A Quick Briefer For Hill Staffers On Church Meetings, First Amendment Worries And Coronavirus

Thousands of churches and synagogues across the country have moved their regular services from meeting together in one facility to gathering “together” via Internet teleconferencing. It’s a suitable approach for coping with a temporary problem.

But what if the problem becomes more long-lasting, with official directives banning gatherings of 10 or more people continuing past the end of April and well into … well, who knows how long? That’s when things could get very complicated and when that happens, Congress almost always gets involved.

PJMedia Managing Editor Paula Bolyard has a thoughtful, accessible look at why the situation is a challenge for Bible-based congregations now and a warning of what could be coming down the road.

Bolyard’s title sets the context: “Should Church Violate Shutdown Orders? The Answer Is More Complicated Than You Might Imagine.” That’s why Hill staffers need to know this stuff, regardless of whether they are followers of any particular denomination or faith, or none at all. Continue reading “A Quick Briefer For Hill Staffers On Church Meetings, First Amendment Worries And Coronavirus”

UPDATED: Coronavirus? Odds Are, Bats Would Not Be Eaten In China If The Beijing Regime Wasn’t Persecuting Christians

Coronavirus appears to have made the transition from bats being sold for consumption in an open market in Wuhan, China, and now virtually every country on Earth is dealing with the pandemic that has killed thousands of people, most of them elderly.

Photo by rigel on Unsplash

Now, as we all deal with the challenges of safe distancing from one another, working from home whenever possible and following the news, here’s something to think about: Would bats not be eaten in Wuhan or elsewhere in China if the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) regime in Beijing were not actively and ruthlessly trying to suppress Christianity?

Here’s the reality: If China’s growing Christian population were instead allowed to practice their faith openly and share the Bible, including both the Old and New Testaments, with their fellow citizens, hundreds of millions of people in the world’s most populous country would know God warned the Hebrews millennia ago in Leviticus 11:19 not to eat or even touch bats because they are “unclean.” Continue reading “UPDATED: Coronavirus? Odds Are, Bats Would Not Be Eaten In China If The Beijing Regime Wasn’t Persecuting Christians”

Actor, Skeptic John Rhys-Davies: ‘We Owe Christianity The Greatest Debt Of Thanks That A Generation Could Have’

If you’ve seen the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy or the “Indiana Jones” series, you saw Hollywood actor John Rhys-Davies. He’s also starring in the forthcoming “I Am Patrick” about the Irish saint.

Screen shot from “I Am Patrick” trailer on youtube.com.

Rhys-Davies is not a Christian, but he is not bashful about expressing his admiration of and appreciation for the role of Christianity in the development of individual civil liberties we take for granted:

“Everything that we value — everything that I valued when I was a student 50, 60 years ago, which I cannot any longer count on an audience accepting — really comes from Christianity,” Rhys-Davies recently told podcaster Lucas Miles.

“The idea of the right of free speech, the idea of the right to hold your own opinion really derives from the second century A.D., when Roman Christians were told they must practice the emperor’s religion and faith, and that quiet voice in them said, ‘No, actually, I serve a different God. And I have a divine right to do so,’” he told Miles. Continue reading “Actor, Skeptic John Rhys-Davies: ‘We Owe Christianity The Greatest Debt Of Thanks That A Generation Could Have’”

To See Tomorrow’s Digital System For National Oppression, Just Take A Look At China Today

China is not ranked on top of the 50 worst nations for persecuting Christians compiled by Open Doors USA, as that dubious distinction belongs to North Korea, followed close behind by Afghanistan.

Great Wall of China. Photo by Bruce Röttgers on Unsplash.

But China is building a pervasive system of digital surveillance-based oppression that is presently aimed at the estimated 125 million Christians there, but which could easily be duplicated in other nations and used to silence anybody who disagrees with the regime in power.

That’s according to Open Doors CEO David Curry, who told a recent news conference unveiling the 2020 list of top 50 anti-Christian nations that China is constructing a “blue print” for a “system of persecution for the future” to be sold on the world market. Continue reading “To See Tomorrow’s Digital System For National Oppression, Just Take A Look At China Today”

New Index Finds Huge Majorities Of Americans Back Religious Freedom In Public And Private Life

Massive majorities of Americans across the political spectrum support maximum toleration and accommodation of religious practices in the public and private realms, according to a newly launched annual survey.

The accompanying chart dramatically demonstrates that support for religious freedom is overwhelmingly bipartisan, cutting across the ideological and party spectrums. The yellow areas indicate opposition, while the blue areas represent support for religious freedom.

The 2019 Religious Freedom Index from the Beckett Fund for Religious Liberty is a nationally representative survey of 1,000 individuals who were asked a battery of 21 questions designed to measure opinion on six major dimensions of religious freedom in America. Continue reading “New Index Finds Huge Majorities Of Americans Back Religious Freedom In Public And Private Life”

Hong Kong’s Sea Of Protesters Part To Allow Ambulance Through; Moses Unavailable For Comment

Hong Kong’s population includes an estimated 7.5 million people, approximately two million of whom participated at the height of the protests that have grabbed world-wide attention.

At one point earlier this week, something quite amazing happened: The sea of protesters parted to allow an ambulance to get to somebody in distress. As the ambulance passed by, the protesters reformed their ranks.

The protests have been remarkable in many ways that even the New York Times is noticing: Continue reading “Hong Kong’s Sea Of Protesters Part To Allow Ambulance Through; Moses Unavailable For Comment”

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.