Uncommon Sense

politics and society are, unfortunately, much the same thing

Report: 2015 Saw ‘Most Violent’ Persecution of Christians in Modern History

original article: Report: 2015 Saw ‘Most Violent’ Persecution of Christians in Modern History
January 20, 2016 by THOMAS D. WILLIAMS

The brutal, worldwide persecution of Christians during the past year makes 2015 “the most violent and sustained attack on Christian faith in modern history,” according to a watchdog organization that has been monitoring Christian persecution for decades.

Open Doors, an organization founded in 1955 to assist persecuted Christians, publishes an annual “World Watch List,” documenting attacks on Christians and ranking the most hostile national environments for believers.

“The 2016 World Watch List documents an unprecedented escalation of violence against Christians, making this past year the most violent and sustained attack on Christian faith in modern history,” Open Doors CEO David Curry said at the rollout of the list.

Persecution in “continuing to increase, intensify and spread across the globe,” he said.

At the top of the Watch List, for the 14th consecutive year, stands North Korea, where an estimated 50,000 to 70,000 Christians are imprisoned in labor camps. Carrying on as one of the last holdouts of Communist totalitarianism, North Korea bears a particular hatred for Christians, who are a constant reminder of accountability to a higher power than the state.

“Christianity is not only seen as ‘opium for the people’ as is normal for all communist states,” the report says. “It is also seen as deeply Western and despicable.” During 2015, thousands of Christians living in North Korea were forced to renounce their faith or flee under threat of death.

As in the case with last year’s report, the vast majority of countries experiencing acute Christian persecution are Muslim nations. In 2015, nine out of the top ten countries where Christians suffer “extreme persecution” had populations that are at least 50 percent Muslim, a phenomenon replicated in 2016.

The 2015 report found that “Islamic extremism is by far the most significant persecution engine” of Christians in the world today and that “40 of the 50 countries on the World Watch List are affected by this kind of persecution.”

The 2016 list places Iraq in second place, immediately after North Korea, with horrific Islamic violence dominating news headlines during 2015. Throughout the year, Christians were forced to flee their homes by the thousands or be killed.

Just this week, the United Nations released an extensive report on Islamic State violence in Iraq, and estimates that ISIS currently holds some 3,500 people, mostly women and children, in the country.

The report, jointly issued by U.N. Assistance Mission for Iraq and U.N. human rights office in Geneva, declared ISIS atrocities in Iraq to be “war crimes, crimes against humanity, and possibly genocide.”

Some of the crimes described in the report include executions by shooting, beheading, bulldozing, burning alive and throwing people off the top of buildings.

The other nations making the top ten in Christian persecution are Eritrea, Afghanistan, Syria, Pakistan, Somalia, Sudan, Iran, and Libya, all of which have Muslim majorities.

The report underscores the geographical extent of Christian persecution, and Curry highlighted the global nature of the problem, noting that it has become more acute not just in a few isolated regions, but “in every continent in every country.”

“The levels of exclusion, discrimination and violence against Christians is unprecedented, spreading and intensifying,” Curry added. “Christians, longing to stay in their home countries, are being forced to flee for their lives and for their children’s lives,” he said.

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LGBT Activist Group Announces Radical Agenda to Eliminate Religious Freedom Protections

original article: LGBT Activist Group Announces Radical Agenda to Eliminate Religious Freedom Protections
October 20, 2015 by Anna Pfaff

Following the Supreme Court’s decision legalizing same-sex marriage, LGBT activists have decided that they’re not finished. The largest organization working to advance the LGBT agenda recently announced its newest set of goals for the upcoming months—goals which, according to the Witherspoon Institute, include “the most invasive threat to religious liberty ever proposed.”

At the 2015 Chicago gala last weekend, Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin unveiled three new areas of focus: passing the Equality Act, stopping the First Amendment Defense Act (FADA), and further “activating the LGBT vote.”

The Equality Act seeks to amend the 1964 Civil Rights Act to add “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” to federal non-discrimination laws.  If it passes, its “sweeping effects on religious liberty, free speech, and freedom of conscience would be historic.” The act would essentially elevate sexual orientation and gender identity to the level of race, therefore equating any dissenters with racists and bigots. It creates a “new form of discrimination” by socially isolating those with a traditional belief in marriage and sexuality.

The Equality Act would also have a devastating effect on protections for individuals and businesses who find it a violation of conscience to provide services for wedding ceremonies. It would prohibit the denial of any good or service to persons on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity but makes no distinction between baking a cake for a birthday party and baking a cake for a wedding ceremony.

Moreover, the Equality Act would cut the legs out from under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, barring any individuals, businesses, educational institutions, or religious institutions from appealing to RFRA. The actual effects of the supposed “equality” in the act mean a great inequality at the expense of religious freedom.

To put the nail in the coffin on conscientious objectors, the HRC is also making it a goal to prevent the passage of the First Amendment Defense Act, which would prohibit the federal government from discriminating against persons who still understand marriage as between one man and one woman.

In order to make all of this happen, the HRC is working to “activate the LGBT vote.” Griffin announced to the gala crowd that the 10 million LGBT voters is a higher number than the margin of victory in the past several presidential races.

“In other words,” Griffin said, “we have the power to decide elections.”

There is a real legislative battle on the horizon—our presidential candidates must show that they are ready.

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Does Obama deny religious oppression happens?

We’ve seen people accused of denying racism exists merely for acknowledging the social progress we’ve fought for. We’ve seen people accused of denying black deaths at the hands of cops merely by acknowledging black on black crime is far worse. We’ve seen people accused of denying rape happens merely for acknowledging the many fraudulent cases of rape allegations were in fact fraudulent allegations. We’ve seen people accused of denying the climate is changeable merely for acknowledging the climate has been changing for as long as the planet has existed.

So please excuse me if, by the standards current in place, it seems to me President Obama denies religious oppression happens.

Obama to Christian Novelist Marilynne Robinson: ‘Folks Who Take Religion the Most Seriously’ Often ‘Suspicious’ of Others

Obama: What really concerns me are those “less-than-loving expressions by Christians”

Again Muslim terrorists murder people, Obama wants to defend Islam

There is clearly a different attitude taken by the Obama administration and liberals in general between Islam and any other religion. While mass murder is not only old hat for Islam but is currently increasing around the world, the Obama admin is more concerned about anyone who could be perceived as the political right.

President reserves judgement for Fort Hood assassin, but not for Cambridge Cop

DHS seems confused on terror threat at home

Are You An ‘Extremist’ According To This Definition?

Perhaps it is not that religious people are suspicious of people who are different from them. Perhaps they merely recognize the double standard and obvious Islamic sympathy being institutionalized in American culture. But, according to the current standards, to acknowledge this reality is tantamount to Islamophobia. And to acknowledge the blatant anti-Christian (but conspicuously absent anti-Islamic) bias in our increasingly gay-friendly society is tantamount to homophobia. Maybe anyone who finds themselves disagreeing with Obama on any issue has good reason to be suspicious.

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ACLU targets Louisiana high school

original article: ACLU targeting Louisiana school over educator’s ‘God Bless You’ greeting
September 27, 2015 by Fox News

The ACLU of Louisiana is accusing a high school of promoting Christianity in an open letter on Friday because a student group hung prayer boxes and the principal ended an online letter with “May God Bless You All.”

Louisiana ACLU Executive Director Marjorie Esman said in a letter published by the Shreveport Times that Airline High School violated the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution by allowing the Fellowship of Christian Athletes to set up prayer boxes that feature “Christian Symbols.” Esman’s letter also noted Principal Jason Rowland closed a September 2015 message to the school’s website with “The Future Starts Today – May God Bless You All.”

“The United States Constitution requires public schools to ensure that state-supported activity is not used for religious indoctrination,” the letter, which was addressed to superintendent D.C. Machen, states. It alleges that Rowland also “encouraged students to ‘pray to the Almighty God.’”

No official action will occur until the school board meets on Oct.1, but the claims addressed in the letter have already been placed on the meeting’s agenda, according to the Shreveport Times.

“In the meantime, please understand that the Bossier Parish School System enjoys an established record of achievement,” a statement from Parish spokeswoman Sonja Bailes said. “Such success is due in large part to the fact that, as in this case, the system respects both the law and the religious beliefs of all its students and employees.”

While school officials are holding their tongues for the time being, other state groups and officials have begun speaking out.

Louisiana State Rep. Mike Johnson, R-Bossier City, has offered free legal services to the Parish and Rowland, according to the Times.

“This is typical of the ACLU,” he said. “They’re on a seek-and-destroy mission for all things religious.”

He added: “I hope the school will stand its ground.”

Freedom Guard, a non-profit public interest law firm, has also offered free legal defense to Airline High School, according to KSLA.

Airline High School is in Bossier City, which lies east of Red River, about 3 miles from Shreveport.

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Say Goodbye to Bride and Groom in Florida

original article: Say Goodbye to Bride and Groom in Florida
September 28, 2015 by Michael Brown

N. T. Wright is one of the most world’s foremost New Testament scholars, a sober-minded man not given to extreme rhetoric. Yet when it came to the question of redefining marriage, Wright did not hold back, explaining how dangerous it is to change the fundamental meaning of words:

“When anybody—pressure groups, governments, civilizations—suddenly change the meaning of key words, you really should watch out. If you go to a German dictionary and just open at random, you may well see several German words which have a little square bracket saying ‘N.S.,’ meaning National Socialist or Nazi. The Nazis gave those words a certain meaning. In post-1917 Russia, there were whole categories of people who were called “former persons,” because by the Communist diktat they had ceased to be relevant for the state, and once you call them former persons it was extremely easy to ship them off somewhere and have them killed.”

He continued, “It’s like a government voting that black should be white. Sorry, you can vote that if you like, you can pass it by a total majority, but it isn’t actually going to change the reality.”

That’s why I have often said that once you redefine marriage, you render it meaningless.

It would be like saying a couple can now consist of five people, or a pair can refer to one item, or a tricycle can have two wheels.

Redefining those terms doesn’t change reality, and when it comes to marriage, if you don’t have the two essential components, namely a husband and a wife, you don’t have marriage.

Consequently, if you change the fundamental meaning of marriage, you change the meaning of husband and wife as well.

As I pointed out last year in an article entitled, “I Now Pronounce You Spouse and Spouse,” as England began to move towards redefining marriage, the Daily Telegraph reported that, “The word ‘husband’ will in future be applied to women and the word ‘wife’ will refer to men, the Government has decided.”

According to John Bingham, “Civil servants have overruled the Oxford English Dictionary and hundreds years of common usage effectively abolishing the traditional meaning of the words for spouses.”

In the government’s proposed guidelines, “‘husband’ here will include a man or a woman in a same sex marriage, as well as a man married to a woman. In a similar way, ‘wife’ will include a woman married to another woman or a man married to a man.”

So, a man could be a wife if married to another man (or not), while a woman could be a husband if married to another woman (or not), all of which begs the question: Why use words at all if they have utterly lost their meaning? It’s like saying that up is down (or up) and down is up (or down), while north is south (or north) and south is north (or south).

In the same article, I cited the Huffington Post, which reported that “California’s same-sex couples may now be pronounced spouse and spouse after Gov. Jerry Brown (D) signed a bill [last] Monday eliminating outdated ‘husband and wife’ references from state laws.”

Not surprisingly, according to California bill AB 1951, birth certificates will have three options: “mother,” “father,” or simply “parent,” meaning that, in the case of two lesbians, one could be designated “father,” while in the case of two gay men, one could be designated “mother.” (The bill would also allow for three parents to be listed on the birth certificate, since there’s obviously a missing third party in the event of two men or two women “having” a baby.)

This means that we’ve come to a place of semantic insanity, a place where you can have male wives, female husbands, male mothers, and female fathers.

Do people really think you can just turn the world upside down without having any adverse effects?

In keeping with this social madness, the state of Florida recently changed its marriage certificates, removing the terms “bride” and “groom” and replacing them with “spouse.”

This goes hand in hand with other international trends. As I pointed out in 2011, “In Ontario, Canada, as a result of the legalization of same-sex marriage, all references to terms like husband, wife, and widow were removed from the law books in 2005. In Spain, birth certificates were changed from ‘Father’ and ‘Mother’ to ‘Progenitor A’ and ‘Progenitor B.’”

But of course!

That’s why principle #4 in my new book is: Refuse to Redefine Marriage, since, to repeat, once you redefine marriage, you render it meaningless.

The Supreme Court can gives its ruling; laws can be passed; public opinion can shift and turn, but that doesn’t mean we have to affirm it, participate in it or, God forbid, celebrate it.

But all is not lost. True marriage – natural marriage, marriage the way God intended it from the beginning (see Jesus’ words in Matthew 19:4-6) – will endure, while radically redefined marriage will undo itself.

I was reminded of this as I watched some baby dedications at a church service on Sunday, with the proud moms and dads holding their precious little ones in their arms: There’s no substitute for marriage and family the way God set it up, regardless of what Florida or California or England or Spain or Canada might say.

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ACLU fights against school choice; is it because of anti-religious bias?

original article: ACLU Files Lawsuit to Block School Choice for Nevada Children
August 27, 2015 by Lindsey Burke

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has just filed a lawsuit intended to block students from participating in Nevada’s groundbreaking near-universal education savings account (ESA) option. The ESA option was signed into law this spring by Gov. Brian Sandoval, R-Nev., and began accepting applications a few weeks ago.

More than 2,200 parents have already applied to participate in the ESA option, which provides students with a portion (roughly $5,100 annually) of the funds that would have been spent on them in their public school in an ESA account that they can then use to pay for a variety of education-related services, products, and providers.

They can use their ESA to pay for private school tuition, online learning, special education services and therapies, textbooks, curricula, and a host of other education-related expenditures. As the name implies, parents can also save unused funds, rolling dollars over from year-to-year to pay for future education costs.

The ACLU’s lawsuit alleges that the ESA program “violates the Nevada Constitution’s prohibition against the use of public money for sectarian (religious) purposes.” Yet ESA funds go directly to parents, who can then choose from any education option that is right for their child.

The Foundation for Excellence in Education explains that the Arizona Court of Appeals noted in a similar case in 2013,

“The ESA does not result in an appropriation of public money to encourage the preference of one religion over another, or religion per se over no religion. Any aid to religious schools would be a result of the genuine and independent private choices of the parents. The parents are given numerous ways in which they can educate their children suited to the needs of each child with no preference given to religious or nonreligious schools or programs.”

The Institute for Justice, which will be defending the ESA option, is confident it does not violate the state’s constitution.

Tim Keller, a senior attorney with the Institute for Justice, declared that,

“Nevada’s Education Savings Account (ESA) Program was enacted to help parents and children whose needs are not being met in their current public schools, and we will work with them to intervene in this lawsuit and defeat it.”

“The United States Supreme Court, as well as numerous state supreme courts, have already held that educational choice programs, like Nevada’s ESA Program, are constitutional. We expect the same from Nevada courts.”

Education director for the Goldwater Institute, Jonathan Butcher, had this to say,

“Every child deserves the chance at a great education and the opportunity to pursue the American Dream. Lawsuits such as this challenge parents’ ability to help their children succeed,”

“Nevada has a unique law that makes flexible learning options available to every child attending a public school and a treasurer that has committed his team to listening to public comments and designing a successful education savings account program. Opponents should give students the chance to succeed with these accounts.”

Education savings accounts are one of the most promising paths forward on choice in education. They enable families to direct every single dollar of their child’s state per-pupil funding that is deposited into their account to a wide variety of education options. Arizona became the first state, in 2011, to enact the ESA model.

Today, five states, including Arizona, Mississippi, Tennessee, Florida, and Nevada have ESAs in place, with Nevada’s being notable because it will be available to every single child currently enrolled in a public school. It is the first program universally available to all public school students. Arizona, which has the longest-running ESA option, has had great success for participating families.

As Marc Ashton, father to Max Ashton who is legally blind and used the ESA prior to finishing high school explained,

“A blind student in Arizona gets about $21,000 a year. That $21,000 represents what Arizona spends to educate a student such as Max in the public-school system.”

“We took our 90 percent of that, paid for Max to get the best education in Arizona, plus all of his Braille, all of his technology, and then there was still money left over to put toward his college education,” Marc explains. “So he is going to be able to go on to Loyola Marymount University, because we were able to save money, even while sending him to the best school in Arizona, out of what the state would normally pay for him.”

That type of customization and innovation is what the ACLU is threatening now in Nevada. It’s a shame that special interest groups continue to threaten choice in education, when choice is what is needed so badly, for so many.

Do we need a separation between school and state?

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HATE WINS: OREGON STATE ISSUES GAG ORDER AGAINST OPPOSING GAY MARRIAGE

original article: HATE WINS: OREGON STATE ISSUES GAG ORDER AGAINST OPPOSING GAY MARRIAGE
July 3, 2015 by John Nolte

In a sign of the overt fascism and religious persecution to come in the wake of a Left emboldened by the Supreme Court’s recent gay marriage ruling, a judge in Oregon has issued a gag order denying two Christian bakery owners from speaking out against same sex marriage.

“The Commissioner of the Bureau of Labor and Industries hereby orders [Aaron and Melissa Klein] to cease and desist from publishing, circulating, issuing or displaying, or causing to be published … any communication to the effect that any of the accommodations … will be refused, withheld from or denied to, or that any discrimination be made against, any person on account of their sexual orientation,” [Administrative Law Judge Alan] Avakian wrote.

The gag order is meant to stop Aaron and Melissa Klein from publicly speaking out about their desire to not bake cakes for same sex weddings. The State’s order came after the Kleins were interviewed by the Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins, and after the State fined the Kleins $135,000 for “emotional damages” incurred by a lesbian couple after the Kleins refused to bake their wedding cake.

That this kind of fascist oppression was always the endgame in the Left’s push for same sex marriage, was apparent to anyone familiar with the Left’s tactics.

The push for same sex marriage was always nothing more the Left’s sheep’s clothing in a crusade to destroy Christians and the Christian Church.

By adhering to the word of God, the Left will label Christians bigots and haters, and use the power of boycotts and the State to punish and silence us.

Now that gay marriage is the law of the land, the gay-pride flag will become the fascist banner under which any Church that doesn’t perform same sex marriages will be dismantled piece-by-piece. The tools used by the Gaystapo will include coordinated hate campaigns in the media, as well as political campaigns aimed at removing the Church’s tax exempt status.

Christians and conservatives who never believed this could happen are part of the problem.

1995: We don’t want marriage, just civil unions.

2005: Our marriage won’t affect your rights.

2014: Bake me a cake, or else.

2015: Your opinion against same sex marriage is illegal.

Moreover, it is not discrimination to not want to be forced by the State to participate in and profit from what Christians correctly see as the sacramentalization of sin, which is what a same sex marriage ceremony is. Christians believe our very soul is at stake.

Besides the State, the true bigoted oppressor here is the fascist lesbian couple demanding Christians be silenced by the State, but only after demanding the State force a small business owner into celebrating their marriage.

Oh, and happy Independence Day.

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So gay marriage doesn’t affect anyone else, hmm?

For the short sighted members of society who think the Supreme Court’s creation of a new right (changing what marriage means) will have no effect on anyone else, here’s a great example of what “allowing gays to marry” really means: it means forcing everyone to accept it. I guess diversity of opinion is not included in the definition of diversity. So much or pluralism, and that old fashioned First Amendment thing.

original article: ABC/Univision Network Editor: Tax ‘Fanatical,’ ‘Bigoted’ Churches June 30, 2015 by Matthew Balan On Monday, Fusion senior editor Felix Salmon echoed New York Times writer Mark Oppenheimer’s call for the end of the tax exemption of religious institutions, but took it one step further: he called for the specific targeting of churches that “remain steadfastly bigoted on the subject” of same-sex “marriage.” Salmon contended on Fusion.net that “if your organization does not support the right of gay men and women to marry, then the government should be very clear that you’re in the wrong. And it should certainly not bend over backwards to give you the privilege of tax exemption.” The former Reuters financial blogger, who left in 2014 to work for Fusion (a joint project between ABC and Univision), began his article, “Does your church ban gay marriage? Then it should start paying taxes,” by underlining that “now that the US government formally recognizes marriage equality as a fundamental right, it really shouldn’t skew the tax code so as to give millions of dollars in tax breaks to groups which remain steadfastly bigoted on the subject. I’m talking, of course, about churches.” Salmon, a native of the United Kingdom, asserted that “for all that the US Constitution mandates the separation of church and state, the two do overlap in quite a few areas…One of those areas is taxation: the US government subsidizes churches to the tune of many billions of dollars per year by giving them tax-exempt status.” He added that “it’s important to note that the tax exemption for churches and other religious organizations is not embedded in the Constitution…Taxation is a purely secular affair, and by default it applies to everybody equally, whether they’re a religious institution or not.” The Fusion senior editor argued that “it would be unconstitutional to single out religious institutions to make them pay more tax than anybody else, but the government has every right to stop giving them special tax-free privileges.” But he soon contradicted himself, as he made it clear that he supported punishing “bigoted” churches who oppose same-sex “marriage:”

It’s abundantly clear that religious institutions have no right to tax exemption. Most famously, in 1983, Bob Jones University lost its tax-exempt status when it continued to ban interracial dating….In the Bob Jones case, the US government made a very important statement. It’s not enough, they said, to support the right of interracial couples to date and get married; it’s also important to register official disapproval of any organizations which fail to support that right. To be given exemption from paying taxes is a special privilege bestowed by the state on deserving organizations. But there’s nothing deserving about an organization which bans interracial dating. So, the state is entirely within its powers to remove that privilege. The same argument can and should be applied to gay marriage. If your organization does not support the right of gay men and women to marry, then the government should be very clear that you’re in the wrong. And it should certainly not bend over backwards to give you the privilege of tax exemption.

Salmon then brushed aside religious liberty concerns, and had the audacity to suggest to conservative that they should support his attack on dissenting religious groups:

We have religious freedom in this country, and any religious organization is entirely free to espouse whatever crazy views it likes. But when those views are fanatical and hurtful, they come into conflict with the views of any honorable legislator who believes in freedom and equality. And at that point, it makes perfect sense for our elected representatives to register their disapproval by abolishing the tax exemption for organizations who cling to narrow-minded and anachronistic views. Conservatives should not object. The libertarian position here is simple and clear: everybody has freedom of conscience, including religious organizations; the tax code should apply equally to all; and the government should not be in the business of “picking winners”, and deciding who does and who doesn’t qualify for tax exemptions. So, abolish tax exemption for all religious organizations, whether they support gay marriage or not. Religion is concerned with spiritual matters; when it comes to taxes, the general principle is “give unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s”. Which is to say, give to the country’s secular monetary authorities that which you owe in tax.

The writer concluded by claiming that “it is entirely right and proper for the state to say to a church that if you want to thumb your nose at a fundamental right which is held by all Americans, then we are not going to privilege you with tax-free status. We’ll let you practice your bigotry, at least within the confines of your own church. But we’re not about to reward you for doing so.”

Contrast Salmon’s attitude with this story:

Jorge Ramos to Ted Cruz: ‘Aren’t You Discriminating’ Against Gays by Opposing SCOTUS Ruling?
July 1, 2015 by Connor Williams

or with this one:

The Shocking Proportion of Americans Who Believe That ‘Religious Institutions or Clergy’ Should Be Forced to Perform Gay Weddings
July 1, 2015 by Billy Hallowell

or this one:

HATE WINS: OREGON STATE ISSUES GAG ORDER AGAINST OPPOSING GAY MARRIAGE
J
uly 3, 2015 by John Nolte

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Student Bullied by Anti-Religious Hostility at University of Wisconsin

original article: Student Bullied by Anti-Religious Hostility at University of Wisconsin
June 24, 2015 by Liberty Counsel

Baraboo, WI – Liberty Counsel demanded the University of Wisconsin reverse its professor’s viewpoint discrimination and open hostility toward religion that occurred when Professor Annette Kuhlman threatened her student, Rachel Langeberg, with a failing grade for a group project unless she removed a Bible reference from a class presentation at the University of Wisconsin-Baraboo/Sauk County.

When reviewing Langeberg’s sociology group project, Professor Kuhlman wrote, “…the University of Wisconsin is a secular institution. Religious contemplations and the bible [sic] belong to a different realm and not academic sources. So your argumentation along Christian lines, including the slides you designed in relation to it, are [sic] inappropriate for this presentation. I will not allow you to present unless you change this. You will also fail your presentation if your discuss religion in connection with it.” After Ms. Langeberg tried to resolve the matter by meeting with the professor and Dean Tracy White, to no avail, she contacted Liberty Counsel.

“Dr. Kuhlman’s review crossed the line from scholarship to censorship,” said Liberty Counsel Attorney Richard Mast. On numerous occasions, the Supreme Court has upheld students’ First Amendment rights in the public schools. The Constitution does not “require complete separation of church and state; it affirmatively mandates accommodation, not merely tolerance, of all religions, and forbids hostility toward any.” Lynch v. Donnelly. Moreover, “teachers must be sensitive to students’ personal beliefs and take care not to abuse their positions of authority.” Farnan v. Capistrano.

“Students do not lose their First Amendment rights when they sign up for classes at the University of Wisconsin,” said Mast. “It is blatantly unconstitutional to restrict student religious speech or threaten a failing grade for religious content, where the speech or content is otherwise academically appropriate for the assignment,” Mast concluded.

Liberty Counsel is an international nonprofit, litigation, education, and policy organization dedicated to advancing religious freedom, the sanctity of life, and the family since 1989, by providing pro bono assistance and representation on these and related topics.

We need a separation between school and state.

abuse, anti-religion, bias, bigotry, bullies, censorship, christian, discrimination, education, first amendment, free speech, freedom, government, hate speech, hypocrisy, ideology, intolerance, oppression, political correctness, public policy, relativism, religion, scandal, separation

Filed under: abuse, anti-religion, bias, bigotry, bullies, censorship, christian, discrimination, education, first amendment, free speech, freedom, government, hate speech, hypocrisy, ideology, intolerance, oppression, political correctness, public policy, relativism, religion, scandal, separation

Air Force general court-martialed for speaking about God?

original article: Air Force general who spoke of God in talk should be court-martialed, group says
May 17, 2015 by Fox News

An Air Force general who recently spoke about how God has guided his career should be court-martialed, a civil liberties group is saying.

In a speech at a National Day of Prayer Task Force event on May 7, Maj. Gen. Craig Olson credits God for his accomplishments in the military, and refers to himself as a “redeemed believer in Christ.”

The Air Force Times reports that the Military Religious Freedom Foundation has taken issue with Olson’s remarks, is calling for the two-star general to be court-martialed and “aggressively and very visibly brought to justice for his unforgivable crimes and transgressions.”

The group authored a letter to Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Walsh, arguing that Olson’s speech violates rules within the Air Force, which prohibits airmen from endorsing a particular faith or belief.

The letter, posted on the group’s website, begins, “This demand letter is sent to you on behalf of countless members of the United States Air Force who are utterly disgusted and shocked by the brazenly illicit and wholly unconstitutional, fundamentalist Christian proselytizing recently perpetrated, on international television (“GOD TV”), and streaming all over the Internet and in full military uniform, by USAF Major General Craig S. Olson on Thursday, May 7, 2015 during a VERY public speech for a private Christian organization (The “National Day of Prayer Task Force”: NDPTF) headed up by Focus on the Family founder, Dr. James Dobson’s, wife Shirley Dobson. “

“. . . disgusted and shocked by the brazenly illicit and wholly unconstitutional, fundamentalist Christian proselytizing . . .”

– letter from Military Religious Freedom Foundation

The group, which believes that the American flag and the U.S. Constitution are the only religious symbol and scripture, respectively, for those who serve in the military, also wants other service members who helped Olson to be investigated and punished “to the full extent of military law.”

During Olson’s 23-minute talk, the Air Force Times reports, Olson spoke of “flying complex aircraft; doing complex nuclear missions — I have no ability to do that. God enabled me to do that.”

“He put me in charge of failing programs worth billions of dollars,” Olson said. “I have no ability to do that, no training to do that. God did that. He sent me to Iraq to negotiate foreign military sales deals through an Arabic interpreter. I have no ability to do that. I was not trained to do that. God did all of that.”

At the end of his speech, Olson asked those in attendance to pray for Defense Department leaders and troops preparing to be deployed.

Olson is the program executive officer at Hanscom Air Force Base in Massachusetts, where he is responsible for more than 2,200 personnel, according to the U.S. Air Force website. He was commissioned in 1982 following graduation from the U.S. Air Force Academy and has extensive operational, flight test and acquisition experience.

abuse, anti-religion, bias, bigotry, bullies, censorship, discrimination, extremism, first amendment, free speech, government, ideology, intolerance, military, oppression, philosophy, political correctness, progressive, relativism, religion, separation, video

Filed under: abuse, anti-religion, bias, bigotry, bullies, censorship, discrimination, extremism, first amendment, free speech, government, ideology, intolerance, military, oppression, philosophy, political correctness, progressive, relativism, religion, separation, video

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