual ruling. Monday's opaque order did not indicate how the justices voted on whether to hear the appeals.

It’s puzzling.  When Israel builds homes on their own land, they are called “occupiers.”  Should Israel divide Jerusalem into two parts, with two capitals in Jerusalem:  one for the Jewish state, and one for a Palestinian-Arab state?  And, by the way, should tiny Israel relegate herself back to her 1967 borders creating a situation that will leave her without defensible borders?   That’s what the ultra-left liberal activist group “Peace Now” advocates for the state of Israel all the while instigating public pressure for “peace.”  

Planning for 2,700 homes in a southeastern Jerusalem neighborhood called “Givat Hamatos” has been on the drawing board for the past two years and there have been no complaints.  Now that building is imminent, “Peace Now” suddenly decides to intervene with their public protestation.  With the blink of an eye, the United States joined “Peace Now’s” chorus of dissent.

What sense does it make for the West, particularly the US, to reactively jump into the muddy mire of home building in Jerusalem; especially now at a time when the entire Middle East in turmoil?  Well, hip, hip, hurray for Knesset speaker Yuli Edelstein who, in my opinion, got it right when he reckoned that there are more urgent and dangerous security concerns than building homes in Israel.  While convening with Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz, Edelstein blasted Western leaders’ thoughtless and automatic responses to “Peace Now’s” objection.  In a recent article in the Jerusalem Post Edelstein said, “It’s too bad that while the Islamic State is slaughtering, murdering and threatening the West, everyone is interested in a few homes being built in Jerusalem!”  Kurtz pointed out the futility of working with Gaza’s Mahmood Abbas when he stated that Abbas had completely ignored an advantageous opportunity to embrace the broader Arab world’s lack of support for Hamas during the recent Israeli/Gazan conflict, “Operation Protective Edge.”  In other words, Abbas had his chance and he blew it!  In addition, in his recent U.N. speech, Abbas lied--multiple times.

“Peace Now” is a problem.  Its public ruckus over Israel building a few homes inspired the U.S. to react favoring “Peace Now’s” position.  This reeks of a possible intent, on the part of “Peace Now,” to divide Israel and the United States over this issue and it appears to be working.  Adding to Israel’s woes is Israel’s Justice Minister, Tzipi Livni.   She blatantly and publicly opposed Israeli officials who believe in preserving Israel’s ability to defend herself by protecting her sovereign borders.  Livni referred to them as “a danger to the Zionist enterprise” and “of greater concern than ‘Peace Now’”.

One wonders, “What are the ultimate goals of certain Western leaders who jump on the bandwagon of supporting the terrorists’ point-of-view and causes?” One also wonders, “What is the thinking behind Israel’s Justice Minister Tzipi Livni’s remarks?” You’d think Livni would be more concerned with the goings-on inside Gaza and the West Bank that will surely foist more terrorism on the Israeli people.   Terror attacks against Israel are going to continue, whether or not Israel and the Palestinians agree to two states, or not.  Abbas and Fatah and Hamas will not be satisfied until Israel ceases to exist; co-existence is not an option in their playbook.  Hand shaking over more land deals and peace concessions will not stop rockets from raining down on Israelis.   In the larger view, YouTube videos of ISIS’ grizzly beheadings of US and British citizens, slaughters and crucifixions of Christians and the enslavement and rapes of tribal women and girls in Iraq are not going to miraculously go away.  Any people, country or nation that gets in the way of militant Islam’s establishment of a world-wide caliphate is a target.  Israel is only a handy first target!  Sunnis may be opposing Shiites in the short term, but when one wins over the other, guess who will be next. You!

“Peace Now” is advocating for Israel to adopt a position that will ultimately lead to her demise.  Prime Minister Netanyahu has rejected American criticism of the building plans, saying “America shouldn’t be the spokesperson for “Peace Now.”  Whether his position is viewed as good, or bad, it is right.  American statesmen have no business interfering in another nation’s affairs, especially something as benign as home building.  Israel has every right to allow construction on their land. Jerusalem must not be divided.  Israel must remain a sovereign nation with her present defensible borders.   “Peace Now” is wrong.  According to the Bible, Jerusalem has been the capital of the Jewish people for more than 3,500 years.  Maybe it’s time for Israel to figure out a way to effectively, but justly, deal with negative institutions such as “Peace Now” and perhaps it’s also high time for rest of the world to admit that Israel deserves full and unfettered use of her land and the right to fully defend her borders and her citizens without being forced to compromise with terrorists.