Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Defending Marriage is Bigotry

To deal with this issue, it is necessary to hear all the discussion.
From Chuck Colson's site--we see.

Defending Marriage Is Bigotry?
All Things Examined
By: Regis Nicoll|Published: December 3, 2010 12:17 PM
Topics: Arts & Media, Church Issues, Marriage & Family, Sexual Ethics

The only thing motivating opposition to gay “marriage” is bigotry and hate. If it were really about the sacredness of the institution, Kirsten Powers wonders, where is the Christian activism against divorce and promiscuity among heterosexuals?

Powers, a Fox News political analyst, explains that this double standard is important “because it reinforces the idea among Christians that gay people are morally inferior and don’t deserve to be treated fairly.” I'll come back to this "double standard" in a moment, but right now I want to consider Ms. Powers' rather strong suggestion that judgmental rhetoric by Christians is responsible for the upsurge of teen bullying and gay suicide.

To support that line of thought, Powers voices some incautious judgments of her own, starting with the allegation that Purpose-Driven pastor Rick Warren compared “same-sex marriage to pedophilia and incest.” That’s a charge that packs high emotional impact among gays and gay “marriage” supporters. So what did Rick Warren actually say?

What he said

In a lengthy interview, covering numerous topics, the Editor-in-Chief of Beliefnet asked Warren what he thought about partnership benefits, like insurance coverage and hospital visitation. Warren’s response:

“You know, not a problem for me. I favor anyone being able to make anyone else the beneficiary of their health or life insurance coverage. If I am willing to pay for it, I should be able to put a friend, partner, relative, or stranger on my coverage. No one should be turned away from seeing a friend in the hospital.”

Warren, remember, is one of those who believe that homosexuals “don’t deserve to be treated equally.” He went to explain,

“The issue to me… [is the] redefinition of a 5,000 year definition of marriage. I’m opposed to having a brother and sister being together and calling that marriage. I’m opposed to an older guy marrying a child and calling that marriage. I’m opposed to one guy having multiple wives and calling that marriage.”

As the transcript makes clear, Rick Warren was voicing his opposition to any social arrangement that would fundamentally change the nature of marriage as it has been defined and valued in every civilization throughout recorded history.

Yet, the inconvenient truth of the matter is that, if legalized, an adult-child or brother-sister union would be on equal legal and social footing with same-sex “marriage,” such that anyone referring to them pejoratively as “pedophilic” or “incestuous” would be libel for hate speech. What’s more, if we follow the numbing drumbeat of the gay lobby—namely, that marriage is the civil right to marry whomever one chooses—there will be no legal or logical barrier to limit it to non-relatives or adults, or even to two people.

Those who pooh-pooh that last prospect have not been paying attention to what has been happening in Canada.

Lesson from Canada

In 2005 Canada redefined marriage to accommodate same-sex couples. Today, five years later, a challenge to further “modernize” the nation’s marriage laws is heading to the Supreme Court. The modernization called for is the legalization of “multiple conjugal relationships,” or polyamory.

The arguments advanced for polyamory in Canada are the same as those being made in the U.S. for same-sex “marriage”: Polyamorous unions are loving, committed, consensual, and egalitarian; laws prohibiting them are discriminatory and unconstitutional; there is no evidence that polyamory is harmful to society or the individuals involved.

To see where Canada’s modernization is heading, here is a description of the living arrangements of some of the plaintiffs involved:

(1) a woman and her male partner who live and have relationships with two other adults in the household (they also have a child living in the home) and who have agreed that each can pursue relationships with others, (2) a woman who lives with two other men (two of her teenage sons also live in the home), (3) a husband and wife who live with another adult (and the married couples' two young children and the third person's teenage children), and (4) a man who lives with a woman and another man (with whom he is raising a two-year-old child).

These types of relationships (and more) would become legal should the plaintiffs prevail. The take-away from Canada is that once marriage is redefined, it is not a question of if, but when political pressure will be applied to extend it to any constellation of relationships that mankind can imagine.

Gay “marriage” is a social juggernaut that, once launched, can be hampered only by an arbitrary and coercive act of law.

A Bible lecture

After Ms. Powers charges Christians with “heaping condemnation and judgment on others,” she lectures them with this bit of learned biblical insight: “Let’s remember, Satan wasn’t kicked out of heaven for being gay; it was pride.”

As I recall, neither was he kicked out for judgmentalism, bigotry, or a host of other sins. But what Satan was or wasn’t guilty of is beside the point. If the Bible is marshaled in defense of some human behavior, the foremost authority is Jesus and what he said about the matter.

For the matter at hand, Jesus warned his disciples that extramarital sex, including willful lust, put a person in risk of damnation. And since Jesus never saw fit to modernize marriage Canadian style but, rather, re-affirmed the institution as originally given, his warning would include same-sex behaviors whether or not they are committed within a legally-recognized, or church-blessed, relationship.

Continuing her lecture, Powers writes, “The people who really ticked Jesus off were the Pharisees, who were self-righteous and hypocritical, which would fairly describe many of today’s Christians.”

It would also fairly describe many of today’s social progressives whose outrage against social injustice goes strangely mute against the injustice done to the smallest, youngest, and most powerless among us; or the advocates of tolerance whose intolerance for the views of others is expressed in vandalizing churches, threatening and assaulting opponents, and storming into worship services throwing condoms on the altar and shouting insults at the congregation; or of those who play fast and loose with the hypocrisy card.

The double standard

But this is only the set up for Powers’ main point, which comes straight from the social progressive playbook: The anti-gay marriage movement is driven not by reasoned argument, but by bigotry. Else, Powers suggests, Christians would be “running around confronting their sexually active heterosexual co-workers and friends about their ‘lifestyle.’”

While it is true that Christians have been sorely remiss in living out the teachings of Jesus and holding each other accountable to them, collectively Christians have done more than any group to address the myriad problems associated with extramarital sex through abstinence programs like Aspire and True Love Waits and healthy marriage programs like Marriage Encounter, Marriage Savers, Smart Marriages, and Preventing Divorce.

On top of that, many churches require premarital counseling for engaged couples and offer free counseling to married couples. And if it weren’t for Christian authors, there would be scarcely any books on the shelves promoting monogamous intimacy and fidelity.

Yes, Christian individuals have a long way to go in practicing the faith they profess and in supporting, encouraging, challenging, and, when necessary, confronting each other in their Christian walk. Sadly, in some isolated and highly publicized incidences, Christian individuals have been guilty of hurtful and judgmental confrontations with homosexuals, as have homosexuals with those who hold opposing views.

Nevertheless, the Christian pro-marriage movement, on which Powers breezily heaps her own judgment, is not about confronting individuals; it is about defending a time-honored institution through public discourse and civic involvement.

That includes educating the public and elected officials about same-sex “marriage” and the seismic implications it has for society, and exercising the right of free speech and the right to vote for laws and political leaders that uphold marriage as the exclusive, life-long, life-welcoming union between one man and one woman. And there is nothing hypocritical or bigoted about that.

Regis Nicoll is a freelance writer and a BreakPoint Centurion. His "All Things Examined" column appears on BreakPoint every other Friday. Serving as a men’s ministry leader and worldview teacher in his community, Regis publishes a free weekly commentary to stimulate thought on current issues from a Christian perspective. To be placed on this free e-mail distribution list, e-mail him at
Articles on the BreakPoint website are the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the opinions of Chuck Colson or BreakPoint. Outside links are for informational purposes and do not necessarily imply endors


Friday, December 10, 2010

Come Now, Let Us Reason Together

Come Now, Let Us Reason Together

As we contemplate the recent past and anticipate the immediate future, many are unsure about what may happen in North Dakota, or even in this land we call America. As we approach this Holy season, it may be time to reflect, a time put all in perspective.

The elections in November provided two new faces in the North Dakota congressional delegation, as well as placing the Republicans in control in the US House of Representatives. Republicans made substantial gains in the North Dakota legislature and especially in the senate where the margin is now 35-12.

As in the aftermath of most elections, the victor claims a mandate—citing “the voters have spoken”. President Obama made this claim in 2008, and now Republicans in 2010. To a great degree this is how things have gone for years, on all levels, state, federal, and local.

The losing party develops an immense liking of compromise, and castigates the majority as some sort of evil force if it fails to give in proportionately. On the national level, today—President Obama and the Democratic Party are expecting compromise. The same scenario will play out in the 2011 North Dakota legislative session—compromise will be expected.

While compromise in and of itself is not unacceptable, the foundational reasoning for the compromise may be of concern. If that reasoning does not have its basis in the constitution, or in firm principled standards, but is responding to the temporary whim of a poll—it is not sound or wise. Ours is a republic which places supreme power with the people.

As we seek even greater guidance, looking to Isaiah 1:18 may provide some profound wisdom, applicable centuries before Christ’s birth, as well as today. “Come now, let us reason together”, says the Lord. In response to His people turning away, rejecting Him, He offers to reason with them.

Was He offering to compromise? The short answer is ‘no’. The offer is to reason. The verb reason is to think or argue logically. The noun reason is defined as a motive or basis for an action, decision, or conviction. God is asking those in 700BC to bring their thoughts, requests, and arguments to Him. The basis for the response is measuring their arguments in relation to His standards, His will. Isaiah documents His response.

Today, whether in the public policy arena or in our personal lives, we fail to measure our arguments against His standards. Compromise in most cases is limited to the viewpoints of this world, the standards of this world. The culture of the flesh determines the parameters of our discussion, and the eventual compromise.

So what can we learn from Isaiah 1:18? We can utilize His call to reason. Whether in our personal lives or as an elected public official, we must carry with us the values, beliefs, principles, and standards of our faith. Doing so we will be able to reason in all environments; dealing with a family matter, a business transaction, or a public policy decision on the state, local, or federal level.

As Christians, being of good courage, reflecting truth and grace, “Come now, let us Reason together”.


Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Giving Thanks... Not just the What, but the Who

Giving Thanks… Not just the What, but the Who.

Even absent the abundant blessings of this world, we should thank God for the gift of an eternal, personal relationship with the Creator of the universe and beyond.


Thanks Giving

“A National Day of Thanksgiving and to gather together in homes and places of worship on that day of thanks to affirm by their prayers and their gratitude the many blessings God has bestowed upon us." a presidential proclamation.

Please join us in celebrating a time of Giving Thanks. America’s history documents a tradition of sharing our gratitude with the Creator. In 1621 the American colonists invited their Indian friends as they celebrated the bounty of the harvest, and gave thanks to the provider of those gifts.

In 1863, understanding the need for this celebration of gratitude to be recognized nationally, Abraham Lincoln set aside the last Thursday to give thanks. Then in 1941, congress set the 4th Thursday in November as a federal holiday.

The Thanksgiving tradition has come to represent families coming together to give thanks. Even without the huge commercial component, it has survived in America for almost 400 years. The wholesomeness of families gathering to not only give thanks, but to be with those we love, provides an opportunity to reflect the love of our Creator.

Many use this opportunity to display our love to those less fortunate by serving Thanksgiving Day meals, distributing clothing, and sharing other needed resources. What a great ministry.

As much as the tradition emphasizes giving thanks for the blessings of the bounty; the agricultural harvest, freedom, our jobs, our health, peace, coal and oil, and so much more---even more so is our thankfulness for our families. The opportunity to celebrate our thankfulness for the family, with our family---is truly an awesome blessing.

And as we give thanks for the entire bounty, the what, we sometimes fail to fully recognize the Who. God provides so abundantly for us and we need to thank Him—for all we have. Nothing is from us, all is from Him. Thank you to our Sovereign Father.

Not only should we thank the Creator for the Blessings, but to thank God for Him, His Son, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit. Even absent the abundant blessings of this world, we should thank God for the gift of an eternal, personal relationship with the Creator of the universe and beyond.

Please celebrate this season of Giving Thanks by sharing with those you love by giving thanks for the many blessings to the One from whom all comes.


Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Marriage is becoming obsolete--The Rest of the Story


Many have heard, read, or seen a recent story about how ‘marriage is becoming obsolete’. Thanks to Glenn Stanton who took the time to analyze the Pew Report. While not all the news is good, the report contains a measure of positive news as well. Some news outlets have chosen to report only the news negative to marriage, and one can only conjecture as to why the mainstream media chooses to present only a partial and slanted view.

• In fact, Pew’s data shows more people want to marry today than did in 2007.2

Most promising is that Pew reports, “The youngest generation has the strongest desire to marry… [with] 69 percent of unmarried 18- to 29-year-olds say[ing] they want to get married

Please read and feel free to pass along.

“Nearly 40% say marriage is becoming obsolete”

So says USA Today and the Associated Press based on a new report from the Pew Research Center.

Ministry Strategy– Family Formation Studies
Glenn T. Stanton

Let’s take a closer look at this new Pew Report to see the good and bad news about marriage and family in the United States. The report is a compilation of both family formation trends as well as attitudes of American adults about marriage, family and parenting. The bottom line, which is not new: Americans are actually very pro-marriage, pro-family, pro-parenting in their attitudes and deepest desires for their own lives, however not so much in their general views and practices.

First, let’s look at the “Marriage is Obsolete” claim.

The Pew report itself says this is not quite what it seems. They cite the 2006 World Values Survey (which Focus on the Family also cited in its Summer 2009 World Family Map Prototype Report) that only 13 percent of Americans agreed that “marriage is an outdated institution.” Our 2009 report also found that 90 percent of Americans disagree that marriage is an outdated institution.1

Indeed, Pew’s new data shows that 39 percent of adults agree “marriage is becoming obsolete.” But this is a general question about marriage as a social concept.

When Pew asked people about their own feelings about their present or future marital and family prospects, we see a much different picture – one that shows the majority of Americans still have a deep desire for marriage and family in their own lives. Let’s take a look at the numbers.

General Attitude About Marriage

Sixty percent of American adults currently living with someone or not yet married express a desire to marry.

• Only 13 percent of these express no interest in marrying.

• Only 16 percent of cohabiters – those we would assume are less positive on marriage - express no interest in marriage!

• In fact, Pew’s data shows more people want to marry today than did in 2007.2

Most promising is that Pew reports, “The youngest generation has the strongest desire to marry… [with] 69 percent of unmarried 18- to 29-year-olds say[ing] they want to get married.”3

Sixty-nine percent of current cohabitors express the desire and belief they will marry one day.

Tellingly, 64 percent of current and ever-cohabitors see their cohabiting as a “step toward marriage” rather than a replacement of marriage.4

General Attitude About Family

When asked “How important is your family to you at this time?”5

• 76 percent said the "most important element in my life"
• 22 percent said "one of the most important elements" of my life.
• Only 1 percent said “not important.”

Only 16 percent of Americans don’t want to have children, while 62 percent do want children.6

Sixty-one percent of Americans tend to agree a child needs a home with both a mother and father to grow up happily, down from 69 percent in Feb 2007, but similar to what it was in 1982.

Sixty-nine percent of adults believe it is “a bad thing for society” for more single women to be having babies without a man to help raise them.8

When asked “What is important for a man as a good husband?”

93% said “a good father”
89% said “caring and compassionate”
82% said one who “Puts his family first”
41% said “provides a good income”
32% said “good at household chores”
36% said “is well educated”
48% said “is a good sexual partner”9

When asked, “what is important for a woman as a good wife?

90% “a good mother
90% “caring and compassionate
74% “puts her family before all else
48% “a good sexual partner
39% “well educated
28% “good at household chores
19% “provides a good income”

More Americans are more optimistic about “the institution of marriage and family” (67 percent) in our country than are optimistic about “our system of education” (50 percent) or “the moral and ethical standards in our country” (41 percent).10

Marrieds themselves are most likely (84 percent) to say they were “very satisfied with family life,” followed by the widowed (78 percent), those living with a partner (71 percent), the single (66 percent) and lastly, the divorced and separated at 50 percent.11

The Bad News on Marriage

We need to recognize there is plenty of bad news on marriage in the Pew Report, particularly that the marriage rate and the rate of children living with married parents continues to decline, while the cohabitation rates and out-of-wedlock birthrates continue to climb dramatically.

Forty-three percent believe it “doesn’t make much difference” whether more unmarried couples are raising children together and 43 percent believe it’s a bad thing for society. Only 10 percent believe it is good for society.

In regard to whether more women not ever having children is a good thing, 55 percent believe it doesn’t really make any difference, while 29 percent believe it is bad for society and only 11 percent think it good for society.12

Forty-six percent of Americans believe it doesn’t make much difference whether more couples live together outside marriage, while 43 percent believe it is bad for society.

Concerning more gay and lesbian couples raising children, 43 percent believe it is a bad thing for society, 41 percent believe it doesn’t really matter and only 12 percent believe it to be a good thing.13

The large number of “doesn’t really matter” respondents is concerning. These are the family relativists and their numbers are significant. Overall, this Pew Report is a very good and interesting report that all serious and curious students of the family should take time over the next week to read and consider in our work to strengthen both people’s perceptions and behaviors on marriage and family.

1 Pew Research Center, “The Decline of Marriage and the Rise of New Families,” November 18, 2010, p. 25.; W. Bradford Wilcox, et al., World Family Map Project, Prototype Report, Published with ChildTrends and Institute of Marriage and Family Canada, Summer 2009), p. 8.
2 Pew, “Decline of Marriage,” 2010, p. 92, Q. 21,
3 Pew, “Decline of Marriage,” 2010, p. 36.
4 Pew, “Decline of Marriage,” 2010, p. 92, Q. 20, Q. 19.
5 Pew, “Decline of Marriage,” 2010, p. 88, Q. 7.
6 Pew, “Decline of Marriage,” 2010, p. 94, Q. 22a.
7 Pew, “Decline of Marriage,” 2010, p. 90, Q. 10.
8 Pew, “Decline of Marriage,” 2010, p. 89, Q. 9c.
9 Pew, “Decline of Marriage,” 2010, p. 94, Q. 23.
10 Pew, “Decline of Marriage,” 2010, p. 82, Q. 2.
11 Pew, “Decline of Marriage,” 2010, p. 18.
12 Pew, “Decline of Marriage,” 2010, p. 88, Q. 9a,b.
13Pew, “Decline of Marriage,” 2010, p. 89, Q. 9e,d.


Monday, August 30, 2010

Colson on Christian Citizenship

In our list of 10 points in a Plan to Save America, today’s focus is #1.

1) Acknowledge the centrality of faith in America

a. We call for the right to publicly acknowledge God and the protection of our religious freedom.

In a Citizen Link interview with Catherine Snow, Chuck Colson responds to questions in regard to “Religious Freedom and Christian Citizenship”

Colson replies to a number of questions including: Why should a parent care about public policy, how about separation of church and state, and how about this not so subtle shift from freedom of religion to freedom of worship?

Learn the truth in the statement, ‘fads start from the top down, while movements start from the bottom up’. Understand that movements change society, and movements require public involvement.

Read Colson’s response to how the change to ‘freedom of worship’, depending on the interpretation could actually diminish our religious liberties, and draw us closer to the level of religious freedom available in China, Saudi Arabia, and the Soviet Union.

Please read the interview in its entirety.

FRIDAY FIVE: Chuck Colson on Religious Freedom and Christian Citizenship
Posted by Catherine Snow

Chuck Colson was radically transformed in 1973, from being the “hatchet man” for President Richard Nixon and incarcerated on Watergate-related charges to a humble Christian servant, seeking to bring reform and Christian outreach to those in prison. A noted author and speaker, Colson now focuses on cultural issues, the reclamation of morals and equipping the next generation with a biblical worldview.

1. One of the key issues that you speak to involves the freedom of religion –domestically and internationally. You have done so much to bring attention to Christian persecution around the globe. How would you rate Christian persecution today?

All human beings are created in the image of God. Everybody has human rights. When they are suppressed it goes to the very heart of what we believe about society. That’s why Christians have always been the greatest fighters for human rights. There is a constant battle between the authoritarianism of the state and the individual liberty of the citizen. This is true all over the world.

Persecution is a term that means that an entity is trying to drive you out of society. Religious persecution is openly done in China, the Sudan, and in North Korea.

In the West, however, we are now seeing a subtle persecution. It’s an attempt on the part of the state to begin to diminish our religious freedoms, because as we exercise those freedoms, we’re making a Christian impact on society.

We live in a very secular age. We have lost the term “Christian West” and we’ve got to get it back. It’s what makes the West unique. So, that’s the battle going on in our country right now.

If you were to rate religious freedom in the United Kingdom it’s probably about a three or four out of a possible 10. In Canada, it’s three or four. Here in America, we’ve always been 10, until the beginning of those cases in the ’50s and ’60s, which began to eliminate prayer in schools and the right of Christian groups to gather and make their witness.

It’s been steadily eroding since then. We’re at about a five today.

We have to fight for religious freedom –not because we want to protect Christians, but because we want to protect the human rights of all people made in the image of God. That’s all humanity.

2. The Obama administration has shifted from using the phrase “freedom of religion” to “freedom of worship.” Would you please explain the distinction?

I saw that President Obama was using this term ‘freedom of worship’ instead of ‘freedom of religion.’ That’s not an unintentional slip. That’s a deliberate policy change.

Worship is one thing that means a private act; my communication with God, but not public actions. When you say freedom of religion, it means I am free to act as a citizen and express my religiously informed views. I’m free to try to organize groups to press for public policy questions.

And, Hillary Clinton gave a speech at Georgetown last fall, where she talked about the basic human rights to assemble and to form your own government, to worship and to love others as you choose.

So loving a person, even if it’s a same-sex relationship, is the equivalent of worship. This is very, very frightening!

Remember, the first right granted in the Bill of Rights by our Founders was the freedom of conscience and freedom of religion. Now it’s being equated with homosexual rights? I thought that was a slip of the tongue until I read the policy statements of the Department of State, which said now these two terms are interchangeable.

Freedom of worship today exists in China. It exists in the Soviet Union. It exists actually in Saudi Arabia.

If you want to go into your house, and you want to go into your embassy, and you want to have mass or you want to have service or you want to read from the Bible, you can do that. The American embassy in Riyadh has services for Protestants and Catholics every weekend.

In China, the state church has complete freedom of worship, protected by the state. But, if a Chinese pastor speaks about a public policy issue from the pulpit, he’s off to jail. That’s what I see coming here.

That’s why I signed the Manhattan Declaration. I think it’s the most important thing going on in America today in terms of policy; to be able to take a stand on the major moral issues of the day.

Life, family and marriage, and religious liberty are the burning issues. Those are the threshold to all other issues.

I want to a million people to sign it. It’s across the denominational lines. It’s the historic Christian faith. People who can confess the creeds and believe in the Bible are coming together to take a united stand.

We’ve only invited people who can pledge their belief and faith and commitment to the word of God. We are speaking to the two great fundamental issues. 470,000 people have signed it; but, we want a million. Go to the website at But, don’t just sign on. Get your friends.

3. You’re a fan of William Wilberforce. As I talk to younger people, they don’t know who he was. Can you explain who he was and what his relevancy is in today’s society? How did he shape your thinking about Christian participation in the public square?

No one in history has had more of an influence on my life than William Wilberforce. He was a Parliamentarian in England. He came from the upper class of society, but he was converted, and it was remarkable when he was. He was a young man rising in Parliament in the 1780s, and he then became a very active Christian. He took on the campaign to abolish the slave trade, because that was the most heinous violation of human rights ever. This outraged his Christian conscious, so he stood alone on the floor of Parliament and denounced it. The battle went on for twenty years.

Go see Amazing Grace. It tells his story. It’s beautifully done. He made this successful stand and the slave trade was abolished in 1807. Slavery itself was abolished in 1833, five days before he died. The interesting thing is that he never let his focus be just politics. He knew that you couldn’t change things with just politics. He famously said ‘God has given me two great objectives: the abolition of the slave trade and the reformation of manners.’ He understood that you could end this systemic evil; but unless you at the same time worked to change the attitudes and habits and beliefs of the people, you weren’t going to solve the problem. He did both. He took on a hundred different causes over those next thirty five years that he lived. He should be a model for us today as to how we engage the public square.

He overcame just about every obstacle anybody could overcome. He had this violent problem with his stomach and was constantly sick. He was called every name in the book because the slave traders had bought seats in the Parliament. They controlled it. He was defamed his whole life. He kept pressing on.

He understood something which we need to grasp today because the circumstances are very similar. You belonged in the public square in politics. Christians have a duty to be engaged in the political process. The very least we should be doing is voting. We should be the best of citizens. We should bring the values of the kingdom of God to bear in the kingdom of man. That means voting. It means getting involved in politics. It means arguing before the school board. It means all the things Christians should do as citizens. But don’t put your element of trust there. Politics has become so big and powerful and controlled by the special interests that the only way it’s going to be reformed is the culture. And when you stop to think about it, politics is simply a reflection of the values of the culture. You change the culture, you will change the politics. If politics is sick, it means the culture is sick and we Christians are responsible for the culture.

So, get engaged in culture to begin to change the public attitudes, because that will be reflected ultimately in how the country is changed. I hope everybody gets involved and gets active and prays. This fall, the Pray and Act campaign will have Christians praying and fasting across the country for life, marriage, and liberty.

4. Why should any parent – any American – care about public policy and politics? What about the so-called separation of church and state?

The child they’re raising is going to be shaped not only by their paternal-maternal responsibility, but by the culture around us. We are products of both nature and nurture. And there’s no way you can have that child, no matter how well you’ve protected them, go off to a public school today without having everything that you believe to be sacred challenged. So you’ve got to care about what’s going on. I know what it is to be busy and work hard and be preoccupied with things. The same way you need a devotional time in the morning, you also need a time when you’re reflecting on what’s going on in the world around you and how you can be engaged in it.

Worry about what’s going on in your own school board. Worry about what’s going on in your own neighborhood, in your own county, with your own county officials.

I’m a great believer in what Nesbit said. ‘Fads start from the top down. Movements start from the bottom up.’ Movements change society. There are people today saying we Christians shouldn’t be involved with these things and to just be a faithful presence where we are. That’s bad advice.

We need to be involved with the world around us because we live as Christians with a worldview which is in conflict with the worldview of the society we live in. We should be constantly, winsomely, lovingly pushing Christian truth into the public square.

The whole separation of church and state is something that the ACLU loves to have you think prevents you from doing things. It really doesn’t. Separation of church and state is one thing. Separation of religion and politics is entirely different. Religion and politics deal with the same sphere. Religion is how people organize their lives together. Aristotle said ‘politics is how we organize our common lives together.’ So we’re talking about how people live.

I wrote a book called How Now Shall We Live. It’s about how Christians bring Christian truth into all of life. So never separate religion and politics. Separate church and state only that you’re respectful of the fact that there is a civic order and a religious and moral order for which we’re responsible.

5. Many say the 2010 election is the most important in our lifetime. Is this true? If so, what can people do?

It’s an important election of course because the government is taking on to itself unlimited powers that used to be reserved for the people. So there’s a great threat to freedom in American today.

There’s also a great threat to our economy and whether we can survive with these kinds of burgeoning deficits. I don’t think we can. But, all elections are important.

Don’t put your hope in the political system or in one party or the other. I know a lot of Republicans that I liked and respected and then they got into office and they got corrupted by the system. The system is inherently corruptive for Republicans or Democrats.


Wednesday, August 4, 2010

RE: Religious Liberty Restoration Amendment petition drive will CONTINUE

RE: Religious Liberty Restoration Amendment petition drive will CONTINUE


The good news is that the RLRA petition drive gathered 22,000 signatures. WOW, thanks to those 22,000. The less than good news is that a total of 25,688 signatures were needed to be turned in to the Secretary of State by August 4th for the issue to be placed on this November’s ballot. Even though that deadline will not be met, the RLRA petition drive will continue to completion.

We are so thankful to the almost 500 circulators, and those thousands who signed the petition. Your signatures will be utilized for the intended purpose, and were not gathered in vain. We will gather additional signatures in the next few months, and added to those already gathered will put this measure on the ballot in 2012. (By law an initiated measure has one year to secure the required signatures) So we have additional time to collect signatures.

Very importantly, if you have petitions with signatures, do not destroy. Continue to collect signatures. If you have a petition which is already notarized, send it in. If you have a petition and have not started to collect signatures, you now have additional time to collect signatures. We will share a timetable for the next phase of the collections, soon.

More than half of the signatures were gathered in the last three weeks, signifying the growing momentum of the effort. The message of protecting the freedom of religion and the exercise thereof, guaranteed in the First Amendment—really began resonating with the people. Those signatures strongly endorse the will of the people to vote on this measure.

This is a great cause. We believe God’s hand has been guiding us all the way, and will continue. We seek His discerning wisdom and His will. And we believe His plan is being played out. And so now we conclude this phase of the RLRA effort, by giving all the honor, the glory, and the praise to God, our Father the Almighty.


Thursday, July 22, 2010

July 22nd RLRA Update


As we head into the weekend, we have 13 days to gather signatures for the RLRA petition effort. Thanks to all who have worked so hard. Keep up the intensity down the home stretch. While thousands of signatures have been collected, many more are needed. Keep up the great work!!

Some have asked for short message to rally around, here is part of an ad which captures it in a nutshell:

“Whether prohibiting a student from wearing a cross to school, forcing a nurse to dispense abortion inducing drugs, or forcing a business to provide services against its beliefs—our religious freedoms are in jeopardy because of a court ruling by non-elected justices. It is time to act!! Sign the Religious Liberty Restoration Amendment to allow the people of North Dakota to vote to restore and preserve our religious liberties.

Thanks to those who helped in the Bismarck & Grand Forks Blitz’s, and in advance to those who will help in Minot at the State Fair. Still need more volunteers…in Minot…………………….

What will, should, and needs to happen in the upcoming few days:

- Many churches will do one more collection in the church,---thanks….encourage your church..

- Some churches will do an initial collection—GREAT NEWS!! Encourage your church…

- Will be collecting at the State Fair in Minot (Booth #2003 in Commercial Bldg #3)

o Stop by to sign petition, direct others to do so as well

o Will have clipboards with a petition for you to pick up & go out at the fair & fill one petition with 35 signatures

- many of you have a petition, (from NDFA, Focus on the Family, NDCC, your church, or you may have downloaded), we need you to fill that petition with signatures of family, friends, neighbors, and church family

o There are virtually hundreds, if not thousands of petitions in the hands of individuals from across the state, we should not rest until every one is filled, notarized, and returned. Do you have one? Please fill & send in.

- We have extended the deadline to send the petitions in—to—July 31st if mailed, or August 3rd, if hand delivered to the NDFA office!!

As shared previously, we are so encouraged and inspired on a daily basis by the hundreds of individuals circulating the petitions, and the many thousand who have signed—their commitment and voices must be rewarded. You can do that by joining the team and this great effort by participating: complete your petition, encourage at your local church, come & help at the State Fair in Minot, and of course---pray that God’s will be done & that all be for His Glory.

Any with questions should call the NDFA, or go to the website at:


Wednesday, July 7, 2010

NDFA Files Brief Supporting National Day of Prayer,


For Immediate Release – July 7, 2010

Media Interviews
NDFA Executive Director Tom Freier
701-364-0676; 701-471-0477 cell

NDFA Files Brief Supporting National Day of Prayer,
Joins With Alliance of Top State and National Policy Leaders Demanding Reversal of Revisionist Opinion

Fargo. Today, North Dakota Family Alliance signed onto an amicus brief by Liberty Institute filed in the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals in support of the National Day of Prayer in Freedom from Religion Foundation v. Obama. Those represented in the brief alongside North Dakota Family Alliance include Dr. James Dobson, the Family Research Council (FRC), Focus on the Family Action (Citizenlink), the American Civil Rights Union (ACRU), Let Freedom Ring, and Liberty Counsel, along with 27 other family policy councils located in states nationwide.

“In her decision to strike down the National Day of Prayer, Judge Barbara Crabb attempted to undo two hundred years of American History,” said Tom Freier, Executive Director of NDFA. “The decision below was an attack upon our heritage and the religious freedom upon which our nation was founded. This decision must be overturned.”

When Congress passed a statute in 1952 calling for the President to issue a proclamation designating the National Day of Prayer, it memorialized the virtually unbroken tradition of Presidents from Washington to Truman who designated a day of prayer.

On April 15, U.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb ruled that the federal government’s observation of prayer is unconstitutional, despite numerous rulings from the U.S. Supreme Court that protect long-standing traditions of religious invocations. Today’s brief argues that not only is the National Day of Prayer constitutional, but that Judge Crabb’s ruling establishes active hostility to religion and must be reversed.

“Prayer is the underpinning of this country that makes it great. I am proud to file this brief along with so many wonderful groups. Our nation has a rich history of Presidential proclamations for prayer and thanksgiving, and we must not allow revisionist history to dilute that heritage and freedom,” said Dr. James Dobson, founder of Focus on the Family and head of Family Talk with Dr. James Dobson.

"Since the conception of our nation, Americans have enjoyed religious freedom and the right to gather voluntarily for prayer," said Tony Perkins, president of Family Research Council Action. "Judge Barbara Crabb's ruling squelches the religious freedom our Founding Fathers chose to protect in the Constitution and advances an activist agenda that is hostile toward religion in public life."

View the brief online at

North Dakota Family Alliance
3220 18th St S, Ste 8
Fargo, ND 58104

For more information, visit

Copyright © 2010 North Dakota Family Alliance


Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Liberty--Is it worth defending?

Liberty—Is it worth defending?

Independence Day—2010! Freedom! Liberty! A great reason to celebrate. Fireworks! Sunday worship! What a great land we live in—this land we call America!

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by the Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”

Just as there is no business ethics, no personal ethics, no cultural ethics, no political ethics, there is only ethics. If we believe we can act ethically in our business, but fail to follow those tenets in our home, we lie. There is only ethics, there is only integrity, there is only honesty.

So is the liberty provided by our Founding Fathers. There is only liberty. If we believe we can diminish our personal liberties, we loose our liberty. If we believe we can give some of our constitutional liberties, we loose our liberty. If we believe the government can infringe upon our religious liberties, we loose our liberty.

Because our Founding Fathers recognized the importance of the Creator and those unalienable rights, which are a gift not to be surrendered or taken, our religious liberty is especially vital. Some recognize if our religious liberty is diminished or removed, all liberty is mortally threatened. Absent the power of a sovereign Supreme Being, the peace and tranquility associated with our liberty is soon to become a distant memory of a generation past.

Today’s battle to protect our religious liberty is both the battle and the war. It is a test to measure the mettle of this land we call America, the people of North Dakota.

On this Fourth of July weekend, will we celebrate by just shooting off fireworks, enjoying a picnic, singing patriotic songs, and even thanking the Creator at a worship service—or will we take action?

Will we take the Religious Liberty Restoration Amendment with us to the parade, to the lake, to the picnic, to the fireworks celebration, to the school reunion, to the community church service, or to any gathering planned to honor our country and the liberty we enjoy. Is that outside of our comfort range? Will we be viewed as radical, religious nuts? Will we be bold for our faith? Will we be radical enough to stand up for our religious liberty?
Will we be bold enough to stand up for our children and grandchildren?

This weekend provides a great opportunity. It provides the opportunity to celebrate all our Creator has Blessed us with, especially our liberty and freedom. It also provides the opportunity to stand tall as we take action to preserve that unalienable right to liberty freely given as a gift.

Please proudly circulate the Religious Liberty Restoration Amendment petition, and carry a couple extra petitions that you might place them with other patriots.

And as we ask others to sign, compare our effort to that of those who over the years paid the ultimate sacrifice to defend our liberty.

May God Bless you and keep you safe, in this great land we call America.

For more information on the Religious Liberty Restoration Amendment, view an informative video, and/or download a petition, go to .


Friday, May 28, 2010

Memorial Day A Time to Reflect

Memorial Day A Time to Reflect

As we prepare for an extended weekend, it truly is a time to reflect. In the midst of spending time with family and friends, the picnics, fishing, time at the lake, parades, speeches, and even prayers and sermons; are we really commemorating our fallen heroes? Are we keeping in perspective the real purpose of Memorial Day as we spend our time this weekend?

As we view the markers at the Arlington National Cemetery, or our own North Dakota Veterans Cemetery, we can only be struck by the immensity of the personal sacrifice of the many. As we think about the many hundreds of thousands who paid the ultimate price, we also understand the personal story of each and every fallen soldier. Each family has lost a father, a mother, a son, a daughter, some one dear and loved to them. As each fallen soldier has responded to the call, has made the ultimate sacrifice, their families also share in their serving their country.

Since the inception of our country, we know that our freedoms, our liberty does not come without a price. These brave American men and women have pledged to protect our liberty, to defend it even if it meant their lives. They have fought to defend all of our liberties. As we view the Bill of Rights, we thank the framers of the constitution, the Founding Fathers, for providing those rights. We thank the many today for defending these rights; there are many who on a daily basis fight to protect our freedom of religion, of speech, the right to assemble, for a fair trial, and the right for all to cast their vote. But let us remember, not just during this Memorial Day celebration, but throughout the year—that the real defenders of our liberty are those brave veterans who died for our freedom, the liberty that is America.

The very first of those liberties is our freedom of religion. Today that freedom is under attack, on a daily basis. Our brave men and woman who paid the ultimate price, died for all our liberties, including the freedom of religion. Let us not dishonor their memory and service by not standing for this freedom provided by our Founding Fathers.

The actions of our Founding Fathers called for boldness, and an unapologetic commitment to this inalienable right given by the Creator. Our fallen soldiers stepped forward in absolute boldness in defending our liberties. Now is the time that all of us would honor their memories by stepping forward to defend our country, and the liberties we treasure so greatly.

Our Prayer:

We are Blessed, so immensely Blessed. We praise You as the Creator and Sustainer of all. Thank You. We thank You for the brave men and women who paid the ultimate price, defending this land we call America, protecting the liberties we have come to treasure, and providing the hope for our children and grandchildren to live in freedom. We lift up the families of those fallen heroes, that they might be blessed with the peace and comfort which only You can provide.

We ask all of this in the name which is above all names, the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.


Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Government videographer asks Salvation Army T-shirts be changed.

What does wearing the Rosary beads, a Salvation Army T-shirt, and saying a prayer have in common?

New York 7th grader suspended for wearing a Rosary to his school.
Raymond Hosier, 13 year old wears the Rosary as a comfort in memory of a deceased brother and uncle. Schenectady school officials ordered him to remove the Rosary, and when he refused, he was sent home.

School officials referenced school policy stating that the Rosary “could be an identifier of gangs” and needed to be removed “for safety reasons”. After Raymond served the initial suspension, he returned to school only to be sent home again because of his wearing the beads.

The Supreme Court is very clear that students do not surrender their constitutional rights to religious expression or liberties when they go to school. What is very clear is that the school is arbitrarily using a vague dress code to silence and suppress Raymond’s religious expression and liberty.

Government videographer asks volunteers to change Salvation Army T-shirts

A FEMA representative said one of the agency's videographers was "absolutely wrong" to ask Mississippi church volunteers not to wear religious T-shirts for a video about tornado cleanup. Angelia Lott and Pamela Wedgeworth, who are sisters, said that the FEMA worker videotaping the cleanup on Saturday in the small town of Ebenezer asked them to do on-camera interviews but requested that they change out of their T-shirts because of a Salvation Army logo. "He said, 'We would like to ask you to change your shirt because we don't want anything faith-based,'" Lott said Tuesday.

These faith based volunteers should have the right to wear a T-shirt expressing their view of support for the Salvation Army, and should not be suppressed. This is clearly a right protected constitutionally.

Kudos to Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell on prayer policy

In the first official State Police function since Gov. Bob McDonnell lifted a policy requiring faith-neutral prayers at public events, a trooper invoked the name of Jesus Christ in a blessing at a Friday morning memorial service. "I lift this prayer to you from the many faiths of this great country and in the name of my personal savior, Jesus Christ, amen," Senior Trooper Patrick McCranie prayed during the benediction at the end of the ceremony.

The annual memorial ceremony honored 55 troopers killed while members of the state police force, from 1928 to the most recent death in 2007. Trooper McCranie said he felt ‘liberated’ for being able to pray in support of all faiths, but be able to pray in his personal faith tradition.

Already, ACLU activists are seeking someone to represent, someone who may have been offended. They will ask the government to sue the government. How silly is that?
McDonnell doesn't seem worried about the specter of legal action. "The only thing I'm concerned about is that we promote the traditions of religious liberty that have been the hallmark of the nation," he said. "And as long as I'm governor, we're not going to tell chaplains how to pray."

Kudos to the governor!

As we view the culture across this great country of ours, we are struck by the constant, never ending attacks on our religious liberties. And if we do not stand up for our liberties, how can be hope that our children and grandchildren will know the freedoms which our founding fathers provided for in the constitution?


Friday, May 14, 2010

ACTION REQUIRED! Religious Liberty Restoration Amendment


Your help is crucial to get the RLRA on the N.D. November ballot.

Religious Liberty Restoration Amendment

Religious Liberties Threatened: What’s all the hype about?

Have you noticed the frequent news stories about attacks on our religious liberties?

Did you know that a U.S. Supreme Court ruling in1990 greatly diminished our religious liberties?

Did you know that Congress passed a law to restore those rights in1993, but it did not apply to the states? Because of this 15 states have already passed legislation to restore those rights.

NOW is the time to act for North Dakota by passing the very best in protection: a N.D. Constitutional amendment to restore our liberties.

Bottom Line: What is the urgency?

The result of that Supreme Court ruling had this effect: The burden has fallen to the people and religious organizations to protect themselves from the government infringing upon their religious liberties, instead of the burden rightly being placed on the government as it seeks to infringe on our religious freedoms. The Constitution provided a system of justice whereby the burden is placed on the government, not the people. This amendment will restore and protect our religious liberty.

ACTION List: What can you do?

1) Sign the RLRA petition. (Download a petition at Remember you cannot sign the petition you plan to circulate.)

2) Verify the RLRA petition is being circulated in your church, visit with your pastor/priest and help coordinate the effort.

3) Make others aware of the RLRA petition drive by:
a. Notifying your email list
b. Talking to your Facebook friends
c. Tweeting on Twitter about the RLRA

4) Take the Times Three Pledge (X3P) Challenge
a . Print 3 copies of the petition.
b. Carry one to your Bible study, Rotary Club, workplace, gym/spa, coffee klatch.
c. Collect 35 signatures on that petition and place the other 2 petitions with two of those who signed your petition.

Steps to involvement and frequently asked questions can be found at: Contact NDFA at or 701-364-0676 or

Please join the North Dakota Family Alliance in the effort to Restore our Religious Liberties.

North Dakota Family Alliance, 3220 18th St. S. Ste. #8, Fargo, ND 58104
On behalf of all our coalition partners.

Religious Liberty Restoration Amendment
Government may not burden a person's or religious organization’s Freedom of Religion.
The right to act or refuse to act in a manner motivated by a sincerely held religious belief
may not be burdened unless the government proves it has a compelling governmental interest in infringing the specific act or refusal to act and has used the least restrictive means to further that interest. A burden includes indirect burdens such as withholding benefits, assessing penalties, or an exclusion from programs or access to facilities.


Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Thanks to Focus on the Family for promoting the Religious Liberty Restoration Amendment effort.

Take Action: from Focus on the Family

Please sign a petition to protect religious Liberty in North Dakota!

To get a petition and to find out more information about the Religious Liberty Restoration Amendment, visit the North Dakota Family Alliance web site, at

North Dakota: Help Protect Religious Liberty in Your State!

Dear Friend,

Religious liberty is a treasured freedom on which our country was founded. In fact, our Founding Fathers chose to place religious liberty first in our U.S. Constitution for that reason. And for most of our country's history, laws and the court system have recognized and protected that right.

But in 1990, the U.S. Supreme Court handed down a ruling which reduced the level of protection historically afforded to religious liberty. In Employment Division v. Smith, the Court established a lower threshold of protection for religious liberty--an action that prompted Congress to pass the 1993 Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA). But the federal RFRA does not apply to the states, leaving citizens vulnerable to ill-conceived actions of state governments that infringe on our liberties.

We are seeing professionals from every walk of life being forced to violate their religious beliefs in fear of governmental punishment. For example, medical professionals have been fired for refusing to conduct abortions or dispense medicine that can cause an abortion. Additionally, there were several court cases in North Dakota during the 1980s where parents were denied the right to home school their children. It seems that the religious liberty our country was founded upon is slowly being chipped away.

And the recent court ruling from a Wisconsin District Court Judge declaring the National Day of Prayer unconstitutional only further emphasizes the need for North Dakotans to step in and protect religious freedom at the state level.

The only way a state can truly protect this freedom is through a constitutional amendment to their state Constitution adding this protection. Fortunately, the people of North Dakota have an opportunity to place a Religious Liberty Restoration Amendment on the November ballot. The North Dakota Family Alliance is currently working to collect enough signatures to place the amendment on the ballot, and they need your help to get that done.

Forward to a Friend or share with your Social Network:
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© 2010, Focus on the Family.

Focus on the Family
Colorado Springs, CO 80995
1-800-A-FAMILY (232-6459)

Source Code: VP10EECRND


Monday, May 10, 2010

Who is protecting our religious liberties?

It seems everyday brings another story about our religious liberties under attack. Whether in Georgia, where seniors are being told they cannot pray before a meal, or in Texas where a church is fighting to meet in its own church, the government is forcing those of faith to protect themselves from the government. Constitutionally, our government is to protect its people, and yet in reality, when it comes to our religious liberties, the people need to protect themselves from the government.

Port Wentworth, Ga.

The mayor of a Georgia town remains hopeful he won't have to stomach telling elderly citizens they cannot pray before meals at a senior center.

If there's one thing Mayor Glenn "Pig" Jones can't stomach, it's telling elderly citizens at a local senior citizens center that they can't pray before meals.

But Jones, mayor of Port Wentworth, Ga., a town of roughly 3,000 near Savannah, has been doing just that since last week, when the company that provides food for the seniors -- with federal funding -- determined that saying an organized prayer before meals violates the separation of church and state.

Instead of a communal prayer, they said, seniors should observe a moment of silence.

Now Jones says he hopes a meeting on Tuesday with the city's attorney and officials from the Ed Young Senior Citizens Center will settle the controversy.

"What I'm hoping for is that our people get with their people and they say, 'Go back and tell your people they can pray,'" Jones told "We'll see where we stand."

Officials from Senior Citizens Inc., which operates the senior center, have said the meals they provide to visitors are mostly covered with federal money -- so saying a communal prayer before chowing down is a violation of federal regulations.

"We can't scoff at their rules," Tim Rutherford, Senior Citizens Inc.'s vice president, told the Associated Press. "It's part of the operational guidelines."

Rutherford, who did not respond to messages seeking comment on Monday, said his company provides meals like baked chicken, steak tips and salads for roughly $6 a plate. Seniors who eat the meals pay 55 cents apiece, he said, with federal money footing the rest of the bill.

Rutherford said the moment of silence was introduced at the center to protect that funding. He insisted anyone at the center can worship whomever they please.

"It's interpreted that we're telling people that they can't pray, but we aren't saying that," he said. "We're asking them to pray to themselves. Have that moment of silence."

Casey Arnett, director of the senior center, said officials are trying to enforce the moment of silence, but she acknowledged they have little power to stop anyone intent on saying a prayer before digging in.

"We are trying to enforce a moment of silence, but it's freedom of speech and freedom of religion, so we don't have control of what they do," Arnett told "If they stand up and pray, I don't have any control over it."

She said the seniors who visit the center are no strangers to standing up for what they believe. "They're not going to let people tell them their rights about religion," she said. "They feel like they need to stand for theirs."

Eric Johnson, a former state senator now running for governor, visited the center Monday and said a blessing outside just before lunch to roughly 50 elderly citizens.

"I told them they're not fighting this alone," Johnson, a Republican, told "To heck with the federal government -- we can't stop people from free practice of their faith."

Meanwhile, Jones, who said he was so "outraged" upon learning of the controversy that he couldn't appear for on-camera interviews last week, is confident a compromise can be made.

"This country means a lot to me, but the part that I don't respect is it telling me I cannot pray over my meal," Jones said. "I can't accept and look them 65- and 70-year-olds in the eyes and tell them they cannot pray and bless their meals."

Texas Church Fights to Meet in its Own Building

Leon Valley, Texas
Elijah Group, an Evangelical Christian Church, is fighting City Hall in Leon Valley, Texas. The city says it's fine for the church to use the facilities for a day care and counseling center, but it cannot meet in the building for worship on the weekends because of zoning laws.

Lori Windham, senior counsel at The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, said the city is ignoring the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act of 2000 (RLUIPA) in order to make revenue from retail businesses.

"The City of Leon Valley near San Antonio used to allow churches to locate all over the city," she said. "Then they went back and said, 'We're only going to allow churches in one of the 13 zones.' My client came in. They bought a church building. It's always been a church building. And the city said 'Nope. Sorry. It can't be used as a church building anymore. We want this to be a retail store.'"

Windham and The Becket Fund are suing, asking the court to rule on behalf of religious liberty.

"We're asking the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals to say that cities can't do this," she said, "that cities have to treat churches the same way they would treat other assemblies that do make them money.

"The implications for churches across the state are enormous," she added. "Leon Valley wants to set a precedent saying that cities can treat churches worse than secular assemblies simply because churches don't generate enough tax revenue."


Monday, May 3, 2010

Losing our Religion from an atheist's perspective

As we contemplate our religious liberties, and the state of those freedoms, it is interesting to hear from the perspective of an atheist. In her book, on a recent television interview, and now in this interview--she speaks candidly about the attack on Christians. And the need to wake up.


Friday Five: S.E. Cupp Talks About Losing Our Religion

S.E. Cupp is one of the most influential Millennials in American culture today. She has appeared on Fox News Channel and CNN and is a regular guest on "Hannity."

1. S.E., you make no bones about being an atheist. Why defend Christianity against the liberal media?

I think being an atheist or a nonbeliever makes me the perfect candidate to address this issue, because I approach it entirely objectively. My agenda here isn't to prop up my own belief system, but to defend others' rights to believe in something I don't, and more importantly, to demand a more responsible, representative press.

2. You say Christians are the only acceptable people for the media to make fun of. Expound on that.

Hollywood started treating Christianity like it was some kind of social disease decades ago. These days, it's practically company policy in Hollywood to mock Christianity as hopelessly uncool and unsophisticated. The liberal media has, in the past 10 years or so, joined in the action. I think they've both been so successful in promoting that message in the popular culture, because Christians represent a vast majority -- and majorities get complacent. But, if Christian America doesn't stand up to the liberal media and demand more respect, they might not be a majority in the future.

3. Why do you think the mainstream media feel the need to target Christian America?

Two reasons: One, it's a way of getting at conservatism. If they can effectively paint Christians as dangerous fanatics, it's just a skip away from painting conservatives as dangerous fanatics. They conflate politics and religion here because, well, it works. Two, the moral relativism of liberalism is threatened by the fixed value system of Christianity, which holds people accountable for their actions. Liberalism can dismiss a lot of bad behavior, and that's just the way they like it. Liberals in the media are deeply mistrusting of, and uncomfortable with, judgmental morality.

4. The media used to challenge the government—that was really its job. How is that lack of accountability affecting our nation?

That's right, the Fourth Estate used to be the watchdogs of the state, and now the media is targeting YOU, the private citizen. It's targeting your values, your beliefs, your freedoms, your politics, your way of life, all to advance a secular, liberal agenda of its own. Well that's not what the press is there for; that's not its responsibility. The mainstream media has lost its way -- it can either rediscover responsible journalism, or it should repackage itself as an alternative press, which in many ways, it is.

5. What should concerned Christians do to change the situation?

Peaceful protest. I'm shocked that there aren't protesters outside of The New York Times, MSNBC, CNN, etc. on a daily basis protesting the way Christians are talked about. The liberal media calls Christians terrorists, extremists, simpletons and much, much worse. They treat them like they are pariahs. Well, I'd like Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow and Lisa Miller and Glenn Greenwald and the rest of them to feel like pariahs. Instead, they're protected within a tiny, liberal, secular bubble, and they have no idea that the majority of the country shudders in disgust when they attack the values upon which America was founded. I think it's time Christian America woke from their slumber and saw just how bad it's gotten.


Friday, April 30, 2010

Religious Liberty Restoration Amendment Moves Forward


April 30, 2010

Religious Liberty Restoration Amendment Moves Forward

Secretary of State approves petition for circulation

Fargo, ND

A coalition including civic leaders and representatives of different religious traditions have launched an effort to pass an amendment to the state constitution that will restore religious liberties in North Dakota. On Friday Secretary of State Al Jaeger approved the ‘Religious Liberty Restoration Amendment’ initiated constitutional measure, enabling the petition process to proceed.

“We are excited to begin gathering signatures, and the overall educational process. We believe the people in North Dakota will be very receptive to the measure”, states Tom Freier, executive director of North Dakota Family Alliance. Supporters must turn in total of 25,688 signatures to the Secretary of State’s office by August 4th for the initiative to qualify for the November ballot.

The proposed measure states “government may not burden a person’s or religious organization’s religious liberty”. A 1990 U.S. Supreme Court decision greatly diminished this protection. “This amendment restores the level of religious protection everyone had prior to Supreme Court decision. The federal government and many others states have acted to restore that protection,” states Christopher Dodson, executive director of the North Dakota Catholic Conference, a coalition partner. “This amendment would extend the same protection to North Dakotans”.

The sponsoring committee of the initiative indicates broad support for the amendment. The committee includes Protestant and Catholic clergy, legislators from both parties, mayors, and citizens from one end of the state to the other. “We are so appreciative of this support, and believe it be reflective of the state” offers Freier. “We believe the people support the freedoms put in place by the framers of the constitution, and want them restored and preserved.”

Freier says the signature gathering will begin in early May, with much of the effort being initiated in the churches working with clergy and church members. He believes the internet and technology will greatly aid in the process. Freier is hopeful the bulk of the signatures will be gathered by July 1st.

To log on directly to download a petition or view related information and To learn more about the initiative, including the official amendment language, log on to, or you may call the North Dakota Family Alliance at 701-364-0676, or email You may also contact the North Dakota Catholic Conference at 701-223-2519, 1-888-419-1237, or by emailing


Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Religious Liberty Wins One

Religious Liberty Wins One

Those battling to preserve a cross commemorating the service and sacrifices of veterans from World War I have won a victory. Members of the VFW placed the cross in a remote part of the Mojave desert in 1934 to honor their fallen friends and fellow soldiers. In recent years, efforts have been relentless in attempting to remove this symbol of honor. See the story posted today, relating the US Supreme Court ruling.


The Supreme Court said a federal court went too far in ordering the removal of a memorial known as the 'Mojave Cross,' on an outcrop in the Mojave National Preserve, in Calif.

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court's conservative majority signaled a greater willingness to allow religious symbols on public land Wednesday, a stance that could have important implications for future church-state disputes.

By a 5-4 vote, the court refused to order the removal of a congressionally endorsed war memorial cross from its longtime home atop a remote rocky outcropping in California's Mohave Desert.

The court directed a federal judge to look again at Congress' plan to transfer the patch of U.S. land beneath the 7-foot-tall cross made of metal pipe to private ownership.

Federal courts had rejected the land transfer as insufficient to eliminate constitutional concern about a religious symbol on public land — in this case in the Mojave National Preserve.

While the holding Wednesday was narrow, the language of the justices in the majority, and particularly the opinion of Anthony Kennedy, suggested a more permissive view of religious symbols on public land in future cases.

Federal courts currently are weighing at least two other cross cases, a 29-foot cross and war memorial on Mt. Soledad in San Diego and Utah's use of 12-foot-high crosses on roadside memorials honoring fallen highway patrol troopers.

"The Constitution does not oblige government to avoid any public acknowledgment of religion's role in society," wrote Kennedy, who usually is in the court's center on church-state issues.

Speaking of the Christian cross in particular, Kennedy said it is wrong to view it merely as a religious symbol. "Here one Latin cross in the desert evokes far more than religion. It evokes thousands of small crosses in foreign fields marking the graves of Americans who fell in battles, battles whose tragedies are compounded if the fallen are forgotten," he said.

In dissent, Justice John Paul Stevens agreed that soldiers who died in battle deserve a memorial to their service. But the government "cannot lawfully do so by continued endorsement of a starkly sectarian message," Stevens said.

The cross has stood on Sunrise Rock in the 1.6 million-acre Mojave preserve since 1934, put there by the Veterans of Foreign Wars as a memorial to World War I dead. It has been covered with plywood for the past several years following the court rulings.

Justice Samuel Alito, part of Wednesday's majority, noted the remoteness of the location. "At least until this litigation, it is likely that the cross was seen by more rattlesnakes than humans," Alito said, although he also pointed out that Easter services have long been held there.

The controversy began when a retired National Park Service employee, Frank Buono, filed a lawsuit complaining about the cross on public land. Federal courts sided with Buono and ordered the cross' removal.

In 2003, Congress stepped in and transferred the land where the cross stands to private hands to address the court rulings. But the courts said the land transfer was, in effect, an unacceptable end run around the constitutional problem.

In Wednesday's case, six justices wrote separate opinions and none spoke for a majority of the court.

But supporters of the cross memorials were pleased with Kennedy's language, especially because Alito and Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas would have gone further. Chief Justice John Roberts signed onto Kennedy's opinion.

"We know this is just the beginning. Until that box comes off that veterans' memorial, the veterans consider that a disgrace," said Kelly Shackelford, chief counsel at the conservative Liberty Legal Institute in Plano, Texas. He wrote a brief for several veterans' groups.

"We hope that some of the statements of Justice Kennedy go to the bigger issue, attacks on any veterans memorial that has any sort of religious imagery," Shackelford said.

The Rev. Barry W. Lynn, executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, called the court's reasoning "bogus."

"It's alarming that the high court continues to undermine the separation of church and state. Nothing good can come from this trend," Lynn said. "The court majority seems to think the cross is not always a Christian symbol. I think all Americans know better than that."

Muslim and Jewish war veteran groups complained in court papers that they view the Mojave cross as a religious symbol that excludes them. The Jewish War Veterans called the cross "a powerful Christian symbol" and "not a symbol of any other religion."

Stevens largely agreed. He called the Mojave cross a "dramatically inadequate and inappropriate tribute." Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor joined his opinion, while Justice Stephen Breyer also dissented.


Sunday, April 18, 2010

Religious Liberty under Siege

Religious Liberty Under Siege.

It seems wherever we look our religious liberty is under attack. Yes, under attack. Yes, in this land we call America. It seems as though not a single day goes by that not yet another volley is hurled at our religious freedoms. While we might expect these attacks to come from those who despise our religious liberties, it is especially disconcerting when they come from those entrusted with protecting our freedoms--the judiciary. District Court Judge Crabb's ruling of the National Day of Prayer as unconstitutional--is a ruling of 'freedom from religion', not 'freedom of religion'. Not only is religious liberty under siege, our constitution is.

See the story of Judge Crabb's ruling below, and then see a commentary from Tony Perkins with FRC.

Judge: Natl Day Of Prayer Unconstitutional
April 15, 2010 - 4:49 PM | by: Mike Levine

The National Day of Prayer, honored in the United States for more than a half-century, is unconstitutional, a federal judge in Wisconsin has ruled.

In a 66-page opinion issued Thursday, U.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb said the holiday violates the "establishment clause" of the First Amendment, which creates a separation of church and state.

"I understand that many may disagree with that conclusion and some may even view it as a criticism of prayer or those who pray," Crabb said in her opinion. "That is unfortunate. A determination that the government may not endorse a religious message is not a determination that the message itself is harmful, unimportant or undeserving of dissemination."

The opinion comes in a case filed by the Freedom From Religion Foundation, a Wisconsin-based group of self-described "atheists" and "agnostics."

Crabb said her ruling is based on "relevant case law," and it does not prevent religious groups from organizing prayer services or prevent the President from discussing his views on prayer.

"The only issue decided in this case is that the federal government may not endorse prayer in a statute," Crabb said.

The Justice Department would not say whether it expects to appeal Crabb's ruling.

"We are reviewing the court's decision," a Justice Department spokesman said.

Within hours of the ruling, the ranking Republican on the House Judiciary Committee urged the Justice Department to "immediately" file an appeal.

"The decision undermines the values of religious freedom that America was founded upon," Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Tex., said in a statement. "What’s next? Declaring the federal holiday for Christmas unconstitutional?"

Crabb said the ruling would not have any effect until any appeals are exhausted.

She insisted her ruling was not a judgment on the value of prayer.

"No one can doubt the important role that prayer plays in the spiritual life of a believer," Crabb said in her opinion. "In the best of times, people may pray as a way of expressing joy and thanks; during times of grief, many find that prayer provides comfort. Others may pray to give praise, seek forgiveness, ask for guidance or find the truth. ... However, recognizing the importance of prayer to many people does not mean that the government may enact a statute in support of it, any more than the government may encourage citizens to fast during the month of Ramadan, attend a synagogue, purify themselves in a sweat lodge or practice rune magic."

The National Day of Prayer was first established by Congress in 1952, with a more specific date for the holiday set in 1988. It is now observed on the first Thursday in May.

Smith said he can "assure" Americans that "Congress will do everything in its power to protect the National Day of Prayer."

On the holiday last year, President Obama issued a statement saying Americans have always "come together in moments of great challenge and uncertainty to humble themselves in prayer."

"In 1775, as the Continental Congress began the task of forging a new Nation, colonists were asked to observe a day of quiet humiliation and prayer," the statement said. "Almost a century later, as the flames of the Civil War burned from north to south, President Lincoln and the Congress once again asked the American people to pray as the fate of their Nation hung in the balance."

So Help Us God
Tony Perkins, FRC

Whenever the pillars of Christianity shall be overthrown, [we] must fall with them (Jedediah Morse, 1799). Yesterday, 223 years to the day after patriots ratified an end the Revolutionary War, a judge in Wisconsin ruled to reintroduce tyranny in America--this time, from the bench. In a decision that is rocking our nation to its very core, U.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb determined that a national day of prayer--a tradition as old as the country itself--is unconstitutional. "...[R]ecognizing the importance of prayer to many people does not mean that the government may enact a statute in support of it..." With all due respect, the government may do exactly that under the very documents that established it. "[The] sacred rights of mankind are not to be rummaged for, among old parchments, or musty records," Alexander Hamilton insisted. "They are written, as with a sun beam, in the whole volume of human nature, by the hand of divinity itself; and can never be erased by mortal power."

Had Judge Crabb consulted the Constitution she was sworn to uphold, she might notice that Americans enjoy religious freedom--not by virtue of the courts, but in spite of them. Furthermore, setting aside a day of corporate prayer is more than compatible with our nation's heritage; it is a responsibility assigned to every American by George Washington himself. "It is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God... and humbly implore His protection and favor; and whereas both Houses of Congress have, by their joint committee, requested me to recommend to the people of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer" (Thanksgiving Proclamation, 1789).

Contrary to Judge Crabb's opinion, this ruling does not promote freedom, it crushes it. Americans pray voluntarily. And exercising that right together, as a willing nation, is exactly what the Founding Fathers intended. To imply otherwise is to suggest that the Constitution is unconstitutional! Religion cannot be banned in America because it was never imposed--not by the Founding Fathers, and certainly not by the National Day of Prayer.


Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Standing for Life

Standing for Life

Standing for Life is a new feature on our website, a new service for you. Its purpose is to unite the efforts of North Dakotans who defend life from conception to natural death, and work to end abortion. The passion of those standing for life is more vibrant today, than ever. It is as persistent and persevering as it is vibrant. And to reward this persevering, vibrant passion with success--unity in the life community is a necessity.

There is no better testament to the vibrancy of the life cause than visiting with Lydia Benton. She is young, and her passion for the unborn is absolutely astounding. Lydia represents a generation that is becoming more and more prolife. She and so many like her give us great cause for hope.

Lydia has agreed to take on the development and enhancement of the "Standing for Life" program. Lydia will continue to add to the list of North Dakota prolife organizations. By checking in on these sites periodically, you can keep yourself updated on all that is happening. To view these sites, just click in the "Standing for Life" box.

Lydia will monitor events and news from our many life partners, and post articles of interest and informational value. We hope these articles will not only serve to inform us, but to unite us in purpose.

We are excited about offering this service. We are excited about promoting unity and the benefits we believe will result for the unborn. Please share your stories, your comments.

Lydia Benton works with the NDFA on a part time basis, focusing on the life issue, church and pastor relations, and friendraising. She can be reached at


Late term abortion ban passed in Nebraska

Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act

Nebraska has passed a late term abortion ban. Many in the prolife community will applaud the effort, some will be concerned about certain legal ramifications. Nebraska is to be commended for boldly speaking and acting for the unborn.

New Abortion Law in Nebraska on Fetal Pain Could Weaken Roe v. Wade Further

by Steven Ertelt Editor
April 13, 2010

Lincoln, NE ( -- The Nebraska legislature has signed off on a bill that Governor Dave Heineman will sign today that could head to the courts and ultimately weaken further the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision that has resulted in 52 million abortions. The bill bans abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy based on the well-established concept of fetal pain.

By a vote of 44-5, the Nebraska unicameral legislature this morning gave final passage to the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act introduced by Speaker Mike Flood.

The legislation has been hailed by pro-life advocates across the country for its innovative approach and focusing the public's attention on unborn babies who have been medically documented as pain capable at 20 weeks gestation.

National Right to Life attorney Mary Spaulding Balch told that the bill could make its way to the Supreme Court to alter national abortion law further and set a wide-ranging precedent.

"Although it will be a case of first impression, there are strong grounds to believe that five members of the current U.S. Supreme Court would give serious consideration to Nebraska’s assertion of a compelling state interest in preserving the life of an unborn child whom substantial medical evidence indicates is capable of feeling pain during an abortion," she said.

The ban on partial-birth abortions that made its way to the Supreme Court twice brought home the pro-life message that abortion kills an unborn child and was responsible for shifting public opinion on abortion squarely into the pro-life category.

It also paved the way for states to, for the first time since Roe, ban at least some abortions.

The Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act could see the same group of five members of the Supreme Court uphold it as constitutional and allow more abortions to be prohibited.

Balch says the genius of the measure is the scientific fact that unborn children can feel pain.

"By 20 weeks after fertilization, unborn children have pain receptors throughout their body, and nerves link these to the brain," she told "These unborn children recoil from painful stimulation, which also dramatically increases their release of stress hormones. Doctors performing fetal surgery at and after 20 weeks now routinely use fetal anesthesia."

The pro-life attorney rebutted the response from pro-abortion groups that unborn children cannot feel pain until later in pregnancy when nerves reach the cerebral cortex.

“Since 2007, medical research, triggered by the identification of consciousness in children lacking a cortex from birth, has indicated that nerve connection to the cortex is not essential to experience pain. In fact, informed specialists have concluded that the subcortical plate, to which nerves from the pain receptors are linking at 20 weeks, fulfills that function," she explained.

A first of its kind in the United States, the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act prohibits abortion after 20 weeks gestation except when the mother "has a condition which so complicates her medical condition as to necessitate the abortion of her pregnancy to avert death or to avert serious risk of substantial or irreversible physical impairment of a major bodily function is necessary to preserve the life of an unborn child."

Ironically, Nebraska's partial-birth abortion ban led to the first Supreme Court case, in 2000, that declared the ban unconstitutional.

The high court, after member changes, came back recently and overturned that decision in a new case concerning a national partial-birth abortion ban Congress passed.

When looking at abortion case law, NRLC says it hopes a new analysis can be established that would ultimately lead to overturning Roe.

Balch says the pro-life group wants the Supreme Court to redraw the line away from the viability standard about when abortions can be prohibited.

“What I would like to bring to the attention of the court is, there is another line,” Balch said. “This new knowledge is something the court has not looked at before and should look at.”

Fetal pain is not a new concept and the leading national expert on the topic confirms unborn children definitely have the capacity to feel intense pain during an abortion.

Dr. Kanwaljeet Anand of the University of Arkansas Medical Center has said he and other specialists in development of unborn children have shown that babies feel pain before birth as early as 20 weeks into the pregnancy.

Anand said many medical studies conclude that unborn babies are "very likely" to be "extremely sensitive to pain during the gestation of 20 to 30 weeks."

"This is based on multiple lines of evidence," Dr. Anand said. "Not just the lack of descending inhibitory fibers, but also the number of receptors in the skin, the level of expression of various chemicals, neurotransmitters, receptors, and things like that."

Anand explained that later-term abortion procedures, such as a partial-birth abortion "would be likely to cause severe pain."

Dr. Jean Wright, an anesthesiologist specializing in Pediatric Critical Care Medicine, has also confirmed the existence of fetal pain during Congressional testimony.

“[A]n unborn fetus after 20 weeks of gestation, has all the prerequisite anatomy, physiology, hormones, neurotransmitters, and electrical current to close the loop and create the conditions needed to perceive pain. In a fashion similar to explaining the electrical wiring to a new house, we would explain that the circuit is complete from skin to brain and back," she said.

And Dr. Richard T.F. Schmidt, past President of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, confirms, “It can be clearly demonstrated that fetuses seek to evade certain stimuli in a manner which an infant or an adult would be interpreted as a reaction to pain.”

An April 2004 Zogby poll shows that 77% of Americans back "laws requiring that women who are 20 weeks or more along in their pregnancy be given information about fetal pain before having an abortion."

Only 16 percent disagreed with such a proposal, according to the poll, commissioned by the National Right to Life Committee.


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