A New Year. A New Congress. A New Beginning. Let Us Pray, Together

All but a few of the Members of the 117th Congress were sworn-in to office today, Sunday, and tomorrow, January 4, 2021, marks the first Monday of what could be one of the most dramatic weeks in American history.

Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

Congress meets in Joint Session Wednesday to receive the votes of the Electoral College electors. Dozens of House Republicans and at least 12 Senate Republicans plan to protest various slates of electors. Passions are growing on all sides.

There are questions and controversies about virtually every aspect of the process, even though 2021 is far from the first time the nation has seen such uncertainty about who won a presidential election, or controversy over how to resolve it. Continue reading “A New Year. A New Congress. A New Beginning. Let Us Pray, Together”

Pitt Researchers Graft Aborted Baby Scalp Tissue On To Rats

Baby Mary might have been born and grown up to become the medical researcher who discovered the cure for cancer, but instead she was aborted in the 18th week of her mother’s pregnancy.

But despite being aborted, Baby Mary today still has a role in medical research. Or at least a piece of her scalp does. When Baby Mary was killed in her mother’s womb and her tiny body dismembered, a piece of her scalp containing hair follicles was sold on the fetal tissue gray market.

As a  result, part of Baby Mary may now be found growing on the body of a laboratory rodent, thanks to researchers at the University of Pittsburgh. Here are photos of some of their work in progress: Continue reading “Pitt Researchers Graft Aborted Baby Scalp Tissue On To Rats”

Now It’s Covid Cancel Christians Culture (CCCC) As New Orleans Mayor Nixes Lauren Daigle

An award-winning Christian and cross-over recording artist performed without a mask at a worship protest earlier this year in the French Quarter, so New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell wants to ban Lauren Daigle from the Dick Clark’s Rockin’ New Year’s Eve show.

Lauren Daigle (Screenshot from her website).

Daigle, who is from Lafayette, Louisiana,  performed mask-less during Sean Feucht’s “Let Us Worship” protest in November in New Orleans’ Jackson Square. Hundreds of people attended the event that was held without an official permit.

She is not scheduled to be among the featured performers in the annual Dick Clark entertainment, part of which will originate from New Orleans. Continue reading “Now It’s Covid Cancel Christians Culture (CCCC) As New Orleans Mayor Nixes Lauren Daigle”

WORKING ON THE HILL: Metro May Close Stations, End 3,800 Jobs

Legions of congressional aides get to and from Capitol Hill via Metro every workday, including during the Pandemic, so the prospect of multiple stations being closed and thousands of employees being let go could signal a major headache ahead.

With a $500 million operating deficit, Metro officials are considering closing 19 stations, but it is not known if the Capitol South station would be among those shuttered. That station is used daily by many Hill aides working on the House side, as well as by people visiting the Hill

As many as half of all the pre-Pandemic trips would be eliminated, weekend service would end, and wait times would be extended. Other measures may also be required in the absence of congressional action to prop up the system, according to Metro officials.

Metro’s problems are partially a result of the Pandemic dramatically slashing ridership since March, but other long-standing problems are also involved, including the regional government funding system on which it depends. Other public transportation systems across the country face similar obstacles.

“When I talk to my peers, we’re all facing these almost terrible decisions together,” Metro General Manager Paul Wiedefeld told The Washington Post. “It’s like, how do we do this? It gets down, unfortunately, to very hard math that you just can’t get there from here without having significant impacts.”

Boxer Rebellion Revisited As China Set To Ban Foreign Missionaries

In a move recalling 1900’s Boxer Rebellion, officials in the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) State Administration for Religious Affairs (SARA) are preparing to ban foreign missionaries from China.

Screenshot from “Reading Through History” on the Boxer Rebellion. The individual being restrained is about to be beheaded.

The “Foreign Religious Activities in the People’s Republic of China” draft rules released earlier this month provide 40 Articles covering virtually every aspect of missionary work in the world’s most populous country.

“Foreigners are also not allowed to set up religious groups, engage in activities, or open schools, proselytise among Chinese citizens, recruit followers, or accept donations from Chinese citizens (Article 21),” according to LifeSiteNews, quoting AsiaNews.It.

Foreign-based groups, including missionaries representing Protestant groups like the Southern Baptist Convention’s Foreign Missions Board and the Catholic Church in Rome, must register with SARA, then wait 20 days before being told what they can and cannot do.

The registration requires names of each individual associated with the group seeking to operate in China, as well as detailed information about proposed activities.

The authorization also includes review of materials proposed for distribution to Chinese citizens. Thus, missionaries may carry with them into China no more than 10 copies of the Bible.

The SARA regulations are the latest development in the CCP’s expanding effort to contain and ultimately eliminate the influence of Christianity in China. Go here for previous HillFaith reporting on these developments.

“The government has orchestrated a campaign to ‘sinicise’ Christianity, to turn Christianity into a fully domesticated religion that would do the bidding of the party,” Lian Xi, a Duke University professor who focuses on Christianity in modern China, told The Guardian earlier this year.

Persecution of Christians is not a new thing in China, as the decade-long Cultural Revolution launched by Chairman Mao Tse Sung specifically targeted Christians.

The SARA regulations also recall the 1900 Boxer Rebellion that sought to remove all “foreign devils” from China. The Boxer Rebellion especially targeted Chinese converts to Christianity in a bloody purge that saw many tortured and murdered.


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EMERGING ISSUES ON THE HILL: Aides Should Be Wary Of China’s QR Code Tracking Proposals

Speaking to last weekend’s G20 Summit, China’s strongman, Xi Jinping, encouraged world leaders to follow his country’s example in establishing digital systems to track and regulate the domestic and international movement of citizens, based on factors like their Covid health status.

(Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash).

“While containing the virus, we need to restore the secure and smooth operation of global industrial and supply chains. We need to reduce tariffs and barriers, and explore the liberalization of trade of key medical supplies.

“We need to further harmonize policies and standards and establish ‘fast tracks’ to facilitate the orderly flow of personnel. China has proposed a global mechanism on the mutual recognition of health certificates based on nucleic acid test results in the form of internationally accepted QR codes,” Xi said.

Sounds innocuous, no? When you realize what Xi is suggesting in his reference to QR codes, it ought to raise all kinds of red flags on Capitol Hill. LifeSite’s Michael Haynes explains: Continue reading “EMERGING ISSUES ON THE HILL: Aides Should Be Wary Of China’s QR Code Tracking Proposals”

THANKSGIVING! Supreme Court Upholds First Amendment Against Cuomo Worship Restrictions

In what could prove to be a landmark decision upholding the First Amendment’s guarantee of religious freedom of assembly and practice, the Supreme Court late Wednesday slapped down New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s limits on worship assemblies in certain hard-hit areas of New York.

In a 5-4 decision, the Court said Cuomo’s restriction of religious assemblies in the targeted areas to no more than 25 individuals in some and no more than 10 in others must address a “compelling” state interest, satisfy “strict scrutiny” and be “narrowly tailored” to minimally impinge on First Amendment rights.

But Cuomo’s regulations failed on both counts, saying “Stemming the spread of COVID–19 is unquestionably a compelling interest, but it is hard to see how the challenged regulations can be regarded as ‘narrowly tailored.’

“They are far more restrictive than any COVID–related regulations that have previously come before the Court, much tighter than those adopted by many other jurisdictions hard-hit by the pandemic, and far more severe than has been shown to be required to prevent the spread of the virus at the applicants’ services.” Continue reading “THANKSGIVING! Supreme Court Upholds First Amendment Against Cuomo Worship Restrictions”

Pastor Rob McCoy: ‘This Is Insane … Take Off The Masks!’

Pastor Rob McCoy, who describes himself as a “pro-life Democrat,” recently converted his church, Godspeak Calvary Chapel in Thousand Oaks, California, into a strip club.

Yes, you read that correctly, a strip club. McCoy acted in response to California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s decree that church congregations cannot assemble to worship God but strip clubs and numerous other kinds of establishments can remain open.

So, McCoy did a quick strip (of his tie, people, nothing more, this is church, remember?!??), accompanied by the 1960s show tune, “The Stripper.”

And then he delivered a sermon that is yet another sign of a gathering spirit of liberty sparked by oppressive “public health measures” decreed by Newsom and other government figures across the country in response to the Covid Pandemic. Continue reading “Pastor Rob McCoy: ‘This Is Insane … Take Off The Masks!’”

DID YOU KNOW: Majority Of State Capitols Will Have Nativity Scene Displays In 2020; More To Come

At least 31 of the nation’s 50 state capitols will have Nativity Scenes of Christ’s birth in December 2020 and one of the attorneys behind the legal campaign defending such religious expression in the public square is confident the day is coming soon when every state will have such exhibits.

Photo of Nativity Scene being constructed provided by the Thomas More Society.

“The nativities are going up in more than half of the states and it’s based on a free-speech rationale that is very hard to defeat,” Thomas More Society Founder Thomas Brejcha told HillFaith Friday. “Even the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) in Illinois and Texas publicly said we were totally justified in doing so.”

Brejcha said he has no doubt at all that within a few years there will be Nativity Scene displays in the capitol rotundas of all 50 states.

“I don’t have the slightest doubt about it. We may have a fight or two, but my response is ‘bring it on,’” he said. Continue reading “DID YOU KNOW: Majority Of State Capitols Will Have Nativity Scene Displays In 2020; More To Come”

Justice Alito Declares ‘Religious Liberty Is In Danger Of Becoming A Second-Class Right’

Supreme Court Associate Justice Samuel Alito told Thursday’s meeting of the Federalist Society’s National Lawyer Convention that America’s First Amendment guarantees of religious liberty and freedom of speech are in grave danger, thanks in large part to state and local policies justified as responses to the Covid Pandemic.

Supreme Court Associated Justice Samuel Alito

“The pandemic has resulted in previously unimaginable restrictions on individual liberty,” Alito told the convention at the outset of his address, which he delivered virtually.

After cautioning that he was speaking as a judge and not as a policymaker, Alito continued, noting “all that I am saying, and I think it is an indisputable statement of fact, we have never before seen restrictions as severe, extensive and prolonged as those experienced for most of 2020.” Continue reading “Justice Alito Declares ‘Religious Liberty Is In Danger Of Becoming A Second-Class Right’”

China Converting Christian Churches To Factories, Indoctrination Centers

Christian churches in China that decline to convert into propaganda tools for the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) are being destroyed, or converted into factories or “cultural centers” controlled by the government.

“According to Bitter Winter, an outlet that monitors religious liberty violations in China, the restrictive government shuttered an old church in the southeastern province of Jiangxi in April because the congregation was ‘organizing illegal gathering[s]’ and refusing to join the Three-Self Church, a government-backed and endorsed version of the church,” reports Faithwire.

“It was then converted into a ‘Civilization Practice Station for a New Era,’ a project launched by the Chinese Communist Party in July 2018 to encourage citizens to abandon their religious beliefs and follow the ways of the CCP,” Faithwire said.

Go here for the rest of the story from Faithwire.


 

EMERGING ISSUES ON THE HILL: Supreme Court Asked To Block Nevada Covid Reg That Favors Casinos Over Churches

Attorneys from the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) and representing Calvary Chapel Dayton Valley in rural Lyon County, Nevada, petitioned the Supreme Court Thursday to declare unconstitutional a state regulation that discriminates against churches.

Pastor Garry Leist of Calvary Chapel Dayton Valley church in Nevada. (Photo courtesy of ADF)

“Attempting to combat the spread of COVID-19, Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak issued a series of executive orders that restrict personal liberties,” the petition told the Court. Sisolak is a Democrat.

“The subject of this petition are the Governor’s orders limiting church gatherings. For example, Directive 021 allowed large groups to assemble in close quarters for unlimited time-periods at casinos, restaurants, indoor amusements parks, bowling alleys, water parks, pools, arcades, and more, subject only to a 50%- fire-code-capacity limit. Continue reading “EMERGING ISSUES ON THE HILL: Supreme Court Asked To Block Nevada Covid Reg That Favors Casinos Over Churches”

EMERGING ISSUES ON THE HILL: Another California Church Sues To Protect First Amendment Rights

A small mostly Hispanic Christian congregation in La Habra Heights, a suburban municipality a little south of Los Angeles, has filed suit in federal court seeking relief from illegal official harassment and excessive, unjustified fines.

A World Aflame church outdoor service, with congregants observing social distancing (Photo courtesy of Tyler & Bursch LLP).

The harassment, according to Pastor Joe Garcia of World Aflame Ministries, is the work of La Habra Heights City Manager Fabiola Huerta and Juan Garcia, a private citizen who lives near the congregation’s rented meeting place.

One of the law firms representing World Aflame is actively involved in similar cases around the country and may also be the victim of Big Tech censorship. Repeated searches by HillFaith today on Google Search for the web site of Tyler & Bursch LLP were derailed to a search on Microsoft Bing for the single word, Tyler. (See accompanying screenshot). Continue reading “EMERGING ISSUES ON THE HILL: Another California Church Sues To Protect First Amendment Rights”

FAMILY: New Study Finds Gender Wage Gap Fading, Fading, Fading …

It’s been a staple of political, economic and sociological analyses for decades that when a working woman marries and has kids, she suffers a loss of income, compared to unmarried peers. It’s the Gender Wage Gap and, while its calculation varies from year to year, there’s little doubt that it’s real, for whatever reasons.

Now along comes a new study that ought to grab the attention of multiple congressional staffers involved in all kinds of policy-making areas, including taxes, wage and benefits discrimination, and numerous others.

Why? Because the Gender Wage Gap is in some key respects becoming a thing of the past, according to “The Declining Earnings Gap Between Young Women and Men in the United States 1979-2018” by John Iceland of Penn State and Ilana Redstone of the University of Illinois at Champagne-Urbana. Their study was just published in the journal, Social Science Research.

As Kay Hymowitz, writing for the Institute for Family Studies, puts it: Continue reading “FAMILY: New Study Finds Gender Wage Gap Fading, Fading, Fading …”

THINK ABOUT THIS: Are You A ‘White Supremacist?’

Are all white folks bigots? Advocates of Critical Race Theory would have us believe the answer to that question is a resounding yes. But the Declaration of Independence, written and adopted by a bunch of “old white guys,” declares that “all men are created equal, endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights.”

Did they mean it?

And before you say “yes, but,” can you name any other society in the entire recorded history of mankind that has done more to make that declaration a reality in the lives of the American people? We didn’t fight that bloody civil war for nothing.

One Minute Apologist Bobby Conway points to a vital prerequisite to a healthy discussion of these and related issues that is especially relevant for people working on Capitol Hill — let’s agree on how we define terms, then we can commence the verbal fisticuffs, er discussion: