Franklin Graham Comments on HHS Mandate
Weekly summary of world news
Norm Olson March 9, 2012
Franklin Graham has said if the government passes an edict forcing him to hire employees who do not share his Christian outlook, he will “break the law,” reports LifeSiteNews.com. In an interview with NewsMax senior editor David Patten, Graham said, “What I’m concerned about as a faith-based organization is that I’m going to be forced to hire people that are not of my faith, or don’t have the same values that I have.” Graham worried the parachurch organizations with which he is affiliated, Samaritan’s Purse and the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, will someday be compelled to hire people who do not share their faith. “Frankly, I think every Christian out there should be concerned that we will be forced to bring people into our organizations, and put them on our payrolls, when we know that they are opposed to everything that we stand for and believe,” he added. “I guess at that point, I would just have to break the law and take it all the way to the Supreme Court and fight it if I have to.” Graham voiced his concern over the Health and Human Services mandate to provide contraception and abortion-inducing drugs to the employees of religious organizations. “I don’t believe the compromise is a true compromise,” he said. “You’re still paying for it, but it’s going to be paid for now through the insurance carrier, who is then going to charge you.” He worried forcing Catholics to pay for contraception was the beginning of a larger effort to suppress religious liberties in the name of fighting “discrimination.” “We take very little government money, and I’m happy to give all of it back,” he said. “But even though we’re privately funded I believe the government’s going to mandate—they’re heading in that direction—where we don’t be able to discriminate in our hiring practices.” His charity, Samaritan’s Purse, delivers eight million gifts to underprivileged children each year at Christmastime. Despite the fact that it is headed by the son of the world’s most famous evangelist, it does not qualify for a religious exemption under the Obama administration’s rules. “We’re not a church. We’re a parachurch organization,” he explained. The Obama administration’s conscience clause protects only churches and other houses of worship. Graham joins many of his Protestant brethren in urging defiance of unjust, anti-Christian measures. Dr. Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, told LifeSiteNews.com last month, “We will not comply with” the HHS mandate. “We want the law changed, or else we’re going to write our letters from the Nashville jail, just like Dr. King wrote his from the Birmingham jail.” Dr. Albert Mohler, president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, said in January, “We’re going to find out in coming months” how many evangelical pastors and leaders “are willing to go to jail rather than to comply with this.”
- An anti-pornography organization says reaction to a recent incident on an airplane demonstrates the type of heavy attack the group receives from the porn industry and those who support it, reports onenewsnow.com. Morality in Media’s Dawn Hawkins says she was exposed to child-themed pornography on a Delta flight to Texas last month when a man in front of her was openly viewing it on his iPad. She asked him to put it away, and even asked for help from a flight attendant, but to no avail. Following the incident, she made a YouTube video detailing her experience. Pat Truman, president and CEO of Morality in Media, says he and everyone else in the organization were surprised by what happened next. “A group of porn consumers produced a video and condemned her for being uncomfortable looking at pornography that she didn’t want to look at and condemning her for producing a video to tell about it,” he details. “And these people, many of them said that it should be fine to look at pornography on an airplane; people should just get used to it.” Truman told onenewsnow that MIM, its executive director, and her family have all been harassed for Hawkins’ stance against pornography being displayed in public. “These pornography consumers shouldn’t assume that their rights trump everybody else’s rights,” Trueman contends. “Yet that’s what they assume when they condemn Dawn Hawkins and try to shut down our website over this incident.” Since Hawkins’ experience, MIM has been contacting airlines to make sure that they have good anti-pornography policies in place. In a new video, she reports that “surprisingly, Delta has been very positive,” assuring people that they “do not allow pornography or obscenity on their airlines.”
- ABC has taken blasphemy against God, the Bible, God’s church, and Jesus Christ to new levels of depravity in a new series, notes Dr. Ted Baehr on WorldNetDaily.com. Baehr is the founder and publisher of Movieguide, chairman of the Christian Film & Television Commission, and a well-known movie critic and educator. “’GCB’ (‘Good Christian Bi—-s’) ridicules God, morality and Christians, who are little more than stereotypes, raises concerns for both families and Christians. In this light, everyone should remember that ridicule was a tool that Adolf Hitler used to murder six million Jews during World War II.” He urged citizens to call or write a letter complaining about this series—of which the trailers, ads, and name suggest it will not be family friendly or even respectful toward Christians—to Disney (producer) and ABC executives.
- Three family members of Crystal Cathedral Founder Robert H. Schuller were fired from their leadership positions in the ministry, officials confirmed Tuesday, reports ocregister.com. Schuller’s daughter, Gretchen Penner, was terminated from her job as one of the producers of the Hour of Power television show, according to a cathedral spokesperson. Her husband, Jim, was fired from his post as executive producer of the show. And Jim Coleman, the husband of Senior Pastor Sheila Schuller Coleman, was also fired from his job as director of creative services. Robert H. Schuller and his wife, Arvella, abstained from voting with the board on the terminations, according to the spokesperson. “So this isn’t a family dispute,” he said. But Schuller and his wife abstained without knowing who was being terminated, their daughter Carol Schuller Milner said Tuesday. “And when they asked during the meeting held by teleconference who would be affected, board members said, ‘They’d rather not say,”’ she said. “They would have appreciated some dialogue on the matter,” Schuller Milner said. She said her parents felt “grieved” by the board’s decision. Meanwhile, Hour of Power, which once reached millions of viewers around the world, will replay previous episodes for the next few weeks while leaders “determine a new direction for the show.” This is said to be the latest shake-up for the troubled ministry. Last month, the Catholic Diocese of Orange purchased the church’s 40-acre campus but is allowing the congregation to lease back the property for up to three years.
- After numerous failed doomsday predictions, Family Radio founder Harold Camping announced this month that he has no plans to predict ever again the day of God’s Judgment, reports The Christian Post. He also issued an apology to listeners, admitting that he was wrong: “We have learned the very painful lesson that all of creation is in God’s hands and He will end time in His time, not ours! We humbly recognize that God may not tell His people the date when Christ will return, any more than He tells anyone the date they will die physically.” Camping, 90, has made predictions about Judgment Day, Christ’s return, and the end of the world for the past few decades, with the May 21, 2011, forecast receiving the most media attention. Each time the date passed, he did not admit to mistaking the timing but instead reasoned that the events happened “spiritually” rather than physically. But once Oct. 21, 2011—the day Camping said the world would be destroyed physically—came and went, the Christian broadcaster began to reevaluate his views about being able to calculate and know the exact date of the apocalypse. Family Radio went further to say that their “bold” insistence that the Bible guaranteed Christ’s return on May 21 was both “incorrect” and “sinful.” At the same time, they pointed to the good that came out of all their failed forecasts, which were condemned by evangelical pastors. Though they were wrong, their doomsday predictions directed the world’s attention to the Bible and spurred discussions about the Scriptures among people who might have never heard about Christ, they noted. Still, that does not excuse them, Family Radio acknowledged.
- The Condom Access Project launched by California officials in several counties last week provides free condoms through the mail to students as young as 12, reports The Christian Post. Teens 12–19 can log onto a website, fill out a short form requesting their city, zip code, and date of birth and then select to have a free package of 10 condoms, lubricant, and education literature mailed in a plain yellow envelope to their home. Condoms can be requested every 30 days. “It’s a horrible idea,” one man told CBS Sacramento. Meanwhile, Kirk Cameron, CP guest contributor, has responded to reactions concerning remarks he made about homosexuality during an interview. “In a recent interview about my film Monumental, I was asked to share my views on homosexuality, gay marriage, and abortion. I spoke as honestly as I could, but some people believe my responses were not loving toward those in the gay community. That is not true. I can assuredly say that it’s my life’s mission to love all people. The only way to properly answer these kind of questions is to begin the discussion with another question: Is life and sexuality sacred or are they not? If they are, then God has something to say about these things. If not, then everyone is entitled to their own opinion on the matter. I believe that freedom of speech and freedom of religion go hand-in-hand in America. I should be able to express moral views on social issues—especially those that have been the underpinning of Western civilization for 2,000 years—without being slandered, accused of hate speech, and told from those who preach ‘tolerance’ that I need to either bend my beliefs to their moral standards or be silent when I’m in the public square. In any society that is governed by the rule of law, some form of morality is always imposed. It’s inescapable. But it is also a complicated subject, and that is why I believe we need to learn how to debate these things with greater love and respect. I’ve been encouraged by the support of many friends (including gay friends, incidentally). Thank you! I look forward to those who will join me as I seek to show you our true ‘National Treasure,’ at the live, nationwide viewing of Monumental on Tuesday, March 27.”
- A federal appeals court has rejected New York City’s attempt to keep churches out of its public schools while a judge decides whether the city’s ban on worship in school buildings can be enforced, reports onenewsnow.com and AP. Late Wednesday, the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals declined the city’s request to overturn Judge Loretta Preska’s injunction. Last Friday, she blocked the city from evicting dozens of congregations that have been renting schools for Sunday services. Preska said the Bronx Household of Faith was likely to win its First Amendment challenge and had demonstrated that it would suffer irreparable harm. The appeals court urged Preska to issue her final decision in the case by mid-June. Wednesday’s decision was announced hours after the Rev. William Devlin ended a six-week fast in support of the churches facing eviction. Devlin, whose 500-member congregation has its own building, credits prayer and fasting with helping the judges “see the light.” Although churches got a reprieve from an eviction order that would force their worship services out of New York City public schools, organizers of religious meetings on the West Coast are facing their own First Amendment battle. Liberty Counsel has filed a federal lawsuit against the Public Library of Seaside, Ore., for denying access for an educational meeting that included religious content, reports charismanews.com.
- The United States ambassador to Spain recently met with a group of Muslim immigrants in one of the most Islamized neighborhoods of Barcelona to apologize for American foreign policymaking in the Middle East, reports stonegateinstitute.org. U.S. Ambassador Alan Solomont told Muslims assembled at the town hall–like meeting in the heart of Barcelona’s old city that the United States is not an “enemy of Islam” and that U.S. President Barack Obama wants to improve America’s image in the Middle East as quickly as possible by closing the “dark chapters” of the U.S. invasion of Iraq and the war in Afghanistan. In Austria, the U.S. Embassy in Vienna sponsored a film contest in February on the theme of “Diversity and Tolerance” aimed at teaching wayward Austrians that they should show respect for Muslim immigrants who refuse to integrate into their society. In France, the U.S. Embassy in Paris co-sponsored a seminar to teach Muslims in France how they can politically organize themselves. Operatives from the Democratic Party coached 70 Muslim “diversity leaders” from disaffected Muslim-majority suburban slums known as banlieues on how to develop a communications strategy, raise funds, and build a political base. In Norway, where Muslim immigrants already are said to have more rights than native Norwegians, the U.S. Embassy in Oslo organized a “dialogue meeting” designed to “empower” Muslim immigrant women in the country. According to the Norwegian newspaper Aftenposten, Obama’s special envoy to the Muslim world, Farah Pandit, castigated the Norwegian government’s integration policies as being insufficiently fair to Muslim immigrants.
- Christians’ objection to the Health and Human Services contraceptives mandate is not about revoking women’s access to birth control as the media spins it, says LifeSiteNews.com. It’s about keeping government out of religion and allowing Christian healthcare providers to exercise their right to practice medicine according to their moral guidelines; forcing private Christian healthcare providers to cover services to which they are morally opposed is a gross violation of conscience laws. According to LifeSiteNews, “Planned Parenthood’s CEO, Cecile Richards, was a key advisor in putting this mandate together, and they have teamed up with Obama to aggressively push their agenda on Christian medical providers. Despite the fact that liberal self-identifying Catholics Joe Biden and Kathleen Sebelius strongly urged President Obama against trying to force the mandate, Obama took the advice of Planned Parenthood. Although this mandate threatens all Christian healthcare providers, we all know that the Obama administration has especially targeted Catholic institutions. The Catholic Church has not budged on its position regarding artificial means of contraception in two thousand years, and it won’t bow to the demands or so-called compromises of the Obama administration now.”
- Charles Ogletree, one of Obama’s mentors at Harvard Law School, has admitted to hiding the video of Obama hugging a radical professor, made public by Breitbart.com, in order to protect the president throughout the 2008 election campaign, reports theblaze.com. “Of course we hid this throughout the 2008 campaign,” Ogletree says. “I don’t care if they find it now.”
- “A firestorm of outrage” from women ensued “after a crude tirade from Rush Limbaugh,” said NBC anchor Brian Williams. “In , the personal is political,” said another reporter. “What began as a debate over religious freedom has devolved into what some call a ‘war on women.’” Larry Elder responded in townhall.com, “The ‘outrage’ over Rush Limbaugh’s ‘misogyny’ provides the latest examples of the liberal vs. conservative double standard and the selective indignation of the left. Limbaugh criticized the congressional appearance of Sandra Fluke, a Georgetown law student who supported requiring even religiously affiliated institutions to provide ‘free’ contraceptives. The ‘firestorm’ over Limbaugh’s ‘sexism’ would be convincing—were it not for its selective nature. Where’s the outrage when the misogyny comes from the left? Ed Schultz, for example, the blowtorch left-wing MSNBC host, called conservative radio show host Laura Ingraham a ‘right-wing slut’ and a ‘talk slut.’ The sexism police long ago exempted Bill Clinton from any conversation about ill-treatment of women. Some of the same people who condemn Limbaugh for his treatment of Fluke go deaf, dumb and blind over Clinton’s treatment of and statements about the women who dared confront him.” Michelle Bachmann compared Rush Limbaugh’s statements to remarks a man made about her during her presidential campaign. “I think when you see the overkill that’s being done against Rush Limbaugh and then you see the comments that were said about me and absolutely no response whatsoever, there’s no comparison here,” she said on CNN Wednesday.
- Watchdog group Judicial Watch has filed a lawsuit against the United States Air Force to obtain the records of Michelle Obama’s controversial trip to Spain, reports cowboybyte.com. According to Tom Fitton, a member of the organization, “That this lavish trip may be a source of embarrassment for the Obamas is not a sufficient reason to stonewall the release of records. Evidently, American taxpayers were stuck with a sizable bill so Mrs. Obama could tour around Spain with her family and friends. This administration, as a supposed steward of taxpayer dollars, has an obligation to disclose the full costs of the Obama family’s luxury trip.”