Sep 28, 2014

Ragbag Headliners

Thomas More Law Center Petitions Supreme Court—

Stop Retaliation against Christian Police Captain Who Objected to Islamic Indoctrination

On Monday September 15, 2014, the Thomas More Law Center (TMLC), a public interest law firm based in Ann Arbor, MI, filed a petition in the US Supreme Court to review the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals decision which upheld the punishment of Tulsa, Oklahoma police captain, Paul Fields after he refused to attend or order personnel under his command to attend proselytizing services at an Islamic Mosque with ties to the Muslim Brotherhood.

Richard Thompson, the President and Chief Counsel for TMLC, commented, “This case is another startling example of applying a double standard when Christian civil rights are involved. If this were a Catholic or Protestant prayer event, I am positive no Muslim police officer would have been ordered to attend. Further, no federal court would have approved the punishment of a Muslim officer had he refused to attend.”

The event at issue, dubbed “Law Enforcement Appreciation Day,” had nothing to do with any official police function. Rather, it included a mosque tour, meetings with local Muslims and Muslim leadership, observing a weekly prayer service, familiarizing the officers with Islamic religious books, and lectures on Islamic beliefs, Mohammad, Mecca, and how Muslims pray. The event was scheduled for Friday, March 4, 2011—Friday being the Islamic “holy day.” 

The event was originally voluntary, but when not enough officers were willing to attend, it became mandatory.

After the event, the mosque posted pictures of officers who were in attendance on their website with the caption “Discover Islam Classes for Non-Muslims.”

The mosque showed its true colors when a week before the March 4th event, it hosted a dinner and speech by Imam Siraj Wahhaj, an unindicted co-conspirator in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. In 1992, Wahhaj told a Muslim audience in New Jersey, “If only Muslims were more clever politically, they could take over the United States and replace its constitutional government with a caliphate.”

In another sermon, Wahhaj said: “In time, this so-called democracy will crumble, and there will be nothing, and the only thing that will remain will be Islam.”

Captain Fields objected to attending the Islamic proselytizing event based upon his Christian beliefs. As a police officer, Captain Fields was strictly prohibited from discussing his Christian faith while on duty. Therefore attendance at the event created a conflict and a moral dilemma. For raising his sincere religious objection, Captain Fields, a 16-year police veteran with a stellar record, was stripped of his command, transferred to another division where he was subsequently assigned to the graveyard shift, and subjected to an Internal Affairs (IA) investigation.

When Captain Fields defended his religious freedom by retaining the TMLC and filing a federal lawsuit to protect his First Amendment rights, the City of Tulsa retaliated against him. The City issued a personnel order against Captain Fields reflecting that the lawsuit and the publicity the lawsuit garnered brought discredit upon their police department.

In compelling deposition testimony in his favor, Police Major Julie Harris, Captain Fields’ immediate supervisor testified:
  • The Tulsa Police Department retaliated against Fields for exercising his constitutional rights.
  • Captain Fields had the right to object to the order to attend the Mosque because of his deeply held religious beliefs.
  • Captain Fields was punitively transferred for invoking his constitutional rights.
  • There was no need for Captain Fields to attend the Mosque if he had a religious conviction against doing so and there was no crime to investigate.
  • Captain Fields was the top performing shift commander in his division.
  • Captain Fields’ punishment was inconsistent with other similarly situated officers of his rank.
  • The allegations of the Internal Investigation of Captain Fields could not be sustained.
Erin Mersino, the TMLC attorney handling the case for the Law Center commented, “The matter is now ripe for the United States Supreme Court’s review. As the petition states, the City of Tulsa has been allowed to punish a public employee, Captain Fields, for his right to seek redress of a civil rights violation in court. The Thomas More Law Center is hopeful that the United States Supreme Court will step in to right the wrongful punishment and retaliation Captain Fields has faced because of his Christian beliefs.”

The TMLC devotes much of its efforts to countering the Stealth Jihad waged by Muslims in the United States, as well as defending the religious freedom of Christians. It has been representing Captain Fields since 2011. –Thomas Law Center (EM News Alert)

A Love Story Of An Injured Vet That Will Take Your Breath Away



No Religious Left “Split” On Anti-LGBT Religious Exemption

This weekend, the day before President Obama signed an executive order barring federal contractors from engaging in employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, the Atlantic’s Molly Ball published a piece asserting that a “controversy” was emerging in the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision in the Hobby Lobby case that “has split gay-rights and faith groups on the left, with wide-ranging political fallout that some now fear could hurt both causes.”

That statement has slim, if any evidence to support it. In fact, there is overwhelming evidence against it.

“There is no division on the left,” Sharon Groves, Director of the Religion and Faith Program at the Human Rights Campaign, told me, referring to the overwhelming progressive religious opposition to the inclusion of a religious exemption in today’s order. Obama signed the order without a religious exemption.

As I reported two weeks ago, 100 religious leaders signed a letter to  Obama unequivocally opposing a religious exemption in the order. Marianne Duddy-Burke, executive director of Dignity USA, a pro-LGBT rights Catholic group, told me that letter garnered “quick, rapid support” within a day or two of being drafted. “Everyone was on exactly the same page,” she said.

That letter was followed by a letter from civil liberties and diverse pro-LGBT religious groups, initially collecting 69 signatures, and later 98.

“I don’t know any people on the left who were for the [executive order] religious exemption,” said Duddy-Burke, adding that advocacy groups may differ on questions of strategy—such as whether to drop support for the Employment Non-Discrimination Act if the bill includes a religious exemption. That assessment was echoed by other leaders I spoke with, who all emphasized those differences were ones of strategy in the post-Hobby Lobby legal landscape, not over whether there should be religious exemptions to laws guaranteeing LGBT rights.

Ball’s first piece of evidence is a quote from the centrist think tank Third Way, long a player in efforts to find “common ground” on hot button culture war issues, an effort that in the area of LGBT rights, at least, has been rapidly sidelined. Mystifyingly, Ball—who I must add here is a reporter I have long admired—describes Third Way’s “research and activism on gay marriage” as “instrumental to that cause’s mainstream acceptance.” (If anyone can point me to evidence that description is true, I’m all ears.)

“The narrative that’s now beginning to form is that Democrats are against religion. It’s not true, and it’s very dangerous,” Third Way’s Lanae Erickson Hatalsky tells Ball.

That’s so 2006! Who is pressing that narrative, aside from the religious right? Just because conservative religious figures were pressing for an exemption most certainly doesn’t mean that was the religious view. There was overwhelming religious support for the executive order, minus the exemption, and Obama embraced the presence of religious leaders at today’s White House signing. Someone in the audience even shouted “amen!”, to which the president responded, “Amen.  Amen. . . . Got the ‘amen’ corner here.”

The Rev. Canon Susan Russell, Senior Associate Minister at All Saints Church in Pasadena, California, attended the White House signing today. Ball, said Russell, “got it wrong.”

Ball cites the abandoned effort of Sojourners’ Jim Wallis to send a letter to Obama urging the inclusion of an exemption, as well as the letter organized by former Obama campaign and White House staffer Michael Wear, signed by 14 religious leaders, as evidence of this alleged division on the left. As I wrote two weeks ago, the letter organized by Wear isn’t evidence of Obama allies cutting against the president’s pro-LGBT action; it’s evidence of one former staffer, who now consults for religious organizations, pressing the president to take a position that is at odds with the overwhelming unanimity of pro-LGBT religious leaders and advocacy organizations.

“There was certainly no division over what should happen with the executive order from what I consider long-term activists for LGBT equality,” said Russell. “I think it’s delightful that Jim Wallis has decided to come along, and he’s welcome along the 21st century train towards making liberty and justice for all actually mean all.” (Ball reports that Wallis and Wear “see themselves as deeply, spiritually committed to gay rights.”)

“But the fact that Jim Wallis and some other folks would prefer a broader religious exemption,” said Russell, “that’s not splitting the religious left.”

Speaking of the religious left that advocates for full equality for LGBT people, Russell said, “We’re not in disarray.” -Religious Dispatches

During These Serious And Troubled Times Remember These Four Great Religious Truths:

1. Muslims do not recognize Jews as God's Chosen People.
2. Jews do not recognize Jesus as the Messiah.
3. Protestants do not recognize the Pope as the leader of the Christian world.
4. Baptists do not recognize each other at the liquor store.

GOOD SAMARITAN

After a Sunday school teacher told her class the story of the Good Samaritan. She asked the class, "If you saw a person lying on the roadside, all wounded and bleeding, what would you do?"
After moments of total silence, a little girl piped up, "I think I'd throw up."

DID NOAH GO FISHING?

A Sunday school teacher asked the children, "Do you think Noah did a lot of fishing when he was on the Ark during the Flood?"

A smart little boy replied, "How could he with just two worms?"

AN UNANSWERED PRAYER

The preacher's 5 year-old daughter noticed that her father always paused and bowed his head for a moment before starting his sermon. One day, she asked him why.

Proud that his little daughter was so observant, he replied, "Well, I always ask God to help me preach a good sermon."

"How come He hasn't answered you yet?" she asked.

BEING THANKFUL

The rabbi told precocious little Aaron, "I heard your Mother prays for you each night? That's wonderful and commendable. What does she say?"
Little Aaron replied, "Thank God he's in bed!"

ALL MEN/ALL GIRLS

Every time, little 4-year-old Kelly, said her bedtime prayers, she would ask God to bless every family member, every friend, and every house pet (current and past), and at the end of every prayer, Kelly always said, "All girls."
 
Finally, curiosity got the best of her Mom who asked, "Kelly, why do you always say 'All girls' at the end of your prayer?"

Kelly responded, "Because everybody always end their prayer by saying 'All Men'!

A PRAYER BEFORE THE MEAL

Little Jimmy and his family were having Sunday dinner at his Grandmother's house. Everyone was seated around the table as the food was being served. When Little Jimmy received his plate, he started eating right away.

"Jimmy, please wait until after the prayer for the food," said his mother.

"I don't need to," Jimmy replied.

"Of course, you do. We always pray before eating at our house," his mother insisted.

"That's at our house. But this is Grandma's house, and she knows how to cook,” Jimmy retorted.

~Contributed by Ralph/Author’s Unknown

Surreal Landscapes Made From Food

Artist and photographer Carl Warner began his career in landscape and still photography, working many years in the advertising industry. Seeking new inspiration and direction one day, he happened upon a market with Portobello mushrooms that reminded him of trees from an alien world. This would become his first foodscape and the start of a new and exciting direction in his career. Warner’s foodscapes have garnered international media attention and the series has led to books, interviews and merchandising. The foodscapes success has also allowed Warner to pursue a number of artistic and personal projects (i.e., the Bodyscapes series featured previously). Below you will find a small collection of the Sifter’s personal foodscape favourites. You can find the complete collection (79 and counting) over on Carl’s official website: carlwarner.com. –Twisted Sifter
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The Global Tsunami Against 'Good': Antinomianism and Immigration Part II

California is now a de facto borderless state, according to the pronouncement of its leading elder in the gates of governance, Jerry Brown. His reasoning is a vivid example of the wandering from basic doctrines that is so prevalent today.

Brown was introducing Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto at an August 25 event in Los Angeles. The Governor, according to the Los Angeles Times, declared that immigrants are "all welcome in California," and it didn't matter whether or not "they had permission to be in the United States."

Brown seemed to be conflating himself with the copper-clad figure in New York Harbor whose great proclamation reads:

"Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed, to me:
I lift my lamp beside the golden door."

What Brown and most of California's gate-sitters have forgotten was the context of the age in which the great declaration on the Statue of Liberty was written. Emma Lazarus penned the words in 1883 when the spiritual-philosophical-ethical-moral consensus that made America a sanctuary still held, though severely battered.

In our times a rushing tidal wave threatens Lady Liberty because a borderless region is no longer a sanctuary from those suffering under lawless regimes, but loses the very sanctity that makes it a safe and opportune place for the "tired... poor... wretched refuse... homeless, and tempest-tossed."

The most dangerous place on earth is a borderless land with no boundaries. The flood of antinomianism sweeps in, unchecked, washing away the foundations of all the institutions that make true freedom and opportunity – and the sanctity of sanctuary –possible.

The simple truth is that if we establish solid spiritual-philosophical-ethical-moral boundaries, the borders will take care of themselves. Healthy immigration policy that provides sanctuary for the "homeless" and "tempest-tossed" will grow in the rich soil of the worldview that sets those sacred boundaries.

Loss of the sanctity of boundary therefore leads to the collapse of borders.

Tsunamis first affect the boundaries of the seas, and then the uproar of the oceans washes over the land, and destroys everything they strike.

John, in the Revelation vision, sees a vast spiritual tidal wave that upsets whole nations. In the shocking images, John says, "I saw a beast coming out of the seas." (Revelation 13:1) Many interpreters identify the "beast" with the "Man of Lawlessness" Paul writes about in 2 Thessalonians 2. But what is the "sea" in Revelation's symbolism? Revelation 17:15 answers it: "The waters which you saw where the harlot sits are peoples and multitudes and nations and tongues."

The oceans therefore in the Revelation visions are, as Emma Lazarus puts it, "tempest-tossed" nations, their particular people groups, and cultures. Out of such chaos lawlessness arises like a serpent whose ferocious appetite threatens the whole world.

But what roils the seas? What creates the vast flood of antinomian lawlessness?

The quake that ignites antinomianism – the lawlessness that rebels against the very character of God – is apostasy, a "falling away" from sound doctrine and its truths.

Paul writes, in 2 Thessalonians 2, that "the day of the Lord... will not come unless the apostasy comes first." (Emphasis added)

As stated in part one of this series, apostasy is the violation of the most sacred of boundaries, the "ancient" ones that should not be moved. (Proverbs 22:28; 23:10) The authentic Church is the conservator of those values that could make of every land a "sanctuary state." When the Church embraces doctrinal lawlessness all the structures surrounding it – Family, Education, Governance, and Business – begin to erode.

I am not arguing for a Christian theocracy, but for adherence to the basic doctrines of life, love and care described in Scripture. Winston Churchill argued that the great goal of the Second World War was the survival of what he called repeatedly "Christian civilization." Richard Langworth, a Churchill scholar, says that by "Christian civilization" Churchill thought that Christianity's "principles applied broadly to all of mankind regardless of religion." Thus, Langworth continues, Churchill

"did not mean to exclude Jews or Buddhists or Muslims, he meant those words with a much broader sense. Just as, to Churchill, the word 'man' meant humankind, his allusions to Christianity embodied principles he considered 'universal' and that 'applied broadly to all of mankind regardless of religion.'"

The great tragedy of the current immigration debate is that it has lost focus on those universal values. The contemporary brawl has shifted the core guiding principle from sanctuary to utility. Conservatives in big corporate structures want cheap labor, and leftist progressives aim at building an imperishable new voting bloc. Thus the "illegals" are pawns in commercial and/or political machines – indeed, making capitalist commerce and socialist progressivism strange bedfellows.

Sanctuary removes antinomian utility, and puts the focus on human beings. But it also emphasizes the responsibility of the sanctuary nation maintaining the principles and higher laws that give true security and opportunity to those "huddled masses yearning to be free."

Prudent watchers don't open the floodgates when a tidal wave is roaring in. California, perched at the edge of a frightful fault of antinomianism as threatening as the San Andreas, is not ready for the flood, and neither is the United States. The immigrants will be shoved into soulless residential buildings that crush healthy family life. Their children will be sent to schools who may have a "common core" but no grasp of the "common values" that once formed a national consensus and identity, and the "huddled masses" will be made the dependents of a welfare system that will perpetuate their poverty and rob them of their own enterprise.

Those truly in need of sanctuary must be able to discover hope. They need a nation that is vibrant with real freedom, not the delusion of antinomianism, a country that helps them anticipate and claim the future, not dread it.

Is there any hope left anywhere in the increasingly lawless world? We look at that question in the next installment of this series. –Christian Post

Let The Lower Lights Be Burning

Only Hope We Find GOD Again Before It Is Too Late!

The following was written by Ben Stein and recited by him on CBS Sunday Morning Commentary.

My confession:

I don't like getting pushed around for being a Jew, and I don't think Christians like getting pushed around for being Christians. I think people who believe in God are sick and tired of getting pushed around, period. I have no idea where the concept came from, that America is an explicitly atheist country. I can't find it in the Constitution and I don't like it being shoved down my throat.

Or maybe I can put it another way: where did the idea come from that we should worship celebrities and we aren't allowed to worship God as we understand Him? I guess that's a sign that I'm getting old, too. But there are a lot of us who are wondering where these celebrities came from and where the America we knew went to.
 
In light of the many jokes we send to one another for a laugh, this is a little different: This is not intended to be a joke; it's not funny, it's intended to get you thinking.

In light of recent events--terrorists attacks, school shootings, etc. I think it started when Madeleine Murray O'Hare (she was murdered, her body found a few years ago) complained she didn't want prayer in our schools, and we said OK. Then someone said you better not read the Bible in school .

The Bible says thou shalt not kill; thou shalt not steal, and love your neighbor as yourself. And we said OK.
 
Then Dr. Benjamin Spock said we shouldn't spank our children when they misbehave, because their little personalities would be warped and we might damage their self-esteem (Dr. Spock's son committed suicide). We said an expert should know what he's talking about. And we said okay.

Now we're asking ourselves why our children have no conscience, why they don't know right from wrong, and why it doesn't bother them to kill strangers, their classmates, and themselves.

Probably, if we think about it long and hard enough, we can figure it out. I think it has a great deal to do with, 'WE REAP WHAT WE SOW.'

Funny how simple it is for people to trash God and then wonder why the world's going to hell. Funny how we believe what the newspapers say, but question what the Bible says. Funny how you can send 'jokes' through e-mail and they spread like wildfire, but when you start sending messages regarding the Lord, people think twice about sharing. Funny how lewd, crude, vulgar and obscene articles pass freely through cyberspace, but public discussion of God is suppressed in the school and workplace.

Are you laughing yet?

My Best Regards, Honestly and Respectfully,

Ben Stein

Bible Boot Camp - Behavioral Modification Therapy

I sat down on my couch last week, digging through my DVR like any normal Thursday night, when I happened across a program I remembered seeing mentioned on my Facebook wall, prompting me to set it up to record.  The title -- KIDNAPPED FOR CHRIST.

As Jon and I sat down to watch this Showtime documentary, I admit, in my head, I had already made a pre-judgment about what the film would entail.  We see daily in our newsfeed or in the media stories about conversion therapy or “gay reparative treatment”. But what I found was more horrible than I ever imagined.

The documentary follows several young troubled teens who have been sent to Escuela Caribe, (photo left) a Christian “school” in the Dominican Republic, specializing in “Culture Shock Therapy” and behavior modification programs.

One of the children the story follows is 17 year old David. He recounts how he was awakened one day by his parents and told that he was being sent to a school in a foreign country.  With much protest, David was eventually “dragged to his parent’s car with a belt around his waist” and sent off to the Dominican Republic.

In the beginning of the documentary, the school allows a camera crew to follow the daily activities and interview the students; even some staff were interviewed. As more and more of the story unfolded, I sat there feeling anger growing inside of me thinking, this isn’t school, this is abuse. Child abuse!

These kids were being broken down by pastors and so called house fathers (older peers that help enforce punishment and oversee the dorms). The kids are encouraged by the house fathers:

    “We have great opportunity once again to see what God is about in our life.  Are you willing to submit to God’s will in your life? Persevere through these failures that sent you down here?” 

One house father, Brian Wall, was captured in an interview discussing the QR - Quiet Room - which could be compared to a prison solitary confinement:

    “I’m not going to say there was not any form of abuse, there’s no denying that whatsoever”.

The kids' daily routines consisted of, cooking, cleaning, manual labor and bible studies, with punishment for deviation. Routine inspections were also performed on their dorms, with what seemed like military or prison expectations. The beds were made in military fashion with special corners. If clothes weren’t properly hung, they were ripped out of the closet and thrown on the floor and then the owners were punished.

The students were subjected to a range of abuse including intense forced labor, physical beatings (called "swats"), and various forms of emotional abuse. Student progress was recorded on point sheets.  The higher you scored the higher the level you attained and the less abuse you were subjected to.  The house fathers would coerce the students by bribing them with the point sheets. Students had to ask permission for everything. “May I step in and eat?” was a question from Beth, one of the female students, at dinner time.  When she didn’t get an answer, she just shrugged her shoulders and said, “Patience is a virtue, I guess!”

I have to tell you, I as watched this play out on my television screen, my anger turned to sorrow. I literally had tears running down my face.  I felt for these kids who had no choice in their own daily life.  Granted some of these children were troubled and even stated that this place saved their life, but for David and many others, they were dumbfounded by why they were there.  David (right) could only guess that his parents were angry with him after revealing to them he was gay:

    “They sent me here to hide me. I don’t trust my parents for sending me here. So I don’t trust the program. I’m trying to find the trust because I want my parents back so bad.” David went on to say, “I feel like I’m going to lose my mind here, I feel like I’m going to crack.”

The documentary team stated that the school didn’t allow them to film confrontations between the staff and students.  They ended up setting up equipment in secret to capture some of these moments.  The school only wanted “pretty” scenes. One of the students went on to say:

    “If you knew what really went on, you would be sad. Maybe it is abuse, maybe it is training. I’m supposed to be leaving in August but things change, they can always change your parents’ minds, for money.” 

With a yearly tuition of $72,000, Escuela Caribe has a higher tuition than the average tuition at Harvard University - $38,000 to $60,000 a year.

This so called therapy is doing more harm than good.  Parents are deplorable for sending their children out of the country and out of the federal government's reach to God’s Boot Camp! I have to say that I was very grateful for the parents I was given in this life!

In the film it was coming up on David’s eighteenth birthday and he was sure that he would be able to leave then:

    “There has to be some king of law against holding you here past the age of eighteen. I know this is the Dominican Republic but this is a US establishment and I’m a US citizen. I should be free by my eighteenth birthday.”

But no! David was told by the staff and the pastor at the school that he didn't have rights in the Dominican Republic.

Soon after the film crew was kicked out!

David's friend Angie, heard about the place through a note David sent through the documentary crew. She began getting a group together to go down and get David out on his eighteenth birthday.  They tried to get Marc Ellis of the United States Consulate involved because David was an adult, but when they confronted Escuela Caribe with paperwork, they were told David wasn’t there and they were not able to see him. It became clear to Angie and the other would-be rescuers, that they were not going to gain access to David.

They returned to the United States empty handed.

Seven weeks later, a U.S. Judge ordered a writ of habeas corpus requiring David to be set free. Upon his release David was scared into not talking to anyone. Escuela Caribe threatened to sue the documentary team. At first, for fear of getting anyone in trouble, David complied and wouldn’t speak about his ordeal to Angie or the documentary team. But shortly thereafter, David reached out and explained that the staff had warned him that if he went further with the interviews, he would destroy any chance of having a relationship with his parents.

David met in Colorado with the crew and wanted his story told.

Towards the end of the film, the crew caught up with some of the children who had been released from Escuela Caribe earlier and were now living their lives.

    “The Quiet Room was the worst thing down there.” - Former student.

     “I still get nightmares about the swats, (a running punishment- inaudible) until the point of coughing up blood – I can’t forget these things.” - Former student.

    “I try to think about the positive, I am angry at the staff members who watched the bad things that happened to students and did nothing.” – Former employee.

    “It’s crazy how they would twist the words of the bible just to make their actions and what they were doing seem legit.” – Former student.

    “I did whatever they said I should do to get out.” – Former student.

Facts from the Film that are shown on the films ending --

     These schools exist because they are in places out of reach of the federal Government.  None of these programs are subject to any federal regulation.  Since the 1970’s, at least 157 American teenagers have died in behavior modification programs. According to Forbes magazine, programs like this are a 2 billion dollar industry.  Most parents they say are tricked into sending their children to programs like this.

    Retiring Rep. George Miller from Ca, has tried bringing action in Congress 4 times, failing to ever have this matter voted on.

    In January 2012, New Horizons Youth Ministries and Escuela Caribe shut its doors. The property in the Dominican Republic was donated to Lifeline Youth and Family Services. They renamed it “Crosswinds”.  They are currently enrolling teens in their behavior modification program.

For more information on how you can stop abuse in adolescent residential programs go to:

www.kidnappedforchrist.com

Watch the trailer:



Derek Penton-Robicheaux, 36, is a native of Mississippi and a longtime resident of New Orleans.  He holds degrees in computer information systems and paramedicine.  After more than five years together, Derek and his husband, Jonathan Penton-Robicheaux, were legally married in Iowa on Sept. 23, 2012. The two are the first plaintiffs involved in the Federal Same-Sex Marriage Lawsuit in Louisiana, Robicheaux et al. v Caldwell.

Sep 21, 2014

Ragbag Headliners

Iraq Crisis "Worst Persecution Since Holocaust"

Human rights group Amnesty International has condemned Islamic State (IS) terrorists of committing war crimes.

According to investigator Donatella Rovera, the human rights organization has procured evidence that Islamic State is committing an “ethnic cleansing,” or ridding north Iraq of Christians and other religious minorities.

"The massacres and abductions being carried out by the Islamic State provide harrowing new evidence that a wave of ethnic cleansing against minorities is sweeping across northern Iraq," Rovera said.

Amnesty International recently released a 26-page report detailing the acts of persecution that IS has committed throughout recent weeks. According to the group, 830,000 Christians, Shiite Muslims, Yazidis and Mandeans have been forced out of their homes. “Hundreds if not thousands” of Yazidi women and children have been kidnapped, and many Iraqis that practice religions other than Islam have been killed.

Canon Andrew White, the “Vicar of Baghdad” has refused to leave the area despite the desperation situation. He said that what is happening in Iraq is “the worst reality of religious persecution since the Holocaust.” -Christian Headlines


Mormons, Catholics, Baptists Urge High Court To Act On Gay Marriage

The religious groups urged the Supreme Court on the basis of 'tradition' and 'religious freedom' to uphold a state's right to disallow gay and lesbian couples to wed.

The Mormon church and four religious organizations are asking the U.S. Supreme Court to intervene and settle once and for all the question of whether states can outlaw gay marriage.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, in a statement Friday, said it joined a friend-of-the-court brief asking the high court to hear Utah's marriage case.

Also taking part in the filing were The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, the National Association of Evangelicals, the Ethics & Religious Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention and the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod.

Each teaches that marriage is between a man and a woman.

"The time has come to end the divisive national debate as to whether the Constitution mandates same-sex marriage," the brief states.

Multiple organizations and governmental entities on both sides of the debate have filed similar briefs asking the court to take up the issue.

The religious groups urged the Supreme Court on the basis of tradition and religious freedom to uphold a state's right to disallow gay and lesbian couples to wed.

"Legal uncertainty is especially burdensome for religious organizations and religious believers increasingly confronted with thorny questions," the brief says. "Is their right to refrain from participating in, recognizing or facilitating marriages between persons of the same sex, contrary to their religious convictions, adequately shielded by the First Amendment and other legal protections? Or is further legislation needed to guard religious liberties in these and other sensitive areas?"

Last month, attorneys for three Utah gay and lesbian couples formally asked the U.S. Supreme Court to take Utah's appeal of a favorable gay marriage ruling.

The plaintiffs said they asked for the review even though they won at the federal appellate court level because they want the Supreme Court to weigh in on whether state same-sex marriage bans violate the Constitution.

The high court is under no obligation to take Utah's case or the others. –The Gayly