May 23 2015

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Graduation Speakers: Beware of Those ‘Allergic’ to Religion

Keeping Watch in Washington

PATRIOT POST By Tony Perkins · May 22, 2015

Hundreds of pastors descended on our nation’s capital [yesterday] for FRC’s annual Watchmen on the Wall conference, representatives of what we believe is the determining edge of the future of our nation. “The mission of our Watchmen on the Wall ministry is simple,” said Dr. Kenyn Cureton, FRC’s Vice President of Church Ministries, “We champion pastors to transform America … because the problems we face in America today … are spiritual at their heart and core, and the demand of the hour is for spiritual leadership to step up and engage.”

With 60 percent attending for the first time, we’re encouraged that so many of our nation’s spiritual leaders are engaging on the important spiritual and cultural issues of our day. Author, professor, and systematic theologian Dr. Wayne Grudem encouraged these ministers with a charge to exert significant Christian influence on government. Offering a biblical and historical overview, Grudem reminded pastors “from the earliest days of the Christian church, Christians have influenced government for good.”

The biblical call to be salt and light and to seek the good of our city demands we engage boldly, gracefully, and with conviction in the public square, but that engagement requires true religious freedom. “Religious liberty is the foundational liberty upon which this nation was built,” shared Senator Ted Cruz, while noting that in locations as far apart as Houston and Syria, religious liberty is under attack. Sharing the stories of Sgt. Monk and Chaplain Wes Modder, FRC’s Lt. General Jerry Boykin warned the gathering that “the infringement on religious liberty is hurting our military readiness” and added that “when a man or woman is facing the uncertainty of combat they need the strength of a spiritual underpinning.”

If chaplains are penalized for providing that spiritual foundation in accord with the teaching of their endorsing church, then religious freedom is a thing of the past. Fox News columnist and author Todd Starnes quipped, “Gatherings like this are forward operating bases in the war on religious liberty. We come here to be equipped…make no mistake brothers and sisters, they are coming after our churches.” FRC’s Travis Weber agreed with Starnes, noting that in oral arguments over state marriage amendment cases before the Supreme Court, “the tax exempt status that the Solicitor General admitted was going to be an ‘issue’ for religious schools is only one step removed from churches.”

As Weber put it plainly, the conflict between the teachings of the church and the sexual revolution is unavoidable. You can view any of these great speakers along with best-selling author Joel C. Rosenberg, Act for America’s Brigitte Gabriel, the Benham brothers, and Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore on our Watchmen Pastors website. Please join us in praying for these pastors, that they may be strengthened to stand, and for the Spirit of God to move among us.

Bob Kellogg   (OneNewsNow.com) Tuesday, May 19, 2015

One religious freedom organization is ready for a floodgate of legal questions as graduation season continues to unfold, saying it is ready to represent graduating high school speakers who want to talk about their faith, but are afraid to do so.

Liberty Institute President Kelly Shackelford says students have been unlawfully silenced at graduations by uninformed educators.

Understanding the many reservations graduation speaker have when it comes to expressing their faith from the podium, Liberty Institute attorney Jeremy Dys says students are free to express their faith and beliefs — as long as they are speaking for themselves, and not the school.

“They are not given the particular task by the school to speak on the school’s behalf, [so] they are permitted to pretty much say what they would like to say because they are speaking for themselves and not on behalf of the schools,” Dys argues from a legal perspective.

Dys urges students who have free speech questions to give the Liberty Institute a call if they have any questions about what the can and cannot say.

“It’s better to just ask the question in advance to make sure that we’re able to assist you here then to be told something incorrect by people who are at times proven to be allergic to religion,” Dys advises.

Dys says that as a first round of defense, graduates should check out the Student Bill of Rights on Liberty Institute’s website.

Class Warfare? Schools Bans ‘God’ from Homework

Fox News By  

Mackenzie Fraiser may be a sixth grader, but she knows more about her constitutional rights than Somerset Academy. The Las Vegas school took a big gamble when it told a 12-year-old girl to drop God from a paper for leadership class — despite the Education Department’s own rules allowing it. For a project on self-esteem, Mackenzie wanted to use John 3:16 to explain how her faith affects her identity. Since she was required to include an “inspirational statement,” Mackenzie turned to what inspired her most: the Bible. Before she could finish, the teachers ordered her to strip any reference to Scripture or God, claiming that it violated a government policy.

When Mackenzie got home and told her father (a pastor) what happened, he was rightfully upset. The family contacted our good friends at Liberty Institute, who gave the school 10 days to issue a written apology to Mackenzie. “Government officials telling little girls they can’t mention God is not the law,” wrote Liberty President Kelly Shackelford. “It’s religious discrimination, and it’s morally wrong.”

The Assistant Principal tried to justify the ban, claiming (wrongly) that the Department of Education prohibits religious expression in class. And while it sounds like something the DOE would do, the reality is that no such guidelines exist. In fact, what does exist is a defense of students’ rights!

These children “should never be intimidated into feeling like their faith is bad or something they have to hide,” said Senior Counsel Jeremy Dys. “The Supreme Court and the United States Department of Education repeatedly recognize that ‘students may express their beliefs about religion in homework, artwork, and other written and oral assignments free from discrimination based on the religious content of their submissions.’ Banning students from expressing their religious beliefs in class assignments teaches students that religion is bad. The school officials at Somerset Academy must apologize and affirm her right as a student to express her faith in a school assignment.” Let’s hope the administrators listen — and right this horrible wrong.

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