A Louisiana lawman is livid over the federal governmentâ€™s decision to cut off funds for two programs to help troubled young people, all, he says, Â because he refused to sign a pledge to bar prayer or any mention of God at their meetings.
Julian Whittington, the sheriff of Bossier Parish, La., told Fox News the Department of Justice Office of Civil Rights defunded $30,000 for their Young Marines chapter as well as a youth diversion program.Â Federal officials objected to a voluntary student-led prayer in the departmentâ€™s youth diversion program and an oath recited by the Young Marines that mentions God, according to Whittington, who blasted what he considers the governmentâ€™s Â â€œaggression and infringement of our religious freedoms.â€
â€œWe were informed that these are unacceptable, inherently religious activities and the Department of Justice would not be able to fund the programs if it continued,â€ Whittington told Fox News. â€œThey wanted a letter from me stating that I would no longer have voluntary prayer and I would also have to remove â€˜Godâ€™ from the Young Marineâ€™s oath.â€
â€œI flat said, â€˜Itâ€™s not going to happen,â€™â€ he told reporters. â€œEnough is enough. This is the United States of Americaâ€”and the idea that the mere mention of God or voluntary prayer is prohibited is ridiculous.â€
Whittington further emphasized that heâ€™s more concerned about the censorship than he is the lost funds.
â€œThe money is not the issue,â€ he stated. â€œItâ€™s the principle of the matter. What is going on here? Who is dictating what can or canâ€™t be said in Bossier Parish?â€
Bossier Sheriff Julian Whittington was greeted with loud applause and shouts of â€œAmenâ€ when he said he will not remove God from the Young Marines program during its 27th class graduation ceremony today.
The program has lost about $30,000 in federal funding because of a voluntary prayer cadets recite.
â€œHe doesnâ€™t need the politicians,â€ Lindea McCroix, whoâ€™s 9-year-old daughter Savannah Truelove graduated. â€œGod will take him through it.â€
The department has never received a complaint about the voluntary prayer, which states â€œâ€¦ I will set an example for all other youth to follow and I shall never do anything that would bring disgrace or dishonor upon my God, my Country and its flag, my parents, myself or the Young Marinesâ€¦â€
The prayer has been a part of the program since its inception 10 years ago. A random audit showing the federal funding sparked the controversy.
â€œWeâ€™ve never had one complaint from anybody for anything,â€ Whittington said, noting the department tried to compromise with the Department of Justice, which said God must be removed in order for federal funding to continue.
â€œI said, â€˜Keep it. Weâ€™re not doing it. Game over.â€
On Thursday the Examiner providedÂ an exclusive reportÂ indicating that theÂ Obama administrationÂ had implemented a covert program beginning in 2009 that was intended to spy on conservative, evangelical Christian churches.
That program involved infiltration — sending in government operatives to join churches for the purpose of data collection. The government snoops would keep their eyes and ears open for criticism of the Obama administration, talk of Tea Party participation, conversations about gun ownership, and a number of other issues.
But aÂ special report issued today by Fox NewsÂ indicates that the program went far beyond infiltration and snooping. The IRS was used to harass Christian churches if they were identified as places where large numbers of anti-Obama citizens congregated for worship.
The Obama administration, according to the report, considered any public criticism of administration policies to be political in nature and should therefore impact whether or not these congregations were allowed to gain or keep their tax exempt status.
What most people don’t realize is that the IRS has been acting as the speech police for decades. Ever since 1954, when then-Senator Lyndon Johnson pushed for a law enabling the IRS to punish non-profits who opposed him politically, the IRS has been in the business of government censor. Whatâ€™s worse is that one of the biggest targets of this censorship has been religious people and houses of worship. In fact, one of the IRSâ€™s first targets in the 1950s was Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who was subjected to a searching IRS audit because of his religious advocacy for civil rights for African-Americans.
The IRS of course has the crushing power to deny or revoke the non-profit status of a synagogue, church, or mosque if it says something the IRS decides is too “political.” But it can also put houses of worship and other religious organizations through the wringer of intrusive, costly, and time-consuming audits.
There are two ways the targeting works. One way is for an outside group, often one that is anti-religion, to file a complaint asking the IRS to investigate a church they donâ€™t like. The IRS responds to the complaint by opening an investigation and asking the church often hundreds of questions about its activities, with the threat of revocation of non-profit status. This is what lawyers call â€œselective enforcementâ€ and it is unconstitutional. No one should be singled out in this way, especially because of collusion between the IRS and outside groups with an ax to grind.
The second way the censorship starts is for IRS officials to take their lead from high government officials, including the President, to decide which groups to target for disfavor. This is apparently what happened to the â€œtea partyâ€ groups, but religious groups have also been targeted in this way.
Don’t believe it? Just ask Billy Graham. Last fall, the famed Christian evangelist publicly advocated on behalf of a ballot measure in his home state of North Carolina, taking a position that the President and other high government officials publicly opposed. The tax man was knocking at the door almost immediately. And while the expensive, time-consuming audit eventually ended without any finding of wrongdoing by Graham, a message was sent to every other religious group that might oppose government policy: the IRS can use its audit powers to harass you or shut you down simply for saying what you believe. That kind of intimidation is wrong–and unconstitutional.
As Egyptians prepare for massive protests against the U.S. government-backed Muslim Brotherhood regime of Mohamed Morsi, the Obama administration is set to deploy hundreds of American troops to Egypt. While more than a few analysts have argued that U.S. forces will be used to continue propping up â€œIslamofascistsâ€ in the Middle East, authorities from both governments claim the soldiers are merely being sent as part of a nine-month international â€œpeacekeepingâ€ scheme.
To add insult to injury, Obama is telling Egyptian Christians to quietly submit to dhimmitude (second-class status) where they cannot own property, are forced to pay the jizya (extortive taxes for “protection” from the mob), surrender their religious liberties andÂ live in constant fear of beatings, prison, rape, forced “marriages” and conversions, and even execution if one of their Muslim neighbors decides to falsely accuse them to settle a score or try to extort a bribe.
As Egyptians of all factions prepare to demonstrate in mass against the Muslim Brotherhood and PresidentÂ Morsiâ€™sÂ rule on June 30, the latter has been trying to reduce their numbers, which some predict will be in the millions and eclipse theÂ TahrirÂ protests that earlier ousted Mubarak.Â Â Among other influential Egyptians, Morsi recently called on Coptic Christian PopeÂ TawadrosÂ II to urge his flock, Egyptâ€™s millions of Christians, not to join the June 30 protests.
While that may be expected, more troubling is that the U.S. ambassador to Egypt is also trying to prevent Egyptians from protestingâ€”including the Copts.Â Â The June 18thÂ edition ofÂ SadiÂ al-BaladÂ reports that lawyer RamsesÂ Naggar, the Coptic Churchâ€™s legal counsel, said that during Pattersonâ€™s June 17 meeting with PopeÂ Tawadros, she â€œasked him to urge the Copts not to participateâ€ in the demonstrations againstÂ MorsiÂ and the Brotherhood.
[…] Â Among other things, underÂ Morsiâ€™sÂ rule, the persecution of Copts has practically been legalized,Â Â as unprecedented numbers ofÂ Christiansâ€”men, women, and childrenâ€”have been arrested, often receiving more than double the maximum prison sentence, under the accusation that theyÂ â€œblasphemedâ€ Islam and/or its prophet.Â Â It was also underÂ Morsiâ€™s reign that another unprecedented scandal occurred: the St. Mark Cathedralâ€”holiest site of Coptic Christianity and headquarters to the PopeÂ TawadrosÂ himselfâ€”wasÂ besieged in broad daylightÂ by Islamic rioters.Â Â When security came, they too joined in the attack on the cathedral.Â Â And theÂ targeting of Christian childrenâ€”for abduction, ransom, rape, and/or forced conversionâ€”has also reached unprecedented levels underÂ Morsi.Â Â (For more on the plight of the Copts underÂ Morsiâ€™sÂ rule, see my new bookÂ Crucified Again: Exposing Islamâ€™s New War on Christians.)
Yet despite the fact that if anyone in Egypt has a legitimate human rights concern against the current Egyptian government, it most certainly is the Christian Copts, here is the U.S., in the person of Ms. Patterson, asking them not to join the planned protests.
In other words, and consistent with Obama administrationâ€™s doctrine, when Islamistsâ€”including rapists and cannibalsâ€”wage jihad on secular leaders, the U.S. supports them; when Christians protest Islamist rulers who are making their lives a living hell, the administration asks them to â€œknow their placeâ€ and behave likeÂ dhimmis, Islamâ€™s appellation for non-Muslim â€œinfidelsâ€ who must live as third class â€œcitizensâ€ and never complain about theirÂ Â inferior status.
Congress is taking action on religious liberty in the military, a story that wasÂ originally reportedÂ by Breitbart News. New legal language passed a key committee this week and next goes to the full House and then the Senate; it could become federal law later this year.
[…] Â The first amendment was offered by Rep. Walter Jones (R-NC). It protects the rights of chaplains to speak and pray in a manner consistent with their faith, such as ending a prayer in Jesusâ€™ name. This amendment passed by voice vote.
A second amendment was offered to create â€œatheist chaplains,â€ as Breitbart NewsÂ reportedearlier this week. This mockery of the chaplaincy was proposed by Rep. Robert Andrews (D-NJ), pushed by groups often hostile to Christians and observant members of other faiths. The committee rejected this amendment by a vote of 43-18. The military already provides secular counseling to service members, while chaplains are by definition religious and spiritual counselors.
The third amendment is the most consequential. Rep. John Fleming (R-LA) offered an amendment specifying that the religious speech and actions of all service members is a protected right, and that the Department of Defense will enact regulations to allow and accommodate those beliefs in both word and deed.
The Obama Administration â€œstrongly objectsâ€ to a proposed amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act that would have protected the religious rights of soldiers â€“ including evangelical Christian service members who are facing growing hostility towards their religion.
The amendment was authored by Rep. John Fleming, R-La. It would have â€œrequired the Armed Forces to accommodate â€˜actions and speechâ€™ reflecting the conscience, moral, principles or religious beliefs of the member.â€
The Obama Administration said the amendment would have a â€œsignificant adverse effect on good order, discipline, morale, and mission accomplishment.â€
â€œWith its statement, the White House is now endorsing military reprimands of members who keep a Bible on their desk or express a religious belief,â€ Fleming told Fox News. â€œThis administration is aggressively hostile towards religious beliefs that it deems to be politically incorrect.â€
The White House released a Statement of Administration Policy (SAP) on H.R. 1960, the National Defense Authorization Act of 2014. Â […]
The SAP includes a veto threat: â€œâ€¦if the bill is presented to the President for approval in its current form, the Presidentâ€™s senior advisers would recommend that the President veto the bill.â€
In other words, Obama says he will veto any bill that forbids his appointees or officers from telling a soldier that he cannot mention Jesus during prayer or have a Bible on his desk, or that keeps those appointees from telling a chaplain (who is an ordained clergyman) what religious teachings he is allowed to give in worship services, or what spiritual counseling he can give to another soldier.
Ambassador Ken Blackwell, former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Human Rights Commission, tells Breitbart News:
President Obama is waging a war on religion. He and Chuck Hagel are denying the most basic rights to those who put their lives on the line to protect all of our rights. It is shameful and appalling. I am confident that congressional leadership will show courage to stand up for our troops against this radical assault on religious liberty in the military.
This is the most compelling expression yet of the aggressive approach of the Obama-Hagel Defense Department to soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines who are observant Christians or devout members of other peaceful faiths, as seen in Breitbart Newsâ€™Â previous reportsregarding the unconstitutional infringements of one of Americaâ€™s most treasured, fundamental rights.
He was one of the most quiet and softspoken students of the Joshua High School graduating class, and what the valedictorian wasn’t allowed to say at commencement exercises is making national news.
â€œMost people have never ever heard me speak much less see me smile,â€ said Remington Reimer, as he addressed the large crowd gathered Thursday at Owl Stadium.
And then, the Burleson resident began what would have appeared to have been a traditional graduation speech â€“ thanking his parents and naming special teachers that have helped him along the way and telling the crowd how proud he was of his class and how close they all were.
He discussed perseverance in life, and told fellow graduates its the finish that matters. He then told a story about a runner who finished a race with a broken leg. He added that, years from now, it wouldn’t matter that he was valedictorian or first in his class but, rather, that he and his classmates finished the race and finished well.
Nice words. Nice kid. Another graduation day in America.
Then Reimer discussed his faith and thanked God for â€œsending His only son to die for me and the rest of the world.â€
Reimer, who has secured an appointment to the U.S. Naval Academy, talked about free speech and the U.S. Constitution and how that â€œyesterday, I was threatened with having the mic turned off and…â€
And then the mic was turned off.
[…] Â Another Facebook posting emailed to the Burleson Star clarified what Reimer had said after the microphone was cut off:
â€œWe are all fortunate to live in a country where we can express our beliefs, where our mics won’t be turned off, as I have been threatened to be if I veer away from the school-censored speech I have just finished. Just as Jesus spoke out against the authority of the Pharisees and Sadducees, who tried to silence him, I will not have my freedom of speech taken away from me. And I urge you all to do the same. Do not let anyone take away your religious or Constitutional rights from you.â€
The crowd roared with enthusiasm and Reimer sat down.
Unfortunately, it didn’t stop with censorship. Â Afterwards, the principle apparently threatened to put his future in jeopardy by disparaging his character to the Naval Academy, where he had been recently accepted:
A Texas high school principal threatened to sabotage a valedictorianâ€™s appointment to the U.S. Naval Academy after the student delivered a speech that referenced God and the U.S. Constitution, the boyâ€™s attorney alleges.
Hiram Sasser, director of litigation with the Liberty Institute, said Joshua High School principal Mick Cochran threatened to write a letter to the U.S. Naval Academy disparaging the character of Remington Reimer.
â€œIt was intimidating having my high school principal threaten my future because I wanted to stand up for the Constitution and acknowledge my faith and not simply read a government approved speech,â€ the teenager said.
Sasser is now representing the teenager and is calling for the Joshua Independent School District to issue a public statement exonerating him of any wrongdoing.
He said the speech was edited and reviewed by four different school officials â€“ including an officer in the JROTC. Sasser said the censorship violated federal and state laws.
[…] Â The following day the principal met with Reimerâ€™s father and informed him â€œthat he intended to punish Remington for his perceived misdeed.â€
â€œSpecifically, he threatened to send a letter to the United States Naval Academy advising them that Remington has poor character or words to that effect,â€ Sasser told Fox News.
After consulting with a school attorney, the principal temporarily retracted the threat, Sasser said.
â€œThe principal said he wanted to try to ruin him for what he did â€“ for talking about the Constitution and his faith,â€ Sasser said. â€œI donâ€™t know if heâ€™s going to be able to continue to be the principal of that school.â€
A veteran member of the U.S. Army Band said he is facing retribution and punishment from the military for having anti-Obama bumper stickers on his car, reading books written by conservative authors like Mark Levin and David Limbaugh, and serving Chick-fil-A sandwiches at his promotion party.
Master Sgt. Nathan Sommers, a 25-year Army veteran and conservative Christian based at Fort Myer in Washington, believes his outspoken opposition to gay marriage prompted higher-ups to take a closer look at his beliefs. The recipient of an Army Commendation Medal and a soloist at the funeral of former First Lady Betty Ford, Sommers said his core beliefs are enough to mark a soldier for persecution in todayâ€™s military.
[…] Â Sommersâ€™ troubles began last April when he was told to remove pro-Republican, anti-Obama bumper stickers that were on his privately owned car.
The stickers read: â€œPolitical Dissent is NOT Racism,â€ â€œNOBAMA,â€ NOPE2012â€ and â€œThe Road to Bankruptcy is Paved with Ass-Fault.â€ That sticker included the image of a donkey.
His superior officer told the solider that the bumper stickers were creating â€œunnecessary workplace tension.â€
â€œThe types of stickers on your car were creating an atmosphere detrimental to morale and were creating unnecessary workplace tension,â€ the officer wrote in an Army document obtained by Fox News. â€œA Soldier must balance their personal feelings with the mission of the U.S. Army. Even the slightest inference of disrespect towards superiors can have a demoralizing effect on the unit.â€
Attorney Wells said once he got involved, the military backed off of filing a formal reprimand.
â€œHeâ€™s allowed to have those bumper stickers on his car,â€ he said. â€œThe DoD regulation allows it. There was nothing obscene about it.â€
During the summer months, Sommers came under fire for reading the works of Mark Levin, Sean Hannity and David Limbaugh.
Sommers was reading Limbaughâ€™sÂ â€œThe Great Destroyerâ€Â backstage at a U.S. Army Band concert at the U.S. Capitol. A superior officer told him that he was causing â€œunit disruptionâ€ and was offending other soldiers.
â€œI wasnâ€™t reading aloud,â€ he said. â€œI was just reading privately to myself. I was told they were frowning on that and they warned me that I should not be reading literature like that backstage because it was offensive.â€
Sommers said he was told to refrain from reading the book â€œwhile in uniform or within sight of anyone from the band.â€
â€œThis is the first time since (my superior officer) indicated I had offended others with my choice of reading material, that I was officially counseled about it,â€ he said. â€œThe statement took my breath away. I was speechless.â€
In spite of those incidents, the Army promoted the soldier in September to the rank of master sergeant. But the promotion would also mark the launch of an effort by the military to punish the soldier.
His promotion coincided with a controversy surrounding Chick-fil-A. The companyâ€™s president told a reporter that he was â€œguilty as chargedâ€ when it came to supporting traditional marriage. Gay rights activists pounced- calling for a boycott of the Christian-owned company. And some Democratic officials vowed to block Chick-fil-A from opening restaurants in their cities.
In response to that, Fox News Channel host Mike Huckabee launched a national Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day to rally support for the restaurant chain.
â€œI was inspired by Gov. Huckabeeâ€™s appreciation day,â€ Sommers told Fox News. â€œAnd since I wasnâ€™t able to participate in the event, I decided to serve Chick-fil-A at my promotion party.â€
Itâ€™s a long-standing tradition within the U.S. Army Band for promoted soldiers to host a party for their fellow troops. So the soldier decided to have Chick-fil-A cater the meal.
â€œMy family likes Chick-fil-A and we like what they stand for,â€ he said. â€œI can make a statement and at least express a religious point of view at my promotion party â€“ theoretically without any fear of reprisal.â€
The soldier also tweeted about the party: â€œIn honor of DADT repeal, and Obama/Holderâ€™s refusal to enforce DOMA act, Iâ€™m serving Chick-fil-A at my MSG promo reception for Army today.â€
He also tweeted to radio host Mark Levin: â€œ@Marklevinshow â€˜luv ya, Mark! Fellow Virginian & MSG, Army. Being promoted today, serving Chick-fil-A @ reception in honor of DADT repeal.â€
Both tweets were cited in an official military document.
â€œAs a Soldier you must be cognizant of the fact that your statements can be perceived by the general public and other service members to be of a nature bordering on disrespect to the President of the United States,â€ the document stated.
Sommers said he paid for the party with personal money, not government funds.
â€œI had no idea a Chick-fil-A sandwich would get me in trouble,â€ he said.
He was later summoned by a superior officer, who the soldier said is openly gay, and was told that unidentified individuals were offended by the tweets and some considered them to be racist.
Sommers was reprimanded, threatened with judicial action and given a bad efficiency report. An investigation was also launched.
â€œItâ€™s an obvious attempt to set him up and force him out of the military,â€ Wells said. â€œThey recently did an NCO evaluation that effectively torpedoed his chance at promotion and he could be forced out of the Army.â€
On Saturday, former Alaska governor Sarah Palin urged soldiers to post pictures of themselves reading books written by conservatives like Mark Levin, Sean Hannity, and David Limbaugh. Palin did so after an “outrageous” report surfaced that revealed the U.S. Army was punishing a soldier for reading books written by conservative authors.
“Whether you agree or disagree with this soldierâ€™s opinions, I think we can all agree that the apparent retribution he faced for proudly reading certain authors is outrageous,” Palin wrote.
A member of the U.S. Army Band who said he was reprimanded for having anti-Obama bumper stickers on his personal car, serving Chick-fil-A sandwiches at a party and reading books written by conservative authors like Sean Hannity is now facing Article 15 charges â€“ which cropped up shortly after he went public with his complaints.
Master Sgt. Nathan Sommers, a decorated soloist with the Army Band, is being charged under a federal law that permits commanding officers to conduct non-judicial proceedings for minor offenses.
Sommers is accused of giving a superior officer the wrong date for a doctorâ€™s appointment. Heâ€™s also accused of failing to carry out an order. In order to comply with that order, Sommers would have had to disclose private information about his autistic sonâ€™s medical records.
The charges were handed down one day after Sommers told Fox News that he was facing discrimination and persecution because of his conservative political and religious beliefs.
â€œThe timing does seem strange,â€ retired Navy Commander John Bennett Wells told Fox News. â€œItâ€™s suspicious. No matter whatâ€™s happening it looks like a graduated attempt to build a case against him on some really ridiculous charges.
Wells is representing the 25-year veteran who, until last summer, had a spotless record.
Nationwide, congregations and families are coming to terms with the BSA policy change. In an effort to remain strong in their biblical convictions, many are being forced to cut ties with the BSA despite years of financial support and mutual trust.
But in doing so, their decision to withdraw support of the nationâ€™s largest scouting organization has come under scrutiny by the liberal media and the leftwing blogosphere. Just days following the vote, Atlanta-area pastor Ernest Easley made national news when he advised his parishioners to cut all ties with BSA.
â€œI never dreamed Iâ€™d have to stand up publicly and say to parents: Pull your kids out of the Boy Scouts,â€ Easley told the Baptist Press May 28. â€œIf you would have asked me that five years ago, 10 years ago, I would have laughed,â€ Easley said. â€œAnd even as I was saying it Sunday morning, I thought, I cannot believe Iâ€™m having to address this and encourage parents to pull their children out of the Boy Scouts of America.â€
Louisvilleâ€™s largest church, Southeast Christian Church, also made headlines when they cut ties with the Boy Scouts after the national organization decided to drop its ban on gay youth.
â€œWe want everyone, including ourselves, to live by biblical standards,â€ said the Executive Pastor Tim Hester. â€œTruly for us itâ€™s a logical decision â€¦ We cannot be distracted from the mission God has called us to.â€
Churches, families and the Scouts themselves are what some might consider collateral damage of a decade-long battle waged by the LGBT organizations against the BSA to impose their morality on a non-government entity. And thanks to a compliant media, clearly in the LGBT camp, these institutions must fend off accusations of intolerance and bigotry while trying to stand strong in their biblical convictions.
â€œWe hoped to keep sex and politics out of Scouting,â€ lamented John Stemberger, a lifelong Scout with two sons in scouting, now leading the fight to start a new scouting chapter in defiance of the adopted policy. Unfortunately the LGBT community and the liberal media had other plans.
Sadly, itâ€™s the parents and churches that must unravel this messy BSA policy and tenaciously step through the landmine of media scrutiny as they seek to live biblically in an increasingly anti-Christian society.
In suburban Atlanta, northern Idaho and a number of other places, churches have moved swiftly to sever ties with the Boy Scouts of America in protest over the vote last month to let openly gay boys participate in Scouting.
To date, itâ€™s far from the mass defection that some conservatives had predicted before the vote by the Irving-based BSAâ€™s National Council. But the exodus could soon swell, depending on the outcome of the Southern Baptist Conventionâ€™s annual meeting next week in Houston.
Baptist churches sponsor nearly 4,000 Scout units representing more than 100,000 youths, according to the Boy Scouts of America.
That number could drop precipitously.
The Southern Baptist Convention, the countryâ€™s largest Protestant denomination, will soon urge its 45,000 congregations and 16 million members to cut ties with the Scouts, according to church leaders.
In light of the BSA’s recent decision, there is already a move to create a faith-based alternative called “Faith Based Boys.” Â The name and program are still being developed, but they’re looking for families that are willing to give them feedback and join their efforts.
The IRS scandalÂ is deepening as a new tape has been released today showing a disturbing phone call the Internal Revenue Service placed to a non-profit organization.
Alliance Defending Freedom, a pro-life legal group, made the audio available today of IRS officials telling a group that provides support to women in abusive pregnancy situations to keep its faith to itself. In the recorded phone conversation, an IRS agent lectures the president of the organization about forcing its religion and beliefs on others and inaccurately explains that the group must remain neutral on issues such as abortion.
ADF is providing legal representation for the group â€” which did not receive its tax-exempt status until last week after waiting nearly two and a half years after applying for it.
â€œThe IRS is a tax collector; it shouldnâ€™t be allowed to be the speech and belief police,â€ said Senior Legal Counsel Erik Stanley. â€œThe current scandal isnâ€™t new but has merely exposed the abuse of power that characterizes this agency and threatens our fundamental freedoms.â€
In a blistering letter to President Barack Obama, the Rev. Franklin Graham said theÂ IRS targeted the two non-profits he headsÂ with an audit last year after the organizations took out ads urging people to support biblical principles on marriage and in choosing political candidates.
In theÂ letter, dated Tuesday, Graham said in light of recent revelations that the Internal Revenue Service targeted conservative groups with “tea party” or “patriot” in their names, he does not believe the audit was “a coincidence â€” or justifiable.” Graham, son of famed Christian evangelist the Rev. Billy Graham, now heads the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association based in Charlotte, N.C., and Samaritan’s Purse, a worldwide relief organization headquartered in Boone.
“I am bringing this to your attention because I believe that someone in the administration was targeting and attempting to intimidate us,” Graham concluded in the letter. “This is morally wrong and unethical â€” indeed some would call it ‘un-American.'”
James Dobson, the pro-life family advocate disclosed today that he was a victim of IRS discrimination, in a revelation that adds to the growing Internal Revenue Scandal.
Dobson, the founder of Focus on the Family, says he faced discrimination from the federal agency when trying to start a new group.
Family Talk Action Corporation is a Christian ministry that was formed for the purpose of spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ; of providing Christ-oriented advice and education to parents and children; and of speaking to cultural issues that affect the family. Dobson is the president and CEO.
On September 2, 2011, Family Talk Action filed a Form 1024 with the Internal Revenue Service requesting Â§ 501(c)(4) status. The attorney completing this form had submitted scores of similar applications over his 26 year career with none being rejected.
In January and February 2013, Family Talk Actionâ€™s counsel called the IRS reviewing agent, R. Medley (ID no. 52402), to inquire regarding when there would be a determination of the application. Her voice mail box was full on each of these calls so no message could be left. On March 6, he called Ms. Medley again and got routed to her voice mail again. This time, he was able to leave a voice mail message and requested a return call.
Medley did not call back until March 19. Family Talk Actionâ€™s attorney asked her when the IRS would issue its determination letter. Ms. Medley responded saying, I donâ€™t think your Form 1024 (application for exemption) will be granted because Family Talk Action is â€œnot educationalâ€ because it does not present all views. She continued, saying that Family Talk Action sounded like a â€œpartisan right-wing groupâ€ because, according to Ms. Medley, it only presents conservative viewpoints.
She then added, â€œyouâ€™re politicalâ€ because you â€œcriticized President Obama, who was a candidate.â€
The Biblical Recorder, the official news journal for North Carolina Southern Baptists, found itself in the same situation in March â€“ audited for the first time since the Baptist newspaper was founded in 1833.
The newspaper garnered national attention last summer after Editor Allan Blume published an interview with Chick-Fil-A president Dan Cathy. In reference to his support of the traditional family, Cathy said he was â€œguilty as charged.â€
The Biblical Recorder also published the Billy Graham Evangelistic Associationâ€™s ads affirming traditional marriage.
And then â€“ came the telephone call from the Internal Revenue Service.
â€œIt raised some red flags and made me wonder why we were being targeted for an audit when we have been around since 1833 and have never been audited before,â€ Blume told Fox News. â€œPutting it all together made me wonder.â€
Blume said the timing may have been coincidental â€“ but â€œit didnâ€™t seem that way.â€
â€œThere seems to be a very anti-Christian bias that has flowed into a lot of government agencies â€“ oppression literally against Christian organizations and groups,â€ he said. â€œIt makes you wonder whatâ€™s going on.
Blume said the newspaper was eventually cleared, but the audit consumed time and money.
â€œIt was a lot of time and energy that we didnâ€™t have,â€ he said. â€œIt took some of our staff literally several weeks of doing nothing but that (the audit),â€ he said.
IRS officials refused to grant tax exempt status to two pro-life organizations because of their position on the abortion issue, according to a non-profit law firm, which said that one group was pressured not to protest a pro-choice organization that endorsed President Obama during the last election.
â€œIn one case, the IRS withheld approval of an application for tax exempt status for Coalition for Life of Iowa. In a phone call to Coalition for Life of Iowa leaders on June 6, 2009, the IRS agent â€˜Ms. Richardsâ€™ told the group to send a letter to the IRS with the entire boardâ€™s signatures stating that, under perjury of the law, they do not picket/protest or organize groups to picket or protest outside of Planned Parenthood,â€ theÂ Thomas More Society announced today. â€œOnce the IRS received this letter, their application would be approved.â€
Planned Parenthood endorsed Obama in 2008 and 2012.
The IRS also pressured another pro-life group about its religious activities. â€œThe IRS withheld approval of an application for charitable tax-exempt recognition of Christian Voices for Life, questioning the groupâ€™s involvement with â€™40 Days for Lifeâ€™ and â€˜Life Chainâ€™ events,â€ according to the law firm. â€œThe Fort Bend County, Texas, organization was subjected to repeated and lengthy unconstitutional requests for information about the viewpoint and content of its educational communications, volunteer prayer vigils, and other protected activities.â€
Recently, the Pentagon hired a rabid, anti-Christian fanatic to advice them on how to make the military more “tolerant.” Â Â His first recommendation has been to court-martial Christians who dare to share their faith with another service member.
â€œToday, we face incredibly well-funded gangs of fundamentalist Christian monsters who terrorize their fellow Americans by forcing their weaponized and twisted version of Christianity upon their helpless subordinates in our nationâ€™s armed forces.â€
Those words were recently written by Mikey Weinstein, founder of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF),Â in a column he wroteÂ for the Huffington Post. Weinstein will be a consultant to the Pentagon to develop new policies on religious tolerance, including a policy for court-martialing military chaplains who share the Christian Gospel during spiritual counseling of American troops.
[…] Â Â Many media outlets are silent on this disturbing new alliance between fanatical secularists and leaders in the Pentagon appointed by President Barack Obama and Secretary Chuck Hagel, under which the U.S. military would officially consult with someone with such foaming-at-the-mouth passionate hostility toward traditional Christians, including Evangelicals and devout Catholics. The militaryâ€”Americaâ€™s most heroic and noble institutionâ€”includes countless people of faith, and this represents a radical departure from the U.S. militaryâ€™s warm embrace of people of faith in its ranks.
Yet the little coverage this story is getting is positive, such asÂ thisWashington PostÂ columnÂ that somehow manages not to carry any of these frightening quotes from Weinstein and instead actually endorses the Pentagonâ€™s meeting with him. Sally Quinnâ€™sÂ Postcolumn also approvingly quotes MRFF Advisory Board member Larry Wilkerson as saying, â€œSexual assault and proselytizing, according to Wilkerson, â€˜are absolutely destructive of the bonds that keep soldiers together.â€™â€
Did you get that? They say having someone share the Christian gospel with you is akin to being raped. Weinstein makes sure there are no doubts, being quoted by theÂ PostÂ as adding, â€œThis is a national security threat. What is happening [aside from sexual assault] is spiritual rape. And what the Pentagon needs is to understand is that it is sedition and treason. It should be punished.â€
The Pentagon has released a statement confirming that soldiers could be prosecuted for promoting their faith: “Religious proselytization is not permitted within the Department of Defense…Court martials and non-judicial punishments are decided on a case-by-case basis…â€.
The statement, released toÂ Fox News, follows a Breitbart NewsÂ reportÂ on Obama administration Pentagon appointees meeting with anti-Christian extremist Mikey Weinstein to develop court-martial procedures to punish Christians in the military who express or share their faith.
This regulation would severely limit expressions of faith in the military, even on a one-to-one basis between close friends. It could also effectively abolish the position of chaplain in the military, as it would not allow chaplains (or any service members, for that matter), to say anything about their faith that others say led them to think they were being encouraged to make faith part of their life. Itâ€™s difficult to imagine how a member of the clergy could give spiritual counseling without saying anything that might be perceived in that fashion.
Ironic that the very men and women who volunteered to defend liberty are now watching their most basic, unalienable rights being stripped away, all in the name of “tolerance.” Â Is this what they fought for?
In Egypt, the Muslim Brotherhood government that Obama arms, funds and supports is violently persecuting religious minorities, using our tax money to do it:
Egyptâ€™s Muslim Brotherhood’s governing majority, is not actually crucifying the nationâ€™s Christians. But they are nonetheless actively persecuting Coptic Christians who are said to be one-tenth of the population of the largest Arab country. A photograph of two young men set afire during recent demonstrations is pretty striking.
Demonstrations have turned into riots as Egyptâ€™s police cracked down on the Copts. The Copts were protesting against increasing sectarian violence directed at the countryâ€™s Christian minority.
Typically, what has been happening is the Copts protest against Islamist violence directed at them and their churches. St. Markâ€™s Cathedral has been the target of Muslim extremists in recent week. When the Copts face police, they get tear gassed. And then they are the ones arrested. The Muslim Brotherhood authorities will pick up Coptic youthâ€”hopefully the ones not yet set on fireâ€”and jail them.
Then, the police grab some of the Islamists perpetrators and jail them. Later, following a much-ballyhooed â€œreconciliation,â€ the authorities release allâ€”perpetrators and victims alike.
Syriaâ€™s Christians fear an Islamist takeover should the current government be overthrown. During the ongoing civil war there has been a well-documented rise in the number of salafi-jihadist groups operating in Syria that pose a direct threat to Syriaâ€™s Christian community. These militant opposition forces espouse an Islamist ideology, which incorporates elements of Wahhabism and Salafism and whose stated goals and objectives are by definition hostile towards Christians. Firsthand accounts from Syrian Christian refugees in Lebanon reported by award winning investigative journalist Nuri Kino detail the horror in which they described kidnappings, rapes, harassment, theft and other violent reprisals at the hands of Islamist groups.
Those who survived reported â€œjust being Christian is enough to be a target,â€ disproving theories that violence and kidnapping directed towards Syrian Christians is purely incidental or for economic reasons.
Gay activists have been putting pressure on the Boy Scouts for years, but they finally started to get results when they targeted BSA’s large corporate donors and infiltrated the National Executive Committee with members willing to undermine the BSA from within. Â Fearing losing their funding, the Boy Scouts have now partially caved to allow gay scouts, but notÂ Troop Leaders. Â It’s obvious that won’t be far behind. Â The Â wall has been officially breached, and the bullies of the gay lobby won’t be satisfied until they’ve been brought down completely.
If ever there was a week to quietly announce a major organizational change, this is it.
A spokesman with the Boy Scouts of America on Friday announced that the 103-year-old organization is set to lift its long-standing ban on openly gay youth members but will continue to exclude gays as adult leaders.
However, asÂ ReutersÂ notes, the groupâ€™s board â€œstill has to vote in May on whether to ratify the resolution.â€
If the vote goes through, â€œno youth may be denied membership in the Boy Scouts of America on the basis of sexual orientation or preference alone,â€ Deron Smith, the organizationâ€™s spokesman, told Reuters.
Virtually every news story on this topic erroneously frames this issue as the Boy Scouts â€œbans gaysâ€ or â€œdiscriminates against gays.â€ This is simply not true. Contrary to what the media might report, the Boy Scouts do not discriminate against homosexuals. The BSA membership application does not even ask about sexual orientation.
[…] Â The fact is that veterans of Scouting will tell you there are currently Scouts and adult leaders in uniform who have same-sex attractions and who are in good standing with the program. They are discreet, though; they are private, they are discerning, and most of all, they conduct themselves appropriately in front of other young boys. Further, there has never been a witch hunt in theÂ BSAÂ to find or remove its members with a same-sex attraction.
So if homosexuals are already allowed in Scouting, then what is the national controversy about?
The real issue is this: Homosexual-rights activists are not satisfied with membership in good standing and being allowed to fully participate like everyone else. They want to be able to openly promote homosexuality. They want to promote a gay-rights political agenda. They want to act out publicly and be â€œloud and proud.â€ They want to inappropriately inject sex and politics into theÂ BSAÂ program, where children as young as six years old are involved. Not on this dadâ€™s watch. This behavior and open homosexual conduct is exactly what the currentÂ BSAÂ policy prohibits, a prohibition that we as parents demand that the program reaffirm if it wants our continued support.
[…] Â Former U.S. Rep. Richard T. Schulze, Pennsylvania Republican, a recipient of the rare Distinguished Eagle Scout Award, recently commented, â€œWhat kind of a message are we sending to our young people if the very leaders who are teachingÂ Boy ScoutsÂ to be brave cannot even find the courage to stand firm and avoid caving in to peer pressure from Hollywood and political activists?â€
It’s sad that an institution which has taught boys to stand up for moral principles and against the tide of moral relativism has allowed themselves to be compromised for the sake of money. Â That’s exactly what this boils down to – and it will destroy them. Â They may keep their big donors, but thousands of churches and other charter organizations will simply dissolve their charters rather than risk the wrath of gay bullies and potential lawsuits.
â€œItâ€™s a no-brainer that (homosexual activists) should have the right to marry, but I also think equally that itâ€™s a no-brainer that the institution of marriage should not exist. â€¦(F)ighting for gay marriage generally involves lying about what we are going to do with marriage when we get there â€” because we lie that the institution of marriage is not going to change, and that is a lie.
The institution of marriage is going to change, and it should change. And again, I donâ€™t think it should exist. And I donâ€™t like taking part in creating fictions about my life. Thatâ€™s sort of not what I had in mind when I came out thirty years ago.
I have three kids who have five parents, more or less, and I donâ€™t see why they shouldnâ€™t have five parents legallyâ€¦ I met my new partner, and she had just had a baby, and that babyâ€™s biological father is my brother, and my daughterâ€™s biological father is a man who lives in Russia, and my adopted son also considers him his father. So the five parents break down into two groups of threeâ€¦ And really, I would like to live in a legal system that is capable of reflecting that reality, and I donâ€™t think thatâ€™s compatible with the institution of marriage.â€
The end point of liberalism is a coercive secular state in which the religious have no meaningful rights. American church leaders are kidding themselves if they think the gay-marriage juggernaut is going to stop at civil marriage. It wonâ€™t. It will quickly travel past court houses to churches, demanding that all religions bless gay marriages.
Denmark casts a shadow of this future, where the gay-marriage juggernaut has smashed through church doors. Last year the countryâ€™s parliament passed a law requiring all Lutheran churches to conduct gay marriage ceremonies. â€œI think itâ€™s very important to give all members of the church the possibility to get married,â€ said Manu Sareen, Denmarkâ€™s minister for gender equality. Reluctant bishops have to supply ministers to satisfy the right whether they like it or not.
Iceland and Sweden have similar arrangements. Since many of the bishops are in the tank for gay marriage anyways and since these churches are â€œstateâ€ churches, this pressure generates little news. But it is instructive nonetheless. Where gay marriage exists, religious freedom gradually disappears, to the point where ministers have to choose between serving as secularismâ€™s stooges or facing societal oblivion.
In America, this pressure will take the form of â€œdiscriminatoryâ€ churches losing government grants, permits, and participation in programs. It will be the death of religious freedom by a thousand little cuts here and there: canceled speeches of religious figuresÂ at state universities, lost HHS grants, the refusal of city governments to recognize churches that donâ€™t permit gay marriages, â€œhate crimeâ€ legislation that extends to opposition to gay marriage, and so on. All of this will have the effect of pressuring churches into blessing gay marriages. A law forcing priests and ministers to preside at gay marriages wonâ€™t need to be passed; the invisible law of indirect governmental pressure will do the trick.
[…] Â The goal of the gay-marriage juggernaut is to make Christians pariahs, as irrelevant to public life as racists. It doesnâ€™t have to pass a Denmark-style law to force churches to conduct gay marriages; it can achieve the same end through punitive political correctness.
From our nation’s founding until theÂ Supreme Court ruling on Engel vs. Vitale in 1962, school children across the country began their day with a prayer like this:
“Almighty God, we acknowledge our dependence upon Thee, and we beg Thy blessings upon us, our parents, our teachers and our Country.”
How shockingly “offensive” to ask God to bless us, huh?
Until 1963, students could voluntarily choose an elective such as “New Testament Survey,” which studied the most influential book in history (especially Western Civilization). Â Teachers could read from the Bible in a historical context, and teach children to recite “The Lord’s Prayer” (seeing as it’s the most well-known poem in the world).
But now, no more. Â American school children have no idea of where common cultural references such as “David vs. Goliath,” “The Golden Rule” or “going the extra mile” come from. Â The have no frame of reference for understanding why the Reformation was such a pivotal point in European history, how Henry VIII’s break away from Rome was so significant, and the reason why the Puritans and Separatists were so intent on escaping to the New World. Â Children today aren’t taught where Thomas Jefferson got the phrase “Nature’s God” for the Declaration of Independence, or why our founders built our nation on the idea that unalienable rights come from our Creator.
They have no idea of an absolute moral standard – a Natural Law – which no man, woman, king or president is above.
And that’s exactly how tyrants want it. Â If there is no recognized authority above the state, the state reigns supreme in people’s lives, and can do as it pleases with no accountability.
In a 2011 book, Â Cardinal Jorge Maria Bergoglio, the new Pope Francis, stated that parents have a right to raise their children in accordance with their religious beliefs and that sometimes when the government intervenes to deprive young people of that religious element, it can produce terrible consequences, including â€œcases like Nazismâ€ whereby many students were indoctrinated with views alien to those espoused their parents.
The book, in Spanish, is entitledÂ Sobre El Cielo Y La TierraÂ (On Heaven and Earth), by Jorge Bergoglio and Abraham Skorka, the latter an Argentinan rabbi. The book is in interview-style and Skorka asks the cardinal a variety of questions throughout 29 chapters.
In Chapter 18, “Sobre la educacion” (On Education), the future Pope Francis says, â€œIn the Bible, God presents himself as a teacher. â€˜Yet it was I who taught Ephraim to walk, who took them in my arms,â€™ it says. Â A believer is obliged to raise his children. Every man and every woman has a right to educate their children in their religious values.â€
â€œWhen a government deprives children of this formation, it can lead to cases like Nazism, whereby children were indoctrinated with values opposite to those of their parents. Totalitarianism tends to take over education so it can use the water for its own mill,â€ said then-Cardinal Bergogolio.
Illegal aliens – including drug dealers and other criminals – are welcome to come across the border in droves, according to this administration.
But a Christian family fleeing persecution in the form of fines, jail time and the confiscation of their children? Â Not worthy of asylum, according to our Justice Department. Â And why? Â Because parents don’t have a fundamental right to direct the upbringing and education of their own children, our own government argues.
The U.S. Justice Department says home-schooling is not a fundamental right.
That was the argument the Obama administration made in federal court against an evangelical Christian family from Germany seeking asylum in the United States.
Germany broadly forbids home-schooling. So the Romeike family was forced to flee the country or risk losing their five children to the German government, which was trying to force them to put their children in public schools.
The Homeschool Legal Defense Association is working on the Romeike family’s behalf.
Michael Farris, founder and chairman of HSLDA, wrote about Germany’s home-school ban in his blog saying, “It is thought control. It is belief control. It is totalitarianism dressed up in politically correct lingo.”
The Romeikes fled Germany in 2008 after authorities fined them thousands in euros and forcibly took their children because they homeschool. In 2010, a U.S. immigration judge granted the Romeikes political asylum — the first time this status was granted based on compulsory schooling laws. The judge found the family has legitimate fear of persecution in Germany, where a small group of Christian homeschooling families have already been jailed, fined and stripped of their children.
[…] Â At a German public school, the children were bullied for their Christian beliefs. The Romeikes found school textbooks filled with inappropriate content. Still, Uwe says, “We knew that homeschooling would not be an easy journey.” The Romeikes came to the U.S. when “all other doors seemed to close.”
In Tennessee, Uwe teaches piano while the children play basketball and take science classes at a local co-op. Uwe says the uncertainty they face now hardly compares to the fear of “waking up with the police at your front door, there to take your children … not knowing if you will ever get them back.”