A Victory for Religious Liberty

Justice for Jack

That collective “Praise God” you heard on Monday morning came from the body of Christ, His Church, in reaction to the U.S. Supreme Court decision in favor of Jack Phillips. The case, Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission was brought by Jack Phillips, its owner. The Colorado Civil Rights Commission sought to force the cake shop to employ its considerable artistic talents to craft a wedding cake for a same-sex marriage.

Family Heritage Alliance Action, along with 31 other Family Policy Councils nationwide, signed onto an amicus brief on September 17, 2017 in support of Jack and the Free Speech and Free Exercise Clauses of the First Amendment.

The facts in this case are simple and painfully clear. Jack Phillips determined that he must not, consistent with the tenets of his faith, use his artistic talents to design and bake a cake that would celebrate the union of a man and a man. For Jack, his participation in celebrating this union would render him culpable before God.

While the verbiage of the decision will be dissected, parsed and spun I want to share with you, in part, a message I received from a fellow family policy council director, Allen Whitt of the Family Policy Council of West Virginia.

Allen wrote:

“Jesus and Mohamed was both full of hate against the LGBTQAI community. And all of you following your skydaddy are using that silly myth to damage LGBTQAI citizens.” Robin Gomez , City Manager, Fairmont, West Virginia

I know it’s all our tendency to pick apart rulings and good news because we know the other shoe usually drops. But I share the above heinous quote that was spat into my face during a recent legislative battle for the following reason. 

My fellow warriors, today’s decision sends a clear message to Robin Gomez and all the others in your states. Do that again to a business owner of faith and we, the Supreme Court of the United States of America, will stop it!

The hostility expressed by the Colorado Civil Rights Commission and the City Manager of Fairmont, West Virginia is becoming more common in the public sphere and is entirely unacceptable. It was a significant issue for the Court in this matter. This should remind us that we are to be salt and light while boldly defending our religious freedoms. This decision rightfully affirms that tolerance is a two-way street.

Praise God indeed. He has once again blessed all Americans of faith!!!

-Ed Randazzo

Click Here to read a further explanation of the victory from Alliance Defending Freedom

AB2943 Forces Summit Ministries out of California

Jeff Myers, May 1 2018

When I heard about the California Assembly bill AB2943, I thought “So this is the kind of trick leftists pull when they have a veto-proof majority in a state legislature.”

But when AB2943 actually passed the California house, I got chills. The bill, which is nearly certain to pass in the Senate and be signed by the governor, includes a prohibition on “efforts to change behaviors or gender expressions, or to eliminate or reduce sexual or romantic attractions or feelings toward individuals of the same sex.”

Bottom line: AB2943 is a dog whistle to the left that Christians holding traditional views are fair game for discrimination, smears and frivolous lawsuits. It denies constitutional protection to those who hold traditional views of sexuality and marriage.

With this legislation looming, I decided to suspend our California conference and arrange for registrants to join us at one of our other locations. Summit will not bend God’s truth to accommodate the state of California. Nor can we put our students, staff, and faculty at risk.

Fortunately, we are still free to present our conferences in 49 states – and that’s exactly what we’re going to do.

Plus, we’re doing everything we can to mobilize our California alumni to demand that their representatives stop attacking free speech and freedom of religion. Our friends at the California Family Policy Council have excellent resources that explain the next legislative steps Californians can take.

Do not be fooled. This insanity is coming to every state: Iowa, Arizona, Florida—all of them. We must be on guard and work toward restoring common-sense governance.

Send your best young people to Summit this summer and we’ll equip them to stand with you. Why would we watch idly as freedom is attacked generation after generation when we can put a stop to it by training godly leaders?

People have asked about the financial impact of leaving California. It’s not cheap. Many California families are financially-strapped and I’ve committed to buy airplane tickets for every student who needs help to relocate. If you can chip in, I’d be grateful. Your financial partnership helps us train and walk alongside those who love Jesus and love liberty.

Please watch the urgent 80-second video message I recorded to explain this crazy controversy.

We will not leave our friends in California behind, and we will provide a way for these students to still experience Summit at one of our other locations. Please read the full press release. Let’s fight together, shall we? When everything we believe is being attacked, it’s time to stand.

Cheering for you,

–Jeff

Jeff Myers, Ph.D. President

Ministry Leaders Capitol Summit – Another Successful Year

Here is what people said regarding the 2018 Ministry Leaders’ Capitol Summit in Pierre:

What was the most rewarding part of the Capitol Summit in Pierre?

“Ushering prayer into the capitol”

“Praying with the legislators”

“Dr. Kenyn Cureton was a wonderful speaker.”

“Meeting State Officials”

“Filling the capitol with praise to God as we sang three songs on the steps in the rotunda”

“Meeting with like-minded believers”

PASTORS, as an encouragement to you, here is what people said regarding their pastors not being able to come:

“… I want to know from my pastor, where our church stands on the issues…”

“As Christians, we may not “like” politics or government, but we cannot afford to not be involved, concerned & engaged.”

“…it is important for leaders who are Christians to gather in Pierre and let their legislators know how they should vote in light of morals and values.”

“Do not fear, come to Pierre!  You have influence! Come put [it] into action at the Capitol.”

“Your role is important in our country.”

“Need to be involved and concerned in what is happening legislatively in the State. Need to understand what your support means to the legislators.”

“Come fight for our State and country through the power of the Lord.”

On February 6th Pastors and Ministry Leaders from across the state converged on the Capitol for a day of education and encouragement.

The day began with a light breakfast in the Rotunda including a quick briefing on capitol protocol and a list of what was on the legislators’ agenda for the day. Teen Pact alumni gave a Capitol tour. Our guests were then able to connect with their legislators, to pray with them, and to see part of the legislative process. Before leaving the capitol the whole group met on the Rotunda steps for a picture with the governor and for singing in that great hall. What an amazing sound!

 

Community Bible Church provided lunch for our whole group as well as several legislators. Thank you again for your hospitality!

 

Dr. Kenyn Cureton from Family Research Council brought a great challenge to the legislators focusing on the godly legacy of Ronald Reagan (his birthday was February 6th) and his implementation of godly morals in every area of government. Dr. Kenyn also encouraged the Ministry Leaders to live out “I am a Soldier of the Cross, Here I Stand!”

 

God is doing an incredible work in our State. He is giving the church the opportunity to impact our culture with His Love and Truth. We want to take every opportunity to shine as a city on a hill.

-Phil Shively

Trump’s Religious Freedom Executive Order

We are grateful that President Trump has promised to protect our Constitutional freedom of religion. Now is your chance to hold him to that promise! Family Heritage Alliance, our national ally Family Policy Alliance, and our network of 40 state-based family groups have written a letter to be sent to President Trump and Vice President Pence urging them to sign an Executive Order to protect our religious freedom.  Click Here to read this letter.

The Executive Order reinforces existing religious freedom protections in the law and affirms that the Administration will respect the religious freedom rights of all Americans.

The policy of the previous administration was one of systematically bullying individuals of faith, religious organizations, faith-based businesses and churches. This hostility at the federal level impacted religious freedom at the state level as well, including here in South Dakota.

Who can forget the story of Barronelle Stutzman, a florist in Washington State, who stands to lose her business and her life savings all because she refused to provide flowers for a same-sex wedding ceremony? Or what about the Little Sisters of the Poor, a group of nuns who provide care for the elderly? They were nearly forced to offer contraception in their healthcare plan simply because the Obama Administration dictated it.

Side Note: The FHA Action is supportive of South Dakota’s SB149.  This bill would ensure that faith-based adoption agencies are free to continue placing children into families with a mother and a father.  Catholic Social Services, Bethany Christian Services and New Horizons Adoption Agency, all in South Dakota, are at risk of closing if the state or a state agency forces them to adopt out to families other than what their convictions allow.  Please write a brief email by Clicking Here and ask for the Legislators support of SB149.

President Trump also needs to hear that you believe religious freedom means more than just the freedom to worship in our churches—it means that all people, of all faiths, in all places, at all times have the freedom to live out their faith. That’s what makes our country so great. We’ve made it easy for you to make your voice heard.

Share this post and Click Here to write a message to President Trump, asking him to sign the religious freedom executive order because it:

  1. Fulfills his campaign promise to make religious freedom a “first priority.”
  2. Protects religious organizations against being forced to provide abortion-inducing drugs.
  3. Defends faith-based charities (which provide over $ 1 trillion annually in benefits to Americans) from being punished by the government for peacefully operating consistently with their beliefs.