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Texas Town Defiantly Displays Crosses on Courthouse

Residents of Coldspring, Texas, are fighting back against Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) by illuminating their San Jacinto County courthouse crosses at night.

Last week FFRF sent a letter to Judge Fritz Faulkner about the four crosses that are displayed year-round saying, “These crosses unabashedly create the perception of government endorsement of Christianity, making non-Christian and nonbelieving residents of Coldspring political outsiders.”

The atheist group hoped to put enough pressure on the Texas judge that the town would be forced to take down the crosses. But this small, rural town near Houston decided to fight back. After a three-hour public comment period attended by more than 600 people in a town of fewer than 900 people, the County Commissioners Court voted unanimously to not only keep the four white crosses, but to also illuminate them.

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Equality Act Heads to U.S. House for Floor Vote

Nancy Pelosi’s misnamed Equality Act (H.R. 5) heads to the U.S. House floor for a vote, probably on May 17. With 240 co-sponsors, the bill has a lot of support.

The bill purports to eliminate “discrimination” against those who identify as within the LGBT category of human beings by making “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” protected classes under the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which currently protects immutable characteristics—race, biological sex, color, and national origin, and religion consistent with the First Amendment.

However, there would be no religious objection exemption for these two new categories. This means that religious organizations or businesses with strong religious beliefs and convictions about human sexuality that conflict with this new sexual agenda will be forced to accept it. Beyond that, if the Equality Act passes, we will likely see men who self-identify as women being allowed to unfairly compete with women in team sports and use the same locker room and bathroom facilities as females, regardless of any invasion of privacy or safety concerns. And, of course, sex education curriculum in our public schools would change to completely normalize perverse sexual practices across all states in the nation.

“Codifying LGBT ideology into a civil right would take away fundamental freedoms from those who don’t conform. That’s not equality; it’s injustice,” said Emilie Kao of the Washington Examiner.

If you are concerned about this bill, our friends at Family Policy Alliance suggest you contact your member of Congress.

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Washington School District Teachers Asked to Bless Muslim Students

District Supt. Judy Martinson of the Dieringer School District in Lake Tapps, Wash., decided to implement guidelines, which were essentially written by Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), a terror-linked group, on how to bless Muslim students in Arabic during Ramadan.

The Freedom of Conscience Legal Defense Fund (FCDF), a religious liberty advocacy group, sent a letter to Martinson reminding her that implementing these guidelines is unconstitutional because it endorses Islam to the exclusion of other religions and threatening a lawsuit if the district doesn’t revoke the so-called “Ramadan Policy.”

Daniel Piedra, executive director of FCDF, said, “A school district would never order teachers to ‘welcome’ Catholic students during Easter with ‘He is risen, alleluia!’ Singling out Muslim students for special treatment is blatantly unconstitutional.”

Ramadan, which celebrates the Muslim God Allah, began on Sunday evening, May 5 and ends Tuesday, June 4.

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Bethany Christian Services Changes Adoption and Foster Care Policy

Michigan faith-based adoption agency Bethany Christian Services has caved into the LGBT agenda.

After the state of Michigan was sued by the ACLU in 2017 for supposedly allowing Grand Rapids-based Bethany Christian services to “discriminate” against same-sex couples who wanted to be parents, a state settlement was reached this year. In that settlement, Michigan’s attorney general declared in April that foster and adoption agencies contracting with the government could no longer decline to work with LGBT families. Instead of shutting its doors, Bethany opted to change its longstanding policy to comply.

Said a spokesman for Bethany Christian Services in a statement, “We are disappointed with how this settlement agreement has been implemented by the state government. Nonetheless, Bethany will continue operations in Michigan, in compliance with our legal contract requirements. We are focused on demonstrating the love of Jesus Christ by serving children in need, and we intend to continue doing so in Michigan.”

But Federalist writer Auguste Meyrat fears that this kind of “loving” response is just the kind of thing that will eventually completely secularize Christian ministries. “If someone wants to spread his values—Christian or not—through charity, he should do so by competing, not compelling. If the LGBT community wants to help gay couples adopt, they can start their own adoption agencies,” says Meyrat. “Charity starts with values, and safeguarding those values is the only way to safeguard charity.”

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Oregon Baker Case Before U.S. Supreme Court

The U.S. Supreme Court has been asked to review the case of Oregon bakers Aaron and Melissa Klein through an appeal from Oregan state courts by First Liberty Institute on their behalf.

The Kleins were fined $135,000 for declining to bake a cake for a same-sex “wedding,” a ceremony that went against their strongly held religious beliefs. The steep fine forced the Kleins to shut down their business, Sweet Cakes, and a gag order initially prevented them from sharing their beliefs about marriage in public, although that aspect of the original order was overturned by the Oregon Court of Appeals.

The Kleins are hoping that a more conservative Supreme Court will take their case and build on the decision in Masterpiece Cakeshop case by explicitly ruling that religious expression is protected by the First Amendment. As Kelly Schackelford of First Liberty Institute says, “This case can clarify whether speech is truly free if it is government mandated.”

SCOTUS could decide whether or not to accept the case as early as Monday. If they do, the Kleins no doubt hope the majority will pick up on the sentiment expressed by Justice Neil Gorsuch in his concurring opinion in Masterpiece: “It is in protecting unpopular religious beliefs that we prove this country’s commitment to serving as a refuge for religious freedom.”

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