Christian School Under Fire for…Being Christian

Several years ago, the state of Indiana ushered in an aggressive school voucher program that allowed parents to take a portion of the tax dollars they were spending for the public education system and apply it towards tuition at a private school of their choice. It was aggressive because the Indiana legislature stipulated that those vouchers could be put towards explicitly Christian schools so long as the institution met or exceeded the state’s educational curriculum requirements and were accredited by the Indiana Department of Education.

To those that objected to such a practice on the basis of modern courts’ flawed application of a separation of church and state doctrine, Indiana replied with an important correction: these dollars are not “government dollars;” they belong to the individual. In other words, Indiana is not paying to run an explicitly Christian school. It is offering every citizen the opportunity to keep a portion of their own money that would otherwise be confiscated by the state, which the citizen could then use as they see fit within the educational boundaries established by the legislature.

As with all voucher systems, the opposition to Indiana’s program from the state teachers’ association and other progressive entities has been strong. To this point they have failed. But one Indiana Christian school now stands perhaps the most serious and alarming threat yet – a challenge that if successful could strangle the First Amendment rights of every Christian institution in the state.

Lighthouse Christian School is located in the Indiana city of Bloomington. The home of Indiana University and their infamously perverse “Kinsey Institute” (named after the disgraced pedophile zoologist who gave birth to the sexual revolution in the 1940s and 50s, Alfred Kinsey), Bloomington is perhaps the most left-leaning city in the state. So it is perhaps unsurprising that the LGBT political lobby has decided to target Lighthouse in a case that could determine whether faith-based schools will be able to operate according to their faith.

Though there is no documented case of an LGBT-identifying student being turned away from enrollment at Lighthouse, the lawsuit challenging the voucher system suggests that the school’s lifestyle requirements could make that a possibility. Like every other truly Christian school in existence, Lighthouse expects its students to embrace and uphold a Biblical lifestyle both inside and outside of the classroom.

That means a prohibition on, amongst other things, theft, violence, pornography, promiscuity, and same-sex relationships. Violating this Biblical code of ethics could mean disciplinary action from the school. Notice that the school is not forbidding any “individual” for innate characteristics. It is forbidding surrender to ungodly behavior, regardless of how natural or strong the urges and temptations towards that behavior may be.

But following the alarming path charted by the LGBT political lobby, the strategy in this case is clear: Christians have no right to express or live out beliefs that run contrary to the established dogma of the political left.

It’s a threat to Indiana’s voucher program, to religious schools everywhere, and in a larger sense to the First Amendment itself. Coming from the modern regressive left, what else is new?

WATCH: How to Respond to Bernie’s Bigotry

Everybody’s favorite socialist, Senator Bernie Sanders, took some time away from offering free stuff to people recently in order to put on a clinic in textbook religious bigotry.  OMB nominee Russell Vought endured a tongue lashing from the man whose passion well exceeds his intellect.

And though numerous entities have condemned Sanders for his obvious violation of the Constitution’s prohibition against a religious test for public office, there’s something a bit more concerning about all this that needs to be addressed.

That’s the topic of this week’s 414 Project video.  Take a look.

The Truth: Why Bad Things Happen to Good People

About every public poll or survey you’ll see asking why people reject Christianity, the answer is the same: the presence of evil.  It seems irrational to them that a loving God could or would ever allow such a reality in a world He created.

If God can prevent my friend from dying in the accident but doesn’t, He must be too cruel to worship. If He can’t prevent my friend from dying in the accident, He isn’t really a god.

Given that the age-old question, “Why do bad things happen to good people?” separates so many from the arms of the Father, perhaps it’s time we have a better, more logical response to it.  Here’s my best effort.

Pence: ‘No People of Faith Today Face Greater Hostility or Hatred Than the Followers of Christ’

On Thursday, Vice President Mike Pence addressed hundreds of Christian leaders at the first-ever World Summit in Defense of Persecuted Christians in Washington, D.C. Rev. Franklin Graham of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association led the four-day, multi-denominational event aimed at encouraging and empowering faithful Christians at home and abroad.

The vice president began his speech by thanking Rev. Graham and Christian leaders “across this country and across the world.” He then took a moment to honor President Donald Trump, “a champion of the freedom of religion and the freedoms enshrined in our Bill of Rights”:

I’m here on behalf of the President as a tangible sign of his commitment to defending Christians and, frankly, all who suffer for their beliefs across the wider world. I stand here today as a testament to President Trump’s tangible commitment to reaffirm America’s role as a beacon of hope and light and liberty to inspire the world.

Pence went on to address “the courageous men and women … who have stood without apology for their faith in Christ and suffered persecution across the wider world.

Read the full story at Faithwire.com.

Where Does Actor Tim Allen Stand on Faith? Inside His ‘Curious Relationship With God’

Tim Allen is in the headlines after ABC cancelled his popular sitcom “Last Man Standing” — a rare TV phenomenon that features a main character who is “a conservative and devout Christian.” But what do we know about the actor’s real-life relationship with God?

Well, we can start with an old 1996 interview during which Allen described himself as “a pretty solid Christian” who has always asked deep questions about God, pain, suffering and plenty more.

“Even as an altar boy, I was always asking the bigger questions — you know: if God is, in fact, good, what is all this death I see? And if God is gentle, what is all this suffering I see?” Allen said. “I’ve found some of the answers in Eastern religion. It explained my Christianity to me. Good and evil are the same thing. You can’t have one without the other.”

He continued, “It’s the balance, it’s the temperance of things.”

Flash-forward 15 years and Allen went a bit deeper in an interview with ABC, explaining that he was just 11 years old when his father was killed by a drunk driver. The actor admitted that the event had a profound impact on his faith.

“I’ve had a curious relationship with God since my father died,” he said.

It was after that untimely death that Allen ended up going on a self-destructive path, partying and eventually serving two years in prison in the 1970s for felony drug trafficking. In a recent interview with Closer magazine, Allen said that his more than two year detainment actually helped him reboot his life.

“It was a watershed moment,” he said. “It put me in a position of great humility, and I was able to make amends to friends and family and refocus my life on setting and achieving goals.”

Unfortunately, though, Allen hadn’t quite dealt with all of his demons and he ended up falling into a pattern of drinking and driving years after his prison stint; he was arrested in 1997 for drunk driving, something he reflected on in his 2011 interview with ABC.

“I find it humiliating,” Allen said as he looked back at his drinking days. “By the grace of God I didn’t hurt anybody or myself in the years I was drinking and driving.”

And in his 2017 interview with Closer, the star, who is currently married to his second wife, said that he’s a changed man since he left booze behind.

“I’m not the same guy I was the first time [I was married], when I was hiding and doing what people who drink too much do,” he told the outlet. “I was not connecting. But I’ve been sober for almost 20 years. I’m much more present.”

As for his relationship with God, Allen told ABC that he believes God — whom he referred to as “the builder” — put him on Earth, and said that those closest to him know full-well about his deep spirituality.

Read more at Faithwire.com.

Christian Printer Who Was Punished by Gov’t For Refusing to Make Gay Pride T-Shirts Wins Big in Court

A Kentucky appeals court has ruled that the government cannot force a Christian printer to make T-shirts for a gay pride event after the government previously stepped in and punished the businessowner for refusing to do so.

The Kentucky Court of Appeals ruled 2-to-1 that Blaine Adamson, owner of Hands on Originals, a print shop based in Lexington, Kentucky, is correct in his argument that being forced to create the T-shirts was a violation of his religious beliefs, according to the Becket, a law firm devoted to the defense of religious liberty.

“The court agreed with Becket, top legal scholars, and LGBT business owners, who all stood up for the rights of artists to choose what messages they would promote, without fear of government punishment,” the firm said in a statement. “(The) ruling emphasized that ‘the ‘service’ [the printer] offers is the promotion of messages. The ‘conduct’ [the printer] chose not to promote was pure speech.’”

This is the second court ruling in Adamson’s favor after a Fayette County Circuit Court ruling found that the human rights commission was incorrect to force the printer to make shirts for the pride parade.

The Lexington Fayette Urban County Human Rights Commission appealed that ruling, yielding today’s court decision.

Problems began for Adamson, who is represented by Alliance Defending Freedom, a conservative law firm, after he was asked in 2012 by the Gay and Lesbian Services Organization (GLSO) to make shirts for a local gay pride event. He declined and offered to help the group find other printers who might be willing to do so — but that did little to temper controversy and consternation.

The Gay and Lesbian Services Organization then turned to the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Human Rights Commission and filed a complaint, with the government responding by mandating that Adamson print the shirts and that his staff attend diversity training.

The government argued that Adamson “had discriminated on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity in violation of Section 2-33,” a local ordinance.

But Adamson, who employs and does business with gay individuals, has consistently argued that he wasn’t discriminating against people and was, instead, declining to print messages with which he disagrees.

Read more at Faithwire.com.

Trump Administration Seeking Release Of Jailed American Pastor In Turkey

Christian Pastor Andrew Brunson has been in custody in Turkey for the past six months, and the charges remain unclear.

But now the Trump administration is getting involved in seeking answers – and eventually Brunson’s release.

In 2013, Trump was critical of then-President Obama’s handling of the case of Saeed Abedini, a Christian pastor who eventually went free in 2016 as part of a prisoner swap deal between the Obama administration and Iran.

Back then, Trump said of the Abedini case:

“This is negotiation 101. This would have been so simple,” Trump said. “All you had to do is, before they even started (negotiations with Iran), say, ‘Do us both a favor — allow the Christian pastor out of jail for being Christian. He’s in jail because he’s a Christian.”

“I’d say with proper word usage, which is possibly not so easy for them … and proper negotiating skill, they would let him out in a heartbeat. Ask that he be released,” Trump said. “The way you do it is say, ‘This is good for both of us. It just works for both of us.’”

Until recently, some wondered if Trump would take his own advice in Brunson’s case, and it looks as though he finally has.

In late March, Brunson issued a message pleading with the White House to stand up for his freedom, which spurred a meeting between Brunson’s wife Norine and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.

“PTL, I just had a 20 min meeting with Sec of State Tillerson,” she wrote. “I do not know what will come of it, considering the sensitive period Turkey is in, but was grateful for the opportunity.”

Tillerson has also apparently met with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who reportedly informed the secretary that Turkish authorities would unseal the records of Brunson’s case soon, allowing the pastor’s lawyers to see the evidence against their client.

This case will be worth watching, and hopefully we’ll have positive developments to share about it soon.

Gov. Moonbeam to Trump: Act Christian

California’s Governor Moonbeam has called upon President Trump to do the “Christian thing” and halt the deportation of illegal immigrants. According to the Daily Wire, Gov. Jerry Brown (D-Cal.) went on to call the president “Mr. Religious Fellow” and said, “I  thought we had to treat the least of these as we would treat the Lord. So I hope he would reconnect with some of his conservative evangelicals and they’ll tell him that these are human beings and they’re children of God, they should be treated that way.”

A common trope among liberals is to suddenly get religion when it suits their policy views. In recent weeks, Democrats have also attacked the proposed Trump budget as “immoral” because it cuts federal funding for programs for the poor and the arts.

Gov. Brown is himself a lapsed Catholic who doesn’t “want it to be understood that I’m ready to underwrite” the “whole train of [Catholic] doctrines and beliefs” notes the Sacramento Bee. Many Christians would consider Brown, who studied Zen Buddhism in Japan and India under a former Jesuit priest who blended Christianity with Buddhism, to be an apostate.

When considering Brown’s view of what is “Christian,” it must be noted that Brown’s policies as governor of California were hostile to Catholics and Christians who oppose abortion. Brown’s administration changed state policy to require that health insurance companies pay for elective abortions, a decision that the president of the Catholic League told the Mercury News was in “direct conflict with the teachings of the Catholic Church.” Brown also signed a California law that requires crisis pregnancy centers to refer patients to abortion clinics.

The Bible refers to the life of unborn babies in the womb as a creation of God (Psalm 139:13-16). “You shall not murder” (Exodus 20:13) is a core verse of the Ten Commandments.

While it can be galling when liberals hold conservative Christians to Biblical standards, it is not inappropriate. If Christians profess to adhere to a higher moral standard, it is fair game for the left to call them out when their actions fail to live up to their words.

The bigger problem is when non-Christians read policy prescriptions into the Bible that are not there. One of the largest myths from the religious left is that the Bible commands us to create a government welfare state to help “the least of these” (Matthew 25:31-46). A closer examination of the Biblical text reveals an individual commandment to help the sick and the poor. There is no option to have the government fund charity through tax dollars.

The leftist argument also assumes that government programs actually help the poor. Many studies have shown the destructive effects of government entitlements on the poor with unintended consequences from undermining personal responsibility to increased out-of-wedlock births and reducing upward mobility out of poverty. Second Thessalonians 3:10, “For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: ‘The one who is unwilling to work shall not eat,’ is conveniently ignored by the big government Christians.

What of Jerry Brown’s contention that illegal immigration should be allowed to continue because it is the “Christian” thing to do? Jesus’s admonition to “render unto Caesar” (Matthew 20:21) and Paul’s advice to “obey the laws” (Romans 13:5) argue that Christians should not abet people in breaking the law except in the extreme case that man’s law contradicts God’s law (Isaiah 10:1-2, Acts 5:29).

Brown’s position on abortion contradicts the Biblical commandment not to murder, but the immigration system, thought broken and badly in need of reform, does not require Christians of conscience to break God’s law. Christian health care workers in California who are being compelled to aid in the murder of unborn babies have a better case for civil disobedience than federal immigration officers.

If Gov. Brown believes that the immigration system is unjust, as a majority of Americans do, he should work to change it, not tell people to ignore it. And while he’s at it, he should change California’s abortion policies to reduce the killings of unborn babies. It would be the Christian thing to do.