Will Church Speech Be Regulated?

Tape Mouth PastorA new report by the Evangelicals Council for Financial Accountability says that the government’s attempts to regulate the political involvement and speech of 501(c)(3) groups, particularly churches, is ineffective. A combination of factors, such as the vagueness of laws, inconsistent application of the law, and the fact that current IRS code infringes on the free speech rights of both individuals and churches leads many to believe the law needs to change.

Many pastors are familiar with the 1954 Johnson Amendment which attempts to remove the voice of pastors and churches from all things political. This unconstitutional amendment was inserted into the IRS code with the promise that all non-profits groups, especially churches, will lose their tax exempt license for engaging in “political speech.” The question is often asked, “What constitutes political speech?” To which most government officials clear their throat and quickly change the subject.

Unfortunately, despite the fact that the Johnson Amendment is clearly a violation of the constitutional free speech rights of pastor’s and their churches, many have been threatened into silence. The result is an America where pastors, the men once on the forefront of cultural education according to biblical principles, have been replaced by movie stars, rappers, and Planned Parenthood. The effects are obvious.

The report argued: “The IRS will not (and should not) enforce the prohibition in such faith communities en masse.” [Read more...]

About Nathan Cherry

Nathan Cherry is the chief editor and blogger for the Engage Family Minute blog, the official blog of the FPCWV. He serves also as the Regional Development Coordinator as a liaison to the pastor's of West Virginia. He is a pro-life, pro-traditional marriage, pro-religious freedom conservative. He is also a husband, father, pastor, author, musician, and follower of Jesus Christ.

The Conversation on Abortion Being Shaped by Science

It will be hard for the pro-abortion lobby to accuse pro-lifer’s of being “anti-science.” As fetal science continues to take shape and develop people are being increasingly convinced that banning abortion after 20 weeks is the least we can do. The reason is that science now concludes an unborn child can feel pain at 20 weeks an abortion in equivalent to torture for the unborn at that point.

A recent article explains that as we learn more about the humanity of the unborn, Americans are questioning their unquestioned support for abortion: “Any time we talk about developmental landmarks of the unborn child, anything showing that the unborn child is a member of the human family — that gets the public to take a closer look at abortion.” Click here for original article.

About Nathan Cherry

Nathan Cherry is the chief editor and blogger for the Engage Family Minute blog, the official blog of the FPCWV. He serves also as the Regional Development Coordinator as a liaison to the pastor's of West Virginia. He is a pro-life, pro-traditional marriage, pro-religious freedom conservative. He is also a husband, father, pastor, author, musician, and follower of Jesus Christ.

Major Vote Happening Today To Defend Life

LifeNews.com: “The full House Judiciary Committee will vote on Wednesday on a Congressional bill that would ban abortions nationwide at 20 weeks of pregnancy. Last week, the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution and Civil Justice voted on a party-line vote 6-4 for the bill, with Republicans supporting the ban on late-term abortions and Democrats opposing it…During the hearing, former abortion practitioner Anthony Levatino told members of the committee the gruesome details of his former abortion practice and how he became pro-life following the tragic automobile accident of his child. Another bombshell dropped during the hearing came from Dr. Maureen Condic, who is Associate Professor of Neurobiology and Adjunct Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Utah School of Medicine. She testified that the unborn child is capable of reacting to pain as early as 8-10 weeks. This is when most abortions in America take place.” Click here for original article.

About Nathan Cherry

Nathan Cherry is the chief editor and blogger for the Engage Family Minute blog, the official blog of the FPCWV. He serves also as the Regional Development Coordinator as a liaison to the pastor's of West Virginia. He is a pro-life, pro-traditional marriage, pro-religious freedom conservative. He is also a husband, father, pastor, author, musician, and follower of Jesus Christ.

Why Not Let Homosexual Couples Have Their “Civil Unions?” (Part 1)

civil unionsThe battle rages on between those who wish to protect traditional man-woman marriage against any attempt to re-define it as something else.

Among the arguments being used in the court case that overturned the free will of California’s citizens and may well signal the final victory for one side or the other, is the argument that it is discriminatory to deny the recognition of same-sex “marriage” while recognizing marriages between heterosexual couples.

The judge who first decided that the Proposition 8 referendum was unconstitutional – an admittedly homosexual male who, by every reasonable standard, should have disqualified himself from hearing the case – used the equal protection clauses of both the California and the U.S. Constitution to justify his decision.

More recently, as the case is about to be argued before the U.S. Supreme Court later this month, the Obama administration has come forward with an amicus brief to the court supporting same-sex marriage on the same 14th Amendment ground.

First of all, the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was the amendment passed following the civil war that ensured equal protection of the law to an entire class of citizens who had no choice about the color of their skin when they were born and were not the slightest bit free to alter their appearance or heritage.  Additionally, those individuals were undergoing tremendously severe physical and mental cruelty simply because of those physical attributes that made them different and readily identifiable as “different.”  They could not conceal who they were or what they were.

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About Tom Stark

Tom Stark began writing for the Engage Family Minute blog in February 2012. As a small business owner Tom is passionate about the intersection of faith and politics in the life of Christians and the community around him. Having been touched by both the abortion issue and the issue of homosexuality in his own family, Tom is passionate about defending the lives of the unborn and upholding Biblical Truth. Tom also writes for www.westvirginiaconservative.com

Legal protection for Churches Includes the Following

The FPCWV has been working with churches in the state to ensure that they are protected legally through proper documentation such as their Constitution and By-laws. By including certain statements in these documents churches can bolster their legal protection should someone seek to bring a lawsuit against the church. Erik Stanley, legal counsel with the Alliance Defending Freedom recently commented on statements that churches should have in their Constitution and By-laws to protect their religious freedom:

“I think we’re in a day where every church needs to have a statement in its bylaws of its doctrinal beliefs on marriage and sexuality. This is a proactive approach that churches can take to head off any claims of discrimination in the future, should they occur. There’s no magic language for such a bylaw statement, but it should be some form of a statement of the church’s religious beliefs.” Stanley went on to give specific statements that should be included. Click here for original article.

About Nathan Cherry

Nathan Cherry is the chief editor and blogger for the Engage Family Minute blog, the official blog of the FPCWV. He serves also as the Regional Development Coordinator as a liaison to the pastor's of West Virginia. He is a pro-life, pro-traditional marriage, pro-religious freedom conservative. He is also a husband, father, pastor, author, musician, and follower of Jesus Christ.

Doubt the Importance of Judicial Appointments? Read This!

GavelEarly in the Obama administration, 2009 to be precise, the bill passed through Congress and was signed by the new President.  It was called the Hate Crimes Prevention Act.  It was controversial when it was passed and remains so as this little story will explain.

At the time it was being debated in Congress, a number of its members voiced concerns over the idea that this kind of law, worded as it was, amounted to criminalizing speech which is patently unconstitutional, but the progressives made their loud argument that such laws were necessary in order to protect minorities and members of groups like homosexuals who face violence solely because they are “different.”

First of all, the entire idea of “hate crimes” is as ridiculous as screen doors for submarines.  Every act that constitutes the injury of one person by another is already on the state and federal books as a criminal act or a tort under civil laws.  There are already remedies in place for anyone injured.  The remedies are called criminal charges, civil rights violations if you are from an already protected class of citizens – although these laws are patently unconstitutional as well because, by their very nature, they treat one group of people one way and others another way.  That is hardly “equal protection under the law.”

[Read more...]

About Tom Stark

Tom Stark began writing for the Engage Family Minute blog in February 2012. As a small business owner Tom is passionate about the intersection of faith and politics in the life of Christians and the community around him. Having been touched by both the abortion issue and the issue of homosexuality in his own family, Tom is passionate about defending the lives of the unborn and upholding Biblical Truth. Tom also writes for www.westvirginiaconservative.com

Democrats Endorse Marriage Redefinition in Party Platform

by Nathan A. Cherry, 08/15/2012

I’ve mentioned this before, but this time there is more information that should concern every religious person, group, and organization. This is not simply a matter of endorsing marriage redefinition, this is a matter of religious freedom and the ability to live out the tenets of our faith in peace without government interference or penalty. The actual statement from the DNC supporting marriage redefinition can be found here. But an explanation of the statement is what is so troubling, particularly in regards to people of faith. Commenting on the “freedom of churches” inserted in this statement, National Review comments: “The party, in this statement, is committed to allowing churches (not individual people of faith or religious organizations) to ‘decide how to administer marriage as a religious sacrament.’ This exceedingly narrow language should be taken as a warning to believers — the party is willing to let churches perform marriages in accordance with their doctrines (gee thanks) but that’s about it. On all of the other predictable religious-liberty conflicts (employment benefits, social services, business decisions), the plank says nothing. The italicized language even seems to suggest the party would consider removing the ability of clergy to civilly solemnize marriages.” Anyone that’s been paying attention knows the Obama administration doesn’t support religious freedom or conscience, so this language should be troubling for our future as people of faith. Click here for original article.

About Nathan Cherry

Nathan Cherry is the chief editor and blogger for the Engage Family Minute blog, the official blog of the FPCWV. He serves also as the Regional Development Coordinator as a liaison to the pastor's of West Virginia. He is a pro-life, pro-traditional marriage, pro-religious freedom conservative. He is also a husband, father, pastor, author, musician, and follower of Jesus Christ.

The Next Step: Transgender Protections

by Nathan A. Cherry, 08/09/2012

When we talk about marriage it is many times in the scope of what will come down the road if we redefine it today. That’s because we care about the world we leave behind for our kids and grandkids. I want my family to be able to speak, worship, and live in a world without fear of government interference or reprisal for their beliefs. So frequently I say things like “if the government redefine’s marriage for homosexuals it will have to redefine it for other groups (polygamists, polyamorists, pedophiles, transgender) or it will be guilty of the same discrimination traditional marriage advocates are now accused of.” I get ridiculed for these statements but I will continue to make them because they are the logical end of this conversation. The ADFAlert.com carries this post: “Recently, the ACLU and numerous allied coalition partners wrote to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to request that HHS issue guidance to make clear that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act’s prohibition on sex discrimination applies to discrimination based on gender identity and sex stereotypes.” Click here for original article.

About Nathan Cherry

Nathan Cherry is the chief editor and blogger for the Engage Family Minute blog, the official blog of the FPCWV. He serves also as the Regional Development Coordinator as a liaison to the pastor's of West Virginia. He is a pro-life, pro-traditional marriage, pro-religious freedom conservative. He is also a husband, father, pastor, author, musician, and follower of Jesus Christ.

Religious Freedom and Conscience Rights are Guaranteed. Right?

by Nathan A. Cherry, 08/03/2012

Founding FathersIt seems to me that people are beginning to wake up and take their rights seriously. Maybe we got too comfortable here in America, believing that nothing – and no one – would ever trample our rights. Maybe we became far too apathetic and unconcerned with the amazing gift our Founding Father’s created in this representative republic. Whatever happened, it took a very liberal president with a seemingly socialistic agenda to awaken the moral outrage in many Americans. Now what?

First we must realize that this new battle we are engaged in is not about one single issue. It’s not simply about the HHS insurance mandate to provide contraception or abortifacients against our moral, religious objections. It’s not simply a fight to retain our First Amendment right to free speech, including the right to share our support for traditional marriage as a business owner (think Chik-Fil-A). And it’s not even about the right of business owners to refuse their services to homosexuals for “wedding” ceremonies as in the case of Elane Photography and the Masterpiece Cakeshop.

This is about the inherent right of our Constitution which guarantees that none of us will be forced by our government to unnecessarily violate our consciences. The great protection in the First Amendment is that our government cannot impose any law that would reduce, limit, or remove our free speech, nor can it impose any law that would cause a violation of religious conscience and freedom. I’m not sure most Americans understood this principle until recently. For that matter I’m not sure I fully understood it until recently.

[Read more...]

About Nathan Cherry

Nathan Cherry is the chief editor and blogger for the Engage Family Minute blog, the official blog of the FPCWV. He serves also as the Regional Development Coordinator as a liaison to the pastor's of West Virginia. He is a pro-life, pro-traditional marriage, pro-religious freedom conservative. He is also a husband, father, pastor, author, musician, and follower of Jesus Christ.

Update: National Leaders Speak on the Obama Insurance Mandate

by Nathan A. Cherry, 02/13/2012

Thumbs down Obama

Is this what Obama thinks of our religious convictions and liberties?

Martinsburg, WV – Over the last several days we have been trying to make sure you are well informed on the current battle in Washington, D.C. over the religious freedoms and convictions of millions of Americans. I’m talking about the insurance mandate of the Obama administration demanding every employer, including religious employers, offer contraception, sterilization, and abortifacients to employees. This mandate clearly violates the religious convictions and conscience protections afforded to citizens by the 1st amendment.

In about a week’s time Obama went from refusing to compromise on this issue to honor the Constitutional rights of citizens to deciding – most likely in order to gain favor with voters – that a compromise was in order. (If I had his poll numbers and dreadful popularity numbers I would be desperate to gain favor with people as well.)

The problem with the “compromise” is that it’s not really a comprise that solves the problem. As I wrote in an earlier blog, according to Lifenews.com;

“The revised Obama mandate will make religious groups contract with insurers to offer birth control and the potentially abortion-causing drugs to women at no cost. The revised mandate will have religious employers refer women to their insurance company for coverage that still violates their moral and religious beliefs. Under this plan, every insurance company will be obligated to provide coverage at no cost.”

As anyone with a high school education in business and economics knows there is nothing free in this world, the cost must be accounted for somewhere. So while the Obama administration is assuming we are all stupid enough to believe this is a compromise, we clearly understand that this will only raise premiums on everyone in order to offset the cost of these services. In other words, this “compromise” continues to violate the religious convictions and 1st amendment rights of anyone opposed to offering – or subsidizing – these services in insurance plans.

I’m not the only one that understands this is not a “compromise” we can accept and this is not a fight we can afford to lose. This could be, if unchallenged, just the first step in eliminating the freedoms and liberties we hold sacred. Below is a wide variety of articles from around the country on this issue and the reactions of many of our nation’s top pro-life and pro-family leaders to the so-called “compromise.”

I highly encourage you to take a few moments and scan these articles. They will solidify the urgency of this issue for you and equip you to speak truth in your conversations with others.

“Focus’ Jim Daly Reserving Final Judgment on Obama Contraception Announcement” – Daley made clear that he, and many others are still unsure of how safe our religious convictions and conscience protections truly are. Daley said: “As an unapologetically, unswervingly pro-life organization, we disagree strongly with the Obama administration that free access to drugs that can cause abortions makes women or society healthier or safer. Today’s announcement seems to be an acknowledgement by the White House that it went too far in disregarding the deeply held values, and constitutionally protected conscience rights, of religious organizations and individuals. Still, we are not convinced this tweak to the proposed policy, when analyzed at a level deeper than simple sound bites, truly addresses the religious-liberty concerns that have been raised.”

[Read more...]

About Nathan Cherry

Nathan Cherry is the chief editor and blogger for the Engage Family Minute blog, the official blog of the FPCWV. He serves also as the Regional Development Coordinator as a liaison to the pastor's of West Virginia. He is a pro-life, pro-traditional marriage, pro-religious freedom conservative. He is also a husband, father, pastor, author, musician, and follower of Jesus Christ.