‘Violating Freedom’: CA Lawmakers Vote Again to Stop Churches from Helping Gays

breaking us news

(Worthy News) – The California Senate has passed a bill that would inhibit the church’s ability to teach on sexuality and anyone seeking counseling to change their same-sex attraction. It does that by outlawing sexual orientation change efforts.

The bill (AB2943) now heads back to the California Assembly for a “concurrence” vote where it’s expected to pass. The assembly previously passed the bill in the spring.

The bill’s sponsor, Assemblyman Evan Low, says the bill will stop what he considers to be fraudulent counseling. “We as legislators have a responsibility to protect Californians from harmful and deceptive practices,” he said Thursday. “All Californians should be celebrated, cherished and loved for who they are.” [ Source: CBN News (Read More…) ]

TRANSGENDER GUV NOMINEE RIPPED ‘RADICALIZED CHRISTIANS’

Christine_Hallquist

(Lifezette) Vermont’s state motto is “Freedom and Unity.” But if Green Mountain State residents want to live up to that, they might want to take a harder look at one of their current gubernatorial candidates.

Christine Hallquist, a Democrat and the country’s first major party transgender nominee, once tweeted an insinuation that “radicalized Christians” are a problem that Americans currently “tolerate,” as The Daily Caller reported.

Hallquist won Tuesday’s Democratic primary for the Vermont governor’s race.

Air Force general attacked because he urges believers to pray at lunch

Attorney Michael Weinstein, who “trolls” open Christians on military bases, is now attacking Brigadier General John Teichert, newly installed wing commander at Edwards Air Force Base, because his personal website calls for Christians to pray at lunchtime for the United States.

Weinstein called for a military investigation of the “disgraceful, illegal and brazen promotion of (Treichert’s) personal flavor of his weaponized version of Christianity.”

Weinstein is the leader of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, which contrary to what the name suggests suppresses — not defends — religious freedom. Weinstein’s complaint to Defense Secretary James Mattis supposedly represents 41 airmen from Edwards Air Force Base just north of Los Angeles in California.

Gen. John Teichert, under fire for asking for prayer on his personal website.

“General Teichert should be doing time behind prison bars, not commanding a Wing wearing a general’s stars,” Weinstein said, as reported on Fox News. Treichert is a “fundamentalist Christian tyrant and religious extremist predator,” Weinstein says.

Todd Starnes, writing for Fox News, called the allegations “so outlandish they deserve no response.”

“The Air Force appears to be doing exactly what it should upon receiving a complaint from Mikey Weinstein: ignoring him,” First Liberty Institute attorney Mike Berry says. “Like so many complaints by the MRFF, this complaint is vindictive, intolerant and completely without merit. Bigoted demands that an officer be thrown in military prison because he prays for others should be rejected out of hand.”

The Military Religious Freedom Foundation attacks any public display of the Christian faith on military bases, Starnes says. “The group is typically triggered by Nativity scenes and Bibles placed on Missing Man tables.”

The military has guidelines to prevent overt proselytizing in the name of the Air Force, but the controversy stems from the general’s private and personal website.

“Bible-believing Americans should take time to specifically pray for our nation at lunchtime every day,” the website says. It also features a prayer list – including among others President Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, Congress and the military.

Retired Army Col. Phil Wright, the executive director of Chaplain Alliance for Religious Liberty, sees MRFF’s accusations as egregious.

“One of [Weinstein’s] attacks is that [Teichert] is proselytizing, forcing his religion onto someone,” Wright says. “But you have to go to the website. No one is forced to go, and you can turn it off at any moment.

“This general, on his own time, as an expression of his faith, with a non-military website from a non-military computer can state his beliefs.”

When he was in the Air Force, Weinstein suffered psychological harassment, including swastikas drawn on notes to him and anti-Semitic slurs said to him. There were two violent incidents of hazing against him, one of which left him hospitalized, according to Wikipedia.

John Teichert

His 2005 case against the Air Force for failing to curb proselytizing was dismissed by U.S. District Judge James A. Parker because “not a single plaintiff” could testify to suffering the things alleged in the suit.

In 2009, Weinstein again vented against “fundamentalist Christians” alleging they were responsible for a hostile environment that led to the Fort Hood shootings at the hands of Major Nidal Malik Hasan.

In 2011, radio host Michael Savage derided Weinstein when the civil rights lawyer tried to eradicate quotes from Christian military strategists and the Christian Just War Theory. “”What Weinstein doesn’t know was if it was not for the warrior mentality of the Christians he hates so much, who rescued his ancestors from the ovens of Bergen-Belsen and Auschwitz, (he) wouldn’t be here plaguing the United States of America,” Savage said.

Weinstein

In 2012, Weinstein sued former chaplain Gordon Klingenschmitt for issuing an imprecatory prayer that he equated to a fatwa. It was another suit dismissed by the judge.

Weinstein describes himself as a “Jewish agnostic” who, despite his doubts about God’s existence, still prays three times a day in Hebrew.

Jews in Green, a Jewish military support group, has rubbished his claims of pervasive anti-Semitism in the military, saying that such charges are baseless.

Nevertheless, Weinstein still keeps rankling Christians with trumped up charges.

“During the Obama administration, Weinstein once bragged about having a hot line to the Pentagon,” Starnes says. “It’s beyond time for the Trump administration to disconnect the number.

“It’s time to put a stop to these vile and hateful attacks on Christian members of our military. Demanding that a general be imprisoned because he prays? Calling him an extremist predator? Outrageous!”

Michael Ashcraft pastors the Lighthouse Church in Van Nuys.

Survey: ‘No-fault divorce may make people take marriage less seriously’

Almost three-quarters of divorced people believe a ‘no-fault’ divorce system could make married couples less concerned about going back on their vows.

In a survey of over 1,000 divorcees, a law firm which backs such a change found that over 70 per cent believe people may become “more blasé”.

A pro-marriage campaign group warned no-fault divorce would leave people at the mercy of abusive partners.

‘Out of love’

In England and Wales, a couple must prove their marriage has ‘irretrievably broken down’.

Divorce claimants must cite adultery, unreasonable behaviour, desertion, two years’ separation when the divorce is consensual or five years’ separation otherwise.

Law firm Slater and Gordon ran the survey, which it claimed showed support for introducing no-fault divorce.

It backed giving people who had “simply fallen out of love” the option to divorce.

Blasé

The firm also reported that “72 percent said the option may make couples more blasé about getting a divorce”.

Responding, Thomas Pascoe of the Coalition for Marriage said: “No-fault divorce would further diminish the status of marriage and leave some men and women at the mercy of cheating or controlling partners.”

In July, the UK Supreme Court ruled against a woman, Tini Owens, who was seeking to divorce her husband on the grounds that she is unhappy.

Damage

A judgment in Mrs Owen’s favour would have effectively introduced no-fault divorce by the back door.

Director of The Christian Institute Colin Hart has stressed that: “Society has an interest in trying to keep marriages together”, and warned that no-fault divorce would damage families.

 

This Incredible Sign of the End Times Is Being Fulfilled Right Now

Christ came to the Jew first and also to the Gentile.

Romans 11 tells us that Jesus will save all of Israel:

For I do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery, brothers, lest you be wise in your own estimation, for a partial hardening has come upon Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written:

“The Deliverer will come out of Zion, and He will remove ungodliness from Jacob, for this is My covenant with them, when I shall take away their sins” (Rom. 11:25-27).

Remember to purchase Editors book the winds of Megiddo on amazon.com today

Study: Jew haters hate Israel’s existence, too

Israeli flag

A new report warns that Jewish students are facing more hostility on campus from Israel-related anti-Semitism rather than through classic anti-Semitism.

Israel-related anti-Semitism often includes threats of physical harm, destruction of property, and bullying, as opposed to outright expressions of bigotry.

Tammi Rossman-Benjamin of AMCHA says Israel-related threats often come from a number of individuals or a group, which is much more intimidating than threats from one or two people.

AMCHA is a non-partisan, non-profit organization dedicated to combating anti-Semitism at colleges and universities in the United States.

The Sun Sentinel newspaper noticed the study, which analyzed anti-Semitic incidents from 2015 to 2018 and found more personal confrontations peaked in 2017 but dropped this year.

The most disturbing finding, says Rossman-Benjamin, is that anti-Israel anti-Semitism escalated into acts that are targeting individuals.

“But what we did see – a growing trend, and this was the most alarming thing that we found – was that it moved from trying to sort of shut down speech and Israel-related expression,” she says, “to actually trying to hurt and boycott and exclude specific students.”

AMCHA is a non-partisan, non-profit organization dedicated to combating anti-Semitism at colleges and universities in the United States.

What We Lose When Hymnbooks Disappear

What We Lose When Hymnbooks Disappear

hen I was in Sunday school in third grade, my teacher seemed ancient. Each Sunday, with hair a bit askew, he’d pump our hands as we walked in the door because he was so glad to see us. We’d earn full-size Snickers bars for Bible memorization, and he’d take us on a fishing trip at the end of the year. His wife would sit down next to a tinny classroom piano, and we’d sing hymns at the close of each class.

But the crowning glory of that year was receiving a hymnal of our very own, with gold embossed lettering, to continue our Christian education at home. It became a coveted object, one valued for its history. It signified our growing belonging to the church. Yet once in my possession, it simply sat atop the piano only my mother could play.

We are formed by the hymns and songs we sing. We are (perhaps more than we realize) formed, too, by the tangible objects of our faith. We are people of the book—not just people of the Word of God, but also people who have been corporately, theologically, devotionally, and socially formed by hymnbooks.

It is this history that Christopher N. Phillips artfully articulates in The Hymnal: A Reading History. This book is the only large-scale history and literary reading of hymnals, those “small companion[s]” that traveled with parishioners from church, home, and school. Phillips leads us like an artful detective through the early reading practices and religious life of the 18th and 19th centuries, in America and across the Atlantic.

Creating a Visible Identity

From our modern vantage point, perhaps we might see hymnals as outdated accessories of a worship service. But hymnbooks have served (and still may serve) a larger purpose. These books were the way children learned to read, the way illiterate congregants were able to apply a sermon, the way families instructed their children (and paved the way for children’s literature), the way poetic careers began, and the way that disparate individuals became the worshiping people of God.

Hymnbooks helped to bind the people of God together. Because “readers can be both individual and corporate,” writes Phillips, hymnbooks in worship nurtured the “achievement of corporate personhood.” For new religious groups or fringe groups (the ones Phillips examines are African Methodists, Reform Jews, and Latter-day Saints), hymnbooks were one of the first acts of creating a visible identity. For denominations, too, hymnbooks were used to wage war or create peace by what was included, what was excluded, and how the books were published and circulated.

Phillips traces the history of the genre and its use in three sacred spaces: the church, school, and home. Hymnbooks traveled with parishioners as personal devotional objects, aided in the emergence of the private self within a larger body (whether family or church), and even offered a handy tool for passing notes or disciplining children talking during a worship service. Hymnbooks were a sort of grocery sack for the growing American self—they held together different aspects of the experience of faith and provided familiar contours of religious and literary expression.

Phillips helps us see accomplished hymn writers like Isaac Watts, Charles Wesley, and William Cowper in the context of their times. More broadly, he reimagines for his Christian reader how the methods and practices of our reading form our loves and attention. It is not simply the content of hymns sung, read, gifted, or memorized that informs our thinking and spiritual appetites. The books themselves—and how they’re read, circulated, used, and travel—shape us. To put it quite simply, we are formed not only by what we read but by how (and with whom) we read.

Phillips reminds us that books have lives too, and for the modern-day reader, we must consider what we’ve lost personally and collectively by neglecting the hymnal as a tangible object. The Bible of course, like the hymnal, “straddle[s] the worlds of literary and religious reading, of song and private reflection.” But what is our experience of worship: Are we being formed in our bodies into the family of God? With the Bible on our phones and words on the screen in most evangelical churches, are we being molded into the church by the objects we touch, hold, and memorize? Or is it too easy to be a group of loosely networked individuals, where devotional practices and worship are experienced in an individualized manner?

Hymnbooks were so well-worn prior to 1820 that many haven’t survived—they were touched, held close, and their covers, spines, and bindings show what Phillips, quoting another scholar, calls “hand piety.” The hand piety we exhibit most often today manifests in sore pinkies from holding our phones and hunched backs from staring at screens. It might seem easy to harken back to a “golden age” of hymnals or pews, but for the time period Phillips chronicles, hymnbooks were innovative and divisive. Instead, believers today should begin to consider, through Phillips’s history, larger questions about how our reading informs us. After all, the form an object takes is never neutral: It always creates meaning.

And for those of us who read hymn and song lyrics projected onto screens each Sunday morning, have we lost something? If hymnbooks helped to form marginal groups into a people with a distinct identity, then what forms of corporate and private worship can bring us together as God’s people today?

The Furniture of Worshipping Christians

This summer, with my family, I visited a small mining town in Colorado without a single stoplight. Sunday morning, we stepped into the little stone Episcopal church off the main street. Though our own weekly Sunday liturgical practice is less formal than that of the church we visited, my children easily adapted to the readings and the prayers—because the words were familiar. The creeds, the hymns, and the Scripture readings aligned with what they knew church to be.

Yet, as I flipped between the Book of Common Prayer, the Bible, and the hymnal in the pew, I wondered what it would look like to be formed by books like these so thoroughly, so consistently. Would the prayers, hymns, and responsive readings grow repetitive and rote? Or would they create a texture and tapestry to faith that grew in resonance the more we returned to them? How would the weekly flipping of pages, with a “small brick of a book” (Phillips’s words) nestled in one’s palm, inform my spiritual practices? Would faith feel more solid with a book in my hand? These books, Phillips writes, were the “furniture of worshipping Christians” a century or two ago. What have we lost and what have we gained by trading out our furniture?

For those of us today who are apt to pick up our phones as a source of “virtual community,” The Hymnaltells an important story: a story of formation by books, traced through families and religious groups and across racial, socio-economic, and national lines. It’s a story I hope will help us to begin to recover our sense of being spiritually formed people—as families and as the family of God from every tribe, tongue, and nation.

     

Report Reveals that Belgium Euthanized Three Children

Report Reveals that Belgium Euthanized Three Children

The Telegraph reports that Belgium has authorized and completed the euthanasia of three children ages nine, 11, and 17.

According to The Telegraph these deaths took place in 2016 and 2017 via lethal injection and have just recently come to light because of the release of a report from the CFCEE; the commission that regulates euthanasia in Belgium.

Belgium is the only country in the world that offers euthanasia as an option for children dealing with terminal illnesses that cause, what the CFCEE deems, “unbearable suffering.”

According to The Telegraph, in 2014 Belgium amended its euthanasia law to make it legal for doctors to terminate the life of a child no matter how young the requestor. The only requirements are that the patient must be judged to have the mental capacity to make the weighty decision and that their parents’ consent.

The report that was released by the CFCEE on July 17, reportedly notes that thousands of people along with the three youth died from euthanasia between January 2016 and December 2017 in Belgium.

The Telegraph reports that Belgium’s clergy has spoken out on this issue saying the law is “a step too far.”

A professor and child cancer specialist, Professor Stefaan Van Gool responded to this news saying, “There is, in fact, no objective tool today available that really can help you say, ‘this child has the full competence or capacity to give with full understanding informed consent’.”

Some doctors, like neurologist Dr. Ludo Vanopdenbosch, have even resigned from their posts in protests of the euthanasia program. In 2017, Dr. Vanopdenbosch resigned from the CFCEE because a dementia patient’s life was ended via euthanasia without her prior consent. 

According to The Telegraph, Dr. Vanopdenbosch’s resignation led to the signing of a petition by 360 Belgian doctors which called for stricter control on euthanasia with psychiatric patients.

Though the legislation has received some backlash it has also gained widespread backing and euthanasia is actually on the rise in Belgium. According to The Telegraph the annual number of euthanasia cases have multiplied five-fold in the last ten year.

Police in India Demand Money to Release Falsely Accused Christians, Sources Say

Christians arrested for praying in their home.

Pastor Biswas Das as police take him into custody. (Morning Star News)

Pastor Biswas Das as police take him into custody. (Morning Star News)

HYDERABADIndia (Morning Star News) – About an hour before midnight on July 31, three policemen and a Hindu neighbor barged into a Christian woman’s house in northern India and ordered her and her husband to either give them money or go to jail.

The couple was immersed in prayer with their children and two other Christians in their home in Uttar Pradesh state’s Sarai Gunja village, in Jaunpur District. They worshipped in their house every night, and they had been fasting for three days, said the Christian woman, Anita Rajak.

The officers told them they couldn’t pray in their house and had come to arrest them, Rajak told Morning Star News.

“We are praying in our own house,” she told them. “Why would there be an arrest for praying inside one’s own house?”

One of the officers gave her two choices, she said: “Either you let us take your husband into custody and we will register cases against you all, or you pay the penalty so there will be no case.”

The 31-year-old mother of four said she asked them to show an arrest warrant, but they told her to shut up and hand over the money. When she said she had no money, they took her husband, Pappu Rajak, and another Christian to their Jeep, calling her a “prostitute Christian” and her husband a pimp when she tried to stop them.

Three times she called an emergency police helpline, she said, each time receiving assurance that police were on their way. No one came.

“I told my children to continue praying and headed to the police station in the morning at five,” she said. I had no idea in which police station they had kept my husband, but on my way I kept calling all the Christian brothers in our circle.”

The brethren warned her that she would be arrested, but she continued on.

“It was the Lord who gave me the strength and courage to speak up before the authorities,” Rajak said.

Some Christian friends volunteered to stay at the police station with her until police released the two Christians, she said.

“They had beaten my husband on his face and back while he was in custody and pushed him several times,” Rajak told Morning Star News. “They took their signatures on some documents, regarding which no information was given to us, and warned that my husband will go straight to jail if we continued praying.”

A key impetus for the persecution may have been a Hindu family converting to Christianity after their daughter was healed five months ago.

“A Hindu family brought their daughter possessed by evil spirits, my husband and I prayed for her and she was freed,” Rajak said. “The entire family decided to follow Christ and joined us for worship regularly, but the Hindu neighbors accused us, saying we forcefully convert people, and they beat my husband severely.”

Such hostilities toward Christians have increased since Hindu nationalism, which seeks to purge the country of all non-Hindu faiths, gained wider acceptance after the ascent to power of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, according to Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), which undertakes legal advocacy for religious freedom.

“Though such ideas have been around for some time, it was only when the Baratiya Janata Party [BJP] of current Prime Minister Narendra Modi came into power in 2014 that they gained wider acceptance,” ADF notes in its campaign celebrating the 70th anniversary of the U.N. Universal Declaration of Human Rights. “Today, politicians publicly announce that the time has come to care more about the rights of the majority than the minority. As the national elections loom next year, the political rhetoric has only intensified.”

Article 18 of the U.N. declaration asserts that believers have the freedom to practice their faith “in teaching, practice, worship and observance,” ADF notes in its campaign to obtain signatures supporting the The Geneva Statement on Human Rights at www.ImHumanRight.org.

Lump Sum for Release

About 55 miles north, in Mirzapur, police also demanded money from Christians after Hindu extremists on July 23 stormed into the house of pastor Bharat Lal, where more than 20 pastors from surrounding villages had gathered for training.

Pastor Biswas Das was speaking at the training session, which took place the same day the former chief minister of the state, from the BJP, was expected to arrive in the area by helicopter.

At about 8 a.m., as the pastors had their eyes closed for the opening prayer, at least 20 Hindu extremists gathered outside Pastor Lal’s home. The extremists had assembled to welcome the BJP leader but went to Pastor Lal’s house after getting word that a Christian pastor lived nearby, Pastor Das said.

“The mob kept increasing from 20 to over 50 in just a few minutes,” Pastor Lal said. “They were shouting ‘Jai Sri RamJai Sri Ram [Hail Lord Ram],’ and that they will not allow conversions.”

Pastor Das told Morning Star News that the assailants manhandled him.

“They snatched away my Bible, held me by my collar and pushed me,” Pastor Das said. “I did not utter a word. I was in police lock up for over six hours without food or water.”

A source who requested anonymity told Morning Star News that police demanded a lump sum from Christians to release Pastor Das.

“There was a threat from the police that they will register cases imposing sections with harder punishments,” the source said. “Pastor Das was targeted, as he is not a local person.”

A native of Odisha’s Gajpati District, Pastor Das moved to Uttar Pradesh’s Allahabad District with his family of four in 2011 following a call to serve among the rural pastors.

Dinanath Jaiswar, a volunteer aid to endangered Christians, told Morning Star News that area police routinely demand money from Christians.

“In every case, once police receive a complaint against Christians, they grab it as an opportunity to extort money by threatening them, saying, ‘Settle this outside the police station by bribing the police officers, or let them book cases and rot in jail,’” Jaiswar said. “Sadly, it is how most police officers are dealing with the cases against Christians.”

When pastors are jailed, Jaiswar and his team of volunteers rush over to keep cases from being registered, he said.

“It is sad that now it has become a trend that complaints given to the police authorities are ignored, and the innocent victims are arrested basing on the complaints filed by Hindu extremists,” Jaiswar said. “Added to the trauma and beatings, pastors undergo imprisonment for days to weeks. They will eventually come out clean, but their families go through the most difficult phase. It is heart-wrenching that some can’t even provide for themselves.”

India ranked 11th on Christian support organization Open Doors’ 2018 World Watch List of countries where Christians experience the most persecution.

“The next round of fighting with Hamas is just a matter of time