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American Pastors Network: Subpoenas Only Part of the Problem

PHILADELPHIA—American Pastors Network (APN, released the following statement following Houston Mayor Annise Parker’s announcement this morning that she will withdraw subpoenas against five Houston pastors demanding their private communication regarding homosexuality. 

“From the beginning, this issue has been about thought-policing anyone who supports God’s design for sexuality,” said APN President Sam Rohrer. “What we saw with this specific targeting of Christian pastors through these subpoenas, as well as through the rejection of a petition with more than 50,000 citizen signatures, is the clear repudiation of God, Christianity, Jesus Christ, religious freedom, morality, decency, the Rule of Law and the Constitution. The subpoenas were a direct attack on the Constitutionally guaranteed right of religious freedom and on the God-given duty for pastors to speak Biblical truth to their congregations. The subpoenas may be gone, but the problem still remains as Mayor Parker prepares to defend the ordinance that gives preferential treatment to the LBGT community.”

Earlier this month, five pastors in Houston were sent subpoenas, as attorneys for the city demanded their sermon notes and congregational communications about homosexuality, transgenderism, or Mayor Annise Parker, who is an open lesbian. The subpoenas are part of an ongoing lawsuit about a bathroom ordinance in Houston that gives special rights to homosexual and transgendered individuals—an ordinance in place even though more than 50,000 objected and signed a petition to oppose it, more than double the number of signatures required to place the issue on the ballot before voters. The petition was rejected by the council on a technicality.

On Nov. 2, Christians across America can join together for “I Stand Sunday” (, hosted by Family Research Council at Grace Community Church, 14505 Gulf Freeway in Houston.

Speakers from across the nation will gather to focus on the freedom to live out our faith, free of government intrusion or monitoring. APN is a partnering organization for “I Stand Sunday.”


The American Pastors Network is a Ministry Program Affiliate of Capstone Legacy Foundation (a 501(c)(3) non-profit Christian Public Community Foundation registered nationwide).

Pennsylvania Pastors Network is a state chapter affiliate of the American Pastors Network.




To interview Sam Rohrer, President of American Pastors Network and Pennsylvania Pastors Network, contact Deborah Hamilton at, 215-815-7716 or 610-584-1096.


America Split, As Extremism Takes Hold

Pastors around the country saw an unthinkable scenario play out in America last week—one many never thought they’d see in their lifetime. In a country built on freedom, five pastors in Houston were served subpoenas, and attorneys demanded the submission of sermon notes and conversations with congregation members relating to homosexuality or transgenderism. 

Sam Rohrer, a longtime legislator and President of American Pastors Network, a national network that provides Bible-based and constitutionally consistent analysis and recommendations on matters of public policy, says the recent news out of Houston proves there are three distinct extreme movements happening simultaneously in America—all aimed at stripping freedom of religion and freedom of speech from Christians.

“This disturbing news about our fellow pastors in Houston has far-reaching implications,” Rohrer said. “I see three sectors of the American culture, which by their own actions, are demonstrating hatred toward God, Christianity, Jesus Christ, religious freedom, morality, decency, the Rule of Law and the Constitution. While their intentions and goals are different, the extreme tactics and messaging of Islam, Communism/Marxism/atheism and the well-organized, well-funded homosexual agenda have frightening similarities: all demand agreement with them, or else. This is where political correctness and forsaking God has brought this nation. It’s time that all those who would not subscribe to the ideologies of these three groups stand together, or we will hang separately.

The issue in Houston began last year, when the city elected its first openly lesbian mayor. This spring, Mayor Annise Parker and two City Council members pushed an ordinance that gave special rights to homosexuals and the transgender individuals. The Houston Equal Rights Ordinance (HERO) allowed men to use women’s restrooms and vice versa, all in the name of “equal rights.”

The people of Houston protested and gathered more than 50,000 signatures on a petition opposing the ordinance—well over double the number necessary to put the issue in front of voters. But Parker and the Council threw out the petition, citing irregularities. The mayor and the city are facing a lawsuit over the ordinance, and while fighting it, attorneys subpoenaed five pastors for their sermon notes dealing with homosexuality, gender identity or Parker herself. Last week, Parker admitted that the subpoenas may have been ‘overly broad,’ but they have yet to be recalled.

“While the issue in this case is homosexuality,” Rohrer continued, “the underlying philosophy of thought policing is exactly the same as what we see with Islamic Sharia law. In each case, dissent is not permissible. This is yet another reason Sharia law is incompatible with our U.S. Constitution. Under our Constitution, religious leaders are free to teach against Christianity, but Sharia law would mean pastors would be targeted for preaching Christ. And already, this is happening, as pastors are facing pressure by groups who have their own extreme agendas.”

How long will it be, Rohrer asked, before pastors will be quieted about educating their churches on the dangers of the infiltration of Islam and Sharia Law in America? One pastor was already censored in August when his videotaped sermon on ISIS was removed from YouTube and his account was frozen. YouTube has since reversed its ban on Pastor Daniel Ausbun of First Baptist Church in Moreland, Ga., and his account is live again.

Alliance Defending Freedom is helping the Houston pastors, and one of its attorneys, Christina Holcomb, said in a statement that “political and social commentary is not a crime. It is protected by the First Amendment.”

To interview Sam Rohrer, President of American Pastors Network and Pennsylvania Pastors Network, contact Deborah Hamilton at, 215-815-7716 or 610-584-1096. 



Leadership Must Take A Stronger Stand Against Islam

From America’s Pastors to President Obama and Congressional Leaders: Defend America not Islam 

American Pastors Network: Administration Must Respond Now about Islamic Persecution of Christians, Get Serious about Stopping Islamic Terrorism 

The American Pastors Network (APN,, a national network that provides Bible-based and constitutionally consistent analysis and recommendations on matters of public policy, says the Congressional and Obama Administration stand against ISIS and other terrorist groups is neither serious nor compelling.

APN President Sam Rohrer, a longtime legislator, says how seriously we in America deal with Islam is in direct relationship to our level of commitment to defending our Constitutional Republic and protecting the God-given rights guaranteed in our Constitution.

“It is the firm conviction of the American Pastors Network that Islamic Sharia Law is incompatible with and mutually exclusive to our Constitutional form of government,” Rohrer said.

APN, therefore, is working to educate America, through pastors speaking to their congregations, about the evils of Islam and its stated mission to exterminate all Christians and Jews. APN also says that the Obama Administration must quit coddling the advance of Islam and get serious in defending Christians and Jews against persecution and using all necessary force to end the increasing acts of terrorism.

Rohrer, in recent conversations and joint interviews, has asked one of the nation’s leading converted Muslims, the Rev. Majed El Shafie, how American Christians can help the persecuted around the world, but especially believers suffering at the hand of the Islamic militants.

El Shafie, a human rights advocate and founder of One Free World International (, told Rohrer that Christians must be involved, “both in the inside and the outside, to influence their government to take effective and credible action against this threat.”

Rohrer points to Hebrews 13:3, which gives a very clear command to believers regarding others who are being persecuted for their faith: “Remember them that are in bonds, as bound with them; and them which suffer adversity, as being yourselves in the body.”

El Shafie also noted that in countries that employ Sharia Law, statements and actions are mutually exclusive, for example, Shiite Muslims in Iran and Sunnis in Saudi Arabia. Many, he added, would call out Turkey as an exception. “However,” El Shafie said, “while they can be pointed to as a positive example for the supporters of Sharia when their government was separate from their religion, they are now an example of all Islam, as they are ruled by the Islam party and becoming very fast supporters of full Sharia Law.”

Many of American Pastors Network recent radio broadcasts have focused on the dangers of Islam infiltrating America. Gary Dull, Executive Director and Vice President of the Pennsylvania Pastors Network and an APN board member, recently spoke with Rohrer on the air about how pastors can make their congregations understand the serious battle against Islam—especially in the wake of publicized beheadings and vocal threats against America.

“First of all,” Rohrer said, “we have to realize that words mean something, and these terrorists mean what they say. How much more killing and destruction are needed before we are convinced? Second, we must understand that all religions are not equal, and that in our nation, the presupposition of freedom of religion is from the standpoint of worshiping the God of the Bible. These principles alone have given us our Constitution.

“The Constitution did not entertain the concept that its provisions would protect the actions of people who hate our God, hate God-given rights, hate Jesus Christ and the concept of redemption and salvation and judgment and seek to destroy our system of law and replace it with Sharia law or any diametrically opposed system of law.” he continued. “Our country’s founders never envisioned a time when they would grant those kinds of equal rights and recognition to those who were literally cutting the heart out of our founding, Bible-based principles. If we make the claim that all religions are equal—even those that purport evil—our Constitution and Republic cannot and will not survive.”

Evangelist Dave Kistler, President of the North Carolina Pastors Network, a chapter of APN, added that the current heightened persecution of Christians illustrates the need for a strong stand against those who make it their mission to attack Christianity.

“Not since the days of the apostles has the church of Jesus Christ experienced such intense persecution,” Kistler said. “Tragically, much of the frontal attack against Christian belief is coming from the Islamic world. From believers being incarcerated for their faith to
Christians being brutally tortured and killed for their refusal to convert to Islam, the world is witnessing an unprecedented attack on Judeo-Christian thought.

“It is imperative,” he continued, “that the leaders of the free world, especially the President of the United States, understand the plight of Christians globally and respond to their desperate cries appropriately, by standing unequivocally for their right to freely practice their firmly held religious beliefs.”

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

By growing state chapters who will support the mission, APN is building a nationwide, permanent infrastructure of like-minded pastors who:

  1. Affirm the authority of scripture
  2. Take seriously Jesus’ command to be “salt and light” to the culture
  3. Want to encourage informed Christian thinking about contemporary social issues
  4. Want to examine public policy issues without politicizing their pulpits, using well-prepared teaching and preaching resources
  5. Want to engage their congregations in taking part in our political process on a non-partisan basis.

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 APN, visit or call 610.584.1225.

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.

For more information on PPN, visit or call 610.584.1225. 

The American Pastors Network is a Ministry Program Affiliate of Capstone Legacy Foundation (a 501(c)(3) non-profit Christian Public Community Foundation registered nationwide).

Pennsylvania Pastors Network is a state chapter affiliate of the American Pastors Network.



To interview Sam Rohrer, President of American Pastors Network and Pennsylvania Pastors Network, contact Deborah Hamilton at, 215-815-7716 or 610-584-1096.



American Pastors Network Plays Key Role in Ukraine Humanitarian Aid

Recent Leadership Summit Opened Doors to Meet Critical Needs

PHILADELPHIA—The people of Ukraine have many needs in the wake of the recent political, economic and cultural upheaval.

One of the greatest immediate needs is bandages to help treat the wounded soldiers. Recently, the American Pastors Network (APN,, which this summer participated in an International Leadership Summit in Ukraine with more than 100 elected officials and pastors, helped deliver 54 packages of much-needed QuikClot® Interventional Hemostatic Bandages™. These are soft, white, double-sterile, hydrophilic pads with the mineral kaolin, and they are applied topically to control bleeding.

APN Board Member Dale Armstrong, who just returned from Ukraine, says that the most immediate need in Ukraine is humanitarian aid, including water purification tablets and individual medical kits for each soldier.

“One of the greatest specific needs is this quick-clotting bandage that stops the bleeding of the injured fast,” Armstrong said. “Delivering the QuikClot bandages during these recent trips was not only life-saving to some of the injured, but the initiative has also cemented trust and opened further doors. I believe this act of care proved our trust and friendship, in their terms and in their culture.”

The bandages APN delivered coast approximately $2,500 demonstrating that even some of the smallest critical items are in short supply.

“Churches and pastors in Ukraine have taken a tremendous role in meeting the needs of the army,” Armstrong continued. “Just as pastors came together with elected leaders at the summit this summer to help Ukraine work towards a biblically based, constitutional government, now pastors are playing a major role bringing aid to the soldiers on the front lines of battle.  All of these efforts together will help Ukraine as the nation seeks stability and direction that will lead to freedom for the people of Ukraine.”

Armstrong, who also serves as secretary and treasurer for the Pennsylvania Pastors Network (PPN,, has taken several trips to Ukraine this spring and summer, with more planned.  Earlier this summer, he and other APN leaders visited Ukraine for the International Leadership Summit at the invitation of Bishop Valery Reshetinsky, who also serves as the Chairman of the Ukrainian Interchurch Council that represents 20 different evangelical denominations. At the Summit, APN trained Ukraine’s political and pastoral leaders in the biblical principles necessary for constitutional government. Future summits on the Constitution, education and economics are in the works.

Having recently traveled to Ukraine on a humanitarian trip, Armstrong plans to return to further the work and build relationships, especially as APN is in the planning stages of formulating its Ukraine Initiative, which will send help where help is needed most and work toward rebuilding the country through its pastors and leaders. Projects are in the works so that others can donate the much-needed bandages and raise funds specifically for this purpose.

Armstrong sent daily email updates from Ukraine, and, after being given a personal tour of two military hospitals by high-ranking officials and seeing first-hand the pressing needs, he recently wrote: “Our immediate needs are extra funding, as I do believe the humanitarian aid is building a stronger bridge of trust, apart from the fact that we are saving lives.”

Armstrong noted that these hospitals were working at capacity to meet the needs of a nation at peace, and they simply weren’t prepared for the overwhelming demands of war.

The pastor and APN leader is working to purchase more bandages, approximately 100, as well as up to 1,000 tourniquets, which will cost about $15,000 total.

“I believe it’s a part of the friendship process that ensures greater cooperation and promotion of our main goal,” Armstrong said, “which remains the most important thing in Ukraine’s future—a Constitutional summit focused on the biblical foundations of government.”

Armstrong began ministering the gospel at the age of 16 and has pastored several churches in Pennsylvania and ministered in many nations of the world. He and his wife, Teri, lead the Armada Network, a missions organization with more than 60 members including pastors, missionaries and Christian leaders.

The Same-Sex Marriage Tyranny

Here we go again.

You’ve heard about the Christian florists forced to close up their business after being forced by the state to pay egregious fines for politely declining to participate in same-sex marriages as a matter of religious conviction.

You’ve heard about the wedding cake bakers who were forced to close up their business after being forced by the state to pay egregious fines for politely declining to participate in same-sex marriages as a matter of religious conviction.

You’ve heard about the photographers who were forced to close up their business after being forced by the state to pay egregious fines for politely declining to participate in same-sex marriages as a matter of religious conviction.

Now meet Robert and Cynthia Gifford, family farmers who have been hit with a $13,000 fine by New York state’s division of human rights for politely declining to host a same-sex marriage as a matter of religious conviction.

These are real-life examples of citizens being deprived of the free exercise of their religious beliefs, as guaranteed by the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution by officials in four different states. It’s becoming a trend. It’s what I call “same-sex marriage tyranny.”

In states that have rewritten their laws to change the definition of marriage from an institution between one man and one woman, or, which have been coerced to do so by federal judicial rulings, the rationale for such decisions has been “tolerance,” “diversity,” “non-discrimination” and other nice-sounding platitudes. But the consequences for these decisions mean just the opposite of “tolerance,” “diversity” and “non-discrimination” for some innocent bystanders – mostly Christians – who seek only to remain true to their religious convictions.

They are being coerced to become active participants in ceremonies and celebrations that violate their consciences – in America, a nation formed and codified in the law as a refuge for the free exercise of religion.

That this is happening all over the country already, and that it is necessary to write a column denouncing this kind of intolerance, lack of diversity and active discrimination against people based on their religious convictions is shocking and disturbing.

This is not the way a free society operates.

There is no inalienable right to force individuals or businesses through government coercion to become active participants in activity that violates their most fundamental religious or moral beliefs.

Let me pose a hypothetical intellectual challenge: The law that forms the basis for the action against the Giffords in New York is a provision that bans discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. Yet, isn’t that precisely what is happening to the Giffords? Are they not being coerced to accept and approve someone else’s sexual orientation? Are they not permitted to hold their own sexual orientation, one that acknowledges their God’s definition that marriage is a union of one man and one woman?

The Giffords are not campaigning to prevent other people from following their own conscience as to their sexual choices and activities. It’s just the opposite. They are being coerced by the state to take part in the sexual choices and activities of others.

Isn’t that obvious?

I imagine there are people in America who believe heterosexual marriage is wrong. There were many feminist leaders years ago who claimed heterosexual marriage was the equivalent of “rape,” the moral equivalent of “slavery.” Should people with those kinds of convictions be forced by the state to participate in ceremonies and celebrations of heterosexual marriage? Or should they be free to follow the dictates of their consciences – as florists, bakers, photographers and caterers – to turn down such business?

I don’t think anyone in their right mind would want to coerce people with those ideas to serve them at their weddings. After all, who would want to do that – unless you were simply trying to limit individual liberty and choice?

And that’s exactly what the same-sex marriage tyrants are trying to do – to use state coercion to limit the liberty and choices of people who simply have different ideas about the institution of marriage.

Here’s a hypothetical analogy for you to consider: Suppose a Christian couple planning a marriage went to a Jewish baker and requested a wedding cake decorated with a cross. And suppose the Jewish baker felt uncomfortable with that idea. Should he forced to do so? I don’t think so. Nor can I imagine any Christian couple wanting to use the coercive power of the state to do that. They would simply go to another baker. That would be the logical, non-tyrannical thing to do.

Here’s another hypothetical scenario: Suppose a Jewish couple chooses a homosexual photographer to take pictures at their wedding. Among the things they require the photographer to do is to take a photo of them before a banner emblazoned with the following scripture verse: Genesis 2:24 – “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.” Maybe the photographer feels uncomfortable and even spiritually condemned with this requirement. Should he be forced by the state to do it because failing to accept the assignment would be tantamount to violating the Jewish couple’s “sexual orientation” or even their religious convictions? I don’t think so. Nor can I imagine any Jewish couple wanting to use the coercive power of the state to do that. They would simply go to another photographer. That would be the logical, non-tyrannical thing to do.

When “tolerance” becomes intolerance, we have bigotry.

When “diversity” becomes state-enforced conformity, we have religious persecution.

When “non-discrimination” becomes victimization of those with different religious and moral convictions, we literally have the establishment of a state religion and, effectively, the repeal of the First Amendment

Pastors Deliberately Choosing Not to Preach on Pressing Issues, New Research Finds

American Pastors Network Says Clergy Must Not Keep Silent on Critical Societal Topics

PHILADELPHIA—New research shows that while 90 percent of pastors believe the Bible has much to say about today’s pressing political and societal issues, less than 10 percent are talking about those issues from the pulpit.

Researcher George Barna spoke recently on American Family Radio’s “Today’s Issues” about his research project over the past two years, in which the Barna Group asked pastors across the country about their beliefs regarding the relevancy of Scripture to societal, moral and political issues, and the content of their sermons in light of their beliefs.

What he found was startling.

“…When we ask them about all the key issues of the day, [90 percent of them are] telling us, ‘Yes, the Bible speaks to every one of these issues,’” Barna told American Family Radio. “Then we ask them: ‘Well, are you teaching your people what the Bible says about those issues?’ and the numbers drop … to less than 10 percent of pastors who say they will speak to it.”

Sam Rohrer, President of the American Pastors Network (APN,, says that while it is clear that there is a disconnect between knowing the Truth and preaching it, the real question is why. Avoiding the politically unpopular portions of Scripture is in some respects understandable from a human perspective. From God’s perspective, however, it is sin.

“The reality is that most people, including pastors, wish to be comfortable and to avoid controversy,” Rohrer said. “If the primary goal is to see people leave on Sunday morning feeling good about themselves and feeling comfortable rather than seeing the holiness of God and the ugly reality of sin, then a pastor will answer to God for doing his own will rather than declaring God’s will. The issues of the day that confront our nation must be dealt with from the pulpit if God’s Word is to make a difference in people’s lives and if the culture is to be impacted. This includes the areas of marriage and divorce, life and family, but it also includes the areas of honesty, servant leadership, following the Rule of Law, etc.”

Barna added that many pastors are afraid to get involved in political issues because of the controversy it might create. And, he added, “Controversy keeps people from being in the seats, controversy keeps people from giving money, from attending programs,” Barna said.

He also found that when asked how they measure the success of their churches, most pastors look to five factors: “attendance, giving, number of programs, number of staff and square footage.”

“The fact that so many pastors are more concerned with the size of their buildings and church bank accounts than with the condition of the souls they shepherd is without excuse,” Rohrer continued. “By abdicating their responsibility as Ministers of God to ‘preach the Word’ in favor of square footage, many pastors are, in essence, saying God’s Word is not really authoritative. In reality, a pastor—or an person for that matter—who feels they have the right to pick and choose what portions of Scripture they will believe or teach, rather than preach the ‘whole counsel of God’ have in effect made themselves god.  This is why the American Pastors Network is building an infrastructure of pastors across the country who believe in the absolute authority of Scripture and who will boldly proclaim it from the pulpit.”

American Doctor Who Had Ebola Has Recovered

ATLANTA (AP) — At least one of the two American aid workers who were infected with the Ebola virus was to be discharged Thursday from an Atlanta hospital, a spokeswoman for the aid group he was working for said.

Meanwhile, Emory University Hospital planned to hold a news conference Thursday morning to discuss both patients’ discharge.

Alison Geist, a spokeswoman for Samaritan’s Purse, told The Associated Press she did not know the exact time Dr. Kent Brantly would be released but confirmed it would happen Thursday.

Meanwhile, Franklin Graham, president of Samaritan’s Purse, said in a statement that Brantly has recovered.

“Today I join all of our Samaritan’s Purse team around the world in giving thanks to God as we celebrate Dr. Kent Brantly’s recovery from Ebola and release from the hospital,” Graham’s statement said.

Brantly and Nancy Writebol were flown out of the west African nation of Liberia earlier this month and have been getting treatment for the deadly disease in an isolation unit at the hospital. The two were infected while working at a missionary clinic outside Liberia’s capital.

The Ebola outbreak has killed 1,350 people and counting across West Africa.

Gay Marriage Could Start Next Week in Virginia

A Christian legal group is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to delay a federal appeals court ruling allowing gay marriage licenses to be issued next week in Virginia.

In February, a federal judge struck down Virginia’s voter-approved state constitutional amendment that defined marriage as the union of one man and one woman.

Then last month, the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals refused to keep that decision on hold while the case is being appealed.

Gay activists are pushing for same-sex marriages to begin taking place next week in Virginia, even though the case has not reached its conclusion.

“The last word on the marriage lawsuits in America rests with the U.S. Supreme Court. It has already said that lower-court rulings on state marriage laws should be placed on hold for now,” Byron Babione, senior counsel for Alliance Defending Freedom, said.

“The 4th Circuit was wrong to ignore that and deny Virginians an orderly, dignified, and fair resolution to the question of whether they will remain free to preserve marriage as the union of a man and a woman,” Babione said.

ADF attorneys represent Prince William County Clerk of Court Michèle B. McQuigg in defense of Virginia’s amendment. That’s because Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring has refused to defend Virginia’s 2006 voter-approved ban on gay marriage.

More than 20 consecutive rulings in the past eight months have struck down marriage amendments in numerous states. Observers expect the cases to ultimately be resolved at the U.S. Supreme Court.

Ken Connelly, legal counsel for ADF, said he expects the stay to be granted in Virginia because the Supreme Court has twice granted delays in Utah’s fight to keep its same-sex marriage ban.

IRS Settlement with Atheist Groups Threatens Free Speech in Churches


American Pastors Network Says Settlement Is Wake-Up Call for Pastors and Churches


PHILADELPHIA—The Internal Revenue Service has settled a lawsuit with the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF), and as a result, the IRS will adopt standards to determine whether churches and religious organizations have violated restrictions on political activity.

The details of the settlement have not been released but the IRS has said it will amend its policies to enforce tax laws on what FFRF calls “rogue political churches.”

American Pastors Network (APN, says the new development should serve as a wake-up call for pastors in every pulpit who cherish First Amendment rights.

“As a result of this settlement,” said APN President Sam Rohrer, “the Justice Department, according to its own statement, will begin to crack down on political speech from the pulpit. This is literally a call to arms and should not be taken as idle commentary but as a warning shot across the bow. With this decision, pastors’ freedom of speech from the pulpit is in danger. This is perhaps one of the greatest urgencies and motivations for the establishment of state chapters within the American Pastors Network, so pastors can come together and unite on important issues such as these. There is nothing stronger than speaking with unity and strength as pastors address the real issues of the day.”

In the case, FFRF demanded that the Johnson Amendment, a controversial IRS code added in 1954 that precludes nonprofit organizations from engaging in campaign activity, be enforced against churches.

Rohrer said implications of the settlement could mean that churches cannot distribute voter guides to congregations, and pastors may not be able to talk from the pulpit about political issues in relation to the Bible.

Erik Stanley, an attorney with Alliance Defending Freedom, said the IRS settlement with the atheist group should create concern, telling The Blaze, “Every American should fear an IRS that uses its vast power to target, threaten and punish political opponents. Churches have succumbed to this regime of fear for the last 60 years under the Johnson Amendment, which was added to the tax code specifically to silence speech a politician didn’t like.”

ADF has been a longtime opponent of FFRF and has organized the annual “Pulpit Freedom Sunday” event, set this year for October 5.

The settlement comes directly in the middle of the IRS scandal that found that the tax agency was unfairly targeting conservative organizations.

Ebola-Stricken Doctor Improving

When Kent Brantly arrived in the United States on Saturday, the American doctor who contracted Ebola while treating virus-stricken patients in Liberia did something unexpected: He stepped out of an ambulance and walked into the hospital.

Three days earlier, Samaritan’s Purse, the Christian aid organization Brantly was serving in Liberia, described the doctor’s condition as “grave” and reported he had taken a turn for the worse. The Ebola virus has a high fatality rate, killing at least 887 people in the recent outbreak in West Africa.

Brantly’s survival looked precarious.

But by Saturday, as news helicopters captured his arrival at Atlanta’s Emory University Hospital, the doctor emerged from an ambulance in a bulky contamination suit, and walked slowly toward the building.

Though Brantly’s condition is still serious, and he remains in a high-tech isolation ward while he recovers, his remarkable comeback likely hinged on an experimental serum physicians administered while he was still in Liberia. (Samaritan’s Purse confirmed Brantly took the drug.)

CNN cited an unnamed source as saying the National Institute of Health offered the highly experimental serum, which reportedly hadn’t been tested on humans before.

Doctors also gave the drug to Nancy Writebol, an American working for the mission group Serving in Mission (SIM), who also contracted the virus. Writebol’s family said her condition was still serious, but improving. SIM said the same medical evacuation plane that transported Brantly to Atlanta was on its way back to Liberia to pick up Writebol. She’s expected to arrive at Emory on Tuesday.

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On Sunday, Brantly’s wife Amber said she had visited her husband in the hospital’s isolation ward. Visitors to the sealed-off infectious disease unit see and communicate with patients through barriers. In a statement, Amber Brantly said her husband was in good spirits: “He thanked everyone for their prayers and asked for continued prayer for Nancy Writebol’s safe return and full recovery.”

Ken Isaacs of Samaritan’s Purse said Brantly remained unwavering in his faith as he faced the deadly disease: “It’s an absolutely incredible story of commitment to Christ, and wanting to glorify God.”

The aid group is working to evacuate other Samaritan’s Purse workers away from Liberia while the outbreak remains a threat. It’s a complicated process, and the group’s president, Franklin Graham, wrote a letter to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), asking for clearer protocols for bringing home workers leaving a country where the Ebola virus has taken hold.

“In the absence of guidelines from the CDC, Samaritan’s Purse has adopted what we believe to be a conservative policy,” he wrote on July 28. “Since the incubation period for Ebola is 21 days, we will require our personnel to remain on the African continent for 21 days after being in an area with possible exposure to Ebola.” Graham said the group would monitor the workers’ health, and “only allow their return to the United States if they are symptom-free at the end of that time.”

Meanwhile, some 400 national staff remain on-site in Liberia, working for Samaritan’s Purse. Isaacs said he didn’t know of any confirmed cases of Ebola among indigenous workers. He also said the morale among the local staff was “very high,” and they wanted to continue public education campaigns to help Liberians understand how to prevent contracting or spreading the disease.

Such efforts may be key to containing the deadly virus in a region where misinformation can lead to deadly errors. Liberian officials announced they would cremate the bodies of any patients who died from Ebola to prevent the spread of the disease through decaying corpses.

Since handling dead bodies is a common practice in Liberian funerals, it’s critical to educate people on the dangers of touching a corpse. Samaritan’s Purse plans to work with local pastors in its network of churches to help with education efforts about preventing the spread of the virus, and spotting its symptoms early.

Meanwhile, concerns persist about the virus spreading to other areas of West Africa. On Monday, Nigerian officials announced they had confirmed a second case of Ebola. The first case came from an Ebola-stricken doctor who traveled from Liberia to Nigeria before he knew he was infected. The doctor later died.