Special Guests: VCA Leaders Don Blake and Greene Hollowell
A Special Valley
We know the Valley is special in so many different ways. For example, we have the beauty of the landscape; the productivity of the land; the faith and industry of the people; and the salt-and-light influence of our churches, pastors, and teachers.
We also have a great group of Valley legislators who stand up and fight for our most deeply held values of Life, Faith, Family, and Freedom at the General Assembly in Richmond when it is in session, as it is now.
by Don Blake, VCA
Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, having a good conscience… (I Peter 3: 14-16 ESV)
Last week I was invited to attend the Reason For Hope conference at Regent University’s Founders Inn in Virginia Beach. The two-day conference was sponsored by the Foundation for American Christian Education (FACE). It was a great conference with a number of very well informed speakers. A lot of material was made available to the attendees.
I came back to Richmond with an invigorated feeling that there truly is a “Reason For Hope”; that hope is Christian education for our youth. I encourage everyone to visit the FACE website (face.net) and learn more about this organization and the resources that they offer.
Second Alert --- For Life, Faith, Family, and Freedom --- Laws Matter!
Contending for "Values" in 2015 VA General Assembly
Top Legislative Priorities: The Good and the Bad
“The law is a civil guide to moral behavior for all of us -- but especially for the un-churched, who have no other guide.” (Rakazzi)
“Eternal vigilance is the price we must pay to protect Life and Liberty and to advance Virtue in the culture and in the public square – all based on Judeo-Christian values and Constitutional principles.” (Rakazzi)
RICHMOND, VA - Chris Thomas | WWBT
The President of the Virginia Christian Alliance is supporting a proposed "Conscience Bill" that would allow people not to participate in actions that violate their religious or moral beliefs. This all stems from the recent approval of gay marriage in Virginia.
"Every pastor should fear for his job," said Don Blake who is president of the Virginia Christian Alliance.
House Bill 1414 says, "A person shall not be required to perform, assist, consent to, or participate in any action or refrain from performing, assisting, consenting to, or participating in any action as a condition of obtaining or renewing a government-issued license, registration, or certificate where such condition would violate the religious or moral convictions of such person with respect to same-sex marriage or homosexual behavior."|
Sunday Mornings: "Crossroads: Where Faith & Culture Meet"
For Life, Faith, Family, & Freedom with John Sloop, Rita Dunaway, & Dean Welty
“I beseech you to present yourselves as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God. Be not conformed to this world, but instead be transformed by the renewing of your mind to the perfect will of God.” (Romans 12:1, 2)
Ricki Pepin | Providence Foundation
American Exceptionalism. The very term evokes highly charged emotions backed by two very distinct schools of thought diametrically opposed to one another:
Traditionalists declare that America marches to a different drummer, its uniqueness seen through its history, size, geography, political institutions and culture. Progressives and many college professors reject this view, vigorously decrying America as an imperialist, bully nation with class-based and race-based inequalities. Which one is true?
There may not be atheists in foxholes, but there sure are a lot of quiet Christians. With religious freedom under attack in America’s military, most troops are scared to even talk about their beliefs. And who can blame them? Under President Obama, the military censors chaplains’ sermons, but builds Wiccan fire pits for cadets. It tells commanders to strip God out of an online article, while its missile defense staff spends hours surfing pornography at work. It tears down POW displays for its Bibles, but lets soldiers march in uniform in gay pride parades.
Slowly but surely, our brave servicemen and women are losing the very rights they’re fighting to protect. FRC is determined to change that. Over the past few years, we’ve been on the front lines of the military religious freedom debate -- trying to restore the constitutional ground lost under this administration. Today, the House Armed Services Committee took a positive step toward resolving the crisis by hosting a special “Religious Accommodations in the Armed Services” hearing.
We’ve all heard the protests: “Separation of church and State! You can’t post the 10 Commandments in a courthouse! You can’t have Jesus in a Christmas play in a public school! That would violate the First Amendment!” Really? Have any of the people making such proclamations read the First Amendment, or what any of the founders said in regard to the relationship between the church and the state? Time for a dose of truth by way of a brief history lesson.
Wake-up call: The words “separation of church and State” appear nowhere in any founding document. The First Amendment says, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…”
Let’s think this through. Allow me to ask (and answer) a few questions:
Senseless, Shameless, Lawless, and -- Godless?
“Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of patriotism who should labor to subvert those great pillars of human happiness.” George Washington, Farewell Address, 1796
“Government is ordained of God to commend those who do right … and to punish those who do wrong.” Romans 13:3, 4; I Peter 2:14
* * * *
Events of recent weeks have simply reinforced what we all know to be true. America is in serious trouble, domestically and internationally. Spiritually, morally, economically, and politically.
We can find many reasons for how and why this has happened, but they can all be boiled down to this: We have turned our backs on God and are now reaping the predictable consequences.
Stephen McDowell | Providence Foundation
We have the privilege in America to choose those who govern us. As Christians, it is also our duty to do so.
Civil government is a divine institution of God. It exists to protect the life, liberty, and property of citizens, enabling them to more effectively advance the Kingdom of God. Civil leaders are servants of the people and of God, and are to govern under His higher authority. Rulers are to be ministers of God for good. (See Rom. 13:1-7; 1 Pet. 2:13-14; Luke 22:25-26.)
I knew the opinion would be a doozy before I even got to its substance. Excerpted at the very beginning—before the “Introduction” even—was this quote from Mildred Loving, the plaintiff in Loving v. Virginia (in which the Supreme Court struck down laws forbidding interracial marriage):
“The older generation’s fears and prejudices have given way, and today’s young people realize that if someone loves someone, they have a right to marry.”
This quote (part of a slightly longer excerpt) was troubling to me for two reasons. First, I have read hundreds—maybe thousands—of court opinions, and I have never seen one begin with a layperson’s analysis of fundamental rights. Second, the quote was a clear indication that the federal judge was in tune with this mushy, over-simplified construct of civil marriage being all about “me and the person I love.”
There are built in advantages for the United States when American families produce an educated, healthy, disciplined and moral generation of citizens. Historically, American society was made up of people who recognized our national future was dependent upon families passing along their traditional cultural and moral values to upcoming generations. Families were the most basic building block of any society.
Maintain Religious Freedom in Schools
An important distinction exists between government speech (speech of the school district) and private speech. Although the Establishment Clause can sometimes limit government employee speech, the Constitution fully pro- tects students’ private religious expression.
The Supreme Court clearly states that both students and teachers maintain their First Amendment rights (including freedoms of religion and speech) in schools.
“It can hardly be argued that either students or teachers shed their constitutional rights to freedom of speech or expression at the schoolhouse gate. This has been the unmistakable holding of this Court for almost 50 years.” (Tinker v. Des Moines)