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Dr. Jeff Owens - What Is Missing In America? (Pt. 3 of 3) Pastor Jeff Owens is the loyal pastor of the great Shenandoah Bible Baptist Church, which is located in Martinsburg, West Virginia (a suburb of Washington D....
Dr. Jeff Owens - Which Old-Time Religion Will You Choose? (Pt. 2 of 4) Pastor Jeff Owens is the loyal pastor of the great Shenandoah Bible Baptist Church, which is located in Martinsburg, West Virginia (a suburb of Washington D....
Dr. Jeff Owens - What It Means To Be A Disciple (Pt. 2 of 4) Pastor Jeff Owens is the loyal pastor of the great Shenandoah Bible Baptist Church, which is located in Martinsburg, West Virginia (a suburb of Washington D....
Dr. Jeff Owens - What Is Missing In America? (Pt. 2 of 3) Pastor Jeff Owens is the loyal pastor of the great Shenandoah Bible Baptist Church, which is located in Martinsburg, West Virginia (a suburb of Washington D....
Dr. Jeff Owens - What It Means To Be A Disciple (Pt. 4 of 4) Pastor Jeff Owens is the loyal pastor of the great Shenandoah Bible Baptist Church, which is located in Martinsburg, West Virginia (a suburb of Washington D....
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Dear Friends,We are now in the month of August, the time of the year that seems to be a kind of buffer between the season of vacations and weddings and the season when school and Congress begin work in earnest again in September. Generally speaking, August is when life seems to slow down a bit. Offices are a little emptier, the summer heat is a bit more intense, and there’s a few more stretches of time to spend in leisure.But what is “leisure”? Most of us tend to think of it in terms of watching a movie or playing a board game. But as John Cuddeback writes, there is an important distinction between leisure and amusement:Amusement refers to those activities we do because they are fun, or diverting, or simply relaxing. We play a game, ride a bike, go out on a boat, or watch a movie. We enjoy these activities even while they have no obvious product or utility.Leisure refers to activities that are more serious: we have a deep conversation, we lie on our backs observing the stars, we listen to great music. We contemplate deeper things, we worship God.Amusement and leisure share a common element: they are not work. But this similarity points to their fundamental difference. At the end of the day, amusement is less important than work, and it takes its immediate meaning from the fact that it serves work, by refreshing us to go back to our labors.Leisure on the other hand is served by our work. It provides the ultimate meaning and justification for human work.As we take vacations and spend time away from the office during this season, let’s remember to not only have fun and unwind, but to also spend some quality time in authentic leisure in order to renew our intellects and souls for the work God is calling us to accomplish.Thank you for your prayers and for your continued support of FRC and the family.Sincerely,Dan Hart Managing Editor for Publications Family Research Council FRC ArticlesOminous Court Ruling Allows Discrimination Against Christian Adoption Provider – Travis WeberWith State Department Ministerial, Trump Administration Signals Seriousness on Religious Freedom – Travis WeberWhy It’s Impossible To Support Both #MeToo And Planned Parenthood Without Being A Big Hypocrite – Patrina MosleyUnleashing America’s Entrepreneurial Spirit – Ken BlackwellNikki Haley’s Great Advice on Resurrecting Civil Discourse – Spenser WhiteTransgender “Revolution” is Really an Elitist Diktat – Cathy RuseDOJ Announces Timely Religious Liberty Initiative – Travis WeberRNC: Schools Must Get a “Yes” from Parents Before Teaching Radical Sex Ed – Cathy RuseThe Lies of Access and Autonomy – Hannah BorchersOhio House Bill 658: Parental Rights are Good for Children – Madeleine Lucas Religious LibertyReligious Liberty in the Public SquareTown Orders Family to Stop Hosting Bible Studies on Farm – ToddStarnes.comThese 6 Cases Show How Brett Kavanaugh Might Rule on Religious Freedom – Fred Lucas, The Daily SignalSchool District Threatens to Call Police After Mystery Person Gives Out Free Bibles on Campus – Will Maule, CBN NewsMuslim Who Squeezed $3M Out of SPLC for Calling Him an Anti-Muslim Extremist Says Others Also Wrongly Labeled – Jeremiah Poff, The Daily SignalChristian club rejects University of Iowa’s mandate to accept LGBT leaders – Calvin Freiburger, LifeSiteNewsAtheist Group Sues West Virginia City for Reciting Lord's Prayer at Meetings – Michael Gryboski, The Christian PostInternational Religious FreedomReligious persecution in Iran, China must end now – Mike Pompeo, USA TodayAmerican Pastor Brunson Moved from Prison to House Arrest in Turkey – Benjamin Gill, CBN NewsChina Detaining Over 1 Million Muslims in Concentration Camps but the World Is Silent, Believer Says – Samuel Smith, The Christian PostVictims of Religious Persecution Tell Their Stories at International Conference in DC – Katherine Rohloff, The Daily SignalTrinity Western and the Endangerment of Religious Pluralism in Canada – Derek Ross, Public DiscourseUS Tells Iraqi Christians Help Is on Its Way (For Real This Time) – Kate Shellnutt, Christianity TodayMilitary Religious FreedomAir Force surrenders to demand to replace Bible with generic 'book of faith' on POW/MIA table – Todd Starnes, Fox News LifeAbortionWhen Arguments Fail, What Do Pro-Lifers Do? – Liberty McArtor, The StreamPushing the abortion pill on college campuses is dangerous to women – Kristi Burton Brown, Live ActionAmazing new video illustrates humanity of preborn baby in womb – Calvin Freiburger, LifeSiteNews7th Circuit strikes down Indiana abortion ultrasound law – Dave Stafford, The Indiana LawyerPlanned Parenthood opening 14 new facilities in ‘deep red’ states – Claire Chretien, LifeSiteNewsThe Tyranny of Reproductive “Justice” – Regis Nicoll, CrisisAdoptionShould Kinship Care Be the Default Option for Kids in Foster Care? – Naomi Schaefer Riley, Family StudiesWelcoming an Adopted Baby Home Is Both Beautiful and Challenging — And Here's Why We Need to Talk About It – Marianne Garvey, BravoBioethicsChildren Are Now Being Euthanized in Belgium – Michael Cook, Intellectual TakeoutWho gets the embryos? Whoever wants to make them into babies, new law says – Ariana Eunjung Cha, The Washington PostThousands of Euthanasia Killings in Canada – Wesley J. Smith, National ReviewUK horror: Patients in ‘vegetative state’ can now be killed without consent – Cassy Fiano-Chesser, Live ActionWhat does the Bible teach about euthanasia and physician assisted suicide? – Mary Wurster, Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission FamilyMarriageWe All Marry the Wrong Person – Erin Smalley, Focus on the FamilyWords of Wisdom on a Silver Anniversary – Michelle Malkin, National ReviewChildren of divorcing parents want more information and more say in what happens, study finds – Angus Randall, ABC NewsSingle Sailors Think Navy Hinders Likelihood of Marriage, Survey Says – Brock Vergakis, The Virginian-PilotOur Fixer-Upper Marriage – Stephanie Reeves, Family LifeGod remembers the barren, and so should the church – Jenn Hesse, Ethics & Religious Liberty CommissionParentingWhat Are Your Child’s Passions? – Dennis Prager, The StreamPodcast: Parenting through the hard seasons – Nancy Guthrie, Ethics & Religious Liberty CommissionThe Genetics of Parenting – Robert VerBruggen, Family StudiesI Love Being Their Mother – Jess Hunt, Her View From HomeEconomics/Education'Parents... Deserve the Right to Know': RNC Passes 'Parents' Rights' Sex Ed Resolution – Mark Martin, CBN NewsIn Search of Family Time – Amber Lapp, Family StudiesFree-Market Policies Make the Most of the Sharing Economy – Anthony B. Kim, The Daily SignalFamily Instability in Childhood Affects American Adults’ Economic Mobility – Paola Scommegna, Population Reference BureauFaith/Character/CultureWhy Gratitude Is So Good for You (and for Those Around You) – Richard Gunderman, Intellectual TakeoutThe family that prays together … feels connected, unified and bonded with less relational tension – Jon McBride, BYU NewsLiving a Life of Purpose: An Interview with Michelle Singletary – Alysse ElHage, Family StudiesHuman SexualityThe Beauty of Complementarity Goes Beyond Gender – Brett McCracken, The Gospel CoalitionWhat #MeToo and Hooking Up Teach Us About The Meaning of Sex – Elizabeth Schlueter and Nathan Schlueter, Public DiscourseThinking Deeply about Christian Love: Same-Sex Attraction, Sin, and Spiritual Friendship – Ron Belgau, Public DiscourseWhy ordinary people disregard the transgender movement as utterly insane – Jonathon Van Maren, LifeSiteNewsReligious Male Students Less Sexually Aggressive, Coercive, Study Finds – Anugrah Kumar, The Christian PostStudy finds health risks for transgender women on hormone therapy – Avichai Scher, NBC NewsHuman TraffickingThe Porn Industry and Human Trafficking Reinforce Each Other – Marlo Safi, National ReviewA Need for Child Safeguarding Policies – Lana Lichfield, National Center on Sexual ExploitationPornographyAmericans Are Rapidly Warming Up to Porn, a New Gallup Poll Shows. Here's Why – Jon Miltimore, Intellectual TakeoutHow Our More Permissive Attitudes Toward Porn May Impact Marriage – Alysse ElHage, Family StudiesPornography is First Boom in Virtual Reality – Brynne Townley, National Center on Sexual Exploitation
Adoption and foster care agencies are the latest battle grounds of religious freedom in the United States today. A number of states have already passed legislation which would protect religiously motivated adoption agencies from being forced to place children with those who identify as LGBT. These bills are called Child Welfare Provider Inclusion Acts (CWPIA). Not surprisingly, CWPIAs have not passed through state legislatures without opposition. Opponents call them “needless”—but are they? Or are they necessary to ensure the survival of faith-based adoption agencies?In 2006, Catholic Charities of Boston shocked the U.S. charity world when, on March 10, it announced it “plann[ed] to be in discussion with the Commonwealth [of Massachusetts] to end [its] work in adoption services.” They cited disagreement with the Massachusetts law which required the charity to violate its convictions on a child’s need for a mom and dad. Catholic teaching describes homosexual adoption as gravely immoral. The Archdiocese declared in a statement concerning the issue, “in spite of much effort and analysis, Catholic Charities of Boston finds that it cannot reconcile the teaching of the Church, which guides our work, and the statutes and regulations of the Commonwealth.”This was one of the first situations that showed the dark underbelly of sexual orientation “non-discrimination” policies. Following the Archdiocese of Boston’s decision, Catholic Charities of D.C. was “informed…that the agency would be ineligible to serve as a foster care provider due to the impending D.C. same-sex marriage law.” Catholic Charities was forced into similar situations in southern Illinois and in San Francisco.North Dakota became the first state to protect religious-based charities when, in 2003, it passed a law which states: “A child-placing agency is not required to perform, assist, counsel, recommend, facilitate, refer, or participate in a placement that violates the agency’s written religious or moral convictions or policies.” In addition, the law also states that a state cannot deny a contract based on religion. These laws read similarly in the states that have passed them. Kansas, Alabama, Virginia, Michigan, Mississippi, South Dakota, and Texas have passed CWPIAs. Oklahoma is the newest state to pass a CWPIA on May 11, 2018.The First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution declares that “[g]overnment shall make no law respecting religion; or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” In forcing religious charities to choose between violating their religious beliefs or shutting down, the government is effectively prohibiting the free exercise of religion.Under CWPIAs, no adoption agency is prohibited by the state from allowing anyone to adopt children, it only allows religious charities to uphold their religious belief that children need a mom and dad. There are an estimated 118,000 children in need of adoption in the United States right now. Limiting the number of adoption agencies is certainly not the best way to help them. The well-being of children should be paramount, and they should not be used as pawns in the culture war. Child Welfare Provider Inclusion Acts allow for religiously motivated charities to continue to operate and place children without violating their consciences, a freedom the government is required under the Constitution to protect.Be sure to read FRC’s in-depth analysis on the importance of CWPIAs.Spencer White is an intern at Family Research Council.
The Supreme Court’s much-awaited decision in the “wedding vendor” case, Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, was announced this morning. Ruling narrowly for Jack Phillips, owner of the bakery at issue, the Court focused squarely on the fact that the state of Colorado did not treat Phillips with “neutrality,” but rather “hostility,” due to the religious beliefs underlying his claims. Thus, the Court concluded, the state violated the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment—which prohibits the government from singling out, targeting, and discriminating against religion.The Court featured two primary bases for this determination. First, the “Civil Rights Commission’s treatment of [Phillips’] case has some elements of a clear and impermissible hostility toward the sincere religious beliefs that motivated his objection” to creating a same-sex wedding cake. Comparing him to a slave owner and Holocaust perpetrator (a comparison which was never objected to or disavowed in all the time leading up to the Court’s ruling), the Commission clearly disparaged Phillips’ beliefs in two ways: by calling them “despicable, and also by characterizing [them] as merely rhetoriュcal—something insubstantial and even insincere.” Moreover, the commissioners who ruled on his case “endorsed the view that religious beliefs cannot legitimately be carried into the public sphere or commercial domain, implying that religious beliefs and persons are less than fully welcome in Colorado’s business community.” These “inapproュpriate and dismissive comments” showed a “lack of due consideration for Phillips’ free exercise rights and the dilemma he faced.”Second, the fact that Colorado treated other bakers (who were asked to make a cake condemning same-sex marriage and declined because the message was “offensive”) differently constituted further evidence of the state’s animus against Phillips’ beliefs. “A principled rationale for the difference in treatment of these two instances cannot be based on the government’s own assessment of offensiveness. Just as ‘no official, high or petty, can prescribe what shall be orthodox in politics, nationalism, religion, or other matters of opinion,’ West Virginia Bd. of Ed. v. Barnette, 319 U. S. 624, 642 (1943), it is not, as the Court has repeatedly held, the role of the State or its officials to prescribe what shall be offensive. See Matal v. Tam, 582 U. S. ___, ___–___ (2017) (opinion of ALITO, J.) (slip op., at 22–23). The Colorado court’s atュtempt to account for the difference in treatment elevates one view of what is offensive over another and itself sends a signal of official disapproval of Phillips’ religious beliefs.” It was on these two grounds that seven members of the Court concluded that the state of Colorado treated Jack Phillips harshly because of his religious beliefs.Harkening back to another Justice Kennedy free exercise opinion from decades ago, Church of Lukumi Babalu Aye v. City of Hialeah, the Court elaborated upon principles that the government cannot single out and target religious beliefs for disfavored treatment. And though it went unmentioned in the Masterpiece opinion, the Court’s ruling in Trinity Lutheran Church v. Comer—holding that the government may not disfavor religion in public grant programs—from just last term affirmed this principle.While the Court clarified that anti-religious animus was unacceptable (protecting Phillips for now), and while today’s opinion will likely be cited favorably by other wedding vendors who’ve experienced religious bias or animus from government actors, the opinion left other questions unanswered—namely, how the Court will handle free speech claims in the context of sexual orientation nondiscrimination regulation, or free exercise claims in the same circumstances absent such animus. The Court wasn’t exactly clear on how these matters would be decided, noting that clergy are protected (this is beyond debate), but expressing uncertainty on the myriad other matters which have arisen in the last few years as religious beliefs come into conflict with newly-mandated government requirements regarding same-sex marriage. In essence, the Court kicked that can down the road for another day.While the majority opinion produced a good result, some of the real meat was in the concurrences. Justice Gorsuch penned a concurrence (joined by Justice Alito) in which he offered a clear defense of free expression (this principle being especially important when the expression is unpopular) and a clear explanation of what actually occurred here—Phillips had an objection to the message, not the messenger. As Phillips testified, “I will not design and create wedding cakes for a same-sex wedding regardless of the sexual orientaュtion of the customer” (emphasis mine). Justice Gorsuch made very clear that Phillips was objecting to the creative process, not how the customer identified.Justice Thomas also concurred (joined by Justice Gorsuch), commenting in depth on the free speech protections he believed Phillips possessed. In doing so, he pointed out that the important free speech case Hurley v. Irish-American Gay, Lesbian and Bisexual Group of Boston supported Phillips’ arguments, and noted that Rumsfeld v. Forum for Academic and Institutional Rights and PruneYard Shopping Center v. Robins were not applicable to scenarios like this (something I have argued separately), for they dealt with allowing other parties access to speech fora, not alterations to a party’s own message. Justice Thomas concludes:In Obergefell, I warned that the Court’s decision would ‘inevitabl[y] . . . come into conflict’ with religious liberty, ‘as individuals . . . are confronted with demands to participate in and endorse civil marriages between same-sex couples.’ 576 U. S., at ___ (dissenting opinion) (slip op., at 15). This case proves that the conflict has already emerged. Because the Court’s decision vindicates Phillips’ right to free exercise, it seems that religious liberty has lived to fight another day. But, in future cases, the freedom of speech could be essential to preventing Obergefell from being used to ‘stamp out every vestige of dissent’ and ‘vilify Americans who are unwilling to assent to the new orthodoxy.’ Id., at ___ (ALITO, J., dissenting) (slip op., at 6). If that freedom is to maintain its vitality, reasoning like the Colorado Court of Appeals’ must be rejected.The conclusion to his concurrence, describing all the First Amendment issues not resolved by today’s opinion (which really need a legislative remedy and not a judicial one), is also a fitting conclusion for us as we anticipate the many religious liberty cases surely to be confronted in the years ahead.
The Church SteepleThe Rev. John Alderson, Jr., founder of the Old Greenbrier Baptist Church, Alderson, was born in New Jersey on March 5, 1738.テつ His father, the Rev. John Alderson, Sr., who came New Jersey in 1719, and his grandfather, the Rev. John Alderson of Yorkshire, England, were distinguished ministers of the gospel, the latter of the Established church.テつ the former, born in England in 1699, came to America in 1719, settled in New Jersey, married Jane Curtis, became a Baptist minister, served Bethlehem Church, New Jersey, and later located in Germantown, PA.In 1755, he moved to Rockingham County, Virginia, where he had the pastoral care of Lynville's Creek Church.テつ While there, the call came to his son, John Jr., to enter the ministry.テつ In 1775 John took charge of the Lynville Creek Baptist Church upon the removal of his father to Botetourt County.However, in 1774 and again in 1776 Rev. John Alderson, Jr. made two missionary tours across the Alleghenies into the Valley of Greenbrier.Impressed by the need for a constant missionary effort on behalf of the settlers there, he determined to make that region his home, and in 1774 he went with his family to live and teach the gospel of Christ west of the mountains.テつ It is said he was eighteen months making the journey across themountains, coming in the first wagon to make such a journey.On reaching Jackson's River, he learned that the Indians had attacked the home of Col. James Graham in Greenbrier, killing one member of his family and taking another prisoner.テつ Consequently, he delayed there several months, reaching his destination in October.The Indian depredations continues for a number of years.テつ The inhabitants, for their mutual protection, mostly resided in forts.テつ So, protected by an armed escort through the woods, from one fort to another, this zealous minister traveled in pursuit of his dangerous vocation.M. Alderson organized the Old Greenbrier Baptist Church, North Alderson, on November 24, 1787, with twelve members, including himself, his wife, and his brother, Thomas, a Revolutionary soldier who had just returned from his battle of Yorktown which had occurred thirty-six days earlier.In 1784, the congregation built a log church on a lot given by William Morris, a brother in law of Rev. John Alderson, Jr.テつ they having married the Carroll sisters, Nancy and Mary.テつ These sisters were distant relatives of Charles Carroll of Carrollton.The twelve members organized into the Greenbrier Church petitioned the Ketochton Association, from which Mr. Alderson had come, to receive them into its membership.テつ This was done.テつ But in 1796 they united with the New River Association, which had recently been formed with ten churches.テつ In 1800, Rev. John Alderson, Jr., with the aid of Rev. James Johnston and Rev.Josiah Osborne, the latter two having recently come into this section, petitioned and obtained leave to form a separate Greenbrier Association. The first meeting was held in Big Levels (Lewisburg) Church in 1801.Mr. Alderson founded nine churches, from Greenbrier to the Kentucky line, in about forty years.テつ He closed a long life, in the full confidence of his brethren, on March 5, 1821.テつ He was buried just a few feet back of the church.His contemporaries speak of him as "A man of much more than ordinary ability" and as "one of the leading men of his day."テつ Besides the trials incident to work upon the frontier, he had, like his father, the distinguished privilege of suffering in behalf of Christ for the promotion of religious liberty, having been imprisoned for preaching and performing marriages contrary to the laws of the Established Church of England.テつ Paul's list of perils might well be applicable to this "Apostle to the Greenbrier."He established a numerous family.テつ A number of his descendants have been zealous heralds of the cross in this and other states.テつ One or more members have gone into nearly every state in the union from this church.From the Greenbrier Church have come at least a score of churches, while through the instrumentality of agencies which he set in motion thousands of men and women have been led into the Kingdom of God.テつテつ The twelve original members of the Greenbrier Church have grown to 685, and the four original churches, in the Greenbrier Association, to fifty, with 6,354 members.テつ The fourth church building of handsome stone stands on the same spot where the first log building and the two successive frame buildings stood.テつ Many of his descendants are members of the church he founded even to the eighth generation.The twelve original members of the Greenbrier Church have grown to 685, and the four original churches to fifty with over 6,354 members.テつ The fourth church building is on the same spot where the first log building and its successors stood.In connection with the life of the Rev. John Alderson, Jr. some one has said the beautiful words inscribed upon Moody's tomb are strikingly appropriate: "The world passeth away, and the dust thereof; but he that doeth the will of God abideth forever."Dale R. Hart D.D.Pastor, Author, conference speaker, camp meeting preacher.
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