American Pastors Network: At Thanksgiving, Being Thankful and Obedient Gives Way to Peace Only God Can Give

The American Pastors Network (APN, www.AmericanPastorsNetwork.net) is reminding Christians this Thanksgiving season that, even in the face of trouble and trials, thanking God daily—not only on November 27—brings us peace that passes all understanding.

“We’ll soon celebrate Thanksgiving Day,” said APN President Sam Rohrer in one of APN’s recent “Stand in the Gap” radio features. “But giving thanks to God every day is important if you want God’s peace. In these uncertain days of disease, daily Islamic threats, economic uncertainties, and attacks on God’s institution of marriage and on pastors themselves, peace can be elusive. Yet we’re told in Philippians 4 that we must not be anxious for anything. To worry and fret is to doubt God’s ability to meet our needs and His love for us.

“To try to work it out for ourselves rather than seek God’s help relegates God to the back seat,” Rohrer continued. “We’re told instead to pray and give thanks in everything, and God will give us great peace even in the midst of the biggest storms. Praying and being thankful go hand-in-hand. While giving thanks starts with obedience, it alone yields the kind of peace that only God can give.”

Rohrer added that while giving thanks has great benefits, it is ultimately an act of the will and often requires a determined choice when emotions say that there is little reason for thankfulness. He emphasized that the Christian life has very little to do with emotions but everything to do with making a decision to obey, follow and trust God regardless of where feelings might pull. True thankfulness is not a feeling, but a decision.

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

Pastors That Inspired My Ministry by Dr. Gary Dull

 The month of October is dedicated as Pastors Appreciation month.  I was recently asked if there were any pastors that influenced my ministry over the years and certainly I could name more than a few.  Pastors have the unique opportunity to live a rather public life and speak thousands of sermons which profoundly affect those around them.

As we look back over the history of America, we see that there were many pastors who stood in the pulpit and proclaimed the truth of God no matter the cost. In fact, some of those pastors were willing to take off their robe, walk away from their pulpit, put on a uniform and literally go to war to fight for freedom because they believed in truth and wanted to see a nation founded on the principles of the Word of God. Many of those pastors had an influence upon our founding fathers and early leaders in our nation, which led them to establish America on biblical principles.

But personally there are several pastors who come to my mind who had a great influence upon me.  One, particularly, did not even live in the United States of America. He ministered over in England, and his name was Charles Haddon Spurgeon, often referred to as the “Prince of Preachers.”  I find it very interesting that when you pull his sermons off of the library shelf and begin to read them, he addressed issues back in the 1850s and 60s that are very similar to what we face today in 2014.  Early on in my ministry, after reading some of his particular sermons, I was challenged to determine that no matter what the circumstances, it would be important for me to ‘stand in the gap’ and preach truth and righteousness into the church and the culture from the pulpit. One particular sermon he preached still rings in my mind that was entitled, “THE SWORD OF THE SPIRIT,” in which he emphasized that Christians are to be good soldiers of Jesus Christ. Personally, I took from his words that preachers are to be the generals leading the church in the battle of spiritual warfare. He was a tremendous example to follow for those of us who are pastors.

Another pastor who also impressed me was Peter Marshall.  At one time, he served as the pastor of the New York Avenue Presbyterian Church in Washington, D.C., and eventually became the Chaplain of the United States Senate.  He was another pastor who was willing to speak to the issues, and bring the matter of truth and righteousness to the forefront. He often had people who served in government visit his congregation, but he never backed down from the strong message of the Word of God. He consistently ‘stood in the gap’, as it were, to proclaim truth to his hearers, many of whom had the opportunity to go to work the next day in the Capitol of the United States of America and make decisions based upon the sermon  he gave to them the day before from the pulpit. I’ve always been impressed by the way he used his pulpit to preach to those in government, particularly those in the federal government in Washington, D.C., on the important issues of truth and righteousness.

But in my lifetime, the pastor who made the greatest impact upon me regarding preaching the truth into the culture was Dr. Jerry Falwell.  I remember when he started out with his Moral Majority. Although he received a lot of criticism from Christians and non-Christians alike, he was not afraid to ‘stand in the gap’ for truth and righteousness. Because of his strong and fearless stand upon the Word of God, He led a core of pastors and Christians in this nation to commit to truth and righteousness, which I personally believe contributed to the establishment of a better nation in the 1980s and 90s.  Then of course, there was Dr. D. James Kennedy, who, along with Dr. Falwell, led Christians and morally minded Americans to ‘stand in the gap’ for truth and to make an impact for biblical principles in the nation.  And so there have been numerous pastors through the years whom I have looked up to and still do with great honor and respect, even though they are at home with the Lord.  Those I mentioned above were national speakers, with a national voice, and there is no doubt in my mind that they made an impact for truth and righteousness upon our entire country.

Along with those I have mentioned, I must also speak about my own Grandfather, Pastor Michael Theodore Hulihan, who was a pastor for nearly 60 years.  “Poppa”, as I called him, served five small churches in the years of his ministry but always preached the Word of God without compromise.  As I recall, in four of those five churches he had community leaders in his congregation Sunday after Sunday to hear his sermons (many of which I have in my files today). In addition, he would often be invited to city or township meetings to give his advice on various issues the community was facing at that time.  Believe me, he never backed down from the truth of the Word of God, and that made a very great impact upon my life as a youngster growing up in western Pennsylvania.  Even to this day as I face the issues of the ministry, I often wonder how Poppa would have responded to contemporary society.

We need more pastors like those I have mentioned in America today.  I’m very thankful for individual pastors who are in their local churches, standing for truth and righteousness on the local level like my grandfather. But more and more I pray that God will give us national voices like a Jerry Falwell, like a Peter Marshall, or like a D. James Kennedy, to lead this nation according to the truth of the Word of God that will bring honor and glory to the Lord.

During Pastor Appreciation Month, let’s pray for those who are preaching the truth of the Word of God into society without compromise.  In addition, let’s be sure to thank them for their service unto the Lord, the church and their community. But let’s also pray that God will raise up pastors into the pulpits of America who will ‘stand in the gap’ for truth and righteousness in order to lead the way back to the biblical principles upon which this nation was founded.

If you are a pastor, perhaps this would be a good time for you to examine what kind of an influence you are having for truth and righteousness in your community, your state or even the nation. Years ago, an older pastor asked me, “Gary, if you were to leave this town today, would anyone notice?”  His point was to get me to think about what kind of an impact I was having in the community outside the four walls of my church. And he was successful.  He made me think, and so I acted.

So, what about you, Pastor?  What impact are you making upon the society outside the four walls of your church?  Do people take notice?  That is something to think about today.

Pastors Need Your Appreciation!

 
Pastor Appreciation Month Rotator
Pastors are some of the most hard working individuals in our communities. Fortunately, October is Pastor Appreciation Month, a time when congregations are encouraged to show appreciation for their faithful leaders. Here are some simple ways to express gratitude for the pastor in your life:

Pray for Your Pastor
Let him know your personal concern for his physical, mental, spiritual, and emotional well-being. Even ask your pastor if there are prayer requests he would like you to pray for.


Become a Pastor’s Friend
Be compassionate and supportive of the pastor’s faithful ministry. You could even invite him to a family activity or community event. He’ll appreciate the invitation, even if he is unable to attend.


Write a Letter of Thanks
Handwritten notes of appreciation hold a special place in everyone’s hearts, including a pastor’s heart.  These letters can be cherished forever, and serve as words of encouragement for the pastor when needed.
Celebrate His Special Days

Whenever members of a pastor’s congregation recognize their leader’s ordination or birthday, this acknowledgement shows the pastor how much he is valued amongst his people.

Give Your Pastor Compliments

If the sermon your pastor just gave from the pulpit really inspired you, don’t be afraid to tell him after the service. Pastors like to receive reassurance that they truly are making a positive impact in people’s lives.

Offer to Help

Pastors will always accept help from members of his congregation, if you’re able to assist with various tasks.  Just be realistic with your time, whether you can only offer to volunteer once a month or once a week.

What the Bible Has to Say About Honoring Our Pastors (contributed by Dr. Gary Dull)

1) Pray for him daily – 2 Thessalonians 3:1,2

2) Encourage him regularly – Galatians 6:6

3) Honor him biblically – 1 Timothy 5:17,18

4) Approach him respectfully – 1 Timothy 5:19,20

5) Follow him faithfully – Hebrews 13:7

6) Obey him spiritually – Hebrews 13:17

7) Support him financially – 1 Corinthians 9:14

Deafening Silence

We have a choice. Will we, the Church, choose to stand with Israel?

 By: Dan Celia

 Israel is the land of those who walked before us, bringing us our Christian heritage and the Judeo-Christian values by which we live each day. It is the land of God’s Chosen People. And, of course, it is the land of our Lord. The Bible tells us that those who bless Israel will themselves be blessed, and those who curse Israel will be cursed (Genesis 12:3).

A friend of mine who is an official in Jerusalem recently sent me an update. She explained they were fighting against an enemy hiding behind and among civilians, putting their own people in danger. She went on to say that while this enemy cares nothing for those civilians, Israel is being blamed for the atrocities that are resulting.

Our increasingly anti-Semitic word continues to make Israel the target of demonstrations and biting criticism while ignoring the brutal murders of Christians and others in the vicinity of Israel (and elsewhere). We continue to see politicians around the world who consistently look for political solutions and negotiate with an enemy who refuses to recognize Israel’s right to exist. These mediators are trying to reduce this conflict to political issues instead of an unquenchable vendetta of hate perpetrated by the so-called theology of Islamic extremists.

Along with the constant threat of death and devastation in the land, many Israel tours have been canceled and, of course, this is having a dramatic impact on their economy and affecting everyone in Jerusalem and the surrounding areas. Israel continues to call for prayer and for God’s hand of protection to be upon them.

All these things are extremely disturbing to me as a Christian who loves Israel. We need to be praying continuously. I believe churches need to stand up and to find a renewed and steadfast spirit within them. They need to stand up for Israel, pray for Israel, and find concrete ways to help Israel. I find it most disturbing that so few are doing this. Those who fail to stand with Israel should be praying that God does not cast them away from His presence (Psalm 51:10–11).

Pastors need to speak loudly from the pulpit against the policymakers and media that continue to take the wrong side of the issue or ignore the truth altogether. Pastors and the faithful need to be standing with Israel as never before, and their voices need to be heard.

Unfortunately, the silence is deafening—and it will bring no blessing to the Church in America.

Why are we silent? Could we be afraid of the political ramifications of speaking out? Could pastors and church leaders possibly be afraid that some in the church may be offended and leave to go to a more “easy-going” church? Could it be that tithes and offerings could fall off because of such a vocal stance? Could it be that we would believe for even a moment that he who lives in this world could be stronger and more terrifying than the power of God?

Each day, I hear the Silence of the Church on even more issues. Churches do not want to be politically involved, yet their very silence involves them—in a detrimental way. The Church in America is too concerned about losing the influence of the world to stand firmly as an influence on the world and take their stand on the truths and promises of the Bible. Certainly, there are exceptions out there. Those exceptions need to be even more vocal in encouraging their brethren in the pulpit to stand firmly and speak loudly.

As believers, we are the Church. And we have a choice. We can remain silent and put ourselves in jeopardy of losing everything—everything that counts. Or we can choose to speak out boldly . . .  against those who are bombarding Israel with hate . . . against the policy makers and media who present half-truths or no truth at all. To stand steadfastly in every way with Israel. The choice to speak loudly does not come with the possibility of any real losses—at least the kind of losses that matter.

May the grace of God and His mercies and peace be upon the nation of Israel and may God’s people rise up in prayer, faith, conviction, and action for this land.  (Psalm 122:6-7 NKJV)

 

Dan Celia is President/CEO of Financial Issues Stewardship Ministries, Inc. and host of the national syndicated radio talk program Financial Issues heard daily 9 to 11 ET. To learn more go to www.financialissues.org. Financial Issues Stewardship Ministries is a Partner of the American Pastors Network.

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,www.AmericanPastorsNetwork.net), 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.”

Whose Fault Is the Gaza Bloodshed? A Liberal Host and a Conservative Journalist Are Surprisingly In-Sync on the Answer.

It’s the question that brought a conservative journalist and a far-left TV host to agreement: who is to blame for the civilian deaths in Gaza?

“I see on the news every night lots of reports, and it’s very sad, we all feel horrible about them, of Palestinian civilians who are dying, including children,” said Bill Maher on his HBO show “Real Time” on Friday. ”Nobody seems to ask, ‘Whose fault is that mostly?’”

Maher laid the blame at the feet of Hamas.

“I feel terrible for a Palestinian child who dies,” Maher said, “but if it’s your father, your brother, your uncle who’s firing those rockets into Israel, who’s fault is it really? Do you really expect the Israelis not to retaliate?”

“I don’t think you can understand the conflict without reading Hamas’ charter,” chimed in Daily Caller senior editor Jamie Weinstein. “[The charter] calls for not only the destruction of Israel, but the murder of Jews generally.”

At multiple points, the audience cheered suggestions that Hamas was in the wrong, including when one panelist quoted conservative Charles Krauthammer’s piece which noted that the Israelis use missiles to protect their civilians, while Hamas uses civilians to protect their missiles.

“If the Hamas people had the opportunity, they would kill the maximum number of Israelis, which would be all [of them], and Israel has the opportunity to kill way more [Palestinians] and they do not,” Maher said.

“There’s no question that if Hamas, as you said, could, they would wipe Israel off the map,” Weinstein agreed.

Maher took things a step further, saying that the Israelis consistently triumph over Muslim adversaries because of a Jewish belief in science.

“Jews have, I think, 155 Nobel Prizes, Muslims have two,” he said. “That seems like kind of a big advantage for team Hebrew.”

US Border Crisis: Caring for Children Is Top Priority, Says Faith Leader Who Met With Obama, Perry in Dallas

One faith-based leader who met with President Barack Obama and Governor Rick Perry in Dallas Wednesday says the 10-person private meeting among local officials and faith leaders was productive in homing in on solutions that will meet the state’s most immediate needs in dealing with the border crisis.

Despite appeals from members of his own party to accept Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s invitation to tour the U.S,-Mexico border where the humanitarian and national security crisis is unfolding, Obama declined, opting instead to meet in Dallas before attending one of three Democratic fundraisers in the state.

“The purpose of the meeting was to find solutions in dealing with the border crisis in Texas,” Chris Liebrum, director of disaster recovery for the Texas Baptist Convention told The Christian Post Wednesday night.

“Our message and focus is on the children,” Liebrum added. “We need to care for the children who are here now — that was my message to the president. We have a big immigration problem that needs to be solved; and it’s the lack of a good immigration policy as to why this crisis, this disaster, has come about.”

Following Wednesday’s meeting, Obama held a brief news conference and suggested that there wouldn’t have been a border crisis had the House passed immigration reform last year.

“Why aren’t we passing comprehensive immigration reform which would put an additional 20,000 Border Patrol agents and give us a lot of additional authorities to deal with some of these problems?” Obama asked. “That should’ve been done a year ago; it should’ve been done two years ago. It’s gotten caught up in politics.”

Obama emphasized, many times, that he’s asking Gov. Perry to pressure the “Texas delegation” and other border-state Republicans in Congress to approve $3.7 billion in supplemental emergency funding to help resolve the border crisis.

Perry, however, asserted on Fox News’ “Hannity” that less than 2 percent of those funds would go toward border security; and he continues to ask the president for 1,000 National Guard troops to patrol the border temporarily until 3,000 new Border Patrol agents are trained.

Perry testified before members of the U.S. Homeland Security Committee last Thursday in McAllen and explained that Texas only has seven Border Patrol agents per mile for its 1,200-mile border with Mexico; unlike California, New Mexico and Arizona, which have 17 agents per mile patrolling their southern border.

While politicians continue to debate solutions for resolving the border crisis, Liebrum told CP that the federal government has the responsibility to take care of the physical needs of the children who’ve entered the country illegally.

“The federal government has the responsibility, through a private contractor, to take care of the physical needs of these children — food, clothing, shelter, security, medical, all of that will be contracted out,” he said. “What they will want from nonprofits and NGOs is help with other activities.”

The terminology that the government is using regarding assistance faith-based organizations are providing is “socialization resources,” according to Liebrum, who said this includes sports and other physical activities, and non-sectarian, ecumenical services.

Christian nonprofit volunteers won’t be proselytizing to the children, Liebrum asserted, adding that many of the children “come from religious backgrounds.”

“Some of the shelters are being told that they’re responding to those kinds of (religious) activities,” he continued. “There can be other things, too, that faith-based organizations can do, depending on what the contractor needs.”

When asked by CP if the faith-based communities represented at the meeting had formed a consensus on whether or not the children should be deported or allowed to stay in the U.S., he said they had not.

Other issues discussed in the meeting dealt with solutions to “shortcut the processing of the children, because it’s taking too long,” Liebrum said.

“There was a discussion about how to handle children who have physical and medical needs. And suggestions about what we could do in these countries to keep them from coming — in a positive way. Instead of spending billions of dollars here, what could happen if we spent that kind of money and created an atmosphere that would keep them from coming, in the sense that they would have what they need there. Those are some of the discussion points. But a lot of it was about the problem at hand in Texas and what we do now,” Liebrum explained.

Liebrum added that the meeting was cordial; and while there were political differences among the group, “they were dealt with by both parties with great respect.” He also noted that Obama and Perry had the opportunity to meet privately for 15 minutes and talk in a separate room before meeting with faith leaders and local officials.

Those who attend the border crisis meeting at Love Field Airport in Dallas include: Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings; Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (R-Texas); Grand Prairie Mayor Ron Jensen; Chris Liebrum of the Baptist General Convention; Arne Nelson of Catholic Charities; Dallas County Commissioner Elba Garcia; Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins; Texas Health and Human Services Director Kyle Janek; Texas Public Safety Director Steven McCraw; and the director of Baptist Child and Family services who has contracted with the shelter at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio.

Gov. Perry has requested the following actions from President Obama:

Visit the Texas-Mexico border to witness firsthand the impact of the border crisis;

Deploy an additional 1,000 National Guard troops to the Texas-Mexico border to immediately enhance border security operations;

Direct the Federal Aviation Administration to allow the National Guard to utilize Predator drones along the Texas-Mexico border for identifying and tracking human and drug trafficking;

Medically screen all illegal immigrants to ensure their health and the health of our citizens;

Direct the Centers for Disease Control or another appropriate federal agency outside the Department of Homeland Security to conduct, in conjunction with the Texas Department of State Health Services inspections of facilities in which illegal immigrants, including UACs, are being housed to ensure accepted international and national emergency sheltering standards are met;

Modify or rescind policies that serve as a magnet to encourage illegal immigration, including:

DHS Catch and Release policies by which DHS issues an illegal immigrant an NTA before an immigration judge and releases them. The U.S. Department of Justice reports that 33 percent of those released on their own recognizance failed to appear in FY 2013.

Deportation policies and procedures that prohibit UACs from countries other than Mexico and Canada from being immediately repatriated back to their country of origin. After DHS processes these UACs, they are issued an NTA and delivered to a sponsor or relative in the United States, regardless of the relative’s immigration status.

Birthright citizenship is flatly unconstitutional

Because the current policy is that any child who is born here, even to an illegal alien, is automatically a citizen of the United States, pregnant illegal aliens by the thousands commit criminal trespass in order to give birth on U.S. soil. There is also a bustling business in birth tourism, where pregnant foreigners on tourist visas are hosted by a growing hospitality industry devoted to their comfort until the day of delivery – and U.S. citizenship – arrives.

All this has led to calls to amend our Constitution to bring this misguided and misdirected practice to an end.

But we do not need to amend the Constitution to fix this problem; a correct reading of the Constitution indicates that such children born on our soil are specifically excluded from citizenship.

The clause at issue is found in the 14th Amendment, which reads, “All persons born or naturalized in the United Statesand subject to the jurisdiction thereofare citizens of the United States…”

A plain reading clearly indicates that birthright citizenship is granted only to those who are “subject to the jurisdiction” of the United States when they are born on American soil. Illegal aliens and their children, by definition, are not subject to the jurisdiction of the U.S. That’s why they can be deported. Their children are no more subject to the jurisdiction of the U.S. than their parents are, and as little entitled to citizenship.

The “jurisdiction” clause was added to the 14th Amendment only after a lengthy debate. According to NumbersUSA, Sen. Jacob Howard of Michigan proposed the amendment because he wanted to make it clear that the simple accident of birth on U.S. soil was not in fact enough to confer citizenship.

Sen. Howard said the jurisdiction requirement is “simply declaratory of what I regard as the law of the land already,” an apparent reference to the Civil Rights Act of 1866, about which more in a moment.

In his debate, Sen. Howard said, “[T]his will not, of course, include persons born in the United States who are foreigners, aliens, who belong to the families of ambassadors or foreign ministers accredited to the Government of the United States…”

The logic is inescapable. If the children of foreign diplomats, who are in this country legally, are not U.S. citizens by birth, how is it possible that children of illegal aliens could be?

The only Democrat to participate in the debate was Sen. Reverdy Johnson of Maryland. In debate, he said this about the meaning of this particular clause: “[A]ll persons born in the United Statesand not subject to some foreign Power– for that, no doubt, is the meaning of the committee who have brought the matter before — shall be considered as citizens of the United States.”

The 14th Amendment was passed in order to elevate the provisions of the Civil Rights Act of 1866 to constitutionally protected status and insulate it from legal challenge. The CRA of 1866 has a virtually identical clause in it, which reads, “[A]ll persons born in the United Statesand not subject to any foreign power,excluding Indians not taxed, are hereby declared to be citizens of the United States.”

This makes it particularly clear, for the children of those in Indian tribes were born on U.S. soil, but were not considered citizens under the Civil Rights Act of 1866 because they were subject to a foreign power, the sovereign Indian nation to which they belonged.

As George Beck writes, “‘[T]ribal’ Indians were purposefully excluded from citizenship. The drafters of the Fourteenth Amendment clearly defined ‘tribal’ Indians as ‘Indians not taxed,’ as not ‘subject to the jurisdiction’ of the United States.”

Ken Kuklowski puts it this way, “[T]he Civil Rights Act’s parallel language, ‘and not subject to any foreign power,’ instead shows the Jurisdiction Clause excludes all citizens of any foreign country. The Citizenship Clause was intended to overrule the most infamous Supreme Court case in American history—the 1857Dred Scottcase—and ensure free blacks born in America could not be denied citizenship. It was never designed to make a citizen of every child born to a foreigner.”

Since 1795, aliens have been required to renounce allegiance to any foreign power and declare allegiance to the U.S. Constitution to become a naturalized citizen. They are required to do so because such allegiance was never assumed or taken for granted for an alien born on American soil. For instance, our family has a framed copy of my great-grandfather’s renunciation of his allegiance to the Czar of Russia hanging on the wall of our living room. It was a prerequisite to his being granted full citizenship in the United States.

Anyone born here, on U.S. soil, whose parents owed allegiance to some foreign power, were not considered citizens of the U.S. by birth and should not be today.

American Pastors Network: Supreme Court Decision Upholds Constitutional Rights for Christian Business

PHILADELPHIA—The American Pastors Network (APN, www.americanpastorsnetwork.net) says that today’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling in favor of Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc., upholds and protects Christian business owners and their Constitutional rights. It’s a critical ruling upholding the Rule of Law and will help to protect the security of religious liberties in America, and Hobby Lobby should be commended for its commitment to the fight.

“Today’s court decision is an encouraging step forward as it reaffirms the God-given and Constitutionally protected right to religious liberty in America” said Sam Rohrer, President of APN as well as the Pennsylvania Pastors Network (PPN, www.papastors.net). “Two-hundred-and-twenty-five years ago, the signors of the U.S. Constitution envisioned a country where people of faith could practice their religion free of government oppression. Today, the Court has upheld this vision, and we thank Hobby Lobby for standing in the gap in this landmark case and important fight.”

The 5-4 decision finds that Christian owners of closely held corporations do not have to comply with the birth control mandate in the Affordable Care Act and will, therefore, not be forced to provide their employees with birth control coverage that goes against their deeply held religious convictions. Faith-based businesses, religious schools and churches are exempt under the mandate, but the mandate did not consider secular businesses that are owned by Christians whose religious beliefs may go against the mandate.

The decision hits especially close to home for PPN, as today’s decision applies to a similar case involving Conestoga Wood Specialties, a Lancaster County, Pa.-based cabinet maker owned by the pro-life Mennonite Hahn family. Conestoga Wood Specialties has provided its 1,000 employees generous health benefits, including preventive care coverage that goes beyond what the law requires. But because they are pro-life, they exclude coverage for contraception that may act as an abortifacient.

“Our nation’s first Supreme Court Chief Justice, John Jay, once said, ‘Every member of the State ought diligently to read and to study the constitution of his country…. By knowing their rights, they will sooner perceive when they are violated and be the better prepared to defend and assert them,’” Rohrer continued. “Thankfully, many Americans have read and understand our Constitution and the freedoms it protects. We are thankful the Supreme Court today upheld their oath to defend the United States Constitution and the religious liberty guaranteed to all Americans.”

Hobby Lobby is a large craft store chain owned by the Christians David Green and his family. The Greens, who had no moral objection to providing 16 of the 20 FDA-approved contraceptives required under the HHS mandate and do so at no additional cost to employees under their self-insured health plan, took issue with four of the covered methods that were considered abortion-inducing drugs.

The timeline of the Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc., case was a nearly two-year effort to protect the religious rights of Christian business owners:

  • September 2012: Hobby Lobby files suit in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma over the federal mandate to provide four specific potentially life-terminating drugs and devices. The request was denied.
  • November 2012: The business appeals to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit for emergency relief from the federal mandate.
  • December 2012: That court also denies emergency relief.
  • February 2013: Nine U.S. Senators and two Representatives, along with the Oklahoma Attorney General and 11 other influential groups file Friend-Of-The-Court Briefs supporting Hobby Lobby’s legal challenge to the federal mandate.
  • March 2013: The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit grants Hobby Lobby a full court hearing of its case.
  • June 2013: The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit overturns the lower court’s denial of the injunction and orders the federal government to halt enforcement of the federal mandate against Hobby Lobby. The Appeals Court remands the case back to the District Court in Oklahoma, which grants a preliminary injunction against the federal mandate in July, meaning, in essence, that Hobby Lobby would not have to comply with the mandate because of the owners’ religious convictions.
  • Fall 2013: The U.S. government appeals the ruling and takes the case to the U.S. Supreme Court. Hobby Lobby, even though it was the victor at this point, files a brief with the Supreme Court, agreeing with the federal government that the highest court in the land should hear its case as it raises important questions about the right to religious freedom.
  • November 2013: The Supreme Court agrees to take up Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc.
  • March 2014: Oral arguments are heard on whether the government has the power to force family business owners to act against their faith based solely on their companies’ form of organization.

 

Over 60 Nigerian Girls Escape Boko Haram Captors

More than 60 girls and women kidnapped by armed men from Nigeria’s Islamist terrorist group Boko Haram a fortnight ago have managed to escape, officials said. However, over 200 other girls who were abducted separately about two months ago are still captive.

A local official from the Chibok area of the northeast state of Borno told The Associated Press Monday that he can confirm that the women and girls escaped Thursday and Friday. He said he had sent his representatives to talk to some of the girls.

The victims were kidnapped during a raid on Kummabza village in the Damboa district of Borno state on June 22, as the terror group supposedly sought to pressure the government to secure the release of its militant fighters.

“Over 60 women were abducted by Boko Haram terrorists,” a local vigilante leader, Aji Khalil, told Agence France Presse earlier. “They were forcefully taken away by Boko Haram terrorists. Four villagers who tried to escape were shot dead on the spot.”

Another vigilante leader, identified as Abbas Gava, in Borno state’s capital of Maiduguri told the AP on Sunday that he heard from other vigilantes in the area that 63 women and girls managed to escape while the armed men from Boko Haram were attacking military barracks and police headquarters in Damboa.

Earlier, on the night of April 14-15, Boko Haram gunmen kidnapped more than 250 girls from the Government Girls Secondary School in the town of Chibok.

Police later said 53 of those abducted managed to escape. Sarah Lawan, a 19-year-old student who was able to escape, earlier said that most girls made no attempt to run away as the gunmen had threatened to shoot them. “I am pained that my other colleagues could not summon the courage to run away with me,” she said. “Now I cry each time I come across their parents and see how they weep when they see me.”

It is believed that many of the girls and women abducted are Christian.

Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau had threatened to sell the girls “in the market.”

“I abducted your girls,” Shekau said in a 57-minute video obtained by the AFP earlier. “I abducted a girl at a western education school and you are disturbed. I said western education should end. Western education should end. Girls, you should go and get married. I will repeat this: western education should fold up. I abducted your girls. I will sell them in the market, by Allah. I will marry off a woman at the age of 12. I will marry off a girl at the age of nine.”

The government of President Goodluck Jonathan has been criticized for its slow and inadequate response.

Boko Haram is designated as a foreign terrorist organization in the United States and the European Union.

The terror outfit was formed by an Islamic cleric, Mohammad Yusuf, about a decade ago to fight Western education, which he claimed was behind moral and political corruption in the country. Yusuf was from the Salafi movement, which has promoted jihadist terrorism in several countries.

Thousands of people have died in attacks since Boko Haram’s insurrection began in 2009.

Boko Haram has also killed numerous Christians and attacked several churches. It is apparently seeking to create an Islamic state in the Muslim-majority northern Nigeria. It is believed that it gained technical sophistication and weaponry with help from groups like al-Shabaab in southern Somalia and al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb in Mali.