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.

Firsthand Account of Christians Fleeing from ISIS

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Middle East on Globe feature pic

We’ve all heard the horrible stories of persecution in the Middle East at the hands of ISIS (Islamic State in Iraq and Syria). The radical militant group is targeting people of various faiths and ethnic backgrounds with violence, including area Christians, forcing these people to flee their homes to save their lives.

Thanks to the generosity of many Focus friends, Sami Yacoub, the regional director of Focus on the Family Middle East, and his team have been helping the refugees.

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.

Loving Your Neighbor Includes Public Policy Involvement

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American flags

There’s no way around it: our nation’s laws impact families. The question is, will the influence be beneficial or harmful to our marriages and children?

Today I’m highlighting my recent interview with Citizen, Focus on the Family’s magazine devoted to public policy news and trends. In it, I share why I believe our faith mandates cultural engagement – and why that engagement includes politics. –JD

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A Political Conversation

With a major election approaching, Focus on the Family President Jim Daly takes time to articulate his views on public policy and Christian responsibility.

Elementary School Students Now Being Censored and You Can Help

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Elementary school student

In my blog, I’ve often shared examples of Christians being punished for remaining true to their Biblical beliefs. Just a few weeks ago, we called attention to Christian college students encountering discrimination.

Even more disturbing is that this discrimination is happening to our youngest students. In today’s guest blog, our education analyst, Candi Cushman, gives more detail and explains how you can help. –JD

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The right to freely acknowledge and practice one’s faith was a cherished freedom our Founding Fathers were willing to risk their lives to protect.

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.

Praying for Our Christian Family in Iraq

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Man upset, praying

If you’ve had an eye on the news lately, you’ve no doubt heard reports about the terrorist group ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria), more recently known as “The Islamic State.”

They’re a well-armed Muslim extremist group sweeping throughout Iraq, exercising both military and political control over the regions they conquer.

Just the other day we saw grisly images of the beheading of the American journalist, James Foley. ISIS claimed responsibility for his murder.

Beyond the political complications usually addressed on the nightly news are disturbing accounts that hit much closer to home for all of us who profess the name of Christ.

Update on the Supreme Court Rulings

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Picture of the Supreme Court building

By now, you’ve probably heard about the Supreme Court’s landmark ruling on June 30th, which upheld the protection of religious liberties. At issue was one facet of the Affordable Care Act which would have forced many business owners to violate their religious principles by requiring them to fund possible abortion-causing drugs in their company health plans.

As the dust settles from this case, moms and dads all over the country who are busy at work and at home are wondering, “What difference does all this make to me?