Business is booming for a Des Moines cake maker who took a stand for her faith when she was approached by a lesbian couple for a wedding cake. Victoria Childress, owner of Victoria’s Cake Cottage, told OneNewsNow the couple arrived for a taste testing. “But at that point I just said, ‘I have to tell you that I’m a Christian, and because of my Christian convictions I cannot do your cake,’ ” she says. Childress has stated she did not belittle the couple. In fact, she told OneNewsNow that she provided the names of some bakeries that might be willing to assist them and that they thanked her for being honest with them. However Trina Vodraska and Janelle Sievers told KCCI-TV afterward they were shocked by the shop owner’s refusal, reportedly describing it as “degrading.” According to Childress, hateful messages eventually started pouring in, and not just from homosexuals and their supporters. “Well, actually I’ve gotten a lot of nasty comments from Christians who don’t think that the stand I’ve taken is right,” she shared. “They need to read the Book of Romans.” She said that if they do, they will fully understand what God thinks of sin, including homosexual sin. “You know, Christ is very clear. We are either for him or against him; we’re not supposed to be lukewarm; we’re either hot or we’re cold,” she stated. “And there was never a question in my mind how I was supposed to handle this, never—because he’s everything to me.” Homosexuals have launched a boycott of her shop, but Childress’s business has only improved. Activists have threatened legal action, but so far no legal papers have been served. Same-gender marriage was legalized in Iowa April 3, 2009, by a unanimous state Supreme Court decision. Three members of that court have since been ousted by voters.
- Local residents in North Carolina will be able to continue their peaceful protest in front of an abortion clinic after city lawyers agreed to a preliminary injunction on Monday in response to a lawsuit, reports The Christian Post. The Thomas More Society, representing the plaintiffs, and attorneys for the city of Jacksonville pledged to work together toward a resolution of the lawsuit, which arose after residents were denied the right to pray and peacefully protest outside of Crist Clinic for Women, a Jacksonville abortion facility. “We are pleased the city of Jacksonville has agreed to allow the demonstrators to continue their ministry during the lawsuit. This is a big victory for the First Amendment rights of pro-life people everywhere,” Peter Breen, executive director and legal counsel for the Thomas More Society, said in a statement. “We are hopeful for a successful resolution of this lawsuit that will protect First Amendment rights for the long term.” The plaintiffs, a group of local citizens, had filed a complaint against the city, stating that their rights were violated when city officials revoked their permit to protest in front of Crist Clinic.
- The Liberty Counsel has again launched its “Friend or Foe” Christmas Campaign to fight the censorship of Christmas in schools and other public arenas, reports onenewsnow.com. Liberty Counsel Chairman Mat Staver says this is the ninth year his organization has launched the campaign through which attorneys help overturn Grinch-like decisions, such as school officials taking all of the words out of Christmas songs that pertain to Christianity or Christ. “We had one school in Metford, Massachusetts where the students were told they could not wear red and green because those were Christmas colors,” Staver explained. “We’ve had places where students were told they could not greet each other with the greeting, ‘Merry Christmas.’ Fortunately, in all those situations we were able to get involved and reverse those matters.” Over the past several years, he says the number of anti-Christmas rules and policies has diminished, as it is often a case of misunderstanding rather than malice on the part of school administrators. “Schools through misinformation censor anything related to Christmas from a religious perspective, thinking that they need to do so,” but the attorney insists that such action is unnecessary. So he urges those who have concerns about school policies during the Christmas season to contact Liberty Counsel.
- Following Walgreens’ being flooded with calls, Walgreens’ consumer relations has apologized for offending customers by labeling dozens of Christmas-specific items as “holiday” in its pre-Thanksgiving newspaper inserts last Sunday, reports The American Family Association. In responding to thousands of phone calls, Walgreens community affairs director John Gremer issued a statement to AFA, which says, in part, “During the months of October and November, we make greater use of the word ‘holiday’ to include celebrations such as Thanksgiving and Hanukkah. But as Christmas Day draws closer, you’ll see more references to the word ‘Christmas.’ That includes the message, ‘Merry Christmas,’ which will be on the front of our newspaper sales insert on Dec. 25. We fully agree with you that—while we’re helping customers celebrate a variety of holidays during this time of year—we should continue and increase the use of the word ‘Christmas’ when referring to items specifically for the Christmas holiday.” AFA said it is grateful to Walgreens for its response and willingness to listen to customer concerns. As a result, AFA is suspending its “Christmas Boycott” of Walgreens.
- President Barack Obama on Monday pardoned five people convicted of charges ranging from intent to distribute marijuana to running an illegal gambling business, reports Patriot Update. He also issued his first commutation, ordering the release of a woman next month after serving 10 years on a 22-year sentence for cocaine distribution. The actions mark Obama’s third set of pardons. He pardoned eight people earlier this year, and issued nine pardons in December 2010. None of those pardoned was well-known, as was the case with the president’s previous orders. The cases date back to 1984, when Martin Kaprelian of Park Ridge, Ill., was sentenced to nine years in prison for conspiracy to transport stolen property in interstate commerce, and other related charges. In other news, Patriot Update reports that President Obama used the failure of the congressional deficit reduction super committee to push for tax increases Monday, while portraying himself as a deficit-cutting, tax-cutting moderate eager to protect popular programs. Obama promised to veto any effort by Congress to delay the long-term spending cuts triggered by the ideological disagreements between Republican and Democrats.
- The Home School Legal Defense Association reports that a new movie has been produced that exposes government invasion of American families. Parents tell their own true stories of government intrusion into their families in Overruled: Government Invasion of Your Parental Rights, a production of ParentalRights.org. The HSLDA says that this this new 37-minute docudrama can be seen free online. The HSLDA also reports that the Weijman family in Amsterdam, Netherlands, won a victory when a Dutch judge rejected a request by social services to restrict the family’s parental rights simply for their choice to homeschool. The Child Protection Council, comparable to child protection services in the United States, threatened to restrict Maria Weijman’s parental authority by means of a supervision order for her 16-year-old twin daughters. Officials claimed that the family was in violation of Dutch education law that states that school attendance is mandatory. Mrs. Weijman had withdrawn her daughters to homeschool them during the 2010–11 school year. It is possible for families in the Netherlands to obtain legally a religious exemption to the compulsory attendance requirement; however, this exemption is frequently denied to children who previously attended a school.
- The immigration status of thousands of Christians fleeing from persecution in Iraq are now in limbo thanks to new security measures, reports Worthy News. After two Iraqis were arrested in May and charged with aiding al Qaeda in Iraq, hundreds of their fellow Iraqis have been denied entry into America as authorities seek to uncover any potential terrorists from among them. Enhanced background checks have plugged the refugee pipeline, preventing Iraqi Christians and others from obtaining clearance to come to the U.S., according to Jenny Yang, advocacy director for World Relief. Nearly half of all Iraqi refugees were denied entry to the U.S. because of missing documentation as they hurriedly fled their homes without official paperwork. The precise reason why many Iraqis are refused refugee status is unclear, said Yang. “When we’ve raised these cases, we’ve not gotten any clear reasons yet. It’s causing a lot of confusion.” This is especially true for Iraqi Chaldean Christians, according to Rafat Ita, a social worker in the Detroit area where 160,000 Chaldeans reside in the largest settlement outside of Iraq. Many of them are desperate to be reunited with family members now stranded overseas. “These (Christian refugees) cannot go back to Iraq because they could be killed,” said Ita. “Now they are stuck in neighboring countries where they cannot work, cannot go to school and cannot worship freely. The only hope they have is to come to America and now that hope is in ruins.” “We’re not a violent group,” Ita said. “We’re Christians who believe in peace.” Hundreds of Iranian Christians are also in limbo in Austria after the end of a U.S. program that protected religious minorities; since 1989, the program had given asylum to 440,000 Christians, as well as persecuted Christians and Jews from the former Soviet Union. Victims of persecution are those who are harassed, discriminated against, and threatened with physical violence or imprisonment because of their religious beliefs.
- The leader of a hardline Hindu group wants India’s constitution to legalize the killing of Christian evangelists and, for instance, promoters of other non-Hindu religions, reports Worthy News. Praveen Togadia, the general secretary of the influential Vishwa Hindu Parishad, or “World Hindu Council,” told supporters in the western Indian state of Gujarat this week that the constitution should be changed and “allow anyone who converts Hindus to be beheaded.” His remarks, obtained by Worthy News, came as American evangelist Franklin Graham began a series of massive evangelistic rallies in the south Indian city of Hyderabad. On the second night of Graham’s “Hyderabad Festival” on Nov. 11, some 50,000 people poured into Lal Bahadur Stadium in the capital city of Andhra Pradesh state, witnesses said, despite protests from VHP supporters.
- Federal authorities have arrested seven men in Ohio on federal hate crime charges in hair-cutting attacks against the Amish, reports onenewsnow.com. Authorities arrested the men Wednesday morning at their compound in eastern Ohio. A spokesman for the U.S. attorney’s office in Cleveland says the men are expected to be arraigned later. Authorities say members of a breakaway Amish group forcefully cut the beards and hair of several Amish men and women in recent months. Among those arrested are the breakaway group’s leader and three of his sons. Cutting the hair is a highly offensive act to the Amish, who believe the Bible instructs women to let their hair grow long and men to grow beards and stop shaving once they marry.