Thursday, January 15, 2015
January 14, 2015|2:54 pm | The Christian Post|
A Texas district court judge has rejected the Mayor of Houston's motion to forgo a jury trial in the "Houston pastors" lawsuit, which seeks to force the city to allow voters decide whether or not to overturn a transgender rights ordinance, which allows self-identified transgenders to use bathrooms designated for the opposite sex.
The lawsuit looks to require Houston Mayor Annise Parker and the city to act on a petition, started by conservative Houston-area pastors and activists, calling for a voter referendum to allow the people of Houston to decide whether the ordinance, which passed last May, should stay or go.
Although the city's secretary Anna Russell verified that the petition had exceeded the amount of signatures needed to force the referendum, Parker refused to put the initiative on the ballot during last November's election.
Harris County District Court Judge Robert Schaffer ruled on Tuesday that the lawsuit against Parker and the city will indeed go to jury trial. The judge's ruling comes after Mayor Annise Parker, who is a lesbian, filed three motions earlier this month, all of which were rejected by the court.
The first motion Parker filed asked the judge to throw out the case completely on legal ground. The second motion asked to forgo a jury trial and instead have a bench trial, which would have taken the decision out of the citizens' hands again. And, the third motion asked for an appointed "special master" to review the case in place of judge and jury.
The plaintiffs' attorney, Andy Taylor, told The Christian Post that the mayor's third motion was simply to a ploy to stall the case because it would have taken such an appointed master at least three to six months to get caught up with the case.
"We are very pleased that a jury of ordinary citizens will get to tell Mayor Parker that she cannot block an election to repeal her ill conceived bathroom ordinance." Taylor said. "The mayor's refusal to let the people vote on her bathroom ordinance is totally devoid of any merit whatsoever. That's what she attempted here, at the last second, to prevent a jury from hearing the case."
The lawsuit gained national prominence when Parker subpoenaed sermons of five Houston pastors. Although she later withdrew the subpoenas, it was not before she received national scrutiny for doing so.
Steven Riggle, one of the five pastors who was subpoenaed by Parker and founder of the Houston mega church, Grace Community Church, was not keen of the idea of Parker trying to take away the right to a jury trial.
"In addition to taking away the constitutional voting rights of one million people in Houston, the mayor is trying to take away our constitutional right to a jury trial," Riggle asserted to a gathering of city council members. "As a citizen of Houston for over 30 years and community leader, I feel our city has suffered enough national embarrassment over this issue when what we have asked for all along is to simply let the people decide. It seems as if the city didn't learn anything from the national outrage over the subpoenas issued to pastors in our community."
Even after the national criticism, Taylor said Parker still "doesn't seem to get it."
"She is supposed to represent the people. And yet, she has, in this case, done everything in her power to block and mute the people from any involvement in this ill conceived bathroom ordinance," Taylor asserted. "When you put the two issues side-by-side on the scales of justice, you have got Mayor Parker, who has her own private agenda because of her sexaul orientation, on the one hand, then you have got the right of the people in the fourth largest city in the United States that want to express their sentiments by way of an election."
Plaintiff Joe Woodfill, who is one of four plaintiffs in the case, told The Houston Chronicle that Parker's actions are insinuating that the people of Houston are not capable of making such a decision.
"What [the city] is really saying is that they don't think the people are smart enough to make that decision. Whether it 's been having the voters vote or now allowing the jury to decide," Woodfill said.
Taylor added that there will be a phone conference with the judge on Thursday and he expects that timetable for the trial will be laid out then. Taylor does not expect this trial to start any earlier than Jan. 20.
Wednesday, January 14, 2015
January 13, 2015|2:00 pm | The Christian Post|
A florist in Washington State who refused to provide floral arrangements to a gay couple for their same-sex wedding ceremony, due to her religious objection to such a union, can now legally be sued personally by the state's attorney general's office, a judge in the state has determined.
Benton County Superior Court Judge Alex Ekstrom ruled last week that the state may bring a consumer protection lawsuit against Barronelle Stutzman, the owner of Arlene's Flowers in Richland, as she is being accused of violating the Consumer Protection Act when she declined to provide floral arrangements to a regular customer's same-sex wedding because it went against her Christian beliefs.
The judge's decision means that Stutzman remains at risk of suffering a serious personal financial hit and potential loss of her business. Ekstrom has set the trial date for March 23.
"The clear language of the Consumer Protection Act and state anti-discrimination law supports both corporation and individual liability," Ekstrom said in explaining his decision.
The Alliance Defending Freedom, an advocacy group defending religious expression and also representing Stutzman, filed amotion stating that state law does not allow for a person to be sued personally for actions taken under business capacity. The organization also argues that Stutzman did not discriminate against the customer because she has served him flowers many times in the past.
"Washington law does not allow someone to attack a business officer personally rather than just sue the business absent such exceptional circumstances as when the officer knowingly engaged in fraud, misrepresentation or theft,'" the motion states.
Stutzman was approached in 2012 by one of her frequent customers, Robert Ingersoll, and he asked her to supply the flowers for his wedding ceremony, where he would marry his partner, Curt Freed. She politely told him that she could not provide the arrangements to that event without conflicting with her deeply-held religious belief that homosexuality is sin.
"I just took his hands and said, 'I'm sorry. I cannot do your wedding because of my relationship with Jesus Christ," Stutzman told reporters.
After Ingersoll posted on Facebook about his denial at the flower shop, Stutzman began receiving a number of threatening letters, emails and phone calls from LGBT activists.
"It blew way out of proportion," Stutzman said. "I've had hate mail, I've had people that want to burn my building. I've had people that will never shop here again and [vow to] tell their friends."
A few weeks after the incident, the state's Attorney General Bob Ferguson sent Stutzman a letter saying that she must handle floral arrangements for homosexual marriages and ordered her to comply with the state anti-discrimination law. Ferguson threatened legal action if Stutzman did not comply, which she refused to do so.
Two lawsuits were filed against Stutzman, one from Ferguson's office and the other from the American Civil Liberties Union.
The ADF motion also states that the attorney general's office involvement against Stutzman is unwarranted because no complaint was filed before he pressed violation charges.
"This court should reject the Attorney General's illegitimate claim of authority to bring this action," the motion states. "Accordingly, this court should dismiss the complaint filed by the State of Washington for lack of primary jurisdiction, failure to exhaust administrative remedies as required by law, and lack of standing."
As the Family Policy Network of Washington states, the judge's decision means that the state can go after the business assets of Arlene's Flowers and the personal assets of Stutzman in order to collect attorney's fees if their lawsuit is successful.
"In America, the government is supposed to protect freedom, not intimidate citizens into speaking and acting contrary to their faith under threat of severe punishment," Kristen Waggoner, the ADF attorney representing Stutzman, said. "The government is sending a clear message to Barronelle and the people of Washington: Dare to disagree with the government and you put your home, your family business and your life savings at risk."
Tuesday, January 13, 2015
January 13, 2015|7:57 am| The Christian Post|
A Colorado Civil Rights Commissioner has said that a Christian cake company's decision to invoke religious freedom rights to refuse to bake a pro-gay marriage cake is comparable to slavery and the perpetrators of the Holocaust.
Alliance Defending Freedom, the legal firm representing Jack Phillips of Masterpiece Cakeshop, said that such comparisons have "no place in civil society."
"Such alarming bias and hostility toward Jack's religious beliefs — and toward religion in general — has no place in civil society, let alone on a governmental commission that sits in judgment of whether he may follow his faith in how he runs his business," said ADF Senior Legal Counsel Jeremy Tedesco.
"Commissioner [Diann] Rice compared a private citizen who owns a small bakery to slaveholders and Holocaust perpetrators merely for asking that the state respect his right to free speech and free exercise of religion. Her comments suggest that others on the commission may share her view. This anti-religious bigotry undermines the integrity of the entire process and the commission's order as well."
Rice's comments apparently stem from a July 25, 2014, commission, which ordered Phillips to re-educate himself and his employees about marriage.
"I would also like to reiterate what we said in … the last meeting [concerning Jack Phillips]. Freedom of religion and religion has been used to justify all kinds of discrimination throughout history, whether it be slavery, whether it be the Holocaust. … I mean, we can list hundreds of situations where freedom of religion has been used to justify discrimination," Rice said back then.
"And to me it is one of the most despicable pieces of rhetoric that people can use — to use their religion to hurt others."
Phillips was asked in 2012 by Charlie Craig and David Mullions to bake a cake for their wedding reception. Although the cake artist agreed to make them other baked items, he said that because of his Christian beliefs, he could not fulfill the request to make a cake for a same-sex wedding.
Craig and Mullions then filed a complaint with the help of the American Civil Liberties Union against Phillips, which led to the Colorado Civil Rights Division determining that Masterpiece Cakeshop had discriminated against the couple.
"The undisputed facts show that (Phillips) discriminated against complainants because of their sexual orientation by refusing to sell them a wedding cake for their same-sex marriage," wrote Administrative Law Judge Robert N. Spencer in his decision in December 2013.
Phillips has since stopped baking any wedding cakes for either straight or same-sex couples as a result of the decision.
ADF legal counsel Nicolle Martin added that contrary to Rice's views, the U.S. Supreme Court has not found sexual orientation to be a status equivalent to race.
"The First Amendment plainly forbids this type of religious bias, which together with the commission's demonstrated misstatements of constitutional law raises serious questions about their judgment," Martin said.
"Jack should not be forced by the government, or by another citizen, to endorse or promote ideas with which he disagrees. But it's worse when he is forced to do so by one or more officials who make serious errors in their legal analysis and justify coercing the speech of a private citizen by citing their own hostility to religion."
Monday, January 12, 2015
January 12, 2015|10:34 am| The Christian Post|
A bill has been introduced in the Texas Legislature that if enacted would strip the salary of any Texas-government employee who issues a marriage license to a same-sex couple.
Known as House Bill 623, the recently introduced bill declares that no state funds will go to the distribution of gay marriage licenses.
"State or local taxpayer funds or governmental salaries may not be used for an activity that includes the licensing or support of same-sex marriage," reads HB 623.
"If an employee violates this subsection, the employee may not continue to receive a salary, pension, or other employee benefit at the expense of the taxpayers of this State."
Also called the "Texas Preservation of Sovereignty and Marriage Act," HB 623 was filed last week by Republican State Representative Cecil Bell of Magnolia.
In a statement regarding the proposed legislation, Rep. Bell said that HB 623 was part of his obligation to represent the interests of the people who elected him.
"When I was elected, I made a promise to my constituents to fight to protect our traditional values and to stand strong in the defense of our constitutional rights as Texans and Americans," stated Bell.
"We as Texans voted in 2005 to define marriage as being solely between a man and a woman. In Texas marriage is sacred and traditional families are recognized as the fabric of our society."
In 2005, Texas voters approved Proposition 2, which added an amendment to the state constitution defining marriage as being only between one man and one woman.
Debate over HB 623 comes as a legal challenge to the Lone Star State's marriage amendment makes it way to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.
Last February, a federal judge struck down an amendment to Texas' state constitution defining marriage as being between one man and one woman.
San Antonio Judge Orlando L. Garcia of United States District Court for the Western District of Texas ruled that the amendment violated the U.S. Constitution.
"While significant, Judge Garcia's ruling will have no immediate effect on gay and lesbian couples wishing to marry in Texas," reported the New York Times back in Feb. 2014.
"The judge issued a stay on his decision while the state appealed to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, in New Orleans."
Texas filed an appeal with the Fifth Circuit, which is scheduled to hear oral arguments on the appeal on Friday.
Regarding HB 623, the LGBT group Equality Texas has denounced the proposed legislation and has called on activists to contact Bell and express their opposition to his bill.
"HB 623 punishes state employees who would follow the law by issuing marriage licenses to loving couples. The bill would also attempt to exempt the State of Texas from constitutional requirements," reads an "Action Alert" from the group.
"Tell Cecil Bell that Texas and Texans respect the constitution, respect the rule of law and respect the right of loving couples to make their own decisions absent unnecessary government intervention."
Thursday, January 8, 2015
January 7, 2015|1:26 pm
An ex-gay organization is planning legal action against the District of Columbia for its recent banning of conversion therapy, also called Sexual Orientation Change Efforts therapy, for minors.
Voice of the Voiceless, an organization focused on ex-gay rights and recognition, is in the early stages of planning to bring legal action against the government of the nation's Capital over the recently passed bill.
Christopher Doyle, president and co-founder of VoV, told The Christian Post that at present they are seeking a plaintiff to bring a case against the new law.
"We are still seeking a plaintiff (minor and their family) who has been disenfranchised by this law in the District, but at this point, we cannot find a licensed practitioner who even practices SOCE therapy in the District, nor can we identify a client who has been disenfranchised," said Doyle.
Doyle also told CP that he believed the new law, B20-0501, violates the District's Human Rights Act as it curbs options for minors with unwanted same-sex attraction.
"The discrimination this law will enact will actually violate Washington, DC's Human Rights Act, which provides protection against sexual orientation discrimination towards those who identify as ex-gay in theDistrict. This would apply to minors who have unwanted SSA and seek change," said Doyle.
"Churches and faith-based organizations ... should contact our organization if they feel one of their member's families or children would like to see SOCE therapy in the District but cannot because of the law, and we will assist them in finding legal counsel."
Known called the "Conversion Therapy for Minors Prohibition Amendment Act of 2014," the bill was introduced by Councilmember Mary M. Cheh in October 2013.
B20-0501 amended the Mental Health Service Delivery Reform Act of 2001 with the intention of barring SOCE therapy for minors.
Sometimes called "conversion therapy" or "reparative therapy," SOCE therapy seeks to change the sexual preferences of a patient from homosexual to heterosexual.
"A provider shall not engage in sexual orientation change efforts with a consumer who is a minor," read the bill.
"A violation … shall be considered a failure to conform to acceptable conduct within the mental health profession under section 514(a)(26) of the District of Columbia Health Occupation Revision Act of 1985, effective March 26, 1986 … and shall subject a provider to discipline and penalties under 514(c) of the District of Columbia Health Occupation Revision Act of 1985."
The bill was referred to the Committee on Health in October 2013, but was not given a notice of public hearing until several months later in May of 2014.
Last summer, the bill was given a public hearing where both proponents and opponents of the SOCE therapy gave testimony to the Council.
In early December, DC Council voted unanimously in favor of the bill, with the expectation being that Mayor Vincent Gray would sign the bill into law.
Later that month Mayor Gray did just that, giving remarks before signing the bill outside his office before a crowd that included LGBT activists.
"I am proud to sign a bill that protects youth and their families from the discredited practice of conversion therapy," stated Gray, as reported by the Washington Blade.
The District of Columbia joins California and New Jersey as the three jurisdictions in the United States that prohibit SOCE therapy for minors.
Similar measures have failed, however, in several other states including Illinois, Maryland, Minnesota, New York, and Virginia, have blocked or withdrawn similar proposed pieces of legislation.
"The decision by the Council and the Mayor signing this bill into law is completely political," said Doyle regarding the DC law.
"We have repeatedly requested information to substantiate the allegations of the those who testified against SOCE, and the Council has refused to investigate these claims of 'abuse' and 'coercion' from those who testified, nor have they made any effort to verify whether these stories are true, to our knowledge."
Wednesday, January 7, 2015
What do Americans think about marriage and relationships? And do these attitudes line up with what research shows is best for relationships?
A new, nationally representative survey of Americans ages 18-60 by the Austin Institute for the Study of Family and Culture helps answer this question.
What Americans Say about Cohabitation
The Austin Institute survey revealed that 44 percent of Americans believe it is a good idea for couples to live together before marriage, with another 30 percent remaining neutral on the matter. Only 25 percent disagreed that cohabitation is a good idea.
What the Research Says
Researchers find time and again that cohabitation is on average connected to increased risk of divorce. The connection between cohabitation and poorer relationship quality is likely partly due to selection: those who cohabit are those who would be more prone to divorce anyway.
But research also suggests that cohabitation itself appears to contribute to lower marital quality. Part of the reason is that cohabiting couples may be more likely to “slide” into marriage since they are already living together, even when the relationship isn’t necessarily the most suitable for marriage.
What Americans Say about Sexual Relationships
Respondents reported an average of between 4 and 6 lifetime sexual partners.
What the Research Shows
The number of sexual partners a person has matters when it comes to marital happiness down the road. Men and women who only have sex with the person they marry report higher marital quality. Furthermore, the timing of sex in a relationship makes a difference: couples who wait until they are married to have sex also report better marital quality.
What Americans Say About Marriage
Most Americans, even younger Americans, disagreed that marriage is an outdated institution. Overall, 66 percent disagreed that marriage is an outdated institution, with only 10 percent agreeing that it is. Furthermore, most couples in cohabiting relationships said they wanted to get married. The large majority–74 percent– of Americans also said infidelity is unacceptable
What the Research Shows
The survey results coincided with what other research finds: a majority of young Americans say getting married is important to them. Additionally, marriage is connected with better outcomes for adults, children and society. Married individuals are, on average, happier, healthier and wealthier, and children do best when raised by their married mother and father.
Yet, there has been a significant decline in marriage rates. What’s more, there is a growing marriage divide today: marriage seems to be turning into an elite institution with marriage becoming less common in lower-income and working-class communities. This is alarming considering marriage provides economic stability and promotes social mobility. As marriage rates have declined, unwed childbearing has increased, putting children at greater risk for poverty and other negative outcomes.
Strong marriages and families are foundational to a thriving and stable society. Perhaps more importantly, successful marriage and family relationships are tied to the happiness of adults and children. Unfortunately, cultural norms today often promote practices–such as cohabitation and sexual experimentation–that can hinder successful marriage relationships.
Helping people better understand what will give them the greatest likelihood of achieving a healthy and stable marriage is much needed, particularly in communities where marriage has declined most. There are some efforts taking place–such as First Things First in Chattanooga, Tennessee that provides marriage education, or the Love & Fidelity Network that seeks to help college students counteract the hookup culture–but more effort is needed at every level to help restore a culture of marriage.
Monday, December 22, 2014
December 19, 2014|5:09 pm | The Christian Post|
Despite anti-discrimination laws in many states that require Christian bakery owners to bake cakes for same-sex weddings, 13 LGBT and gay-owned bakeries objected to one man's request when he asked if they'd make a pro-traditional marriage cake that would read "gay marriage is wrong." All refused to back the cake and one person even cursed at the Christian man for "hate speech" and said a cake supporting traditional marriage "went against their beliefs."
Blogger Theodore Shoebat, of Shoebat.com, wanted to see if the same level of tolerance that Christian business owners who belive in traditional marriage are required to abide by is also being exemplified at bakeries that advocate for same-sex marriage.
Shoebat set off on a video experiment where he called 13 bakeries, which are all either known as gay-owned bakeries or bakeries that strongly support gay marriage, and told them that he was hosting a pro-traditional marriage celebration and that he needed a cake that says "gay marriage is wrong."
He found that all of the bakeries refused to make him the cake with those words written on top. A few of the bakeries that he called said they'd make him the cake, but he would have to apply the words in icing himself. Other bakers were offended when they heard his request, while some simply said "no" or just hung up the phone.
"I hope you have luck with that, but we won't be able to do that for you," one baker told Shoebat. "I don't believe in being bigoted like that."
Shoebat even called a gay cookie shop called Hot Cookie in San Francisco and asked if they would make him a pizza-sized cookie with "gay marriage is wrong" written on it. The representative of Hot Cookie, who claimed to be a married lesbian, was the most outspoken of any of Shoebat's respondents. After she told Shoebat that the bakery would not make the cookie, Shoebat told her that the bakery must not stand for equality if they're refusing to make a cookie for a Christian who believes homosexuality is wrong.
"Why would we make something that is against what we are working toward?" the Hot Cookie representative asked. "I feel like that is hateful and we are not about that."
Shoebat responded by telling her that although Christian bakers believe that gay marriage is morally wrong, they are still forced to make cakes for the same-sex weddings.
"All of the homosexual activists in California are working to force Christian businesses in California to acquiesce to homosexual opinion and things that they don't agree with," Shoebat asserted. "Technically, you are discriminating against people like me, when you refuse to make a cake that says 'gay marriage is wrong.' … By refusing to make a cake, it's discrimination against those beliefs."
After Shoebat told the woman that it was a form of discrimination not to make his requested cookie, the lady replied sarcastically, saying that the bakery would make the cookie, but her statement lost all sincerity when she said she'd also put a huge phallus design on it.
Two bakeries justified their rejection of Shoebat's request by saying that a cake of that nature would be similar to making erotic cakes, which those bakeries say they do not make.
Most of the other bakeries that Shoebat called replied in a politically correct manner by saying that they could not make the cake that Shoebat was requesting. Although every time Shoebat was denied and tried to start a debate about why the bakery was not standing for equality, most of the representatives just hung up on his pointed ethical questioning.
The majority of short responses that Shoebat recevied from bakery workers noted that his request went against their "belief" in gay marriage.
Some Christian business owners have felt the costly impact of violating their state's anti-discrimination laws after they denied service based on their biblical "belief" in the traditional definition of marriage, which states that marriage is only between one man and one woman.
A Christian bakery in Oregon was fined $150,000 in October after being found guilty of discrimination after refusing to bake a cake for a same-sex wedding.
In August, a New York Christian couple was fined $13,000 by the state for refusing to let a same-sex couple use their farmhouse wedding venue for their ceremony, basing their rejection on their religious belief.
And a photography company in California announced that it will no longer photograph wedding ceremonies after receiving swift backlash from LGBT activists after it was posted on Facebook how they refused to shoot a same-sex wedding based on their beliefs.
"I am a man who believes gay marriage is wrong. Is there no equality for me?" Shoebat asks.
Friday, December 19, 2014
December 18, 2014|4:04 pm | The Christian Post|
An Arkansas town's controversial transgender ordinance that Michelle Duggar of "19 Kids and Counting" had campaigned against has been repealed.
Last week, voters in the town of Fayetteville repealed Ordinance 119, a measure that expanded various legal protections to include sexual orientation and gender identity, which many argued would've allowed men who identify as female to use women's public bathrooms.
"Voters turned out in record numbers for a special election, according to the election commission," noted an entry on nwahomepage.com. "The final numbers revealed 7,523 (52 percent) voted for the repeal, while 7,040 (48 percent) against, passing the issue by less than 500 votes. Around 29 percent of Fayetteville's registered voters cast ballots in this special election."
Ordinance 119 had garnered much attention after Michelle Duggar campaigned against the measure earlier this year.
"I don't believe the citizens of Fayetteville would want males with past child predator convictions that claim they are female to have a legal right to enter private areas that are reserved for women and girls,"stated Duggar.
Later that month, Jim Wissick of San Jose, California, created a petition on Change.org calling for the Duggars to be taken off the TLC network for "fear mongering."
"The claim that this ordinance would provide predators with access to women's restrooms in order to assault or leer at girls or women is nothing more than fear-mongering and spreading [ignorance] and hatred," read the petition.
"The Learning Channel and Discovery Networks need to [separate] themselves from this bigotry and put an end to the Duggar's show," Wissick asserted.
As of Thursday, Wissick's petition on change.org had garnered over 184,000 signatories, having passed the 150,000 milestone in November.
There were also online petitions created in support of the Duggars, including one from lifesitenews.com that as of Thursday has over 209,000 names.
Another came from the Mississippi-based organization the American Family Association, whose petition presently has more than 164,000 signatures.
"Because of their uncompromising stand on marriage and abstinence, the homosexual lobby has drawn a bully bead on Jim and Michelle Duggar. Gay activists are publicly labeling Jim and Michelle with words like 'ignorance' and 'fear mongering,'" reads the AFA petition page.
"TLC needs to know you support the Duggars and '19 Kids and Counting!' If TLC hears from enough Christians, they will not even consider canceling the show."
Regarding the effort by LGBT activists to have TLC cancel "19 Kids and Counting," Duggar patriarch Jim Bob said at a press conference last month that "They won's succeed."
"Our show is the No. 1 show on TLC. We love everybody. It's a small group creating this fuss. All it has done is give us more exposure," Jim Bob said. "We've gained 50,000 Facebook fans last week. God is expanding our border through the national media."
Thursday, December 18, 2014
December 17, 2014|3:06 pm | The Christian Post|
WASHINGTON — Leaders from most of the world's major religious groups who gathered at the Vatican last month for a conference on marriage left optimistic that they can win their fight against the forces of the sexual revolution emanating from the West, Dr. Russell Moore said.
"One of the most important things that came out of the colloquium is a sense of optimism from the people there," explained Moore, president of the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, in a Monday interview at his Washington, D.C., office. "Being in dialogue with people from all around the world, in almost every [religious] tradition, people who have almost nothing else in common, I think we all walked away with a sense that concern about marriage is much bigger and broader than what we would have previously assumed."
The purpose of the Humanum conference, also called The Complementarity of Man and Woman: An International Colloquium and held at the Vatican Nov. 17-19, was to bring representatives from the major religious groups around the world to discuss how proper understanding the complementarity of the male/female relationship can invigorate efforts to promote the social goods provided my marriage.
Besides the various Christian groups, there were also representatives from the Jewish, Latter-day Saint, Muslim, Hindu, Sikh and Buddhist faith traditions. Moore and Pastor Rick Warren of Saddleback Church in California represented American Evangelicals.
In his speech at the conference, which you can read here or watch below, Moore spoke about the universally recognized truth that all human beings have a mother and a father and that "the drive toward marital unity is powerful, so powerful that it can feel as wild as fire."
The Sexual Revolution, Moore added, is not simply antithetical to Christian teaching, but to human ecology. And, it has been particularly harmful for women.
"The Sexual Revolution is not liberation at all, but simply the imposition of a different sort of patriarchy. The Sexual Revolution empowers men to pursue a Darwinian fantasy of the predatory alpha-male, rooted in the values of power, prestige, and personal pleasure," he said.
Moore told CP that he appreciated the opportunity to be explicitly Evangelical in his speech. There was no effort to suppress religious expression at the event. In the speech, Moore preached the gospel of Jesus Christ.
The "one-flesh union" of husband and wife, Moore said, "points beyond itself to the union of Christ and his church."
And, he later added, "the gospel tells us that, left to ourselves, all of us are cut off from the life of God, that we all fall short of the glory of God. The gospel tells us that our only hope is to be joined to another, to be hidden in the righteousness of Jesus Christ, crucified for sinners and raised by the power of God, received through faith."
The lasting impact of the conference, Moore believes, will be the relationships that were built during the event.
"Many of the most important things happening in the room happened, not in the public sessions," he said, but in "people getting to know one another and talking about the obstacles they are facing."
The religious leaders from non-Western nations see the problems their nations are experiencing as coming from the Sexual Revolution of the West, particularly the United States, Moore discovered.
He also said he wanted to go to the Vatican to get a better sense of any changes that may be occurring within the Roman Catholic Church after some mixed signals about marriage at an October Synod. He found, though, that "the Pope was clear that marriage is the union of a man and a woman, and that complementarity is essential to marriage."
Monday, December 15, 2014
December 12, 2014|8:16 am | The Christian Post|
In single-sex classes, which are common for sex education, students must be allowed to go to the class of the gender they consider themselves to be rather than their actual gender, the U.S. Department of Education directed schools that receive federal funds in aDec. 1 memo.
The memo, from the department's Office for Civil Rights, provides guidance for K-12 schools for when they are allowed to have same-sex classes or extracurricular activities and remain in compliance with Title IX, a 1972 law to protect against gender discrimination in education programs that get federal aid.
Schools may divide students by gender, the memo says, if the course or extracurricular activity is a contact sport or deals with human sexuality. Vocational classes are not allowed to be gender-specific.
Near the end of the document, a paragraph explains how schools must treat male students who consider themselves female and female students who consider themselves male.
"All students, including transgender students and students who do not conform to sex stereotypes," it states, "are protected from sex-based discrimination under Title IX. Under Title IX, a recipient generally must treat transgender students consistent with their gender identity in all aspects of the planning, implementation, enrollment, operation, and evaluation of single-sex classes."
Private religious schools do not appear to be affected by the memo. Another part of the memo clarifies that the requirement applies to all public schools and the few private schools that receive some federal aid.
Additionally, the U.S. Department of Education has previously demonstrated a willingness to grant exemptions to religious institutions in regard to accommodating transgender students.
In July, the Education Department granted a religious exemption from Title IX to George Fox University after a female to male transgender student, Jayce Marcus, filed a complaint after she was not allowed to reside in the male dorms.