Jerry Falwell and I are not frequently on the same page, but...

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While Pat Robertson has made himself more and more of an embarrassment nationally, Jerry Falwell has been working hard to make himself somewhat more legitimate. The following is from one of his emails:

Throughout our nation an effort is afoot to eradicate our religious freedoms. This isn’t an idle claim. To illustrate how our religious freedoms are being attacked, I want to highlight just a few of the many cases in which our religious rights are under fire.

As I mentioned in an earlier column, businessman Tim Bono was told by the Arlington (Va.) County Human Rights Commission that he must duplicate pro-homosexual videos even though doing so would counter the Christian standards he had established for his business. Thankfully, with the help of Liberty Counsel, Mr. Bono filed a complaint with the commission and the complaint filed by a lesbian activist was dismissed this week. Liberty Counsel will now proceed with the suit that challenges the commission’s authority to recognize “sexual orientation” as a civil right.

In San Diego, a three–judge panel of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has refused to stay a federal district judge’s order to remove the Mt. Soledad Cross, meaning the city must remove the historic cross by August 1, or face fines of $5,000 per day. The Thomas More Law Center, a national public interest law firm based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, has been fighting to save the cross since 2004. Richard Thompson, the Law Center’s president and chief counsel, said, “It is an outrage and insult not only to Christians, but people of all faiths, that this memorial site to our veterans and fallen war heroes would be desecrated by removal of a universally recognized symbol of sacrifice just because one atheist was upset about it.”

A federal judge in Sacramento this week dismissed atheist Michael Newdow’s lawsuit against the national motto, “In God We Trust.” In the present case, Newdow v. Congress, Newdow argued that having to use money inscribed with the national motto offends him and is unconstitutional. While this is an encouraging win, the effort to purge even innocuous references to God from the public square continues. Barry Lynn of the high-profile Americans United for the Separation of Church and State has admitted that his organization wants to eliminate phrases like “In God We Trust” from our currency.

In Henderson, Nevada, a high school senior had her microphone unplugged by school officials after she mentioned her Christian beliefs and quoted the Bible in her valedictory address a few days ago. The Rutherford Institute says it will file a First Amendment lawsuit against the school district for violating Brittany McComb’s constitutional right to free speech and equal protection under the law. “This is yet another example of a politically correct culture silencing Christians in order to not offend those of other beliefs,” said John W. Whitehead, president of The Rutherford Institute. (Similar occurrences have taken place in other American high schools.)

In Atlanta, Alliance Defense Fund attorneys have filed suit in defense of FAA employee Larry Dombrowski who was suspended without pay for expressing his religious beliefs and views on homosexual behavior at work. “Religious employees, including those of the federal government, are not second-class citizens,” said ADF Senior Legal Counsel Kevin Theriot. “No government employer is permitted by the Constitution to silence speech in the workplace just because it expresses religious views.”

In Whittier, Calif., elementary school officials backed down after earlier telling Christian students they could not sing a religious song in a talent show. After saying the song was “not appropriate,” the school backed down after receiving a legal demand letter from the Pacific Justice Institute. The students represented their school’s Good News Club, a nationwide after-school program which encourages kids in their faith. PJI staff attorney Matthew McReynolds, who wrote to the school on the students’ behalf, said, “The Supreme Court has said this isn’t all that complicated—schools don’t endorse everything they fail to censor. Student-initiated _expression, including talent shows, is clearly protected by the First Amendment and cannot be excluded just because it’s religious.” Still, education officials across this nation continue to target Christian students who attempt to voice their beliefs at school.

I could quite literally write all day giving examples of religious persecution in our nation. Our Founding Fathers would be disgusted with this effort to exterminate religious _expression in the public square. Thank God there are courageous individuals like those listed above who are willing to fight for their rights. And thankfully the organizations listed above, and many others, are working to preserve our rights. Without them, America would be lost in a sea of abject secularism.

REMINDER: All Falwell Confidential readers are invited join us in Lynchburg, Virginia for Thomas Road Baptist Church’s Golden Anniversary Celebration on Sunday, July 2. The service will feature the Grand Opening of the new 6000-seat TRBC sanctuary and the one-million-square-foot educational, worship and recreational facility. The Grand Opening service will be held from 10:30 a.m.–noon, and will feature the music of Charles Billingsley, Guy Penrod (of the Gaither Vocal Band) and the seven Penrod boys. I will bring a special message. An old-fashioned Independence Day Celebration will follow, from 2 p.m.-10 p.m., on the adjacent grounds of Liberty University’s Williams Football Stadium. There will be a host of rides and games for all ages, lots of great food and fellowship, as well as tours of the campus and the new TRBC. Then at 10:00, we will launch Central Virginia’s most magnificent fireworks display on Liberty Mountain. Join us for this special very day!

Anyone need more proof that there is religious persecution of Christians in this country?

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zimzo said:

I'm sorry to hear about all this persecution of Christians, but let's compare the persecution of Christians in this country with the persecution of gays. In 2004 (the latest date for which statistics are available) there were 1,792 hate crimes against gay people including 20 murders, 112 rapes, 171 acts of vandalism, and 618 assaults, representing an 8% increase over the year before. (Of course, campaigns against gay marriage emphasizing the "harm" gays cause to society had nothing to do with the upsurge in violence.) This compares to 43 Anti-Protestant incidents and 57 anti-Catholic incidents (both including 0 murders).

Singleton said:

I am on the same page that ignorant criminals who use violence against homosexuals should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law for their actions, but what is so striking about the events above is that the government is the source of the persecution.

Excellent point, Singleton. Zimzo is changing the subject. I imagine there has been plenty of violence against Jews, Muslims, blacks, Hispanics, whites, women, homeless people, etc. No one I know is arguing such illegal activities don't exist.

The focus of the campaign against anti-Christian persecution has for many years been on groups and individuals who attempt to use the machinery of the state to restrict religious practice and expression.

zimzo said:

Kind of ironic for you to say considering you want to use the machinery of state to pass and amendment to the constitution singling out gays for discrimination. I think if we looked at all the ways the "machinery of state" is used to persecute gays we would find a lot more examples than for Christians. It's also baffling why when the White House, the Congress and the Supreme Court are all basically controlled by conservative Christians that you are now suddenly whining about being victims.

Zimzo - wait wait wait a second. I should clarify that everyone involved in politics or political activism attempts to use the machinery of the state to further their aims. One could argue it's ALL about swinging the machinery of the state in a favorable direction. Cynical, but true.

The point of Singleton's post has strictly to do with anti-Christian efforts in this regard; about religious discrimination. I don't disagree that all kinds of other discrimination takes place in society. Christianity seems oddly singled out for official censure.

As to "suddenly whining about being victims," I assume you realize this is patent nonsense. Neuhaus' The Naked Public Square was published in 1984.

The Catholic League's online archives go back to the early 1990s

...and I have hard copy going back much further than that. (Much of their data is purely about Roman Catholicism issues, but in truth RC the past 25 or 30 years has served as the lightning rod for a general bias against Christianity in general). The anti- Christian tilt among the "knowledge class" has persisted through varied periods of partisan rule.

zimzo said:

Joe writes: "Christianity seems oddly singled out for official censure."

This is an absurd statement. The policy against gays in the military is not an "official censure"? How many government agencies in the United States have "officially censured" Christianity? I will grant that a few stupid people have misapplied notions that government should be neutral when it comes to religion but this hardly amounts to official censure. Crying wolf may not be exactly a new policy on the Christian right but the intensity has certainly been ratcheted up in the last year with the ridiculous "War on Christianity" conference recently held in DC and the steady increase of hysterical articles about "Christian persecution" in the Christian right media and Fox News.

"How many government agencies in the United States have 'officially censured' Christianity?"

From local school systems to local governments up through all other levels of government? I would say, many.

Granting you may have seen arguments that struck you as ridiculous, there's nothing hysterical about the basic truth of the matter - it's a fact, well preceding Fox News and the "Christian right media." It's been going on for many years. I would guess this is part of the reason Fox News has doubled up on the other outlets.

zimzo said:

Give me an example of the U.S Government officially censuring Christianity. I have given you one of the U.S. Government officially censuring homosexuality--the military policy against gays.

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