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Article by Nathan A. Cherry

Pastor Jim Garlow

“I just spent several days with Pastor Jim Garlow of the Skyline Wesleyan Church at a conference we both attended in Naples, Florida. It takes mere minutes to figure out that Pastor Garlow is a passionate preacher of God’s Word, boldly sharing the message of Jesus with anyone that will listen. It takes just another minute to conclude that Pastor Garlow loves America and refuses to see it fundamentally altered into an oppressive tyranny akin to other nations around the world. And to this end Pastor Garlow plans to preach a message that is typically viewed as “off limits” by the IRS. Further, Garlow will record it and send it to the IRS.

It’s all part of Pulpit Freedom Sunday, a day of speaking up to defy unconstitutional speech limitations the IRS and government try to bully pastor’s with in order to keep them silent (ironic for a group that wants to pass “anti-bullying” legislation). Come Sunday, Oct 7 Pastor Garlow an hundreds, perhaps thousands of other pastor’s will say “enough is enough” and preach biblically based messages on social issues like marriage, family, abortion, and religious freedom.”

Since the adoption of the “Johnson Amendment” in 1954 churches…..Read the rest at http://engagefamilyminute.com/2012/07/wanted-bold-pastors-to-preach-without-fear/

 

Check out www.PulpitFreedom.org for more information on Pulpit Freedom Sunday.

 

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Hope renewed: Weekend worship services will continue at NYC schools
6/29/2012 News Release Federal court issues permanent order protecting equal access rights

NEW YORK — Alliance Defense Fund attorneys won a permanent injunctionFriday that allows churches and other faith groups to continue to meet in New York City public school buildings for worship services after hours.“Churches that have been helping communities for years can continue to offer the hope that empty buildings can’t,” said ADF Senior Counsel Jordan Lorence, who argued before the court on June 1. “The court’s order allows churches and other religious groups to meet for worship services in empty school buildings on weekends on the same terms as other groups. ADF will continue to defend this constitutionally protected right if the city chooses to continue using taxpayer money to evict the very groups that are selflessly helping the city’s communities, including the public schools themselves.”

Churches meeting in New York City public schools for worship services have fed the poor, have assisted in rehabilitating drug addicts and gang members, have helped rebuild marriages and families, and have provided for the disabled. The churches have also helped the public schools themselves by volunteering to paint the interiors of inner-city schools; donating computers, musical instruments, and air conditioners; and providing effective after-school programs to help all students with their studies.

“There is no reason to exclude worship services from these empty school buildings, especially when the school allows all other community groups to meet,” Lorence explained. “Why exclude churches that are helping their neighbors in so many significant ways?”

In February, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York issued a preliminary order that allowed Bronx Household of Faith and other religious groups to conduct worship services in schools while the ADF lawsuit against the city proceeded. The new order makes the preliminary order permanent.

The permanent injunction is part of a 17-year legal battle in Bronx Household of Faith v. Board of Education of the City of New York. The city has been trying to eject worship services from their public school meeting places under the claim that their presence violates the U.S. Constitution, but the court Friday disagreed with the city’s policy, Chancellor’s Regulation D-180.

“Having considered the latest evidence and the parties’ respective arguments, the Court determines that its reasons for granting Plaintiffs’ motion for a preliminary injunction were sound and that implementation of Ch. Reg. D-180 violates both the Free Exercise Clause and the Establishment Clause…,” the court’s order states. “Defendants are permanently enjoined from enforcing Ch. Reg. D180 so as to deny Plaintiffs’ application or the application of any similarly-situated individual or entity to rent space in the Board’s public schools for meetings that include religious worship.”

 

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Gary McCaleb has a column running on Townhall.com that is worth your attention.

Gary’s column looks at the effort to limit Christians’ religion freedom to the confines of their homes and churches.

Titled, “Putting Faith Under House Arrest,” the column also looks at the effort to remove Christian texts from public view as well.

It can be viewed here
“The bottom line is that your choice as to whether you can worship God and live out your faith as a free citizen is, at this very moment, being shaped by the demands of leftists and proponents of the homosexual agenda who have sworn fealty to the force of law rather than theology.”

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We recently received an exciting update on a previous situation ADF assisted with in Northern Arizona. Based on some confusion about the First Amendment, the Northern Arizona Council of Governments (NACOG) Area Agency on Aging told all of its service providers, including Meals on Wheels, that they were no longer permitted to allow any collective prayer before the meals they served at area senior centers. For many years, seniors at the centers had been saying a short, voluntary prayer together, followed by the Pledge of Allegiance, prior to eating the lunch provided by Meals on Wheels.

ADF offered to provide assistance to NACOG free of charge and drafted a new policy on prayer and religious expression. We recently received word that NACOG adopted the policy and sent it out to all of their service providers.

Kudos to NACOG for correcting its policy and protecting the First Amendment rights of the senior citizens it serves!

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When it comes to college basketball, Lexington, Kentucky is “Title Town USA.”   With its precision offense and shot-blocking defense, the home-town University of Kentucky Wildcats won another NCAA national championship a few weeks ago.

But away from the basketball court, some folks in Lexington refuse to acknowledge that religious freedom ranks No. 1 in the Bill of Rights.

Some folks like the local Gay & Lesbian Services Organization (GLSO).  If they get their way, religious freedom will be dealt a huge defeat like those served on so many of the Wildcats’ basketball opponents.

Alleging “discrimination,” GLSO is demanding the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Human Rights Commission slap a technical foul on the Christian-owned business Hands On Originals.

Blaine Adamson, co-owner of Hands On Originals shirt shop, declined GLSO’s request to print t-shirts for a “pride” parade celebrating homosexual behavior.  The co-owners of Hands On Originals sincerely believe in the inspired Word of God, and they strive to live by its commands in their personal and public lives.  They disagree with the message served by these “pride” parades, and they exercised their right to be obedient to God.

In retaliation, GLSO is urging large customers of Hands On Originals – including the University of Kentucky – to boycott the shirt shop, which could be forced to lay off employees if business revenue drops substantially.

Blaine Adamson joins a growing list of Christian business owners facing legal attack in the clash between the free exercise of religion – the first liberty affirmed in the U.S. Constitution – and the homosexual legal agenda.  The Alliance Defense Fund (ADF) and our allies have successfully defended many of them, but other costly legal battles rage on.  In New Mexico, Elaine Huguenin awaits appeal of a similar “discrimination” charge – for declining to photograph a same-sex “commitment ceremony.”  If convicted, she may have to close her photography business.

This issue brings two vitally important questions into play for believers.  How should the Body of Christ respond to these predatory assaults on religious liberty?  And, are pastors free to scripturally equip their congregations on how to respond to attacks on religious freedom?

It’s crucial for Christians to understand the serious legal risks they face in the public square as they strive to uphold their biblical beliefs.  Pastors also need to understand the attacks against their congregants and how to lead in a time of hostility toward religious freedom.

Pastors can take an important step in leadership by participating in the ADF Pulpit Freedom Sunday October 7th when hundreds of pastors will preach the full counsel of scripture on the issue of candidates and the election to equip their congregations and to counter a challenge to their own free speech.

They do so knowing Americans United for Separation of Church and State (AU) will bluster and complain.  This radical group is threatening pastors with intimidating letters warning them to refrain from speaking on some of the moral issues which will help their congregations.

This bullying has been happening since Congress hastily approved the “Johnson Amendment” in 1954.  The act modified the Internal Revenue Service tax code and overturned 178 years of free speech for America’s pastors, who now risk loss of tax exemptions for applying scripture or church teaching to the issue of candidates and elections.

For instance, if Blaine Adamson’s pastor urges the congregation to vote for political candidates who will uphold religious liberty, AU will file a “complaint” (really just a tattle-tale letter) with the Internal Revenue Service demanding the church lose its tax exemption.

The Alliance Defense Fund and our allies are protecting churches willing to courageously challenge this unjust tax law.  While we’re not encouraging pastors to become political commentators, we are urging them to determine the content of sermons on their own.  For too long, pastors self-censored their messages and essentially enabled the IRS to determine what can and can’t be said in the pulpits of America.

Pulpit Freedom Sunday pastors are forwarding recordings of their sermons to the IRS in hopes of drawing investigations.  When IRS officials attempt to whistle a church for a flagrant foul, ADF will sue the IRS in an attempt to overturn the Johnson Amendment.  Our goal is to regain complete freedom for America’s churches.

Please pray for victory in the battles for religious freedom in Lexington, in New Mexico, and across America.  Pray for free speech for our pastors

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