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Mar 08, 2019 by Alyssa Duvall
William McLeod (Photo: KSTU-TV)

A Catholic fourth grader in the Davis School District of Bountiful, Utah received a harsh lesson in tolerance and inclusivity in the public school environment this week, demonstrating the increasing hostility toward professing Christians in the public square.

In post-Christian America, even the smallest demonstration of faith becomes an act of microaggression and hate that must be sanitized and stamped out.

This is exactly the experience of William McLeod, a little boy who came to class this week with an apparently hideously offensive symbol smeared onto his forehead: an ashen cross, commemorating Ash Wednesday and the beginning of Lent.

When McLeod got to school that day, he quickly realized that he was the only one of his class bearing the symbol, but the young man was happy to entertain his classmates’ questions about it.

“A lot of students asked me what it is. I said, ‘I’m Catholic. It’s the first day of Lent. It’s Ash Wednesday,’” William recounted to Fox 13.

While his interactions with his peers seemed to be going fine—in spite of committing the academic capital crime of standing out and being different—McLeod’s teacher abruptly marched over to the boy’s desk and demanded that he wipe off the cross.

McLeod attempted to explain the importance of wearing the ashes to his teacher, but to no avail. The fourth grader found out that day precisely how unwelcome even the most subtle public displays of Christian faith are in many public schools, including his own.

“She took me aside and she said, ‘You have to take it off,’” the boy described. “She gave me a disinfection wipe—whatever they are called—and she made me wipe it off.”

To be clear, the adversarial attitude toward Christianity belonged solely to that particular teacher, as the administration has been quick to clean up the incident and offer apologies and investigations. In fact, upon learning of the incident, the school’s principal made a call to William’s family to apologize.

“I was pretty upset,” said Karen Fisher, William’s grandmother, who says she also received a call from the teacher who forced him to remove the ashes.

“I asked [the teacher] if she read the Constitution with the First Amendment, and she said, no,” Fisher recalled in frustration. Had the teacher been aware of perhaps one of the greatest laws of the country in which she teaches children, she might have known that public institutions are prohibited from establishing or preventing the free exercise of anyone’s religion.

For their part, the Davis School District is apologizing for the unacceptable incident and declaring that students of all faiths should feel welcomed there.

“Why that even came up, I have no idea,” said Chris Williams, a spokesperson for the district. “When a student comes in to school with ashes on their forehead, it’s not something we say ‘Please take off.'”

The district is reportedly “taking this incident seriously” and conducting an investigation.

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 Feb 22, 2018 by Alyssa Duvall

Yesterday, we announced with solemn joy that evangelist Billy Graham, at age 99, had died and passed into the glorious presence of God. Today, we wish to remember Graham and the incredible work he did for the kingdom of Christ. Listen and be blessed by his seven most powerful sermons in the videos below:

  1. Three Things You Cannot Do Without

  2. Who Is Jesus?

  3. Reaping What You Sow

  4. The Value Of A Soul

  5. How To Live The Christian Life

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In the first days of 2018, the state of California rang in the new year with a controversial public policy change: legalizing recreational marijuana for people 21 and older. While marijuana policy reform advocates nationwide applaud the move, opponents like Bishop Ron Allen, a former drug addict, foresee legalized weed as California’s “downfall”.

Bishop Allen, president of the International Faith Based Coalition, shared his thoughts in a Tuesday episode of “‘Fox & Friends”

“Marijuana is still the number one gateway drug next to alcohol and the state of California is in for a great downfall. This is not the way to make money,” Allen declared.

In response to the popular argument that legalization of marijuana raises tax revenue and creates thousands of new jobs, Allen said that “the Holy Bible is still true, money is still the root to all evil.”

“It’s a sad day for the state of California and it is a betrayal for our elected officials to put political and financial gain in front of the public safety of the citizens of the state of California in the United States,” Allen continued.

According to ABC News, California Highway Patrol officers are issuing warnings to drivers, urging them to be aware of the possibility of increased impaired drivers on the road.

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 Dec 21, 2017 by Alyssa Duvall

In a challenging editorial for The New Yorker, acclaimed Bible teacher Tim Keller asks evangelical readers if the movement, or at least its reputation for morality, can survive having supported controversial figures such as President Donald Trump or Senate candidate Roy Moore. “People who once called themselves the ‘Moral Majority’,” Keller suggests, “are now seemingly willing to vote for anyone, however immoral, who supports their political positions.”

Noting the evolution of the term “evangelical” and its connotations throughout history, the Redeemer Presbyterian church founder shares that when he first became a Christian “in the early nineteen-seventies, the word ‘evangelical’ still meant an alternative to the fortress mentality of fundamentalism,” while still rejecting the divergence in mainline Protestantism from core doctrines of the faith.

Today, however, Keller observes that the label, mostly through the interference of political pundits and pollsters, has taken on a drastically different meaning. “More than eighty per cent of [self-identified evangelicals] voted for Donald Trump, and, last week, a similar percentage cast their ballots for Roy Moore, in the Alabama Senate race. So, in common parlance, evangelicals have become people with two qualities: they are both self-professed Christians and doggedly conservative politically.” Essentially, Keller explains that evangelicals have allowed themselves to be defined by outside secular sources: “…Evangelicalism is defined not by a political party, whether conservative, liberal, or populist, but by theological beliefs.”

Keller notes the difficulty many within the Christian community have with reconciling Christian values and beliefs with the seemingly questionable character of the Conservative candidates they are expected to support: “‘Evangelical’ used to denote people who claimed the high moral ground; now, in popular usage, the word is nearly synonymous with ‘hypocrite.’ When I used the word to describe myself in the nineteen-seventies, it meant I was not a fundamentalist. If I use the name today, however, it means to hearers that I am.”

So, what is a true evangelical? According to Keller, who cites evangelical historian David Bebbington, evangelicals are best defined from beliefs that set them apart from the rest of the Christian community: They believe the whole of Scripture is inspired and authoritative, unlike mainline denominations who believe much of it to be obsolete. They also regard it as the ultimate authority, unlike Roman Catholics who add church tradition and papal infallibility to the mix. In evangelicalism, defining creeds such as the Apostles’ Creed and the Nicene Creed are accepted “without reservation”. And, unlike a surprising number of mainline Protestants, “evangelicals believe that Jesus truly did exist as the divine Son before he was born, that he actually was born of a virgin, and that he really was raised bodily from the dead.”

Keller continues, “…another defining evangelical quality is the belief in the necessity of conversion, the conviction that everyone needs a profound, life-changing encounter with God…through faith in Christ’s sacrificial death for sin.” Finally, evangelicals are “bound by both desire and duty to share their faith with others in both word and deeds of service.”

Do politically-driven, “capital-E” Evangelicals meet these criteria? Recent studies suggest that they largely do not. According to polls conducted by LifeWay research, only 1 in 100 Americans would call himself “evangelical” if the label had nothing to do with politics. “Meanwhile,” as Christianity Today reported, “the label is primarily a political identity for only about 1 in 10 self-identified evangelicals,” revealing a “gap between who evangelicals say they are and what they believe.”

Keller explains that there is a much larger evangelical community, in America and worldwide, which holds true to its faith roots independently of politics and secular influence. Whether this rising movement, and the churches it spawns, will continue to use the co-opted Evangelical label, Keller is uncertain–but he is sure it doesn’t matter: “The movement may abandon, or at least demote, the prominence of the name, yet be more committed to its theology and historic impulses than ever.”

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