Christian Leaders to Obama: Thanks for Standing Up for Religious Freedom Abroad; Please Protect Religious Freedom in US Too

Ten Christian leaders sent a Wednesday letter to President Barack Obama, thanking him for his National Prayer Breakfast speech in which he called for expanding religious freedom abroad. They also urged him to pay greater attention to his own policies that are infringing upon the religious freedom of his own citizens.

“As religious leaders we write to express our appreciation to you for lifting up the issue of international religious liberty in your recent address at the National Prayer Breakfast,” they wrote.

The letter specifically thanks Obama for mentioning prisoners Saeed Abedini and Kenneth Bae, and for announcing that he will soon name a new ambassador at large for International Religious Freedom.

“Religious liberty and freedom of conscience were universally acclaimed by America’s Founders and Framers to be foundational for all further human rights and liberties,” the letter adds. “It is worthy and inspiring that you have called upon all Americans to stand up for the free exercise of religion at this critical hour.”

The Christian leaders then note a disconnect between Obama’s call for religious freedom abroad while restricting religious freedom in the United States. They ask Obama to preserve the religious freedom of his own citizens who have not been fully protected by the president’s policies.

“As you promote religious freedom abroad, please also give attention to preserving the First Amendment freedoms of all Americans here at home,” the letter states. “Some Americans are concerned that your administration’s domestic policies do not fully protect the religious convictions of all our citizens. Your leadership abroad will be strongest as you point to the robust religious freedom protection that is provided even to those who may be critics of your administration.”

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Many of the signers of the letter have been outspoken opponents of the Obama administration’s birth control mandate. The mandate requires employers, even most religious employers, to cover contraception, sterilization and drugs that could cause an abortion in their employee’s health care plans.

Next summer, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear a challenge to the mandate from two Christian-owned companies, Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Woods Specialties.

One of the letter’s signers is Leith Anderson, president of the National Association of Evangelicals. NAE has filed a “friend of the court” brief in support of Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Woods.

“The government does not have the right to violate the religious beliefs of any of its citizens, including business owners,” Anderson said in a released statement. “Business owners in America should be able to run their businesses according to their religious faith and values.”

In his National Prayer Breakfast Speech, Obama eloquently reminded the audience that the right of every person to practice their faith how they choose is central to human dignity.

“Today we profess the principles we know to be true,” he said. “We know that each of us is wonderfully made in the image of God. We therefore believe in the inherent dignity of every human being – dignity that no earthly power can take away. And central to that dignity is freedom of religion – the right of every person to practice their faith how they choose, to change their faith if they choose, or to practice no faith at all, and to do this free from persecution and fear.”

The rest of the signers are Cardinal Donald Wuerl, archbishop of Washington; Russell D. Moore, president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention; Joel C. Hunter, senior pastor of Northland, A Church Distributed; Samuel Rodriguez, president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference; Dwayne Leslie, director of legislative affairs for the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists; Brent McBurney, president & CEO of Advocates International; John K. Jenkins, Sr., senior pastor of First Baptist Church of Glenarden; William “Bill” P. Robinson, interim president of the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities; and Stephen F. Schneck, director of the Institute for Policy Research & Catholic Studies at The Catholic University of America.

Liberal Prof.: Obama Has Brought Us to ‘Constitutional Tipping Point’

During testimony before the House Judiciary Committee Wednesday, liberal constitutional professor Jonathan Turley said that the growth of executive power is “accelerating” and that the growth of such power has brought us to a “constitutional tipping point”.

“I believe we are now at a constitutional tipping point in our system,” Turley, who teaches law at George Washington University, said.  “It’s a dangerous point for our system to be in, and I believe that your response has to begin before this president leaves office.  No one in our system goes it alone.”

Turley noted that while he agrees with the president on most of his policies, it still “does not alter the fact that I believe the means he is doing is wrong” and that the continued acceleration of executive power can be “a dangerous change in our system.”

http://freebeacon.com/liberal-prof-obama-has-brought-us-to-constitutional-tipping-point/

Florida’s Traditional Marriage Laws: The Gay Agenda’s Next Target

Liberty Counsel, Liberty University’s legal arm, is reaching in to stop gay right activists from declaring Florida’s marriage laws unconstitutional.

On behalf of a diverse coalition of citizen groups crossing racial, political and religious lines, Liberty Counsel today filed a motion to intervene in Partero v. Ruvin, the lawsuit initiated by LGBT lobbyists.

In 2006, 62 percent of Floridians voted to pass Amendment 2, amending their state constitution to reaffirm marriage as the union of one man and one woman.

http://www.charismanews.com/us/42941-will-florida-s-traditional-marriage-amendment-last

Couple Get Five Kids in Nine Months: Adopts Triplets Then Pregnant With Twins

When God blesses, sometimes He blesses abundantly — and that is certainly the case for a couple from Oklahoma. Sarah and Andy Justice of Tulsa, Oklahoma had just adopted triplets when she found out she was pregnant with twins.

That’s five children in the span of nine months, but the Justices tell the Christian Post they have no regrets.

“We really felt this was something God wanted us to do. And sometimes, when you follow God’s will in one thing, it leads to the next thing,” Sarah said.

Twins Abigail and Andrew were born after the Justices already had triplets, and even though the couple ended up with five children in less than a year, they’ve been blessed with a lot of help. Their congregation at Eastland Baptist Church has been cooking meals for the family, friends and family have set up a weekly rotation to help Sarah while Andy works, and even though the Justices need 300 diapers a week, it hasn’t been a financial strain at all.

“They’ve all been donated so far,” Andy explained.

The Justices had struggled to conceive for 3-and-a-half years before considering in vitro fertilization. However, after discovering that spending between $30,000 and $60,000 would only give them a 10 percent chance of pregnancy, they decided against it.

“We took that as a ‘no,’” Andy Justice told Tulsa World. “So we started the adoption process.”

AFA: Dodge should find family-friendly way to describe their pickups

American Family Association (AFA) is encouraging concerned families to contact local Dodge dealers and the Chrysler Corporation over a television commercial that included profanity.

The commercial aired on the Fox Network last Sunday, February 23rd, during the much-watched Daytona 500.

“American families shouldn’t be subject, without warning or expectation, to profanity on a Sunday afternoon while watching a sporting event,” AFA President Tim Wildmon said of the controversial commercial.

The commercial, which aired multiple times, advertised the Dodge Ram pickup’s towing and hauling ability.

AFA suggests contacting Dodge through local dealerships, on social media, and on the Dodge Ram website.

Click here for more information and to read the AFA press release.

Inauguration of the North Carolina Pastors Network

  • Unveiling Islam Conference Announced
  • News Conference in Response to LGBT Event
  • U.S. Supreme Court Hears Landmark Case Involving Prayer

As Hearing Looms, Michigan Pastors Gather to Support God’s Design for Marriage

PHILADELPHIA—Yesterday in Michigan, more than 100 pastors gathered for a press conference in Detroit to stand in unity against challenges to a state amendment that defines marriage as between one man and one woman—an amendment that was passed by voters a decade ago.

Sam Rohrer, President of the American Pastors’ Network (APN, www.AmericanPastorsNetwork.net), says he is encouraged by the commitment to defend marriage by pastors in Michigan—and it’s a call that pastors around the country must answer.

“Slowly but surely, God’s definition of marriage is being re-written in every state of the Union,” said Rohrer, also President of Pennsylvania Pastors’ Network (PPN, www.PAPastors.net). “It is high time that pastors in ordained positions of authority and Christians generally stand up for the truth of God’s Word particularly in the matter of the family. To sit idle in times of moral disintegration will not only ensure God’s judgment but greater lawlessness. As the opponents of moral truth attempt to pull down God’s institution of family, the very foundation of our Republic—the Constitution and the Rule of Law—is undermined as the courts seek to overturn the very will of the people. For example, in Michigan, nearly two-thirds of voters passed an amendment to protect marriage, and now that is in jeopardy. We applaud, support and pray for the pastors standing up for marriage in Michigan.”

The state amendment protecting marriage in Michigan is being threatened, as the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan plans to conduct a hearing today on a challenge to the 2004 amendment that passed with the support of 59 percent of voters. The original amendment also bans the adoption of children by homosexuals.

Yesterday in Michigan, the pastors highlighted several key points about God’s design for marriage:

  • God created marriage as a covenant between one man and one woman.
  • God created marriage between one man and one woman to be the foundation for building a family.
  • God created sexuality as an expression of unity between a man and a woman in the marriage covenant.
  • God created the covenant of marriage between one man and one woman as a replication of the covenant between God and man.

In Pennsylvania, PPN is starting a similar project where pastors from around the state can come together to protect marriage. PPN’s new Marriage Defense Initiative is designed to not only protect marriage but to promote healthy, stable, traditional marriages, to advance and enhance the marriages of Pennsylvanians, to build up Pennsylvania families, and to uphold God’s biblical design of marriage, especially as marriage is attacked from all angles in society.

PPN’s goal is to have at least one pastor from each of Pennsylvania’s 67 counties be a leader in his or her local community and champion the Marriage Defense Initiative.

The American Pastors’ Network has a mission to identify, encourage, equip, educate and network pastors and church members to “Stand in the Gap for Truth” across the nation while providing Bible-based and Constitutionally consistent analysis and recommendations on matters of public policy.

APN is the largest, national network of pastors who believe in the authority of Scripture, who boldly preach the whole counsel of God with a disciplined application of a biblical worldview to public policy, and who are building a permanent infrastructure of biblically faithful pastors and lay leaders and mobilizing congregations to participate in the political process.

For more information on Pennsylvania Pastors’ Network, visit www.PAPastors.net or call 610.584.1225. For more information on American Pastors’ Network, visit www.AmericanPastorsNetwork.net.

The Pennsylvania Pastors’ Network is a group of biblically faithful clergy and church liaisons whose objective is to build a permanent infrastructure of like-minded clergy who affirm the authority of Scripture, take seriously Jesus’ command to be the “salt and light” to the culture, encourage informed Christian thinking about contemporary social issues; examine public policy issues without politicizing their pulpits and engage their congregations in taking part in our political process on a non-partisan basis.

The Pennsylvania Pastors’ Network is a state chapter affiliate of the American Pastors’ Network. The American Pastors’ Network is a Ministry Program Affiliate of Capstone Legacy Foundation (a 501 C3 non-profit organization).

Pastors, lay people agree: Religious liberty declining in U.S.

Christians can regain lost ground for religious liberty but it takes more than talk.

LifeWay Research did the study with pastor, and with other Americans in a second survey, learning that both groups perceived religious liberty on the decline in this country.

LifeWay President Ed Stetzer tells OneNewsNow it’s not a doomsday scenario, suggesting that “majority views” once influenced by the church about morality and culture are now becoming “minority views” among the population.

“And so the question is, How do we protect the religious liberty of devout, self-identified Christians who today are in a minority in our society?” he asks.

Note that Stetzer said “devout” Christians are in a minority. Those views once shaped the broader culture, he says, but now they’re losing the “home-field advantage.”

Among the survey answers, seven out of 10 pastors agreed that religious liberty is declining. Eighty-one percent of evangelical pastors agreed while 47 percent of mainline pastors agreed.

The survey interviewed 1,001 Americans, learning that 54 percent agree religious liberty is declining.

It’s a call to action, but Stetzer says the question is how best to do that. One answer is to recognize that the beliefs of devout believers will be distant from the greater culture. The second answer, he says, is to share the Gospel.

“So part of that call to action is a call to share the Gospel – to show and share the love of Jesus to a hurting and lost world,” he suggests. “Part of that is to protect the rights of people to hold those views so that they don’t get drummed out of society.”

Stetzer concludes people need to take the Gospel outside the four walls of the church and become convinced that declining religious liberty matters.

Australian TV Star Commits Suicide After Massive Guilt Following Abortion

Abortion proponents push for easy access to abortion, deemphasizing its after-affects to the point they absolutely refuse to acknowledge post-abortion depression, which further incapacitates those actually living through it.

This is such a tragedy. Charlotte Dawson, RIP, was born in New Zealand but achieved fame in Australia as a model and a judge on Australia’s Next Top Model.

From The Telegraph, February 23:

In the end it seemed like the final, inevitable episode of a tragic soap opera: Charlotte Dawson — the model, TV star and social crusader who spent many of her adult years battling depression — ended her life at the age of 47.

It is understood Dawson was found hanged in her luxury Woolloomooloo Finger Wharf apartment by a security guard on Saturday morning, the day after the birthday of her ex-husband and the man she still described as the love of her life – disgraced Olympic swimmer Scott Miller….

But friends believe she had never really gotten over her marriage to Miller, which ended in divorce after only a year. In her tell-all autobiography Air Kiss And Tell, she revealed she had an abortion because the pregnancy would interfere with Miller’s preparation for the 2000 Olympics – and blamed that for the start of her long battle with depression.

More from The Australian:

Ms Dawson gave an insight into her life – both her troubles and the highlights – in her autobiography, released late 2012.

In the book, Air Kiss and Tell, she revealed she had had an abortion with her former husband, Olympic swimmer Scott Miller, so that he would not have any distractions in the lead up to the Sydney Olympics.

She had been looking forward to having a baby but sensed “hesitation” in Miller.

”Everything Scott had done was leading up to this moment and nothing could stand in his way, so it was decided that we would terminate the child and try again later. Who needed a developing foetus when a gold medal was on offer, eh?”

Ms Dawson wrote that she was alone when she had the termination.

In he book she wrote that this was her first experience with depression – a battle she continued to fight for the next 14 years.

The Guardian:

Miller… did not go with her when she had the procedure.

But on this side of the pond, newsrooms aren’t mentioning the abortion connection.

Associated Press:

Dawson revealed in her 2012 autobiography “Air Kiss & Tell” that she was frequently visited by the “depression bogeyman.”

People:

Despite her professional successes, Dawson’s personal life was often tumultuous. In 1999, she married Olympic swimmer Scott Miller. Although the marriage ended after a few short months, she struggled with the breakup and said he was the only man she would ever marry.

After Miller recently gave a tell-all interview to 60 Minutes in Australia, Dawson spoke out: “I continue to fight my depression”…

Per the BBC, Dawson suffered with depression for a very long time and was admitted to a hospital in 2012 after being targeted by cyber bullies.

Dawson married Olympic swimmer Scott Miller in 1999 but they were divorced two years later. She had no children.

Couple Who Aborted Baby After They Were Misinformed of Potential Disability Lose Lawsuit

A couple who had an abortion and filed a lawsuit after a doctor informed them tests showed their unborn child would be disabled will not win damages.

The pro-life community often condemns wrongful birth or wrongful life lawsuits — filed by couples who are upset they did not know their unborn baby would have some sort of physical or mental disability and who would have had an abortion had they known. Such lawsuits show a lack of regard and respect for human life, even if “imperfect” from what an expecting couple would hope for with their baby.

This lawsuit underscores those concerns — with a couple deciding to have an abortion because they thought their bay would be disabled and the child turned out to be perfectly healthy. In this case, an unborn baby was killed because of that pursuit of perfection.

CourtHouse News Service has more on the decision the appeals court rendered.

Collette and Jeffrey Alger sued the University of Rochester Medical Center, Strong Memorial Hospital, a certified genetic counselor (CGC) and the director of Rochester’s

Cytogenetics Laboratory for medical malpractice and for emotional injuries after Collette decided to terminate her pregnancy.

A jury in Monroe County found that Stephanie Laniewski, CGC, was not negligent, and that the hospital, medical center and Nancy Wang, the cytogenics lab’s director, did not proximately cause the Algers’ injuries, even though they were negligent.

The Appellate Division’s Rochester-based Fourth Judicial Department affirmed on Feb. 7.

“We conclude that a reasonable view of the evidence supports the jury’s view that Laniewski, a certified genetic counselor, was not negligent,” the unsigned opinion states. “There was conflicting testimony concerning the communications between Laniewski and plaintiffs, and ‘great deference is accorded the jury given its opportunity to see and hear the witnesses.’”

It also is not inconsistent to find that the negligence of the other defendants did not cause the Algers’ injuries, according to the ruling.

“We conclude that there is a fair interpretation of the evidence pursuant to which the jury could have found that defendants Hospital and Wang were negligent in reporting erroneous test results to plaintiffs, but that their negligence did not proximately cause plaintiff’s injuries,” the five-justice panel wrote. “The evidence presented ‘factual question[s] … whether, under the circumstances, it could reasonably be expected that plaintiff … would elect to undergo an abortion’ and whether that decision was sufficiently independent of defendants’ conduct to constitute an intervening cause. Those questions presented issues for the jury to resolve and we decline to disturb its resolution of those issues in defendants’ favor.”