Just prior to this Independence Day weekend, an announcement of a restoration of religious liberty came from Santa Rosa County, Florida. And, as we recognize the right to life espoused by our Declaration of Independence, we saw the nation's largest abortion provider encountering more tough times. And, we acknowledge our Creator by responding in prayer to the challenges of our nation in light of its rich history of faith - today, July 3rd, over a million Christians pledge to pray for America.
3 - Religious freedoms restored to FL school district
For 2 years now, administrators and teachers in the Santa Rosa County, Florida, school district have been walking on eggshells regarding their ability to express their religious faith. You see, the school district had entered into a consent decree with the ACLU, which resulted in the ban of numerous forms of religious expression in the system, causing some school employees to be placed in a position of perhaps being thrown into prison as a result of what many would regard as harmless activities related to their faith.
On Friday morning, a settlement was announced between Liberty Counsel, which had been defending 24 school district employees, and the ACLU. It still has to be approved by a Federal court, which had authorized the consent decree, as well as the school board. Here is Liberty Counsel's press release announcing the settlement.
According to Liberty Counsel, teachers "will now be able to pray at school during their break times, pray during school events in a nonofficial capacity, attend and fully participate in baccalaureate services, have a Bible on their desk, wear religious jewelry, and assign readings from the Bible to students when relevant to nonreligious academic assignments. Students will be allowed to voluntarily pray, submit religious answers in homework, and freely participate in private, after-school religious programs."
This situation apparently is symptomatic of the prevailing sense of indirect or direct intimidation that school officials face because of their misunderstanding of such terms as "separation of church and state" or "the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment". Thinking that students and employees are not allowed to show various forms of religious expression, districts l clamp down on them in an apparent overreaction to the efforts that would unconstitutionally limit or eliminate the vestiges of religion in the school setting.
2 - The plight of Planned Parenthood continues
It was not a good week for Planned Parenthood, but that does seem to be a pretty consistent occurrence, doesn't it? It started out promising enough for them, as an Federal judge said that Indiana's new law prohibiting taxpayer funding of organizations that provide abortion (of which Planned Parenthood is the largest) could not go into effect - just yet. But, it went downhill throughout the week, as Texas became the latest state to ban taxpayer funding of providers of abortion. And, by week's end, Governor Christie of New Jersey had also vetoed an effort in his state that would have restored public funding of Planned Parenthood.
And, pro-life advocacy organization Live Action released more undercover footage this week - one contention that Planned Parenthood has made in this instance of its loss of funding in Indiana is that the "women's services" (exclusive of abortion) that PP offers cannot be found elsewhere. In a number of audio clips, Planned Parenthood employees actually state other locations where these services can be obtained. PP has been exposed to be aiding and abetting human trafficking and attempting to arrange abortions for underage girls without parental consent. Now, its national leaders have been found to be misrepresenting its claims of exclusivity of women's services in the state of Indiana.
1 - "Call 2 Fall" participants number over 1 million
When we realize the hand of God in the foundation and the sustenance of America, it can reinforce our desire to see the presence of God and practice of His principles to continue to be evident in our land. Therefore, it is critical that we as Christians are praying for our nation, in accordance with 2nd Chronicles 7:14:
If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.
An annual event, "Call 2 Fall", has emerged over the past few years. The Family Research Council has partnered with scores of churches in an effort to call God's people to pray for America on the Sunday prior to the Fourth of July. And, the participation is impressive - this year, a number of over 1.06 million people had indicated their plans to be part of "Call 2 Fall". Believers were encouraged to take 3-5 minutes today to pray for America.
Even though we have seen a departure from the Judeo-Christian principles on which America was founded, believers who are dedicated to prayer can be hopeful that God will hear our prayers and move upon our nation...but, it starts with Christians falling our our knees with repentant hearts with a spirit of revival.