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  • The Scriptorium

    8/20/2005

    Judicial Victories – Ten Commandments and Christian T-Shirts

    Filed under: — Ben Rast @ 5:44 pm

    In an age where the American judiciary is actively anti-religious rather than constitutionally sound, it’s a nice opportunity to celebrate some judicial victories for religious expression. A recent Supreme Court decision is largely responsible for one of these victories:

    St. Louis, MO – In an en banc ruling, the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals today overturned a lower federal court order requiring the removal of Plattsmouth, Nebraska’s Ten Commandments monument. The court had earlier vacated a three judge panel’s decision which upheld the lower court’s order….

    In its opinion, the court likened the Plattsmouth monument to the Ten Commandments monument at issue in Van Orden v. Perry, where the Supreme Court recently held that the State of Texas did not violate the Establishment Clause when it accepted a Ten Commandments monument from the Eagles. The monument was installed on the grounds of the Texas State Capitol.

    The other decision overturns a school district desire to restrict free expression of religious speech:

    A federal judge has told an Ohio school district it can no longer bar a middle school student from wearing a t-shirt with a Christian message.

    Judge George Smith has ruled that Sheridan Middle School in Thornville violated the constitutional rights of student James Nixon by prohibiting him from wearing a t-shirt bearing a quote from the Bible verse John 14:6. The front of the shirt reads: “Jesus said, ‘I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life.’” The back of the shirt contains the statements: “Homosexuality is sin. Islam is a lie. Abortion is murder.”

    Although no complaints were filed over Nixon’s t-shirt, a few school officials — described by the student’s attorney as “overzealous” — deemed its message may be “offensive” to some individuals and “potentially disruptive,” and thus could not be displayed.

    These are great victories, but I stress that such victories are rare these days. The judges that rendered these decisions were strictly applying the constitution of the United States rather than actively legislating their own agendas from the bench. This highlights the importance of getting strict constitutional constructionist justices appointed to the federal bench. The Democratic senators and the liberal special interest groups to whom they are beholden will fight tooth and nail against this. Let your senators know that you want them to allow judicial nominees to receive a vote from the full senate. Filibustering judicial nominees who might actually apply the consitution is unacceptable!

    AFA Article on Ten Commandments Decision
    Agape Press Article on Christian T-Shirt Ruling
    Contact Your Senators

    ELCA Works on Gender-Neutral Hymnal

    Filed under: — Ben Rast @ 1:55 pm

    Praise God, from whom all blessings flow;
    Praise It, all creatures here below;
    Praise It above, ye heavenly host.
    Praise Holy Eternal Majesty, Holy Incarnate Word and Holy Ghost.

    Sound a little different to you? Yes, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America is pushing for a new gender-neutral hymnal, so the doxology may be undergoing some changes soon.

    The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) has approved development of a new, more gender-neutral hymnal. At its 2005 national convention, the denomination gave the nod to the plan, already under way, for an update of the 1978 Lutheran Book of Worship, which will eliminate the “Father” terminology and male pronouns used in reference to God. The hymnal overhaul will include other gender-neutralizing and diversity-affirming changes to traditional Lutheran worship lyrics and liturgies as well.

    The new hymnal’s intentional use of gender-neutral language will encompass not only the lyrics of many songs, but also the proposed liturgical texts, in which there are options for prayers that refer to God and Jesus as “holy eternal majesty” and “holy incarnate word” instead of “father” and “son.” Also, while some traditional songs have been left alone, others have undergone minor changes, such as exchanging male terms for humanity with terms that include both men and women. In some cases, both a traditional version and an alternate, gender-neutral version of certain songs have been included.

    The ELCA has already departed from other Lutheran synods in compromising biblical doctrine for a socially progressive acceptance of homosexuality. For example, some openly gay people may be ordained as ministers in the ELCA provided they commit to a long term relationship with their “partner” and meet other requirements. This move is opposed by a minority of the ELCA that has the audacity to believe that the Word of God should not be compromised. Now the ELCA’s socially “progressive” feelings toward diversity and inclusiveness will affect many of the hymns heard in church.

    While I believe that God transcends human concepts of gender, HIS Word refers to Him using masculine pronouns. To water this down for the sake of social inclusiveness is to place modern social thinking above eternal truth and orthodox doctrine. When Jesus taught us how to pray, He did not lead off with, “Our Divine Paternal Figure who art in heaven…” The ELCA’s slippery slope apprently does not feel slick enough, so they obviously feel the need to add some apostasy lubricant to the surface.

    Agape Press Article

    Teaching witchcraft at Vacation Bible School

    Filed under: — Ben Rast @ 12:56 pm

    The Episcopal Church has irked me quite often the last few years with their progressive abandonment of biblical doctrine in favor of a liberal social doctrine (e.g. acceptance of homosexuality). Now they’ve found a new way to irk me – at least in one parish.

    Saint John’s Episcopal Church in Carlisle, Pennsylvania decided the theme for this summer’s Vacation Bible School (VBS) should be “Wizards and Wonders: The Journey with Harry Potter.”

    …preschoolers take flying lessons on miniature broomsticks at a makeshift Hogwarts School of Wizardry and Witchcraft. Older students play a game of Quidditch, and more than 100 youngsters get Bible verse in their daily owl mail.

    A minister said the Bible and the Harry Potter stories have what she calls “a slew of parallel lessons.”

    A “slew of parallel lessons”?!!! I’ll tell you what lessons we’ve learned from Harry Potter. I have not read any of the books, but Jen and I did watch the Harry Potter movies. One one level, they’re fun fantasy stories akin to the Chronicles of Narnia. Unlike the Narnia series, however, the Harry Potter series teaches that witchcraft and wizardry can be good, fun, and something to strive for. We have observed an enormous increase of young people getting drawn into Wicca since the Harry Potter series hit store shelves. Not only have concerned Christians emailed us from all over the world about this, but we’ve received emails from hundreds of young Wiccans (teenage and below) who have become Wiccans after becoming fascinated with Harry Potter. That a Christian Church would feel it appropriate to perpetuate this influence through VBS is frightening to say the least. These children will learn that witchcraft and wizardry can be “fun.” They will eventually investigate it further, and many of them will be drawn into Wicca as a result. There’s even a movement called “Christian Wicca” that claims a goddess as part of the Trinity.

    At a time when parents and church leaders should be COUNTERING the lessons of Harry Potter with youngsters, Saint John’s Episcopal Church has decided to reinforce them.

    AP Story
    Agape Press Article
    St. John’s Episcopal Church Contact Info