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.


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