If you do not stand firm in your faith, you will not stand at all. Isaiah 7:9 (NIV)
Dear Praying Friends,
On November 16, 1993, President Bill Clinton signed the “Religious Freedom Restoration Act” into law. The bill had passed unanimously in the House and in the U.S. Senate by an overwhelming vote of 97-3. From Clinton’s speech:
A broad coalition of Americans came together to make this bill a reality… People worked together across ideological and religious lines… new trust was established… the power of God is such that even in the legislative process miracles can happen.
We all have a shared desire here to protect perhaps the most precious of all American liberties, religious freedom… The signing of legislation… is often a quiet ending to a turbulent legislative process… This event assumes a more majestic quality because [we] affirm the historic role that people of faith have played in the history of this country and the constitutional protections those who profess and express their faith have always demanded and cherished…
This act reverses [a] Supreme Court’s decision… and reestablishes a standard that better protects all Americans of all faiths in the exercise of their religion in a way that … is far more consistent with the intent of the Founders of this Nation than the Supreme Court decision.
More than 50 cases have been decided against individuals making religious claims against Government action since that decision was handed down. This act will help to reverse that trend by honoring the principle that our laws and institutions should not impede or hinder but rather should protect and preserve fundamental religious liberties.
The free exercise of religion has been called the first freedom… Our Founders cared a lot about religion… they well understood… how both religion and Government could be perverted if there were not some space created and some protection provided. They knew that religion helps to give our people the character without which a democracy cannot survive. They knew that there needed to be a space of freedom between Government and people of faith that otherwise Government might usurp…
What this law basically says is that the Government should be held to a very high level of proof before it interferes with someone’s free exercise of religion. This judgment is shared by the people of the United States as well as by the Congress. We believe strongly that we can never… be too vigilant in this work…
The most central institution of our society, the family, has been under assault for 30 years… It is high time we had an open and honest reaffirmation of the role of American citizens of faith… so that we can argue and discourse and seek the truth and seek to heal this troubled land.
Let us never believe that the freedom of religion imposes on any of us some responsibility to run from our convictions. Let us instead respect one another’s faiths, fight to the death to preserve the right of every American to practice whatever convictions he or she has, but bring our values back to the table of American discourse to heal our troubled land. (The American Presidency Project).
Indiana Governor under Assault by Radical Left – Sexual activists created a show-of-force against Governor Mike Pence and the Religious Freedom Reformation Act (RFRA) he signed on Thursday. Patterned after the 20-year old federal RFRA, Indiana’s law says nothing of “homosexuality” or “discrimination” but was enacted to protect the religious liberties of all citizens. Since 1993, attacks against those liberties have increased exponentially by local, state and federal authorities. Yet sexual activists made this new law all about them, falsely claiming that RFRA’s are “a license for Christians to discriminate against the LGBT community.” They want to hijack the law to highlight homosexual rights.
In February 2014, Arizona Governor Jan Brewer succumbed to pressure from a similarly dishonest public relations campaign, including economic threats by big business. It worked and she vetoed the bill. Now, homosexual allies in the national media, the White House, and even the Republican Mayor of Indianapolis have used the same tactics to pressure Gov. Mike Pence. Businesses have strong-armed Pence, threatening to withdraw business or events from Indiana, among them: Angie’s List, Eli Lilly and the NCAA. Governor Pence has made it clear that the RFRA does not give “anyone a right to discriminate against anybody,” but promised on Tuesday, “we will fix the law.”
The tactics used against Gov. Pence and Indiana (and now Gov. Hutchinson in Arkansas) portend a similar kind of assault against faithful Christians everywhere, and soon, if the U.S. Supreme Court rules wrongly on marriage. We have already witnessed how homosexual activists and their allies swiftly convinced federal judges to force same sex “marriage” on Americans against their will (35 of the 38 states that allow same-sex “marriage” had it imposed by federal judges). This process has been unjust and unconstitutional. In these states, homosexual activists are also dragging sincere and loving Christians, like Barronelle Stutzman, before the courts and human rights commissions, demanding reparations or punishment because they refuse to celebrate sinful ceremonies. Should we expect anything different moving forward?
The Obama administration has played a major role in hastening America’s moral decline and this ideological war over sexual rights v. religious freedom. The President’s push to overturn Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, pushing unwanted open homosexuality upon our military troops had predictable results: a shocking increase in sexual assaults (mostly same-sex), an alarming growth in religious liberty violations, dangerously low morale in the ranks, and finally, a national security threatening problem with recruitment and retention. The administration’s solution? Lower enlistment standards, e.g., recruit felons and high school drop-outs, even illegal aliens. This was all predicted by FRC and others, but it has occurred even more quickly than expected.
The destructive leadership in our military is now being replicated in the wider culture where it is also being escalated by Obama administration policies. Anti-religious hostility, like that against distinguished Navy Chaplain Wes Modder (see FRC Petitions; Forbes Letter) because he gave moral biblical counsel, is being demonstrated time and again in the private sector and in civil government. If the Supreme Court issues a sea-change ruling on marriage this June, as widely expected, homosexual activists will launch an aggressive grassroots campaign, with help from government, to silence Christians who “stubbornly” cling to their biblical convictions regarding marriage and sexual purity. Stories like Chaplain Modder’s and Barronelle Stutzman’s will be routine.
Because the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 1997 that the federal RFRA applies only to federal actions, every state needs a RFRA, and now! Yet only 20 states have a RFRA’s and some are inadequate. The bottom line is that strong state RFRA’s will help protect Christians from activist authorities who have no fear of God or the Constitution. State RFRA’s, as President Clinton said in 1993, “will help to reverse the trend” and help slow down the campaign to make sexual rights superior to religious liberty in America. It will give Christians an avenue of appeal and prevent authorities from forcing believers to violate their faith and conscience under threat of punishment. Authorities will have to prove that a compelling government interest requires them to violate a person’s faith and conscience and that it is using the least restrictive means to do so (see WSJ: The New Intolerance; Pence CNN Interview, Pence Explains; Buckling? Travis Weber: Why RFRAS?; Video; Why IN RFRA; FRC Statement; Religious Dissenters; All Faiths Protected; Seeking Clarification?; Perkins: Liberals Indy Way of Freedom
- May Governor Pence not retreat in any form or fashion in the face of those hostile to biblical truth and morality! May those serving and seeking public office stand with Gov. Pence to defend Indiana’s RFRA! May emerging leaders across America be unmoved by the threats and hostility of those who oppose religious liberty! May the cause of religious liberty, national and international, become the preeminent theme in the 2016 Presidential race! May those elected be champions of religious liberty as the Founders intended! (Ps 119:105; Is 61:1-3; Eze 3:7-9; Zech 10:5; Mt 24:35; 1 Cor 16:13; Eph 6:10-20)
21 Days of Prayer and Fasting – Tony Perkins is asking praying believers everywhere to pray and fast from April 7th till April 28th that God will intervene to guide our Supreme Court to protect, not destroy, natural marriage as the legal standard for our nation. He urges that we “pray up to the day of battle and go into that day with strength; praising God for the victory!”
- May hundreds of thousands, even millions, join us in prayer and fasting for the members of the Supreme Court; that God will move a strong majority of the Justices to reaffirm natural marriage and reject the idea of inventing any right to same-sex “marriage” in the Constitution! (2 Sam 23:3; Ps 110:3; Pr 21:1; Dan 9:3-19; Mt 17:21; Lk 2:37; Rev 12:11)
Finally, many more matters require our prayers, including Iran’s failure to meet the deadline; but as the Targets go to press, Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson declined to sign his state’s newly-passed RFRA, sending it back to the legislature. And Indiana groups were meeting with homosexual activists to find language that would satisfy them. Clearly this matter is paramount. Our hope is in Jesus Christ and His sovereignty as our Resurrected Lord! He is Risen! Thank you for praying!