On Wednesday, the US Supreme Court blocked New York Governor Andrew Cuomo from reestablishing his draconian strict attendance caps at worship services in areas hit hard by the coronavirus.
The court ruled 5-4 to block Cuomo from enforcing his October 6 “Cluster Initiative” against churches and other houses of worship that sued to challenge his unamerican restrictions.
The ruling is the first in which Justice Amy Coney Barrett played a decisive role. Barrett, who was President Donald Trump’s third Supreme Court nominee, joined the court on October. 27, after being confirmed by the US Senate after the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on September 18.
Meanwhile, it’s being reported that Chief Justice John Roberts joined the court’s liberal wing in the dissenting opinion, but I wish they would stop reporting on him that way, because John Roberts IS of the court’s liberal wing. The leftists on the court’s dissent was that the court had acted rashly. According to the Constitution, the New York Governor is the one who acted rashly.
In an Orwellian fashion, Cuomo’s plan created a color-coded system on the limits of large gatherings and on businesses, supposedly to help stop an outbreak in NYC where cases were allegedly surging.
His orders were aimed at worship services at some synagogues and Roman Catholic churches in parts of Brooklyn and Queens, according to Bloomberg.
In the red zones, deemed the hardest-hit areas, the state limited attendance in houses of worship down to only 25 percent of their lawful occupancy or 10 people, whichever is fewer. The majority of complaints said the governor’s limits violated the First Amendment’s protection of the free exercise of religion. And they are right.
Justice Neil Gorsuch wrote in the concurring opinion that Cuomo treated religious activities less favorably than nonreligious ones, according to the New York Times. That goes against the Equal Protection Clause of the US Constitution. And religion has Constitutional rights.
“It is time — past time — to make plain that, while the pandemic poses many grave challenges, there is no world in which the Constitution tolerates color-coded executive edicts that reopen liquor stores and bike shops but shutter churches, synagogues, and mosques,” wrote Gorsuch, who was also named to the court by Trump.
“So, at least according to the Governor, it may be unsafe to go to church, but it is always fine to pick up another bottle of wine, shop for a new bike, or spend the afternoon exploring your distal points and meridians,” he continued, according to a tweet from The Economist correspondent Steven Mazie. “Who knew public health would so perfectly align with secular convenience?”
The ruling was considered a reversal of earlier actions taken in the course of the pandemic this year by the Court in response to state restrictions on organized religion. The justices beforehand refused to lift restrictions on churches in California and Nevada.
In the dissenting opinion, Roberts explained why the court’s leftists opposed the decision.
“Numerical capacity limits of 10 and 25 people, depending on the applicable zone, do seem unduly restrictive,” Roberts wrote, according to the New York Times. “It is not necessary, however, for us to rule on that serious and difficult question at this time.”
“The governor might reinstate the restrictions,” he continued. “But he also might not. And it is a significant matter to override determinations made by public health officials concerning what is necessary for public safety in the midst of a deadly pandemic. If the governor does reinstate the numerical restrictions the applicants can return to this court, and we could act quickly on their renewed applications.”
President Trump took to social media to retweet the SCOTUSblog account that announced the high court’s ruling.
The American Criminal Liberties Union (ACLU) condemned the decision and warned it could “undermine New York’s efforts to curb the pandemic.”
“The freedom to worship is one of our most cherished fundamental rights, but it does not include a license to harm others or endanger public health,” said Daniel Mach, director of the ACLU Program of Freedom of Religion and Belief. Actually, the Constitution says about religion that the government may not “prohibit the free exercise thereof;” It’s literally in the First Amendment!
John Stewart Hill led a group of 179 Christians to sign a new Christian Compact on November 11 at 11:11 AM, at the site of the landing of the Pilgrims voyage upon the Mayflower, after having an army of Shofars usher in the movement with his group “Trumpet’s Arise”.
They were inspired by the Mayflower Compact from 1620 which contained the words, “Having undertaken, for the glory of God, and advancement of the Christian faith and honor of our king & country, a voyage to plant the first colony in the Northern parts of Virginia. ~ William Bradford, Mayflower Compact
“We signed a new promise that we would do everything for the Glory of God and walk in our Christian faith. That we were recommitting our Christian walk right there, we pledged that to each other,” Hill told me. “An important message from that day which we agreed on was that there is no King but Jesus.”
Watch the shofar event at Plymouth MA at the link below, with the group, Trumpets arise:
Christians gather at the Mayflower monument.
Hill said he was letting the event come together on it’s own and about 300 people attended just to mark the occasion with him.
“I was reminded of why my forefathers were that at that very spot 400 years ago, and that was to talk about the Bible. They were escaping a period of hardship. I had a lot of things on my mind on the morning of the event. I woke up at 4 AM and thought about the places in the Bible where there were other references to 400 years. There was a period of 400 years of captivity and a period of 400 years of silence, where God did not talk to his prophets. I thought of the two other times in the Bible where people crossed the water with Moses leading the slaves thru the Red Sea, which he parted and where Joshua and Caleb broke the water with their feet on the Jordan River, those were both a crossing over of the water. These thoughts led me to see that Christianity is moving from one person, like Moses leading, to more relational experience like Joshua and Caleb, that is what we need more relationships. New people will be leading other people to unity with many different kinds of Americans, and it will be led by people who are not well-known pastors, but regular people, like people we had in the book of Acts,” Hill told me.
Hill wrote on his Facebook page on 11.11 4 AM:
“We will not keep God confined to a Big BOX, it’s time to advance! Not all will be Joshua and Caleb, but for those that choose the Lord as King and put His Kingdom above their own, they will see the hand of God move through them like they never imagined, through the New Wineskin. They will be the “trumpet” of the Lord and move the NEW SOUND through this land. Proclaiming the 4 sounds that the shofar represents…Worship (acknowledgement of God as sovereign in their lives), Repentance, Warfare, and Healing. Lord, I pray, indwell and empower your people to advance the Kingdom of Heaven on earth. ON EARTH AS IT IS IN HEAVEN! Amen!”
Christians gather to blow shofars and honor 400 years of Christianity in America:
“All of this led me to see that the future of the Home Church movement is going to look like Thanksgiving every day. It is led by us and it is family coming together every week, and breaking bread. It is a new awakening. We are going to crossover, and we are going to come together in unity, we are about to see ecclesia. We are going to take Jesus to the streets and be there for each other.
At the event, we all ushered in the 3rd Great awakening with a group of about 100 shofars. We celebrated Worship, Repentance, Warfare and Healing. We know that our country is under attack, and we do believe there will be a great humiliation for people who are fighting Christianity, like a great humiliation in Colossians 2:15,” Hill said.
The event was a celebration of 400 years of Christianity in America and also meant to mark the occasion that Hill first visited the site of his ancestor’s greatest acts leaps of faith.
Hill is a direct descendant of William Bradford, governor of the Plymouth colony for 30 years, who helped shape and stabilize the political institutions of the first permanent colony in New England. Bradford also left an invaluable journal chronicling the Pilgrim venture, of which he was a part. Hill is also a descendent of Myles Standish, an English military officer hired by the Pilgrims as military adviser for Plymouth Colony. He accompanied them on the Mayflower journey and played a leading role in the administration and defense of Plymouth Colony from its inception, and of John Alden, as a crew member on the historic 1620 voyage of the Mayflower which brought the English settlers commonly known as Pilgrims to Plymouth Colony in present-day Massachusetts. He was hired in Southampton, England, as the ship’s cooper, responsible for maintaining the ship’s barrels.
“The event was a part of Hill’s mission to bring in armies of Shofars to build Christian and Messianic Jewish connections, to talk about a new movement of House Churches, which is very passionate about, saying that House Church movement is going to be the “the new church of Acts,” Hill told me.
“There are millions of house churches around the world, and in China they have home churches under penalty of death,” Hill said. “That is pretty amazing,” he said.
Jubileecost.com said about the Hills House Church movement, “John Stewart Hill, CEO of Central Storehouse, the creator of the site, shares, Now, more than ever, people are looking for a more personal, more connected church experience. The House Church movement is growing in part because it is impossible to attend a house church and be anonymous. With all the unrest in the world, people are looking for safe places where they can worship God, find encouragement and accountability, discover their purpose in the body of Christ, and be challenged in their faith. House churches can be the answer.”
Megachurch pastor, black conservative, and evangelical adviser to President Trump Harry R. Jackson, Jr. died on Monday, November 9th at the age of 66 years old.
Christianity Today called him a “herald of a new black church and a voice of black conservatism.”
Jackson was a fierce advocate of socially conservative issues, especially in defending the unborn right to life and the sanctity of traditional marriage. But he did his best to avoid strict partisanship.
Jackson was also a registered Democrat, and through his years he often advocated for criminal justice reform and government involvement in the economic uplifting of the African-American community.
“Being able to say I’m a registered Democrat disarms many of the people who want to write me off as an ‘Oreo’ or an ‘Uncle Tom.’ There are a whole lot of black Christians who may not be Republicans but who share similar moral values. So I appeal to the fact that more than two million black babies have been lost to abortion over the last four years and that over 70 percent of black babies are born to unwed mothers.”
Jackson was born in Cincinnati in 1953. After being passed over by the New England Patriots, he earned an English degree at Williams College in Massachusetts and then proceeded to a Master’s degree in business administration at Harvard University.
He worked as a salesman for Republic Steel before joining ministry in the late 1970s after the death of his father. After nearly a decade of holding small church services, he took up a position at Hope Christian Church, an independent charismatic megachurch in Beltsville, Maryland.
It was during the George W. Bush administrations that Jackson began to rise in political prominence. He called his congregants to stand up for socially conservative values, but also challenged them beyond partisanship.
“What I believe,” said Jackson in 2005, “is that the whole left and right paradigm that politics has chosen to create for itself is fundamentally incorrect because the Bible has both what we call left and right issues.”
Jackson believed Democrats took advantage of the African-American community, and that Republicans took for granted their white evangelical base.
In 2016, Jackson prayed at the inauguration of President Trump, and became one of Trump’s unofficial evangelical advisers. He has attended many events at the White House since.
In response to critics, Jackson said, “You can’t be a prophet to the culture while you’re standing outside of the room.”
This past Good Friday, Jackson was invited to pray at the White House. Trump introduced him as “a highly respected gentleman who is a member of our faith and a person that we have tremendous respect for.”
Jackson prayed, “Lord, cover us with a cloud by day and a fire by night. Lord let e pluribus unum be a reality in us. Let there be a uniting of America. Heal the divide between race, class, and gender. Once again give this great man our president, and give the vice president wisdom beyond their limitations.”
Hope Christian Church announced his death on their website last week:
“It is with a heavy heart that we notify you that our beloved Bishop Harry R. Jackson, Jr. has transitioned to be with the Lord on November 9, 2020. Information about the memorial service will be forthcoming. Please pray for the Jackson Family’s comfort and respect their right to privacy at this time.”
Jackson was recently re-married after the death of his first wife in 2018.
Jerry Falwell, Jr. has filed a lawsuit against Liberty University after being ousted from his position as Chancellor when sexual scandals came to the surface last summer.
The lawsuit was filed Wednesday in Lynchburg Circuit Court with claims of defamation and breach of contract.
“When Mr. Falwell and his family became the targets of a malicious smear campaign incited by anti-evangelical forces,” reads the lawsuit, “Liberty University not only accepted the salacious and baseless accusations against the Falwells at face value, but directly participated in the defamation. This action seeks redress for the damage Liberty has caused to the reputation of Mr. Falwell and his family.”
Falwell has denied any involvement in the affair between business partner Giancarlo Granda and Falwell’s wife.
The lawsuit argues that as a result of statements made by Liberty University, “Mr. Falwell has suffered damage to his reputation, damage to his profession, humiliation, and anguish; lost business opportunities; and suffered other pecuniary damage.”
The lawsuit does not provide a dollar amount for damages.
Further than blaming Liberty for his loss of reputation and business opportunities, the lawsuit also calls out The Lincoln Project as an “anti-Trump political action committee”, claiming that it played a hand in Falwell’s downfall by providing financial support to Falwell’s political opponents.
The lawsuit argues that Liberty “play(ed) right into the hands of sinister operatives with ulterior motives.”
While an adviser for The Lincoln Project did provide help to Granda with public relations after the scandalous story broke, the group has denied any involvement with the story coming to light.
In a statement regarding the lawsuit, Falwell said, “While I have nothing but love and appreciation for the Liberty community, and I had hoped to avoid litigation, I must take the necessary steps to restore my reputation and hopefully help repair the damage to the Liberty University brand in the process.”
Liberty University Vice President and spokesman Scott Lamb has told media outlets that they must review the lawsuit before making any comments.
An estimated crowd of 35,000 gathered together on the National Mall lawn on Sunday evening to worship and pray together for the soul of America.
The tens of thousands of Christians happily braved the cold rain, dancing and singing and celebrating together in the middle of one of the most chaotic years this nation has seen in decades.
“We’ve been in a season of pain, discord, violence, and fear,” event organizer Sean Feucht told the crowd, “but Jesus is reminding us that He died on the cross so we can live fully…even in the middle of a pandemic,” he added. “We’re going to leave this field as the happiest group of Christians because of His glory. Wake up church, come alive and arise. The glory of the Lord arises on you.”
The gathering was the culmination of nearly four months of “Let Us Worship” gatherings led by California-based worship leader Sean Feucht. Feucht began leading worship and prayer events in California in July in open defiance of Governor Gavin Newsom’s COVID ban on singing in church. The events gained such a following that Feucht began traveling across the nation.
“Let Us Worship” quickly became a movement to protest government restriction of freedom of worship, to counteract the summer’s violent protests, and to cry out to God for national revival.
Since July, Feucht has gathered Christians to worship and pray together in over 45 cities, including cities that have seen some of the worst riots over the summer, like Seattle, Portland, and Chicago.
Yesterday’s events began at the Supreme Court at 10 AM, where Christians gathered to worship and pray for the end of abortion. Coincidentally, this event was scheduled before it was known that the Senate would be voting on Judge Amy Coney Barrett’s nomination to the Supreme Court the Monday following.
Worshippers then moved their praise to St. John’s Episcopal Church at 1:30 PM, and then to the Lincoln Memorial Steps at 2:30 PM. At each stop, the crowd worshipped and prayed together, undeterred by the rain.
The big event began at 4 PM EST on the National Mall lawn. Feucht led the crowd in songs, Jentezen Franklin preached, and even Senator Josh Hawley made an appearance.
The event did not come without resistance, however. Feucht later posted a picture to social media of one of their event workers who had been attacked with a bowl of blood:
And many simply don’t understand why Christians would gather together during a pandemic to worship:
But these events have been a source of great hope and inspiration in the middle of riots, an election year, a pandemic, and the general feeling of great uncertainty of the future.
One attendee posted to social media that they brought their entire youth group with them, believing that “a TANGIBLE shift was going to happen in DC”:
Let Us Worship will gather for another worship event on New Year’s Eve in Los Angeles at the site where the Azusa Street Revival broke out in 1906.
A crowd of Christians gathered in the rain this morning on the steps of the Supreme Court to pray for the end of abortion in America.
The prayer meeting began at 10 AM EST this morning as the kickoff to a full day of events leading up to a large worship gathering on the lawn of the National Mall this afternoon.
Event organizer Sean Feucht called it “the largest prayer meeting in front of the Supreme Court since Roe V Wade”, citing an unnamed pro-life activist at the event.
While the entire event is expected to draw a crowd of 15,000 this afternoon, there have been no numbers reported of how many attended the prayer meeting at the Supreme Court this morning.
Today’s rainy weather in DC doesn’t seem to have discouraged the crowds. They have gathered together in raincoats and umbrellas. Yesterday, Sean Feucht told a crowd that took Communion together that rain wouldn’t stop the event.
“We are not worried about rain,” Feucht announced yesterday, with a response of cheers from the crowd. “No one cares! It’s gonna be fine! The show must go on. We’ve worshipped in 45 cities. If you think we’re gonna stop because of a little rain, you don’t know this crew. So we’re gonna be fine. In fact, the rain may even make it more fun.”
Sean Feucht is a California-based worship leader who has been leading “worship protests” in dozens of cities across the nation since July. The movement started as a response to California Governor Gavin Newsom’s COVID-19 order that banned singing in churches.
Feucht’s spiritual leadership in a time of great national crisis has attracted the praise of Christian leaders like Franklin Graham, as well as the ire of city officials. Many have criticized the events for not emphasizing the importance of social distancing and wearing face masks.
Feucht has been quick to point out the hypocrisy of criticisms against worship gatherings when other protests have been given the thumbs-up. He has also claimed that no one has caught COVID at his events.
Worship will begin on the National Mall at 4 PM EST. You can livestream the event on YouTube by clicking here.
Hundreds of people gathered on the National Mall Saturday afternoon to partake in the Christian tradition of communion together in preparation for a massive worship gathering expected to draw crowds of 15,000 on Sunday.
California-based worship leader Sean Feucht has been leading “Let Us Worship” events across the nation since July. Tomorrow’s event in D.C. marks the culmination of his campaign to protest government restrictions on religious worship, to inspire hope in the face of nationwide riots, and to ask God to send revival.
It also happens that the D.C. worship event will be taking place the night before the Senate is expected to vote on the confirmation of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court. The alignment of these two events was called “diving timing” by The Christian Post. The confirmation of Judge Barrett would shift the Court to a conservative majority which has the potential to support many evangelical Christian causes such as religious freedom and the abolition of abortion.
This afternoon Feucht led a crowd in communion, a Christian practice in which the faithful partake of a piece of bread and wine (or grape juice in some circles) in remembrance of the Last Supper of Jesus Christ before his crucifixion and resurrection.
The gathering was nothing fancy: Just a man in jogging pants, a sweatshirt, with a guitar, leading a crowd in song and prayer. The elements of communion (bread and grape juice) were displayed in simplicity on a table draped in a white cloth.
Feucht led everyone in singing “Nothing But the Blood” (a traditional Christian hymn) and “What A Beautiful Name” (a popular modern worship song).
Charles Stock – senior pastor at Life Center Ministries in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania – read from Scripture and administrated the taking of the elements.
“The purpose of it is to unite us,” Stock said of communion before reading from 1 Corinthians 10:16-17 and 1 Corinthians 11:23-26.
Leaders of the event were invited to partake of communion first. While there was not enough to go around to all in the crowd, many participants had come prepared with their own communion elements.
Feucht led the crowd in another worship song (“Oh Lord, You’re Beautiful” by Keith Green, a worship leader famous during the Jesus People movement of the 1970’s), and then Lou Engle led a prayer:
“Jesus, I plead your blood over my sins and the sins of my nation. End abortion. Send revival to America.”
Seattle-based pastor Tracey Armstrong closed the event in prayer, and Feucht encouraged people to spend the evening walking around the National Mall and pray in preparation for tomorrow’s events.
Feucht’s team spent the day setting up the stage:
Last week, the event was burdened with an unexpected $30,000 fee for turf protection. The entire amount was raised within days by generous supporters of Feucht’s work.
Feucht has a full day of prayer planned for Sunday that begins on the Supreme Court steps at 10 AM EST. Prayer will then rotate to St. John’s Episcopal Church at 1:30 PM, then to the Lincoln Memorial Steps at 2:30 PM EST.
The main event will be held on the National Mall between 7th and 9th Streets at 4 PM EST.
The event will be live streamed on YouTube for those who are unable to attend in person.
In a new documentary that premiered this week, Pope Francis made a controversial endorsement of civil unions laws for homosexual couples.
“Homosexuals have a right to be a part of the family,” Francis said in the documentary. “They’re children of God and have a right to a family. Nobody should be thrown out, or made miserable because of it.”
“What we have to create is a civil union law,” he continued. That way they are legally covered.”
His comments have made waves in religious circles, and there is much disagreement about whether or not Francis’ comments undermine the Catholic Church’s position on homosexuality. While they do not change the Catholic doctrine that marriage is strictly defined as the union between one man and one woman, many are saying they mark a shift in the Vatican’s language.
Reverend James Martin, a Catholic priest who has been at the forefront of reconciliation between the Church and the LGBTQ community, called Francis’s comments “a major step forward in the church’s support for LGBT people.”
Similarly, in an interview with NPR, Father Bryan Massingale, an openly gay Catholic priest, celebrated the pope’s comments about “family rights”: “I was actually very excited and even jubilant I have to say. I was very, very pleased to hear the Pope make this kind of endorsement of civil unions for gay and lesbian persons.”
The Catholic News Agency, on the other hand, called the remarks “a shift from the perspectives of his predecessors”, namely Popes Benedict XVI and John Paul II, who guided the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith that states:
“…respect for homosexual persons cannot lead in any way to approval of homosexual behaviour or to legal recognition of homosexual unions. The common good requires that laws recognize, promote and protect marriage as the basis of the family, the primary unit of society.”
Matt Frad, an Australian Catholic author whose podcast “Pints with Aquinas” receives hundreds of thousands of downloads every month, spoke on behalf of traditional Catholics in a Youtube video addressing the Pope’s comments:
“We think he says things that are massively unhelpful and then doesn’t clarify them,” Frad said. “When you get ambiguous claims at best, which then are never clarified, it’s frustrating, especially as we seek to make Christ’s last commandment our first priority.”
“Maybe a libertarian case can be made for civil unions among homosexuals,” Frad continued, “but when you say stuff like this, the way the world hears you is, ‘Homosexual acts are not disordered and the Catholic Church has changed its opinion on this.'”
“Francesco” is a documentary showcasing the life of Pope Francis and the global political and social issues that the Vatican has faced under his leadership. The director, Evgeny Afineevsky, secured exclusive interviews with Pope Francis for the production of the film.
It premiered at the Rome Film Festival on Wednesday and was awarded the “Kineo Movie for Humanity Award” on Thursday in the Vatican Gardens.
“Francesco” is scheduled to premiere in the United States on October 25th at the Savannah Film Festival.
Libertas Christian School filed a lawsuit over the weekend against Governor Gretchen Whitmer and other state officials for violating the Constitutional rights of the school, parents, and students by actively pursuing its closure.
Libertas Christian School is a classical Christian education institution in Hudsonville, Michigan, with over 265 students ranging from grades pre-K to 12th grade. Their mission is “to partner with parents to educate and disciple children consistent with a biblical worldview, teaching them to be lifelong learners able to discern, articulate, and defend truth in a compelling, winsome Christ-like manner.”
In the text of the lawsuit, they explain that “students, their families, and their teachers reside in and constitute a close-knit community grown primarily from grassroots homeschool families.”
As such, they argue that it is “inappropriate, unwise, and unconstitutional to try to fit the State’s current designs of how an industrialized state-run school should operate to this bible-based association.”
Libertas had formulated a comprehensive plan over the summer for a successful school year of in-person learning in the face of COVID-19 and government restrictions. That plan included increased cleaning of all facilities, regular recommendations to wash hands, providing hand sanitizer and face masks, and protocols which would keep sick children at home, even if asymptomatic.
The plan received wide support from parents, evidenced by families voluntarily sending their children to school and the fact that enrollment at the school increased by nearly 50 students.
The school boasts that not a single student has become sick or tested positive for COVID-19.
Nevertheless, the Governor’s Administration immediately began targeting the school when classes began on September 4th with threats of imprisonment and promises to shut down the school.
PR Newswire reports that state officials never actually visited the school or discussed alternative options with the Headmaster. County and state officials have demanded that the school “cease and desist” after an anonymous complaint came in about singing in chapel.
The cease and desist order, served to Libertas on October 15th according to the lawsuit, demanded that the school immediately cease all operations and comply with the Governor’s October 5th order or face misdemeanor charges and the possibility of 6 months’ imprisonment of school officials.
The Michigan Supreme Court invalidated Governor Whitmer’s executive orders on October 2nd. As evidenced here, Whitmer has since defied the ruling of the Court.
“This violates the First Amendment rights of assembly and religion for the school’s 265 students, as well as parents and staff,” said Ian Northon, special counsel for the Amistad Project of the Thomas More Society, representing the school and providing financial assistance in the lawsuit.
“It is a shocking and audacious abuse of power,” Northon continued, “which started on the first day of school on September 4, and has continued despite the unanimous ruling by the Michigan Supreme Court declaring Governor Whitmer’s related Executive Orders unlawful.”
“The Whitmer Administration lost before the highest court in Michigan and is now sidestepping the Michigan Constitution to violate the most basic rights of the students and parents,” said Phill Kline, Director of the Amistad Project. “We will strongly support the students and parents as they stand up to bullies who are willing to use the full apparatus of the state against the students and parents of Libertas Christian School.”
Kline says that Governor Whitmer “has removed herself from the lawmaking process and has instead declared herself to be the law. My question for the Governor is, when did she lose faith in democracy?”