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The law as it relates to Christians and their free exercise of religion

Archive for January, 2011

Retired Science Teacher Seeks to Bar Evolution from Classrooms

Posted by faithandthelaw on January 31, 2011

A retired science teacher believes the teaching of evolution is  “bad science” and has asked a federal court to declare it illegal to teach the subject in public schools. Tom Ritter, a former physics and chemistry teacher of over 10 years, filed a lawsuit earlier this month against evolution in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania, the same court that ruled that teaching of intelligent design in public schools is unconstitutional.

Ritter told The Christian Post this week that he didn’t pay too much attention to biology before, but now in retirement he saw problems that he couldn’t overlook any longer.

“It kind of got to be like picking a scab,” he said.

In his one-page brief and one-page suit, Ritter argues that the Blue Mountain School District in Orwigsburg, Penn., is an illegal body because it teaches evolution.

A local resident, Ritter wants the district to stop collecting taxes from him until such teaching is halted. This is one scheme in his plan to get rid of public schools altogether, which he considers to be a waste of taxpayer dollars.

The suit contends that the 2005 Kitzmiller v. Dover decision forbids any teaching of evolution that includes a creator. It also argues that evolution is unscientific.

According to Ritter, evolution is unscientific for three reasons: no one has demonstrated that life can be created from non-life; no one has demonstrated that a new “sexual species” can be created; and no one has demonstrated how the human brain evolved from lower forms.

Since evolution is unscientific and teaches the absence of a creator, it is actually teaching atheism, the suit contends. Therefore, teaching evolution should be illegal in public schools because it is a religion.

“Objectively, Atheism is a religion, albeit a silly and unscientific one,” the Jan. 18 suit states. “This is like teaching Jesus is Lord.”

While Ritter said his court filings are really made for “popular consumption,” he does expect to have his day in court.

“I think it will be taken seriously aside from the fact that I know some science,” he said.

Courtesy of http://www.christianpost.com/article/20110130/retired-science-teacher-seeks-to-bar-evolution-from-classrooms/

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Cop’s right to protect gospel preachers asserted in court

Posted by faithandthelaw on January 30, 2011

By Brian Fitzpatrick
© 2011 WorldNetDaily


Photo from Facebook page “Kutztown University Students Against Repent America Demonstrations”

Does a police officer have the right to disobey an order that would cause him to violate the constitutional rights of, say, a Christian open-air preacher at a public university?

Alliance Defense Fund attorneys today argued a case before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit in Philadelphia, one step below the Supreme Court, that could establish the legal precedent that police officers have the same right to disobey illegal orders as members of the military.

“Armbruster v. Cavanaugh is an important case,” said ADF Senior Counsel Tom Marcelle. “A police officer takes an oath to uphold and defend the Constitution. If he has that obligation, he also has a right to refuse to uphold orders that cause him to violate the very Constitution he is sworn to defend.

“Whether you’re talking about the Nazis at Nuremberg or police officers at Kent State, courts have recognized in certain circumstances a police officer has a duty not to obey an unlawful or unconstitutional order. The difference is, at Kent State life was at issue. We argued that life is protected by the Constitution, but liberty is also. An order to deprive someone of liberty is no different from an order to take someone’s life,” he said.

“If a soldier or a police officer performs in an unlawful way, he can never tell a judge, ‘I did this because I was ordered to do it.’ Following orders is never a defense. Therefore police officers have a right to disobey orders that are not constitutional and not fear retribution from superiors,” he said.

In April, 2007, Kutztown University campus police officer Steven Armbruster refused to obey an order from his chief to “push” a peaceful group of evangelists off campus.

Approximately 15 members of Repent America, a Philadelphia-based evangelical Christian ministry, came to KU that day as part of the group’s annual “Pro-Life Evangelism Tour” of nearby college campuses.

“Our tour travels through Pennsylvania to educate students about the realities of abortion and to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ,” said RA Director Michael Marcavage. “We talk to students and display signs. While we were setting up we were immediately met by some aggressive students who were acting very irrationally.”

Marcavage told WND that RA was not aware the school was also celebrating a pro-homosexual “day of silence.”

According to ADF’s fact sheet, “About 300 protesters from several organizations and clubs appeared on the scene and loudly opposed the message, causing KU President F. Javier Cevallos and the chief of the KU Police Dept., William Mioskie, to insist the Christian group leave campus.”


Michael Marcavage

“The students upset with the message were demanding that we leave. Because the police didn’t affirm our right to be there it became quite the scene,” said Marcavage. “Armbruster had been ordered to ‘push’ us off the campus by the chief of campus police. The president of KU demanded it. He told the chief he didn’t want us on the campus.”

“Armbruster explained to Mioskie that he believed such action would violate the group’s civil rights,” according to ADF. “Mioskie immediately relieved Armbruster of his duties and told him to leave the scene while other officers executed his orders.”

Armbruster was suspended without pay for five days, and warned he could be fired “if he made a similar decision in the future.”

“Steve stood up for our right to speak freely in a public forum on a public campus,” Marcavage told WND. “It takes an honorable man to do such things, to stand for our right to speak in spite of what his supervisor, the chief of police, was trying to do. I’m greatly blessed and thankful that we have men willing to stand for our right to preach the gospel.”

Marcelle expects a decision from the Third Circuit Court within 60 days. He added ADF is prepared to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court if necessary.

The First Amendment right to preach the gospel and to speak frankly about issues like homosexuality and abortion continues to meet resistance on U.S. college campuses.

At KU, a student reacted to RA’s campus visit in October 2010 by creating a Facebook page called “Kutztown University Students Against Repent America Demonstrations.” The page quickly attracted more than 200 members.

“This group is not to promote or deny a woman’s right to choose an abortion, nor is it to support or denounce the right or wrongness of our homosexual students,” says the page. “The group is here to stand out against the vicious verbally threatening assaults on Kutztown.”

“I don’t know what that last statement concerns,” Marcavage replied. “Our dialogue is not to threaten or do what they’re saying there. We have found that people will lie about us and our ministry. We come wanting to have a good discussion with the students. There are always going to be those who are angry and throw temper tantrums because they’re not having their way and someone is saying they have to repent of their sins. That’s the natural response of sinful man. At Kutztown, the president sends out an e-mail every year to students disfavoring us, saying we have a right to speak but discouraging the students from talking with us.”

Last fall, WND reported about a group of students from a Minnesota university who invaded the worship service of a pastor in retaliation for his evangelistic visits to campus.

Repent America has also met resistance from the U.S. Department of Justice.

A May 2007 RA news release claims that a DOJ spokesman characterized RA as a “fundamentalist hate group” while teaching a class for the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education, a network of 14 publicly owned universities including Kutztown. The class, “Mediation and Conflict Resolution Skills for Law Enforcement,” taught campus police officers to mediate a hypothetical conflict between evangelists and upset homosexuals by “removing the Christians, instead of affirming their constitutional rights to be on a public campus.” 

As reported by WND, members of the DOJ Civil Rights Division attending a homosexual rally in Philadelphia in October 2004 “advised police on the scene” who arrested 11 RA members preaching the gospel. The “Philadelphia 11” were charged with “hate crimes,” but the charges were eventually dismissed.

Read more: Cop’s right to protect gospel preachers asserted in courthttp://www.wnd.com/?pageId=256457#ixzz1CXlM7qmb

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Life Project USA Video on Abortion:The Truth about Life

Posted by faithandthelaw on January 28, 2011

The Life Project is a grass roots strategy for awakening Christians to the cause of Life that includes media, curriculum, and Life resources designed to move believers from lukewarm disapproval of abortion to activism for Life.

It eases the tension between compassion and truth telling by presenting a holistic message:  the truth about abortion with hope for healing.

It begins with prayer.  It uses abortion imagery carefully, but without fear. 

More… It does not depend on pastors alone – it begins with prayer groups and grows from there.

It is comprehensive; that is, it’s not just an exposé of the abortion industry, not just an appeal to restoration for post abortive men and women, not just an appeal for legislation.  It seeks to address the whole picture, with the explicit goal of saving lives.

Instead of a topical recitation of the facts, the Life documentary component of the Life Project will focus on real human stories of ordinary believers who have dedicated themselves to saving unborn babies, and on post abortive women and men whose lives have been transformed and renewed by Jesus.

The Life documentary precedes and promotes a feature length movie entitled Faith, which we are developing to show audiences the truth about abortion within the context of an emotionally compelling and compassionate story.

It utilizes digital distribution of video, viral messaging, and an online resource center for pro life activity.

It envisions the genesis of a revitalized pro life movement, with possibilities for spreading the message through film, music, fashion, and public figures willing to take a stand for unborn babies. 

OUR MESSAGE FOR A SLEEPY CHURCH:  WAKE UP!

See:  Every Christian needs to see and understand the miracle of Life and the tragedy of abortion.
Reflect:  We need to seek God’s forgiveness for our tacit acceptance of a culture of death, and offer Jesus’ love and mercy to men and women who have aborted their children.
Embrace Life:  We must call believers to embrace Life and have nothing to do with furthering the practice of abortion or supporting anyone or any group who seeks to encourage or facilitate it.
Take a Stand:  Every Christian needs to take a stand for Life by playing an active role in the struggle to save unborn babies and remake our society as a welcoming place for children entering the world.

Our plan centers around helping the Church find its voice and equipping Christians to make a life-saving difference.  By the Church, we mean individual believers, Christian churches, colleges and universities, high schools, and other Christian institutions of all types.  And because we understand that pastors, presidents, and administrators have their hands full, these strategies are designed to be implemented by lay people with the blessing of Christian leaders to rally their communites for Life.

Prayer:  This is where it all begins.  We suggest that anyone wanting to renew their church or school’s pro life commitment begin by starting a weekly or monthly prayer group, seeking God’s heart for Life and His desire for their community – simple, beautiful, powerful – and we’ll have specific suggestions.

Media:  If you believe God is leading you to take the next step in your community (and we believe He will), you will soon have access to a compelling short documentary designed specifically for Christians called LIFE.  Motion pictures are the visual language of our time.  LIFE will challenge Christians to action in a completely new way.  We are also developing a feature length theatrical movie.  Check out our projects here:  MEDIA.

Curriculum:  Our films will help create a receptive heart and a willingness to ask “What now?”  We want to turn that willingness to action with a thoughtfully written, Biblically based, four-part curriculum for small groups that uses segments of the LIFE documentary as discussion starters.

Resources for Action:  The LIFE documentary will be created around profiles of Christians taking courageous and sacrificial steps to save babies and end abortion.  The curriculum will offer practical avenues for life-saving activities, and the LIFE PROJECT website will include interactive resources and links.

Pro Life Partners:  We want to work with any pro life ministry or Christian institution that eschews violence and takes their essential principles from a sound understanding of God’s Word on Life.  Our fully implemented website and curricular materials will contain many suggestions.

HERE IS THE VIDEO LINK:

http://www.lifeprojectusa.com/the-truth-about-life

See their website at www.lifeprojectusa.com

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Franklin Graham Says Tucson Memorial Service ‘Scoffed’ at Jesus

Posted by faithandthelaw on January 28, 2011

President Obama garnered praise from across the political spectrum for his moving speech last week at the memorial service for the Tucson shooting victims, including from his usual critics on the right. But don’t count the Rev. Franklin Graham as a fan of the event.

In a speech on Tuesday at John Brown University, a private Christian college in Siloam Springs, Ark., the son of the revered evangelist Billy Graham voiced “dismay” at the way the Tucson memorial service was conducted, arguing that it was not as explicitly religious — mainly “Christian” — as those following the Oklahoma City bombing and the 9/11 attacks.

Graham was particularly upset that the Tucson memorial featured a Native American who called upon “father sky and mother earth.”

Franklin Graham“There was no call for the name of God to put his loving arms around the people who were hurting, the people that were suffering,” Graham said. “Why? Why did they take God out of it? Why did they leave him out?

“Because the world scoffs at the name of Jesus Christ,” Graham said, his voice rising in anger. “They scoff when you say he’s the son of God.”

Graham went on to say that the scoffing and persecution against Christians is only going to get worse.

Initial reports of Graham’s speech indicated that he may have been including Obama in his critique, though a review of the video shows that Graham says he “felt sorry” for the president “because I knew he was uncomfortable in that situation.”

Graham was referring to the pep rally atmosphere and the prayers by the Native American, an associate professor of medicine at the University, Carlos Gonzales, who is a Pascua Yaqui Indian and fifth generation Arizonan. (Graham called him a native of “the Yuppie tribe or something, I didn’t quite get it.”)

Graham also stressed his empathy for the president in an op-ed in The Washington Times on Tuesday, saying he was “proud of Mr. Obama” in Tucson in contrast with how he viewed the rest of the event.

“The president read from the Scriptures, and a couple of others,” Graham noted in his speech at John Brown University. But also said that no one mentioned God at the Tuscon event, and he said that is the way things seem to be going in America.

“And I believe the memorial service that we saw in Tucson is the template for what you are going to see in a secularized world.”

The White House declined to comment on Graham’s remarks about the service.

As USA Today’s “Faith & Reason” blogger, Cathy Grossman, noted, Graham’s critique seems “odd” given that Obama’s speech — which many agreed sounded more like a sermon — cited the consolations of Psalm 46 plus the laments of Job.

Moreover, Department of Homeland Security head (and former Arizona governor) Janet Napolitano preceded Obama and read from Isaiah 40 and U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder read from the Second Letter of Paul to the Corinthians.

A strong majority of Americans also liked Obama’s response to the Tucson shootings, with an ABC News-Washington Post poll this week showing 78 percent approval overall, and 71 percent approval from Republicans and conservatives.

The Tucson speech was actually fairly typical of Obama’s Scripture-based rhetoric, and The Los Angeles Times explored how the president consulted his Christian spiritual advisers in composing it.

“Yet,” as Grossman writes, “Graham believes the victims of the Tucson shooting, those who knew and loved them and all who wanted to show solidarity with them — Catholic, Jewish, Protestant and beliefs unknown — were scoffing at God as they wept and cheered the speakers.”

Franklin Graham, who has become something of a shepherd to Sarah Palin (she accompanied him to Haiti last month), is becoming known for rhetoric that is far edgier than anything his father ever said, even in Billy Graham’s haler days.

He has regularly disparaged Islam, calling it an “evil” religion, a blast that got him booted from official National Day of Prayer celebrations last year. And he once made fun of Hinduism’s deities, saying that “No elephant with 100 arms can do anything for me. None of their 9,000 gods is going to lead me to salvation.”

Franklin Graham took up some of those themes again on Tuesday at John Brown.

“Even in our government today, you can’t pray to Jesus in many public meetings. You can pray to God or a god. You can mention Buddha or the name of Muhammad, but you can’t pray to Jesus Christ,” Graham told the students.

“We know that we are going to be persecuted for standing up for the name of Christ.”

Courtesy of http://www.politicsdaily.com/2011/01/20/franklin-graham-says-obama-tucson-memorial-service-scoffed-at/

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Gone to the Devil

Posted by faithandthelaw on January 28, 2011

By Lisa Fabrizio

In a reading group I belong to, we studied the first monks to go out into the Egyptian desert in the 2nd and 3rd centuries. We read of heroic men and women who performed supernatural feats — like Simeon Stylites who lived on a pillar for 37 years — in an effort to live lives of mortification and penance, thereby growing closer to God. We read St. Athanasius’ Life of Anthony, a fascinating biography which described, among other things, the legendary desert saint’s physical struggles with the devil and his demons.

Reading of the battles with Satan fought by St. Anthony and others, we pondered as to why Satan and his minions were so prevalent in such a desolate place, until we came to the conclusion that the devil really needn’t bother with highly populated areas, as we do his work very well without much prompting from him. Indeed, it is a testament to his genius that most folks who do his bidding blissfully deny his very existence. After all, nobody really believes in that stuff, anymore; it’s medieval!

Oddly enough though, some folks are paying attention to Old Nick. It seems that Hollywood — temporarily interrupting its fetish for vampires — is releasing two flicks dealing with his doings: a mockudrama called The Last Exorcism, and the much-ballyhooed, The Rite, starring Anthony Hopkins and based on a true story. Of course my favorite of all movies concerning attempts to separate Satan from a person with whom he has chosen to dwell would be the 1990 comedy Repossessed, wherein Linda Blair is once again spewing pea soup until rescued by Leslie Nielsen.

Hollywood has demonstrated ad nauseam its desire to promote and please the powers of darkness. An unhappy coincidence rendered me a viewer of Sunday’s awful Golden Globe awards, which closed with a voiceover — possibly from the host, I don’t know — saying “and thank you to God for making me an atheist.”

So amongst the purveyors of entertainment in this country, God is made the butt of jokes while the Evil One is the subject of much reverent attention. He is not only believed in, but still worshiped by many who practice the dark arts, and even others who are not rock musicians. Don’t believe me? Just do a search on “wicca” or take a look at your child’s textbooks that deal with the world’s “religions.”

We’re constantly looking for answers to violent crime, unless of course said crimes are committed by radical Islamists. Why did the Arizona killer strike? What inspired the hate in him? Well, as scripture says, Satan is a liar, and the father of all lies, and one of his favorites is when the evil which he introduces into the world takes root in an unbalanced person who commits heinous crimes, which then causes others to question God. And the folks who question him most are very often those in high places.

Yes, it only takes a few leaders who have made the Dark Angel their guest to lead the rest — who don’t really believe in him — astray; especially when the anecdote to evil has been virtually expunged from all aspects of public life; no prayer in schools or civic events, while in many churches, worship has turned inward instead of upward. And all that’s needed are a few dupes willing to sell their souls in the name of Utopia to lead others downward. C.S. Lewis brilliantly puts this explanation on the lips of his favorite demon, Screwtape:

As the great sinners grow fewer, and the majority lose all individuality, the great sinners become far more effective agents for us. Every dictator or even demagogue — almost every film star or crooner — can now draw tens of thousands of the human sheep with him…There may come a time when we shall have no need to bother about individual temptation at all, except for the few. Catch the bellwether, and his whole flock comes after him.

It was the French poet Baudelaire who wrote, “The greatest trick the devil ever played was convincing the world that he did not exist.” So you can believe in the existence of personified evil or not; and many folks choose the latter. No, most people do not believe in the devil; but he believes in them.

Courtesy of http://spectator.org/archives/2011/01/19/gone-to-the-devil

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Importance of Morality and Religion in Government

Posted by faithandthelaw on January 26, 2011

John Adams
Signer of the Declaration of Independence and Second President of the United States

[I]t is religion and morality alone which can establish the principles upon which freedom can securely stand. The only foundation of a free constitution is pure virtue.

(Source: John Adams, The Works of John Adams, Second President of the United States, Charles Francis Adams, editor (Boston: Little, Brown, 1854), Vol. IX, p. 401, to Zabdiel Adams on June 21, 1776.)

[W]e have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. . . . Our constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.

(Source: John Adams, The Works of John Adams, Second President of the United States, Charles Francis Adams, editor (Boston: Little, Brown, and Co. 1854), Vol. IX, p. 229, October 11, 1798.)

The moment the idea is admitted into society, that property is not as sacred as the laws of God, and that there is not a force of law and public justice to protect it, anarchy and tyranny commence. If “Thou shalt not covet,” and “Thou shalt not steal,” were not commandments of Heaven, they must be made inviolable precepts in every society, before it can be civilized or made free.

(Source: John Adams, The Works of John Adams, Second President of the United States, Charles Francis Adams, editor (Boston: Charles C. Little and James Brown, 1851), Vol. VI, p. 9.)

John Quincy Adams

Sixth President of the United States

The law given from Sinai was a civil and municipal as well as a moral and religious code; it contained many statutes . . . of universal application-laws essential to the existence of men in society, and most of which have been enacted by every nation which ever professed any code of laws.

(Source: John Quincy Adams, Letters of John Quincy Adams, to His Son, on the Bible and Its Teachings (Auburn: James M. Alden, 1850), p. 61.)

There are three points of doctrine the belief of which forms the foundation of all morality. The first is the existence of God; the second is the immortality of the human soul; and the third is a future state of rewards and punishments. Suppose it possible for a man to disbelieve either of these three articles of faith and that man will have no conscience, he will have no other law than that of the tiger or the shark. The laws of man may bind him in chains or may put him to death, but they never can make him wise, virtuous, or happy.

(Source: John Quincy Adams, Letters of John Quincy Adams to His Son on the Bible and Its Teachings (Auburn: James M. Alden, 1850), pp. 22-23.)

Samuel Adams

Signer of the Declaration of Independence

[N]either the wisest constitution nor the wisest laws will secure the liberty and happiness of a people whose manners are universally corrupt.

(Source: William V. Wells, The Life and Public Service of Samuel Adams (Boston: Little, Brown, & Co., 1865), Vol. I, p. 22, quoting from a political essay by Samuel Adams published in The Public Advertiser, 1749.)

Fisher Ames

Framer of the First Amendment

Our liberty depends on our education, our laws, and habits . . . it is founded on morals and religion, whose authority reigns in the heart, and on the influence all these produce on public opinion before that opinion governs rulers.

(Source: Fisher Ames, An Oration on the Sublime Virtues of General George Washington (Boston: Young & Minns, 1800), p. 23.)

Charles Carroll of Carrollton

Signer of the Declaration of Independence

Without morals a republic cannot subsist any length of time; they therefore who are decrying the Christian religion, whose morality is so sublime & pure, [and] which denounces against the wicked eternal misery, and [which] insured to the good eternal happiness, are undermining the solid foundation of morals, the best security for the duration of free governments.

(Source: Bernard C. Steiner, The Life and Correspondence of James McHenry (Cleveland: The Burrows Brothers, 1907), p. 475. In a letter from Charles Carroll to James McHenry of November 4, 1800.)

Oliver Ellsworth

Chief-Justice of the Supreme Court

[T]he primary objects of government are the peace, order, and prosperity of society. . . . To the promotion of these objects, particularly in a republican government, good morals are essential. Institutions for the promotion of good morals are therefore objects of legislative provision and support: and among these . . . religious institutions are eminently useful and important. . . . [T]he legislature, charged with the great interests of the community, may, and ought to countenance, aid and protect religious institutions—institutions wisely calculated to direct men to the performance of all the duties arising from their connection with each other, and to prevent or repress those evils which flow from unrestrained passion.

(Source: Connecticut Courant, June 7, 1802, p. 3, Oliver Ellsworth, to the General Assembly of the State of Connecticut)

Benjamin Franklin

Signer of the Constitution and Declaration of Independence

[O]nly a virtuous people are capable of freedom. As nations become corrupt and vicious, they have more need of masters.

(Source: Benjamin Franklin, The Writings of Benjamin Franklin, Jared Sparks, editor (Boston: Tappan, Whittemore and Mason, 1840), Vol. X, p. 297, April 17, 1787. )

I have lived, Sir, a long time, and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth, that God governs in the affairs of men. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without His notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without his aid? We have been assured, Sir, in the Sacred Writings, that “except the Lord build the House, they labor in vain that build it.” I firmly believe this; and I also believe that without His concurring aid we shall succeed in this political building no better, than the Builders of Babel: We shall be divided by our partial local interests; our projects will be confounded, and we ourselves shall become a reproach and bye word down to future ages. And what is worse, mankind may hereafter from this unfortunate instance, despair of establishing governments by human wisdom and leave it to chance, war and conquest.

I therefore beg leave to move that henceforth prayers imploring the assistance of Heaven, and its blessings on our deliberations be held in this Assembly every morning before we proceed to business, and that one or more of the clergy of this city be requested to officiate in that service.

(Source: James Madison, The Records of the Federal Convention of 1787, Max Farrand, editor (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1911), Vol. I, pp. 450-452, June 28, 1787.)

* For more details on this quote, click here.

Thomas Jefferson

Signer of the Declaration of Independence and Third President of the United States

Give up money, give up fame, give up science, give the earth itself and all it contains rather than do an immoral act. And never suppose that in any possible situation, or under any circumstances, it is best for you to do a dishonorable thing, however slightly so it may appear to you. Whenever you are to do a thing, though it can never be known but to yourself, ask yourself how you would act were all the world looking at you, and act accordingly. Encourage all your virtuous dispositions, and exercise them whenever an opportunity arises, being assured that they will gain strength by exercise, as a limb of the body does, and that exercise will make them habitual. From the practice of the purest virtue, you may be assured you will derive the most sublime comforts in every moment of life, and in the moment of death.

(Source: Thomas Jefferson, The Writings of Thomas Jefferson, Albert Bergh, editor (Washington, DC: Thomas Jefferson Memorial Assoc., 1903), Vol. 5, pp. 82-83, in a letter to his nephew Peter Carr on August 19, 1785.)

The doctrines of Jesus are simple, and tend all to the happiness of mankind.

(Source: Thomas Jefferson, The Writings of Thomas Jefferson, Albert Bergh, editor (Washington, D. C.: Thomas Jefferson Memorial Assoc., 1904), Vol. XV, p. 383.)

I concur with the author in considering the moral precepts of Jesus as more pure, correct, and sublime than those of ancient philosophers.

(Source: Thomas Jefferson, The Writings of Thomas Jefferson, Albert Bergh, editor (Washington, D. C.: Thomas Jefferson Memorial Assoc., 1904), Vol. X, pp. 376-377. In a letter to Edward Dowse on April 19, 1803.)

Richard Henry Lee

Signer of the Declaration of Independence

It is certainly true that a popular government cannot flourish without virtue in the people.

(Source: Richard Henry Lee, The Letters of Richard Henry Lee, James Curtis Ballagh, editor (New York: The MacMillan Company, 1914), Vol. II, p. 411. In a letter to Colonel Mortin Pickett on March 5, 1786.)

James McHenry

Signer of the Constitution

[P]ublic utility pleads most forcibly for the general distribution of the Holy Scriptures. The doctrine they preach, the obligations they impose, the punishment they threaten, the rewards they promise, the stamp and image of divinity they bear, which produces a conviction of their truths, can alone secure to society, order and peace, and to our courts of justice and constitutions of government, purity, stability and usefulness. In vain, without the Bible, we increase penal laws and draw entrenchments around our institutions. Bibles are strong entrenchments. Where they abound, men cannot pursue wicked courses, and at the same time enjoy quiet conscience.

(Source: Bernard C. Steiner, One Hundred and Ten Years of Bible Society Work in Maryland, 1810-1920 (Maryland Bible Society, 1921), p. 14.)

Jedediah Morse

Patriot and “Father of American Geography”

To the kindly influence of Christianity we owe that degree of civil freedom, and political and social happiness which mankind now enjoys. . . . Whenever the pillars of Christianity shall be overthrown, our present republican forms of government, and all blessings which flow from them, must fall with them.

(Source: Jedidiah Morse, A Sermon, Exhibiting the Present Dangers and Consequent Duties of the Citizens of the United States of America (Hartford: Hudson and Goodwin, 1799), p. 9.)

William Penn

Founder of Pennsylvania

[I]t is impossible that any people of government should ever prosper, where men render not unto God, that which is God’s, as well as to Caesar, that which is Caesar’s.

(Source: Fundamental Constitutions of Pennsylvania, 1682. Written by William Penn, founder of the colony of Pennsylvania.)

Pennsylvania Supreme Court

No free government now exists in the world, unless where Christianity is acknowledged, and is the religion of the country.

(Source: Pennsylvania Supreme Court, 1824. Updegraph v. Commonwealth; 11 Serg. & R. 393, 406 (Sup.Ct. Penn. 1824).)

Benjamin Rush

Signer of the Declaration of Independence

The only foundation for a useful education in a republic is to be laid in religion. Without this there can be no virtue, and without virtue there can be no liberty, and liberty is the object and life of all republican governments.

(Source: Benjamin Rush, Essays, Literary, Moral and Philosophical (Philadelphia: Thomas and William Bradford, 1806), p. 8.)

We profess to be republicans, and yet we neglect the only means of establishing and perpetuating our republican forms of government, that is, the universal education of our youth in the principles of Christianity by the means of the Bible. For this Divine Book, above all others, favors that equality among mankind, that respect for just laws, and those sober and frugal virtues, which constitute the soul of republicanism.

(Source: Benjamin Rush, Essays, Literary, Moral and Philosophical (Philadelphia: Printed by Thomas and William Bradford, 1806), pp. 93-94.)

By renouncing the Bible, philosophers swing from their moorings upon all moral subjects. . . . It is the only correct map of the human heart that ever has been published. . . . All systems of religion, morals, and government not founded upon it [the Bible] must perish, and how consoling the thought, it will not only survive the wreck of these systems but the world itself. “The Gates of Hell shall not prevail against it.” [Matthew 1:18]

(Source: Benjamin Rush, Letters of Benjamin Rush, L. H. Butterfield, editor (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1951), p. 936, to John Adams, January 23, 1807.)

Remember that national crimes require national punishments, and without declaring what punishment awaits this evil, you may venture to assure them that it cannot pass with impunity, unless God shall cease to be just or merciful.

(Source: Benjamin Rush, An Address to the Inhabitants of the British Settlements in America Upon Slave-Keeping (Boston: John Boyles, 1773), p. 30.)

Joseph Story

Supreme Court Justice

Indeed, the right of a society or government to [participate] in matters of religion will hardly be contested by any persons who believe that piety, religion, and morality are intimately connected with the well being of the state and indispensable to the administrations of civil justice. The promulgation of the great doctrines of religion—the being, and attributes, and providence of one Almighty God; the responsibility to Him for all our actions, founded upon moral accountability; a future state of rewards and punishments; the cultivation of all the personal, social, and benevolent virtues—these never can be a matter of indifference in any well-ordered community. It is, indeed, difficult to conceive how any civilized society can well exist without them.

(Source: Joseph Story, A Familiar Exposition of the Constitution of the United States (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1847), p. 260, §442.)

George Washington

“Father of Our Country”

While just government protects all in their religious rights, true religion affords to government its surest support.

(Source: George Washington, The Writings of George Washington, John C. Fitzpatrick, editor (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1932), Vol. XXX, p. 432 n., from his address to the Synod of the Dutch Reformed Church in North America, October 9, 1789.)

Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of patriotism who should labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness, these firmest props of the duties of man and citizens. The mere politician, equally with the pious man, ought to respect and to cherish them. A volume could not trace all their connexions with private and public felicity. Let it simply be asked, Where is the security for property, for reputation, for life, if the sense of religious obligation desert the oaths, which are the instruments of investigation in Courts of Justice?

And let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion. Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure, reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle. It is substantially true, that virtue or morality is a necessary spring of popular government. The rule, indeed, extends with more or less force to every species of free government. Who, that is a sincere friend to it, can look with indifference upon attempts to shake the foundation of the fabric?

(Source: George Washington, Address of George Washington, President of the United States . . . Preparatory to His Declination (Baltimore: George and Henry S. Keatinge), pp. 22-23. In his Farewell Address to the United States in 1796.)

[T]he [federal] government . . . can never be in danger of degenerating into a monarchy, and oligarchy, an aristocracy, or any other despotic or oppressive form so long as there shall remain any virtue in the body of the people.

(Source: George Washington, The Writings of George Washington, John C. Fitzpatrick, editor (Washington: U. S. Government Printing Office, 1939), Vol. XXIX, p. 410. In a letter to Marquis De Lafayette, February 7, 1788.)

* For the full text of Geo. Washington’s Farewell Address, click here.

Daniel Webster

Early American Jurist and Senator

[I]f we and our posterity reject religious instruction and authority, violate the rules of eternal justice, trifle with the injunctions of morality, and recklessly destroy the political constitution which holds us together, no man can tell how sudden a catastrophe may overwhelm us that shall bury all our glory in profound obscurity.

(Source: Daniel Webster, The Writings and Speeches of Daniel Webster (Boston: Little, Brown, & Company, 1903), Vol. XIII, p. 492. From “The Dignity and Importance of History,” February 23, 1852.)

Noah Webster

Founding Educator

The most perfect maxims and examples for regulating your social conduct and domestic economy, as well as the best rules of morality and religion, are to be found in the Bible. . . . The moral principles and precepts found in the scriptures ought to form the basis of all our civil constitutions and laws. These principles and precepts have truth, immutable truth, for their foundation. . . . All the evils which men suffer from vice, crime, ambition, injustice, oppression, slavery and war, proceed from their despising or neglecting the precepts contained in the Bible. . . . For instruction then in social, religious and civil duties resort to the scriptures for the best precepts.

(Source: Noah Webster, History of the United States, “Advice to the Young” (New Haven: Durrie & Peck, 1832), pp. 338-340, par. 51, 53, 56.)

James Wilson

Signer of the Constitution

Far from being rivals or enemies, religion and law are twin sisters, friends, and mutual assistants. Indeed, these two sciences run into each other. The divine law, as discovered by reason and the moral sense, forms an essential part of both.

(Source: James Wilson, The Works of the Honourable James Wilson (Philadelphia: Bronson and Chauncey, 1804), Vol. I, p. 106.)

Robert Winthrop

Former Speaker of the US House of Representatives

Men, in a word, must necessarily be controlled either by a power within them or by a power without them; either by the Word of God or by the strong arm of man; either by the Bible or by the bayonet.

(Source: Robert Winthrop, Addresses and Speeches on Various Occasions (Boston: Little, Brown & Co., 1852), p. 172 from his “Either by the Bible or the Bayonet.”)

Courtesy of http://www.wallbuilders.com/LIBissuesArticles.asp?id=63

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Speaking against China’s one-child policy

Posted by faithandthelaw on January 25, 2011

Several prayer vigils are scheduled in honor of the Roe v. Wade anniversary across the nation, but one event in Washington, DC, focuses on aborted babies in land far away from the political debate in the U.S. 

China world mapA new movement is stirring in the pro-life community. All Girls Allowed, a new organization devoted to mothers’ and girls’ rights in China, gathered for prayer Monday at the Chinese Embassy, calling out to God concerning the millions of babies aborted, killed and abandoned as a result of the one-child policy in China.
 
Tessa Dale, communication director for the organization, says the battle to fight abortion is far beyond the United States.
 
“There’s really two issues going on,” Dale explains. “One is the forced abortion of unregistered children — [which] means that single mothers who can’t have birth permits are all forced to abort their babies by the government.
 
“In addition, any child after the first one, she’ll have to pay fines that are often up to ten times the family’s salary — which means that she’s also forced to abort her baby.”
 
Even though Chinese President Hu Jintao recently stated there are no forced abortions in his country, Dale contends babies are known to be aborted up to their due dates. She also says few Americans are aware of the “gender-cide” taking place in other parts of the world.
 
Related YouTube video“About two months ago, a video surfaced — very popular on YouTube — of a woman who was eight months pregnant who thought that she was properly registered to have her new baby, but found out that she wasn’t,” says the group spokeswoman. “And rather than giving her time to get her paperwork in order, the government…kidnapped her, beat her, and forcibly aborted her child.”
 
All Girls Allowed is a Boston-based organization with the mission to restore life, value, and dignity to girls and mothers in China, and to expose the injustice of the one-child policy.

Courtesy of http://www.onenewsnow.com/Culture/Default.aspx?id=1280628

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Not just another brick in the walkway: California high school forbids Christian pavers

Posted by faithandthelaw on January 24, 2011

LOS ANGELES — Alliance Defense Fund attorneys filed a lawsuit Thursday against the Desert Sands Unified School District Board of Education on behalf of two Christian women who purchased brick pavers through a school-directed fundraiser. After the brick pavers were purchased, the women were told that they would not be included in the sidewalk alongside other similarly inscribed inspirational, commemorative, and tributary messages on the Palm Desert High School campus because of their religious content. 

“Christians shouldn’t be discriminated against and excluded from expressing their faith on public high school campuses when that door of communication is open to virtually everyone else,” said ADF Senior Counsel David Cortman. “The government cannot single out Christians because their religious viewpoint does not coincide with campus orthodoxy. Christians have the same First Amendment- protected rights as everyone else does on public school campuses, and their messages are no less worthy of exposure than other individuals’.”

In February 2010, the Palm Desert High School PTO announced its brick pavers fundraiser, which was approved by the school principal, as well as by the board and superintendent of the Desert Sands Unified School District. No limitations were given as to the content of the messages on the pavers–other than the length–and the fundraiser policy stated that the messages could be used to pay tribute, create a legacy, commemorate a special event, or give recognition to various entities. 

Shortly thereafter, Lou Ann Hart and Sheryl Caronna submitted requests to purchase brick pavers with Scripture verses engraved on them, for which they later paid. In August, after the bricks were made, but before they were installed on the new campus’ walkway, Hart and Caronna were notified that their pavers’ inclusion on the walkway was denied because they quoted Bible verses. Officials cited the so-called “separation of church and state.” Hundreds of other pavers had been accepted, including ones with inspirational and religious messages. Nevertheless, school officials erroneously asserted that the Bible verses used by the women would establish an unconstitutional establishment of religion. Each woman paid several hundred dollars; neither received refunds.

In November, ADF attorneys sent a public records request letter on behalf of Hart and Caronna to school officials, informing them that their denial violated the ladies’ constitutional rights, requesting a copy of the paver fundraiser policies, denial communications, and a list of all other approved brick inscriptions. The officials denied the request for the documents later that month, and also refused a second request for the documents in December. Hart’s five bricks and Caronna’s larger brick remain uninstalled.

ADF attorneys contend that the school has accepted hundreds of other messages similar to Hart’s and Caronna’s, including other religious quotes, such as a Hindu quote from Mahatma Gandhi and the Bible quote “Yes, it is possible,” written in Spanish. 

The lawsuit Hart v. Tomack was filed with the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California. Peter Lepiscopo of San Diego, one of nearly 1,900 attorneys in the ADF alliance, is serving as local counsel.

ADF is a legal alliance of Christian attorneys and like-minded organizations defending the right of people to freely live out their faith. Launched in 1994, ADF employs a unique combination of strategy, training, funding, and litigation to protect and preserve religious liberty, the sanctity of life, marriage, and the family.

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Ten Commandments restored at Virginia schools

Posted by faithandthelaw on January 24, 2011

RICHMOND, Va. | A school district in southwestern Virginia is re-posting copies of the Bible’s Ten Commandments in all county schools, despite concerns that doing so is unconstitutional.

The five-member Giles County School Board voted unanimously to restore the framed, 4-foot-tall, biblical texts after parents and local ministers complained about their removal from the district’s five schools and its technology center. The decision was made even though the board‘s attorney advised that such Christian displays represent unconstitutional government endorsement of religion.

The Ten Commandments were up on school walls in Giles County for at least a decade next to framed copies of the U.S. Constitution. School officials took them down and replaced them with the Declaration of Independence in mid-December after a resident complained. The board reversed that decision Thursday after several parents and pastors, joined by a throng of supporters, told the board that the schools had a moral obligation to reinforce God’s teachings.

“The board, after hearing comments from some members in our community, they felt it was the right thing to do,” said Superintendent Terry Arbogast, who noted that school officials didn’t anticipate the public outcry. He said the Ten Commandments would be back on the walls by the end of Friday.

The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that it’s unconstitutional for public schools to post the Ten Commandments, and the First Amendment guarantees separation of church and state on the federal, state and local levels.

“We need to kind of wait and see what’s going to happen, whether we are going to have a suit filed,” said Mr. Arbogast, who has headed the division for seven years.

For school officials to cave in to public sentiment and knowingly override the law is shockingly disrespectful, said Anne Laurie Gaylor, co-president of the Freedom From Religion Foundation. The posters were removed in December on the advice of the school board’s attorney after the Wisconsin-based group notified Mr. Arbogast about the issue.

“What if it were Koranic verses? Can you imagine the uproar?” Ms. Gaylor said in a telephone interview.

“If a public official on the school board can’t stand up to peer pressure and uphold the Constitution, there’s something wrong,” she said. “There ought to be a consequence for public officials who flout the law. And the loser is the taxpayers who end up paying the bill for a losing lawsuit.”

The matter is not a free-expression issue, because First Amendment rights protect individuals, not government entities such as public school divisions, said Kent Willis, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Virginia.

In some circumstances, the Commandments could be posted in a classroom in a broader educational context, such as a religious-history class, Mr. Willis said, “but that is not the situation here.”

He noted that no one is preventing students from bringing copies of the Ten Commandments to school or carrying them in their backpacks, and that parents are free to teach their children whatever they choose.

The civil rights groups say they hope school officials remove the Ten Commandments voluntarily, but they are considering legal action in the event they remain. A lawsuit would require a Giles County student to come forward as a plaintiff, and such a young person could face alienation for going against the majority.

“Anywhere, perhaps particularly in a small community, stepping out and being part of a federal lawsuit involves taking some risk,” Mr. Willis said.

Courtesy of http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2011/jan/23/ten-commandments-restored-at-virginia-schools/

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Cherokee School Board Says Yes to Graduations at Church

Posted by faithandthelaw on January 24, 2011

The Cherokee County school board voted unanimously on Thursday to keep the graduation at a local megachurch in Georgia despite the threat of a lawsuit.

Some members of the board took a stand as they voted to continue holding high school graduations at First Baptist Church of Woodstock, which is led by former Southern Baptist Convention president Johnny Hunt. Three new members of the board were sworn in with a Bible at the meeting.

The Americans United for Separation of Church and State has threatened to sue if the district didn’t move the ceremony to a secular venue on grounds that it is an unconstitutional endorsement of religion. The Washington, D.C.-based civic rights organization contended that holding public high school graduations at the megachurch, which the district has used since 2005, would expose attendants to religious imagery and symbols.

Parents, high school students and community members packed the meeting to capacity. Several students spoke before the board, receiving loud cheers and applause.

“To say that using a building violates one religious freedom is stretching the issue far beyond realistic boundaries,” said Chase Chitwood, a high school senior.

Another student said he wanted the privilege to walk across the same stage as his sister during her graduation.

First Baptist Church can hold up to 7,000 people and costs the district $2,000 to rent.

Supporters say that moving the graduation to a venue of similar capacity would dramatically increase the costs to about $40,000.

“For just one day, we should just be able to put it aside … and graduate together and let all of our family be together who has supported us,” Tori Tomlinson, a senior, told the board.

New board member Robert Wofford said the issue wasn’t about religion but settling on the most cost-efficient space there is for the district, according to Cherokee Tribune.

“I’m not voting for a church or against a church,” he said.

AU has sued two school districts in the past over the same issue. One court ruled in favor of the district; the other, against. Both cases are on appeal.

Last year, a federal judge in Connecticut ruled that holding graduation ceremonies at The First Cathedral, an evangelical megachurch in Bloomfield, Conn., is an unconstitutional endorsement of religion.

U.S. District Court Judge Janet C. Hall ordered two Enfield high schools to move their events elsewhere, concluding from her visit to the church that it was “overwrought with religious symbols.”

In 2009, however, a Wisconsin judge allowed Elmbrook Joint Common School District to hold ceremonies at a local church. U.S. District Judge Charles Clevert ruled that the district’s decision to use Elmbrook Church as the site of its graduations did not excessively entangle church and state.

The Cherokee County school board’s attorney told WSBTV that the district will read disclaimers before the start of the ceremony. He also said he and his firm will also work for free if a lawsuit is filed.

Courtesy of http://www.christianpost.com/article/20110121/cherokee-school-board-says-yes-to-graduations-at-church/

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