News of Note: “Federal Judge Declares in Opinion that Pastor’s Anti-Gay Sermon is a Crime Against Humanity”

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1. “Fed Judge Declares Anti-Gay Sermon a “Crime Against Humanity” – Massachusetts federal judge states in opinion that pastor’s sermon against homosexuality is a “crime against humanity”.

“A federal judge ruled that a biblically based denunciation of homosexuality was a “crime against humanity.” In his decision in the case of Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG) v. Lively, U.S. District Court Judge Michael Ponsor held that Scott Lively, an evangelical pastor, was “aiding and abetting a crime against humanity” when Lively spoke in Uganda and in America against homosexual behavior. Ponsor wrote in his 79-page opinion that Lively’s message was “analogous to a terrorist designing and manufacturing a bomb in this country, which he then mails to Uganda with the intent that it explode there.” The plaintiff in the case is a consortium of groups based in Kampala, Uganda that fight for “fair and equal treatment of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) people” in the East Africa region. Ponsor says that Lively, by publishing tracts and delivering discourses condemning same-sex relationships, was acting as “an upper-level manager or leader of a criminal enterprise.” While in Uganda, Lively praised local pastors working to fight the proliferation of sexual activity between those of the same gender, basing his remarks on his interpretation of the Bible’s condemnation of such behavior. “I’ve never done anything in Uganda except preach the Gospel and speak my opinion about the homosexual issue,” Lively told the New York Times. Reading between the lines, it becomes apparent that the “criminal enterprise” in which Ponsor found Lively engaged was that of believing, preaching, and promoting Judeo-Christian morality in an age that glorifies ungodliness and exalts satisfaction of appetites above the sacrifice of self to the will of God.” – Joe Wolverton II, The New American

2. “Aaron Hernandez: Patriots Tight End Violent Evolution” – Rolling Stone’s feature on former Patriots star tight end Aaron Hernandez accused of first degree murder. (Rolling Stone)

3. “California Senate Approves Bill Allowing Nurses to Do Abortions” – Senate in California approves bill allowing nurses to do abortions. (Life Site News)

“The abortion lobby says abortion should be between a woman and her doctor, but the California Senate on Monday approved a bill allowing… nurses to do abortions, even though licensed physicians kill and injure women in abortions. “The Senate approved AB 154, a measure that would reduce medical standards that currently require surgical abortions to be performed by a physician and would instead allow first trimester abortions to be performed by physician assistants, nurse practitioners and nurse midwives. The Senate approved AB154 on a mostly party-line, 25-11 vote and now the state Assembly must sign off on the changes the Senate made.” – Steven Ertelt , LifeSite News

4. Todd Friel and Matt Walsh on Robin Thicke and why he is just as culpable as Miley Cyrus

“Forget Miley, what about the “man” on stage with her?” – Todd Friel on why we should also be focusing on the man on stage who was with Miley Cyrus during her MTV VMA performance. (Wretched)

“Dear son, don’t let Robin Thicke be a lesson to you” – Matt Walsh writes an open letter to his son about Robin Thicke and Mily Cyrus. (The Matt Walsh Blog)

5. “Martin Luther King, Jr. at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary” – Al Mohler on Martin Luther King’s sermon at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in 1961. (AlbertMohler.com)

6. “Five Reasons We Don’t Evangelize” – Michael McKinley gives five reasons why Christians don’t evangelize. (9Marks)

Notable Quotable: “Religious Liberty is the Price for Citizenship in the Same Sex Marriage Debate” – Al Mohler

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“Compromise, Justice Bosson argues, “is part of the glue that holds us together as a nation, the tolerance that lubricates the moving parts of us as a people.” That compromise, Justice Bosson wrote, is just a fact of American life: “In short, I would say to the Huguenins, with the utmost respect: it is the price of citizenship.”

“So the price of citizenship is the denial of religious liberty when the Christian convictions of this couple run into a head-on collision with the “contrasting values” of others. This is a “compromise” that requires the Huguenins to give up their convictions or go out of business. What does the “compromise” require of those who push for the normalization of same-sex relationships and the legalization of same-sex marriage? Nothing.

“Some compromise.

“The same-sex couple in this case did not contest the fact that there were many other professional photographers available to them. Indeed, they hired another photographer after Elane Photography declined. But they still pressed for the force of law to require all commercial photographers to provide services for same-sex ceremonies. And they got what they demanded.

“That is the true nature of the “compromise” that Justice Bosson argues is “the price of citizenship.” His language about the Huguenins and their plight is moving and respectful, almost an elegy. But the decision itself is a denial of religious liberty and the constitutional guarantees of religious expression and free speech.

“Justice Bosson asserts that “there is a price, one that we all have to pay somewhere in our civic life.” The New Mexico Supreme Court has now made clear that the price to be paid by many is the forfeiture of their religious liberty.”

(Al Mohler, “It is the Price of Citizenship”?—An Elegy for Religious Liberty in America , AlbertMohler.com)

News of Note: “What Are the Possible Repercussions in the New Mexico Supreme Court’s Ruling Against Christian Wedding Photographers?”

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New Mexico’s Highest Court Rules Against Christian Photographers

“Christians: You Must Deny the Lordship of Christ. It is the Price of Citizenship in this Secular Nation.” – James White’s commentary on the ruling. (Alpha and Omega Minsitries)

“In other words, the cost of citizenship in post-revolutionary, post-Christian, post-constitutional America? Bow to Caesar. Say Caesar is Lord rather than Jesus is Lord. Celebrate evil with us, or pay the price. We’ve been here before. But only Christians who know their past even realize it. Wake up, believers. These words are were written long, long ago: “If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours. But all these things they will do to you on account of my name, because they do not know him who sent me. (John 15:18–21)” – James White

“The Hamfisted Jackboot” – Douglas Wilson on the possible consequences of the New Mexico Supreme Court’s ruling against Christian wedding photographers (Blog and Mablog)

“But doing business is not the issue here. Christian photographers, florists, caterers, etc. are absolutely right to refuse to do such events. And the reason for this is the reason these professions are being singled out in these court cases in the first place. This is not about economic exchange, but is rather about mandated social approval. The demand is we must all applaud. And is the reason why photographers and florists are going to be at the center of this next round of fights. The homosexual agenda is not to make us do business with them. The point is to make us approve of them.” – Doug Wilson

“It is the Price of Citizenship”?—An Elegy for Religious Liberty in America – Al Mohler’s commentary on the New Mexico Supreme Court’s ruling. (AlbertMohler.com)

“So the price of citizenship is the denial of religious liberty when the Christian convictions of this couple run into a head-on collision with the “contrasting values” of others. This is a “compromise” that requires the Huguenins to give up their convictions or go out of business. What does the “compromise” require of those who push for the normalization of same-sex relationships and the legalization of same-sex marriage? Nothing. Some compromise. The same-sex couple in this case did not contest the fact that there were many other professional photographers available to them. Indeed, they hired another photographer after Elane Photography declined. But they still pressed for the force of law to require all commercial photographers to provide services for same-sex ceremonies. And they got what they demanded.” – Al Mohler

“Court Says Christian Couple’s Refusal to Photograph Same-Sex Ceremony Was Illegal — Why ‘You Will Be Made to Care’” – The Blaze’s report on the New Mexico Supreme Court’s ruling. (The Blaze)

“NM Supreme Court: Christian Photographers Must ‘Compromise’ Faith, Shoot Homosexual ‘Weddings’” – New Mexico Supreme Court rules against Christian photographers that they must compromise their faith to shoot homosexual weddings. (Christian News)

“The New Mexico Supreme Court ruled unanimously on Thursday that Christian photographers may not refuse to shoot homosexual ‘weddings’ in the state, as all citizens must ‘compromise … to accommodate the contrasting views of others.’” – Heather Clark

“Clashing Claims” – Ryan T. Anderson’s article on the New Mexico photographers’ case. (National Review)

Citizens must insist that government respect those who continue to stand for marriage as the union of a man and a woman. When he “evolved” on the issue last year, President Obama insisted that the debate about marriage was a legitimate one, that there were reasonable people of good will on both sides. Obama explained that supporters of marriage as we’ve always understood it (a male-female union) “are not coming at it from a mean-spirited perspective. They’re coming at it because they care about families.” He added that “a bunch of ’em are friends of mine . . . you know, people who I deeply respect.” But in a growing number of incidents, government hasn’t respected the beliefs of Americans. Citizens must insist that government not discriminate against those who hold to the historic definition of marriage. Policy should prohibit the government — or anyone who receives taxpayers’ dollars — from discriminating in employment, licensing, accreditation, or contracting against those who believe marriage is the union of a man and a woman. We also must work to see marriage law reflect the truth about marriage. If marriage is redefined, then believing what virtually every human society once believed about marriage — that it is the union of a man and a woman ordered to procreation and family life — would be seen increasingly as an irrational prejudice that ought to be driven to the margins of culture. The consequences for religious believers are becoming apparent.” – Ryan T. Anderson

“NM Court Says Christian Photographers Must Compromise Beliefs” – Todd Starnes’ report on the New Mexico Supreme Court’s ruling. (Fox News)

Notable Quotable: “The Homosexual Agenda Is Not To Make Us Do Business With Them. The Point Is To Make Us Approve Them.” – Doug Wilson

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“First, the issue is not that Christians are acting like an economic transaction with a homosexual is spiritually defiling. It is not. If I had a hardware store, I would be happy to sell a hammer to a homosexual. I would be happy to sell a hammer to a homosexual couple who were going to use it to hammer up the crepe paper bunting at the reception. I don’t care. They give me ten bucks, I give them the hammer, and I am not contaminated by the exchange. If I sold them some cotter pins, I might feel an urge to explain them, but would be happy to sell them.

“The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness of it. The apostle Paul teaches us explicitly that we are not entailed in the sin when we live in the same world with unbelievers, rub shoulders with them, and do business with them (1 Cor. 5:10). I think Christians should be happy to do business with homosexuals. No problemo, as we bilingual people say.

“But doing business is not the issue here. Christian photographers, florists, caterers, etc. are absolutely right to refuse to do such events. And the reason for this is the reason these professions are being singled out in these court cases in the first place. This is not about economic exchange, but is rather about mandated social approval. The demand is we must all applaud.

“And is the reason why photographers and florists are going to be at the center of this next round of fights. The homosexual agenda is not to make us do business with them. The point is to make us approve of them.

“You see, a good wedding photographer’s job is to make the event glorious, to make it look good. His job is to make the couple look happy — when his God, his Bible, his church, his wife, and his conscience all tell them that they are unhappy and miserable by definition. When he does his job well, he adorns the event. In order for him to show up and adorn such an event as this, he has to violate his conscience in order to do so. The issue is not the camera, the issue is the celebration. Some Christians think we must be absolutely separate, and think that it would be morally problematic to sell them the hammer — for is that not “enabling” them? Well, yes it is, but the apostle Paul told us not to worry about enabling. He said that we had to draw the line at approving. This is why we must not fellowship with anyone who calls himself a brother and is living immorally (1 Cor. 5:11-13). To do that would communicate approval, Paul says we must not.”

(Douglas Wilson, “The Hamfisted Jackboot” , Blog and Mablog)

Notable Quotable: “Christians In This Nation Must Now Deny the Lordship of Christ or Face the Consequences” – James White

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“The primary problem with the New Mexico case (where Christian photographers have now been forced to photograph the profaning of a Christian ordinance, marriage itself, or face massive financial penalties) is the law of New Mexico itself, an immoral law. Yes, immoral. That is, not only does it violate Christian morality, it removes moral issues from the realm of morality itself. It says you cannot engage in “discrimination” regarding sexual orientation—and, of course, that is why it is immoral. We all must engage in “discrimination” in such areas. We all do! We discriminate against pedophiles and all sorts of people who engage in sexual perversity. Discrimination simply means making decisions, choosing one behavior over another. But in post-revolutionary America, homosexuality is morally good, unquestionable. No discussion, and if you even ask to have the discussion, even ask to talk about nature, what is life-producing, etc., you are dismissed as a bigot immediately. This is the new moral reality of post-revolutionary America.

“Second, in this new immoral land, thought and action are now distinct. You can think what you want, but you cannot act upon your moral convictions. Well, this only goes one direction. It is for Christians, for people of morality. For those on the left, the sky is the limit. They can act on anything they can think of, and we are all simply to give them the space to act out their desires.

“Religious liberties have been officially subjugated to homosexual liberties. You can be forced to violate your conscience so as to have to photograph the profaning of marriage, or face the consequences.”

(James White, “Christians: You Must Deny the Lordship of Christ. It is the Price of Citizenship in this Secular Nation”, Alpha & Omega Ministries Apologetics Blog)

Notable Quotable: “The West Has Amputated It’s Soul Moving Away from Biblical Values and Christian Heritage That Built Modern Society” – Vishal Mangalwadi

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“The United States will start the next world war to restructure the global economy and avoid repaying its debts, dragging Australia with it, predicts an Indian futurologist and social reformer.

“Vishal Mangalwadi’s second scenario is nearly as apocalyptic: social collapse and violence in the streets when Western countries can no longer afford social welfare due to the collapse of tax revenue, with far more suicides and pressure for euthanasia of the elderly.

“These frightening futures are likely because ”the West has amputated its soul”, moving away from the biblical values and Christian heritage that built modern society, Dr Mangalwadi told a seminar at the Victorian Parliament on Friday.

“But they were not inevitable, he said. The solution was for the churches to move into full-time education, using their facilities as schools and universities, with online professors helped by youth pastors and teachers on site.

“This could rebuild a society that valued morality and conscience, while giving more people access to high-quality education far more cheaply than the present university system, he suggested.”

(Barney Zwartz on Vishal Mangalwadi’s prediction of the consequences of Christianity’s collapse in the West, “Philosopher warns of danger through Christianity collapse”, The Age)

News of Note: “New Jersey Governor Chris Christie Signs Bill Prohibiting Changing a Child’s Gender Expression”

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1. Gov. Christie signs New Jersey bill banning changing child’s gender expression

“Ban on teen therapy for same-sex attraction signed by N.J. Gov. Chris Christie” – Baptist News article on the ban on teen therapy for same sex attraction signed by Gov. Christie. (Baptist Press)

“New Jersey Governor Signs Law Banning Counseling, Therapy for Youth Struggling With Homosexuality” – Christian News report of New Jersey Gov. Christie’s signing of controversial new bill. (Christian News)

“Gov. Chris Christie’s broadside against religious liberty” – Denny Burk on Gov. Chris Christie passing new law. (DennyBurk.com)

“Governor Chris Christie has just made New Jersey the second state to prohibit licensed therapists from trying to change the sexual orientation of gay minors. Like recent legislation in California, the New Jersey law is a disaster at a number of levels. This bill not only prohibits “reparative therapy.” It prohibits any and all attempts by licensed counselors to change a child’s sexual orientation. And there’s more. The bill not only prohibits any and all efforts to change sexual orientation. It also prohibits any and all attempts to change sexual behavior in gay minors!” – Denny Burk, DennyBurk.com

“Chris Christie to Sign Gay Therapy Ban; Believes Homosexuality Is Not a Sin” – Gov. Chris Christie to sign new legislation prohibiting changing child’s gender expression and declares that homosexuality is not a sin. (Christian Post)

2. “The Number One Reason for the Decline in Church Attendance and Five Ways to Address It” – Thom Ranier gives the number one reason for the decline in chuch attendance. (ThomRanier.com)

3. “On a mission to save godless Massachusetts” – Boston Globe article on Southern Baptist Convention church planters Myke Wilkerson and Brandon Allison on church planting in Boston area. (The Boston Globe)

4. “Expository Preaching—The Antidote to Anemic Worship” – What is the heart of Christian worship? Al Mohler explains. (AlbertMohler.com)

5. “M, F or Blank: ‘Third Gender’ Official in Germany from November” – Germany institutes third indeterminate designation on their birth certificates starting in November. (Spiegel Online International)

“The option of selecting “blank”, in addition to the standard choices of “male” or female” on birth certificates will become available in Germany from November 1. The legislative change allows parents to opt out of determining their baby’s gender, thereby allowing those born with characteristics of both sexes to choose whether to become male or female in later life. Under the new law, individuals can also opt to remain outside the gender binary altogether.” – Friederike Heine (Spiegel Online International)

6. “Legal action ‘launched’ to force church gay wedding” – Gay couple launches legal action against churches to force them to host gay weddings. Couple claims that their Christian church is supporting them in their legal action. (The Christian Institute); More news stories from The Christian Institute (YouTube):

Notable Quotable: “The Heart of Christian Worship Is the Authentic Preaching of the Word of God” – Al Mohler

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“A concern for true biblical worship was at the very heart of the Reformation. But even Martin Luther, who wrote hymns and required his preachers to be trained in song, would not recognize this modern preoccupation with music as legitimate or healthy. Why? Because the Reformers were convinced that the heart of true biblical worship was the preaching of the word of God.

“Thanks be to God, evangelism does take place in Christian worship. Confronted by the presentation of the gospel and the preaching of the word, sinners are drawn to faith in Jesus Christ and the offer of salvation is presented to all. Likewise, the Lord’s Supper and baptism are honored as ordinances by the Lord’s own command, and each finds its place in true worship.

“Furthermore, music is one of God’s most precious gifts to his people, and it is a language by which we may worship God in spirit and in truth. The hymns of the faith convey rich confessional and theological content, and many modern choruses recover a sense of doxology formerly lost in many evangelical churches. But music is not the central act of Christian worship, and neither is evangelism nor even the ordinances. The heart of Christian worship is the authentic preaching of the word of God.”

(Al Mohler, “Expository Preaching—The Antidote to Anemic Worship” , AlbertMohler.com)

News of Note: “Christian Airman Relieved of Duty Due to His Stance on Homosexuality”

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1. Christian Airman relieved of duty by the Airforce

“Christian Air Force Veteran Relieved of Duties for Refusing to Affirm Homosexual ‘Marriage’” – Airman Phillip Monk is relieved of his duties by the Air Force for his Christian beliefs about homosexuality. (Christian News)

“The Liberty Institute, a Christian legal organization in Plano, Texas, is now representing (Airman Phillip) Monk. Attorney Hiram Sasser told reporters that he believes that the military that while homosexuals are coming out of the closet, Christians are getting shoved into the closet. “Are we going to have a ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ policy for Christians so we don’t get harassed for our beliefs?” he asked. “Here’s a guy who wants to have his religious liberty and serve in the military. He shouldn’t have to believe in gay marriage in order to serve.” – Heather Clark, Christian News

“Sergeant dismissed for saying … nothing” – The Baptist Press’ commentary Air Force Sergeant Phillip Monk’s situation. (Baptist Press)

“Airmen Punished for Objecting to Gay Marriage” – Todd Starnes’ column on Air Force punishing Christian airman . (Fox News)

Fox News interview with Airman Phillip Monk and his attorney about the incident:

2. Christian persecution in Egypt

“Egyptian Christians, Copts Endure Horrific Persecution As Violence and Unrest Continue” – Garrett Hayley reports on Christian persecution by radical Islamists in Egypt. (Christian News)

“As violent unrest continues to throw Egypt into chaos, Christians are increasingly finding themselves to be the targets of persecution and abuse. Presently, the greatest threat to Egyptian Christians comes from supporters of Mohamed Morsi—the Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated president who was ousted last month. According to recent statistics, only 13% of Egypt’s 85 million residents are Christians, while 85% are Muslim. This week, the Maspero Youth Union (MYU)—a Coptic activist organization—have been providing detailed reports of violence committed against Christians and Catholics. On Friday, the group posted a thorough list of the many buildings that have been attacked and terrorized in recent days, saying that some Copts have even been killed while attempting to defend their church buildings.” – Garrett Hayley, Christian News

“‘Horrible’: Christian churches across Egypt stormed, torched” – Christian churches are being burned throughout Egpyt. (CNN)

“Bookshops of the Egyptian Bible Society Burnt and Destroyed” – Muslim Fundamentalists burn and destroy Christian churches and schools in Egypt. (Aquila Report)

3. “Church of England creating ‘pagan church’ to recruit members” – The Telegraph U.K.’s report on the Church of England creating pagan church to bring in new members. (Telegraph U.K.)

“The church is training ministers to create “a pagan church where Christianity [is] very much in the centre” to attract spiritual believers. Ministers are being trained to create new forms of Anglicanism suitable for people of alternative beliefs as part of a Church of England drive to retain congregation numbers. Reverend Steve Hollinghurst, a researcher and adviser in new religious movements told the BBC: “I would be looking to formulate an exploration of the Christian faith that would be at home in their culture.” He said it would be “almost to create a pagan church where Christianity was very much in the centre.” The Church Mission Society, which is training ministers to “break new ground”, hopes to see a number of spiritual people align themselves with Christianity.” – Radhika Sanghani, Telegraph U.K.

4. “10 Things I’ve Learned after 26 Years of Marriage” – Ed Stetzer gives ten things he’s learned after twenty six years of marriage. (Christianity Today)

Notable Quotable: “Our Theology Is To Be Shot Through With Holiness” – Carl Trueman

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“Theology, whether that of the high-powered scholar or the average church member, is to be shot through with holiness. The trivial way in which theology is pursued in church, but especially in the evangelical academy, is a sign that hard times are ahead. Indeed, it is a sign that the God with whom we have to do in these places is certainly not the God of the Bible. Woe to those who treat the word of God as a light thing; woe to those who argue theology as if it were merely one more area of academic interest where scholars can disagree; woe to those whose books and articles on God or his Bible leave give no sense of his awesome holiness. We who aspire to be teachers and yet who tread on the holiness of God as if it were a light thing: beware, for we stand in danger of leading little ones astray and it would be better for us if we had never been born. Pray that God grant us all an overwhelming sense of who he is.”

(Carl Trueman, “On Meeting Joe Frazier: The Missing Element of Modern Theology”, Reformation 21)