Read this and other attacks on faith from Weekly Prayer Update 4/30/18 to 5/7/18
Good news! On Thursday, President Trump launched an initiative to assist faith-based and other organizations in their efforts to strengthen the institutions of civil society and American families and communities. Read more.
Prayer and Action
Living our faith means it impacts everything we do. Paul encourages unceasing prayer, and James makes a strong point that faith without works is dead. Have you considered how to positively impact your sphere of influence with the values and care that are derived from faith?
National Prayer Points
“Last week, the Kansas Legislature passed the Adoption Protection Act, making Kansas the ninth state to protect the right of faith-based adoption agencies to continue their good work. Kansas followed Oklahoma, which also passed a similar measure yesterday. You may be wondering why we need laws to protect faith-based adoption agencies. The reason is that radical Leftist activists like the ACLU and leading LGBT activist groups want to see faith-based adoption agencies shut down across the country. They believe that agencies whose mission is to place children without a family in a loving home with a mother and a father is ‘discriminatory.’ They’d rather see these agencies forced to close down—resulting in less opportunities for children to find a forever family—than to let them continue to live out their faith in their adoption ministry.” Pray for these bills to be signed by the Governors. If you live in one of these states, contact your Governor to ask them to sign the Act.
“Alliance Defending Freedom has won seven cases at the U.S. Supreme Court in as many years, including one that upheld an Arizona school choice program and another that prevented the state of Missouri from discriminating against a Christian preschool…A stellar record was not enough to prevent Alliance Defending Freedom from being banned from participating in the AmazonSmile program. The reason? Southern Poverty Law Center.”
From FFRF site: “… But it decries the fact that the scouts will still discriminate against the nonreligious and their families, excluding atheists, agnostics and nonbelievers. After it announced last fall that the membership was being opened up to girls, the leadership reiterated its prejudice. ‘We believe this nation needs and deserves more youth focused on the foundations that still serve as bedrock of our movement — duty to God and country with a desire to help other people at all times,’ an October statement signed by the organization’s national president, commissioner and chief scout executive said, with the bold emphasis in the original letter.”
First Liberty created a cumulative compilation of recent documented instances of hostility toward free religious exercise. It is often cited by lawmakers, educators, opinion leaders, and the media.
International Prayer Points
“India’s Freedom of Religion Acts or “anti-conversion” laws are state-level statutes that have been enacted to regulate religious conversions. The laws are in force in six out of twenty-nine states: Arunachal Pradesh, Odisha, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, and Himachal Pradesh. While there are some variations between the state laws, they are very similar in their content and structure. All of the laws seek to prevent any person from converting or attempting to convert, either directly or otherwise, any person through “forcible” or “fraudulent” means, or by “allurement” or “inducement.” However, the anti-conversion laws in Rajasthan and Arunachal Pradesh appear to exclude reconversions to “native” or “original” faiths from their prohibitions. Penalties for breaching the laws can range from monetary fines to imprisonment, with punishments ranging from one to three years of imprisonment and fines from 5,000 to 50,000 Indian rupees (about US$74 to $735). Some of the laws provide for stiffer penalties if women, children, or members of scheduled castes or schedule tribes (SC/ST), are being converted.”
“Dozens of people have been killed after the gangs ransacked towns and villages to clear them of all aspects of the Christian faith.”
“There’s a glimmer of hope in the Asia Bibi case in Pakistan, where a Christian woman is awaiting her fate. Convicted of blasphemy in 2010, Asia Bibi has been suffering on death row in Pakistan while being separated from her family, her husband and five children. Now there is news that the Pakistani Supreme Court will hear her death penalty appeal.”
“Pray for the release of Pastor Bakhrom Kholmatov in Tajikistan and for respectful treatment of religious minorities by the Tajik government. Bakhrom Kholmatov (42) is pastor of the Sunmin Sunbogym (Good News of Grace) Protestant Church in Khujand, capital of the Soghd region of northwest Tajikistan. He was arrested and imprisoned in April 2017 after secret police officers raided his church. In July he was sentenced to three years in prison for ‘singing extremist songs in church and so inciting religious hatred’, and on 18 August the Soghd Regional Court upheld the sentence.”
“After holding American pastor Andrew Brunson in jail for nearly a year and a half without charges, the Turkish court is now looking to keep him in prison for what could be the rest of his life, equating his evangelism to terrorism.”
“A parent would go to the ends of the earth for their child. But what if the government forcibly stopped them? What if, instead, the government doggedly pursued their child’s death? Such has been the tragic story of Thomas Evans and Kate James, and their son, Alfie Evans. It’s a chilling reminder of what happens when the government attempts to be doctor and to play God.”
State Prayer Points
Religious Liberty Legislation
Continue praying consistently and fervently for the successful passage of legislation that effectively protects our Judeo-Christian heritage and religious liberty. Also, pray that bills and resolutions that undermine our First Amendment Rights will be unsuccessful.
The CPCF legal team has researched best practices legislation and provided talking points on various religious freedom topics to assist legislators. Download their Report here. View a model school policy on invocations before games here.
“An Alabama teacher claims she was sent home by school officials Monday over a shirt with the words ‘just pray’ on it”
“AB 2943 poses an imminent threat to civil liberties in California. It does little to protect LGBT persons and only limits the number of perspectives (and assistance) they have access to, while setting a dangerous, Orwellian precedent for government-mandated censorship…This expansive law would impose widespread censorship that could implicate authors, speakers, counselors, colleges and universities, and even religious leaders seeking to address unwanted same-sex attraction or gender identity confusion. The bill has passed the General Assembly and is in a senate committee. Use these Talking Points when calling your senator or the Governor.
“A Christian educational organization has canceled two leadership sessions in California because a bill moving through the state Legislature would censor speech and religious freedom. California ‘is just about to ban Christians from giving advice about sexual ethics based on the Bible that has been followed by billions of people for thousands of years,’ Summit Ministries President Jeff Myers told The Daily Signal in a phone interview Wednesday.” Pray they begin to rally people of faith to pray and stand against this bill in California.
“The case involves the Bladensburg Peace Cross, a memorial to area men who died in the First World War. It has stood since 1925 without bothering anyone until in 2014 the American Humanist Association felt that the monument violates the Constitution’s establishment clause…The district judge tossed the case, holding that the tiny amount of government money that is spent on upkeep does not endorse religion. But the Fourth Circuit…held 2-1 that this offends the First Amendment. On the petition for rehearing en banc the court declined by 8-6. Unless the Supreme Court takes this case and reverses, the precedent will spark a great many similar suits to expunge every trace of religion from public life. That isn’t what the Founders meant with the establishment clause.”
“The Maryland State Senate has approved a bill prohibiting licensed therapists from subjecting minors to treatment designed to change their sexual orientation or gender identity…While the bill would prohibit the practice of conversion therapy on youth under the age of 18 by a licensed therapist or counselor, it would not prevent religious clergy or others acting in a pastoral role from providing counseling to youth struggling with their sexual orientation or gender identity. Licensed therapists acting in a professional role who engage in the practice could be punished with the loss of license, certification, or could be subject to other penalties.” Call the Governor to encourage him to veto the bill. Consider using these Talking Points.
“Hawaii lawmakers have finally agreed on a compromise that bans conversion therapy on minors in the Aloha State, reports Hawaii News Now. Both the State Senate and House of Representatives had passed their own versions of the bill, with the House adding amendments to the bill to clarify the law’s intent, and how it is expected to be enforced. It subsequently went to a conference committee, where legislators agreed on identical compromise language. The prohibition on conversion therapy only applies to licensed counselors or therapists acting in a professional capacity, and does not apply to counseling from a pastor or religious advisor.” Call the Governor to encourage him to veto the bill. Consider using these Talking Points.
“Less than a year after a Michigan township effectively banished a Christian school by changing its zoning laws to keep it from moving into the community, the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) rejected the school’s plea to hear its case.”
From FFRF site: “The Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) is insisting that a Minnesota city end its continuous endorsement of Christianity. A resident of Columbia Heights reported to FFRF that during a city council meeting last month, Mayor Donna Schmitt issued an unconstitutional proclamation designating May 1 as the official date of the Columbia Heights ‘Interfaith Prayer Breakfast.’ The order called upon ‘all citizens to join in quiet reverence and dedication as stated in the Declaration of Independence.’ The breakfast was held at John P. Murzyn Hall — which is owned and operated by the Columbia Heights Recreation Department — and tickets were sold by the City Hall administration office.”
New Hampshire lawmakers seek to prohibit conversion therapy as it applies to licensed counselors or therapists acting in a professional capacity. Call your senator to encourage her/him to vote “NO” on this bill. Consider using these Talking Points.
From FFRF site: “The Freedom From Religion Foundation is filing an appellate brief confident that its victory over an …Pennsylvania county seal will be upheld. FFRF and four individual plaintiffs won in district court last September when the judge found that the Lehigh County seal, featuring a prominent cross,- was unconstitutional. The judge noted that the Christian cross, which both parties agreed is ‘the pre-eminent symbol of Christianity,’ dwarfs other symbols on the seal and therefore shows unconstitutional county endorsement of a particular religion. In a follow-up move two months later, the same judge ordered the county to stop using the seal.
“Last year, the state Senate introduced Senate Bill 613, an act that would amend the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act to include sexual orientation and gender identity as a protected class in anti-discrimination statutes. At face value, the bill promises freedom from discrimination for all Pennsylvanians. But if the liberal activists promoting the bill have their way, SB 613 would punish Pennsylvanians for their religious and moral beliefs.”
National Prayer Opportunities
Congressional Prayer: Each week Congress is in session, members of Congressional Prayer Caucus meet before votes to pray in Room 219 of the U.S. Capitol.
The American Prayer Caucus Network is a nationwide network of nearly 1,000 federal and state elected leaders who are standing for faith and impacting the culture. Please join us in praying daily for them, their families, and staff.
“I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people— for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.” 1 Tim. 2, Psalm 91
Include: Judicial Branch, Legislative Branch, Executive Branch, Military, Faith Leaders, First Responders, Etc.
The Congressional Prayer Caucus Foundation, a non-partisan, not-for-profit organization created to support government leaders who wish to partner prayer with legislative and citizen action to protect our Judeo-Christian heritage and religious freedom. Please pray for the Congressional Prayer Caucus Foundation team, our State Directors, legal team, Board of Directors, web developers, technical team, production team, design and graphics team, CPCF intercessors and donors.
Email me to join the CPCF Prayer Team! Commit to praying for the Members and families of the Congressional Prayer Caucus, The American Prayer Caucus Network, and the CPCFoundation.
Prayer for Anti-Faith Groups
For more information about this prayer initiative, contact Summer Ingram, National Director of Prayer and Mobilization for the Congressional Prayer Caucus Foundation.