A college student who claims he once had same-sex attractions but became heterosexual after conversion therapy has filed a lawsuit against California, which has just enacted a law that bans so-called “gay cures” for minors, reports Yahoo News and Good Morning America. The lawsuit, also joined as plaintiffs by two therapists who have used the treatments with patients, alleges that the law banning the therapy intrudes on First Amendment protections of free speech, privacy, and freedom of religion. The student, Aaron Blitzer, who is studying to be a therapist in that field, said the law would prevent him from pursuing his career, according to court papers filed Monday in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California. The lawsuit names as defendants California Gov. Jerry Brown, as well as 21 other state officials, including members of the California Board of Behavioral Sciences and the California Medical Board. The other plaintiffs are Donald Welsch, a licensed family therapist and ordained minister who operates a Christian counseling center in San Diego; and Dr. Anthony Duk, a psychiatrist and practicing Roman Catholic. Both say the law would restrict their counseling practices, according to the lawsuit. “It’s it’s an egregious violation of the rights of young people feeling same-sex attraction, and of parents and counselors who feel it would be beneficial for the individual needs of a young person,” said Brad Dacus, president and attorney for the conservative Pacific Justice Institute, which asked a federal judge to prevent the law from taking effect. “The legislature had an errant assumption that every individual struggling with same-sex attraction is caused by their DNA,” he said. “It ignores thousands, including the plaintiff, who have gone through therapy and are now in a happy and healthy heterosexual relationship.” Dacus declined ABC News’ request for direct access to the plaintiffs. California is the first state to adopt such legislation. The law is set to go into effect Jan. 1, 2013.
- Tyndale House Publishers has filed a federal lawsuit against the Obama administration after the company was deemed “insufficiently religious” to qualify for an exemption to the nation’s health care overhaul law, which requires employers to provide abortion pill coverage, reports charismanews.com. Filed Tuesday in the District of Columbia, the suit claims the Carol Stream, Ill.–based company has been refused a “religious employer” exemption because the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services maintains that any for-profit publisher is categorically non-religious. Tyndale, though, is strictly a publisher of Bibles and other Christian materials and is owned by the nonprofit Tyndale House Foundation, which provides grants to help meet physical and spiritual needs around the world. The Alliance Defending Freedom, which filed the suit on behalf of Tyndale, called the rule an unconstitutional and arbitrary threat to religious freedom. “Bible publishers should be free to do business according to the book that they publish,” said ADF Senior Legal Counsel Matt Bowman. “To say that a Bible publisher is not religious is patently absurd. Tyndale House is a prime example of how ridiculous and arbitrary the Obama administration’s mandate is. Americans today clearly agree with America’s founders: The federal government’s bureaucrats are not qualified to decide what faith is, who the faithful are, and where and how that faith may be lived out.”
- Family Radio has begun re-airing controversial teachings of Harold Camping to the surprise of a former Camping follower, reports The Christian Post. Trevor Hammack, pastor of Victory Baptist Church in Texas, announced, “Harold Camping is back” on his radio program Sunday. Hammack, who was a devoted follower of Camping in the 1990s, found that his former Bible teacher’s messages on “the end of the church age” were being re-aired. “You’ve got to be kidding me,” Hammack said. “Family Radio, you already realized the absolute mess you made around the world by these crazy [end of the world] predictions and now you’re going to go back to Harold Camping’s teaching from 2001 where he told everyone the church age was over and everyone should flee the church and you’re going to re-air that?” Camping, founder of Family Radio, is most well-known for his failed predictions on Jesus Christ’s return and the end of the world. Although he has made previous Judgment Day predictions, he gained the most attention for his May 21, 2011, forecast, saying that true believers would be raptured and the apocalypse would begin. He also predicted that Oct. 21, 2011, would be the day the world is physically destroyed. In the months following the failed predictions, Family Radio removed all content from its website in relation to Judgment Day. The 91-year-old Christian broadcaster also issued a statement in March this year, admitting that his predictions were wrong and sinful. He further stated that he had no interest in making another prediction. “[W]e now realize that those people who were calling our attention to the Bible’s statement that ‘of that day and hour knoweth no man’ (Matthew 24:36 & Mark 13:32), were right in their understanding of those verses and Family Radio was wrong,” said Camping. “Whether God will ever give us any indication of the date of His return is hidden in God’s divine plan. God has humbled us through the events of May 21, to continue to even more fervently search the Scriptures (the Bible), not to find dates, but to be more faithful in our understanding.” After a period of silence from the broadcasting network, Hammack decided to check in on Family Radio last weekend. That’s when he discovered the complete unedited re-airing of Camping’s past teachings on the “end of the church age.” The Christian Post called the radio network and was told that Camping’s past church teachings were being re-aired but was asked to call back to speak with someone else. CP was unable to reach another Family Radio representative. “You would think that Family Radio would get as far away from Harold Camping’s teaching as humanly possible and bring Bible teachers who would get back to teaching the Scriptures,” said the Texas pastor. “But it looks like Family Radio, at least it seems in principle, still agrees that the church age is over and everyone should leave their church. Now, after everything, that teaching is back on the air? I’m in absolute shock by the whole thing. . . . I thought they had learned their lesson.”
- Orange County, Fla., Sheriff Jerry Demings is hoping 40 days of prayer hosted by Orlando’s faith community will help stem the tide of gun violence plaguing the area. He’s calling the program “Operation Transformation,” which involves about 50 churches and community members pledging to pray against violence following the shooting of 15-year-old Danielle Sampson, who was caught in gunfire this summer and has been in a coma ever since, reports orlandosentinel.com. The prayer vigils, organized by the sheriff’s office chaplains, will be held during the evening at two locations and will continue until Nov. 9.
- Those who closely follow proceedings at the U.S. Supreme Court are saying there’s an excellent chance that at least two crucial cases involving the definition of marriage—cases with the potential to “greatly impact the lives of you, your children, and the future of religious freedom in America”—will be reviewed by the Court during the new term that began this week, reports The Christian Post. The 1st Circuit decided that the portion of DOMA that defines marriage as the union of one man and one woman is unconstitutional—the first U.S. appeals court to make such an astounding ruling. Alliance Defending Freedom has filed an amicus brief in the case. “Society should protect and strengthen marriage, not undermine it,” says Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Counsel, Austin R. Nimocks. “DOMA provides that type of protection, and we trust the U.S. Supreme Court will reverse the 1st Circuit’s erroneous decisions.” And as DOMA is being attacked in 20 different lawsuits filed all across the country, Alliance Defending Freedom will defend DOMA in all of those cases. Said the report, “Not only marriage but the right of people like you in every state to determine the laws you will live by is in grave danger from these legal assaults by those pressing the same-sex ‘marriage’ agenda. Please make both of these cases a matter of urgent prayer—not only that the U.S. Supreme Court will opt to hear and review them, but that their ultimate decision will honor God, as well as our nation’s history and heritage, and accomplish justice on this crucial issue.”
- Federal authorities are taking a stand to kill a bill that would essentially defund Planned Parenthood in Arizona, reports onenewsnow.com. Former Congresswoman Marilyn Musgrave, who is now with the Susan B. Anthony List, explains that the approved law sends the money to facilities that provide comprehensive healthcare that does not include abortion. “The Department of Justice wants to go after Arizonans who want to get out of the abortion business,” she says. “The Department of Justice [is] entering into the lawsuit after the passage of the Whole Woman’s Health [Funding Priority] Act (HB 2800) that passed and was signed into law in May, making sure that the people in Arizona were not caught up in the abortion business with their tax dollars.” Planned Parenthood is not disqualified by the bill, but the dollars are prioritized for medical facilities that do not do abortions. “Abortion is not healthcare,” Musgrave asserts. “Women need comprehensive healthcare, and that’s what this legislation was all about, plus getting people in Arizona out of the abortion business.” The SBA List spokesperson concludes that the federal government’s attempt to intervene in the lawsuit and kill HB 2800 is just further proof that President Obama is the most pro-abortion president in U.S. history. Meanwhile, onenewsnow.com reports that a federal government accountability group is taking the Internal Revenue Service to court. The nonprofit, nonpartisan Cause of Action filed a lawsuit his week against the IRS, claiming the agency refused to release documents that would identify the names of individuals and businesses of which President Obama has requested tax records. Cause of Action’s chief oversight counsel Karen Groen explained what the lawsuit is about. “Basically, this provision in the tax code allows the president to access taxpayers’ records, whether it be an individual or a company,” she told OneNewsNow. “And the IRS has said that not only the tax records themselves, but the president’s request for those tax records are not subject to disclosure for privacy reasons.” OneNewsNow asked Groen why the president would be looking at tax records and whether this has been done before by this administration or by its predecessors. “Quite frankly, we don’t know. This provision, I believe, has been in the code for some time,” she responded. “It’s certainly not new, but in light of the fact that the president can request tax records, we think that the American people are entitled to know whose tax records he’s been looking at. I’d certainly want to know if he was looking at mine.”
- The owners of a bed and breakfast in England who declined to rent a room to a same-sex couple because of their Christian beliefs have been overwhelmed with hate messages after being sued by the homosexuals, reports onenewsnow.com. Mike and Suzanne Wilkins of Cambridgeshire are awaiting the court’s decision on the lawsuit. Mike Judge of The Christian Institute spoke to a BBC reporter who asked if the Wilkins were perhaps out of touch with the popular view on homosexuality in Britain. “We shouldn’t be in the business of closing down businesses or forcing them out of public life because they might hold a belief that other people don’t like,” Judge responds. “And I don’t think they are out of touch because actually this Christian couple has had e-mails from homosexuals themselves who say, ‘Actually, we don’t want to impose our lifestyle on your lifestyle. We support the stand that you’ve made and we regret the fuss that’s been caused over this.'” At the same time, the Wilkinses have received a rash of hate messages, including death threats. Judge finds it difficult to believe that Christians cannot opt out of serving homosexuals. “Abortion is legal in Britain and women are allowed to get an abortion up to 24 weeks, but we still allow doctors to opt out if they wish to,” he noted. “And schools have to provide religious assemblies for children in state schools, but atheist teachers can opt out if they want to, and the world doesn’t fall apart.” Only Christians are not allowed to opt out because of their beliefs, he points out.
- Some experts are questioning whether filmmaker Nakoula Basseley Nakoula is in jail in Los Angeles for alleged probation violations or because of his movie, which is blamed on unrest in the Muslim world. “Certainly the sequence of events looks very much as though this man has been arrested and held on account of his producing a film,” said Michael W. McConnell, a former judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit who now directs the Stanford Constitutional Law Center. “It sends exactly the wrong message abroad, because when people are becoming violent to try to pressure the U.S. to violate someone’s constitutional rights, we ought to be going out of our way to make it clear that we will not accede to that kind of pressure.” A Wall Street Journal editorial called his detention a 1st Amendment affront, saying that even speech that “causes the White House headaches abroad” is still constitutionally protected. George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley wrote on his blog that the case “raises obvious concerns that the Administration is again defending free speech while quietly moving to punish those who cause religious strife.”
- “The Democratic Party has now made the sins of Romans 1 their agenda,” well-known speaker and pastor John MacArthur has remarked, reports The Christian Post. “What God condemns, they affirm. What God punishes, they exalt. America is on the path toward destruction as the country is obsessed with sex, murdering the unborn, and approving of sinful behavior such as homosexuality. I don’t know how much time America has left,” he said in a poignant message at Grace Community Church in Sun Valley, Calif. “We’re on a course described here (in Scripture) as God casting us out.” MacArthur warned that the United States is “living in the outpouring of the wrath of God.” And that wrath is specifically the wrath of God abandoning the nation. When God abandons a nation, He gives the people over to the consequences of their behavior, the pastor noted. That society first becomes pornographic and obsessed with sex, and then it sees “degrading” passions and diseases such as homosexuality and HIV/AIDS. And lastly, the people become haters of God, MacArthur listed in sequence. In MacArthur’s words, open sex with government-provided contraception, murder of babies in wombs, and homosexual marriage were all approved as part of the Democrat party’s platform in August. Moreover, “God” was originally left out of the platform. This was the first time ever that a major party endorsed same-sex marriage. “No wonder they didn’t want ‘God’ in their original platform.” MacArthur went further to suggest that voters affiliated with the Democrat Party “rethink” their party identification. The influential author stated clearly that he isn’t getting political with his sermons. This has to do with Scripture, he said. “This has nothing to do with politics. This has to do with speaking the Word of God to the culture in which we live,” he stated. “Why do we say this? Because this must be recognized for what it is—sin, serious sin, damning sin, destructive sin. We get all caught up in the politics of this issue. That isn’t the issue. It’s about whether this society exists in the future at all. The land is so defiled, God will spew it out. First, He abandons it and then He destroys it.” This isn’t “hate speech,” as some might accuse, he added. It’s “love speech,” he insisted. “It’s better to warn them than affirm them. You might be the nice guy to affirm them but that’s not love speech. That’s hate speech.” “I can’t imagine,” he added, “that somehow it could be illegal in the United States of America to speak in love to those people and that some party in this country would adopt the tolerance of homosexuality as something they affirm. Unbelievable.” The California pastor also criticized church bodies that have affirmed same-sex relations and ordained homosexuals such as the Episcopal Church. The responsibility of the church, he preached, is “to tell people about the kingdom of God and who can be in the kingdom of God, and who is excluded from the kingdom of God.” Anyone who advocates a life of sexual sin will not go to Heaven, but Hell, he warned. “Hell is forever,” MacArthur said. “We’re here in love to speak love speech and say you must escape the wrath by repenting and fleeing these sins and you can be washed and transformed and justified in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” During his 40-plus years of ministry, MacArthur has met with and prayed with homosexuals, including those with HIV/AIDS. He preached about at least two individuals who repented of their homosexual behavior. What the Bible says about the sin of homosexuality and other sexual sins is clear, he preached. “We have to speak the truth to rescue the perishing,” he emphasized. “You can’t affirm them (homosexuals). The only hope is in the Lord. . . . The Lord says choose what pleases me and I’ll give you a place in my house.”
- Bloodshed continues in Nigeria as a terrorist group continues to wage war on Christians in the northern part of the country, reports onenewsnow.com. According to Open Doors USA spokesman Jerry Dykstra, members of the terrorist organization Boko Haram raided Federal Polytechnic College in the city of Mubi, a remote area of northeastern Nigeria. “[They] allegedly lined up some of the students and massacred up to 30 of the students,” Dykstra reports. “They were interviewed, and some of them were let go; some of them were killed by guns and by knives.” It is the latest attack in a string of violent incidents directed at Christians and moderate Muslims who do not agree with the terrorist group’s tactics. “I know the Associated Press puts the number of lives lost—not only Christians, but the total so far this year—around 700,” the Open Doors spokesman relays. “Obviously, most of them, if not a great total of that, [are] Christians, and [Boko Haram has] stated publicly that their goal is to eliminate Christianity from all of Nigeria and set up a sharia state.” So far, 12 Nigerian states have adopted sharia, or Muslim law. The Nigerian government has been unable to curb the violence, primarily because many government and military posts are filled with members of Boko Haram.