Attacks On Religious First Amendment Freedom And Christian Homeschooling Are No Longer Subtle

History shows our forefathers, in large part, fled Europe looking for a place where the government could no longer control everything to do with religion and education. They endured centuries in their Homeland during which a small group of elitists dominated both religion and the education of children. Those governments gave NO thought to how any citizen of those countries felt about or was impacted by the unilateral decisions made by this small group of power pundits. Our ancestors made it clear through the foundation process of America that both Freedom of Speech and Freedom of Religion were rights solely retained by the People when our federal government was formed.

For about 250 years, those rights enshrined in the Bill of Rights were the guiding tenets of life in the United States. Americans took them for granted. Doing so maybe our downfall.

Today, both Christian religion and Christian education are being pummeled by the politically Left among us. And with the Left in total control of our government, activists in both areas have assumed their majorities in the U.S. House and Senate are something of a consensus given to Congress and the Democrat President to “change” both. And both are already — in just the first few months of the Biden Administration — under egregious assault.

How so? Please take a look with us.

Freedom of Religion

The right to worship freely is often called America’s first freedom. Our founding fathers understood religious freedom not as the state’s creation but as an inalienable right from God.

This universal right is enshrined in the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution as well as the 1948 United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which states, “Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience, and religion.”

Today, however, religious freedom is threatened or restricted entirely for millions of people around the world. Over 80 percent of the world’s population lives in countries with high or severe restrictions on religious freedom. In far too many places across the globe, governments and others prevent individuals from living in accordance with their beliefs.

Recent reports by the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom and the pontifical foundation Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) found that violations against religious freedom worldwide are ongoing and widespread.

For example, USCIRF’s Annual 2021 Report recommended to the U.S. State Department that 14 countries receive its most severe designation, “country of particular concern (CPC),” because of their respective governments’ engagement or toleration of “systematic, ongoing, and egregious violations” against religious freedom. These countries included: Burma, China, Eritrea, Iran, North Korea, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, India, Russia, Syria, Vietnam, and Nigeria.

Further, ACN recently concluded, “During the period under review, there has been a significant increase in the severity of religiously motivated persecution and oppression.” It found that, in total, severe violations of religious freedom are taking place in 62 countries around the world.

Concerningly, the report authors wrote that some of the worst offenders are from some of the world’s most populous countries. For example, in China, the world’s most populated country with 1.4 billion people, the Chinese Communist Party is committing genocide in Xinjiang against Muslim Uyghurs and other ethnic and religious minorities.

Moreover, USCIRF and ACN reported that in some countries, the COVID-19 pandemic was exploited to blame, target, and discriminate against minority religious communities, in some cases denying them access to food and medical aid.

As these reports have shown, the denial of religious freedom is not an issue that is unique to any one country or group. Rather, it is a global challenge that requires strong leadership, bold action, and an unwavering commitment to overcome.

During his tenure, President Donald J. Trump was a champion for religious freedom. In June of 2020, he signed an Executive Order on Advancing International Religious Freedom. This executive order defined international religious freedom as a moral and national security imperative. It ensured that $50 million per year be allocated for programs that advance international religious freedom and required international religious freedom training for U.S. federal officials.

The Trump administration also launched the International Religious Freedom or Belief Alliance, a group of 32 countries committed to protecting religious freedom or belief.

Moreover, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo hosted two convocations to Advance Religious Freedom in 2018 and 2019, bringing together leaders worldwide to promote and protect religious freedom.

As religious persecution and repression continue to be widespread, protecting international religious freedom should remain a U.S. foreign policy priority. The Biden administration should build upon the work of the Trump administration to defend this fundamental human right. But, so far, it appears that this priority to protect religious freedom both here and abroad is nowhere to be found in this White House or Congress.

Who would have thought that attacks on the Freedom of Religion prevalent in OTHER countries would find their way into OUR nation even now!

Christian Education: “Homeschooling”

Christianity in the U.S. in our education systems is being annihilated as we speak. Again, an attack on religious freedoms while attacking Christian messaging in our schools at the same time!

Early in 2020, Elizabeth Bartholet, a professor at the Harvard Law School, became notorious for advocating a “presumptive ban” on homeschooling.

The 3 to 4 percent of U.S. parents who chose to educate their children at home would have to prove to educational authorities that “their case is justified,” and if they could not do so, have their children sent to public schools.

An article about Bartholet in Harvard’s alumni magazine, reiterating a position she had taken in a lengthy law-review article published shortly before, provoked a furor among parents and young people, some of them Harvard graduates, who had enjoyed successful homeschooling experiences.

Then came the coronavirus lockdown. With public schools shuttering their brick-and-mortar classrooms and teachers’ unions promising to keep them shuttered throughout the 2020–21 school year and beyond, the percentage of homeschooling households suddenly surged — to 5.4 percent in late April 2020 and to 11.1 percent by the end of September 2020. Many new homeschoolers were otherwise politically liberal urbanites, and the anti-homeschooling movement quickly faded as a progressive cause.

But now the homeschooling opponents are back, with a new, more specific focus: Christian homeschooling. The impetus was the January 6 invasion of the U.S. Capitol by disgruntled Trump supporters. It quickly became identified in the media with “white nationalism” and then with “white Christian nationalism,” on the premise that white evangelical Christians were an important voting bloc for Donald Trump in the 2020 election, and many had attended a huge Trump rally on the National Mall that day. From there, it was a quick jump to evangelical churches and schools and, of course, homeschools. Education pundits loudly urge the Biden Department of Education to push for accreditation entities across the nation to stop accrediting Christian schools that teach these alleged “white nationalism” and “white Christian nationalism” curricula.

On January 15, the Huffington Post ran a scathing critique of Abeka Publishing and the Bob Jones University Press, which publish textbooks and other materials used by many homeschooling evangelical parents: “Language used in the books overlaps with the rhetoric of Christian nationalism, often with overtones of nativism, militarism, and racism.”

Days later, Chrissy Stroop, a writer for the progressive website Religion Dispatches, chimed in: “It would be remiss of us to approach the ‘where were they radicalized’ question without addressing how the Christian schooling and homeschooling movement, along with many white churches and other evangelical, LDS, and ‘traditional’ Catholic institutions, fostered the subcultures” presumably responsible for the Capitol break-in.

A March 2 article in Ms. Magazine focused on “extremist, white supremacist” homeschooling curricula as “the product of a decades-long crusade to deregulate home-and private-school education, the fruits of which are visible in such phenomena as QAnon, COVID denialism, the Capitol riots …”

On April 22, numerous media outlets, including The Washington Post, ran a (now deleted) article from the Religion News Service by progressive pastor Doug Pagitt declaring that “homeschooling in conservative evangelical communities is a key channel for ideas to feed into Christian nationalism.”

“The conservative evangelical education system has become a pipeline of extremism,” Pagitt wrote.

Earlier, on March 30, Philip Gorski, a sociology professor at Yale who studies American religious trends, had tweeted: “Christian homeschooling was, and is often, if not always, a major vector of White Christian Nationalism.” (Gorski has since made his Twitter account private.)

None of this should come as a surprise. Although opponents of homeschooling have typically raised understandable concerns — such as whether parents with limited educations are equipped to teach math and reading, or whether some parents keep their children out of school as a pretext to abuse them — their actual animus as expressed in their writings is almost always directed at parents who are too religious for their tastes. That means evangelical and other conservative Christians (who still account for the vast majority of homeschoolers), along with Hasidic Jews who educate their children in their own yeshivas.

For example, in her article for the Arizona Law Review, Bartholet referred to what she called homeschooling parents’ ideological commitment to “isolating their children from the majority culture and indoctrinating them in views and values that are in serious conflict with that culture.”

Terms such as “indoctrinate,” “isolate,” views “far outside the mainstream,” and failure to “expose” children to “alternative perspectives” or to teach them to “think for themselves” — those are commonplaces of the academic writings of homeschooling opponents. To clarify whom they are talking about, these critics typically throw in a sarcastic reference to the Bible as “sacred, absolute truth.”

Up until very recently, however, homeschooling opponents kept their attacks reasonably subtle. That is, they didn’t come out and say directly that what they didn’t like about Christian homeschooling was the Christian part. Then, the January 6 invasion of the Capitol gave them an excuse to do exactly that, usually without being able to back up their attacks with evidence.

Yale professor Gorski, for example, admitted in a subsequent tweet that he had no idea how “big” the claimed “overlap between Christian Nationalists and Christian homeschoolers” actually might be.

It helps the critics’ cause, of course, that they and the media have redefined “nationalism” to mean mere patriotism or pride in America’s history and civilization and “Christian nation” to mean a theocracy instead of a country where 65 percent of the inhabitants of every ethnicity define themselves as Christians and hold some formulation of Christian ideals.

Hence, the trepidation over homeschooling textbooks from religious publishers that teach civic virtue asserts that God created the world as the Book of Genesis says and takes a dim view of such progressive shibboleths as feminism, transgender activism, the “1619 Project,” and climate alarmism.

The notion that parents, Christian or otherwise, should be forbidden by the government to educate their children in the values that they themselves hold dear — or be forced to “expose” them to values that they might find abhorrent but are definitely in the secular liberal “mainstream” (advocating unrestricted abortion or same-sex marriage, for example) — is totalitarianism at its crudest. And now that the gloves are off the anti-homeschoolers and their real aims, it’s also part of a particular war against a large number of Christians as well.

These same sycophants care not just about Christian homeschooling but are simultaneously attacking Christian schools, some of which offer the finest educations to today’s youth. Testing children from these Christian schools historical results in dramatically higher scores in the fundamental classroom subjects and life integrations with fellow students and others in their universe of contacts.

Christianity is a common trait. Therefore, Christianity MUST be driven out of our education system altogether. Sadly, their basis for doing so has nothing to do with the actual education of our children! Its sole purpose is to eliminate Christianity as an option to be considered while the maturation process occurs.

The saddest of all is that while the replacement god for the U.S. perpetuates the singular objective to eliminate Christianity, millions of Americans are sleeping while giving no thought to what’s happening. The pushback from even some Evangelicals is, “There’s no way that can happen! We have the guaranteed right to Free Speech. If they try that, the Law will back us up.”

Don’t forget: the other big target for these Leftists is to destroy the Rule of Law itself! Remember: sleeping Americans thought that would never happen either. But don’t forget this: it’s estimated there are actually 20-40 million illegal immigrants living among us today. “Illegal” means those 20-40 million broke federal law to come and remain here. Those federal laws that are numerous were broken, and no one does anything about it!

Knowing that, do you think it’s a far reach to believe no one will enforce the First Amendment’s obliteration in the cause to “keep Americans safe from white nationalism?”

To Download Today’s (Monday, May 10, 2021) “TNN Live” Show, click on this link:

Is Becoming a Christian Now a Death Sentence?

When I was really little, I remember an evangelist that came to our church and preached a sermon on Christians being persecuted. He spoke of Christians in Africa that were being persecuted — even some killed — back then. He spoke of a missionary named J.W. Tucker that was killed by Congolese rebels in The Congo the day before Thanksgiving in 1964 just for being a Christian. But it scared me to death when he spoke of Christians in the United States being persecuted and even executed just for being Christians.

That can never happen! After all, our forefathers came to the “New World” in part to guarantee that all who lived here would have total freedom from persecution for their religious affiliation — even if they did NOT have a religion. The Constitution guarantees Americans the Freedom of Speech in the First Amendment. That assures Christians should have no concerns at all about being attacked for their expressions of Christianity.

But apparently, things are changing.

Daily Mail—The Muslim convert who allegedly beheaded a female co-worker was shouting Islamic phrases as he tore across the store wielding a knife, it has been claimed.  Alton Alexander Nolen, 30, was trying to convince workers that Islam teaches that the punishment is acceptable on Thursday, shortly before he was fired from his job at Vaughan Foods in Moore, Oklahoma, according to local media. He returned the same day and lashed out at colleagues Colleen Hufford and Traci Johnson with a knife, police said. After being shot by sheriff’s deputy Mark Vaughan, who is also the firm’s CEO, in the wake of the horrific attack he has woken up in a hospital and is being questioned by police. And as the FBI investigates his conversion to Islam in connection with the killing, reports have emerged that Nolen was shouting Islamic phrases during the rampage. Nolen also spoke of the U.S. need to convert to Sharia Law.

The beheading occurred in 2014 and was tied directly to Islamic law. The murderer was later sentenced to death.

Yes, such killings thankfully are not frequent in the U.S. But the Muslim population is increasing at dramatic levels in the U.S. Though many Muslims do not consider themselves to be “activists,” there certainly are very serious demands for all Muslims in the Quran — their written guide as is The Holy Bible to Christians. I suggest every Christian needs to learn about the Muslim faith and the principles spelled out in Sharia Law — which is the law implemented in Muslim-majority nations that govern everyday lives for Muslims. Feel free to download or just read the tenets of Sharia Law: Key Tenets of Sharia Law

Does this mean Christians should fear Muslims? Not at all! But make sure you understand what many who are devout Muslims and believe in life under Sharia Law certainly believe killing all those who are not Muslims is not only called for but commanded in Sharia Law. This guy in Oklahoma certainly felt his act was justified.

Christians are facing persecution for their beliefs today in the U.S. — even if they do not rise to the level of execution. But they do exist — even in our schools.

Is prohibiting a Christian Christmas song to be shared at school persecution? It doesn’t rise to the level of physical attacks and even execution for one’s beliefs. But, who would have thought a decade ago that an American school would disallow not the singing, but just a piano version of “Joy To The World” at a school program?

I’m certain there’s a really slippery slope here. Twenty years ago, I doubt Nigerian Christians were afraid of execution just for being Christians.

Overseas It’s Way Different

ISIS-aligned jihadists have released a video claiming to show the execution of eleven blindfolded Christian men in Nigeria, in what analysts say was a barbaric act that was clearly timed to coincide with Christmas, according to reports.

“This is a message to Christians all over the world,” a masked man says in the one-minute video posted online by the terror group’s Amaq news agency. He claimed the killings at the hands of jihadists from the Islamic State West African Province were in retaliation for the death of ISIS chief Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and his spokesman. Baghdadi committed suicide in October during a U.S. special forces operation in Syria. No details were given about the victims, but ISIS said they were “captured in the past weeks” in Nigeria’s northeastern Borno state.

The ISIS fighters wore beige uniforms with black masks. They each stood behind a Christian man. The leader shot one while the others were thrown to the ground and beheaded.

The news out of Nigeria is getting progressively worse as it is being reported that more than 300 people were killed in at least seven predominantly Christian villages across Nigeria in February and March of 2019, according to multiple sources that monitor persecution of Christians. “Since February 10, there have been at least 270 people killed in Kaduna State alone,” International Christian Concern confirms. “It has been reported that at least 70 Christians were killed during a 10-week span at the beginning of 2019 across the other Middle Belt states.”

In one early morning attack on the village of Karamai on Feb. 14, sources said 41 people died after 300 gunmen swarmed the village shouting “Allahu Akbar!” as they fired their weapons and ransacked people’s homes. It was reported almost all of those killed were women and children along with a few senior residents who were unable to run away.

Not Just in Africa

During the year 2016, some 90,000 Christians were killed for their faith around the world, according to a new study from the Turin-based Center for Studies on New Religions (CESNUR).

The director of CESNUR and leader of the study, Dr. Massimo Introvigne, told Breitbart News that Christians are the most persecuted religious group in the world, and the numbers of those affected are staggering. “Christians are targeted primarily for two reasons,” Introvigne said, “first because their proclamation of peace disturbs more belligerent groups; and second, because their social teachings on life, family and poverty are opposed by powerful forces.”

“While in the past century, atheistic communist regimes were the greatest persecutors of Christians,’ Introvigne added, “the geopolitical landscape has changed considerably since then and the actors have changed as well. He continued,  “While ‘Communism’s last attacks’ are still responsible for some ill-treatment of Christians,” Introvigne told Breitbart, “Islamic ‘ultra-fundamentalism’ has taken its place as the number-one agent of persecution.”

Introvigne’s findings mirror those of other scholars and human rights groups. According to the “World Watch List,” for example, published by the Open Doors organization, nine out of the top ten countries where Christians suffer “extreme persecution” had populations that are at least 50 percent Muslim. The 2016 report found that “Islamic extremism is by far the most significant persecution engine” of Christians in the world today and that “40 of the 50 countries on the World Watch List are affected by this kind of persecution.”

Introvigne said that in Nigeria, “over the last 12 years, the most reliable estimates assess at more than 10,000 Christians killed by the Islamic ultra-fundamentalist organization Nigeria’s Boko Haram.”

While some groups, like Boko Haram, are private organizations, in a number of countries, “persecution of Christians is actually promoted by the governments,” Introvigne said. “Several Muslim countries still have laws punishing apostasy—converting from Islam to another religion,” he noted. “Others have laws against blasphemy, and some tend to consider any criticism of Islam as blasphemy.”

While tens of thousands of Christians are killed for their faith, they are just the tip of the iceberg and much persecution takes place on a daily basis that never makes news, according to Introvigne.

North Korea again tops the list of the 50 most dangerous countries to follow Jesus Christ. The 2019 World Watch List released Wednesday by Open Doors USA highlights where action is desperately needed to protect Christians.

President Trump has met with many of the leaders whose countries make the list, including China, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, and North Korea. The Trump administration has made religious freedom a priority. Case in point – fighting for the release of Pastor Andrew Brunson from Turkey. But there’s more the U.S. government can do and that’s the backbone behind this list.

The spread of radical Islam increases the danger of Christians worldwide. “Many Christians are being killed because of their faith,” said Father Daniel Alkhory, an Iraqi native. CBN News asked Alkhory why he stays while other priests have left due to safety concerns.

“I’m staying to stay with my people,” he responded. “So this is the only thing that is keeping me staying there and helping them because they need help now urgently. So if I am not going to be there who is going to help them?”

Iraq is number 13 on the watch list of countries where Christians face the most persecution. For the last 27 years, Open Doors USA has documented the most oppressive and restrictive countries for Christians. Topping this year’s list is North Korea followed by Afghanistan, Somalia, Libya, and Pakistan.

Top 10 Countries Where Christians are Persecuted

1.    North Korea
2.    Afghanistan
3.    Somalia
4.    Libya
5.    Pakistan
6.    Sudan
7.    Eritrea
8.    Yemen
9.    Iran
10.  India

“We believe now based on our research that there are over 245 million Christians who live in areas of extreme or high persecution – that’s a lot,” David Curry, president & CEO of Open Doors USA told CBN News. Curry adds that violence against Christians increased dramatically this past year in China.

“They moved up from #41 to #27 on the list,” he told CBN News. “That’s a big jump. It’s a huge jump and it shows things are getting more difficult for China and it’s a big church so a lot of people are affected.”

NOKO

North Korea remains number one for the 18th year in a row, despite talks between President Trump and Dictator Kim Jong Un. “I would love to see human rights be a part of the discussion when you are talking about nuclear arms because you can tell within 30, 60, 90 days if conditions have improved for Christians in the labor camps,” Curry explained. “Right now, there are over 60,000 Christians in labor camps in North Korea. A lot of people don’t know that.”

Vice President Mike Pence reaffirmed that the White House will always be a champion for people of faith.

“Protecting and promoting religious freedom is a foreign policy priority of this administration,” Pence said.

Open Doors continues its efforts hoping governments, human rights groups, and other organizations will take notice, get involved and help believers.

For example, Bahrain dropped off the list this year after meeting with Christian leaders to set up a safe space for people to worship. Curry says it’s a role model in the Middle East.

Summary

Being a Christian is dangerous in much of the world today. How long do Christians in the U.S. have before similar persecution seen overseas make its way in violent form to our country? Of course, we all want to think and say, “Nothing like that can happen here! Our Constitution protects us. Our government will protect us from any violence from those who hate Christians.”

I felt that growing up — especially when as a little boy that evangelist told the story of missionary slaughters in The Congo: “That only happens in Africa, not here!”

That lady in Oklahoma went to work for another day of “doing the deal,” minding her own business, putting bread on the table for her children or buying a school outfit or two. She never thought the Islamist zealot who had talked to her about converting to his religion would go nuts and kill her. She just innocently let him know she was a Christian.

I’m certainly not trying to scare anyone. But we’ve seen drastic social changes in the U.S. — some of in the past four or five years — that were never thought possible just ten or twenty years ago!

The purpose today is to make sure you have facts to use to make decisions. I like you cannot predict the future. We cannot prepare our families or ourselves for every possibility we may face. But what we can is put the consideration of the “major” possibilities in the conversation to think about, pray about, and prepare a few “what-if’s” just in case we face one or more.

Christian Persecution is probably one of those things for which we need to prepare a “what-if” or two, don’t you think?

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