A “new rainbow coalition” made up of influential Christian pastors and leaders gathered on Capitol Hill last Thursday afternoon to declare support for the traditional definition of marriage and the Defense of Marriage Act in response to President Obama’s recent announcement that he supports same-sex marriage and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s support of repealing DOMA. “We need to create a marriage culture in the church,” said organizer Bishop Harry R. Jackson. Jr., pastor of the 3,000-member Hope Christian Church in the Washington, D.C., area, to The Christian Post after the press conference, noting that congregations need to strengthen and defend marriage from the many threats against it. “I envision a pincer movement where you want to protect marriage on the one hand, and on the other hand you got to strengthen, build up, and promote it by preaching, intervention, and modeling.” The press event at the “Senate Swamp” was held after “The Defense of Marriage Summit: the Impact of Presidential Decisions on Social Institutions,” which produced the Stand for Marriage document. All the pastors and Christian leaders at the summit signed the document that states, “Marriage is intended for one man and one woman in a life-long covenant. One of the essential purposes of marriage is to carry on the human race through childbearing, another purpose of marriage is to illustrate the relationship between Christ and the Bridegroom and the Church as the Bride.” It was announced at the rally that a letter would be sent to President Obama, signed by the leaders gathered, in protest of the administration’s support for same-sex marriage. In addition to that, for Father’s Day Sunday, Jackson stated that about 100,000 churches would be called upon to read statements declaring their support for traditional marriage. Speakers at the event included Family Research Council President Tony Perkins, Skyline Wesleyan Church in San Diego’s Senior Pastor Jim Garlow, and Rock Church International in Virginia Beach, Virginia’s Bishop Anne Gimenez.
- The Church of God in Christ is joining the Assemblies of God and other Christian bodies in speaking about against President Obama’s endorsement of same-sex marriage, reports charismanews.com. COGIC is a Pentecostal Holiness Christian denomination with a predominantly African-American membership. COGIC has about 5 million members and 12,000 congregations in the United States. COGIC’s official statement regarding same-sex marriage and civil unions included the following: “The president’s position regarding ‘same-sex marriage’ has set off a ‘firestorm,’ unlike any other debate in our civil society, perhaps, since the civil rights unrest of the mid-20th century. The advocacy for same-sex marriage, while in conflict with our nation’s long-standing moral posture, has indeed created opportunity for the church to communicate our unequivocal position about God’s design and foundation for humanity, the biblical mandate for heterosexuality through the bonds of matrimony and the centuries-old understanding of the only acceptable means of procreation, habitation and the establishment of the family. . . . The Bible defines marriage as a relationship between one man and one woman (Genesis 2:24; 1 Corinthians 7:2; 1 Timothy 3:2, 12; Titus 1:6). To define marriage otherwise is to dilute and destroy its usefulness as a word which denotes what is highest and best about human society.”
- On orders from Barack Obama’s Department of Justice, officials with the University of Arkansas at Fort Smith have given permission for a 38-year-old man to use the women’s restrooms on campus, reports WorldNetDaily. The individual also is seeking to have someone pay for a sex reassignment surgery to change from male to female. Already living as a female, the individual, identified in the report as Jennifer Braly, started using women’s restrooms on campus, but quickly was the subject of complaints from women who saw him there. “‘I disagree with allowing a male to use the female restrooms,” Amanda Shook, a senior at UA, told Campus Reform. “Even if they are a transgendered person, they are still a man, and should have to use the men’s restroom.”
- The Israel Antiquities Authority has just revealed what it is calling the earliest archaeological evidence of the city of Bethlehem, reports The Christian Post. Archaeologists have discovered a bulla, or piece of clay used to seal documents and other objects, that is only about half an inch across and has the word “Bethlehem” written on it in ancient Hebrew. “This is the first time the name Bethlehem appears outside the Bible, in an inscription from the First Temple period, which proves that Bethlehem was indeed a city in the Kingdom of Judah, and possibly also in earlier periods,” said Eli Shukron, director of the excavation, in a statement. The first appearance of Bethlehem in the Bible is in the Book of Genesis, after Jacob’s wife, Rachel, died following childbirth. The book says she was buried “on the way to Ephrath (that is, Bethlehem).” Bethlehem is also the hometown of the Biblical King David, the setting for the book of Ruth, and the birthplace of Jesus Christ. The bulla predates Jesus’ life on the earth by several hundred years. Shukron says it was likely used to seal shipments of remittances for taxes, which consisted of either silver or agricultural produce, in the Kingdom of Judah during the late eighth and seventh centuries B.C. Dorothy Resig, managing editor for the Biblical Archaeology Review, told The Christian Post that archaeologists know of about 50 “fiscal bullae” today. Like the one discovered by the Israel Antiquities Authority, she says, the others were also used to indicate which city or region a shipment of taxes came from. “It sheds more light on that particular system of taxation which, again, we’ve known a good bit about, but these are among the first to actually come from an excavation so we can be more confident of their authenticity,” said Resig. Shukron says his find shows that a shipment was sent from Bethlehem to Jerusalem in the seventh year of a king’s reign, although he is uncertain if it was Hezekia, Manasseh, or Josiah on the throne at the time. The Ir David Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to preserving and developing the City of David, is the underwriter for the sifting part of the archaeological project, which is being conducted in the Emek Tzurim National Park.
- The Norwegian parliament has voted to abolish the state church, reports thelocal.no. The vote last Wednesday was backed by parties across the political spectrum and has the effect of severing the connection between Norway and the Church of Norway. Svein Arne Lindø, chair of the church council, welcomed the decision, which is the result of an agreement signed between the government and the church in 2008. In practice the change means that the state relinquishes any control over the Church of Norway including the appointments of pastors and bishops. The decision will furthermore establish equality between the Church of Norway and other faiths represented in the country. The Lutheran Church was formally recognized as the state church in the Norwegian constitution framed after independence from Denmark in 1814. Some 79.2 percent of Norwegians were registered as members of the Church of Norway as of Jan. 1, 2010, although membership has been in steady decline over the past decade. According to recent figures only 2 percent of Norwegians attend church regularly.
- Since this week is homosexual pride week, one family advocate says it may not be the best time for families to vacation in the Orlando area, especially at Disney’s Magic Kingdom, reports onenewsnow.com. According to David Caton of the Florida Family Association, the main focus is on Disney this Saturday. “There will be perhaps as many as 18,000 same-sex revelers in the Magic Kingdom pretty much all day long,” he reports. Homosexuals will also be congregating in other theme parks and at tourist attractions, throwing parties at major hotels.
- Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback (R.) has signed a law aimed at keeping the state’s courts or government agencies from basing decisions on Islamic or other foreign legal codes, reports onenewsnow.com. The new law, taking effect July 1, doesn’t specifically mention Shariah law, which broadly refers to codes within the Islamic legal system. Instead, it says courts, administrative agencies, or state tribunals can’t base rulings on any foreign law or legal system that would not grant the parties the same rights guaranteed by state and U.S. constitutions. Muslim groups had urged Brownback to veto the measure, arguing that it promotes discrimination. Ibrahim Hooper, a spokesman for the Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations, said a court challenge is likely because supporters of the measure frequently expressed concern about Shariah law.
- Randall Terry, Democratic challenger to President Obama in several primaries across the United States, will be running as an Independent in several key states in the general election, reports ChristianNewsWire. The goal is to cause Obama to lose several swing states by cutting into his Catholic and Evangelical Democrat and Independent base. Also, Terry will soon introduce his running mate. Terry, who, through his appearance on the presidential primary ballots in New Hampshire, Missouri, and Oklahoma, has aired hundreds of TV ads showing the gruesome remains of babies killed by abortion across 15 states. In Oklahoma, Terry’s TV ad campaign helped him carry 18 percent of the Democratic vote in a closed primary; he beat Obama in 12 counties. He will run similar ads before the general election, declaring, “If you vote for Obama, you empower him to murder babies and attack the Church.” The Terry campaign believes that this is Obama’s Achilles’ heel that could cost him the election.
- On Monday, Memorial Day, the Veterans of Foreign Wars demanded an apology from Hayes and MSNBC host Chris Hayes, who made recent remarks on MSNBC regarding fallen service members that were considered “reprehensible and disgusting,” reports newsmax.com. Richard DeNoyer, a VFW official, told Fox News in a statement, “His words reflect his obvious disregard for the service and sacrifice of the men and women who have paid the ultimate price while defending our nation. His insipid statement is particularly callous because it comes at a time when our entire nation pauses to reflect and honor the memory of our nations’ fallen heroes. It is especially devastating to the many broken-hearted children, spouses and parents, left behind to grieve for a loved one,” DeNoyer also said. “Such an ignorant and uncaring and blatant disregard for people’s deep feelings are indefensible, and that is why the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States demand that Mr. Hayes and MSNBC provides an immediate and unequivocal apology.” Politico reported that the blogosphere was heating up with anger over Hayes’ comments. Hayes says he’s “uncomfortable” calling America’s fallen soldiers “heroes.”
- In a communique, the American Center for Law and Justice is saying that while President Obama is aggressively expanding abortion, the ACLJ is working to eliminate it: “Our two lawsuits against Planned Parenthood could cost them hundreds of millions of dollars and are among the abortion giant’s biggest threats; and we are working in multiple states to defund Planned Parenthood as well as at the federal level. In spite of the Obama Administration, we are winning. The ACLJ has had several court victories this year alone. In fact, the American people are with us as well. A new Gallup poll shows that a majority of Americans are now pro-life, and support for abortion is at the lowest level in decades. While Americans support life, Planned Parenthood and President Obama are using our tax dollars to push abortion on demand. Planned Parenthood already distributes 1.4 million abortion pills a year. This staggering number would increase dramatically under Obama’s abortion-pill mandate. We are working in court to reduce that number to zero.”
- Pro-family groups are taking major U.S. merchandiser Target Corporation to task for its recently announced initiative to raise money for homosexual activism, reports patriotupdate.com. Two years after getting into hot water with homosexual groups for backing Republican Minnesota gubernatorial candidate Tom Emmer, who supported a state amendment to define marriage as only between a man and a woman, the Minnesota-based Target Corp. is now “inching into the gay-pride market,” reports the St. Paul Pioneeer Press, “offering 10 rainbow-themed T-shirts for sale online and promising to donate 100 percent of the proceeds to the Family Equality Council, a group for gay and lesbian families.” Target spokeswoman Molly Snyder said that the company “supports inclusivity and diversity in every aspect of our business and has a long history of supporting the LGBT community through giving, volunteerism, and event sponsorship and participation.”
- “For the past fifty to sixty years, churches in America have quietly sat back while minority groups have pushed their immoral and anti-biblical agendas. They’ve allowed the Bible and Christianity to be removed from schools and any government and public institution. As churches sit quietly by, homosexuality has been rearing its ugly head and consuming the American culture. However, a number of churches in Maine have finally decided to stand up for the Bible,” reports godfatherpolitics.com. “Reports filtering out of Maine indicate that churches are banding together to campaign against same-sex marriage. Protect Marriage Maine political action committee has been established to raise funds to influence voters to vote against a proposed measure to legalize same-sex marriage. Organizers of the PAC have been contacting over 800 churches throughout the state to help with their campaign. On Father’s Day, they are expecting as many as 200 churches across the state to pass the collection plates as a fundraising for the PAC.”