3 - Anti-sex trafficking law passed by Congress, signed by the President
People of faith have been speaking out against what is termed, "human trafficking," and as John Stonestreet pointed out recently on his commentary, The Point, which is heard daily on Faith Radio:
On April 11, President Trump signed into law the FOSTA act. That’s a partial acronym for “Allow States and Victims to Fight Sex Trafficking” Act.
FOSTA seeks to shut down online sex trafficking.Stonestreet pointed out that there had already been an impact, according to a Washington Post article, which reported that content devoted to sex had been removed and advertising rejected; he related...
Such advertising has led to the trafficking of victims as young as 14. The bill’s signing came shortly after several executives of one website were arrested for facilitating prostitution.Liberty Counsel had called attention to a site that had been shut down:
The top online human trafficking site, Backpage.com, was seized by the federal government two weeks after the U.S. House and Senate passed a bill to stop online human sex trafficking.Its press release pointed out, following the Senate vote, that Craigslist had taken down its "personals" section and other sites had removed content related to prostitution.
2 - China institutes Bible bans while U.S. state seeks to ban Bible-centered books
If you wish to purchase a Bible in China, the government has made it harder - according to WORLD Magazine...
Starting in late March, major online retailers including JD.com, Dangdang, and Amazon.cn stopped offering Bibles for sale, although children’s Bibles, theological books, and Bible concordances remained. Technically, Bibles in China are allowed to be sold only in government-sanctioned churches, yet the authorities never enforced that rule strictly, and Bibles could easily be found online as well as in Christian bookstores.And, the WORLD article included a report that a Beijing Christian bookstore was inspected by a "government official" and told that books with "foreign ISBN numbers could no longer be sold, according to Hong Kong’s Inkstone news website."
The article points out that the Chinese government "had released a white paper claiming the Chinese Communist Party exercises authority over religion in order to keep 'Western' religions like Christianity from being 'controlled and utilized by colonialists and imperialists.'"
These actions come around the same time as California legislators were in the midst of attempting to pass legislation that would ban the sale of content in the state, including by online retailers, as well, that presented instruction on how people can experience freedom by dealing Biblically with same-sex attraction. The bill has already passed one chamber, the Assembly, and faces action in the Senate.
1 - Army chaplain faces discipline for marriage views
There is a story out of the military dealing with religious freedom that has gained quite a bit of attention over the past few days. According to the legal advocacy organization, First Liberty, a chaplain who has been serving with the Army for 25 years, was asked to include a same-sex couple in a marriage retreat that he was conducting. Because of the teachings of his endorsing agency, the North American Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention, he made arrangements for the couple to be included in another retreat taught by another chaplain. This was not good enough for the soldier who had wanted to attend the retreat - he filed a complaint, the Army investigated, and recommended the chaplain, Scott Squires, for disciplinary action.
He and his attorneys with First Liberty insist the chaplain was following Army regulations. Squires is quoted on the organization's website as saying: “I was shocked the investigator concluded that I should be reprimanded for doing something I’m required to do under Army regulations and my endorser’s rules,” adding, “I hope the Army sees that I was simply following Army regulations and the tenets of my church.”
First Liberty points out that:
Under federal law and Department of Defense regulations, the military may not take adverse action against a chaplain who acts in accordance with his or her religious tenets. First Liberty sent a letter to the U.S. Army urging it to reverse the investigator’s decision and the recommendation that Squires be disciplined for discrimination.The Family Research Council website includes these comments:
As FRC's own Lt. General Jerry Boykin has said, "If the military wants a chaplain corps, then they have to be prepared for chaplains to be chaplains. A chaplain isn't worth anything if he isn't allowed to minister and counsel according to his faith. If the Army won't allow him to be a chaplain, then he becomes nothing more than a social worker."The website continues:
If anyone should be free to exercise their faith, shouldn't it be chaplains? It's time for the Army to refresh its memory on a little thing called the First Amendment and reread the president's executive order on religious liberty. Both documents ought to be all the proof they need that Chaplain Squires is guilty of nothing but doing his job. And, by all accounts, doing it well.