Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Thanksgiving Week is National Bible Week

The Bible: Born in the East and clothed in Oriental form and imagery, the Bible walks the ways of all the world with familiar feet and enters land after land to find its own everywhere. It has learned to speak in hundreds of languages to the heart of man.
Children listen to its stories with wonder and delight, and wise men ponder them as parables of life. The wicked and proud tremble at its warnings, but to the wounded and penitent it has a mother's voice. It has woven itself into our dearest dreams; so that love, friendship, sympathy, devotion, memory, hope, put on the beautiful garments of its treasured speech. No man is poor or desolate who has this treasure for his own.
When the landscape darkens, and the trembling pilgrim comes to the Valley named of the Shadow, he is not afraid to enter; he takes the rod and staff of Scripture in his hand; he says to friend and comrade, 'Goodbye; we shall meet again;', and, confronted by that support, he goes toward the lonely pass as one who walks through darkness into light. Henry Van Dyke

From Our American Forefathers: He who made all men hath made the truths necessary to human happiness obvious to all… Our forefathers opened the Bible to all. Samuel Adams "American Independence," August 1, 1776. Speech delivered at the State House in Philadelphia]

It is impossible to rightly govern the world without God and Bible.
George Washington

The Bible is worth all other books which have ever been printed.
Patrick Henry

I have examined all religions, as well as my narrow sphere, my straightened means, and my busy life, would allow; and the result is that the Bible is the best Book in the world. It contains more philosophy than all the libraries I have seen. John Adams, December 25, 1813 letter to Thomas Jefferson

For more quotes from our Founders, click here.

After the death of Solomon and the division of Israel, the Scriptures were suppressed by many of the inferior kings. It was King Josiah (II Kings) who lead his people in a revival and made known the Scriptures which he read to them in the temple.
The scrolls he read from were carried away and survived their seventy years of captivity in Babylon.
When the Jewish exiles returned to their land in 536 BC, Ezra, the priest/scribe, gathered together all scrolls he could find and made them into one complete work. Most Bible scholars persuade that Ezra, motivated by the direction of God, made additions and updates to the scrolls as he worked on connecting them into one edition. He divided the one complete work into three sections: the Torah, the Prophets, and the Holy Writings.

The Jews combined several related books--such as I and II Samuel into Samuel, I and II Kings into Kings, and I and II Chronicles into Chronicles. They also joined Judges and Ruth, Ezra and Nehemiah, Jeremiah and Lamentations, and the twelve Minor Prophets.
Apparently, the Jews combined these books to reduce the number of scrolls in the Hebrew scriptures to twenty two, which is also the number of letters in the Hebrew alphabet.
Although the number of books in our Old Testament and their arrangement today has changed from ancient times, the text itself has not changed...not one letter, not one jot or tittle... from the Hebrew Bible.

How the books got divided into Chapters: "About A.D. 1248 Cardinal Hugo de Santo Care, while preparing an index to the whole Bible, divided it into its present chapters, subdividing these into several parts by placing the letters A, B, C, D etc. in the margin at equal distances from each other. These divisions were later introduced into many printed editions such as Stephens' Greek New Testament of 1550, still without verse numbers.

Cardinal Hugo's divisions were used in many manuscript copies of the Latin Vulgate, and gradually found a place also in later Greek manuscripts written in Western Europe, and in the earliest printed and all later editions of the Greek New Testament.

Verses: The divisions made by Hugo with the letters of the alphabet, and those adopted by Pagninus in his Latin Bible of 1528, were inconveniently large, and Robert Estienne (better known to us as Stephens) introduced a system of numbered verse divisions in his Greek New Testament published at Geneva in 1551. For this he used as his model the short verses into which the Hebrew Bible had been divided by Rabbi Nathan in 1508, first printed in Venice in 1524. Henry Stephens, Robert's father, had introduced verse numbers in his 1509 edition of the Psalms." For more information write to:
Trinitarian Bible Society
Tyndale House, Dorset Road
London, SW19 3NN, England
Telephone: 0 181 543 7857

Monday, November 15, 2010

Prayers for a hurting world

Obama Praises Indonesia Let Us Pray. President Obama’s false praise of Indonesia is assumed a model of religious tolerance and should be condemned since violent Muslims have killed over 10,000 Christians in Indonesia between 1998 and 2003, and they have burned down over 1,200 churches in the last decade. We also pray You save Indonesia from their hatred towards Jesus and Christians, from IIPeter 3:9, that all will come to repentance because the Lord desires none to perish. God open the eyes of President Obama so he can stop telling lies about Islam and Indonesia, in Jesus Name, Amen.

Congresswoman Betty McCollum omits “Under God” from PledgeLet Us Pray. Almighty God, we are saddened by Democrat Congresswoman Betty McCollum from Minnesota who recently led the Pledge of Allegiance in Congress and intentionally omitted the words “Under God” even though she pretends to be a Catholic during campaigns. We are also sad she was re-elected last week, while she continues to disrespect the Pledge of Allegiance and thumb her nose at Almighty God. We pray from 1Timothy 2:4 that Betty would get saved and come to the knowledge of the truth, that Jesus is God and God should be honored, and never disrespected, in Jesus Name. Amen. ---

(In 2004, Jim McDermott omits 'under God,' during Pledge of Allegiance, click here.)

Pakistani Christian Sentenced to Death for Preaching JesusLet Us Pray. Almighty God, we are saddened by the death sentence that was handed down this week for Asia Bibi, who was accused and arrested in June of 2009 for "blasphemy" against "prophet" Mohammed, simply by proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ. Now we pray for Asia and her lawyers to appeal this unjust death sentence. From James 1:5 we pray for wisdom, and from Matthew 5:12 we rejoice for Asia knowing her reward in heaven is great if she is persecuted for Christ’s name. Vindicate her stand for Jesus, in Jesus Name, Amen.

Pope Benedict Calls for Worldwide Prayer Against AbortionLet Us Pray. Almighty God, bless Pope Benedict XVI who issued an unprecedented declaration and request for prayers worldwide from all pro-life people against abortion. We agree and pray along with the Pope and all who are opposed to the slaughter of innocents, that abortion would no longer be accepted by any nation on earth. From Ecclesiastes 11:5, just as we do not know the path of the wind, or how the body is formed in a mother’s womb, we know we cannot understand the work of God, but we affirm the creation of all life. In Jesus Name, Amen.

Planned Parenthood Sells Graphic Sex Guide for YouthLet Us Pray. Almighty God, we pray that You awaken the masses so they see the wrongdoing that Planned Parenthood continues to promote, including recently a brochure called “Healthy, Happy and Hot” which is aimed at young people and encourages casual sex with multiple partners, as well as oral, anal, and homosexual sex. Such rubbish pollutes the minds of our youth and makes it harder for them to understand and follow wholesome, healthy paths. From ITimothy 4:12, we pray that no one should look down on young people who should be examples of moral behavior in speech, life, love, faith, and purity. And we pray Lord, that You raise up and give strength to more young Christians in living lives in accordance with Your commandments, in Jesus name, Amen.

Amazon Stops Selling a Guide for Pedophiles
Let Us Pray. Almighty God, we thank you for the citizens that rose up and complained to Amazon.com for selling a self-published guide titled “The Pedophile’s Guide to Love and Pleasure: a Child-lover’s Code of Conduct” by Phillip R. Greaves, and got that book removed. We pray now that God heals all who have been the victims of sexual abuse by pedophiles and for continual public awareness to speak out against this heinous sin. From Matthew 18:6 we warn that anyone who harms a child may be drowned in the depths of the sea, in Jesus Name, Amen.

Muslims Beat and Fire Christians in Bangladesh Let Us Pray. Almighty God, we pray You Bless Ayanal Hague, age 63, and his 22-year-old son Lal Miah, and their families in Bangladesh, who have refused to recant their faith in Christ, despite persecution from muslims who beat them and deprive them of work. Romans 8:18 declares, “I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.” Strengthen our brothers in the faith that know Your word to be true and who have suffered for their faith. Comfort and protect all now being persecuted, in Jesus Name, Amen.

Above adapted from the "Pray in Jesus name" project.
The views of Chaplain Klingenschmitt, who was honorably but involuntarily discharged from the Navy in 2007 after facing court-martial for praying 'in Jesus name' in uniform, (but was later vindicated by Congress), are his own personal views, not the views of any political party, government, or organization.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

November 14: International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted

For original article and references, click here.

Reports of Christian persecution around the world seem to be on the increase.

In Asia, a Christian man was sentenced to three years in prison for showing a film about Jesus Christ.

According to Jonathan Racho of International Christian Concern, another anti-Christian incident occurred recently in India:

"A group of Hindu radicals severely beat a pregnant Christian woman while she was attending the funeral of her infant daughter in Orissa, India. Orissa is the same state where in 2008, radicals killed 100 Christians and forced 55,000 Christians from their homes. Another attack had occurred a week earlier in Eritrea, which borders Ethiopia. Eleven Christians were arrested and taken to unknown locations."

Christians arrested in India endure much suffering. Racho relates that they are "imprisoned in metal shipping containers, military barracks, and underground dungeons -- and many die due to torture and harsh prison conditions."

Last summer in Pakistan, two Christians, a pastor and his brother, were shot and killed on courthouse steps.

They had been found innocent after standing trial on accusation under Pakistan's blasphemy law. The brothers supposedly had written and circulated a pamphlet that denigrated Muhammad.

Racho commented that the "Muslims know the law and whenever they want to persecute a Christian, any Christian, they simply go ahead and accuse the Christian of blasphemy." Innocence doesn't matter. "If a Christian is accused of blasphemy, even if the Christian has not done it, and even if the police have proved that the person hasn't done it, it doesn't matter for them."

A forensic analysis of the handwriting showed that the brothers could not have written the document.

"The police came up with an expert witness and the expert testified that the handwriting on the pamphlet doesn't match Rashid or Sajid's handwriting. So obviously, someone else must have written it and put the brother's names and phone numbers on it."

"Christians in Pakistan are treated like third-class citizens, and it's almost on a daily basis that the Christians in Pakistan face discrimination, and it's very common for Christians to be killed, for Christians to face a blasphemy charge without committing any blasphemy actually."

Intelligence analyst Bill Warner, Center for the Study of Political Islam, is not surprised by  shootings of Christians found innocent.

"The killing of a blasphemer is pure Shariah and is Sunna, the perfect example of Muhammad....Muhammad repeatedly had people murdered, assassinated and executed for nothing more that disagreeing with him. When he conquered Mecca he issued death warrants for all the intellectuals and artists who had opposed him. To disagree with Muhammad was and is a capital offense."

Jonathan Racho agrees and adds that the Pakistani government is trying to get the U.N. to adopt its blasphemy law as part of the International Declaration of Human Rights and other international agreements.

"Petition to United Nations to award Refugee Status to Pakistani Christians," click here. "We wish to draw your kind attention on rising violence against Christians on pretext to blasphemy law, enforced conversion, kidnap and gang rape of Christian women, vandalism of Churches, desecration of Holy Bibles, attacks on homes of Christians, killing of innocent Christians and destruction of Christian properties in Islamic Republic of Pakistan."

•Pastors and church staff can call 1-800-422-5441 to receive a free kit of information, presentations, and videos about the persecuted church

Friday, November 5, 2010

Woman sued for seeking Christian roommate, and ADF came to her defense

A 31-year-old nursing student advertised on her church bulletin board for a Christian roommate to share her 900 sq. ft. house.  Someone took the ad down from the bulletin board and reported it to HUD.  HUD told her she was in violation of the law, needed to attend classes to learn how not to be discriminatory, and had to pay a fine.  ADF lawyers took up her cause.

For original articles and references, click here/here.

HUD has been given authority to enforce the Fair Housing Act (FHA) of 1968 which prohibits housing discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, and religion. Protected classes were expanded in 1974.

 (The FHA exempts owner-occupied buildings with no more than four units, single-family housing sold or rented without the use of a broker, and housing operated by organizations and private clubs that limit occupancy to members. It is illegal for anyone to advertise a preference based on the protected classes listed above.)

Tag:  Alliance Alert relatedHUDTwitter Religious Liberty World News
"This prohibition against discriminatory advertising applies to single-family and owner-occupied housing that is otherwise exempt from the Fair Housing Act."
"Fair Housing is the right of individuals to obtain the housing of their choice (rent an apartment, buy a home, obtain a mortgage, buy homeowners insurance, etc.), free from discrimination based on the protected classes."

If someone violates the Fair Housing Act, then HUD can require the offender to compensate for actual damages.
 Apparently, a 31-year-old Christian woman who wanted a Christian roommate violated the Fair House law by advertising for a roommate on a bulletin board at her church, stating, "Christian roommate wanted."

Since the ad "expresses an illegal preference for a Christian roommate, thus excluding people of other faiths,” according to the complaint filed by the Fair Housing Center of West Michigan, she is in violation of the law.

The case was turned over to the Michigan Department of Civil Rights.

Depending on the outcome of the case, the woman could face several hundreds of dollars in fines and “fair housing training so it doesn’t happen again.”

What kind of law says a woman cannot express in advertising the kind of person she is looking for as a roommate based on any criteria she wishes?

The Alliance Defense Fund has taken on her case:

"Christians shouldn't live in fear of being punished by the government for being Christians. It is completely absurd to try to penalize a single Christian woman for privately seeking a Christian roommate at church -- an obviously legal and constitutionally protected activity. Not content to just lock Christians and their beliefs into the four walls of their church or home, some groups also want to invade those walls and force their own ideas upon them by force of law."

"The First Amendment guarantees us Freedom of Religion, and we have the right to live with someone of the same faith. The Michigan Department of Civil Rights is denying her rights by pursuing this complaint."

A letter has been sent to the state asking the authorities to dismiss the case as groundless.

Nancy Haynes of the Fair Housing Center agreed the woman has every right to seek and live with a Christian roommate. She just can't advertise it publicly.

For real?

The state wants the woman to get training in federal law, and they want her to reimburse the Fair Housing Center $300 for the time it took to investigate the complaint.

According to Joel Oster of the ADF:
---"Well, oddly enough if you look at this statute, it does not provide even an exception based upon gender," states the attorney. "So according to this statute, she can't even discriminate based upon gender. If you look at this, this lady would have to accept a male roommate of an opposite or an opposing religious belief into her house. It's preposterous."
"Oster believes the rule needs to be clarified, and says his client is considering a lawsuit to bring about that change if necessary."

Tue, 11/09/2010 - 20:35
ADF President and CEO Alan E. Sears writing at Inside the Issues: "If you have any doubts that things are changing in America today, consider the case of a single woman in Grand Rapids, Michigan, who posted an advertisement for a roommate on her church bulletin board. As a Christian, she stipulated that she’d like the roommate to be a Christian, too . . . Unfortunately, even though the complaint was dismissed, the problematic 'anti-discrimination' housing law – which states that a person cannot seek out renters based on gender or religion – is still in effect. ADF is considering filing a lawsuit to strike down this problematic law, based on how it was applied in this case."

"She is not prohibited by either federal law or state law from seeking a Christian roommate. Neither Title VII of the US Fair Housing Civil Rights Act of 1968 nor the Elliot Larsen Civil Rights Act No. 453 prevents a woman like [her] from seeking a Christian roommate."

HUD's application of the law is a violation of the First Amendment right to freely associate.

Alliance Defense Fund (ADF) Senior Legal Counsel Joel Oster called the attempt to criminalize Rowe's effort to seek a Christian roommate "nothing short of absurd."

ADF attorneys sent a letter on behalf of the single woman. They asserted that the complaint was groundless and that any government interference would be a blatant violation of Rowe's First Amendment rights to freedom of association.

After an investigation, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) issued a dismissal stating that there was no reasonable cause for the allegation.

Oster of ADF stated:
"This complaint should have never been brought. It is borderline frivolous to suggest that a single lady can be fined by the government simply for seeking a Christian female roommate to share her 900-square-foot house."
"HUD did the right thing through its dismissal of the frivolous complaint. Anti-religious groups wanting to confine Christians and their beliefs within the four walls of their church or home cannot also invade those very walls by forcing their own ideas upon Christians through threats of severe punishment.”

The Michigan Department of Civil Rights said that its probe revealed "legal issues that involved questions of federal and possibly U.S. constitutional law, which required that we coordinate with HUD to assure uniform application nationwide."

ADF made clear that even though the complaint was dismissed, the "anti-discrimination" housing law is still in effect. The law states that a person cannot seek out renters based on gender or religion.

ADF may decide to file a lawsuit to strike down the law as it was applied in the church bulletin board case.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Apartment managers fired because of Christian artwork they displayed

For original article and references, click here.

Employment and housing discrimination case: Liberty University Counsel at the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals requested that a trial court’s summary judgment be reversed.

Daniel and Sharon Dixon were fired by The Hallmark Companies from managing a Florida apartment complex for being “too religious.” They were also evicted from their apartment.

Why does Hallmark consider them to be too religious? Because of a 26 inches by 50 inches stained glass artwork with the phrase, "Consider the lilies...Matthew 6:28," which was displayed in the rental office.

After asking if and learning that the artwork referred to Scripture, Hallmark supervisor Christina Saunders told Mrs. Dixon to remove it immediately. Mrs. Dixon was willing to discuss the matter with the supervisor and with her co-manager husband; and as she briefly left to find Mr. Dixon, the artwork was removed by the supervisor.

Upon their return, the supervisor told them not to bother looking for the stained glass piece because they were fired for being "too religious" and had to vacate their apartment within seventy-two hours. Saunders had removed the artwork, entered the Dixons' apartment without their permission, and placed the artwork there.

This happened in 2008 after the Dixons had managed an apartment complex owned by Hallmark in Florida for eight years. They also had worked for Hallmark Companies previously for a couple of years, managing two different complexes. Their artwork was displayed at each of those offices without complaint.

The Dixons filed a federal action claiming discrimination based on religious beliefs.

A federal district court judge ruled summarily against them saying there was no need for a jury to hear the case since no reasonable jury could possibly find any discrimination against the Dixons.

It is hard to understand how a judge could rule this way when they were fired for no reason but religion and Title VII and Title VIII clearly prohibit discrimination in employment and housing on account of religion.

"Employment discrimination occurs when an employer adversely singles out employees or job applicants on the basis of age, race/color, gender, disability, national origin, religion, pregnancy, or veteran status."

Mathew D. Staver, Founder of Liberty Counsel, commented:

“Hallmark cannot sweep religion from the workplace. While The Hallmark Companies can choose the d├ęcor of the workplace, their supervisors cannot fire employees solely because they are ‘too religious.’ When a jury hears this case, it will be clear that The Hallmark Companies crossed the line.”

Saunders denied allegations that she told the couple they were "too religious." Yet they were not fired for job performance.

On October 28, 2010, Horatio Mihet, Senior Litigation Counsel for Liberty Counsel, presented oral arguments:

"The artwork was displayed in the leasing office, right next to prominent disclaimers that Hallmark does not discriminate in housing decisions against anyone."

A ruling by the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals is expected later this year.

Mihet is certain that the court will reverse the summary judgment, remand action back to district court with instructions to move the case to a jury trial, and that a jury will find that Hallmark did indeed unlawfully fire the Dixons for being "too religious."

"Hallmark’s counsel actually admitted during argument that, had Hallmark asked him whether the picture should be removed, he would have advised that it should stay on the wall."

Christians fired for displaying Bible verse in workplace
Let us pray. Almighty God, we pray you restore Daniel and Sharon Dixon, who were fired and evicted from managing an apartment complex by a man who said they were “too religious,” because they displayed, in the rental office, a small stained glass artwork with flowers and the phrase "Consider the lilies... Matthew 6:28." God we pray the 11th Circuit Court of appeals enforces the law, since Title VII and VIII prohibit discrimination in employment and housing on account of religion. From Matthew 5:10, bless the Dixons who are persecuted for righteousness sake. In Jesus name, Amen.  
From Pray in Jesus name project: Chaplain Gordon James Klingenschmitt

America was founded upon Christian tolerance of religious faith yet that very faith that gave birth to tolerance is itself not tolerated in today's America. We have gone from Pilgrims seeking religious expression of their Judeo-Christian beliefs to discrimination against those same beliefs in the name of tolerance. This is progress?

"It cannot be emphasized too strongly or too often that this great nation was founded not by religionists, but by Christians; not on religions, but on the Gospel of Jesus Christ. For that reason alone, people of other faiths have been afforded freedom of worship here."
-- Patrick Henry

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