Preserving our Christian Culture through Biblical Citizenship!
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TOP SILVER BULLETS
- Florida Counseling Ban Overturned
- Court Upholds Sidewalk Counseling
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FLORIDA COUNSELING BAN OVERTURNED
A Tampa, Florida ordinance banning counseling for minors seeking to overcome “same-sex” attraction or “gender” confusion, has been overturned by a federal judge. William F. Jung ruled that a local government lacks the authority to regulate counseling, which requires action at the state level. Although he was pleased by the ruling, Liberty Counsel attorney Mat Staver maintains the true victory came through expert testimony. It revealed “gender confusion” among minors is fluid, can often “revert” back to the biological sex, and does not inevitably continue into adulthood. Experts also testified formal studies on the topic are lacking, as is a consensus on best practices for minor children. Additionally, they were unable to quantify an “increased risk” for such therapy, which critics falsely claim does widespread harm to all patients. “While striking down the ordinance, the court shredded the arguments used to justify these unconstitutional counseling bans,” Staver declared. “This ruling dooms every municipality in Florida and is the beginning of the end of more than 50 similar local laws around the country.” Staver represented therapist Robert Vazzon and Christian ministry New Hearts Outreach.
SCRIPTURE: Psalm 119:37; 1 Thessalonians 4:3-5.
PRAY: Similar laws across the country are overturned.
ACTION: Write a postcard: “Dear Mat Staver, Congratulations on your significant victory with the Tampa counseling ruling.” Mat Staver, Liberty Counsel, P.O. Box 540774, Orlando, FL 32854.
COURT UPHOLDS SIDEWALK COUNSELING
Pittsburgh’s buffer zone outside of abortion clinics cannot impede the work of pro-life counselors, a federal appeals court has ruled. The three-judge panel ruled the city has a “legitimate” right to offer the buffer zone ordinance, but added enforcement must be “evenhanded.” In his concurring opinion, Judge Thomas Hardiman noted the city “cannot target quiet conversations even if they are not in a tone of ‘kindness, love, hope, gentleness, and help.’ And the City’s enforcement of the Ordinance must be evenhanded.” In the majority ruling Judge Cheryl Ann Krause wrote, “No doubt, if the ordinance by its terms did prohibit one-on-one conversations about abortion but not about other subjects within the zone, it would be highly problematic.” Elissa Graves, an attorney with Alliance Defending Freedom, agreed saying government can’t censor speech. “Pittsburgh politicians aren’t at liberty to silence speech they dislike. As the U.S. Supreme Court recognized in last year’s NIFLA v. Becerra decision, ‘the people lose when the government is the one deciding which ideas should prevail.’”
SCRIPTURE: Proverbs 8:34; 1 Peter 3:15.
PRAY: For unfettered access for pro-life counselors.
ACTION: Write a postcard: “Dear Elissa Graves, Thank you for successfully representing pro-life counselors in Bruni v. City of Pittsburgh.” Elissa Graves, ADF, 15100 N. 90th St., Scottsdale, AZ 85260.
GANTZ TRIES TO FORM UNITY GOVERNMENT
Retired Israeli General Benny Gantz, leader of the Blue and White political alliance, has been given a 28-day window to form a coalition government in an effort to prevent a third election this year. President Reuven Rivlin tapped Gantz, who leads the centrist party, after incumbent Benjamin Netanyahu failed to cobble together a unified coalition. Gantz promised to build a government of national reconciliation, and vowed he would invite Netanyahu and his right-wing Likud party to be part of it. “I accept the mandate from the president with great appreciation. With modesty and lowering my head, I accept this responsibility,” Gantz declared.
SCRIPTURE: Isaiah 43:1; Romans 9:4–5.
PRAY: A unified coalition is finally secured for Israel.
ACTION: For a Prayer and Action meeting, review the Israeli election process on the link below and use it to pray for the current stalemate. Although the dates refer to the April election, the process remains the same.
NFL REVERSES CHRISTIAN PLAYER FINE
A New Orleans Saints player, who was fined $7,017 by the NFL for wearing a “Man of God” headband during a football game, won his appeal against the league and turned the incident into a fundraising opportunity, collecting more than $30,000 for a local hospital. “My agent just told me that I won my appeal and won’t have to pay the headband fine,” linebacker Demario Davis posted on Instagram on Oct. 9. Instead of paying the fine, Davis donated the amount to St. Dominic Hospital in Jackson, Mississippi. He also announced that 100 percent of subsequent sales of the headband, which also comes in “Woman of God” and “Child of God” versions, would benefit the hospital.
SCRIPTURE: Isaiah 43:10; Acts 1:8.
PRAY: Believers are allowed to share their faith at work.
ACTION: Write a postcard: “Dear Demario Davis. Thank you for kindly sharing your faith with the world and donating your NFL fine to the hospital.” Demario Davis, New Orleans Saints, 5800 Airline Dr Metairie, LA 70003.
ACA UPENDED IN DOCTORS’ FAVOR
A federal judge has ruled doctors cannot be forced to assist with gender-reassignment procedures, such as sex-change surgeries. The decision reverses a regulation tied to the Affordable Care Act requiring virtually every doctor to assist with gender-transition procedures, according to the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty. In his decision, District Judge Reed O’Connor wrote the rule “substantially burdens” religious exercise rights in violation of the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act. “Doctors cannot do their jobs if government bureaucrats are trying to force them to perform potentially harmful procedures that violate their medical and moral judgment,” said Luke Goodrich, vice president and senior counsel at Becket representing the Franciscan Alliance and the Christian Medical & Dental Associations.
SCRIPTURE: Psalm 119:9-10; 1 Corinthians 6:18.
PRAY: Believers are allowed to share their faith at work.
ACTION: Write a postcard: “Dear Luke Goodrich, Congratulations on your recent court victory involving the religious freedoms of doctors.” Luke Goodrich, Becket, 1200 New Hampshire Ave. NW, Suite 700, Washington, DC 20036.
YOUNG CHRISTIANS HAVE LESS ANXIETY
Salt & Light Opinion: Those ministering to young adults have another tool to use: a new Barna study showing Christians aged 18 to 35 are far less likely than their non-churchgoing peers to experience anxiety and depression. The study, in partnership with World Vision, is one of the largest global studies of its kind, examining the data of 15,369 people in 25 countries. It found those who attended a place of worship on a weekly basis were less likely to say they experienced anxiety (22%), compared with those who did not (33%). While half of practicing Christians (51%) responded they felt “optimistic about the future”, this fell to a third (34%) among those with no faith. “From this report we do see evidence that some key mentorships and friendships are common among young people with a faith, and patterns in the data at least suggest religion may play some role in keeping loneliness at bay,” shared David Kinnaman, president of Barna Group. Next time you see a young person, try using the data to strike up a conversation.
SCRIPTURE: Psalm 29:11; Colossians 3:15.
PRAY: For opportunities to reach young people for Jesus.
ACTION: For a Prayer and Action meeting, invite young Christians to your group and roleplay ways to reach unchurched young adults using the Barna data.
SALT & LIGHT MINISTRY MOMENT:
NOTE: Ministry Moment is for educational purposes only. Information offered by organizations is from their websites and should not be used as a substitute for your own research.
Tom Stogner – Acting Chief Executive Officer
In a month where we celebrate the early pilgrims arriving in America because of their faith, a modern ship heads into international waters to provide live-saving medical care through Mercy Ships. For 40 years, residents of port cities around the globe have received life-saving medical help from an unlikely source: a floating hospital. That’s the seaworthy mission of the Texas-based ministry. Since its inception in 1978, the ministry has operated as many as three hospital ships, providing 92,000 lifesaving surgeries in 594 ports. The ministry currently operates the Africa Mercy, whose crew of 400 volunteers takes advantage of the ship’s state-of-the-art facilities, clean water, reliable electricity, and care centers. Dubbed a vessel of hope, the Africa Mercy can provide first-rate medical care so cost-effectively as more than 50 percent of the population lives within 100 miles of a coast.
SCRIPTURE: Isaiah 53:5; Luke 9:1.
PRAY: Patients respond to the ministry of Mercy Ships.
ACTION For a Prayer and Action meeting, use the ministry website’s blog or article pages to read about the staff and clients, and then pray over their work.
TERMINATED PROFESSOR VINDICATED
Sociology professor Eric Thompson, a two-time “Faculty of the Year” winner, has won an arbitration case against Moreno Valley College, which fired him for introducing conservative views relating to homosexuality into classroom discussions. He also circulated the film Understanding Same-Sex Attractionthat suggested homosexuality might be a choice rather than hard-wired, as is routinely taught in public schools. According to his attorneys, Thompson included conservative views to challenge his students to defend their assumptions and positions. Several students and colleagues, however, complained about Thompson’s approach, claiming it to be “harassment” and “dangerous.” Instead of promoting academic freedom and critical thinking skills, the community college swiftly terminated Thompson’s employment due to the “immoral” nature of his discussions. After a two-year legal battle including depositions and a multi-day arbitration hearing, Thompson prevailed when the arbitrator ruled in his favor. “The atrocious silencing of this professor, who merely offered a well-balanced presentation of conservative and Bible-based thoughts with prevalent social science teachings, had to be challenged,” declared Brad Dacus, President of Pacific Justice Institute, which represented Thompson.
SCRIPTURE: Isaiah 50:8; Acts 10:34.
PRAY: Academic freedom is restored at colleges.
ACTION: Write a postcard: “Dear Brad Dacus, Thank you for successfully defending Professor Thompson.” Brad Dacus, PJI, P.O. Box 276600, Sacramento, CA 95827.
VOTERS TO CONTROL GAMING EXPANSION
Future decisions on expanding casino gambling in Florida now rest with the public after voters approved Amendment 3 by a commanding 71 percent. The Seminole Tribe and Disney were the primary backers of the measure, which covers slot machines and electronic betting machines. Until the Nov. 6 passage of the amendment, the decisions for gaming expansion rested with the state Legislature. Supporters spent more than $31 million to promote the measure. Although support was mixed in conservative circles, Florida Family Action supported the proposal because of its high voting threshold. According to President John Stemberger, “Amendment 3 freezes casino gambling in Florida at its current levels and removes the power of government to expand them. Any casino expansion in Florida would require a very difficult 60 percent popular vote of the people which is a very high hurdle.” It was a theory also reported on by The Miami Herald. “Changing anything by voter decision is a long process, and would therefore keep competition low for the Seminole Tribe and ensure a more “family friendly” tourism environment here, to Disney’s benefit.
SCRIPTURE: Jeremiah 17:11; 1 Timothy 6:9-10.
PRAY: Voters see the evils of casino expansion.
ACTION: Host a Prayer and Action meeting to study what the Bible says about gambling.
INDIANA TO EXPLORE HATE CRIMES BILL
As members of the Indiana legislature convene Jan. 14 for the start of the 2019 session, conservatives are keeping a close eye on attempts to enact hate-crime legislation. Despite numerous attempts to decree such legislation, Indiana remains one of five states without a specific law. Many conservatives believe such laws unjustly protect only certain classes of people. Rep. Thomas Washburne, who chaired a legislative committee exploring the issue, pointed out that Indiana already gives judges the discretion to enhance sentences when there is bias against the victims, even though the specific term “hate crime” is not used. Micah Clark, executive director of the American Family Association of Indiana, argued against such legislation, saying the Hoosier state has “one of the broadest anti-hate crime measures in America.” He also added that in 2015, Indiana had the 31st lowest rate of hate-crime incidents, while the 15 states with the highest incidence of hate crimes “all have laws containing a politically favored victim list, which is what advocates of this law want here.”
SCRIPTURE: Leviticus 19:15; James 2:2-4.
PRAY: Government protects equal justice for all people.
ACTION: Write a postcard: “Dear Speaker Brian Bosma, I urge you block hate-crime legislation as political agendas can unfairly target groups.” Speaker Brian Bosma, Indiana House of Representatives, 200 W. Washington St., Indianapolis, IN 46204
LAREDO TABLES LGBT LAW—FOR NOW
Officials with Texas Values and other religious leaders are celebrating after the Laredo City Council tabled a proposed “anti-discrimination” ordinance that would have forced private businesses and contractors with the city to violate their sincerely held religious beliefs on same-sex “marriage” and gender identity. The city will now review some of the legal issues presented by Texas Values attorney Jonathan Saenz before deciding whether to pursue the ordinance. Saenez, who also serves as the president of Texas Values, released a statement saying, “We applaud the Laredo City Council for hearing the concerns of its citizens and not opening themselves up to a lawsuit with this flawed and dangerous ordinance. By setting aside this proposed LGBT ordinance for now, religious liberty rights for citizens of Laredo remain protected for another day.” The proposed ordinance would have given special legal status based on sexual orientation and gender identity. The U.S. Supreme Court recently ruled, though, in favor of Colorado baker Jack Philips who was punished for his sincerely held religious beliefs under a similar law.
SCRIPTURE: Matthew 7:13; 1 Peter 3:15.
PRAY: Laredo forgoes “anti-discrimination” ordinance.
ACTION: Write a postcard to Laredo’s Mayor: “Dear Mayor Pete Saenz, Please protect religious freedoms by blocking one-sided “anti-discrimination” laws.” Mayor Pete Saenz, 1110 Houston St,. Laredo, Texas 78040
Salt & Light Sunday: December 16, 2018
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