Contending For the Faith
City of Houston demands pastors turn over sermons
October 15, 2014 — Fox News reports: “The city of Houston has issued subpoenas demanding a group of pastors turn over any sermons dealing with homosexuality, gender identity or Annise Parker, the city’s first openly lesbian mayor. And those ministers who fail to comply could be held in contempt of court.
‘The city’s subpoena of sermons and other pastoral communications is both needless and unprecedented,’ Alliance Defending Freedom attorney Christina Holcomb said in a statement. ‘The city council and its attorneys are engaging in an inquisition designed to stifle any critique of its actions.’
ADF, a nationally-known law firm specializing in religious liberty cases, is representing five Houston pastors. They filed a motion in Harris County court to stop the subpoenas arguing they are ‘overbroad, unduly burdensome, harassing, and vexatious.’
‘Political and social commentary is not a crime,’ Holcomb said. ‘It is protected by the First Amendment.’
The subpoenas are just the latest twist in an ongoing saga over the Houston’s new non-discrimination ordinance. The law, among other things, would allow men to use the ladies room and vice versa. The city council approved the law in June.
The Houston Chronicle reported opponents of the ordinance launched a petition drive that generated more than 50,000 signatures – far more than the 17,269 needed to put a referendum on the ballot.
However, the city threw out the petition in August over alleged irregularities…” (Christianity is under siege by anti-Christian haters of God’s Holy Word. Christ is about to return and to judge all ungodly sinners. “When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world” and to the workers of iniquity “…these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal” – Matthew 25:31 – 14 and 46. See the next two reports.)
Fury unleashed over city’s assault on pastors
October 17, 2014 — WND.com reports: “A move by Houston officials to bolster their defense of a ‘non-discrimination’ ordinance by issuing subpoenas demanding pastors turn over sermons dealing with homosexuality has stirred such an outrage across America that 1,000 people per hour were signing a petition in opposition.
The Web petition set up by the Family Research Council had collected 25,000 names in 24 hours.
The latest total was nearly 38,000 names.
The signers are standing ‘unapologetically’ with the Houston pastors whose sermons were subpoenaed, and their churches are calling on the city of Houston ‘to retract their demands and issue a clear statement in support of the free speech of all people.’
FRC noted Houston Mayor Annise Parker’s office has filed a subpoena demanding that five pastors who oppose the ordinance turn over sermons, emails, text messages and even communications with members of their congregations.
The petition says Parker ‘has breached the wall of separation between the state and the church.’…”
Christian school ‘downgraded for failing to invite an imam to lead assembly’
October 20, 2014 — The Telegraph.co.uk reports: “A successful Christian school has been warned it is to be downgraded by inspectors and could even face closure after failing to invite a leader from another religion, such as an imam, to lead assemblies, it is claimed.
The small independent school in the Home Counties was told it is in breach of new rules intended to promote ‘British values’ such as individual liberty and tolerance in the wake of the Trojan Horse scandal, involving infiltration by hard-line Muslim groups in Birmingham.
Details of the case are disclosed in a letter to the Education Secretary, Nicky Morgan, from the Christian Institute, which is providing legal support to the school.
The group warned that the new rules intended to combat extremism are already having ‘disturbing consequences’ for religious schools and forcing Ofsted inspectors to act in a way which undermines their ethos.
It follows complaints from orthodox Jewish schools about recent inspections in which girls from strict traditional backgrounds were allegedly asked whether they were being taught enough about lesbianism, whether they had boyfriends and if they knew where babies came from.
In the latest case inspectors are understood to have warned the head that the school, which was previously rated as ‘good’ that it would be downgraded to ‘adequate’ for failing to meet standards requiring it to ‘actively promote’ harmony between different faiths because it had failed to bring in representatives from other religions.
They warned that unless the school could demonstrate how it was going to meet the new requirements there would be a further full inspection which could ultimately lead to it being closed…”
ISIS Threatens to Crucify Lebanon’s Christians
October 2, 2014 — The International Business Times reports: “Christians in Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley have begun arming themselves in preparation for an Isis (now known as the Islamic State) offensive as it seeks to expand its territorial control outside of Syria.
Up to 3,000 militants from the Islamic State and other jihadists occupy the mountain range between Lebanon and Syria near the Sunni town of Arsal.
As IS seek to grab land outside of the mountain caves and farms they currently control, Christian volunteers have now created village defence forces to protect against the Sunni militants who have taken up to 21 Lebanese soldiers and policemen hostage.
‘We are a minority and we are under threat by the jihadists,’ Rifaat Nasrallah, a commander of the volunteer guards in the Greek Catholic town of Ras Baalbek, said.
‘It wasn’t the idea of anyone in particular,’ Nasrallah says of the formation of defence units. ‘The whole village felt in danger so we all agreed it was necessary.’
‘We don’t shoot if we see someone or something moving in the mountains,’ said one of the watchmen. ‘We just call the Army and they investigate.’
Ras Baalbek has a population of 15,000 and is separated from the flashpoint town of Arsal by a range of hills.
‘Imagine if Islamic State makes it into Ras Baalbek and they crucify a Christian. It will set Lebanon alight,’ a western diplomat in the Lebanese capital of Beirut, speaking on condition of anonymity, told The Times…” (Hatred abounds for the Christians of the world. USA Today reported that the most hated religion in 132 nations is Christianity. Why? Jesus warned: “If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also. But all these things will they do unto you for my name’s sake, because they know not him that sent me” – John 15:18 – 21.)