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Faith Intelwars New York City Religion statues vandalism

VIDEO: Vandal rips down, smashes statue of Virgin Mary at NYC church in broad daylight

Statue smashing has become all the rage in the country today. And in New York the movement to attack monuments has claimed another treasured icon.

Destroying statues of the Founding Fathers, Christopher Columbus, and Jesus wasn’t enough. Now someone decided to pick on a lady.

Brooklyn cops are looking for a man caught on camera tearing down a statue of the Virgin Mary a week ago just outside Shrine Church of Our Lady of Solace in Coney Island, WCBS-TV reported Friday.

What happened?

Security footage shows a man climbing a fence outside the church on Sept. 11 and crawling up the house of worship’s outdoor religious shrine.

Image source: WCBS-TV video screenshot

The vandal can be seen rocking the statue of Our Lady of Guadalupe back and forth until he is able to dislodge from its perch.

He then tosses the statue over the fence and onto the public sidewalk.

Image source: WCBS-TV video screenshot

All of this was done in broad morning daylight as people looked on.

The hoodlum’s actions mashed the face of the statue, destroyed the base, and broke off the hands of the Blessed Mother.

The church told WCBS that the statue is worth $4,000 and now it must buy a new one.

One witness, Sara Marerro, a Coney Island resident, told the outlet, “Who knows mentally what’s going on with that person in that moment, but you don’t do stuff like that.”

Another unnamed witness, whose face is blurred out in the video, reportedly got into a fight with the vandal after the statute was toppled and tried to fix it, but to no avail, Marerro said.

Image source: WCBS-TV video screenshot

The Diocese of Brooklyn is, naturally, upset.

John Quaglione, who is with the diocese, called the vandalism a “direct assault” on the faith of people who might have wanted to have a moment of prayer.

“To attack the Blessed Mother on the day of 9/11 in the morning in broad daylight is not only brazen, but it is a direct assault on the faith of the people that were walking by that day wanted to have a moment of prayer to themselves, wanted to remember someone they may have lost,” Quaglione said.

Asked what she felt led to the statue being torn down, Marerro said, “They were drunk.”

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Christianity Demons Exorcism Faith Intelwars Religion

Doctors couldn’t figure out what was wrong with woman who was in and out of mental hospitals. Then a stranger performed an exorcism: ‘I could see the demons’

An Arkansas woman with no history of mental illness said she suddenly found herself in deep emotional turmoil in 2006, with doctors unable to diagnose her rapidly deteriorating condition.

Within months, overtaken by suicidal thoughts, Amy plunged from a second-story window, was paralyzed and nearly died.

Now, she’s speaking out, explaining that she believes she experienced a dramatic demonic possession — and healing. Her experience is told in detail in the new book, “Playing with Fire: A Modern Investigation into Demons, Exorcism, and Ghosts.”

“I’ve never had any kind of mental problems, never been on medication for anything like that,” Amy said in a recent interview, noting that, within days of her affliction, she went from a successful nurse to a person who couldn’t think clearly.

Listen to Amy share her story on “The Edifi Podcast With Billy Hallowell” at the 42-minute mark:

Amy’s personal drama unfolded one day while she was working at a hospital and dealing with a burn patient who had survived an explosion.

“While I was in the ER giving [a] report, something wasn’t right with me,” she recalled. “I went upstairs to do my chart and it’s like my mind went out the window.”

Amy wondered what was unfolding; the mental duress continued to afflict her when she later went for a run and was unable to jog in a straight line.

“I told my husband, ‘I think I’m having a nervous breakdown. My mind is not right,'” she said.

As “Playing With Fire” explains, doctors put Amy on antidepressants, but she said the drugs did nothing to curb her problems — and the situation further devolved.

“They ended up putting me in a psychiatric hospital,” she said, “And the psychiatrist said, ‘We don’t know what we’re dealing with. We’ve never seen anything like this.'”

As time went on, Amy was in and out of hospitals, with suicidal thoughts suddenly overtaking her mind and heart.

“Nobody knew what was going on. And this happened in April and through the summer,” she said. “I was so messed up. I wanted to kill myself and I just could not think how to do it.”

One day Amy found herself sitting in a second-floor window sill at her home, as thoughts of death once again flooded her mind.

“I was sitting in the window and I thought to myself, ‘If I fall out of this window, I bet I’ll die, because it’s so far down and it’s a brick patio,'” she said. “So, I fell out of the window.”

Amy said she doesn’t remember much of what unfolded next, as she landed on her head on the hard patio two stories below.

“Any person in their right mind — if you’re falling you’re going to brace yourself … that’s a normal reflex,” she said. “My legs and arms were not broken. I did not brace myself.”

The impact of the fall was sweeping, with Amy breaking the majority of her ribs, puncturing her lungs and breaking her back in three places; 14 years later, she is still paralyzed.

“They didn’t think I was going to survive,” she said.

But while Amy lay in her hospital bed recovering, a stranger named Cindy felt compelled to visit. While there, Cindy performed what some Christians call a “deliverance” (similar to an exorcism).

“She felt really led to come see me,” Amy said. “[She] said when they got there I looked at her and I had a male voice come out of my mouth saying, ‘What are you doing here?'”

Amy believes Cindy cast a demon out, and that her life was transformed as a result.

For her part, Cindy has also openly spoken about the experience.

“I could see the demons,” she told KATV-TV last year, noting that she uttered a simple command in that hospital room: “Lord, in the name of Jesus, I command that these demons release her and come out of her and that she comes to her right mind, in Jesus’ name.”

In the end, Amy believes she was healed.

“My family saw a difference and they were thinking, ‘Something’s better,'” she said, noting, though, that there are still mysteries surrounding her story.

Mainly: Amy, who was a churchgoer before the incident, isn’t sure why she was afflicted. Regardless, she is now much closer to God, and is encouraging others to cling to their faith.

“It’s brought me so much closer to God and to know that his love for me. It wasn’t him that did that — of course, it was the enemy,” she said. “God’s love is amazing. Seek the Lord with all of your heart.”

For more stories like Amy’s be sure to read “Playing with Fire: A Modern Investigation into Demons, Exorcism, and Ghosts,” a book that dives deep — through a journalistic and Christian lens — into the cultural discussion about spiritual warfare, demons, exorcism in the Bible and other related topics.

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Baptism California California church Christianity Church Faith Intelwars Religion

Nearly 1,000 people flock to California beach to get baptized Saturday

A California church is making headlines after nearly 1,000 people showed up to be baptized on Saturday at Corona Del Mar State Beach in Newport Beach, California.

(Read also: What Is Christian Baptism — and Why Does It Matter?)

Gina Gleason, church director at Calvary Chapel Church in Chino Hills, told CBN News that the event, which was a record showing of baptisms for the church, was absolutely “remarkable.”

“California may be experiencing a spiritual revival,” Gleason said. “It’s remarkable and a significant number.”

Normally, the church — which is led by Pastor Jack Hibbs — sees 300 people show up for baptisms, but Saturday was unique in that nearly 1,000 people sought to express their public profession of faith, CBN noted.


Image source: Instagram/CalvaryChapelChinoHills video screenshot

Images and video from the baptisms are absolutely incredible, with Calvary Chapel in Chino Hills taking to social media afterward to ask for people’s stories.


Image source: Instagram/CalvaryChapelChinoHills video screenshot


Image source: Instagram/CalvaryChapelChinoHills video screenshot


Image source: Instagram/CalvaryChapelChinoHills video screenshot

“I was baptized together with my wife, and the heartfelt blessing that Pastor Jack gave us is one that I will carry with my throughout my life,” one man wrote on Instagram. “Such a wonderful day. Praise our Lord and Savior Jesus.”


Image source: Instagram/CalvaryChapelChinoHills video screenshot

Another woman added, “A day full of memories I will always cherish. My two older boys getting baptized!”

(Read also: 3 Lessons From Jesus’ Baptism)

Countless additional comments express people’s joy over the mass baptism.

This article was originally published on Pure Flix Insider. Visit Pure Flix for access to thousands of faith and family-friendly movies and TV shows. You can get a free trial here.

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College Education Intelwars Religion Satanic temple scholarships

Satanic Temple announces ‘Devil’s Advocate Scholarship’ for high school graduates

They’re satanists with hearts of gold.

The Satanic Temple wants to award two lucky 2020 high school graduates with a “Devil’s Advocate Scholarship” this summer, CNN reported Wednesday.

The organization, which focuses its efforts on the separation of church and state, wants applicants to send in creative applications — essays, poetry, works of art — by the end of August. It will then go through the submissions and give two $500 scholarships.

What’s all this then?

The Satanic Temple’s mission, according to the group’s “The Devil’s Advocate Scholarship” webpage, is “to encourage benevolence and empathy, reject tyrannical authority, advocate common sense, oppose injustice, and undertake noble pursuits” by “championing religious pluralism” and “protecting free-thought.”

More from group about its take on education:

The Satanic Temple advocates the protection of bodily autonomy and the pursuit of knowledge. TST views intellectual exploration as a critical component of individual fulfillment. Often, however, people confuse learning with schooling. While learning involves a self-directed approach to better one’s understanding of things, schooling involves the imposition of an oppressive hierarchical structure that demands obedience to authority first and foremost and determines what knowledge should be disseminated and how it should be imparted. Compulsory schooling violates the fundamental civil rights of the children who are forced to attend. Schooling requires that students endure chronic stress along with a profound degree of tedium and boredom such that empathy is diminished, and depression and anxiety often ensue.

The group’s founder, Malcolm Jarry, told CNN that the idea for the scholarship stemmed from an email he received from a high school student asking him for a letter of recommendation for a religious scholarship being offered at her high school.

“I was disappointed that she did not receive the scholarship and saw that moment as an opportunity to offer our own scholarship that reflects our values,” Jarry told the outlet.

“In addition to promoting our values by honoring those who engage in pro-social rugged individualism, the scholarship allows students a rare opportunity to be critical of an institution that only rewards sycophantic adulation,” he said.

How do I get my student in on this action?

To apply for the scholarship, which opened Monday, students must answer one of two questions and be 2020 high school graduates.

Option No. 1: “What initiatives have you undertaken that are consistent with [The Satanic Temple’s] tenets and mission?”

Option No. 2: “Please discuss and describe in detail any one of the teachers who crushed your spirit, undermined your self-confidence, and made you hate every minute you were forced to be in school.”

According to the website, “Submissions can be in any reasonable form. Suggestions for submission formats include, but are not limited to, an essay, a poem, a work of art, a film project, or another creative expression.” The only requirement is that the work “must be original and the sole creation of the person submitting.”

All submissions must be in by Aug. 31. Winners will be announced Sept. 15.

Good luck.

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Church attack Florida Man Intelwars Ocala Ocala church Queen of peace catholic sanctuary Religion

Florida man crashes van into church, sets building on fire with parishioners inside, police say

A Florida man allegedly crashed his van into a church on Saturday and then set it on fire with parishioners inside the building. Steven Shields, 24, was arrested by Marion County Sheriff’s Office deputies for an apparent attack on the Queen of Peace Catholic Sanctuary in Ocala.

Shields allegedly plowed the vehicle through the front doors of the church. He then allegedly got out of the car and poured gasoline in the foyer area of the house of worship and lit it on fire. During the church attack, parishioners were in the building preparing for Saturday mass.

Police said Shields then got back into his white van and fled the scene. Police chased Shields down Highway 441, and the vehicle was disabled when MCSO Deputy Josue Gonzales performed a Precision Immobilization Technique to stop the car.

Shields was taken into custody and charged with attempted second-degree murder, three felony counts of evidencing prejudice, arson to a structure, burglary of an occupied structure, and felony fleeing or attempting to elude. Shields is being held in the Marion County Jail with no bond.

According to the police report, Shields told deputies he targeted the church because of a “mission.” WJXT-TV reported that Shields told investigators that he had been diagnosed with Schizophrenia, but had not been taking his medication.

Thankfully, all of the parishioners were able to escape the church without injuries. Marion County Fire Rescue extinguished the flames relatively quickly, but the damage to the church is described as “extensive.”

“Our freedom of worship granted in the Constitution is a freedom that we all hold dear,” MCSO Sheriff Billy Woods said. “My deputies and I are sworn to protect that right and will always ensure our citizens can worship in peace. I’m proud of my deputies for capturing this man so quickly and we appreciate the assistance from all of the state and federal agencies that worked alongside us during this investigation.”

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Coach George floyd protests high school football Intelwars Race Religion Texas viral videos watch

Texas HS football coach makes powerful declaration to his players: ‘Your skin color, your race, your religion — that won’t divide us!’

Klein Oak High School football coach Jason Glenn gave a powerful message to his players when they gathered recently on the field in Spring, Texas.

“The stuff that’s going on in our country right now? That’s not going to divide us!” Glenn hollered as he stalked around the turf while his players stood at attention. “Your skin color, your race, your religion … that won’t divide us! … We’re not doing that! We won’t allow it!


Image source: Facebook video screenshot

He shared that he’s noticed in the wake of George Floyd’s death and the protests and rioting that have followed around the country that “people look at each other differently! … It’s changing us! It’s dividing us!”

But he reemphasized to his players that “we’re not gonna be divided! We’re not gonna let society tell us who to hate — you need to decide that … by their heart, their character, and how they treat others!”

At one point Glenn approached a white man standing on the field and the pair embraced, after which the coach said, “I love him to death! He’s my guy … one of the first guys I met welcomed me here … this is my brother! Love him to death! And you know what? Nothing — society, social media, TV — nothing’s gonna change the way I feel about him. You wanna know why? Because I judge him on his character and his heart.”


Image source: Facebook video screenshot

He also told his players that “the whole United States is crumbling before our eyes” but that “your generation has to make a stand … you have to do something … start now!”

The clip was posted to Facebook on Thursday and has received 1 million views and counting:


Klein Oak coach gives powerful speech to players amid anti-racist protests

youtu.be

Speaking to KTRK-TV, Glenn said his message won’t be waving, despite the fact that he’s experienced racial bias from police.

An All-American player at Texas A&M and later a player and coach in the NFL, Glenn decided to return to the high school level to make difference in the lives of young people, the station said.

KTRK added that he’s positive he’s where he is now for a purpose and to “raise great young men.”

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Coronavirus Intelwars Kansas Religion religious freedom

Federal judge blocks Democratic governor’s attempt to limit religious gatherings: ‘Religious activity was targeted for stricter treatment’

Kansas Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly issued an executive order April 7 prohibiting mass gatherings of more than 10 people — and explicitly called out religious services. But a federal judge issued a ruling Saturday blocking the governor’s order.

U.S. District Judge John Broomes said that he believes the policy likely violates religious freedom as well as free speech protections, the Associated Press reported.

Broomes’ ruling prevents the enforcement of Kelly’s order as long as church officials and members of the congregation following social distancing guidelines, the AP said.

The case was brought by two Baptist churches — First Baptist Church of Dodge City and Calvary Baptist Church of Junction City — that were represented by the Alliance Defending Freedom.

What did the governor order?

Kelly has issued a string of executive orders addressing “mass gatherings” amid the coronavirus pandemic, with each new order replacing the previous and becoming more restrictive — especially with regard to religious gatherings.

Broomes noted that on March 17, the governor issued an order prohibited “mass gatherings” of 50 or more people. But the order included a list of exemptions, including “Religious gatherings, as long as attendees can engage in appropriate social distancing.”

A week later, on March 24, Kelly issued a new order banning gatherings of 10 or more people. The exemption for religious gatherings was maintained.

And on March 27, the governor actually declared performing or attending religious services as an “essential function.”

Then, on April 7, just days before Easter, Kelly issued a new executive order with an updated list of venues where the “mass gathering” rule applies — and for the first time the list included “churches or other religious facilities.”

But that wasn’t all that was updated.

The new order included new language specifically targeting churches:

With regard to churches or other religious services or activities, this order prohibits gatherings of more than ten congregants or parishioner in the same building or confined or enclosed space. However, the number of individuals – such as preachers, lay readers, choir or musical performer, or liturgists – conducting or performing a religious service may exceed ten as long as those individuals follow appropriate safety protocols, including maintaining a six-foot distance between individuals and following other directive regarding social distancing, hygiene, and other efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19.

And the order had a long list of exemptions, many of which seemed to be as problematic as church services:

  • Airports;
  • Schools for both instructional and non-instructional purposes;
  • Childcare facilities and group homes;
  • Hotels and motels;
  • Food pantries and shelters;
  • Detox centers;
  • Shopping malls where large numbers of people are present but are not close to each other for more than 10 minutes;
  • Libraries;
  • Senior centers; and
  • Restaurants and bars.

Broomes took a look at the governor’s order that noted that, though the designation of religions gatherings as “essential functions” had not been changed, the governor had added restrictions on churches.

And then he wrote what was clear to any observer: The churches has been “singled out.” He said (emphasis added):

The Governor previously designated the attendance of religious services as an “essential function” that was exempt from the general prohibition on mass gatherings. That designation has not been rescinded or modified, yet in EO 20-18 and EO 20-25 churches and religious activities appear to have been singled out among essential functions for stricter treatment. It appears to be the only essential function whose core purpose — association for the purpose of worship — had been basically eliminated.

The judge then listed a number of “secular facilities that are still exempt from the mass gathering prohibition” or “are given more lenient treatment, despite the apparent likelihood they will involve mass gatherings.”

Broomes made the logical point that the churches were “targeted” because of “the nature of the activity involved.” He wrote (emphasis added):

The legitimate health and safety concerns arising from people attending religious services inside a church would logically be present with respect to most if not all these other essential activities. Defendant has not argued that mass gatherings at churches pose unique health risks that do not arise in mass gatherings at airports, offices, and production facilities. Yet the exemption for religious activities has been eliminated while it remains for a multitude of activities that appear comparable in terms of health risks. Based on the record now before the court, the most reasonable inference from this disparate treatment is that the essential function of religious activity was targeted for stricter treatment due to the nature of the activity involved, rather than because such gatherings pose unique health risks that mass gatherings at commercial and other facilities do not, or because the risks at religious gatherings uniquely cannot be adequately mitigated with safety protocols.

It is also an arbitrary distinction, in the sense that the disparity has been imposed without any apparent explanation for the differing treatment of religious gatherings. These facts undermine Defendant’s contentions and lead the court to conclude that EO 20-18 and EO 20-25 are not neutral laws of general applicability. Instead, they restrict religious practice while failing to “prohibit secular activity that endangers the same interests to a similar or greater degree.”

The judge’s ruling striking down the governor’s order does not permit churches to have restriction-free services. He ordered the churches to follow social distancing guidelines and to continue practices that they had already put in place.

Kelly continued to defend her order, the AP said, quoting her: “This is not about religion. This is about a public health crisis.”

The Alliance Defending Freedom celebrated the ruling. Senior counsel Tyson Langhofer said, “Public safety is important, but so is following the Constitution. We can prioritize the health of safety of ourselves and our neighbors without harming churches and people of faith,” the AP reported.

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Christianity Christians Coronavirus Intelwars LGBTQ Religion

LGBTQ website says ‘coronavirus is punishment for conservative Christians’

An LGBTQ website featured an article that states “coronavirus is punishment for conservative Christians.”

LGBTQ Nation is “an online news magazine, reporting on issues relevant to the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer community.” Mark Segal, who is a contributor to the site, posted an article Wednesday titled, “If HIV was God’s punishment for gays, then coronavirus is punishment for conservative Christians.”

Segal contends that “God must now be angry with religious people by striking the headquarters of the world’s religions with the COVID-19: Rome, headquarters of Catholics; Athens, the headquarters of Greek Orthodoxy; Moscow, the headquarters of Russian orthodoxy; London, home of the Anglican communion; Mecca, home of Muslims; Jerusalem, home of Jewish faith; and Salt Lake City, home of the Mormons.”

To attempt to support his argument, Segal claimed that there are fewer confirmed coronavirus cases and deaths in San Francisco than other international cities that hold religious significance.

“Fundamentalists apparently consider San Francisco the capital of the LGBTQ world,” Segal wrote. “Now let’s compare and see what God’s wrath is. San Francisco has under 1,000 cases and only 12 deaths. All of the headquarters cities of the world’s major religions, religions that at one point or another have discriminated against the LGBTQ community, have more cases and more deaths than San Francisco. San Francisco is the least affected of all the cities.”

According to the San Francisco Department of Public Health, the City by the Bay has 1,012 total positive COVID-19 cases and 17 fatalities as of Wednesday. There are 1,287 confirmed coronavirus cases and 12 deaths in Salt Lake County, Utah, which has a population of 1.1 million.

While the city of San Francisco has a population near 900,000, Moscow (12.5 million), London (9.3 million), Rome (4.2 million), and Mecca (2 million) all have significantly larger populations than the California city. The country of Greece, which has a population of 10.7 million, has 2,207 COVID-19 cases and 105 deaths.

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Christianity Christians Coronavirus Intelwars LGBTQ Religion

LGBTQ website says ‘coronavirus is punishment for conservative Christians’

An LGBTQ website featured an article that states “coronavirus is punishment for conservative Christians.”

LGBTQ Nation is “an online news magazine, reporting on issues relevant to the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer community.” Mark Segal, who is a contributor to the site, posted an article Wednesday titled, “If HIV was God’s punishment for gays, then coronavirus is punishment for conservative Christians.”

Segal contends that “God must now be angry with religious people by striking the headquarters of the world’s religions with the COVID-19: Rome, headquarters of Catholics; Athens, the headquarters of Greek Orthodoxy; Moscow, the headquarters of Russian orthodoxy; London, home of the Anglican communion; Mecca, home of Muslims; Jerusalem, home of Jewish faith; and Salt Lake City, home of the Mormons.”

To attempt to support his argument, Segal claimed that there are fewer confirmed coronavirus cases and deaths in San Francisco than other international cities that hold religious significance.

“Fundamentalists apparently consider San Francisco the capital of the LGBTQ world,” Segal wrote. “Now let’s compare and see what God’s wrath is. San Francisco has under 1,000 cases and only 12 deaths. All of the headquarters cities of the world’s major religions, religions that at one point or another have discriminated against the LGBTQ community, have more cases and more deaths than San Francisco. San Francisco is the least affected of all the cities.”

According to the San Francisco Department of Public Health, the City by the Bay has 1,012 total positive COVID-19 cases and 17 fatalities as of Wednesday. There are 1,287 confirmed coronavirus cases and 12 deaths in Salt Lake County, Utah, which has a population of 1.1 million.

While the city of San Francisco has a population near 900,000, Moscow (12.5 million), London (9.3 million), Rome (4.2 million), and Mecca (2 million) all have significantly larger populations than the California city. The country of Greece, which has a population of 10.7 million, has 2,207 COVID-19 cases and 105 deaths.

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Christianity Christians Church DOJ First Amendment Intelwars Justice Department Religion William Barr

AG Barr taking ‘action’ against gov’t officials who are regulating religious gatherings

Attorney General William Barr will take action against local government officials who are regulating relgiious activities, even those that follow social distancing guidelines, during the coronavirus outbreak.

Barr’s spokeswoman, Kerri Kupec, announced late Saturday that Barr will take action this week.

“During this sacred week for many Americans, AG Barr is monitoring govt regulation of religious services. While social distancing policies are appropriate during this emergency, they must be applied evenhandedly & not single out religious orgs,” Kupec announced. “Expect action from DOJ next week!”

The COVID-19 crisis has presented a unique challenge for Christians and other religious groups who regularly meet together in communal gatherings for corporate worship.

Many churches across the country have been holding “drive-in” services, where congregants meet together in a parking lot and remain in their cars, thereby following social distancing guidelines.

However, many Democratic officials have even cracked down on such affairs.

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer, for example, issued a decree last week banning drive-in services for Easter, the holiest holiday on the Christian calendar.

But on Saturday, U.S. District Judge Justin Walker granted a local Louisville church, On Fire Christian Center, a temporary restraining order against Fischer’s mandate, thoroughly rebuking the mayor over the order.

“The Mayor’s decision is stunning. And it is, ‘beyond all reason,’ unconstitutional,” Walker said.

Meanwhile, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio threatened last month to permanently shut down churches and synagogues that did not comply with his order to not gather.

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CDC Compliance COVID-19 Dangerous deadly Easter economic shutdown freedom Headline News Intelwars liberty Mainstream media Martial Law orders outbreak pandemic Religion resurrection Ron Paul scientifically self destructive hysteria sensationalism suspend the Constitution tyranny Virus

End the Shutdown; It’s Time for Resurrection!

This article was originally published by Ron Paul at the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity. 

For many millions of Christians, Easter is a time to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Others may celebrate the arrival of spring and the promise of new life. Whatever one’s beliefs, after several weeks of mandatory “stay at home” orders and the complete shutdown of the US economy over the coronavirus, this self-destructive hysteria must end and we must reclaim the freedom and liberty that has provided us so much opportunity as Americans.

To do that we should first understand that much of the hysteria is being generated by a mainstream media that has long prioritized sensationalism over investigating and reporting the truth. Government bureaucrats are also exaggerating the threat of this virus and appear to be enjoying the power and control that fearful people are willingly handing over to them. One “coronavirus” bureaucrat even told us that we can no longer go to the grocery store! So we should just starve?

It is certainly possible to believe that this virus can be dangerous while at the same time pointing out that radical steps are being taken in our society – stay-at-home orders, the introduction of de facto martial law, etc. – with very little knowledge of just how deadly is this disease.

On March 24th, the CDC issued an alert stating that doctors should classify “probable COVID-19” or “likely COVID-19” as COVID-19 deaths. Perhaps that explains the seeming drop-off of pneumonia deaths this year and the simultaneous spike in COVID-19 deaths as some researchers have reported.

The BBC reported last week that, “At present in the US, any death of a COVID-19 patient, no matter what the physician believes to be the direct cause, is counted for public reporting as a COVID-19 death.”

Does that sound like a scientifically sound way of determining how deadly COVID-19 really is?

What is most dangerous is that although this virus will eventually disappear, the assault on our civil liberties is not likely to be reversed. From this point on, whenever local officials, county officials, state governors, or federal bureaucrats decide there is sufficient reason to suspend the Constitution they will not hesitate to do so. Anyone who challenges the suspension of the Constitution “for our own good” will be labeled “unpatriotic” and perhaps even reported to the authorities. We have already seen hotlines springing up across the country for Americans to report other Americans who dare venture outside to enjoy the sun and build up their vitamin D protection against the coronavirus.

The government is justified in canceling the Constitution, we are told because we are in an emergency situation caused by the COVID-19 virus. But do people forget that the Constitution itself was written and adopted while we were in an “emergency situation”?

Did the framers of the Constitution fail to add an 11th Amendment to the Bill of Rights saying, “oh, by the way, none of this counts if we get sick”? Of course not! Those who wrote our Constitution understood that these rights are not granted by the government, but rather by our Creator. Thus it was never a question as to when or under what conditions they could be suspended: the government had no authority to suspend them at all because it did not grant them in the first place.

Our country is far less at risk from the coronavirus than it is from the thousands of small and large authoritarians who have suddenly flexed their muscles across the country. President Trump would do well to end this ridiculous shutdown so that Americans can get on with their lives and get back to work.

Americans should remember the tyrants who locked them down next time they go to the ballot box. Let’s demand an end to the shutdown so we can resurrect our economy, our lives, and our liberties!

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Americans Coronavirus COVID-19 Fear Intelwars Pew Research Prayer Religion Study

Study: Droves of Americans are turning to prayer in the face of COVID-19 fear and uncertainty

A new
report says that more than half of Americans are praying that COVID-19 will quickly come to an end.

What are the details?

The new poll from the Pew Research Center reports that more Americans are turning to prayer to fight the coronavirus outbreak.

“The virus also has impacted Americans’ religious behaviors,” the poll notes. “More than half of all U.S. adults (55%) say they have prayed for an end to the spread of coronavirus. Large majorities of Americans who pray daily (86%) and of U.S. Christians (73%) have taken to prayer during the outbreak — but so have some who say they seldom or never pray, and people who say they do not belong to any religion (15% and 24%, respectively).”

The poll reports that 82% of evangelicals have prayed for an end to the COVID-19 outbreak — which is unsurprising, but 26% of religious “nones” — or “nothing in particular” — self-report that they, too, have been turning to prayer as a means to end COVID-19. The poll also reports that at least 15% of people who say they seldom to never pray are also praying for an end to the deadly pandemic.

At least 40% of Americans who say they attend church on a monthly basis now say that they have been virtually attending worship services online or via television on a regular basis.

To note, the poll finds that “Democrats are more likely than Republicans to say their personal life has changed in a major way as a result of the coronavirus outbreak: About half of Democrats and Democratic leaners (51%) say this, compared with 38% of Republicans and those who lean to the GOP.”

The survey, taken by 11,537 Americans, was conducted between March 19-24.

You can read the poll’s full findings
here.

What else?

As pointed out by the
Washington Examiner, nearly half of the United States believes that the COVID-19 outbreak is a “wake-up call” from God.

A new national survey for The Joshua Fund — which was conducted by McLaughlin & Associates — says that 44% of people polled believe that the virus should encourage people to “turn back to faith in God.”

Further, 29% of people surveyed said they believe that the coronavirus pandemic indicates that humans are living in “the ‘last days.'”

The poll notes that of all people surveyed, 30% of Jewish Americans, 30% of Democrats, 39% of Republicans, 40% of African Americans, and 50% of Hispanics believe that the COVID-19 outbreak is indicative of the end of days.

In a statement, Joshua Fund founder Joel C. Rosenberg says, “Americans in near full lockdown are anxious, and understandably so. Yet millions are turning to God, the Bible, and Christian sermons for answers, some of them for the first time. That may be the most important silver lining in this crisis so far.”

McLaughlin & Associates conducted the survey from March 23-26 on 1,000 likely American voters.

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Alexandria ocasio-cortez AOC Congress Faith Intelwars LGBT agenda Religion religious freedom Transgender

AOC invokes her faith and Jesus Christ in screed saying religious freedom is used for ‘discrimination’ and ‘bigotry’ against LGBT people

Any religious person whose faith does not align with “progressive” orthodoxy on matters like human sexuality, marriage, or basic human biology has probably heard at some point or another that their beliefs are actually bigoted and that their faith is merely subterfuge for that kind of animus. Well, they would have heard something similar if they tuned into a House Oversight Hearing on religious freedom this week.

At the hearing, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) invoked her personal faith, claiming that Jesus Christ would be maligned in Congress, and accused traditional believers of using religious freedom to defend “bigotry and discrimination.”

The hearing, “The Administration’s Religious Liberty Assault on LGBTQ Rights,” was designed to “examine the Administration’s actions to erode LGBTQ rights in multiple areas, including healthcare, employment, adoption, and foster care.”

“I’m experiencing this hearing and I’m struggling whether I respond or launch into this question as a legislator or from the perspective of a woman of faith,” Ocasio-Cortez began.

The far-left freshman even went as far as to compare religious freedom claims regarding sexual morality and human biology to scriptural arguments made in favor of slavery and white supremacy.

“I cannot, it’s very difficult to sit here and listen to arguments in the long history in this country of using scripture and weaponizing and abusing scripture to justify bigotry,” she said. “White supremacists have done it, those who justified slavery did it, those who fought against integration did it, and we’re seeing it today.”

The congresswoman then went on suggest that her colleagues would go as far as driving Jesus Christ out of Congress.

“Sometimes, especially this body, I feel as though if Christ himself walked through these doors and said what he said thousands of years ago, that we should love our neighbor and our enemy, that we should welcome the stranger, fight for the least of us … he would be maligned as a radical and rejected from these doors.”

One of the witnesses was Evan Minton — a biological female who identifies as male — who is suing a Catholic hospital in California for not performing a hysterectomy “because the surgery was related to my gender transition,” according to the witnesses’ prepared testimony. Minton also described how “the Trump Administration singled me out” by citing the case in a health care conscience-rights rule first proposed in 2018.

“There is nothing holy about rejecting medical care of people, no matter who they are on the grounds of what their identity is; There is nothing holy about turning someone away from a hospital,” Ocasio-Cortez said during her remarks.

“My faith commands me to treat Mr. Minton as holy because he is sacred, because his life is sacred, because you are not to be denied anything that I am entitled to,” the congresswoman later said. “That we are equal in the eyes of the law and we are equal — in my faith — in the eyes of the world.”

While Ocasio-Cortez has previously claimed to be Catholic in the past when advocating for criminal justice reforms, despite her public positions on issues like abortion, same-sex marriage, and transgender ideology, which don’t quite align with where the church stands, to say the least.

Toward the end of her remarks, the now-visibly angry New York Democrat said that she was “tired of communities of faith being weaponized and being mischaracterized because the only time religious freedom is invoked is in the name of bigotry and discrimination. I’m tired of it,”

She later went on to accuse the Trump administration of advancing “the idea that religion and faith is about exclusion.”

Of course, the congresswoman’s arguments here stem from the common assumption that not condoning or participation a person’s actions somehow implies hatred or bigotry toward that person or a group of people.

In reality, the argument that any serious conscience rights advocate will offer about these kinds of situations goes like this:

When a religious hospital says that they cannot conduct a transgender medical procedure that goes against the tenets of their belief, the resistance is to the procedure rather than an active prejudice toward the person asking for it. When a Christian baker or florist can’t serve as a vendor for a same-sex wedding ceremony, the issue at hand for them is not being able to participate in an action they believe to be sinful, rather than a desire not to associate with a class of people they don’t like. When a pro-life doctor or hospital won’t perform an abortion, it’s not because of some secret desire to control a woman’s organs, but because their conscience won’t allow them to facilitate the taking of unborn life.

But while those may be a critical distinctions to the people who sincerely hold those beliefs and expect the First Amendment protection to live them out, to others, it’s all merely deception for the sake of “bigotry and discrimination.”


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Alexandria ocasio-cortez AOC Congress Faith Intelwars LGBT agenda Religion religious freedom Transgender

AOC invokes her faith and Jesus Christ in screed saying religious freedom is used for ‘discrimination’ and ‘bigotry’ against LGBT people

Any religious person whose faith does not align with “progressive” orthodoxy on matters like human sexuality, marriage, or basic human biology has probably heard at some point or another that their beliefs are actually bigoted and that their faith is merely subterfuge for that kind of animus. Well, they would have heard something similar if they tuned into a House Oversight Hearing on religious freedom this week.

At the hearing, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) invoked her personal faith, claiming that Jesus Christ would be maligned in Congress, and accused traditional believers of using religious freedom to defend “bigotry and discrimination.”

The hearing, “The Administration’s Religious Liberty Assault on LGBTQ Rights,” was designed to “examine the Administration’s actions to erode LGBTQ rights in multiple areas, including healthcare, employment, adoption, and foster care.”

“I’m experiencing this hearing and I’m struggling whether I respond or launch into this question as a legislator or from the perspective of a woman of faith,” Ocasio-Cortez began.

The far-left freshman even went as far as to compare religious freedom claims regarding sexual morality and human biology to scriptural arguments made in favor of slavery and white supremacy.

“I cannot, it’s very difficult to sit here and listen to arguments in the long history in this country of using scripture and weaponizing and abusing scripture to justify bigotry,” she said. “White supremacists have done it, those who justified slavery did it, those who fought against integration did it, and we’re seeing it today.”

The congresswoman then went on suggest that her colleagues would go as far as driving Jesus Christ out of Congress.

“Sometimes, especially this body, I feel as though if Christ himself walked through these doors and said what he said thousands of years ago, that we should love our neighbor and our enemy, that we should welcome the stranger, fight for the least of us … he would be maligned as a radical and rejected from these doors.”

One of the witnesses was Evan Minton — a biological female who identifies as male — who is suing a Catholic hospital in California for not performing a hysterectomy “because the surgery was related to my gender transition,” according to the witnesses’ prepared testimony. Minton also described how “the Trump Administration singled me out” by citing the case in a health care conscience-rights rule first proposed in 2018.

“There is nothing holy about rejecting medical care of people, no matter who they are on the grounds of what their identity is; There is nothing holy about turning someone away from a hospital,” Ocasio-Cortez said during her remarks.

“My faith commands me to treat Mr. Minton as holy because he is sacred, because his life is sacred, because you are not to be denied anything that I am entitled to,” the congresswoman later said. “That we are equal in the eyes of the law and we are equal — in my faith — in the eyes of the world.”

While Ocasio-Cortez has previously claimed to be Catholic in the past when advocating for criminal justice reforms, despite her public positions on issues like abortion, same-sex marriage, and transgender ideology, which don’t quite align with where the church stands, to say the least.

Toward the end of her remarks, the now-visibly angry New York Democrat said that she was “tired of communities of faith being weaponized and being mischaracterized because the only time religious freedom is invoked is in the name of bigotry and discrimination. I’m tired of it,”

She later went on to accuse the Trump administration of advancing “the idea that religion and faith is about exclusion.”

Of course, the congresswoman’s arguments here stem from the common assumption that not condoning or participation a person’s actions somehow implies hatred or bigotry toward that person or a group of people.

In reality, the argument that any serious conscience rights advocate will offer about these kinds of situations goes like this:

When a religious hospital says that they cannot conduct a transgender medical procedure that goes against the tenets of their belief, the resistance is to the procedure rather than an active prejudice toward the person asking for it. When a Christian baker or florist can’t serve as a vendor for a same-sex wedding ceremony, the issue at hand for them is not being able to participate in an action they believe to be sinful, rather than a desire not to associate with a class of people they don’t like. When a pro-life doctor or hospital won’t perform an abortion, it’s not because of some secret desire to control a woman’s organs, but because their conscience won’t allow them to facilitate the taking of unborn life.

But while those may be a critical distinctions to the people who sincerely hold those beliefs and expect the First Amendment protection to live them out, to others, it’s all merely deception for the sake of “bigotry and discrimination.”


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Abortion Intelwars Media Religion religious freedom

Vice article portrays abortion as a potential ‘religious right’

Should someone’s religious beliefs give them the right to take the life of an unborn child? A story published at Vice last week raises the question by portraying abortion in terms of free exercise for some believers.

Here’s a sampling of the story:

[T]he success of the Christian anti-abortion movement has overshadowed another group of religious Americans: those who say that the right to abortion is part of their religion. This group includes Jews, Muslims, and even Christians who believe their faith allows — and sometimes even requires — abortion under certain circumstances. They say the right to abortion is a constitutional one, protected not only by the right to privacy, but by the freedom to exercise religion.

“There’s a lot of folks who are pro-choice or support reproductive dignity and freedom because of their faith and not in spite of it,” said Rev. Katey Zeh, an ordained Baptist minister and CEO of the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice.

As Roe v. Wade is threatened by increasingly restrictive state bills and a Supreme Court stacked against reproductive rights, pro-choice Jews, Muslims, and Christians may soon be forced to come to the legal defense of abortion in a way its never been argued before: as a religious right.

Further down in the piece, the reader is then confronted with three different sections discussing “abortion as a religious right” in Judaism, Islam, and Christianity, featuring input from two rabbis, an assistant professor of gender and Islamic bioethics at Dartmouth College, and Zeh, as well as a single line from a book titled “Trust Women: A Progressive Christian Argument for Reproductive Justice.”

“As a follower of Christianity, as a minister of Christianity,” Zeh told the outlet in the section about Christianity, “to me the core message is really about, first of all, love and compassion and care for the neighbor but also really eliminating systems of oppression no matter what kind they are.”

But that’s not all. Following its run-through of interfaith pro-abortion apologetics, the story then turned its attention to pro-life political views held by more conservative believers, casting the prevalence of such positions largely as a product of late 20th-century political wrangling.

“[A] political — not theological — effort was made by Republicans, specifically Richard Nixon, to recruit Catholic Democratic voters by polarizing the issue of abortion,” the story says. “Evangelicals and Protestants later followed as a result of targeted political campaigns hoping to unite Christians under conservative cultural issues.”

Whether or not a religion-based pro-abortion argument would actually hold water in federal court is hard to say, given the number of variables. But given the kind of response to be expected from the pro-abortion world if Roe v. Wade is ever reversed, and the never-ending stream of lawsuits against state-level pro-life laws, it’s hard to imagine that it won’t be attempted.

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1st Amendment Constitution Establishment clause Intelwars Religion

The Constitution and Establishment of Religion

On June 20, 2019, the Supreme Court held that spending public funds to maintain a 40-foot Christian cross on public land doesn’t violate the U.S. Constitution.

The cross is a conspicuous symbol at a busy intersection in Prince George’s County, Maryland. It’s unaccompanied by representations of other faiths. Thus, a humanist (non-religious) organization sued to have it removed, claiming it is an unconstitutional state endorsement of Christianity.

The cross was dedicated in 1925. It memorializes soldiers who died in World War I. The court’s 7–2 decision in its favor was driven partly by the length of time the cross had stood. Even if it had once been primarily a religious symbol, said the court, it is no longer. It’s now a historical monument and memorial to our soldiers. Forcing its removal might spur divisive lawsuits against historical monuments throughout the country.

The First Amendment provides that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion. For obvious reasons, lawyers call this phrase the Establishment Clause. In the 20th century, the Supreme Court ruled (for reasons far less obvious) that the Establishment Clause restricts not only Congress but all branches of government—and not only the federal government, but the states as well. The government agency maintaining the cross is a subdivision of the state of Maryland.

Cases involving the Establishment Clause are often difficult to decide. More liberal Supreme Court justices have argued that the clause requires officials to ensure an absolute or nearly absolute “wall of separation” between religion and government. According to this view, the motto “In God We Trust” should be removed from our coins and the words “under God” expunged from the Pledge of Allegiance.

On the other side of the spectrum, some argue that the clause was designed only (1) to prevent the federal government from creating an English-style official church, and (2) to protect state official churches. Some say the clause is violated only if government coerces people into religious conformity, or if the government endorses some religions over others, or supports religion over non-religion.

The confusion arises largely because when the First Amendment was proposed (1789) and ratified (1789–1791), there was little public discussion about what it meant. So in searching for evidence of meaning, writers have gone very far afield. Some look to events as early as 1636, long before the Establishment Clause was written. Others look to the 19th century, long after the clause was adopted.

The real key to the meaning of the Establishment Clause lies in events between 1786 to 1790.

Prior to that time, almost every American state used tax money to fund selected churches and imposed religious tests on officeholders. By 1786, however, a move to “disestablish” state churches was underway. The most famous incident of this kind was James Madison’s successful fight to block a church-funding tax in Virginia.

The following year, the Constitutional Convention met in Philadelphia. George Washington, the convention president, received a letter from Jonas Phillips, a leader of the Philadelphia Jewish community. Phillips complained that the states still treated Jews as second-class citizens. He noted that “the Jews have been true and faithfull … and during the late contest with England they have been foremost in aiding and assisting the states with their lifes [sic] and fortunes, they have supported the cause, have bravely fought and bleed [sic] for Liberty which they can not Enjoy.”

Accordingly, Phillips asked the delegates not to include a religious test in the new Constitution.

And the delegates agreed. They produced a document banning religious tests as requirements for federal office.

But the Constitution did require state and federal officeholders to take an oath or affirmation—a calling of God as a witness. Under the law of the time, this excluded atheists from office.

To become effective, the Constitution had to be approved by popular conventions in the states. At these conventions, many opponents complained about the Constitution’s lack of a religious test. Some opponents wanted to limit federal office to Christians. Others wanted to restrict it to Protestants. Opponents warned that without a religious test, Catholics, Jews, Muslims, pagans, Deists, and even atheists might be elected.

The response of the Constitution’s supporters became the basis of the constitutional bargain. It crystallized the principles by which the federal government was to treat religion.

First, they pointed out that the oath requirement excluded atheists. Second, they stoutly contended that all believers in God were to be treated equally.

For example, in North Carolina, James Iredell (who later served on the U.S. Supreme Court) argued that the oath was a sufficient test of religious faith—and the faith need not be Christian. Similarly, in Massachusetts, Daniel Shute, a Christian minister, told his state’s ratifying convention, “I believe, sir, that there are worthy characters among men of every denomination.”

By the time ratification was complete, the Constitution’s implications for religion were understood: Religious faith was valuable for good government. But government was to treat individual religions equally, as long as they conducted themselves in an orderly manner.

As I have documented in detail, the First Amendment’s Establishment and Free Exercise clauses reflected this understanding: Government might support religion in general, but religions were to be treated impartially.

The central figure in the entire drama was James Madison. He led the fight for disestablishment in Virginia. He was the leading sponsor of the Constitutional Convention. He was a leading drafter of the Constitution itself. And Madison was the primary congressional drafter and sponsor of the First Amendment.

This essay first appeared in July 7, 2019 issue of the Epoch Times.

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