What’s This? Atheist Group Files SCOTUS Brief Backing Christian Student’s Right To Witness

Three cheers for the American Humanist Association (AHA), which has filed a brief in the Supreme Court case of Uzuegbunam v. Preczewski, that will be argue soon before the nation’s highest tribunal.

Contrary to the appearance of the case title, it’s about  the right of individual students  — in this case, Chike Uzuegbunam, a now-former Georgia Gwinnett College student — to share their religious faith on campus.

Uzuegbunam, who is represented in the litigation by the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), had twice attempted to distribute Christian witnessing materials outside of two tiny “free-speech zones” on the campus.

The ADF is also representing Joseph Bradford, another former student at the Georgia school who “self-censored” after seeing how Uzuegbunam was treated.

“People need to be given every chance to preserve their First Amendment rights. While the AHA and ADF may approach the Constitution from different angles, at the very least we agree that First Amendment litigation and the associated rights are essential to our democracy,” AHA Executive Director Roy Speckhardt said in a statement announcing the brief’s filing.


 

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”

Capitol Hill Baptist Church Sues D.C. Government; Claims It Has No Alternative To In-Person Services

District of Columbia Mayor Muriel Bowser and the D.C. government are depriving Capitol Hill Baptist Church (CHBC) of its members’ only means of worshiping together, according to a suit filed on the congregation’s behalf in federal court.

First established in 1878, CHBC is attended by dozens of congressional staff members who live in the Capitol Hill neighborhood surrounding the U.S. Capitol complex.

Senior Pastor Mark Dever is a nationally known evangelical leader and the founder of the 9Marks organization that provides ministry and administrative resources for churches across the nation.

Capitol Hill Baptist Church Senior Pastor Mark Dever (Screenshot from CHBC video).

“For CHBC, a weekly in-person worship gathering of the entire congregation is a religious conviction for which there is no substitute,” the church said in its suit filed Tuesday in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

Continue reading “Capitol Hill Baptist Church Sues D.C. Government; Claims It Has No Alternative To In-Person Services”

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.

 

California Church Changes Course, Moves Services Back Outdoors

Just a few weeks ago, North Valley Baptist Church Pastor Jack Trieber was vowing his Santa Clara, California, congregation would not submit to Gov. Gavin Newsom’s Covid restrictions.

Pastor Jack Trieber of North Valley Baptist Church, Santa Clara, California (Screenshot)

“We are not closing down this church,” Trieber declared in a video address that went viral on the Internet. That declaration came after officials imposed more than $50,000 in fines against the congregation for holding indoor services, contrary to the restrictions.

This past Sunday, however, Trieber preached to his congregation outdoors, with congregants sitting in their cars listening to him on their vehicles’ radios. Instead of the familiar “Amen” in response to the sermon, congregants honked their horns.

“Trieber said he came to the decision to hold outdoors services after much prayer and fasting. ‘We have been so conditioned in America [that] we have to fight everything,’ Trieber said,” according to Christian Headlines (CH).

“Trieber read from Exodus 14:14 – ‘The Lord shall fight for you’ — and said he was handing the battle to God instead of personally fighting it. In Scripture, Trieber said, ‘God fought many of the battles with the people doing nothing,’” CH reported.

“Santa Clara County had filed a lawsuit against the church but has dropped it in light of the church moving its services outdoors, he said. ‘To me, that’s a victory,’ Trieber said,” CH reported.

Go here for more from CH.


 

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.

Some Critical Thinking On Critical Theory And How Some Christians Are Responding To It

Natasha Crain earned her MBA in statistics from UCLA, so she knows how to read the numbers. But she is also pretty good at sorting out the meanings behind and beyond words and phrases, too.

Author Natasha Crain.

“Critical Theory” is being heard regularly these days. It’s been a commonplace on American campuses for several decades, but it has exploded into the public consciousness in recent weeks as more than a few voices among and defending rioters have cited arguments derived from the phrase.

Crain fears that many evangelical leaders are being taken in by claims and analyses based on Critical Theory, and in the process they are unwarily buying into concepts and actions that have no place in Christianity. Here is part of her thinking on Critical Theory: Continue reading “Some Critical Thinking On Critical Theory And How Some Christians Are Responding To It”

1st Amendment District Court Win Means Dems’ Club Can’t Be Forced To Have GOP Officers

Congressional staff will face the core issues in this case again and again, and not just on campuses

Okay, actually, the club involved is the Inter-Varsity Christian Fellowship chapter at the University of Iowa, which a federal judge ruled cannot be forced by campus officials to have non-Christian leaders.

University of Iowa (Screen shot from the Hawkeye web site).

But to grasp the significance of Judge Stephanie Rose’s September 27 decision, imagine that, to prevent discrimination and ensure diversity, the Democratic Socialist Club is required by government policy to make sure a certain number of its top leaders are actually libertarian Republicans.

Or the NARAL Pro-Choice Chapter of community activists must admit enough pro-lifers to the top echelons of its leadership structure to satisfy an official edict … or the liberal Center for American Progress is forced to install as many Heritage Foundation directors as required to achieve “balance” in its policy prescriptions?

The Rose decision is the second she has delivered in recent months upholding the First Amendment’s right of assembly against the University of Iowa administrators’ attempts to impose its discriminatory policy, according to the Christian Post. 


 

FIRST AMENDMENT: What’s With The Masked Guy In The ‘Science Uprising’ Videos?

Slowly but surely — very slowly, most of the time — the evidence for the reasonableness of Intelligent Design (ID) and illustrating major flaws in the case for evolution is beginning to get something approaching a serious look by serious people.

Science Uprising video series is from the Discovery Institute

Central to that development is the Seattle-based Discovery Institute, which among much else publishes EN, aka Evolution News & Science Today. EN describes itself as providing:

“Original reporting and analysis about evolution, neuroscience, bioethics, intelligent design and other science-related issues, including breaking news about scientific research. Continue reading “FIRST AMENDMENT: What’s With The Masked Guy In The ‘Science Uprising’ Videos?”

FIRST AMENDMENT: Supreme Court Delivers Huge Win For First Amendment, Tolerance

In a 7-2 decision with Justice Samuel Alito writing the opinion for the majority, the Supreme Court said Thursday that a Maryland memorial dedicated to the memories of 49 local residents who died in World War I does not violate the Constitution simply because a cross is its most prominent feature.

HillFaith founder and editor, Mark Tapscott

“For nearly a century, the Bladensburg Cross has expressed the community’s grief at the loss of the young men who perished, its thanks for their sacrifice, and its dedication to the ideals for which they fought,” said Alito, one of the High Court’s most conservative members.

“It has become a prominent community landmark, and its removal or radical alteration at this date would be seen by many, not as a neutral act but as the manifestation of ‘a hostility toward religion that has no place in our Establishment Clause traditions,’” Alito said.

The latter statement quoted from a concurring decision written by liberal Justice Stephen Breyer.

Alito also wrote that “the Religion Clauses of the Constitution aim to foster a society in which people of all beliefs can live together harmoniously, and the presence of the Bladensburg Cross on the land where it has stood for so many years is fully consistent with that aim.”

Go here for the text of the Court’s decision.

 

TOLERANCE TODAY: Harvard Keynoter Said Jews, Christians Should Be ‘Locked Up’ For Their Views

Things get ugly when permission to speak depends upon whether the hearer agrees with what is said

A recent keynote speaker at the Harvard University Art & Science Faculty Conference on Diversity told his Twitter followers in 2015 that people who base their spiritual beliefs on the Hebrew scriptures should be “locked up.”

Author and speaker Tim Wise went on in that tweet, saying “people basing their beliefs on the fable of Noah and the Ark, or their interpretation of Sodom and Gomorrah … rather than science or logic … If you are basing your morality on a fairy tale written thousands of years ago, you deserve to be locked up … detained for your utter inability to deal with reality … NO, we are not obligated to indulge your irrationality in the name of your religious freedom …”

Author Tim Wise.

Wise undoubtedly thinks everybody else — including those who accept the Hebrew scriptures and all other “fairy tales” — absolutely are obligated to respect his spiritual beliefs or lack thereof.

Continue reading “TOLERANCE TODAY: Harvard Keynoter Said Jews, Christians Should Be ‘Locked Up’ For Their Views”

Iranian Christians Refuse Judges’ Order To Renounce Christ. What Would You Do?

What if you were marked for persecution?

It’s hard to imagine how any of us would react in the instant of a trial,  but two Iranian followers of Jesus Christ know for themselves, as they reportedly refused two judges’ order to renounce their faith earlier this month.

“Iranian Christians Saheb Fadaie and Fatemeh Bakhteri were asked by presiding judges Hassan Babaee and Ahmad Zargar to renounce their faith, but refused to do so” during a January 15 trial, according to Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW).

Continue reading “Iranian Christians Refuse Judges’ Order To Renounce Christ. What Would You Do?”

Would You Go To Jail For Your Basic Beliefs, Like This Chinese Pastor?

Pastor Wang Yi of Early Rain Covenant Church in Chengdu, China, is in jail, accused by the Communist government in Beijing of “inciting subversion of state power.”

The pastor absolutely denies the charges, which are based on the fact he preaches the Gospel of Jesus Christ, including His claim to be “the King of Kings” and His injunction to “render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s and the things that are God’s to God.”

Continue reading “Would You Go To Jail For Your Basic Beliefs, Like This Chinese Pastor?”