Copts Were Sitting Ducks After Egyptian Guards Left

Copts Were Sitting Ducks After Egyptian Guards Left

Ann Kane

Updated reports on the car bomb that killed Christians in Alexandria, Egypt during New Year’s Eve Mass are revealing “Egyptian Security Guards Withdrew One Hour Before Church Blast, Say Eyewitnesses,” by Mary Abdelmassih for AINA, January 2:
From Assyrian International News Agency (AINA) via Jihad Watch:
According to eyewitnesses, a green Skoda car pull up outside the church shortly after midnight. Two men got out , one of them talked shortly on his mobile phone, and the explosion occurred almost immediately after they left the scene. On the back of the Skoda was a sticker with the words “the rest is coming” (video of car explosion and Muslims shouting “Allah Akbar”).
[snip]
To clear his security forces of negligence, the Minister of Interior said that the blast was an “individual” case, caused by a single suicide terrorist detonating his vest, and has nothing to do with an exploding car. The governor of Alexandria claimed the attack as being aimed at Muslims and Christians alike.
Why were only four policemen left to guard a congregation of 2000 when tensions were already high among Muslim extremists targeting Christians? Why did the Minister of the Interior downplay the catastrophe? Why would Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak call for unity among both Copts and Muslims, but not make sure security forces stayed in place for the Mass?
Read more of Ann Kane’s insights on www.potterwilliamsreport.com

Page Printed from: http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2011/01/copts_were_sitting_ducks_after.html at January 02, 2011 – 11:55:20 AM CST

Suspected suicide bomber kills 21 at Egypt church

Suspected suicide bomber kills 21 at Egypt church

 
 
By Mona Salem, AFPJanuary 1, 2011
 
 
Egyptians transport the body of a Christian worshipper from the Al-Qiddissine (The Saints) church to an ambulance following an overnight car bomb attack on the church in the Egyptian port city of Alexandria on January 1, 2011 which killed at least 21, hitting Egypt's Christian community, the biggest in the Middle East.
 

Egyptians transport the body of a Christian worshipper from the Al-Qiddissine (The Saints) church to an ambulance following an overnight car bomb attack on the church in the Egyptian port city of Alexandria on January 1, 2011 which killed at least 21, hitting Egypt’s Christian community, the biggest in the Middle East.

Photograph by: MOHAMMED ABED, Getty Images

ALEXANDRIA, Egypt — Egypt officials said a suicide bomber killed 21 people and wounded 79 others outside a Coptic church on Saturday, in an attack the country’s president said was the work of “foreign hands.”

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack but al-Qaida has called for punishment of Egypt’s Copts over claims that two priests’ wives who had converted to Islam were being held by the church against their will.

The bombing in the Mediterranean port city of Alexandria sparked anger among Christians, who clashed with police and shouted slogans against the regime of the aging president, as well as condemnation from Western governments.

Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon called the attack “deplorable” in a statement Saturday.

“Our hearts and sympathies are with the families and friends of the victims,” he said.

“We fully support the call by Egypt’s President Hosni Mubarak to close ranks and confront the terrorists who were behind this deplorable attack. We urge Egyptians of all faiths to work together to end sectarian violence.”

An official with the Egyptian health ministry said 21 people were killed and 79 wounded, and the country’s interior ministry said eight of those hurt were Muslims.

A witness had told private channel On-TV that in a car park outside the Al-Qiddissin (The Saints) church shortly after midnight, he saw two men get out and the explosion happen almost immediately afterwards.

But the interior ministry ruled out the hypothesis of a car bomb, saying it was “probable that the bomb . . . was carried by a suicide bomber who died among the crowd.”

The device was packed with pieces of metal to cause the maximum harm, the ministry added.

And the circumstances of the explosion, “given the methods that currently prevail in terrorist activities at the global and regional level, clearly indicate” that the bombing was “planned and carried out by foreign elements.”

Mubarak echoed that, saying the bombing bore the hallmark “of foreign hands.”

In televised remarks, he referred to it as something that “is alien to us,” and pledged to “cut off the head of the snake, confront terrorism and defeat it.”

Egypt has been the target of repeated attacks against foreign tourists in recent years, most notably bombings on resorts in the south Sinai and a hostage bloodbath in Luxor in 1997 that killed more than 60 people.

Pope Benedict XVI urged world leaders to defend Christians against abuse and intolerance, while U.S. President Barack Obama denounced an “outrageous” bombing.

“I once again launch a pressing appeal not to give in to discouragement and resignation,” said the pontiff.

“The perpetrators of this attack were clearly targeting Christian worshippers, and have no respect for human life and dignity. They must be brought to justice for this barbaric and heinous act,” Obama said.

The European Union “unreservedly” condemned the bombing. “There cannot be any justification for this attack,” the EU’s foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton said.

Refaa al-Tahtawi, spokesman for Al-Azhar, Sunni Islam’s main seat of learning, appealed for calm, as did a senior Coptic official.

In the day after the bombing, growing numbers of Christians were continuing to vent their anger.

By mid-afternoon, hundreds of youths in small groups in the neighbourhood of the church were showering rocks and bottles on police, who responded with tear gas and rubber-coated bullets.

“O Mubarak, the heart of the Copts is on fire,” they shouted as they darted in and out of side-streets to heckle police.

Others unfurled their fury at the “cowardly terrorists” and chanted: “The blood of the Copts is not cheap.”

One demonstrator brandished a large cross, with bloody remnants of victims’ clothing attached.

At least 5,000 people took part late Saturday in funerals for the victims at a monastery outside Alexandria, where crowds of mourners shouted slogans and refused to accept official condolences.

“No, no, no,” the crowd shouted as a church official tried to read out condolences from Mubarak.

In Alexandria, the Church said in a statement that the attack “constituted a dangerous escalation in sectarian incidents against the Copts.”

The attack comes two months after gunmen stormed a Baghdad cathedral in an operation that left 44 worshippers, two priests and seven security force personnel dead.

That was claimed by al-Qaida’s Iraq affiliate, the Islamic State of Iraq, which said its purpose was to force the release of the two women in Egypt.

“All Christian centres, organizations and institutions, leaders and followers, are legitimate targets for the mujahedeen (holy warriors) wherever they can reach them,” the group said.

“Let these idolaters, and at their forefront, the hallucinating tyrant of the Vatican, know that the killing sword will not be lifted from the necks of their followers until they declare their innocence from what the dog of the Egyptian church is doing,” the ISI said.

After those threats, protection around Coptic places of worship was discreetly stepped up, with Mubarak saying he was committed to protecting the Christians “faced with the forces of terrorism and extremism.”

The Copts, who account for up to 10 per cent of Egypt’s 80 million population and often complain of discrimination, have been the target of repeated sectarian attacks.

With files from Postmedia News

A Christmas Carol From Paul

A Christmas Carol From Paul

By David R. Stokes

Christmas is more than a day in December — it is a season.  Reminders of this are all around us — the weather, the gatherings, the music on the radio.  It is not unusual for savvy media outlets to saturate their formats with all things Yuletide for a few weeks at the end of the year.  It puts us “in the mood” — not to mention puts money in their accounts.
What’s your favorite Christmas song?  Some like to hear about chestnuts roasting on an open fire — others love to think about bells jingling.  Yet others tear up (with good reason) thinking about a Holy Night so long ago.  They may even want to fall on their knees.
A case can be made that the greatest Christmas song ever written is one with no familiar music.  The tune is no longer available to us.  But the lyrics — ah, those lyrics — well, they’re actually inspired.  As the Apostle Paul was writing to young Pastor Timothy about everything from order in the church to the dangers of greed, he gave us an easily overlooked but enduring Christmas nugget.
It may be not be a toe-tapper like I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus — but it completely captures the essence of Christmas.  That essence is incarnation.  This means that God became one of us so that He could reach those of us willing to surrender to Him.
As the Apostle winds up a series of thoughts about the church and those who serve and lead, he pauses to reflect on a larger issue.  Strategies and structure are not ends in themselves.  They are secondary to powerful ideas.  While he may have felt the need to give Timothy some practical advice about how to do his important job, he never lost sight of the why in all of it — nor should we.  There can be many controversies in life — macro and micro.  All of them require attention.  Some of them require systems and structure.  No doubt, this was something with which Timothy wrestled.  Therefore, his wise mentor, Paul, offered his advice. 
Things that tend to polarize people often have little to with objective truth.  Instead, subjective experience is allowed to play too large a role in our lives and passions.  When this happens, Paul’s writings suggest that we need to stop and sing.  And we should sing something very specific — the most beautiful of all Christmas carols — though it is highly unlikely that we’ll hear the words blended with any seasonal music. 
We are not told the style of music, nor are we told the instrument or instruments used to express it (if any).  We are given just the words.  They are inspired — and they have endured.  They are ancient words, yet ever new. 
The first Christmas Carol is introduced in scripture this way: “Beyond all question, the mystery of godliness is great…” (I Timothy 3:16 NIV).
Communities of faith throughout history have wrestled with many things.  But Paul reminds us all these centuries later that there are some no-brainers for the faithful.  First and foremost is that most powerful of all ideas is that God has come to the earth — the Word has been made flesh. 
So, this season, let us reach back for one of the forgotten “oldies” — a first-century worship favorite.  They likely sang it in places like Ephesus, Thyatira, and Philippi.  There were no ornate cathedrals or padded pews, no multimedia presentations to tantalize the eyes — just words, powerful and profound.  Go ahead and make up your own music — but don’t mess with the words.  They are from God.  They are a Christmas gift from the one who gave us the reason for the season. 
And, one…two…three…
“He appeared in a body,
Was vindicated by the Spirit,
Was seen by angels,
Was preached among the nations,
Was believed on in the world,
Was taken up in glory.” 
 - I Timothy 3:16 (New International Version)
Merry Christmas!
David R. Stokes is a minister, author, columnist, and broadcaster.  His new book, The Shooting Salvationist (foreword by Bob Schieffer), will be released by Random House in July of 2011.

Page Printed from: http://www.americanthinker.com/2010/12/a_christmas_carol_from_paul.html at December 25, 2010 – 10:48:19 AM CST

Who He Is

Who He Is

By Vasko Kohlmayer

Some two thousand years ago, the man whose birthday we celebrate during this season was walking with his disciples through a region which is today known as the Golan Heights.  As they were making their way through those hilly parts, Jesus turned to his companions and asked, “Who do people say that I am?”

The disciples told him that many ideas circulated as to his identity: “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”
Things have not changed much in the intervening two millennia.  Today, as then, people hold many notions about who Jesus was.  Some say that he was a great moral teacher, others that he was a bold social reformer.  Still others claim that he was a wise man or a charismatic leader.  If you asked ten different people, it is quite possible that you would get ten different answers.
To get at the truth, we can do no better than to go to the ultimate source and authority on Jesus’s life.  None of the statements below is a conjecture or a fanciful invention; they all come straight from the Word.
What follows is the Jesus of the Bible.
***
He was from the beginning.  He was with God, and He is God.  He is the firstborn over creation, and in Him the fullness of God dwells.
All things were created by Him and for Him.  He laid the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the work of His hands.  Without Him, nothing was made that has been made.
He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.  He upholds the universe by the word of His power.  It is through Him that we exist.  He is the mystery of God, Who created all things by Jesus Christ.
In the fullness of time, God sent Him to be the Savior of the world.  He came to do away with sin by the sacrifice of Himself.
He was made flesh and dwelt among people.  Full of grace and truth, He was the image of the invisible God and the exact representation of His being.
Born in the likeness of man, He took upon Himself the form of a servant.  He became poor so that we may become rich.
The radiance of God’s glory, He walked in love and compassion.  He was in the world, and though the world was made through Him, the world did not recognize Him.
Meek and gentle, He was treated harshly, yet He did not protest.  Despised and forsaken, He was a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.  Though He was tempted as we are, He did not sin.
He came to deliver those who through fear of death were all their lives subject to bondage.  He humbled Himself and became obedient to death — even the death of the cross.  He assumed human form to mediate between God and men.
He was pierced for our transgressions and crushed for our iniquities.  He bore our trespasses in His body and washed our sins with His own blood.
He was made a curse so that we could be made right with God.  He was raised for our justification.  It is by His wounds that we are healed.  It is He who brings us back to God.
Manifested in the flesh, He was justified in the spirit.  Having been buried, He was raised on the third day.  He ascended on high and led captivity captive.
To those who receive Him He gave the right to become children of God.  Whoever calls upon His name shall be saved, and whoever believes in Him has eternal life.
Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name by which men may be saved.  He is the way, and the truth, and the life.
This is how God showed His love for us: He sent His one and only Son that we might live through him.  For God so loved the world that he gave His only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have eternal life.
In Him are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.  He guides the meek and teaches them His ways.  Exalted of God, in Him is the mystery of godliness.
He will judge the living and the dead, and every knee shall bow down before Him.  He will bring to light the hidden things of darkness and expose the motives of men’s hearts.  He will gather the wheat into his garner and burn the chaff with unquenchable fire.
But to those who thirst, He shall give from the spring of the water of life, for He is full of unfailing love and faithfulness.  He who believes in Him shall live.
He is the bright morning star.  Crowned with glory and honor, He holds all authority in heaven and on earth.  It is through Him that God brings everything back to Himself.  It is through Him that God speaks to us.
The first begotten of the dead, He is the heir of all things.  He is the light, and the darkness has not overcome him.  He is the prince of peace and the bread of life.  His love surpasses all knowledge.  He is the life of men.
His throne will last forever, and His days will never end.  Righteousness is the scepter of His kingdom.
He is the one who is, who always was, and who is still to come.  He is the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end.
He fills everything in every way.  He is the Almighty One.
He who has ears, let him hear.  Let those who are wise understand, for these things have been written that we may believe and, by believing, have life in His name.

Page Printed from: http://www.americanthinker.com/2010/12/who_he_is.html at December 25, 2010 – 10:41:45 AM CST

Each Christmas Gets Better

Each Christmas Gets Better

December 23rd, 2010

Tom Purcell, FloydReports.com

I still wish I hadn’t peeked in the attic that year.

It was Christmas 1972 and I was 10. It was the first year when I no longer believed in Santa Claus.

Until that point, Christmas had been a magical time for me.

A few weeks after Thanksgiving, I would join with my father to pick out our tree. He’d wear his rattiest coat and work his mastery on the helpless Christmas-tree guy to knock the price down two or three bucks.

Soon, my father and I would have our giant platform in place and the tree perfectly positioned. We’d string the lights — thick old bulbs that burned fingers when touched — and head to the attic to bring down boxes of Christmas decorations.

My sisters would be called and our whole family would decorate the tree. As our stack of scratchy old Christmas records would play — as Mitch Miller, Bing Crosby and the Chipmunks would sing — our mother would make special note of old ornaments handed down from family members long gone and my sisters would show me how to hang the tinsel expertly, one strand at a time.

The sun soon would go down and the light of our Christmas-tree bulbs reflecting off the tinsel would transform our living room into a kaleidoscope — a brilliant glow of colors dancing on the walls and ceiling.

My mother, a master at building up suspense, would talk about the days ahead — church, family and the gifts Santa might bring.

We would have the sense that a real event was about to happen. And it was….

Read more.

Faith is the Source of America’s Greatness

Faith is the Source of America’s Greatness

December 10th, 2010

Floyd and Mary Beth Brow, FloydReports.com

“America  is great  because she is good.”  Those famous  words by Alexis de  Tocqueville  still hold true as they did when he  spoke them centuries  ago.   In the  holiday season, we see repeated  demonstrations of this  goodness.  De  Tocqueville also noted, “The  Americans combine the  notions of religion  and liberty so intimately in  their minds, that it  is impossible to make  them conceive of one without  the other.”

And moreover he said, “Liberty cannot be established without morality, nor morality without faith.”

In   the 40 years since 1970, secular humanism has assaulted the  fabric of   this faith. The American Civil Liberties Union and various   associations  of atheists and Marxist-leaning intellectuals have   attempted to  disconnect America from God. They have failed….

Read more.

One Minute Sermon!!!

Not only is this clever and good…it’s has a great message

Youv’e got to listen fast to her.  She is very good and make sure your sound is on – then forward to all your friends.

 

This is really good , Please watch this.

One Minute Sermon!!!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WUQYJ77qa50

Patriots ‘recapture spirit of America’

Patriots ‘recapture spirit of America’

‘Tea-party movement is a movement of God. It’s an answer to our prayers’



Posted: April 15, 2010
8:51 pm Eastern

By Chelsea Schilling
© 2010 WorldNetDaily

SACRAMENTO – “I’m here because the winds of adversity are blowing across America. Unless we recapture the spirit of America, we are going to suffer more adversity than we already have seen.” 

Art Mijares, 60, leaned against a pillar in the cool shadow of the California state capitol building. He traveled an hour and a half to attend the Sacramento Tax Day tea party today.


Sacramento Tax Day tea-party rally (WND photo, Chelsea Schilling)

He paused for a moment with the look of an embattled warrior in his eyes and offered his thoughts on why he believes the tea-party movement is essential to the survival of the nation.


Art Mijares, 60

“This country was based upon biblical principle and Judeo-Christian ethics,” he said. “Somehow our leaders have lost their way over the years. That’s why we’re in so much trouble.” 

Mijares held a large sign that read simply, “Come what may, I’m going to trust Jesus.” 

He added gently, “I believe the tea-party movement is a movement of God. It’s an answer to our prayers.” 

Mijares was just one of thousands of tea partiers who flocked to the state capitol to “recapture the spirit of America” – and that protest was only one of nearly 800 in cities across the nation.


Folsom, Calif., resident Bettye Mahan

People from a variety of backgrounds and generations spilled into the streets and surrounded the towering white building. 

“Can you hear us up there?” the man at the microphone shouted to legislators inside. 

A roar came from the crowd – a patriotic sea of red, white and blue banners speckled with sunflower yellow Gadsden “Don’t Tread on Me” flags. 

Their battle cry: “Vote them out! Vote them out! Vote them out!” 

Folsom, Calif., resident Bettye Mahan carried a sign that read, “BO stinks and so does Pelosi.” 

She told WND, “I’m here because I’m fighting for my country. These people are violating our Constitution, and it needs to stop. They’re stealing our country.”


Sacramento residents George and Betty Weaver

Sacramento residents George and Betty Weaver dressed in Uncle Sam and Statue of Liberty costumes and held a large sign encouraging citizens to change the nation by casting their ballots this year. 

“We’re here to make the government accountable and to tell them to follow our Constitution as it was written,” George Weaver said. 

Radio talk-show host and best-selling author Larry Elder took the stage and greeted a cheering crowd. He spoke of income redistribution schemes and increased taxation promoted by President Obama and Congress. 

“They want to take from you and give to another person, and it doesn’t matter what it does to this country,” he said. 

“That’s right!” shouted one elderly woman who wore red, white and blue sequins and proudly waved a U.S. flag above her head. 

“Obamacare requires everyone to purchase health care insurance or else,” Elder told the mass. “This is a full frontal assault, a shock and awe against our Constitution!” 

The crowd boomed with applause. 

Elder spoke of “failed” government entitlements such as Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. He said the last thing the nation needs is another botched entitlement program. 

“The good thing is, come November, they’re going to hear us,” he promised. “We’re going to take this country back!” 


Retired orthopedic surgeon Landrus Pfeffinger

One member of the audience was Landrus Pfeffinger, a 62-year-old retired orthopedic surgeon from San Francisco. He wore a sandwich-board sign declaring, “Glad I retired from medicine.” 

Pfeffinger blasted the Democrats’ recently passed health-care plan. 

“The Democrats didn’t have to do it this way,” he said. “I think most Americans were for health-care reform, but not this product, not this way, not the process in which they did it.” 

Asked whether he believes the plan will devastate practices and doctors, he responded, “Absolutely. That’s one of the reasons I retired. It’s bad enough having to deal with HMOs. This will be HMOs on steroids, and people will not have any recourse when they deny and delay care. Reimbursement for physicians and hospitals will continue to go down. Basically Medicare right now, for most treating physicians, is a charity event.” 

He added, “I know a well-trained hand surgeon in Oakland who had to take out a home-equity loan to pay his overhead for a period of about three to four months while he was trying to get reimbursement from his Medicare billing.”


Roger Hedgecock speaking at Sacramento tea party

Pfeffinger said he doesn’t believe the Democrat health plan is what its supporters expect it will be. 

“It really is a Trojan horse,” he said. “If the current powers that be remain in power, they know it’s going to be very difficult to undo because it will be considered an entitlement program. Anybody who tries to take it out or reduce it in any manner will be demonized.” 

Just then, radio-talk host and WND columnist Roger Hedgecock took the stage. He was greeted by an animated crowd of energetic fans. 

“You are not alone in your fear for the country,” he said. “You are not alone in your concern for the direction of our government. You are not alone in the thought that the ruling class has somehow slipped the boundaries that the founders put in the Constitution and we are now careening out of control with unsustainable debt and increasing programs.” 

Hedgecock continued, “We stand together today for our Constitution. We stand together today for our freedoms and liberties. We stand for something maybe even more important than that: We stand together for the idea that the individual counts more than the government!” 

The mass erupted in spirited applause. 

Paul, 18, Joseph, 22, and Alfred, 24, three brothers from Lodi, Calif., stood side-by-side wearing tri-cornered hats. They told WND their family opened a backhoe business in 1997 and recently added a shredding business. But they said the tax burden is becoming unbearable, and they don’t believe Obama and the Democrats in Congress represent their interests.


Paul, 18, Joseph, 22, and Alfred, 24, three brothers from Lodi, Calif.

“We’re here to protest Obamacare passing and all the taxes we are forced to pay for our small business,” Alfred told WND. “It’s getting harder and harder by the year to survive. The taxes we’re paying are ridiculous. We can barely make a living year to year.” 

He added, “Hopefully in 2010 we’ll get some good people in there and take our country back.” 

 

At that moment, one middle-aged man meandered through the crowd pulling a tattered bicycle. He appeared to be lost. 

The man asked, “Where are the Obama people?” 

Obama supporters and tea-party crashers were nowhere to be found in the crowd of 5,000 to 10,000 people. 

Asked whether he was an Obama devotee, he reluctantly mumbled, “Yeah, are you?” 

Receiving only grins in return, he lowered his head and wandered aimlessly through the crowd 

House plans to resurrect law requiring ‘gay’ hires Fresh off health-care victory, Dems target Christian employers

ON CAPITOL HILL

House plans to resurrect law requiring ‘gay’ hires

Fresh off health-care victory, Dems target Christian employers



Posted: April 03, 2010
9:35 pm Eastern

By Drew Zahn
© 2010 WorldNetDaily


Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass.

 

Now that the health-care fight has proven House Democrats can muscle through legislation without a drop of bipartisan support, plans are underway to resurrect a bill that would make employers susceptible to lawsuits for refusing to hire “gay” or transsexual employees.

H.R. 3017, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act of 2009, or ENDA, makes it unlawful for government agencies or businesses with more than 15 employees to refuse hire or promotion of anyone based on “gender-related identity, appearance or mannerisms or other gender-related characteristics of an individual, with or without regard to the individual’s designated sex at birth.”

The bill does make exceptions for the U.S. military, religious organizations and some businesses with non-profit 501(c) designations, but makes no provisions for business owners’ consciences. A small construction company that wanted to maintain a Christian reputation, for example, could be sued if it refused to hire transvestites.

Openly homosexual members of the House, enthused by the health-care victory, are now looking to return from the congressional recess to begin work on ENDA.

Why do lawmakers like the idea of “rights” for sexual lifestyle choices. Get “The Marketing of Evil: How Radicals, Elitists, and Pseudo-Experts Sell Us Corruption Disguised as Freedom” to find out!

”I am now confident that we will be getting a vote on ENDA,” bill sponsor Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., told Boston’s Edge, ”The fact is, there was no chance of getting [Pelosi] to focus on this until health care was done. Health care is now done.”

He continued, “What people in our community need to do now is focus on lobbying members of the House so that we have the votes for it.”

The bill already has 198 cosponsors, not far from the number of votes needed to pass or the 219 that enabled the health-care legislation to squeak through.

Rep. Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis., in fact, is confident the measure is primed to pass.

Baldwin told the Edge, ”I’ve heard encouragement that as soon as we return from this recess we will promptly take up ENDA. I suspect that’s the result of feeling some real confidence that the votes are in.”

When asked by Keen News Service, a national news outlet featuring reporting on lesbian, “gay,” bisexual and transsexual issues, if the measure has enough votes, Baldwin answered, “As someone who has actually counted the votes, I believe that there are.”

Baldwin added, “That’s one of the things the LGBT Equality Caucus does is to [focus] attention to making sure we can tell [House] leadership, with accuracy, what the vote would be if they bring the measures up to the floor.”

As WND reported when the bill was put forward three years ago, several groups voiced opposition to ENDA, which empowers the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to enforce its provisions using some of the same powers granted by 1964′s Civil Rights Act.

“This bill would unfairly extend special privileges based upon an individual’s changeable sexual behaviors, rather than focusing on immutable, non-behavior characteristics such as skin color or gender,” said Shari Rendall, director of legislation and public policy for Concerned Women for America. “Its passage would both overtly discriminate against and muzzle people of faith. “Former Secretary of State Collin Powell put it well when he said, ‘Skin color is a benign, non-behavioral characteristic. Sexual orientation is perhaps the most profound of human behavioral characteristics. Comparison of the two is a convenient but invalid argument,’” Rendall quoted.

“Over the years, the homosexual lobby has done a masterful job of co-opting the language of the genuine civil rights movement in their push for special rights,” explained former CWFA Policy Director Matt Barber, who now serves with Liberty Counsel. “This bill represents the goose that laid the golden egg for homosexual activist attorneys.”

The bill does contain certain provisions and exceptions, including the following:

  • ENDA only affects companies with more than 15 employees
  • The U.S. military, as well as religious organizations and some 501(c) non-profit organizations are exempted
  • The law does not enforce preferential treatment or quotas, but specifically deals only with claims of disparate treatment
  • The law does not require businesses to open their women’s bathrooms or locker rooms to men calling themselves women, or men’s rooms to women, so long as “reasonable access to adequate facilities” is provided that is “not inconsistent with the employee’s gender identity”
  • The law does not preclude “reasonable dress or grooming standards” at the workplace, provided the employer permits an employee undergoing a “gender transition” to adhere to the same dress as the gender to which the employee is “transitioning”
  • The law does not require employee benefits to be extended to unmarried partners.

As stated earlier, however, the bill holds no exemption for an employer’s faith or conscience, an omission that has drawn heavy criticism:

“This bill would force Christian, Jewish or Muslim business owners to hire people who openly choose to engage in homosexual or cross-dressing behaviors,” said Barber, “despite a sincerely held religious belief that those behaviors are dangerous, sinful and not in keeping with basic morality.

“ENDA would essentially force employers to check their First Amendment protected rights to freedom of religion, speech and association at the workplace door,” he said.

H.R. 3017 was referred to four House committees in June of last year, but has been dormant since the House Education and Labor Committee held hearings on the bill last September.

Banished! City forbids Bible studies in homes The city of Gilbert, Ariz., has ordered a group of seven adults to stop gathering for Bible studies in a private home because such meetings are forbidden by the city’s zoning codes.

Banished! City forbids Bible studies in homes

‘This letter will serve as a 10-day written notice to quit such use’


Posted: March 13, 2010
12:20 am Eastern

By Bob Unruh
© 2010 WorldNetDaily

The city of Gilbert, Ariz., has ordered a group of seven adults to stop gathering for Bible studies in a private home because such meetings are forbidden by the city’s zoning codes.

The issue was brought to a head when city officials wrote a letter to a pastor and his wife informing them they had 10 days to quit having the meetings in their private home.

The ban, however, prompted a response from the Alliance Defense Fund, which filed an appeal with the city as the first step in its campaign to overturn a provision it describes as illegal.

 

“The interpretation and enforcement of the town’s code is clearly unconstitutional, ” said Daniel Blomberg, a member of the litigation team for ADF. “It bans 200,000 Gilbert residents from meeting in their private homes for organized religious purposes – an activity encouraged in the Bible, practiced for thousands of years, and protected by the First Amendment.”

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The appeal was filed on behalf of the members, all seven, of the Oasis of Truth Church.

Pastor Joe Sutherland had been told in a letter from code compliance officer Steve Wallace that the people were not allowed to meet in a home for church activities under the city’s Land Development Code.

(There had been no complaints about the meetings, which had been rotating among members’ homes before the officer wrote the letter and ordered the group to “terminate all religious meetings … regardless of their size, nature or frequency,” because he noticed signs about the meetings.

The town interprets its law so that “churches within its borders cannot have any home meetings of any size, including Bible studies, three-person church leadership meetings and potluck dinners,” ADF said.

A city letter confirmed, “Given that the church is considered to be religious assembly, and given the LDC provisions prohibiting that use on Local streets without Use Permits and prohibiting it in single family residential structures, it follows that the church meetings cannot be held in the home.”

“The assembly activities associated with the church, including Bible studies, church leadership meetings and church fellowship activities are not permitted,” wrote Mike Milillo, the city’s senior planner.

“This ban is defended based upon traffic, parking, and building safety concerns. However, nothing in its zoning code prevents weekly Cub Scouts meetings, Monday Night Football parties with numerous attendees or large business parties from being held on a regular basis in private homes,” the ADF said.

The few adults in the church had met for a few hours weekly in members’ homes.

The ADF argues such bans violate the Constitution’s free-exercise clause, and even the state’s Free Exercise of Religion Act protects such meetings.

Further, the restrictions imposed by the city violate the federal Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act, which grants significant authority for churches to pursue their ministry goals.

Finally, Blomberg said, “the First Amendment’s free-speech clause prevents the town from stopping the church from holding its meetings on the public sidewalk outside the pastor’s home, yet the town won’t allow him to hold the same meetings just a few feet away in the privacy of his own living room.”

The small church has been forced to halt its regular meetings. It meets now in a local school but only can afford the rental once a week.

A spokeswoman for the city of Gilbert told WND city officials were aware of the concern and planned to address it.

Vice Mayor Linda Abbott told WND the code apparently was adopted years earlier, and there was considerable concern on the city council because of the current issues.

“I’m not in favor of that code. That is something we would want revisited,” she said.

WND reported a similar situation in San Diego County. In that case, officials eventually withdrew a warning letter and a cease-and-desist order they had issued against a pastor who had been holding a weekly Bible study in his home.

“I want to offer my apology to you, your wife and your congregation for the unfortunate events of the past several weeks,” said the letter from Walter F. Ekard, chief officer of the county. “My review of the situation shows that no administrative citation warning should have been issued and that a major use permit is not required for the Bible study you have in your home.”

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