DOJ Warns San Francisco Officials They Can’t Limit Church To One Congregant At A Time

Department of Justice officials have warned San Francisco authorities that their decree limiting church attendance in the “City by the Bay” to one person at a time is unconstitutional and a violation of every San Franciscan’s right to freedom of religious practice.

Photo by Anthony Garand on Unsplash

In a September 25 letter to Mayor London Breed, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division Eric Drieband and U.S. Attorney for Northern California David Anderson wrote:

“San Francisco’s treatment of places of worship raises serious concerns about religious freedom. In particular, the limitation of indoor worship to one congregant without regard to the size of the place of worship is draconian, out of step with the treatment afforded other similar indoor activities in San Francisco, wholly at odds with this Nation’s traditional understanding of religious liberty, and may violate the First Amendment to the Constitution. Continue reading “DOJ Warns San Francisco Officials They Can’t Limit Church To One Congregant At A Time”

China Rewrites Jesus With The Woman Caught In Adultery

Among the best-known passages in the New Testament are those in the Gospel of John describing Jesus’ encounter in the temple in Jerusalem with a woman who had been caught in the act of adultery.

The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) doesn’t like that version of the incident, according to Christian Headlines, so the order went out to rewrite it in a university textbook used to teach ethics in vocational schools.

In the Gospel of John, the penalty for women caught in adultery under Jewish law at the time was death by stoning, and that’s the horrifying end the poor woman in this particular incident was about to experience when she was dragged before Him by the Scribes and Pharisees. Continue reading “China Rewrites Jesus With The Woman Caught In Adultery”

EEOC Files Suit Against Kroger For Religious Discrimination In LGBTQ Apron Pin Case

A Kroger grocery store in Conway, Arkansas, fired two long-time women employees who declined to wear aprons bearing a LGBQT pin because doing so would force them to appear to endorse a political opinion that violates their Christian faith.

EEOC Logo

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 forbids discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex or national origin, so the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) filed suit against the Ohio-based grocery chain with stores in 35 states, according to McClatchy News. The stores are Kroger and Harris-Teeter outlets.

“Companies have an obligation under Title VII to consider requests for religious accommodations, and it is illegal to terminate employees for requesting an accommodation for their religious beliefs,” said Delner-Franklin Thomas, district director of the EEOC’s Memphis District Office, which has jurisdiction over Arkansas, Tennessee and portions of Mississippi.

“The EEOC protects the rights of the LGBTQ community, but it also protects the rights of religious people,” she said in an EEOC news release announcing the suit earlier this week.

Go here for more information from the EEOC.

 

FAITHFUL DISOBEDIENCE: Here’s The Absurdly Detailed California Covid Orders to Prevent Churches From Meeting To Worship Indoors

California authorities are clearly determined to make an example of Pastor John MacArthur and Grace Community Church (GCC) in Los Angeles County in retaliation for defying the state’s ban on indoor worship meetings.

The ban has been challenged by other California congregations, but MacArthur is an internationally known evangelical pastor, book author and opinion molder. He and GCC are represented in court by Jenna Ellis and the Thomas More Society. Go here, here and here for previous HillFaith posts on GCC.

Yesterday, Sunday, September 13, MacArthur and GBC defied a court order specifically banning the congregation from meeting indoors. During the service, MacArthur described the specific demands California seeks to impose on all churches in the state.

As MacArthur goes through these demands, it should be obvious to all reasonable persons that California officials are attempting  bureaucratic strangulation by regulation of the First Amendment’s guarantee of religious freedom and assembly.


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More Evidence That Cancel Culture Is A License For Censorship, Religious Discrimination

Christian Post Editor Samuel Smith has the story:

“A California-based fundraising software company that serves nonprofits will no longer provide service to the national Christian conservative activist organization Family Research Council, citing the Southern Poverty Law Center’s (SPLC) listing of the organization as an anti-LGBT ‘hate’ group.

“But after pushback to its decision, MobileCause informed The Christian Post on Thursday that it will review its policy of referring solely to the far-left SPLC to determine which nonprofits it won’t work with.

“FRC announced Wednesday that it was informed by MobileCause CEO Victor Limongelli that the text service provider agreement between the two entities was to be terminated one hour before the organization was set to host its Pray Vote Stand broadcast as part of its 2020 voter turnout initiative.

Go here for the rest of the story. And for those who don’t recall, it was the SPLC that prompted Floyd Corkins to enter the FRC headquarters intent on killing as many people as possible.

‘We Are Not Closing Down This Church’ — California Pastor Warns Officials

Pastor Jack Trieber of North Valley Baptist Church in Santa Clara, California, is appealing to all Americans for aid in his congregation’s struggle to exercise their First Amendment right to the free exercise of religion.

In an impassioned Facebook video, Trieber declared “we are not closing down this church” as a result of more than $52,000 in fines levied against the congregation by Santa Clara County officials, based on Covid guidelines issued by California Gov. Gavin Newsom.

Trieber joins Grace Community Church of Los Angeles and Pastor John MacArthur in defying Newsom’s guidelines that bar indoor meetings in churches.

Grace, represented by the Thomas More Society, has won four court decisions but county officials’ most recent retaliation was cancellation without prior warning of a parking lot lease that had been in force without problems for 45 years.

With resistance to seemingly unreasonable Covid-related restrictions growing, especially among Christian congregations, the issue is certain to assume greater prominence on Capitol Hill when Congress returns after Labor Day:


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Churches Are Defending The First Amendment. Does Anybody In Congress Care?

HillFaith has from the first post in July 2018 been kept scrupulously non-partisan and will continue to be so as long as I have anything to say about it.

“There is no pandemic.” Pastor John MacArthur, Grace Community Church. Screenshot from youtube.

To paraphrase the New Testament, there is no Jew or Greek, no Slave or Free, no Rich or Poor, and no Democrat or Republican in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. He frees all alike who recognize Him as their resurrected Savior.

But abuses by government are happening at all levels in this country that are officially justified by the Covid Pandemic, but which clearly have little or nothing to do with stopping the spread of a disease whose dangers it is becoming increasingly clear have been severely exaggerated. Continue reading “Churches Are Defending The First Amendment. Does Anybody In Congress Care?”

Once I Was Among The ‘Pro-Choice’ (Unthinkingly). But Then I Became Firmly Pro-Life. This Is Why

It comes back to me at the most unexpected moments, as it did a couple of days ago, but always as an uncomfortable recollection from a brief, regretted moment in a college classroom long past.

“It” is the memory of something I said as a sophomore or junior at Oklahoma State University in 1970 or 1971 (yes, I am that old!). Odd how certain scenes in your life stay with you, isn’t it? I have since come to believe that such memories are not coincidental.

Anyway, it was during an Economics 101 course and somehow the class discussion had turned to the issue of abortion. A couple of my fellow students were making the case that life begins at conception and is sacred, therefore abortion is wrong.

It’s what I said in response to them that haunts me to this day: “But it’s just a glob of cells.” So, it was understood, it’s ok to “kill” it because it’s not yet a baby, a living human being. That phrase, “a glob of cells,” has stuck with me, not unlike those “damned spots” that plagued Lady MacBeth. Continue reading “Once I Was Among The ‘Pro-Choice’ (Unthinkingly). But Then I Became Firmly Pro-Life. This Is Why”

Why Are All My Friends Becoming Marxists (Most Don’t Realize That’s What They’re Doing)?

Jon Harris is the author/thinker/critic behind “Conversations That Matter” on Patreon and elsewhere on the Internet. He is a born-again Christian of the Reformed persuasion and a traditional American conservative.

Three steps to Critical Theory’s “salvation.”

But don’t let that description put you off because Harris is also a very perceptive, observant and articulate critic of all sides of contemporary culture and politics in America. His discussion of the origins and significance of Critical (especially Race) Theory and Intersectionality is trenchant and thought-provoking.

I say this because he prefaces his discussion with an observation that is not original in terms of the substance, but he puts it in a context that ought to drive home to all thinking persons, regardless of their religious or political positions, the profound seriousness of what is happening all around us these days: Continue reading “Why Are All My Friends Becoming Marxists (Most Don’t Realize That’s What They’re Doing)?”

Why I Signed The 2018 Statement On Social Justice And The Gospel

The Bible at Galatians 3:28 declares that, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”

There is no more clear a statement of the fundamental equality of all men and women in all of human literature, whether ancient or modern. As a follower of Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior, I affirm Galatians 3:28 with all of my heart and seek to live that reality every day.

Sadly, despite our Declaration of Independence’s affirmation in its Preamble that “all men are created equal,” America has too often failed to a greater or lesser degree to live up to its founding ideals. Continue reading “Why I Signed The 2018 Statement On Social Justice And The Gospel”

WHAT WOULD YOU SAY? To The Person Claiming That Socialism Is The Answer To Our Problems

Utopian thinking has been around since the dawn of time, but the socialist version of that outlook is a relatively recent invention. Government ownership of the means of production and abolishing private property is the socialism of the modern era, thanks mainly to Karl Marx and the British Fabians.

Here in America, this socialism has developed an inordinately large following among Millennials and Gen Xers because America’s public schools for decades have refused to allow students to learn the advantages, flaws and historical performance records of both free enterprise and socialism. Nobody should be surprised then that so many think socialism is the answer to all of America’s problems.

But the facts, according to Brook McIntyre on the latest Colson Center “What Would You Say” video, make it abundantly clear that there really is no comparison between the two systems:


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WORKING ON THE HILL: Hearing Of The Select Committee On The Modernization Of Congress On Staffing Issues

Earlier this summer, the Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress convened a hearing on staff compensation and benefits. The basic issue — what to do about low pay and high turnover rates — was the central question of the day.

Rep. Derek Kilmer (D-WA) is chairman of the panel, while Rep. Tom Graves (R-GA) is vice-chairman. In his opening remarks, Kilmer offered this analysis of the problem:

“Staff are the backbone of this institution. They are dedicated public servants who are here because they want to do meaningful work. They choose careers on the Hill despite the long hours, the lack of job security, and lower pay compared to what they could make in the executive branch and private sector.

“Congress is fortunate to attract such talented and hard-working staff. The challenge is keeping them here. We know that turnover rates for House staff are really high and while there’s churn between Hill offices, the typical staffer leaves the Hill after 4 or 5 years.

“That’s right about the time they’ve picked up a lot of institutional knowledge and policy expertise. As unfortunate as this pattern is, it makes sense. For a lot of staffers, the desire to serve the public is eventually outweighed by the need for a better work/life balance, and the need to make more money to afford housing, support families, and put kids through college.

“This reality puts Congress at a disadvantage compared to the executive branch and the private sector. The bottom line is this: until Congress can offer competitive pay and benefits, Congress will continue to lose talented and smart staff. And rather than view them as replaceable, we should create an environment that encourages the best staffers to stay.” (Emphasis added)

The following video of the hearing is long at more than 90 minutes, but the two featured witnesses — Casey Burgat, Director of the Legislative Affairs at the Graduate School of Political Management at George Washington University, and Kathryn Pearson, Associate Professor at the University of Minnesota — provide an intelligent, detailed and compelling analysis of what must be done for Congress to address these problems:


HT: Kevin Kosar of the R Street Institute for pointing this video out to yours truly via email.

WORKING ON THE HILL: There’s Good News And, Mostly, Bad News About Staff Salaries

If you worked for a couple of years on the Hill beginning in 2000 at the end of the Clinton presidency and the dawn of the second Bush White House, then came back this year in the same position, you would probably see a 35 percent pay hike.

That conclusion is based on Legistorm’s calculation of annual increases in the median staff salary for members of the office staff of a senator or representative. It was $39,673 in 2000 and is presently $53,660, a 35 percent increase.

That’s the good news. Pay for congressional staff has risen steadily during the previous two decades. Unfortunately, it’s still common for lower level staffers to be paid salaries that require having roommates to share housing costs, or other income sources (which should be disclosed). Continue reading “WORKING ON THE HILL: There’s Good News And, Mostly, Bad News About Staff Salaries”

EMERGING ISSUES ON THE HILL: Churches Defy California Guv’s Covid Restrictions on Multiple Worship Gatherings

Grace Community Church in Los Angeles County is the latest Christian congregation to challenge California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s ban on religious gatherings in 30 Golden State jurisdictions.

Grace is led by Pastor John MacArthur, one of the nation’s most influential evangelical Christian pastors and authors. His ministries encompass books, translations of the Bible, radio and digital programs seen around the world, missionary works and multiple other outlets.

In a July 24 statement issued by him, other members of the pastoral staff and the elders of Grace, it was announced that: Continue reading “EMERGING ISSUES ON THE HILL: Churches Defy California Guv’s Covid Restrictions on Multiple Worship Gatherings”

EMERGING ISSUES ON THE HILL: Surge Of Underground Christian Conversions Rattling Iran

Despite the fact that converting from Islam to Christianity, or any other religion, is illegal and punishable by death in Iran, thousands of Iranians are becoming followers of Jesus Christ.

13th Century Iranian bowl (Photo Credit: Smithsonian Design Museum, Cooper Hewitt)

An estimated 3,000 Iranians are converting every month, according to Michael Ansari of Mohabat TV, a Christian satellite broadcasting channel that penetrates Iran, CBN is reporting.

The awakening in Iran is part of an otherwise largely unreported wave of conversions to Christianity throughout the Islam-dominated Middle East.

Such developments in the politically and economically turbulent Middle East should be of great interest to congressional staff, especially to the hundreds whose work involves foreign policy or religious freedom issues.