(Jerusalem Post) — Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu showed his support on the Knesset’s first designated LGBT Rights Day on Tuesday.
Netanyahu rarely appears in the legislature on Tuesdays, a day on which it usually does not hold important votes, but he arrived specially to participate in LGBT Rights Day, during which discussions of the topic were held in the plenum and committees.
The prime minister briefly addressed the plenum: “I know that there were important and lengthy discussions today, and I came here in the middle of my schedule, which was no less busy, to say one sentence to the members of the LGBT community: ‘Every man was created in the image of God.’ That is the idea brought by our nation to mankind thousands of years ago, and it is the principle that must guide our national lives today.”
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BALTIMORE, Ohio — At least two schools in an Ohio county have temporarily suspended meetings of student Bible clubs following a complaint from a professing atheist organization.
Earlier this month, the Wisconsin-based Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) sent letters to four school districts in Ohio after an unidentified resident provided a screenshot of a church website that said that area Bible clubs were led by “volunteers or community youth pastors.”
The mention on the Faith Memorial Church website had been removed at the time the letters were sent, and Jonathan Morgan, the pastor of the church, said that the text was taken down because it was inaccurate. Only students had been leading the Bible clubs, but pastors were allowed to visit as per student invitations.
“We are writing to request an investigation into the involvement of outside adults in religious clubs in your district,” the letter from FFRF read. “If FMC representatives have indeed been leading student Bible studies, those clubs are not bona fide student-initiated clubs and should be dissolved.”
It asserted that not only would it be unlawful for the lunch-time clubs to be led by anyone other than students, but that church leaders could not participate in the Bible clubs either.
“It is illegal for public schools to allow students to lead religious instruction on school property during the school day,” FFRF wrote. “Even though the Equal Access Act (EAA) dictates that public secondary schools may not discriminate against student organizations based on their religious, political, philosophical or other beliefs … it is illegal for outside adults to regularly participate in, organize or lead student religious organizations.”
Following receipt of the letter, officials with the Liberty Union-Thurston school district in Fairfield County temporarily placed the clubs on hold while the matter is being investigated. Superintendent Todd Osborn said that his review shows that the groups are being led by students, but students sometimes invite pastors to visit.
Aaron Green, youth pastor at Faith Memorial Church, told the Christian Post that “most school districts have asked that youth leaders and volunteers to attend less often and only speak at the specific request of the students.”
“Both youth leaders and schools are aware of the sensitive nature under which these things operate and need to be extra vigilant about rules governing separation of church and state,” he said.
“As a pastor, when we are doing our best at the request of others to be of assistance in the lives of others, it’s frankly repulsive where we are today—that an individual can bring such undue and unfounded criticism,” Morgan also told reporters.
At least one attorney has responded to FFRF’s correspondence.
“The districts are meeting with building principals and reviewing the parameters of the federal Equal Access Act,” wrote Sue Yount of Bricker and Eckler in Columbus, according to the Columbus Dispatch. “This Act provides for the right of students to hold religious activities on school grounds during non-instructional time, so long as the activities are student-initiated and student-led, with non-school persons not directing, controlling, or regularly attending.”
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NASHVILLE — The Southern Baptist Convention’s Executive Committee has voted to remove a South Carolina congregation from fellowship due to its affirmation of homosexual behavior.
The Committee’s decision on Tuesday to remove Augusta Heights Baptist Church in Greenville was based on “public information provided by the church, which amounts to clear evidence of the church’s affirmation and approval of homosexual behavior.”
It was also considered that Greg Dover, who leads the congregation, “sought and acquired approval” from deacons to officiate a same-sex “wedding” in October. Leaders of Augusta Heights Baptist said that because the ceremony was not going to be held at the church, they would not stop Dover from officiating if he believed God wanted him to participate.
According to reports, Dover told the Committee in correspondence that Augusta Heights Baptist “does not have a marriage policy, or any official position or doctrinal statement on issues of homosexuality or same-sex marriage.” He also stated that the congregation “does not wish to end our relationship with the Southern Baptist Convention.”
However, Dover’s actions were found to be contrary to the Southern Baptist Constitution, which states that “churches which act to affirm, approve, or endorse homosexual behavior would be deemed not to be in cooperation with the Convention.”
The congregation was therefore removed from fellowship “until such time as the convention determines that the church has unambiguously demonstrated its friendly cooperation with the convention as defined in the convention constitution.”
Augusta Heights Baptist had already been removed from fellowship with the Greenville Baptist Association and South Carolina Baptist Convention over the matter.
“It is with great sorrow that The Church Relations Committee moves, as instructed by the Constitution and By-laws of the Greenville Baptist Association, that Augusta Heights Church be dismissed as a member of the Greenville Baptist Association unless the church repents and returns to the biblical position on marriage as being between a man and a woman,” the Greenville resolution read, which was agreed upon by 119 representatives of 45 churches in November.
Al Phillips, the director of missions for the Association, told the Baptist Courier that he would like to see the congregation restored to fellowship—but it must be willing to repent.
“Our goal is not to punish Augusta Heights but to hold her accountable,” he said. “Our deepest desire is to see the church repent and return to the biblical position of marriage as being between a man and a woman. But we must speak the truth in love.
“Our attitude is that of Christ. Jesus offered grace, but He required repentance. He confronted sin unflinchingly,” Phillips continued. “He knew we don’t really love sinners if we allow them to continue in harmful, self-destructive behavior without confronting them with the truth. We have tried to follow His example.”
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Despite her regular profession of being a Christian on television, talk show host and actor and sister to Kirk Cameron, Candace Cameron Bure recently let loose in an episode of “Fuller House”—a restart of the 80’s show “Full House”—pulling out her “dirty dancing” moves with her best friend in a lingerie-style dress, the two being referred to as “luscious lesbians.” The episode, which is the third for “Fuller House,” is raising concern among Christians who had looked up to the actor as a Christian role model.
In “Funner House,” Cameron Bure, who plays D.J. Tanner, spends the evening drinking and dancing at a night club with her best friend Kimmy Gibbler and sister Stephanie Tanner.
“When Stephanie, Kimmy and D.J. have a girls’ night out and leave Joey in charge of the kids, things get wild out on the town and at home,” the show description outlines.
As the women are preparing to leave the house, Tanner comments about her low-cut, short black dress, “I don’t know if I should be tugging this thing down or pulling it up.”
The women, who refer to themselves as the “She-Wolf Pack,” go to a night club called “Euphoria,” where they decide to order tequila shots. While at the club, Tanner tells Gibbler about her idea to do the “Dirty Dancing” routine together, and sister Stephanie Tanner speaks to M.C. Macy Gray about performing the song to get back at Gibbler’s “two-timing ex.”
During the dance-off, which also includes two men dancing suggestively, Tanner concocts a means to win by “bust[ing] out our big Dirty Dancing lift.”
“Sure that’s not the tequila talking?” Gibbler asks.
“Well, yeah, it totally is,” Tanner replies.
As the women win the dance-off, they are announced by Macy Gray as “luscious lesbians,” at which neither Tanner or her friend bat an eye.
“And the winners are these two luscious lesbians!” Gray declares. “Get up here you sexy people!”
“We’re the sexy people!” Tanner proclaims as she hurries to the stage and grabs the microphone. “I was just gonna stay in tonight, but my friends insisted that I go out and have some adult fun. They knew I needed to take care of me. Oh, I love you guys so d*rn much! Thank you, Euphoria! And the wait staff and the bartenders!”
“Shots for everybody! She-Wolf Pack is buying!” she announces.
Cameron Bure had posted a photograph of her dress from the episode on her Instagram page this past week, but took it down after fans quickly expressed concern, stating that her clothing was a disappointment for a woman who professes to be a Christian.
“I am so sad! I thought @Candacecbure stands up for Christian values?!?!” one commenter wrote. “This makes me so sad. I can’t let my kids watch this. Is this how you dress?”
Others also have expressed concern about the television show in general.
“I’m glad I watched it first before letting my six and nine year old watch,” another said. “Did not expect to see the language, adult themes (Kama Sutra [Hindu book on sexual intercourse]) and [breasts] popping out. I can see it now, ‘Daddy, what’s Kama Sutra?’ Extremely disappointed.”
One of the episodes of “Fuller House” shows Kimmy Gibbler and Stephanie Tanner locking lips for several seconds until Gibbler’s ex-husband pulls them apart, and another contains a scene with heavy sexual references.
Last month, Cameron Bure, who is outspoken about her profession of the Christian faith on the talk show “The View,” explained that she would be open to having homosexuality included in storylines on “Fuller House.”
“I’m always defending religious freedom and that’s what I was talking about on The View,” she said. “But, I’m an actress on a television show and I support all things that we go through as human beings and would love all our characters to explore whatever issues that are current in our culture and our society today and I’m 100% on board with that.”
Cameron is also known for her appearance on the show “Dancing with the Stars,” where she likewise engaged in risque’ dances with her partner, Mark Ballas.
On her website’s “Ministry” section, Cameron Bure urges others to repent of their sins, stating that she learned as an adult that she was not a Christian simply because she prayed the “sinner’s prayer” at age 12.
“God has changed me in ways that words can’t describe. He has transformed the way I think and live my life,” she writes. “I know that without Christ, the eternal consequences are devastating.”
“I urge you to surrender your whole life to Jesus, turn from your sin and trust in Him with all your heart,” Cameron states, sharing from Acts 17, which reads, “And the times of this ignorance God winked at: but now commands all men every where to repent: Because He has appointed a day, in the which He will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom He has ordained.”