Category Archives: Christianity and the News

Fixer Upper Pastor Joins Washington Watch with Tony Perkins

WASHINGTON, Dec. 2, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Yesterday, Jimmy Seibert, founder and senior pastor of Antioch Community Church and pastor to HGTV’s Chip and Joanna Gaines, appeared on Washington Watch with Tony Perkins, a national radio show which airs on more than 240 stations across the country. On the show, Pastor Seibert discussed the attacks leveled against him simply because he preached the biblical view of marriage. BuzzFeed published an article criticizing Pastor Seibert for preaching biblical truth and went on to question Chip and Joanna Gaines on the degree to which they agreed with their pastor’s views.

In the interview, Pastor Seibert explained what impact BuzzFeed’s attack piece was having on the traffic to the Antioch Community Church’s website, “Viewership has increased by a thousand fold… That has actually been the most encouraging side of the journey over the last 48 hours or so. Thousands, and maybe hundreds of thousands of people are now getting Scripture, getting some clarity, getting some truth and some thought on this issue of marriage, and life, and sexual identity. In a weird way we’re grateful, because that message is getting out.”

When asked about speaking truth in love Pastor Seibert went on to say, “I call it ‘compassion clarity’. God defined what marriage is, not you, or I, or anyone. God defined what male and female are. As a person of faith I just decided that God’s got to be right. That does not mean that we’re not all on a journey. There has to be tremendous compassion for anyone and any sin or any journey or any challenge. There’s great compassion for the journey but we can’t switch the fixed point. God’s truth and God’s word is going to be our fixed point that we’re all journeying toward.”

Family Research Council President Tony Perkins, the host of Washington Watch, responded, “This reminds me of another passage of Scripture. It says, ‘all things work together for good, for those who love the Lord and are called according to his purposes.’ …[this] is actually giving a platform to the truth and a lot of people are seeing something they may not have seen before,” concluded Perkins.

To listen to the full interview, click this link: https://soundcloud.com/family-research-council/20161201-jimmy-seibert

Logo – http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20150422/200566LOGO

Allyson Felix Goes for Gold Tonight!

KANSAS CITY, Mo.—After running strong races in the 400-meter heats and semifinals this weekend, world class sprinter Allyson Felix will go for gold once more tonight at 9:45 p.m. ET. If victorious, she will add to her impressive total of six Olympic medals—three golds from the 2012 London Olympics alone.

But she knows that none of these medals—nor any of her accomplishments on the international sports stage—are for her glory. The glory goes to the One who created her to do amazing things in front of millions of people.

Felix is featured on the cover of the July/August issue of Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA, www.fca.org) Magazine, and also in a new, exclusive FCA video, where she says that her work with FCA allows her to leave her mark beyond track and field.

“It’s always been really great to be able to have an impact on young people’s lives, and sport has done so much for my life, and I think it goes hand-in-hand with your faith,” she says in the video. “I would love to leave a legacy—a feeling like I accomplished a lot on the track, but that I was someone who you could look at and say that they do have faith and that I tried to live my life for Christ. To me that’s important—that effort to try to follow His will.”

In the video, Felix also talks about growing up in a Christian home; her father is a pastor and her mom, a third-grade teacher. The close-knit family also includes her brother, Wes, who serves as her agent. Felix says her faith became her own while in college, when she had to decide whether she would live it out or not.

“My faith definitely helps me to stop being so results-driven,” she says. “You always want to look at a race and say, if I didn’t win, it wasn’t a success. But I think there’s so much more to it than that. The Lord has constantly revealed Himself to me throughout my career, ever since the beginning, ever since even coming into track.”

Last night, Felix was featured on NBC “Nightly News,” where she talked with Lester Holt about her road to the Olympics and her faith—and the segment was repeated on this morning’s NBC “Today Show” coverage in Rio. Holt reported that Felix’s “close and deeply spiritual family keeps her grounded.” Mother Marlean also recounted how she and her daughter have a tradition of praying together over the phone before races, if Mom can’t be there. That prayer, Felix told Holt, reminds her: “It’s bigger than track.”

Felix also told FCA that the road to the Olympics is always the most difficult part of the journey.

“The competing is the easy part,” says Felix. “Putting in the work—those hours on the track all year long—that’s where those medals are won. I’ve always enjoyed winning, and track and field is always something where, right away, you could tell who’s the best.”

After several months of adversity, including an ankle injury and the death of her grandfather, Felix keeps returning to the track with passion, saying that she’s always been “super competitive, no matter what it was.”

“Track is her life, but it’s not boring to hear her talk about it,” Wes told FCA for the magazine feature on his sister. “She’s got her priorities together. She has accomplished great things, but she doesn’t feel like she has to announce it or promote it, and that comes back to Christ being the center of her life.”

FCA has partnered with the YouVersion Bible reading app for the five-day “Road to Gold” devotional. Those interested can open YouVersion and search for “FCA” to find each day’s passages and follow along. Olympic standouts Tamika Catchings, Jordan Burroughs, Tobin Heath, David Boudia and Allyson Felix all contributed to the devotional.

Additionally, FCA has designed a 31-day “Road to Gold” prayer guide, available at www.fca.org/pray, which points the faithful to specific ways they can pray for coaches, athletes, chaplains and the games overall throughout the month of August. For example, for today, Day 15, “Pray for the officiating teams of each sport to have strength, alertness and courage to make the best calls.”

For more information about the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, visit FCA’s web site at www.fca.org, its Facebook page at www.facebook.com/fcafans or its Twitter feed @fcanews.

 

Democratic Vice Presidential nominee Tim Kaine to address Progressive National Baptist Convention during annual session in New Orleans

 

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NEW ORLEANS — The Progressive National Baptist Convention, Inc. (PNBC) will celebrate its Emerald Anniversary during the 55th Annual Session in New Orleans at the Hyatt Regency hotel from Monday, August 8 to Friday, August 12, 2016. PNBC President Dr. James C. Perkins will lead over 5,000 attendees representing approximately 2,000 churches with weeklong events that focus on voter engagement and policing tactics. On August 11, 2016, PNBC will host special guest, Senator Tim Kaine, the Democratic Candidate for Vice President of the United States.

Elected in 2012, Tim Kaine is a Democratic Senator from the State of Virginia. In the Senate, he serves on the Armed Services, Budget, Foreign Relations and Aging Committees. His service includes work as a missionary, civil rights lawyer, teacher, and elected official. He is one of only 30 people in American history to have served as a Mayor, Governor and United States Senator.

Tim was first elected to office in 1994, serving as a city council member and then Mayor of Richmond. He became Lieutenant Governor of Virginia in 2002 and was inaugurated as Virginia’s 70th Governor in 2006. Tim is a founder and co-chair of the bipartisan Career and Technical Education (CTE) Caucus, which focuses on improving access to CTE programs to ensure that students of all ages are prepared with the skills they need for the jobs of the 21st century.

Tim grew up working in his father’s iron working shop in Kansas City. He was educated at the University of Missouri and Harvard Law School and started his public service career by taking a year off from Harvard to run a technical school founded by Jesuit missionaries in Honduras. After law school, he practiced law in Richmond for 17 years, specializing in the representation of people who had been denied housing due to their race or disability. He also began teaching part-time at the University of Richmond in 1987.

A man of deep faith, Senator Kaine and his wife Ann have been a member of the same congregation – St. Elizabeth’s Catholic Church in Richmond, Virginia – for more than thirty years.

WHEN:          Thursday, August 11, 2016 at 10:00 a.m., Celestin Rooms A-D

WHERE:        Hyatt Regency Hotel, 601 Loyola Avenue, New Orleans, LA 70113

About PNBC
PNBC was founded in 1961 to give full voice, sterling leadership, and active support to the American and world fight for human freedom. PNBC membership consists of approximately 1.5 million people in the United States. Visit www.pnbc.org.

Internationally Known Christian Blogger and Writer Reacts to Orlando Nightclub Attack.

(Katy,Texas) Rev. Robert A. Crutchfield, founder of FaithInspires.Org a Christian blog read in 195 countries issued the following statement about the horrific attack last night on the Pulse Nightclub in Orlando.

“ Last night as most of us were sleeping in beds, first repsonders were already combing through what we now know to be the worst attack on U.S. Soil since 911 ! At this moment 50 people are known dead, and nearly as many more wounded. The carnage in its wake is worse than the Sandy Hook or Virginia Tech massacres. We do not yet know the motivations behind the attack . We do know that Omar Mateen a 29 year old Islamic American is believed to be behind the attack. We do know that he was not in imminent danger, and was therefore not defending himself. From that we know that his actions can not be defended on any level.

The nature and scope of this tragedy should and shall launch us as Christians into compassion. We take to God’s throne the sorrows and needs of those who have been impacted by this cowardly act. We send out our prayers for the comfort and strength of the families of those who were lost. We include also in our prayers the people of Orlando, of Florida, and of this great nation. God Bless America !”

Rev. Robert A. Crutchfield is a Katy, Texas based minister. He is the founder and editor of FaithInspires.Org, which was read in 195 countries around the world in 2015. Crutchfield and his work have been seen in Google News, SelfGrowth.com, ChristianHeadlines.com and others.

Christians United for Israel Reaches Three Million Members

Christians United for Israel Logo / Christians United for Israel is the largest pro-Israel organization in the United States. (PRNewsFoto/Christians United for Israel)

SAN ANTONIO, May 9, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Ten years and three months after its founding, Christians United for Israel (CUFI), the nation’s largest pro-Israel organization, has crossed the three million member mark. The news comes on the heels of an exceptional year for the Christian Zionist group, including the creation of a permanent Washington DC office, as well as the establishment of a CUFI sponsored weekly newsmagazine program on Trinity Broadcast Network (TBN), the world’s largest Christian television outlet.

“CUFI continues to grow at an exceptional pace. Never did we think we would reach this number of supporters in such a short time, but our growth is a direct result of the American people’s rock-solid commitment to Israel. I expect our elected officials to understand and reflect that support,” said Pastor John Hagee, CUFI’s founder and National Chairman.

“At three million members, CUFI is one of the largest grassroots organizations in America.  But what’s even more exciting than reaching this milestone is the accelerating pace at which we did so.  With at least 50 million more pro-Israel Christians in America, we’re excited about CUFI’s future and confident in the future of the US-Israel relationship,” noted David Brog, a member of CUFI’s Board of Directors.

“Israel stands on the frontlines of the fight against radical Islam. The same forces that seek to wipe Israel off the map have placed a bullseye on the United States. At CUFI, we’re helping millions of Christians across America identify, understand and answer these threats. I’m proud to be part of the CUFI team at this critical juncture and excited to see what the future has in store,” added Erick Stakelbeck, Director of the CUFI Watchman Project and host of The Watchman on TBN.

With more than 3 million members, Christians United for Israel is the largest pro-Israel organization in the United States and one of the leading Christian grassroots movements in the world. CUFI spans all fifty states and reaches millions with its message. Each year CUFI holds hundreds of pro-Israel events in cities around the country. And each July, thousands of pro-Israel Christians gather in Washington, D.C. to participate in the CUFI Washington Summit and make their voices heard in support of Israel and the Jewish people.

Reaction to the Death of Supreme Court Justice Scalia

First of all I want to offer our prayers and condolences to his Wife Maureen and his family, as well as to the members of the court and all who knew him. May God’s comfort and strength be with them as they travel through their grief. Justice Scalia was one of the great human treasures of late 20th and early 21st century America. He will be missed, but not as easily forgotten. May Almighty God grant civility and wisdom to those considering his replacement. In this and in all things may God let his will be known, and may this nation pray fervently to see it.-Rev. Robert A. Crutchfield, Founder and Editor FaithInspires.Org.

 

Here are what some others are saying tonight,

 

From Tony Perkins, President of the Family Research Council,

“I join the nation in mourning the passing of Justice Scalia, a man who had a deep love for our nation, the Constitution, and as the father of nine children, was passionate about the institutions of marriage and family.

“He leaves behind a distinguished legacy that will have a lasting impact.  His deep commitment to ‎the Constitution was unmatched, especially in an era when judges have legislated from the bench and twisted the nation’s charter document to justify their ideological agendas.

Justice Scalia believed the Constitution had an objective meaning that could be understood and applied, and that as a nation we need to abide by it carefully for the sake of liberty, order, and justice.

“We offer our prayers and condolences to his family.  He will be greatly missed.

“The Supreme Court has now become the centerpiece in this presidential election. There has not been an election-year nomination in generations and the Senate must not break that trend now.  With the election only 269 days away, the people should decide what president should fill this seat,” concluded Perkins.

 

The Second Amendment Foundation released this statement,

Antonin Scalia was a brilliant legal scholar who not only understood the Constitution, he brought clarity to possibly the most important issue of our time,” said SAF founder and Executive Vice President Alan Gottlieb. “I had the honor and privilege to have met Justice Scalia and found him to be a man of strong ethics and intellect, and great character.

Justice Scalia was a fierce defender of the Constitution and he adhered to its original meanings,” he continued. “I found him to be a warm, charming and humorous man with great wit who deeply loved this country and had an unshakeable belief in the rule of law.”

Gottlieb acknowledged that there is already speculation about how this will affect the philosophical balance on the high court.

“It is important now that the Senate not act with haste to fill Scalia’s shoes,” he observed. “The Court must not be allowed to swing away from supporting Second Amendment rights, which is why we urge the Senate Judiciary to act judiciously, and not take up this important issue until a new president is in office. We cannot allow the important work of Antonin Scalia to be undone by a court thrown out of balance by the appointment of a successor who would be his philosophical opposite.

“For now,” Gottlieb concluded, “our condolences go to Justice Scalia’s family, his colleagues and the Supreme Court staff who have suffered a huge loss.”

Rev. Samuel Rodriguez who serves as President of the Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference reacted this way, “Justice Antonin Scalia stood as a champion of life, religious liberty and limited government. The son of Italian immigrants, his life journey speaks to the power embedded when one reconciles faith with education. His presence on the court represented a firewall against judicial activism. His life should serve as both a reminder and a clarion call for us to be both vigilant and committed in defending our God-given rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”

Americans United for Life President and CEO Dr. Charmaine Yoest called news of the passing of Justice Antonin Scalia “a tragic loss for our country. Americans mourn the passing of a man with deep integrity and unparalleled intellectual force, who valued the Constitution over the whims of popular culture.”

She continued: “Known for his great wit and wisdom, Justice Scalia continually reminded us that the rule of law and protections enshrined in the Constitution are essential. His contribution to our country has been immeasurable.  His respect for life in law, calling himself a ‘textualist,‘ allowed him to decide on the tough cases more easily:  he once said to reporters, ‘Abortion? Absolutely easy. Nobody ever thought the Constitution prevented restrictions on abortion.'”

Yoest added, “His loss is tragic, and we hope that when it comes time for the Senate to vote on his replacement, that a worthy successor who can pick up his banner can be found after the election.”

Justice Antonin Scalia was a long-standing and consistent voice on the Court for allowing the American people, through the democratic process, to protect human beings from abortion or assisted suicide.  He was one of the strongest critics on the Court of the 1973 decision in Roe v. Wade, as unconstitutional and illegitimate.  And he voted with the majority of the Court in 1997 against a constitutional right to assisted suicide.  In both cases, he affirmed that the Constitution leaves these issues to the people to formulate public policies through their elected representatives.

Janet Mefferd who is a nationally syndicated Christian radio talk show host offered this to her Twitter followers,” How it feels to lose Scalia: There’s a hole in Hoover Dam, & the one guy with his finger in that hole just died. And breach is now certain.

Meanwhile on Facebook the Tea Party Favorite, and Presidential Candidate Ted Cruz sent the following to his supporters, “Today our Nation mourns the loss of one of the greatest Justices in history – Justice Antonin Scalia. A champion of our liberties and a stalwart defender of the Constitution, he will go down as one of the few Justices who single-handedly changed the course of legal history.

As liberals and conservatives alike would agree, through his powerful and persuasive opinions, Justice Scalia fundamentally changed how courts interpret the Constitution and statutes, returning the focus to the original meaning of the text after decades of judicial activism. And he authored some of the most important decisions ever, including District of Columbia v. Heller, which recognized our fundamental right under the Second Amendment to keep and bear arms. He was an unrelenting defender of religious liberty, free speech, federalism, the constitutional separation of powers, and private property rights. All liberty-loving Americans should be in mourning.

Justice Scalia’s three decades on the Court was one of President Reagan’s most consequential legacies. Our prayers are with his beloved wife Maureen, their nine children, and their precious grandchildren.”

 

 

 

Legalization of same-sex marriage voted No. 1 in RNA’s 2015 Top 10 Religion Stories of the Year

Pope Francis takes Religion Newsmaker of the Year for third year in a row

 COLUMBIA, MO. — The U.S. Supreme Court’s 5-4 decision to legalize same-sex marriage this June was voted by a narrow margin as the No. 1 religion story of 2015 by members of the Religion Newswriters Association in its annual Top 10 Religion Stories of the Year poll. In second place were the hundreds of thousands of migrants who have fled to Europe, stirring right-wing resistance in some countries and compassion fatigue in others.

Pope Francis was selected as Religion Newsmaker of the Year for the third year in a row, receiving nearly half of the first-place votes. This year he earned the top spot by enthralling masses and infuriating others with his appeals to the poor and marginalized, his denunciations of greed and environmental destruction, and his charismatic presence while visiting the U.S., Africa and Latin America.

 

2015 Top 10 Religion Stories of the Year

1) The U.S. Supreme Court legalizes same-sex marriage in a historic 5-4 decision in June.

2) Thousands of migrants, many from wartorn Syria, pour into Europe by sea and land, stirring right-wing resistance in some countries and compassion fatigue even from countries that welcomed them.

3) ISIS expands its reign of horror in Syria and Iraq. It claims responsibility for beheadings of 21 Coptic Christians, the burning alive of a Jordanian pilot, the deaths of hundreds on a Russian airliner, and deadly bombings in Beirut and Paris.

4) Anti-Muslim rhetoric flares in the U.S. and Europe as some politicians call for surveillance of Muslims and a ban on Muslim refugees, citing terrorism fears.

5) Pope Francis makes a historic visit to the United States where he greets crowds in Washington, New York and Philadelphia, and speaks before Congress and the United Nations.

6) Paris reels from its second major terrorist assault in 2015 on Nov. 13 as attackers linked to the so-called Islamic State kill at least 130 and wound many others at a concert hall, restaurants and other sites.

7) Pope Francis issues encyclical Laudato Si on the environment, a call for replacing fossil fuels linked to global warming and lamenting a throwaway culture. Meanwhile, religious leaders call for similar goals at the November Paris climate summit.

8) A white-supremacist gunman is charged in the shooting deaths of nine black worshipers in Charleston, S.C. In the wake of the tragedy, many Southern institutions remove displays of Confederate symbols.

9) The #BlackLivesMatter movement draws support from faith-based groups, including Christians, Jews, Muslims and Unitarian Universalists, amid increased scrutiny of police killings of black suspects and racial issues in public universities.

10) Pope Francis continues his reformist agenda — ending a three-year supervision of U.S. nuns, speaking out for the needy, streamlining the annulment process and recommending a more pastoral tone while upholding church laws on divorce and remarriage.

 

Other stories in this year’s poll, listed by final ranking:

11) Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik kill 14 and injure 21 in San Bernardino, Calif. Fears of violence in the name of Islam also arise as Muhammad Youssef Abdulazeez is charged in the deaths of five U.S. servicemen in Chattanooga, Tenn.

12) Rowan County, Ky., Clerk Kim Davis becomes a conservative Christian hero for choosing jail over signing licenses for gay couples, citing “God’s authority.”

13) A Pew Research Center survey shows the proportion of Americans who do not identify with traditional religion has risen to 23 percent, a trend particularly strong among young adults.

14) A terrorist rampage in January in Paris leaves 17 victims and three Al Qaeda attackers dead. The magazine Charlie Hebdo, where a gunman claimed to avenge offensive depictions of the Islamic prophet Muhammad, and a kosher market, were targets.

15) Early presidential campaigning pulses with religious rhetoric, as Republican candidates appeal for conservative Christian votes. Some candidates call for surveillance of and banning U.S.-entry to Muslims.

16) Africa is targeted by terrorist and militant groups. Al Shabaab kills 147 at a Kenyan university, reportedly singling out Christians. An extremist kills 38 at a Tunisia beach resort. Boko Haram continues deadly attacks.

17) A gunman kills three and injures nine at a Colorado Planned Parenthood clinic. Religious and other pro-life groups disavow violence in opposing abortion as the gunman’s history of purported Christian zeal emerges.

18) The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints declares legally married same-sex couples to be apostates and their minor children ineligible for baptism, prompting some Mormons to resign in protest.

19) A new Indiana religious-liberty law is criticized as a license to discriminate against gays and lesbians on religious grounds before it is revised to remove that possibility. Similar legislation in other states also draws backlash.

20) More than 2,000 people are killed in a stampede during the annual Muslim pilgrimage in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, inflaming that country’s tensions with archrival Iran, home to many of the victims.

21) Sexual misconduct fallout continues: Archbishop John Nienstedt of St. Paul and Bishop Robert Finn of Kansas City resign over failed oversight of abusive priests. D.C. Rabbi Barry Freundel is sentenced for making videos of naked women in mikvehs.

22) Two books expose corruption in the Vatican bureaucracy, and the Holy See draws harsh criticism for prosecuting two journalist-authors along with others over leaked documents.

23) The Episcopal Church’s General Convention elects its first African-American Presiding Bishop, Michael Curry.

24) Deadly Israeli-Palestinian violence flares amid heightened conflict over access to a Jerusalem holy site revered by Jews and Muslims.

25) The Southern Baptist Convention announces cuts of hundreds of missionary jobs, citing financial strains, as it continues to decline in members and baptisms.

26) Indian states increasingly ban the sale of beef at the behest of traditionalist Hindus in reverence for cows; anti-Muslim violence targets those suspected of eating beef.

Religion Newsmaker of the Year

In his third Newsmaker of the Year selection in as many years, Pope Francis beat out five other candidates, among them members of Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, S.C., (19 percent of first-place votes), Rowan County, Ky. Clerk Kim Davis (4 percent of first-place votes), and the Islamic State/ISIS (21 percent of first-place votes).

Results are based on an online survey of RNA’s nearly 480 members, of whom at least 300 are journalists. The response rate was 19 percent. The Religion Newswriters Association is the only worldwide association dedicated to helping journalists write about religion with balance, accuracy and insight. Founded in 1949, the association is headquartered at the Missouri School of Journalism. The association has conducted its Top 10 Religion News Stories of the Year since the early 1970s.