A New Waive of Intolerance
It looks like the Department of Education got a new boss: the Human Rights Campaign. The far-Left bullies are back at it, pulling the strings of their puppets in the Obama administration — this time over private religious exemptions. Although it’s none of HRC’s business, the organization has made a point of sticking its nose in the First Amendment debate blazing through college campuses. Like most pockets of society, the clash between religious freedom and sexuality has landed on the doorstep of higher education, which is especially problematic for schools with a conservative biblical worldview.
When President Obama started strong-arming the education system to adopt his radical views of “sexual orientation” and “gender identity,” faith-based schools were put in the awful position of embracing things like gender-free bathrooms and sports teams. Throwing around Title IX as an excuse, DOE officials are insisting that “No person… shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participating in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving federal financial assistance.”
Two years ago, the president decided to interpret that as “transgender discrimination” too, even though it would have never crossed anyone’s mind in 1972 that such behavior warranted its own special category. Fortunately, Title IX does clearly offer religious exemption for schools with a moral code that’s in direct conflict with the administration’s twisted agenda. When the president started cracking down on universities to comply last year, a flood of colleges applied for waivers. By April 1 of this year, a whopping 232 had won exemptions (with 31 still pending). But to LGBT activists, who believe every American should be forced to embrace their behavior as normative, it was cause for an all-out smear campaign.
Late last week, the groups coaxed the Department of Education to expose the hundreds of universities with a “Shame List” of anyone who asked to be excused from an ideology that the American College of Pediatricians calls “child abuse.” “We have been alarmed by the growing trend of schools quietly seeking the right to discriminate against LGBT students, and not disclosing that information publicly,” HRC President Chad Griffin said. “We are encouraged that the Department of Education is answering our call for greater transparency to help ensure no student unknowingly enrolls in a school that intends to discriminate against them. We believe that religious liberty is a bedrock principle of our nation, however, faith should never be used as a guise for discrimination.”
Hoping to heap pressure on the schools, HRC tried to lean on the NCAA to do its bidding. If the sports association would “divest from all religious-based campuses” like the groups wanted, then more colleges might reconsider. Sound familiar? It should. These are the very same tactics the LGBT lobby is using in places like North Carolina and Mississippi to demand special privileges (which also happen to be wildly unpopular and unsafe). This time, however, the NCAA refused, arguing that it doesn’t have the authority over Title IX. As usual, instead of the force of law, the Obama administration is threatening a bureaucratic nightmare for colleges who don’t comply.
Since the DOE can’t use federal funds as leverage in private schools that don’t get many (if any!), the agency is taking a different tact: burying them in unnecessary paperwork. As usual, the reporting requirements came from the unofficial advisors at HRC, who think the government should make administrators publish: “the number of exemptions,” “the scope” of each exemptions, and “which Title IX provisions are not exempted.” The bottom line is this: no one should have to get a waiver to exercise their First Amendment rights! The fact that the government is even using these intimidation tactics is cause for congressional action.
Senator James Lankford (R-Okla.) agrees and has been at the forefront of pushing back on the DOE and Department of Justice for elbowing their way onto college campuses. “… [T]he Department of Education has been bullying schools to comply with policies that simply do not have the force of law,” he argued on the Senate floor. “Instead of promulgating rules that conflict with congressional intent, the Department of Education has skirted the rule-making process altogether by issuing guidance documents they call ‘Dear Colleague’ letters.” No school or student should be harassed for holding or expressing views protected by the Constitution. If the president won’t rein in his Education officials, then Congress must!
Originally published here.
Libs Try to Russell up Some Controversy
What’s so controversial about the First Amendment? Plenty, these days, as the very sound of the phrase “religious liberty” strikes fear in the hearts of liberals everywhere. In the handful of days since the House Armed Services Committee marked-up the latest defense spending bill, liberals are raising a stink about what should be a non-controversial (and unnecessary) amendment reaffirming the religious freedom of faith-based government contractors.
In 2014, the president issued an order insisting that the government couldn’t partner with businesses or organizations for projects over $10,000 if they engaging in supposed “anti-LGBT discrimination against employees.” Of course, under the administration’s backwards understanding of “discrimination,” that could mean anything from a statement of faith to setting certainly hiring policies or even dressed codes! All this amendment would do is allow the Defense Department to continue contracting with “any religious corporation, religious association, religious educational institution or religious society” for services without the organization having to jettison their religious beliefs.
The reality is, the Left is never going to be satisfied if faith-based groups can contract with the government at all! They want to squeeze Christians out of government at the same time as they’re forcing them out of the marketplace, Public Square, and schools. Despite the Left’s vocal opposition, Rep. Russell’s amendment was approved 33-29. Bottom line, if you oppose this language, you must oppose the First Amendment! FRC will be doing its part to hold the line on these key, common sense protections when the bill hits the House floor in the upcoming weeks.
Originally published here.
Mountain State Revival
It only takes a spark to get a fire going — and in Mingo County, West Virginia, that spark was a student named Skyler Miller. The teenager says he’d been praying “for a long time that Jesus would send me into the hall to preach the gospel,” and that hall ended up being at Logan High School, where the junior started evangelizing his peers. After a while, students started sitting by their lockers and just listening until videos of his sermons soon went viral. Soon, Miller and his friends began holding evening prayer gatherings that attracted hundreds of people.
Locals say the sports complex in Williamson has been packed for two weeks with people of all ages crying out for God in a massive revival making headlines all across the state. “It’s incredible what is happening here,” said Pastor Wayne Crozier. “The kids are not only getting saved, but they are finding purpose and destiny — that’s what it’s all about.” At least 20 schools are now participating — with some students even skipping prom to attend the meetings that have seen as many as 2,500 people. “It’s a climatic time,” one pastor told reporters. He believes kids have been living in a “spiritual vacuum” thanks to a school system that doesn’t teach them “the true reality that there’s a destiny in God.” “It’s my belief that our hope doesn’t come from the White House or the governor’s house — it comes from God’s house. When the body of Christ comes together and works together, it uplifts us all.”
This is why the anti-Christian Left doesn’t want the name of Jesus mentioned in the public square — because, as the people of Williamson will tell you, there’s power in that name. The Left wants Him locked up in our hearts and homes, and too many people give into the Left by shrinking back in silence out of fear of controversy and offense. Meanwhile, this young teenager is showing them what’s possible when we have the courage to stand up and speak out! Darkness may disdain the light, but look at what can happen when we don’t compromise: entire communities see the light and their lives are transformed! This is exactly why we have to advocate for religious freedom, so that the power of revival is still possible — not just in Mingo County, but everywhere in America! Praise God for the fearlessness of one young Christian who is leading a generation to faith in Christ out of a simple passion and boldness for Truth.
Originally published here.