Why are These Pastors Being Threatened with Fines of $1,000 Per Day?

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Donald and Evelyn Knapp, owners of the Hitching Post Chapel. [CREDIT: ALLIANCE DEFENDING FREEDOM]

Meet Donald and Evelyn Knapp.

Both in their late 60s, the Knapps have owned and operated the Hitching Post Wedding Chapel in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho since 1989. In that time, they’ve performed more than 34,000 weddings. The chapel is conveniently located across from the Kootenai County Clerk’s office, which issues marriage licenses.

The Knapps are more than wedding chapel owners, though. They’re also ordained ministers from the Foursquare Church, an evangelical denomination. They take the tenets of their faith and denomination seriously, including the belief that marriage is a union of one man and one woman.

Freedom of Houston Pastors Still at Risk

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Statue of Jesus

Last week’s bombshell out of Houston that its mayor, Annise Parker, had subpoenaed the sermons from area pastors is still causing ripples both inside and outside the faith community.

On Friday, city attorneys revised their demands. Instead of requesting the pastor’s sermons, they’re now demanding “all speeches or presentations” related to the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance. The controversial law, also known as the “Bathroom Bill” allows men who consider themselves women to use the women’s restroom.

Pastors’ Sermons Subpoenaed in Houston

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Church

The city of Houston has subpoenaed sermons given by local pastors.

Yes, you read that correctly.

It’s a chilling turn of events for those of us who practice our faith and value the self-evident right to religious freedom recognized by the First Amendment.

The reason why this subpoena is being made is especially ominous: It targets high-profile pastors who opposed the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance (HERO), which, among other things, gives people who identify as transgender the right to file a discrimination complaint if they’re barred from accessing a restroom.

Adrian Peterson: A Good Parent?

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Man in thought

Adrian Peterson was back in court yesterday, but the USA Today headline from last week jumped out at me:

“Associates of Adrian Peterson only see evidence of ‘a good parent’”

The embattled former Minnesota Vikings star running back was indefinitely suspended last month after charges of child abuse against him were made public. He’s admitted to disciplining his son with a switch, although he suggests he never intended to harm the boy.

The pictures of the bruises suggests a much different and sordid story.

How Should We Respond to the Ebola Outbreak?

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Operating room

Are you worried about the Ebola virus? Daily headlines about the disease are generating more than a little fear and anxiety in our culture. When Ebola was confined to the other side of the world it didn’t seem like a pressing problem to many people in the U.S., but after an infected man brought the disease from Liberia to Texas in late September, a lot more Americans began paying close attention. Today news outlets are reporting the sad news that the infected man, Thomas Eric Duncan, has died.

SCOTUS and Gay Marriage: No Court Can Change the Truth

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Husband/wife wedding rings

Google “Supreme Court” and “gay marriage” today, and you’ll get dozens of articles on today’s news that the justices rejected to hear appeals from five states. The New York Times headline declared the move a “tacit victory,” because it allows for weddings in five more states.

Here’s the statement Focus on the Family’s judicial analyst, Bruce Hausknecht, released today in response.

The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision not to accept five state marriage cases sets the stage for the further spread of same-sex marriage, and with it, a further expansion of threats to religious freedom.

When Political Correctness Endangers Children

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Human trafficking

The children were beaten, raped and trafficked.

Conservative estimates put the number of underage victims at about 1,400.

A recently-released report published by an independent auditor describes what happened in Rotherham, England – and it is a difficult read.

It is hard to describe the appalling nature of the abuse that child victims suffered. They were raped by multiple perpetrators, trafficked to other towns and cities in the north of England, abducted, beaten, and intimidated. There were examples of children who had been doused in petrol and threatened with being set alight, threatened with guns, made to witness brutally violent rapes and threatened they would be next if they told anyone.

University Christian Clubs Not Allowed to Require Leaders to be Christian

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Female university grad

It’s a disturbing trend taking place on university campuses around the nation. Thanks to a 2010 Supreme Court decision, state universities are now allowed to restrict “belief organizations from requiring belief.”

The way this is playing out in real life is that Christian clubs are no longer allowed to require their members and leaders to be Christian.

Yes, you read that correctly. Pretty much defeats the purpose of having the club, doesn’t it?

And yet, in the name of inclusiveness, some state universities (like the California State University system) are choosing to impose this nonsensical restriction, and private schools like Vanderbilt University are following suit.

Guest Blog: Hollywood Gets It Right Sometimes, Like Right Now

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Two dolphins

Today’s post comes courtesy of Bob Waliszewski, director of Focus’ Plugged In department. -JD

I’ve been accused of seeing the glass half empty when it comes to today’s movie releases. For example, during a recent meeting, a colleague who helps with Pluggedin.com shared the reaction of a potential advertiser to my rating a film 4.5 out of five for family friendliness: “Really?!Bob never gives a film that high of a score!”

Although far from the truth, I laughed along with the rest of the folks in the room who enjoyed the punchline.

Ray Rice, Domestic Abuse and the Quest for a Chivalrous Society

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Crying Angel

The release and indefinite suspension earlier this week of (former) Baltimore Ravens football player Ray Rice has stirred up a robust discussion about domestic violence.

A videotape of the 27-year-old running back punching his then-fiancee, Janay, inside an Atlantic City casino hotel elevator surfaced on Monday. The incident occurred in March, and was reported to both NFL and team officials. Rice pleaded not guilty to third-degree aggravated assault and agreed to enter a rehabilitation program and get counseling.