Monthly Archives: October 2014
The city of Coeur d’ Alene in Idaho became the center of a major religious freedom battle after the city said it would force the pastor of a small wedding chapel to perform same-sex wedding ceremonies.
The Hitching Post is a for-profit wedding chapel that is owned and operated by devout Christians, the Knapps. After a non-discrimination ordinance was passed in the city the local city council told the Knapps they would have to perform same-sex ceremonies in order to comply with the ordinance.
The Knapps, in adhering to their religious convictions, said they would refuse to perform such ceremonies as they would violate their religious convictions. The city told them they could face massive fines and jail time for refusal. The Knapps didn’t back down.
After igniting national outrage the city has reversed their decision and said the Knapps will NOT have to perform same-sex ceremonies. A recent article at Christian Today says:
This story has been all over the news and for good reason. The warnings against marriage redefinition have been numerous and strong and yet no one ever thought we would get to this point. Here we are. A pastor has been told that he must perform same-sex weddings at his chapel of face hefty fines and even prison for violating the city’s non-discrimination ordinance. Below is a roundup of notable voices regarding this story. Two videos are posted at the end of this post.
Fox News: City threatens to arrest ministers who refuse to perform same-sex weddings
“Alliance Defending Freedom is representing Donald and Evelyn Knapp, ordained ministers who own the Hitching Post Wedding Chapel in Coeur d’Alene…According to the lawsuit, the wedding chapel is registered with the state as a ‘religious corporation’ limited to performing ‘one-man-one-woman marriages as defined by the Holy Bible.’ But the chapel is also registered as a for-profit business – not as a church or place of worship – and city officials said that means the owners must comply with a local nondiscrimination ordinance.”
Considering we live in a sex-obsessed world it is not often that a major media outlet celebrates the decision of
Dean Inserra recently wrote an article for the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission that was also published on the Speak Up movement blog. In the post Inserra says that four kinds of churches exist when it comes to dealing with homosexuality: the Macklemore Church, the Wrecking Ball Church, the M.C. Hammer Church, and the Ring of Fire Church.
Take a peek at Inserra’s description of each church and ask yourself, Which do I belong to?” But don’t forget to ask yourself which is the most biblical, Gospel-centric church. If you’re not at that one it might be time to make a change.
The Macklemore Church
The Macklemore Church just simply thinks the Bible is outdated, or just plain wrong on homosexuality. This church has been on the fringe left end of the spectrum, but recently exists in some traditional mainline circles.
The news that Mayor Annise Parker of Houston, Texas subpoenaed the sermons and other communications from several pastors after the passage and attempted repeal of a controversial “bathroom bill” in the city has become a national matter.
Bathroom bills are dangerous, to say the least. Typically a bathroom bill will allow a man to use the women’s bathroom, locker room, or other facilities (and vice versa) based on little more than a perceived gender identity. In other words a man can simply say that he is a woman and be allowed to use the women’s facilities. The dangers of such bills seem obvious to everyone but the activists pushing for their passage.
When the Houston bathroom bill was being proposed by the city many pastors spoke out against it and even encouraged their congregations to oppose the bill. Such speech is not merely appropriate for a pastor inside his church it is constitutionally protected speech. But that didn’t stop the city of Houston and Mayor Annise Parker from subpoenaing the sermons, emails, and other communication of these pastors.
That’s when people across the country got mad.
The Supreme Court has rejected appeals form five states, Indiana, Oklahoma, Utah, Virginia, and Wisconsin, regarding the issue of marriage. This, effectively, legalizes same-sex “marriage” in those states. Some believe the issue of marriage is destined for a ruling from the Supreme Court and this appeals rejection could signal how the court will rule. Up to this point the court has stopped short of legalizing same-sex “marriage” for all 50 states, but this appeals rejection opens up speculation on what the court will do in the future.
Besides legalizing same-sex “marriage” in the five states seeking appeal to the Supreme Court, this decision will effectively legalize same-sex “marriage” in at least 6 other states in those appeals court jurisdictions, including West Virginia.
Concerning this decision by the Supreme Court ChristianNews.com recently wrote:
Do you believe that life begins at conception?
Do you believe that every child, from conception to birth should be vigorously defended?
Do you believe that abortion on demand is cruel, evil, sinful, or wrong?
Did you know that you only believe those things because you are a simplistic minion incapable of intelligent, independent thought that has been brainwashed by “evil pro-lifers”?
That is the conclusion of a new book proudly advocating abortion on demand and the book review given by a staunch abortion supporter.
The book is “Pro: Reclaiming Abortion Rights” by Katha Pollitt. The book has received glowing reviews from the usual sources in mainstream media. But one in particular, Slate’s Hanna Rosin, is particularly excited about the book.
Most people have never heard of the Johnson Amendment. For that matter as soon as you say IRS code you will lose most of your audience. Nevertheless, this one amendment has had a significant impact on churches and, as a result, on society as a whole.
The Johnson Amendment was inserted into the IRS code in 1954 as a way to limit the speech of pastors and churches regarding elections, political campaigns, and social and political issues. Taking a cue from the fictitious “separation of church and state,” the Johnson Amendment seeks to control the speech of America’s pastors because of the influence they wield.
No doubt the effects of the Johnson Amendment are clear today. At one time America’s pastors took a leading role in education their congregations regarding political issues and candidates, now, most pulpits are silent.
The most recent example of course is the subpoena of pastor’s sermons in the city of Houston. Now called “The Houston 5,” a group of pastors that openly opposed the city’s transgender bathroom bill have been asked by the city to turn over all sermons, speeches, and communications relating to the bill and Mayor Annise Parker.
That statement should be terrifying to anyone that believes in the First Amendment and both free speech and religious freedom. To think that any government agency would consider – let alone follow through – asking pastors to turn over sermons is egregious at best. Sen. Ted Cruz reminded the city of Houston that “Caesar has no jurisdiction over the pulpit” in his comments at a press conference with pastors and religious freedom advocates:
“Caesar has no jurisdiction over the pulpit. And when you subpoena one pastor, you subpoena every pastor.”
Apparently a city in Idaho is taking this sentiment literally by demanding that a pastor perform same-sex weddings or face fines and jail time. An article at The Daily Caller explains:
Some say Christians, and the church, are out of touch and “behind the times” regarding sexuality and marriage. They want us to “get with the program” and accept homosexual behavior and marriage redefinition.
While some have acquiesced to the demands of those seeking to redefine marriage by voicing their acceptance for homosexual behavior and marriage redefinition, that is no longer good enough. The demand now is that Christians and churches support, affirm, and cheerfully endorse such behavior. The idea of tolerance, once a pillar of the LGBT movement, has been demolished, replaced by verbal affirmation and celebration.
These demands are being made by people who believe it’s no big deal for the church to simply change centuries of doctrinal convictions. Furthermore, they would have us reject the plain text teaching of the Bible in favor of their culturally imposed position. Is such change even possible?