United We Stand

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Synopsis of United We Stand.

You may recall that last week I promised that I would, weekly, end with a new idea I’ve come up with. I recently received a neat little book by the title of Three Little Words. It is written by Terry Ferguson. I mentioned that I’d like to end each of my weekly messages with one of these little pearls of, as Terry says it, “God’s Truths in Simple Terms. Well today I’d like to begin today’s message with the three little words are… United – We – Stand…. And here are the three little pearls from God’s Word:

  1. Psalm 133:1    How Good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity.
  2. Ephesians 4:3, 13    Be eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace… until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.
  3. Matthew 12:25 Knowing their thoughts, He said to them. Every kingdom divided against itself is laid waste, and no city or house divided against itself will stand

As we begin this new promising year of 2015 let me show that The Liberty Institute is celebrating their top 12 victories for religious liberties in the year of 2014. From this point forward, in the interest of time I will refer to them simply as “Liberty.” Also, I will not bore you with the names and titles of those in Liberty making their quoted comments.

While the attacks against religious liberty in our country are at an all-time high, the good news is that concerned citizens like you are taking notice and fighting back! Hallelujah ! So many stood with Liberty Institute throughout 2014 helping to stand up to Goliath opponents including the ACLU, Freedom From Religion Foundation, American Atheists, Military Religious Freedom Foundation and even government entities that are targeting people of faith—whether they be churches, business owners, ministries, employees, military members or students and teachers in our nation’s schools. .

Liberty has been engaged in more than 225 legal matters this past year alone. We should celebrate with Liberty as we prepare to begin 2015 and tip our hats to the top 12 advancements in the fight for faith this past year of 2014.

1) Court victories against the Obama-Care Abortion Pill Mandate. In July 2014, the United States government ruled 5-4 in favor of Hobby Lobby Stores Inc. and Conestoga Wood Specialties Corporation in their challenge to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Abortion Pill Mandate. We celebrate these victories. You see…. “United We Stand”

2) A victory for Insight for Living Ministries (IFLM) against the Obama-Care Abortion Pill Mandate.
The District Court of Texas granted a preliminary injunction to IFLM, the Bible-teaching ministry of Pastor Charles R. Swindoll—will not have to comply with the mandate nor pay a $100.00 per day per employee fine while the case makes it way through the court system.   Again…. “United We Stand”

3) A victory protecting the rights of pregnancy resource centers (PRCs A U.S. District Judge issued a final judgment and permanent injunction ruling that the Austin city ordinance targeting religious, life-affirming groups is unconstitutional. Sounds like…. “United We Stand” again.

4) Protection for churches from being banned from ministry areas or operating on their own property.
The Town unanimously voted to ban churches and schools from the area where Cornerstone Church’s property sits . The Town then enacted and enforced an illegal zoning ordinance. With the preliminary injunction, the church is allowed to meet on its own property and plans to move the school to the property may continue. Hey-hey…. “United We Stand” …. one more time.

5) Progress in lawsuits attacking veterans memorials across America.
A federal court granted The American Legion, the right to intervene in a lawsuit to defend the Maryland World War I Veterans Memorial from legal attack by American Humanist Association. Liberty Institute also won the right to intervene for Mt. Soledad Memorial Association (MSMA), in a lawsuit filed by the ACLU which is trying to tear down the Mt. Soledad Veterans Memorial . We are, I remind you…. “United We Stand.”

6) Progress defending the phrase “under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance. In a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the Pledge of Allegiance. A motion was granted allowing Liberty’s client, The American Legion, to intervene defending the traditional Pledge whether uttered in a classroom, or before a school event. This religious expression once more proved…. “United We Stand.”

7) Protection for military members and their religious freedoms while serving our country. Liberty’s clients Army Lieutenant Colonel Charles Pudil and Senior Master Sergeant Phillip Monk both risked their military careers and future by blowing the whistle on violations of religious liberty. Instead of being court-martialed and dishonorably discharged, he was given a medal and retired with full honors. Sounds like they and Liberty Institute proved…. “United We Stand.”

8) Protection of Ten Commandments monuments and displays on government and private property. In August 2013, the ACLU filed a state court lawsuit seeking the removal of the Ten Commandments monument from the Oklahoma state capitol grounds. Here again Liberty was also honored to take the position…. “United We Stand.”

9) Victories for students and protection of their religious liberty rights in our nation’s schools: In Ward Melville High School in East Setauket, New York, wrongfully denying high school student John Raney’s request to continue his faith-based club. Within a day, school officials reversed course, followed the law, and allowed the club.

10) Protection for religious expression.. Liberty Institute led the fight to preserve religious liberty in the workplace and in the public arena in four cases in 2014. “United We Stand.”

11) Liberty Institute began assisting more than 40 faith-based organizations—including churches, adoption agencies, educational institutions and ministries—by offering free-of-charge “Religious Liberty Audits.” “United We Stand.”

12) Publication of Liberty Institute’s 2014 edition of ‘Undeniable: The Survey of Hostility to Religion in America,’ documenting anti-religious bigotry throughout America. This third annual edition demonstrates an accelerated attack against religion and silences skeptics. It has drawn the attention of the media, government, the legal profession  to the crisis of persecution of religion.  Hostility to religion can be defeated, but only if challenged by an informed nation. Then, and only then will we find “United We Stand.”

Well if this is not enough to celebrate about let me tell you about how the Atheist Scientists are turning to God as science increasingly proves His Intelligent Design. A recent piece in the Wall Street Journal has taken the internet by storm with one simple title: “Science Increasingly Makes the Case for God.”

Fred Hoyle, the astronomer who came up with the “big bang” term, wrote “A common-sense interpretation of the facts suggests that a super-intellect has monkeyed with the physics, as well as with chemistry and biology, the numbers one calculates from the facts seem to me so overwhelming as to put this conclusion almost beyond question.”

While stating that I would not do any “name-dropping” of scientists I will read to you a sermon given by one I knew very, very well. His name was Dr. Lee G. Davy. He was my father-in-law. Pop, as I lovingly called him was a Doctor of Organic Chemistry, well written of in the annals of Organic Chemistry. He was the Executive Vice President of Development at Eastman Kodak of Tennessee. Pop’s hobby was astronomy. He was so deeply involved with it that he travelled to Mauritania with a team of such organizations as Notional Geographic Society, Harvard Observatory, to film the Total Eclipse Expedition in the year of 1973.

Pop was also a devout Christian, highly involved in the Presbyterian Church and it’s Presbytery.. I asked him one day, how did he, a scientist, become so ensconced in his Christian beliefs. He gave me a copy of this sermon; which I will share just a portion of this morning.

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United We Stand

Good and joyful day today to all Christian brothers and sisters on this the day the Lord has made. Pull up a chair, pour yourself a cup of coffee, or tea, or milk, or whatever is your favorite, we’re about to slice a piece of the Bread of Life, the Word of God. And today’s slice comes from:   Three Little Words for the week.

You may recall that last week I promised that I would, weekly, end with a new idea I’ve come up with. I recently received a neat little book by the title of Three Little Words. It is written by Terry Ferguson.

I mentioned that I’d like to end each of my weekly messages with one of these little pearls of, as Terry says it, “God’s Truths in Simple Terms. Well today I’d like to begin today’s message with the three little words are…   United – We – Stand….   And here are the three little pearls from God’s Word:

Psalm 133:1 How Good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity.

Ephesians 4:3, 13 Be eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace… until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.

Matthew 12:25 Knowing their thoughts, He said to them. Every kingdom divided against itself is laid waste, and no city or house divided against itself will stand

As we begin this new promising year of 2015 let me show that The Liberty Institute is celebrating their top 12 victories for religious liberties in the year of 2014. From this point forward, in the interest of time I will refer to them simply as “Liberty.” Also, I will not bore you with the names and titles of those in Liberty making their quoted comments. I will refer to the quotes as coming simply from “Liberty,” since you would probably not know them by name or would remember their titles. However, I have them on file should you be that interested.

While the attacks against religious liberty in our country are at an all-time high, the good news is that concerned citizens like you are taking notice and fighting back! Hallelujah ! So many stood with Liberty Institute throughout 2014 helping to stand up to Goliath opponents including the ACLU, Freedom From Religion Foundation, American Atheists, Military Religious Freedom Foundation and even government entities that are targeting people of faith—whether they be churches, business owners, ministries, employees, military members or students and teachers in our nation’s schools.

Because of the partnership of Christians like you, we’ve seen the freedoms of many Americans restored—and they participated in this national movement to turn the tide, defend religious liberty, and celebrate the “free exercise” of religion that our Founding Fathers guaranteed us in the First Amendment to the Constitution.

Liberty has been engaged in more than 225 legal matters this past year alone. We should celebrate with Liberty as we prepare to begin 2015 and tip our hats to the top 12 advancements in the fight for faith this past year of 2014.

1) Court victories against the Obama-Care Abortion Pill Mandate. In July 2014, the United States government ruled 5-4 in favor of Hobby Lobby Stores Inc. and Conestoga Wood Specialties Corporation in their challenge to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Abortion Pill Mandate. Liberty Institute filed a friend-of-the-court brief in the case on behalf of its numerous similarly situated clients.

After the ruling, Liberty said: “This is a landmark win for the freedom of conscience rights of every American, including business owners, recognizing that they are free to live and work according to their beliefs without the fear of government.”

The Hobby Lobby decision paved the way for the recent permanent injunction awarded to Liberty’s client Doug Erickson, owner of Hastings Automotive Inc. and Hastings Chrysler Center in Hastings, Minnesota. We celebrate these victories. You see…. “United We Stand

2) A victory for Insight for Living Ministries (IFLM) against the Obama-Care Abortion Pill Mandate.

In November 2014, the District Court for the Eastern District of Texas granted a preliminary injunction to IFLM, the Bible-teaching ministry of Pastor Charles R. Swindoll—founder and senior pastor-teacher of Stonebriar Community Church in Frisco, Texas, and former president and current chancellor of Dallas Theological Seminary. The international ministry will not have to comply with the mandate nor pay a $100.00 per day per employee fine while the case makes it way through the court system.

This is an important victory for all faith-based ministries that seek to provide life-affirming health care insurance for all their employees. IFLM joined many other Christian nonprofits, schools, and organizations that are challenging the Obama Administration’s Abortion Pill Mandate—which requires them to cooperate in the dispensation of abortion-inducing drugs and devices. Again…. “United We Stand.

3) A victory protecting the rights of pregnancy resource centers (PRCs). In June 2014, Liberty gained a huge victory for pregnancy resource centers after the city of Austin, Texas, attacked their religious liberty. A U.S. District Judge issued a final judgment and permanent injunction ruling that the Austin city ordinance targeting religious, life-affirming groups is unconstitutional. The ordinance unfairly targeted PRCs, enforcing them to post false and misleading signs at their front entrances stating what services they do not provide. Facilities that did provide abortions, however, were not required to post any signs or disclaimers referencing their service or procedures.

Liberty’s General Council said, “We are very pleased, our clients’ First Amendment rights to free speech and religious exercise and expression have been upheld according to well-established constitutional law and the great work of these pregnancy resource centers to help women make informed decisions will no longer be hindered.” Sounds like…. “United We Stand” again.

 

4) Protection for churches from being banned from ministry areas or operating on their own property.

In November 2014, a District Court Judge issued a preliminary injunction in a lawsuit brought by Cornerstone Church by the Bay, and Laguna Madre Christian Academy against the Town of Bayview, Texas. After Cornerstone Church requested permission from the town to use property it had acquired in Bayview for its church and school, the Town unanimously voted to ban churches and schools from the area where Cornerstone Church’s property sits—despite allowing nonreligious institutions in that exact same area. The Town then enacted and enforced an illegal zoning ordinance.

 

Now, with the preliminary injunction, the church is allowed to meet on its own property and plans to move the school to the property may continue. Hey-hey…. “United We Stand” …. one more time.

 

5) Progress in lawsuits attacking veterans memorials across America.

In September 2014, a federal court granted Liberty’s client, The American Legion, the right to intervene in a lawsuit to defend the Maryland World War I Veterans Memorial from legal attack by American Humanist Association. The veterans memorial has stood without objection for 89 years and was funded by a memorial committee which included ten mothers who lost sons in the war. Liberty Institute also won the right to intervene for our client, Mt. Soledad Memorial Association (MSMA), in a lawsuit filed by the ACLU which is trying to tear down the Mt. Soledad Veterans Memorial in San Diego, California. We are, I remind you…. “United We Stand.”

 

6) Progress defending the phrase “under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance.

In September 2014, Liberty won a very important part in a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the Pledge of Allegiance. The Superior Court of New Jersey, granted a motion allowing Liberty’s client, The American Legion, to intervene defending the traditional Pledge in a New Jersey School district. Whether uttered in a classroom, or before a school event, the Pledge of Allegiance, with the phrase “under God,” is a lynchpin that helps hold together America’s social framework. Liberty, being committed to defending this religious expression once more proved…. “United We Stand.”

 

7) Protection for military members and their religious freedoms while serving our country. Liberty’s clients Army Lieutenant Colonel Charles Pudil and Senior Master Sergeant Phillip Monk both risked their military careers and future by blowing the whistle on violations of religious liberty. Liberty helped protect them,. When Lieutenant Pudil was threatened with a career-ending reprimand and accused of military crimes for questioning an Army policy that violates his religious beliefs, Liberty’s response caused Lieutenant Pudil’s commander to overturn his reprimand, and also stepped in to defend Senior Master Sergeant Phillip Monk, a 19-year Air Force combat veteran, who was abruptly relieved of duty because of his religious views on marriage.

 

Instead of being court-martialed and dishonorably discharged, he was given a medal and retired with full honors. He defied religious discrimination and was protected—encouraging others in a nationally prominent case. Sounds like they and Liberty Institute proved…. “United We Stand.”

8) Protection of Ten Commandments monuments and displays on government and private property. In September 2014, an Oklahoma judge ruled that the Ten Commandments monument on the Oklahoma capitol grounds is legal under the Oklahoma Constitution. Liberty Institute, along with Oklahoma’s Attorney General, represents the State of Oklahoma in the case.  Hiram Sasser, Liberty Institute’s Director of Litigation, said: “This is a great victory for the people of Oklahoma. Ten Commandments monuments are routinely upheld as constitutional across the country. This is just one more example of how the Ten Commandments monuments may be constitutionally displayed.”  

In August 2013, the ACLU filed a state court lawsuit seeking the removal of the Ten Commandments monument from the Oklahoma state capitol grounds. Here again Liberty was also honored to help protect another display of the Ten Commandments  the private property of Jeanette Golden of Hemphill, Texas, by taking the position…. “United We Stand.”

9) Victories for students and protection of their religious liberty rights in our nation’s schools: In October 2014, Liberty sent a demand letter to officials at Ward Melville High School in East Setauket, New York, for wrongfully denying high school student John Raney’s request to continue his faith-based club. Within a day, school officials reversed course, followed the law, and allowed the club.

In neighboring Long Island, New York, another high school student, 15-year-old Liz Loverde, took note of how Liberty helped John fight back against religious discrimination when she saw a report of the incident on her local television news. They sent a demand letter to the Wantagh Union Free School District. Within eight days, the school district agreed to our demand and authorized Liz’s “Dare to Believe” Christian club.

Another child, Giovanni Rubeo, had his fifth-grade teacher tell him to stop reading his Bible during free reading time—

10) Protection for religious expression and defense of rights in the workplace. Liberty Institute led the fight to preserve religious liberty in the workplace and in the public arena in four cases in 2014. “United We Stand.”

11)  In the summer of 2014, Liberty Institute began assisting more than 40 faith-based organizations—including churches, adoption agencies, educational institutions and ministries—by offering free-of-charge “Religious Liberty Audits.”  “United We Stand.”

12) Publication of Liberty Institute’s 2014 edition of ‘Undeniable: The Survey of Hostility to Religion in America,’ documenting anti-religious bigotry throughout America. Supervised by a Harvard-trained constitutional attorney—Liberty Institute’s Senior Counsel and Director of Research and Education, Justin Butterfield—this third annual edition demonstrates an accelerated attack against religion and silences skeptics. ‘Undeniable’ is a one-of-a-kind resource that is waking up more Americans.  It has drawn the attention of the media, government, the legal profession and others across the nation to the crisis of persecution of religion. Unless more Americans awaken to this crisis, the legal action that could save religious freedom will not occur. Let me repeat that. It is the thrust of today’s message. Unless more Americans awaken to this crisis, the legal action that could save religious freedom will not occur. Hostility to religion can be defeated, but only if challenged by an informed nation. Then, and only they will we find “United We Stand.”

Well if this is not enough to celebrate about let me tell you about how the Atheist Scientists are turning to God as science increasingly proves His Intelligent Design. All of this comes to us from: Shawn Schuster of (news@gospelherald.com) Dec 29, 2014 12:52 PM EST which reads as follows:

A recent piece in the Wall Street Journal has taken the internet by storm with one simple title: “Science Increasingly Makes the Case for God.”

 

The thought-provoking article, published on Christmas Day, walks us through the history of evolutionary theories in popular culture dating back to Time Magazine’s famous cover story, “Is God Dead?”

Metaxas takes an in-depth look at how the world was beginning to believe (at that time) that there was no longer a need for God since science was becoming so advanced. That same year, Carl Sagan concluded that there were two important criteria for sustaining life on any planet: the right “kind” of star, and the planet’s distance from that star.

 

Of course, since then, scientists have greatly revised those two criteria to include over 200, but this realization only goes to further prove intelligent design as opposed to the amazingly improbable chance that a life-sustaining planet would form from nothing on its own. Let me read his quotation….

“As factors continued to be discovered, the number of possible planets hit zero, and kept going. In other words, the odds turned against any planet in the universe supporting life, including this one. Probability said that even we shouldn’t be here,” Metaxas writes. “Today there are more than 200 known parameters necessary for a planet to support life-every single one of which must be perfectly met, or the whole thing falls apart. Without a massive planet like Jupiter nearby, whose gravity will draw away asteroids, a thousand times as many would hit Earth’s surface. The odds against life in the universe are simply astonishing.”

 

Next let me tell you about the government-funded Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence shows that we, as humans, are more curious than ever about our existence and creation. As Metaxas points out, “here we are, not only existing, but talking about existing,” which is a testament to our own intelligence that was created by a Supreme Being.

Metaxas asks the questions we all want to ask at this point. “At what point is it fair to admit that science suggests that we cannot be the result of random forces? Doesn’t assuming that an intelligence created these perfect conditions require far less faith than believing that a life-sustaining Earth just happened to beat the inconceivable odds to come into being?”

So the advancement of science is not only further making the case for an intelligent designer, but it’s actually convincing atheist scientists of the existence of God.

 

Fred Hoyle, the astronomer who came up with the “big bang” term, admitted that his own disbelief in God was “greatly shaken” as scientific research continues to show that the universe couldn’t have been created by two giant rocks smashing into each other. Hoyle wrote “A common-sense interpretation of the facts suggests that a super-intellect has monkeyed with the physics, as well as with chemistry and biology, the numbers one calculates from the facts seem to me so overwhelming as to put this conclusion almost beyond question.”

 

So will we in this promising year of 2015 meet at a crossroads where scientists can admit that an intelligent being has created life and the universe, and we can progress science from there instead of continuously butting heads? One can hope, but in the mean time, articles like Metaxas’ are important to get our minds working toward that goal.

 

While stating that I would not do any “name-dropping” of scientists I will read to you a sermon given by one I knew very, very well. His name was Dr. Lee G. Davy. He was my father-in-law. Pop, as I lovingly called him was a Doctor of Organic Chemistry, well written of in the annals of Organic Chemistry. He was the Executive Vice President of Development at Eastman Kodak of Tennessee. Pop’s hobby was astronomy. He was so deeply involved with it that he travelled to Mauritania with a team of such organizations as Notional Geographic Society, Harvard Observatory, to film the Total Eclipse Expedition in the year of 1973.

 

Pop was also a devout Christian, highly involved in the Presbyterian Church and it’s Presbytery.. I asked him one day, how did he, a scientist, become so ensconced in his Christian beliefs. He gave me a copy of this sermon; which I will share just a portion of this morning.

 

 

 

 

With that I leave you with….. The Apostles’ Creed – I believe in God the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth. And in His only Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord, born of the Holy Mary, Mother of God. I believe in the Holy Ghost, the Holy Catholic Church, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of life and life everlasting. Amen

    

Is this science? Of course, not. It is faith. It was the ancient theologian’s way of declaring, “I believe in God the Father, Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth.”    How?    Big Bang?   Lets allow the scientists argue that out. Their arguments with each other seem to be bringing them to The Apostle’s Creed.

 

And…… while confessing what I believe let me say that I believe that United We Stand will be our goal for the new year of promise…. 2015.

 

What makes me so sure that 2015 is the year of promise? I refer back the little book “Three Little Words.”

 

So, I’ll end with another “Pearl from God’s Word.”   NOW’S – THE – TIME — from these three verses:

 

2nd Corinthians 6:2   For God says, “At just the right time, I heard you. On the day of salvation, I helped you.” Indeed, God is ready to help you right now. Today is the day of salvation.

 

Revelation 1; 3   God blesses the one who reads this prophecy to the church, and he blesses all who listen to it and obey what it says. For the time is near when these things will happen.

 

2nd Corinthians 9:10   I suggest that you finish what you started a year ago, for you were the first to propose this idea, and you were the first to begin doing something about it.

 

Before my time completely runs out let me end with a story that is indicative of the arguments between Christians, Atheist and Scientists. The story is titled …. Theology: Hidden Meanings

In his book, titled, LAUGHING OUT LOUD AND OTHER RELIGIOUS EXPERIENCES, Tom Mullen tells about an engineer, a psychologist, and a theologian who were on a hunting trip in northern Canada. They knocked on the door of an isolated cabin seeking shelter and rest. The cabin was not, at the moment, occupied, but the front door was unlocked. They entered the small, two-room cabin and noticed something quite unusual. A large potbellied, cast-iron stove was suspended in mid-air by wires attached to the ceiling beams.Why would a stove be elevated from the floor? Each of them began to look behind the phenomenon for “hidden meanings.” The psychologist concluded, “It is obvious that this lonely trapper, isolated from humanity, has elevated his stove so he can curl up under it and vicariously experience a return to his mother’s womb.”

The engineer surmised, “The man is practicing laws of thermodynamics. By elevating his stove, he has discovered a way to distribute heat more evenly throughout the cabin.”

But the theologian had a better explanation. “I’m sure that hanging his stove from the ceiling has a religious meaning. Fire lifted up has been a religious symbol for centuries.”

The psychologist, the engineer, and the theologian continued their debate for some time without really resolving the issue. Finally, when the trapper returned, they immediately asked him why he had hung his potbellied stove by wires from the ceiling. His answer was rather simple: “Had plenty of wire, not much stovepipe!” (Waco: Word Books, 1983).

 

So until next Sunday,     same time     same station:

 

America Bless God               and           God will Bless America.

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