(Christian Institute) — Ireland’s publicly-funded broadcaster has been issued with an official warning by broadcasting authorities for repeated pro-abortion bias on one of its flagship radio shows.
The Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI) issued the warning to RTÉ, which receives funding from TV license fee payers in the country.
Pro-life groups have welcomed the warning at a time when the Irish government is under pressure to hold a referendum on removing constitutional protections for the unborn.
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WASHINGTON — A prominent professing atheist organization is asking President-elect Donald Trump to keep God out of this month’s inaugural ceremony by removing the Bible, prayer and the “so help me God” phrase of the oath from the event.
The Wisconsin-based Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) recently sent a letter to Trump to urge him to change his plans for the inauguration. It asserted that the Constitution is secular in nature and “contains no directive to swear to a deity or to place a hand on a Bible.”
“The ‘so help me God’ tradition violates the spirit of our secular Constitution in the very act of promising to uphold it. The Constitution prohibits rather than mandates religious oaths,” the group asserted.
“In its altered, religious form, the oath has become a symbol of the disregard many in our nation have shown for our secular constitutional principles. Reciting the presidential oath in its original form would be an important symbolic step toward divorcing American politics from religion,” it said.
FFRF also asked Trump to pull the prayer portion of the event, which, as previously reported, will feature an ecumenical assortment, including Franklin Graham, prosperity preacher Paula White and others. Some spiritual leaders will read from Scripture at the inauguration, such as prominent Catholic Cardinal Timothy Dolan and Jewish Rabbi Marvin Hier of the Simon Wiesenthal Center.
“If you wished to hold a private religious convocation to personally celebrate your inauguration with religion, of course we would have no objection based on the Establishment Clause,” the letter, signed by Co-Presidents Dan Barker and Annie Laurie Gaylor, outlined. “But we and our membership do most strenuously object to turning a secular event into a religious circus.”
“You were not elected pastor in chief, but president of all the people,” they said, repeating a phrase many Christians often contended during Trump’s campaign. “Prayer hosted by the government should not be part of taking a ceremony about pledging fealty to a secular Constitution.”
The organization likewise asked Trump not to take his oath on the Bible, but instead on the Constitution.
It is not yet known whether or not Trump plans to respond. As previously reported, FFRF made a similar request in 2012 for Barack Obama’s second inauguration ceremony, but it was disregarded.
In his first inaugural address in 1789, the nation’s first president, George Washington, declared, “[I]t would be peculiarly improper to omit in this first official act, my fervent supplications to that Almighty Being who rules over the universe, who presides in the Councils of Nations, and whose providential aids can supply every human defect, that His benediction may consecrate to the liberties and happiness of the people of the United States, a government instituted by themselves for these essential purposes: and may enable every instrument employed in its administration to execute with success, the functions allotted to His charge.”
“[W]e ought to be no less persuaded that the propitious smiles of Heaven can never be expected on a nation that disregards the eternal rules of order and right, which Heaven itself has ordained,” he proclaimed.
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WACO, Texas — One of the hosts of the popular HGTV show “Fixer Upper” has written a blog post that some are interpreting as a response to the recent controversy over the church the couple attends, which holds to biblical beliefs on marriage and homosexuality.
“Jo and I refuse to be baited into using our influence in a way that will further harm an already hurting world,” Chip Gaines wrote on his wife’s blog on Monday. “This is our home. A house divided cannot stand.”
While not specifically referencing the controversy—or any issue or circumstance in particular, he said that the past year has been one of much division that has left people sad, angry and scared.
“If there is any hope for all of us to move forward, to heal and to grow, we have got to learn to engage people who are different from us with dignity and with love,” Gaines wrote. “Joanna and I have personal convictions. One of them is this: we care about you for the simple fact that you are a person, our neighbor on planet earth.”
“It’s not about what color your skin is, how much money you have in the bank, your political affiliation, sexual orientation, gender, nationality or faith,” he continued. “That’s all fascinating, but it cannot add or take away from the reality that we’re already pulling for you. We are not about to get in the nasty business of throwing stones at each other. Don’t ask us to, ’cause we won’t play that way.”
Gaines said that he desires a world where people may disagree lovingly.
“Jo and I feel called to be bridge builders. We want to help initiate conversations between people that don’t think alike,” he said. “Listen to me, we do not all have to agree with each other. Disagreement is not the same thing as hate, don’t believe that lie.”
As previously reported, in late November, Gaines and his wife Joanna were placed under scrutiny as BuzzFeed reporter, Kate Arthur, noted that because homosexuals and others enjoy “Fixer Upper,” and because the Gaines’—who identify as evangelical Christians—have not stated a position on homosexuality, the outlet decided to look into the beliefs of their pastor.
The couple attends Antioch Community Church, led by Jimmy Seibert.
Arthur explained that she called the church and was pointed to the beliefs section of its website, which states, “Marriage is the uniting of one man and one woman in covenant commitment for a lifetime.” She was also advised that the church has always held to that view.
Arthur additionally pointed to a sermon delivered by Siebert following last year’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges, in which he noted God’s design in the book of Genesis.
“This is a clear biblical admonition. So if someone were to say, ‘Marriage is defined in a different way,’ let me just say: They are wrong,” he said. “God defined marriage, not you and I. God defined masculine and feminine, male and female, not you and I.”
Siebert outlined that homosexuality is a sin, but that Christ can set men free from any sin, no matter what it is.
“Truth No. 2: God is able to give us power over every sin, including homosexuality. Lie No. 2: I am a homosexual in thought and action, and I cannot change,” he preached.
Seibert urged compassion for homosexuals and encouraged Christians to “lovingly, carefully bring them back to Scripture.”
Listen to the sermon in full below.
“So are the Gaineses against same-sex marriage? And would they ever feature a same-sex couple on the show, as have HGTV’s ‘House Hunters’ and ‘Property Brothers?’” Arthur consequently posed.
Other media outlets soon picked up on the matter, including Cosmopolitan, which characterized the report as a “startling revelation.” However, some criticized the BuzzFeed article as being a “witch hunt” and a “non-story,” as it is not a news flash nor a surprise that Christians believe the Bible.
Tyler O’Neil of PJ Media noted on Tuesday that some Christians might have wanted Gaines to write lucidly in support of his pastor and biblical teaching on the matter. However, he said that Gaines’ point was that those who disagree with various life choices are not haters.
“While the TV star’s comments may leave some on the right unsatisfied—‘Why didn’t he defend the Christian position against gay marriage?!’—they are an important reminder that Christians are first and foremost about love. Jesus called us to love our enemies—even those who disagree with us or persecute us,” O’Neil wrote.
“At the same time, Gaines’ remarks are a clear rebuke to those liberals who think everyone who disagrees with them, especially on same-sex marriage and LGBT issues, is a ‘hater,’” he said. “It is emphatically clear that Chip Gaines does not ‘hate’ gay people, even if he does agree with his pastor’s views against same-sex marriage and for the possibility that gay people can be redeemed from a sinful lifestyle.”
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(China Aid) — A Christian human rights defender is in need of urgent cancer treatment that she cannot afford after a Chinese medical team canceled a critical operation.
Huang Yan, a 47-year-old Christian woman who has assisted many prisoners of conscience, including Gao Zhisheng, was refused a necessary operation for her ovarian cancer, despite previously having one in the fall of 2013.
Public security bureau officials beat Huang in 2010 and 2012, respectively, and she lost her unborn children both times. During the second instance, the officials burst into the bathroom, where she had just miscarried her child, and continued to abuse her. At that time, her husband was taken to the public security bureau and received injuries at the hands of the authorities.