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There are 80 item(s) tagged with the keyword "Religious Freedom".

11. God's Name Will be Heard again in Gilbert, after 14 Years of Silence

God's name was mentioned at tonight's Gilbert School Board meeting so many times, I think He descended to earth to see what was up.  (The Gilbert Governing Board meetings had always been "off limits" to the sound of God's name.)  

The question being debated was:  Should the Gilbert School Board bring the Invocation back to their board meetings?  The answer was:  Yes!  

This issue had been brought to the board over a year ago by Staci Burk.  It was voted down 4-1.  After the most recent election, Daryl Colvin brought it to a vote, but it didn't pass 2-2.  Board President Staci Burk was in the hospital.  Then, Julie Smith brought it up again, and it passed 3-2.  

So, tonight, Ms. Segal, the GPS attorney, gave a blow by blow description of various court cases.  The Resolution is jam packed with case law and Supreme Court statements that she said will minimize the exposure to a lawsuit.

The board voted 3-2 in favor of the Invocation Resolution.  17 citizens spoke in favor; 3 against.  There were 31 comment cards submitted by people who were in favor but did not speak, and 2 were submitted by people who were opposed, but did not speak.

I don’t know the number of emails that were sent to the Board.  Lots.  This is a community that believes very strongly that we were all endowed by our Creator, and that we are a religious people who recognize a Supreme Being.  Further, we have the right and the duty, to ask for our Creator's guidance and blessing in a public forum.  Most of the people who spoke were Christian, but they expressed a welcoming heart toward those of other religious traditions.  "Let a thousand flowers bloom," stated a parent who learned that statement from a law professor.  

Every person who spoke considered the issue from a slightly different angle.  Many eloquent statements were made by each person.  There were 4 high school students who spoke in favor.  They understand very well that the issue is one of tolerance of religious expression.  Brett Harvey, an attorney with Alliance Defending Freedom, spoke in favor.  Harriet and Bill Bathman, who spent 30 years as missionaries behind the Iron Curtain, also spoke.  A J LaFaro, Chairman of the MCRC, spoke in favor.    So did Glen Frakes, who taught in Gilbert Schools for several years.  Patrick O'Malley, Gordon Ray, Gil Fidler, Anita Christy, Yvonne Hoskins, and Lina Hatch spoke in favor,  

No one from the Freedom From Religion Foundation spoke.  It was an extraordinary evening. 

"It's not ok anymore to be silent," said a young mother of four children who had never been to a Gilbert School Board meeting before tonight.

I know this sounds a little dramatic, but it almost seemed like God was present.  It was as if He heard someone speak His Name. 

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Tags: Christian Persecution, Religious Freedom, Schools
12. Gilbert School Board to Vote on Invocation 1/28

He died for you.  Are you too busy to say a few words on His behalf?  

On Tuesday, January 28, the Gilbert Public Schools Governing Board will be voting on a Resolution to replace the "Moment of Silence" with an Invocation.  Already, the board members have received a letter from FREEDOM FROM RELIGION (FFR) Foundation threatening a lawsuit.  

Click HERE to read the threat from FFR.

Click HERE to read the Resolution to bring back the Invocation.  

Three members of the Gilbert Schools Governing Board will most likely vote YES to the Invocation Resolution.  The three board members expected to vote in favor are Staci Burk, Julie Smith, and Daryl Colvin.  It is expected that 2 will vote against the Resolution.  They are Lily Tram and Jill Humphreys.  See the 1/14/2014 video of the Invocation Resolution discussion, which begins at 01:47:30.    

Please arrive EARLY and complete a Request to Speak card prior to the start of the meeting.  It will not be accepted if you turn it in after the meeting has started.

Date:              Tuesday, Jan. 28.
Time:              7 pm.
Location:        Governing Board Room, Gilbert Public Schools District Office, Building B, 140 S. Gilbert Rd., Gilbert, AZ 85296

You will be speaking on Agenda Item. 8.01.  Click HERE to see the Agenda.  Item 8.01 reads: "Approval of a Resolution Authorizing of Voluntary Opening Invocation before the start of the Governing Board Meetings (Policy requested), Presentation by Susan Segal."

In addition to, or in lieu of, speaking out, please send an email to the Governing Board expressing your desire that they vote YES to the Invocation Resolution.  board@gilbertschools.net

 

The bottom line message from everyone who opposes the Invocation is this:  DON’T SAY ANYTHING I DON’T WANT TO HEAR.   Another name for the “Moment of Silence” is:  DON’T SAY ANYTHING I DON’T WANT TO HEAR. 

  

The opposition will say:  1) "The board is establishing religion."  (Really? Which religion, specifically?  How is allowing Gilbert citizens the ability to invoke Divine Guidance "establishing religion"?  Also, isn't the FFR forcing its own “religion” of Anti-Religion on everyone?)  2) "We could be sued if we have an Invocation."  (You could be sued if you "prohibit citizens the free exercise of religion."   3) "We need to be inclusive."  (The board is inviting all religions to be represented.  How is that not "inclusive"?).  4) "The Moment of Silence has worked well for everyone involved."  (This was actually stated by Board member Jill Humphreys at the 1/14/2014 board meeting.  The Moment of Silence--aka DON’T SAY ANYTHING I DON’T WANT TO HEAR--hasn't worked for the many citizens who have for the last year spoken in favor of bringing back the Invocation.).  5) "I don't want to be subjected to that person's point of view."  (This was stated by a citizen at the 1/14/2014 board meeting.  The only way to never be subjected to another person's point of view is to be declared dead.)

Many people, including the Freedom From Religion Foundation, use statements made by Thomas Jefferson to bolster their anti-religion arguments.  It is impossible to believe that Thomas Jefferson would ever stand in this meeting and speak in opposition to a School Board wishing to allow private citizens to say a simple prayer at the beginning of their meetings.  It is incredible that he would wish to silence anyone in such a meeting, because that person asked a Supreme Being to help the board make good decisions, and to offer His blessings on them and to everyone in the room.  Could you visualize Thomas Jefferson telling someone, "I don't want to be subjected to your point of view"?  

As president of the United States, in both his first and second Inaugural addresses, Thomas Jefferson called upon God to guide him, and to bless the people of America.

He stated at the end of his first Inaugural address....”And may that Infinite Power which rules the destinies of the universe lead our councils to what is best, and give them a favorable issue for your peace and prosperity."   Thomas Jefferson First Inaugural Address

In his second Inaugural Address, he must have felt a stronger need for Divine Guidance, because his plea for help was much longer and more plaintive. President Thomas Jefferson stated....”I shall need, too, the favor of that Being in whose hands we are, who led our forefathers, as Israel of old, from their native land, and planted them in a country flowing with all the necessaries and comforts of life; who has covered our infancy with his providence, and our riper years with his wisdom and power; and to whose goodness I ask you to join with me in supplications, that he will so enlighten the minds of your servants, guide their councils, and prosper their measures, that whatsoever they do, shall result in your good, and shall secure to you the peace, friendship, and approbation of all nations."  Thomas Jefferson Second Inaugural Address

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Tags: Bill of Rights, Christian Persecution, Religious Freedom, Schools
13. Please Stand Up for Prayer at Gilbert Governing Board Meetings

The Gilbert School Board meets tonight, Tuesday, Jan. 14 at 7 pm.  The topic is “Should an Invocation be brought back to open the Governing Board meetings”?

Gilbert Public Schools – 7 pm
Building B
140 S. Gilbert Road
Gilbert, AZ 85296

Email address to all board members:  board@gilbertschools.net.

Please attend and speak up, or send an email in support of an Opening Invocation before Governing Board Meetings.

According to Staci Burke, GPS Board President:

“It appears that the U.S. Supreme Court in the Town of Greece case is leaning that it is Constitutional to continue the practice.  I expect that the board will likely be holding a meeting next Thursday at 5 pm to discuss adoption of a Resolution to bring back prayer to the Board meeting and discuss adopting a policy regarding such practice.  Under the law it will need to be non-denominational and all religions invited and treated equally in participation.”

Here is the item on tonight’s agenda.  (See the full agenda here)

10.02 Discuss the Adoption of a Resolution regarding an Opening Invocation before Governing Board Meetings.

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Tags: Christian Persecution, Religious Freedom, School Board
14. Rob Haney Responds to LD28 Chair Scott O'Connor

I read an email exchange recently between Republican LD28 Chairman Scott O'Connor and Precinct Committeeman Rob Haney.  Mr. Haney is a former Maricopa County Republican Committee Chairman.  It was chilling to read this exchange, because I had just finished reading an article in Pravda titled "America Resembling Anti-Democratic Regime:  Russia's Moment to Lead."

During the Cold War, Pravda was well known as the official voice of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union.

And now, after all these years, it is Pravda that has observed that, while Russia has returned to its religious roots and the end of Soviet Communism,  America is in rapid moral and institutional decline:

"In recent decades, Russia has undergone vast political and social reforms underscored by a return to religious roots, the end of Soviet Communism, and new existential threats (among them domestic Islamic radicalism).  All of these changes have necessarily resulted in political transformation.

"As Russia has changed, its former adversary - the United States of America - has also changed, with breakneck speed.  America is in rapid moral and institutional decline - fueled by lawless government leaders and a seismic move away from God (at least the Judeo-Christian God that underpins Russian and Western societies), as well as the parallel rise of an entertainment escapism that displaces public awareness and voter engagement while blinding citizens to the loss of freedom and resultant blurring of moral boundaries.

"In short, America is beginning to resemble the regimes it topples and wars against.  America no longer has the moral credibility to lecture other nations on the incontrovertible virtues of democracy and republican government."  

Here is the email exchange between Scott O'Connor and Rob Haney.  Mr. Haney copied members of the Executive Committee
 

January 10, 2014

Dear Scott,

I am taking the liberty of publishing our exchange of emails in an open forum because I view removal of the Invocation from our LD 28 meetings at the sole discretion of the executive board as a continuance of the attack on religion in our country.   Other districts need to be made aware of how easily they can lose the rights they took for granted through the actions of a few anonymous complaints brought to a receptive executive board.  To have a universally accepted, decades long practice within the Republican Party ended by fiat of the executive board without even debate or a vote of the body, is the height of arrogance and is reminiscent of Obama's executive orders. 

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Tags: Christian Persecution, Religious Freedom, Republicans
15. The Institutional Church versus the Church

A religious divide is taking place in America.  Nobody understands it better than the Anglicans who have pulled away from The Episcopal Church (TEC).  These Anglicans refuse to remain with a church that has slowly but surely endorsed unbiblical beliefs.   TEC leadership has been questioning the authority of Scripture for decades.  Back in the 1990s, Bishop John Shelby Spong was publicly deriding the virgin birth, the resurrection of Christ, and the reliability of the Bible, and  Bishop John Chane in his 2002 Easter sermon declared Jesus' resurrection "at best conjectural."  Katharine Jefferts Schori, who became the first female bishop in 2006, has questioned the resurrection, and adamantly denies Christ as the only way to God.  

All of these departures from the Bible have been very troubling for many Anglicans, but the last straw was when TEC consecrated Gene Robinson as its first openly homosexual bishop in 2004 date, and later, when the denomination approved liturgy for homosexual weddings.  Since then, hundreds of churches have fled the denomination.  Gene Robinson married his first wife Isabella in 1972.  They had two daughters. He divorced his wife in 1986 and entered a formal relationship with his current spouse, Mark Andrew, in 1988.  

The Episcopal Church wages War Against those who Stand Firm for the Authority of Scripture

TEC has fought their own departing church members with astonishing tyrannical vindictiveness.  They have sued the fleeing churches for their buildings, even though the church members paid for those buildings.  In one case, the congregation of Christ Church Anglican in Savannah, Georgia, lost their building, even though they had held title to the property since 1773.  A judge ruled against them.    

Even when the churches have offered to pay TEC for the buildings, TEC has refused and in some cases have sold them at bargain basement prices to other denominations, including to Muslims.  The Church of the Good Shepherd offered the TEC $150,000 for their own church building.  But TEC stuck its finger in their eye, and sold it to local Muslims for $50,000.  The Muslims used a crane to tear down the cross.  It is now the Islamic Awareness Center.  

Rev. Jefferts Schori has stated that "Bad behavior must be confronted."  She has likened the departure of believing Christians from TEC to murderes.  "It's not terribly far from the state of mind evidenced in school shootings...." 

Anglicans aren't the only ones fleeing their denomination.  In 1965, membership in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) numbered 3.70 million.  Today, it numbers 1.85 million.  At least 110 congregations left the PCUSA in 2012, shortly after the denomination ordination of homosexuals in 2011.  

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Tags: Christian Persecution, Religious Freedom
16. World Watch List - North Korean Christians are the Most Persecuted in the World

“For the eleventh year running, North Korea is the most difficult place on earth to be a Christian. One of the remaining Communist states, it is vehemently opposed to religion of any kind. Christians are classified as hostile and face arrest, detention, torture, even public execution. There is a system of labor camps including the renowned prison No. 15, which reportedly houses 6,000 persecuted Christians alone. Despite the severe oppression, there is a growing underground church movement of an estimated 400,000 Christians."  World Watch List – North Korea.  

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Tags: Christian Persecution, Religious Freedom
17. Christ and the Constitution: Words to Live by Every Day in 2014 and Always
by Ezra Taft Benson

(Ezra Taft Benson. Conference Report, April 1967)

Nearly two thousand years ago a perfect man walked the earth: Jesus the Christ. He was the son of a heavenly father and an earthly mother. He is the God of this world, under the Father. He taught men truth, that they might be free. His example and precepts provide the great standard, the only sure way, for all mankind. He became the first and only one who had the power to reunite his body with his spirit after death. By his power all men who have died shall be resurrected. Before him one day we all must stand to be judged by his laws. He lives today and in the not too distant future shall return, in triumph, to subdue his enemies, to reward men according to their deeds, and to assume his rightful role and to rule and reign in righteousness over the entire earth.

Nearly two hundred years ago, some inspired men walked this land of America—not perfect men, but men raised up by the Perfect Man to perform a great work. Foreordained were they, to lay the foundation of this republic, the Lord’s base of operations in these latter days. Blessed by the Almighty in their struggle for liberty and independence, the power of heaven rested on these founders as they drafted that great document for governing men, the Constitution of the United States. Like the Ten Commandments, the truths on which the Constitution was based were timeless; and also, as with the Decalogue, the hand of the Lord was in it.

They filled their mission well. From them we were endowed with a legacy of liberty—a constitutional republic.

But today the Christian constitutionalist mourns for his country. He sees the spiritual and political faith of his fathers betrayed by wolves in sheep’s clothing. He sees the forces of evil increasing in strength and momentum under the leadership of Satan, the archenemy of freedom. He sees the wicked honored and the valiant abused. He senses that his own generation faces Gethsemanes and Valley Forges that may yet rival or surpass the trials of the early apostles and the men of ’76. And this gives him cause to reflect on the most basic of fundamentals, the reason for our existence. Once we understand the fundamental purpose for mortality, we may more easily chart a correct course in the perilous seas that are engulfing our nation.

This life is a probation: a probation in which you and I prove our mettle, a probation that has eternal consequences for each of us. And now is our time and season—as every generation has had theirs—to learn our duties and to do them.

The Lord has so arranged things in this life that men are free agents unto themselves to do good or evil. The Lord allows men to go only so far, but the latitude is great enough that some men promote much wickedness and other men much righteousness.

Clearly, there would be little trial of faith if we received our full reward immediately for every goodly deed, or immediate retribution for every sin. But that there will be an eventual reckoning for each, there is no question.

So long as Man Stands for Freedom, He Stands with God

The Lord is displeased with wickedness, and he will help those who oppose it. But he has given all of us freedom to choose, while reserving for himself our final judgment. And herein lies the hope of all Christian constitutionalists. Why? Because the fight for freedom is God’s fight, and free agency is an eternal principle. It existed before this world was formed; it will exist forever. Some men may succeed in denying some aspects of this God-given freedom to their fellowmen, but their success is temporary. Freedom is a law of God, an eternal law. And, like any of God’s laws, men cannot break it with impunity. They can only break themselves upon it. So as long as a man stands for freedom, he stands with God. Therefore, any man will be eternally vindicated and rewarded who stands for freedom.

Men receive blessings by obedience to God’s laws, and without obedience there is no blessing. Before the final triumphal return of the Lord, the question as to whether we may save our constitutional republic is simply based on two factors: the number of patriots and the extent of their obedience.
That the Lord desires to save this nation that he raised up, there is no doubt. But that he leaves it up to us, with his help, is the awful reality.

There is a time and season for all righteous things, and many of life’s failures arise when men neither take the time nor find the season to perform their eternal duties. What, then, in this time and season may best equip us to save our Christian constitutional legacy, while at the same time rescuing our own souls? May I humbly submit six suggestions:

1. Spirituality.
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Tags: American Values, Constitution, Religious Freedom
18. My Favourite Time of the Year - The Florin Street Band

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Tags: Religious Freedom
19. Christmas Trees for Sale

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Tags: Religious Freedom
20. Amazing Grace Christmas Lights

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Tags: Religious Freedom

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