Author: goodnessofgod2010

author, attorney

Colorado Civil Rights Commission: The True Hate Group

Imagine for a moment that you are a public servant who has taken an oath to defend and uphold the Constitution. Now imagine that the Supreme Court of the United States admonished you and your colleagues for actions they deemed unconstitutional in a 7-2 landmark decision.

Would you be humbled? Would you make a good-faith effort to change the policies and behavior that put you at the mercy of the nation’s highest court? Most of us would. But this does not seem to be the case for some acting on behalf of the state of Colorado.

In Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, the Supreme Court called out state officials for acting with hostility towards Jack Phillips, a cake artist in the Denver area who declined to design a custom cake celebrating a same-sex wedding.

The Court found that the state of Colorado violated Jack’s free exercise of religion. In fact, the majority found the government’s actions so hostile and so biased that it did not need to consider any of Jack’s free-speech claims.

So what has Colorado done to remedy what the Court called its “impermissible religious hostility”? Absolutely nothing. In fact, less than one month after the Masterpiece decision, state officials targeted the very same individual who beat them before the Supreme Court.

It is beyond belief.

Jack has spent six years battling the state for simply declining to express a message that conflicts with his religious beliefs. Now, right after the Supreme Court has given him the justice he deserves, the state of Colorado has decided to pursue a second claim against Jack. This one is even more baseless than the first.

In June of 2017, the very day that the Supreme Court decided to hear Masterpiece, a local attorney asked Jack to design a custom pink-and-blue cake to celebrate his gender transition, a request that Jack politely declined. Of course, Jack serves everyone. He just cannot express all messages, especially those that conflict with his Christian beliefs. Jack has never created a cake expressing this message for anyone.

Still, Colorado has decided to use this case to target Jack a second time.

This comes even after the state was reprimanded by the Supreme Court in Masterpiece. Writing for the majority, Justice Anthony Kennedy emphasized that Colorado unequally applied its laws against Jack. The state decided in other cases that cake artists are free to decline requests for cakes criticizing same-sex marriage. Yet the state came down against Jack when he declined to design a cake celebrating a same-sex marriage.

The first time around, it looked like Colorado was biased against people of faith. Now, it just looks like the state is biased against people named “Jack Phillips.” In moving ahead on this new case, the government is yet again confirming that it applies its law in an arbitrary and unequal way, which the Supreme Court has already said it cannot do.

On top of that, the state is contradicting the arguments it made the first time around. A brief Colorado sent to the Supreme Court argued that Jack is “free to decline to sell cakes with ‘pro-gay’ designs.” But what is this recently requested cake but a custom cake with a “pro-transgender” design? If Colorado were following what it told the Supreme Court, it would have dismissed this case against Jack.

But Colorado shows that it is waging a crusade against Jack in harassing him again. Enough is enough. Alliance Defending Freedom is “going on offense” and suing the state of Colorado on Jack’s behalf for its blatant targeting of him.

You would think that a clear Supreme Court decision against their first effort would give them pause. But it seems like some in the state government are hell-bent on punishing Jack for living according to his faith.

If that isn’t hostility, what is?

The government is harassing people of faith again

Jack Phillips, cake artist and owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop, is once again being harassed by the government for his religious beliefs. Despite winning his Supreme Court case, the State of Colorado is going after Jack again for simply living his life according to his faith.

We must stand together against the government’s attempts to reduce our religious freedom. Sign the statement below declaring your desire to stand with Jack in defense of religious freedom.

“I believe that the First Amendment is intended to protect the religious freedom of all citizens. This means that the government cannot compel citizens to violate their deeply held beliefs.

I believe that religious freedom is critical to maintaining a free society and that it must be defended.”

Add your signature below.

https://go.pardot.com/l/414972/2018-08-10/bd51l

Alliance Defending Freedom

Non-profit organization

Alliance Defending Freedom advocates for your right to freely live out your faith

https://www.adflegal.org/detailspages/blog-details/allianceedge/2018/08/15/colorado-is-ignoring-the-supreme-court-and-targeting-jack-phillips-again

Twitter Restricts Pro-life Advertisements Again, Backtracks Amid Media Scrutiny

Twitter has again suspended a pro-life organization from running ads on its site only to then backpedal upon receiving questions from conservative media about their actions.

The Daily Caller reported Wednesday that they contacted Twitter after it became known that the social media giant had removed three ads from the pro-life group Human Coalition. Twitter placed the nonprofit organization’s advertising privileges “under review” because they had supposedly violated the company’s policy forbidding “inappropriate” content.

Twitter reportedly told Human Coalition that they would be notified by email upon completion of the review. Last Thursday Human Coalition received that email informing them they were suspended from running any advertisements on Twitter.

One of three ads that were moved contained messages explaining that abortion is not healthcare and intentionally killing another human being contradicts the Hippocratic oath. Another mentioned how abortion is the leading cause of death in the African-American community but almost never comes up in the national discourse about racism, and that 80 percent of Planned Parenthood clinics operate in racial minority neighborhoods.

The third removed ad mentioned that Planned Parenthood aborts more than 900 babies daily and argued that there is “no moral, social, cultural, or health reason” for the abortion giant to exist.

Earlier this week the Daily Caller contacted Twitter to inquire about the suspension and asked why Planned Parenthood was not banned from running ads while the Human Coalition was restricted.

Only two hours after the conservative news outlet made the request, Twitter contacted Human Coalition to tell them they had lifted the suspension and that their tweets were approved.

“Twitter claims to believe in ‘free expression’ and to think that ‘every voice has the power to impact the world.’ I believe Twitter does think that every voice has the power to change the world — and I believe that is exactly why they suppressed Human Coalition and others who proclaim the pro-life worldview,” Human Coalition spokesperson Lauren Enriquez said in a statement.

“The fact that Twitter ideologues actively suppress Human Coalition’s pro-life expressions betrays their fear of how we are changing the world. And we don’t plan to stop changing the world any time soon.”

Human Coalition is not the first pro-life group to have its content regarded as offensive and censored.

Pro-life investigative group Live Action and the pro-life political action committee the Susan B. Anthony List have both tangled with Twitter for the ability to run ads containing messages opposed to abortion and Planned Parenthood.

Likewise, as The Christian Post previously reported, Rep. Marsha Blackburn, a Republican from Tennessee currently vying to replace retiring Bob Corker in the U.S. Senate, faced similar issues in October. In her introductory campaign ad she highlighted her role in leading the Congressional investigation into Planned Parenthood, speaking specifically how they “stopped the sale of baby body parts—thank God.”

When Twitter pulled the ad they insisted she remove the Planned Parenthood reference because it was “inflammatory,” but Blackburn refused and demanded an apology. Twitter ultimately relented and allowed the ad amid outcry.

Follow Brandon Showalter on Facebook: BrandonMarkShowalter

Follow Brandon Showalter on Twitter: @BrandonMShow

Courtesy of https://www.christianpost.com/news/twitter-restricts-pro-life-advertisements-again-backtracks-amid-media-scrutiny-222260/

College Student Banned From Religious Studies Class After Saying There Are Only 2 Genders

A student at Indiana University of Pennsylvania claims that he has been barred from a religious studies class he needs to graduate this May and asked to apologize after voicing his belief that there are only two biological genders.

Last week, IUP student Lake Ingle took to his Facebook page to let his disbelief be known. He is being punished, he wrote, by the university for his response after the professor of his class on “self, sin and salvation” showed a TED Talks video featuring transgender woman Paula Stone Williams.

Ingle detailed his “best and fairest” account of the incident that transpired after Dr. Alison Downie showed the video to the class on Feb. 28, in a now-deleted Facebook post.

“On Wednesday, February 28th, in one of my major-required courses, the instructor played a ‘Ted-Talk’ during which a transgender woman discussed her previous experiences of manhood as well as her current experiences of womanhood,” Ingle wrote. “During her speech, she gave accounts of things such as ‘mansplaining’, ‘male-privilege’, and ‘sexism’ and deemed them systemic. She also alluded to the REALITY of the gender wage gap, stating women ‘…work twice as hard for half as much.'”

After the video ended, Downie opened the floor for a discussion on “mansplaining,” male privilege, sexism and the gender wage gap and allowed only women to voice their thoughts first.

Ingle stated that after about 30 seconds of silence, he voiced his objection to the “use of one person’s anecdotal accounts of the previously mentioned experiences as fact.”

“I also took this opportunity to point out the official view of biologists who claim there are only two biological genders, as well as data from entities such as The Economist on the gender wage gap and how the claims made in the video were far from the empirically supported evidence,” Ingle wrote. “I then objected to the instructor’s, as well as the Religious Studies Dept.’s misuse of intellectual power, of which I have become familiar over the past few semesters.”

“It was at this point others in the class entered the discussion,” he added. “Class proceeded normally, thereon.”

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(PHOTO: LAKE INGLE)Indiana University of Pennsylvania Academic Integrity Referral Form and Documented Agreement

According to Ingle, he met with the instructor the next morning to discuss class project he is working on. During that meeting, Ingle wrote that he was presented with an “Academic Integrity Referral Form and Documented Agreement.”

The form alleges that Ingle had a “disrespectful objection to the professor’s class discussion structure.” It also accused the student of talking out of turn and of having “angry outbursts in response to being required to listen to a trans speaker discuss the reality of white male privilege and sexism.”

Additionally, Ingle was accused of making “disrespectful references to the validity of trans identity and experience.”

The form also called for him to issue an apology in front of the class on March 8 for each of the “disrespectful behaviors” described by the professor. The form states that after giving his apology, Ingle would have had to “listen in silence” as students in the class share how they felt during Lake’s “disruptive outbursts.”

Ingle denied the professor’s claims in his Facebook post.

“Though the documents attached present a narrative of disrespect, disruption, anger, and intolerance — I can assure you that nothing is further from the truth,” Ingle said.

The Christian Post reached out to IUP for clarification about Ingle’s alleged “angry outbursts.” However, a university spokesperson told CP that no comment could be provided because of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act as it pertains to student education records.

Ingle wrote in his post that he received a second document that lists further details of the violation.

“After these documents were handed to me, I read them carefully several times. I asked for one line to be revised and was answered with ‘no’ and was told it was the instructor’s job to recount what took place, not mine,” he wrote. “I then commented on the total misuse of intellectual power in a university setting, at which point I was asked to leave.”

The next morning on March 2, Ingle received a letter from Provost Timothy Moreland telling him that he is barred from attending the class and barred from speaking with Downie until the charges against him have been adjudicated.

“[T]he wording in the documents below is not only exaggerated, but more than one line is entirely untruthful and is done so purposefully to discredit my views and paint me as intolerant and ignorant,” Ingle said. “THE FACTS ARE: I did not object to the views of the speaker (Paula Stone). Rather, I objected to its misuse as hard evidence to support the ‘reality’ of phenomena that are not only a matter of opinion, but also empirically unsupported (wage gap statistics).”

“It is my belief that the instructor’s decision to file these sanctions is an attempt to bully me into redacting my views, making it a matter of free speech,” he continued. “I will be battling the university, as well as my instructor, to ensure I am not permanently removed from the class, which would mean my inability to graduate as scheduled this May.”

Ingle is subject to a hearing before the school’s Academic Integrity Board. The ruling from the hearing will be announced on March 19.

In another Facebook post, Ingle explained that he was advised to remove the initial Facebook post detailing the situation with the school after he received legal counsel.

Courtesy of https://www.christianpost.com/news/college-student-banned-religious-studies-class-only-2-genders-221135/

 

Residents Banned From Holding Bible Study, Praying in Condo’s Common Area

A Florida woman filed a federal complaint after her homeowners association barred her from continuing to host a Bible study in the common room of her own condominium complex.

Last week, attorneys representing residents at the Cambridge House Condominiums in Port Charlotte, Florida, sent a Fair Housing Act complaint letter to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

The complaint explains that Donna Dunbar, a Seventh-day Adventist lay minister who runs a nationally recognized soup kitchen with her husband, held a small women’s Bible study in the social room of the Cambridge House complex for two hours on Monday mornings for nearly a year.

The group consisted of less than 10 friends, some of which are not Cambridge residents, and is too big to fit into Dunbar’s small condo.

About three months after a the Bible study began, Dunbar was told by the then-treasurer for the Cambridge House Board of Directors that the group would have to acquire insurance for the meeting.

No other groups that use the common areas are required to acquire insurance for their meetings, according to First Liberty Institute, a legal group that represents Dunbar. But after disputing the need for insurance, Dunbar went ahead and complied with the demands so that the weekly Bible study could continue.

However, the Cambridge House board of directors passed a resolution on Feb. 6 that states: “Prayers and other religious services, observations, or meetings of any nature shall not occur … in or upon any of the common elements.”

Following the resolution’s passing, Dunbar was also sent a letter that explained that the new resolution “prohibits Bible Study meetings in the Social Room.”

Dunbar’s complaint alleges that a sign was even placed on top of the organ in the community room saying that “ANY AND ALL CHRISTIAN MUSIC IS BANNED!”

“The Cambridge House Resolution, both in text and in application, is discriminatory and violates the Fair Housing Act because it prohibits Mrs. Dunbar and other Christian residents from accessing common condominium areas for any religious activity, while allowing other residents to use those same facilities for similar non-secular purposes,” the complaint states. “In effect, the Resolution manifests profound hostility to Christians, and indeed all religious residents and discriminates against any resident who wishes to express their faith beyond the walls of their private residence.”

The complaint explains that the resolution does not ban groups from meeting in the common rooms to discuss a secular book, a secular movie or sing secular songs but prohibits Dunbar’s group from doing those activities simply because it is Christian in nature.

“The Cambridge House Resolution is so broad that it even prohibits residents from unobtrusively praying silently — before a meal or otherwise — in one of the condominium common areas,” the complaint argues.

Moreover, the resolution requires that all religious items in common areas be removed — including a statue of St. Francis of Assisi that was donated by a resident in memory of their loved one.

“We want to be there for those in this building, as well as those on the outside,” Dunbar told Fox4. “Just be there for them, support them. It’s like a support group.”

The complaint asks HUD to investigate the claims and take appropriate action if it deems the Cambridge House violated the Fair Housing Act by barring religious activities from the common areas.

The Fair Housing Act protects people from discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex and disability when they are renting, buying or securing finances for a home.

“The unequal treatment of citizens in the community simply out of hostility to religion violates federal law and the First Amendment,” Lea Patterson, judicial fellow at First Liberty, said in a statement. “We are confident that Secretary Ben Carson and the Department of Housing and Urban Development will resolve this issue quickly.”

Courtesy of https://www.christianpost.com/news/residents-banned-from-holding-bible-study-praying-in-condos-common-area-221120/?utm_source=newsletter

Atheist Group Objects to Class Creation of Cross Memorials as Part of City’s Remembrance of Fallen Veterans

The nation’s most conspicuous professing atheist organization has expressed objection to the creation of cross memorials at a Georgia high school as part of a city effort to remember fallen soldiers.

The Wisconsin-based Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) sent a letter earlier this year to the attorney for Catoosa County Public Schools to assert that the crosses, made at Ringgold High School, were unconstitutional.

“We write to request assurances that, in the future, Mr. Elliott nor any other district employee will include religious messages in student assignments, allow school-sponsored religious activities, or otherwise promote or endorse religion in their official capacities,” it read.

The organization also took issue with another school in the district, as it had learned that Heritage High School’s leadership class had partnered with a Christian missions organization to build a school for the poor in Nicaragua. The district’s director of students services had recommended the group Nicamerican Missions after Principal Ronnie Bradford suggested the class partner with a school in the third world.

FFRF’s correspondence has just now come to light.

“It is laudable for the district to encourage students to become active, charitable, and involved in their community by volunteering and donating, but the school cannot use that goal as an avenue to support a religious organization with a religious mission,” the letter read in part.

“Partnering with any one of the numerous secular charities doing important work throughout the world would serve HHS’s purpose without running the risk of the district sending a message of religious endorsement,” FFRF asserted. According to the Times Free Press, students raised $20,000 last December from area businesses in just two days, and a student-faculty basketball game was also held in February as a fundraiser for the effort.

In regard to the crosses, which were made by construction classes at Ringgold High School for the biannual Festival of Flags event, FFRF requested that the district direct teacher Tim Elliott to discontinue the project with his students.

The crosses, which bear the names of fallen soldiers, are placed in the ground throughout the city for Memorial Day and Veterans Day. American flags fly atop each small memorial.

“Public school teachers may not assign students to create religious symbols,” the letter from the Church-State separation group read. “… This assignment violates the principle that ‘the preservation and transmission of religious beliefs and worship is a responsibility and choice committed to the private sphere.’ It also sends a message that the government only cares about the deaths of Christian soldiers, not other non-Christian and non-religious soldiers.”

Catoosa County Public Schools has just now responded to the controversy, explaining in a recent press release that while the district attorney is researching the matter, officials are supportive of the projects at issue.

“Catoosa County Public Schools supports students’ participating in service activities,” said Superintendent Denia Reese. “The flag holders that the RHS construction class built to support honoring our veterans, and the money that our HHS students raised to build a school for underprivileged children, are examples of our students working to serve others.”

“The system’s attorney is thoroughly researching the allegations from the Freedom from Religion Foundation, and when he has completed this research he will respond to them explaining how our students can continue to participate in these service activities,” she explained.

In his 1823 book “Letters to a Young Man Commencing His Education,” Noah Webster, also known as the father of American education, wrote, “Let it then be the first study of your early years, to learn in what consists real worth or dignity of character. To ascertain this important point, consider the character and the attributes of the Supreme Being. As God is the only perfect being in the universe, His character, consisting of all that is good and great, must be the model of all human excellence, and His laws must of course be the only rules of conduct by which His rational creatures can reach any portion of like excellence.”

Courtesy of http://christiannews.net/2017/12/09/atheist-group-objects-to-class-creation-of-cross-memorials-as-part-of-citys-remembrance-of-fallen-veterans/

Judge Gives FEMA 3 Weeks to Change Policy Banning Churches From Receiving Disaster Relief

A Houston federal judge has given FEMA three weeks to decide if its going to change its policy of denying disaster relief to religious institutions, rejecting FEMA’s attempt to delay a challenge by three Texas churches.

Since the devastation by Hurricane Harvey in late August, FEMA has denied houses of worship access to federal disaster aid grants due to their religious status while allowing other nonprofits and businesses to apply, but Judge Keith Ellison has given the agency until Dec. 1 to change that policy.

If FEMA fails to change the policy within the deadline, the judge said he would issue a ruling.

“Christmas may come early for hard-hit houses of worship in Texas — the court has set the clock ticking on FEMA’s irrational religious discrimination policy,” Daniel Blomberg, counsel at Becket, the nonprofit religious liberty law firm that represents the churches, said in a statement. “It can’t come soon enough.”

(PHOTO: REUTERS/CARLOS BARRIA/FILE PHOTO)A Federal Emergency Management Agency employee waits for the arrival of U.S. President Donald Trump during a visit at FEMA headquarters in Washington, U.S., August 4, 2017.

Harvest Family Church, Hi-Way Tabernacle and Rockport First Assembly of God, which were among the first to respond in Harvey’s aftermath and continue to provide aid to their communities, sued FEMA in September.

Last month, a Roman Catholic and a Jewish group submitted friend-of-the-court briefs siding with the three evangelical churches.

The Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston pointed out in its brief that FEMA’s policy is “especially unfair,” given that many houses of worship are often at the “very forefront” of providing “immediate aid to persons in need, regardless of faith, in the aftermath of serious tropic storms and other natural disasters.”

The Congregation Torah Vachesed synagogue of Houston noted that Hurricane Harvey was “particularly unforgiving” to the city’s Jewish community. “Despite this, Jewish institutions have been greatly involved in relief efforts throughout Houston. FEMA’s policy against funding otherwise qualifying religious institutions, however, would deny these same institutions equal access to public assistance to repair flood damage,” it wrote.

Secular groups, such as the Wisconsin-based Freedom From Religion Foundation, said earlier that FEMA’s policy should remain as is. “The government can help many individuals and nonprofits rebuild, but not churches. It is a founding principal of our nation that citizens may not be taxed in support of religion and churches,” FFRF Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor argued.

“Discriminating against houses of worship — which are often on the front lines of disaster relief — is not just wrongheaded, it strikes at our nation’s most fundamental values,” said Blomberg.

In September, four Republican senators introduced a new bill, Federal Disaster Assistance Nonprofit Fairness Act, which is aimed at giving houses of worship the right to receive federal assistance in the wake of natural disasters.

Courtesy of https://www.christianpost.com/news/judge-gives-fema-3-weeks-change-policy-banning-churches-receiving-disaster-relief-206253/

Dabbling in Darkness: Harmless or Not?

By Leslie Ludy

Today we have Halloween coming up this week, and it inspired me to take a fresh look at where our culture is at in the area of darkness and death.

One thing that I have noticed, and you’ve probably noticed it too, is that in the past decade or so – especially in the past five or six years – the culture has really escalated in celebrating death and darkness and glorifying things that are evil; even trying to make things that are dark, evil, and demonic attractive, trendy, popular, and cute.

THE CULTURE’S PREOCCUPATION WITH DEATH

Leslie Ludy: It’s really easy for us, I think, as Christian women to overlook that and not take it very seriously. But there’s a Scripture in Proverbs that is so interesting to me. It’s talking about true wisdom and it says, “… those who hate me [meaning the wisdom of God] love death.” (See Proverbs 8:36.) Those who hate God’s wisdom love death! That’s what you see when you look around our world today. There is a love for things that are representative of death. You see sculls and skeletons everywhere. When I was in high school it used to be on the t-shirts of kids who were really into heavy metal bands, rode skateboards, and had long, shaggy hair. It was sort of a sub-culture of people who loved skeletons and skulls, and now it’s absolutely everywhere. It’s got sparkles on it and it’s on scarves and jewelry. I even remember a few years ago, I bought a pair of swim trunks for one of my boys. He was probably three or four years old at the time, so they were little kid/toddler swim trunks, and I grabbed them off the rack thinking that they had a beach scene on them, and when I got them home I took a closer look and this “beach scene” was actually in the shape of a skull! Here is clothing actually made for little kids that celebrates darkness and death, and you see these little babies wearing skull and skeleton t-shirts. You see girls wearing sequins, skulls, and skeletons on their purses and bags. There are even aisles that my kids and I have to completely avoid in the toy store because the toys in those aisles are so demonic. You just walk down the aisle and it’s like you’re assaulted with violence, blood, and gore – and that’s in a toy store! So that just shows you how far our culture has come in this area of celebrating darkness.

DRESSING UP DARKNESS: BIBLICAL PRINCIPLES FOR WALKING IN LIGHT

Leslie Ludy: We did an article in the Set Apart Girl Magazine several issues ago called “The Dangers of Making Darkness Cute,” or making evil cute. And that’s really what you see. All the trendy, fun accessories and clothing in our culture even all the way down to little baby clothes trying to make evil and darkness cute. It’s easy to overlook this because we think, Well, it’s just everywhere. It’s just a trend right now. But really, this is not a light or casual thing in God’s sight. It’s something that we need to be taking very seriously as well, especially in a week like this where you see the culture rallying around a holiday like Halloween, which is a celebration of darkness.

Many women that I know are very stymied in moving forward in their spiritual life because they’re being constantly hounded by the enemy. Maybe they’re plagued by fear, anxiety, depression, guilt, confusion, family problems, financial problems, spiritual defeat – whatever it is, the enemy oftentimes has today’s Christian women under his thumb, and his goal seems to be to keep us totally preoccupied with our own emotional problems and really unable to live out the glorious, set apart life that God has called us to live. A lot of women today spend most of their time stumbling through the darkness instead of truly being the light of the world. So many of us are hounded by the enemy, and I’d like to explore some of the reasons why that might be happening.

Christ said in Luke 10:19, “Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you.” That if that is the reality that Christ purchased for us on the Cross, why are so many of us living helpless to Satan’s schemes and his control?

I love this quote by Tauler, he wrote, “A pure heart is one to which all that is not of God is strange and jarring.” That is such a convicting statement because so many of us are too careless towards darkness and evil. The things that are not of God that are all around us don’t seem strange and jarring to us. They’re just completely normal and some of us even go out of our way to purchase and accept those things and treat them as normal.

Pop-culture is flooding our minds and our senses with things that are truly not of God. There is glamorized sin and darkness all around us, but if it’s not strange and jarring to our soul, then that’s a good indication we’ve become too comfortable with the things that are not of God. We’ve accepted them and treated them as normal and some of us even spend a lot of our time and money on those things. We allow those things – those images, sounds, and sights of the world – to capture our mind, our emotions, and our attention, and then we wonder why our lives are filled with fear, anxiety, defeat, and depression.

The Bible says that “He who walks righteously and speaks uprightly … who stops his ears from hearing of bloodshed and shuts his eyes from seeing evil: he will dwell on high, his place of defense will be the fortress of rocks; bread will be given him, his water will be sure” (Isa. 33:15-16). God provides incredible strength, blessing, and freedom for each of us, but in order for us to truly walk in this pattern, He requires us to live by a sacred decorum – to come out from the world, to be separate, to touch not the unclean thing, to ruthlessly remove all uncleanness and darkness – no matter how small from our lives. As women seeking to be set apart for Jesus Christ, seeking to be free from the enemy’s control, there is not to be even a hint of darkness in our daily existence. We aren’t to go out of our way to participate in those things.

It says in Deuteronomy, “There shall not be found among you anyone … who practices witchcraft, or a soothsayer, or one who interprets omens, or sorcerer, or one who conjures spells, or a medium, or a spiritist, or one who calls up the dead. For all who do these things are an abomination to the LORD…” (Deut. 18:10-12a). Now most of us who grew up in church probably don’t consider ourselves vulnerable to things like witchcraft or Satan worship, but sometimes we overlook things of darkness that seem harmless but really they’re associated with the very same things – the kingdom of darkness instead of the Kingdom of Light.

The Bible makes it clear that there really cannot be any fellowship between light and darkness. In the book of Acts when the Gospel of Christ was preached, the people who believed, it says that they came and openly confessed their evil deeds and a number who had practiced sorcery brought their scrolls together and burned them publicly (Acts 19:19 NIV). That’s incredible! They realized that they could not walk in cooperation with the kingdom of darkness and embrace the Kingdom of Light at the same time. They realized they had to completely destroy the things of darkness that they were harboring in their lives. Those books and things, they totaled up the value and it was extremely valuable, so it was very sacrificial, but they still chose to burn them publicly as a statement that they are no longer associated with the kingdom of darkness.

Really, the same principle applies to us as set apart daughters of the King. If there is any object or activity in our life that’s associated with darkness, the only appropriate way to deal with it is to destroy it completely just as those Christians did in the book of Acts. Even though the culture tries to glaze and gloss over darkness and tries to tempt us to treat it very casually, I think there’s a good rule of thumb that says, “When in doubt, don’t mess with it.” If it even hints as being part of the kingdom of darkness, it really doesn’t belong in our lives. I encourage you, especially as we go through this week and we see the culture reveling in darkness, that you would take some time to ask God to reveal anything in your life – maybe past or present – that could be associated with darkness or satanic activity. Now let me get specific with some things that could be stumbling blocks in this area of your life that you may or may not have ever thought about before.

WHICH KINGDOM ARE YOU REFLECTING: DARKNESS OR LIGHT?

We mentioned earlier things like jewelry, clothing, or bags that somehow promote death and glorify evil. Maybe they have skulls, or skeletons, or other symbols of darkness on them. Just because you put a little bling on them, or they’re covered in sequins, or they have glitter or gloss on them, or they’re pink doesn’t change the fact that it’s still glorifying and celebrating death. Jesus said, “I have come that they may have life, and that … more abundantly” (Jn. 10:10).

Now though we will all experience a physical death unless Christ comes first, we have passed – spiritually – from death to life when we give our lives to Christ. Even when we die, our spirit will live forever with Him. He has conquered death on the Cross. His Word says, “Where, O grave, is thy victory? Where, O death, is thy sting?” (See Corinthians 15:55.) Clearly, death is not something to celebrate and parade about, it’s been conquered by the blood of Jesus. We are to celebrate life – our life in Christ – not death!

BEWARE: DECOR TRENDS

There are a lot of other things that symbolize pagan religions like Buddha statues and a lot of things that have to do with the Buddhist religion are very popular in household decor today. You see symbols of zen and New Age all over the place. Our culture has glossed these things over so that they seem to promote this idea of tranquility, peace, harmony with nature, but in reality, these things represent a demonic stronghold, a false religion that has deceived millions of people throughout the centuries. Why would we decorate our house with those things and celebrate those things in our daily lives?

BEWARE: HOROSCOPES, FORTUNE-TELLING, AND GAMES THAT CELEBRATE DARKNESS

There are also horoscopes, which again seem harmless and fun, but they’re basically a form of fortune-telling, and they allow the enemy to access your heart and your mind.

BEWARE: ENTERTAINMENT THAT GLORIFIES DEATH

Probably one of the biggest areas that many of us stumble over are books, movies, and TV shows that glorify demonic spiritual activity. They become stumbling blocks for us all the time.

Several years ago a lot of women were really into the Twilight books and movies, and if you study the history of vampirism you realize how absolutely satanic and horrific it is! Probably the biggest danger of some of the newer movies or books like Twilight in relationship to things like vampires is that they make the evil character into a desirable hero rather than an evil villain. A few years ago, when those books and movies were popular, you would even see magazine covers promoting this “vampire” as somebody who was desirable and attractive to women. The line between good and evil is being so blurred today by Hollywood, and we know things are twisted when something so dark and so demonic becomes the object of desire and becomes the hero of a movie.

You can’t exclude light-hearted or funny movies, music, and books from this area as well. Even if those shows seem light-hearted and they make light of things like witchcraft, fortune telling, and things like that – they might seem ridiculous and maybe you don’t take them seriously, but they still portray messages of darkness and ungodly spiritual power. If you’re going purposely to watch these things, or allowing these things into your life, or reading these books thinking, Oh, it’s not a big deal. It has a little bit of weird, spiritual stuff in it that I’m going to overlook that. You’re really opening yourself up to the enemy to have access to gain territory in your heart, mind, and soul.

CLEANING OUT THE DARK CORNERS OF OUR LIVES

I would encourage you if you’ve been participating in these things, if you have decor in your house, if you have jewelry, clothing, or other accessories that glorify death or false religions, I would encourage you to ask God to forgive you and to cleanse those things out of your life. If you’ve been reading and participating in ungodly books that glorify darkness or watching movies or shows that glorify darkness, I would encourage you to make those things right with God, cleanse those things out of your life, and take back any ground that you may have given to the enemy by your participation in those things.

One time I was counseling with a young woman who was constantly having nightmares, and she was plagued by fear. Casually, one day she mentioned that she had just come from a movie, and it was a horror movie that she had just watched, a really dark movie about an ax-murderer or something like that. I began talking to her about it, and she didn’t even realize that watching those kinds of movies could have any correlation with the fact that she’s having all of these dark dreams and nightmares. I encouraged her to not only cut those things out of her life but to repent and ask God to cleanse her from her participation in those movies. As she did, those nightmares and that depression and everything that she was struggling with went away because the enemy no longer had that access point into her life.

One of the ways to live a truly, God-honoring life is by allowing Him to completely transform us from the inside out and cleanse the darkness out of our lives. It’s not about becoming a nun or living as a hermit in the backwoods somewhere and cutting ourselves off from this world. It is very possible to be in this world but not of this world. We can walk into a store and turn our eyes away from the things that are dark. We can avoid the books, the movies, the clothing, the paraphernalia that is celebrating darkness. We can be lights in this dark world by submitting ourselves completely to His transforming work, taking every thought captive, and meditating on the things of Light rather than darkness, then we truly can become His lights that shine in the midst of a perverse generation as it says in Philippians (see Philippians 2:15).

When we yield ourselves to become the holy, undefiled dwelling place of the most High God, He makes His home within us. When we allow Him to remove everything that is carnal, dark, sinful, or selfish that stands in the way of us being His light, that’s when we are able to live a strong and fortified, victorious Christian life unharmed and unhampered by the enemy.

CLOSING THOUGHTS

This week I encourage you to fix your eyes upon Jesus, cleanse anything of darkness out of your life, and celebrate the life of Jesus Christ. I hope you’ve enjoyed today’s episode, for more on this topic, please visit us at setapartgirl.com and consider subscribing to our magazine which is a bi-monthly, ad-free resource that can strengthen your walk with Christ with every page that you read! I pray that you have a blessed and Christ-centered week!

http://setapartgirl.com/podcasts/dabbling-in-darkness