The Last Sermon?

Religious Freedom in the Middle East, North Africa, and the United States of America

By Faith and Freedom Staff

These are perilous times in many respects. Social unrest, political upheaval, and a worldwide pandemic cast daily shadows over our lives. As Christians, we find our encouragement in scripture which tells us “And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19, NIV).

But what about when our very faith is challenged by government officials and others who seek to infringe upon our ability to exercise our religious freedom?

Unfortunately, this is the situation in which we find ourselves today.

People of faith tend to share a deep appreciation for religious freedom. It’s quickly becoming apparent, however, that some powerful non-believers are far less enthusiastic about this important freedom. This truth was recently voiced by Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito, who recently noted the COVID-19 pandemic has led to widespread curbing of individual and religious liberties.

Calling such restrictions, “previously unimaginable,” Alito described their severity and duration as “unprecedented.” This is not mere happenstance. Alito points out the fact that “in certain quarters, religious liberty is fast becoming a disfavored right.”

More broadly, a recent Pew survey cites the decline in religious freedom as occurring across the globe. The Pew report announced that governmental restrictions on religious practices set records in recent years. Christians suffered most, according to the data, which can be found here.

The Pew Government Restrictions Index analyzes government policy and laws that ban a specific religion, or do things such as prohibit conversion, place limits on preaching, or give preferential treatment to certain religions. It may come as no surprise that such practices were most prevalent in the Middle East and North Africa, where 90% of the nations rank “high” or “very high” in restrictions. China, nevertheless, remains the worst offender.

We must not underestimate the devastating consequences of COVID-19, but it’s clear that the virus, which will subside with widespread distribution of vaccines that have already been approved, is not the biggest long term threat to our democracy.

Rather, the loss of our religious freedom—a bedrock of our democracy—could lead to a wider challenge to the Republic. The religious bigotry exhibited at the state and local levels across the United States is nothing short of astonishing. Churches, pastors, and congregations have complied with government guidelines in the face of unwarranted attacks—while bars, casinos and even strip clubs have been permitted to operate with far more freedom.

In the United States, public policy on the matter of religious freedom increasingly mirrors Pew Report findings on the Middle East, North Africa, and China. God will ultimately prevail over these unfortunate circumstances and we must therefore react as Jesus called us to: “Be strong; fear not! Behold, your God will come with vengeance, with the recompense of God. He will come and save you.” (Isiah 35:3-4, ESV)

And yet, for a nation that once served as a beacon of religious freedom, this is indeed a sad state of affairs.

The U.S. Senate Matters!

Faith and Freedom Staff

This is definitely a challenging time. Christians are joining each other in prayer as we ask God for wisdom and guidance during this post-election period. And as legal battles play out in Pennsylvania, Arizona, and other states, the United States Senate hangs in the balance. 

Democrats hoped to pick up several Senate seats but came up short. Their hopes to win control of the body and take full control of the White House, Senate, and House now depends on a pair of races in Georgia.

Democrat Hopes

As of November 3, 2020, Republican’s three-seat advantage over Democrats and control of the White House netted three new conservative justices on the United States Supreme Court and dozens of conservative federal judges on other courts. Leading up to the election, Democrats needed to pick up at least three, probably four seats and win the White House (a VP Kamala Harris being the tie-breaking vote). Democrat Senator Doug Jones, of Alabama, was widely expected to lose. Furthermore, Democrats had to defend 11 seats held by Democratic incumbents.

What happened? Winning net new seats in Arizona and Colorado, while Republicans flipped the Alabama seat, Democrats experienced a net gain of just one seat. Republicans have secured 50 total seats and Democrats (with the two independent senators, Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Angus King of Maine) have secured only 48.

If Georgia conservatives don’t turn out again on Jan 5 out of disappointment or dejection, their inaction could create a 50-50 tie with Kamala Harris being the tiebreaker. Losing the Senate would make Chuck Schumer the Majority Leader.  Democrats would then be free to abolish the filibuster and pack the courts and we will lose our country.  We have no choice—we must act now!

What You Can Do

Many of you have reached out to us about what you can do to help. As a result, we will have remote phone banking and other volunteer opportunities for the upcoming Georgia U.S. Senate runoffs. Please consider clicking on this link and participating in what will decide the majority of the United States Senate. https://www.ffcoalition.com/georgia-run-off/.

No matter what happens in the presidential race, this Election is not over. If Republicans can maintain control of the U.S. Senate and act as a bulwark against the socialist agenda of the Radical Left, the results of the Presidential race could be far less damaging to America’s future.

This is the most critical moment in our Nation’s history. Will you FIGHT to protect our Republic?

A Pivotal Week in American History

Picture of the Oval Office

Three Things You Need to Do This Week!

By Florida Faith and Freedom Staff

In Florida, as a person of faith, you can take three key steps this week to live out your beliefs: 1) Vote Early; 2) Ask your pastor to participate in the Believers and Ballots Initiative; and 3) Express your support for Supreme Court Nominee Amy Coney Barrett.

Failing to Vote is the same as Voting—Against Yourself

Early voting started this week in many counties in Florida. You can learn more about early voting from the Florida Division of Elections by clicking here and find your local Supervisor of Elections here. Local supervisors will have all the information you need about the details of early voting locations and timing.

Florida Faith and Freedom Coalition encourages you to vote early and to vote your biblical worldview.  Remember, failing to vote is the same as voting for the candidate, or party, whose values and plans for America you oppose. If you would never support a party’s major causes, such as promoting abortion, but you don’t vote against those causes on Election Day, you are directly supporting their cause.

Attention Pastors: Get Involved with Believers and Ballots!

Pastors have an awesome opportunity on Sunday, October 25 to encourage their congregations to go vote – on social media and from the pulpit. Pastors can and should tell worshippers to go vote their biblical worldview and deeply held values.  It’s that simple—and make no mistake about it, this is an unquestionably and completely legal act. Pastors need not get bogged down in Trump versus Biden.  One party is pro-abortion, and one party is pro-life. 

That’s it.  End of story.

Pastors are commanded to stand for those who are for life, (proverbs 31:4 and 8).

Please take less than 3 minutes to listen to this message from Pastor Jack Hibbs by clicking here. Then, make your voice count and stand for righteousness by participating in the “Believers and Ballots” initiative by clicking here to participate!

It’s Time to Confirm Amy Cony Barrett

Judge Amy Coney Barrett’s confirmation hearings have ended, and Mitch McConnell says that Republicans have the votes to put her on the Supreme Court.  But this will be a close vote! We know you want to fill the vacancy on the Supreme Court with Judge Barrett, so it’s critical that you call Republican Senators such as Lisa Murkowski and Susan Collins and demand that they support the nomination of Amy Coney Barret this week—not later, after the election.

The American Bar Association rated Barrett as highly qualified and her former students have confirmed her compassion and integrity.  In a recent Judiciary Committee hearing, one former student with a disability testified that “should you confirm Amy Barrett, the country will receive something far greater than simply an unparalleled legal mind – it will gain the service of one of the kindest individuals I have ever known. Her brilliance is matched only by her compassion, and her integrity is unassailable. I am not speaking in mere abstractions here. Rather, I have experienced these characteristics first-hand, with life-changing results…In part because of her unwavering support, I am the first blind woman to serve as a law clerk on the Supreme Court of the United States.”

Let’s review the key activities for this week – one of the most important weeks in recent American history. First, make sure you vote early. Second, call and email your pastor and request that he/she get involved with the Believers and Ballots initiative. Third, tell Senator Collins of Maine and Senator Murkowski of Alaska to support the nomination of Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court NOW!

It’s Time to Confirm Amy Coney Barrett to the U.S. Supreme Court

By Faith and Freedom Staff

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced this week that “we have the votes” to confirm Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett. Born 1972 in New Orleans, Louisiana, Judge Barrett has served on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit since November 2, 2017. Her impressive career includes private and public practice—and a clerkship for the legendary Antonin Scalia.

Of course, there is much more to Judge Barrett than her professional career.  She is a wife and mom who by all accounts is passionately devoted to her family. And as the radical left attacks her faith and stance for life, even those who don’t share her views have been forced to confess to Barrett’s high level of competence.

Take for example, two members of the American Bar Association (ABA). During this week’s hearings, the Chair of the ABA Standing Committee on the Federal Judiciary Chair, Randall Noel, and the ABA Lead Evaluator Pamela Roberts testified that Judge Barrett meets the ABA’s highest standards.

Noel testified that “We gave Judge Barrett a rating of well-qualified, as you know, our highest rating … We interviewed Judge Barrett for over three and a half hours, Ms. Roberts and I, and we received additional information from her in the interim. The Standing Committee concluded that Judge Barrett’s integrity, judicial temperament, professional competence met the very high standards for appointment to our Supreme Court. Our rating of ‘Well Qualified’ reflects the consensus of her peers that know her best.”

Roberts, the Lead Evaluator for the ABA noted “Judge Barrett has earned and enjoys an excellent reputation for integrity and outstanding character. Judges and lawyers alike uniformly extolled the nominee’s integrity…Given the breadth, depth, and strength of the feedback we received, the Standing Committee concluded that Judge Barrett had demonstrated professional competence to exceptional and sufficiently outstanding to be rated ‘Well Qualified.’”

Upon hearing this testimony, Senate Judiciary Chairman Lindsey Graham R-SC, asked the two witnesses, “Simply put, would both of you feel comfortable going before Judge Barrett?”

Noel and Roberts both replied: “Absolutely.” And when the Chairman asked if their they believed Barrett would be a fair and impartial justice Noel said that there was “no doubt” and Roberts agreed.

It’s time for Amy Coney Barrett to become a Supreme Court Justice.