One of the most disturbing court cases this year has been the horrifically misguided decision of three justices in the Washington State Supreme Court, who have turned a blind eye to the US Constitution's First Amendment and even the state's own constitution! For more details, read this posting.
We are pleased to introduce Carter Budwell III to our clients and friends. He joined our law firm and ministry at the start of this new year and has already won a case! Please see his blog below, which describes the case and its outcome. Mr. Budwell earned his J.D. degree from Regent University School of Law in 2016 and was just recently admitted to the Virginia Bar. We are very pleased to have him join our firm. He will be the attorney in our Newtown office. Welcome, Carter!
by Carter Budwell III
“The Lord works righteousness and justice for all the oppressed.” – Psalm 103:6
Our firm is pleased to announce that the week of January 30, 2017, started with a great victory for Christian Rights Ministries. Our good friend, Mr. Don Karns, who has dedicated his life to preaching the Gospel, was found not guilty of violating a Newport News noise ordinance.
On December 3, 2016, Mr. Karns and some of his colleagues were preaching the Gospel at a major local event in Newport News known as Hollydazzle, where thousands come each year to celebrate Christmas. Due to the size of the crowd and the noise generated by the event, Mr. Karns and his friends used a small amplification device.
At approximately 5:20 that evening, they were approached by a number of Newport News police officers, who instructed them to cease using the amplifier or face arrest. It is important to note at this point that the ordinance cited by the officers, Newport News Local Ordinance § 28-36, does not completely ban amplified noises; rather, it bans noises that can be heard from a distance of more than fifty (50) feet from the source of amplification. However, Mr. Karns and his friends were not instructed to lower the volume of the device; rather, they were told they had to stop using the device. Believing the officer’s instructions to be in violation of his rights under the Constitution, Mr. Karns continued to preach the Good News, and was subsequently cited for violating the ordinance.
Mr. Karns case was heard before the Newport News General District Court on the morning of January 30, 2017. The case was handled by the newest addition to the Alliance Legal Group, Attorney Carter Budwell. The citing officer admitted that no distance measurements had been taken that night, and that although measurements were taken two weeks later using landmarks noted at the scene, those landmarks were not based on where Mr. Karns was first heard, but rather where another speaker from the group was heard. Furthermore, the officer admitted that the group had been told that they could preach, but not with amplification (it should be noted at this point that the officer was extremely courteous and cooperative in investigating this case and preparing for trial, and we are grateful to him for that). Ultimately, the judge found that the officer had failed to meet the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
We are grateful to the Lord for this victory, and yet saddened that it was necessary in the first place. Mr. Karns was not preaching in a quiet neighborhood in the wee hours of the morning, but rather at a massive public event attended by thousands in which there was a live band playing greatly amplified music in the background. The noise that Mr. Karns was making was easily compatible with such ambient noise, yet he was cited nonetheless, and was never given the opportunity to lower the volume.
As we enjoy the aftermath of this victory, we must continue to pray that such incidents do not occur again in the future. Using amplified speech, subject to certain, narrow restrictions, has been protected by the Supreme Court for decades, as it is so often necessary to effectively reach people in modern society. Let us pray that the Lord will continue to grant wisdom to judges deciding cases such as this, and that throughout our Nation this right will continue to protect those like Mr. Karns, who so willingly face off against fear of man and boldly proclaim the Lord’s truth.
Praying for Tuesday's Election
Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who put darkness for light, and light for darkness; Who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! (Isaiah 5:20)
I share the sentiments of many righteous people that Tuesday's presidential election will be the most critical in our lifetimes, perhaps in the history of our republic. The stakes are very, very high, and the destiny of our nation, humanly speaking, rests in the outcome.
Our country cannot survive if the trends started eight years ago continue another four. We cannot survive economically, militarily, and above all morally. Our country is coming apart at the seams due to one godless policy after another, and now American citizens are fighting among themselves along racial, social, political, and moral lines. This current administration has done more damage to our country’s spiritual and moral fiber than any other in American history.
Let me be completely frank: Hillary Clinton cannot be the president of our nation. If she gets elected, her administration will be buffeted and rocked by one investigation after another. Why? Over the past several years, she and her husband have racked up millions and millions of dollars through graft and corruption--all quite apart from her dangerous political views!!! She has proven herself to be untrustworthy in her role as Secretary of State in handling classified information--do we think she will do any better as President? Hers will be a legacy of more cover up, more intimidation, more lying, more corruption, more underhanded dealing. And . . . more wickedness.
It is now the 11th hour, and God-fearing people all across America need to pray like they have never prayed before. We are in a deep crisis, beyond words to express. It is more than just a political battle, it is a profoundly intense spiritual one. Satan is working overtime to destroy the country, and he is using people like Hillary and her ilk to do so.
And so, it’s time to pray! Here are some specific issues to pray for. Pray that God, in His mercy and sovereignty, will give us wise, godly, and righteous leaders: men and women of integrity and strong moral character. Ask God for favor and protection over the nation during this time, as threats of terrorism and riots on election day and after are circulating. Pray that God will protect the integrity of the voting process, and that every person’s vote will be counted fairly. Pray that the godless laws and policies of the previous administration will be overturned. Pray that God will select leaders who believe in the normal family, who believe in the sanctity of all life, who respect our nation's spiritual heritage. Above all, pray that God will open the eyes of all Americans to what’s at stake and to see all the corruption and wickedness that has permeated our government! May they see this and vote wisely, for a change in direction!
Let me make it clear that this piece is my opinion only and does not necessarily reflect the views of Christian Rights Ministries.
For my friends on Facebook, and for other Christians who are struggling over Donald Trump, I offer my latest reflections. Let me know your thoughts, and may God give us all wisdom during this election cycle.
In the aftermath of the release of a shocking audio in which Donald Trump speaks in a manner highly offensive to women, evangelical Christians, and morally-decent people my initial reaction was to write him off completely. I joined with others in calling for someone else more qualified to replace him. What he said was highly offensive and most inappropriate for anyone running for public office.
As I reflected a bit more on this, however, I came to an awareness of my own hypocrisy. I could only think back on the number of times I thought things, did things, or said things in private settings, that if they were made public, I would be horrified and ashamed. I would not want to have my entire life and career judged by those few moments of indiscretion. But Mr. Trump had the misfortune of being caught. .
As Christians our duty is to forgive Mr. Trump. The Lord commands us to do so, as He has forgiven us. That does not mean we condone any of his behavior or words on that recording. But it does mean we accept his apology and forgive him. To do otherwise is to be disobedient to the Lord himself.
Then I thought of some of the greatest men in the Bible with deep flaws: Moses murdered an Egyptian. David committed adultery, lied, and then arranged to have a loyal warrior killed. Peter denied the Lord, even calling cursings upon himself in the process. Solomon was an idolater. Samson was a rascal. Jacob, a deceiver. On and on the list goes. The amazing thing is that the Lord still used them and even blessed them!!
Let me add one more notable example. In Isaiah 45:1-6, Isaiah mentions prophetically a pagan king, Cyrus, whom the Lord would raise up for the benefit of the people of Israel. The Lord says, "You do not know me, but I will be glorified through you." This prophecy was fulfilled in 2 Chronicles 36:22-23 and Ezra 1:1.
If we are honest with ourselves, we will admit we are sinners, just as Trump is. We are depraved, morally corrupt, steeped in sin, infected with wicked hearts and prone to rebellion against God. We are no better than he is, and if we think we are, then we have another problem (self-righteous moralism). Only by God's grace are we other than what we were.
It is sheer hypocrisy for me to distance myself from Mr. Trump for fear that supporting him will make me look bad. Look, perhaps I should think the same thing about every single person who supports Hillary when we consider her character.
I remember recent history: Bill Clinton was elected president when his prior dalliances were very well known. Our country paid the price for it, to be sure, but it is highly arbitrary and inconsistent to write off Mr. Trump for behavior that does not approximate Mr. Clinton's.
Finally, we need to avoid falling into fallacious thinking. Mr. Trump has some very solid ideas, far superior, in my opinion, to Mrs. Clinton. The man's crudeness, brashness, and arrogance are quite irrelevant to the positions he holds on the vital issues facing this country. And if he is able to surround himself with good people, people the caliber of Mike Pence, I think he could have a successful presidency, and that is why I am still voting for him.
How many truly Christian voters are there who have a solid grasp of the Bible's teachings on the critical issues of the day, can apply the Bible's teachings on those issues, and vote in accordance with them? How many Christians are really Values Voters?
Is it possible to be a Christian and not have a thoroughly biblical worldview? The answer is yes, unfortunately. Many Christians have disengaged their minds and have succumbed to the attractions and deceptions of mind-numbing media--movies, television, video games, music, biased and one-sided news reporting--such that the ability to grapple with the critical issues of the day has been profoundly hampered, leading to a lack of spiritual discernment.
I am thoroughly befuddled when I hear Christians saying they are going to vote for a candidate whose stance is antithetical to the Bible's teachings.
1. The Bible addresses the sanctify of human life
2. The Bible speaks to God’s design for marriage and family
3. The Bible demands truthfulness and honesty
4. The Bible expects government to protect its citizens
5. The Bible requires sound economic policy
6. The Bible locates the family as the center of a child’s education
7. The Bible condemns false religion
8. The Bible says that the nation who honors God is blessed
And so what is the profile of a discerning voter?
1. A discerning voter believes in absolute truth
2. A discerning voter believes in moral absolutes
3. A discerning voter takes the constitution seriously and does not believe it should be tampered with
4. A discerning voter respects this country’s spiritual heritage and freedom of religion
5. A discerning voter respects the divine blueprint for marriage and family
6. A discerning voter respects the sanctity of life
7. A discerning voter believes in a strong national defense
8. A discerning voter believes in Israel's right to exist as a sovereign nation
The importance of voting in keeping with a biblical worldview is the most vital issue for evangelical Christians facing this year's election. There are far too many nominal Christians, Christians quite literally "in name only," who do not vote in keeping with what the Bible has to say about the issues, especially the moral issues.
This year we are faced with two largely unpopular presidential candidates. And so what are we to do? Some say, "If we vote the lesser of two evils, we are still voting for evil." Here is the answer: take a look at the platforms upon which their candidacy is based.
Here is the platform of the Republican Party this year
Here is the platform of the Democratic Party this year.
Let me give you just a few excerpts from both platforms that are of special relevance for the evangelical Christian.
"We pledge to defend the religious beliefs and rights of conscience of all Americans and to safeguard religious institutions against government control."
" . . . we assert the sanctity of human life and affirm that the unborn child has a fundamental right to life which cannot be infringed."
"We support the appointment of judges who respect traditional family values and the sanctity of innocent human life."
"The Republican path to fiscal sanity and economic expansion begins with a constitutional requirement for a federal balanced budget."
". . . the presence of millions of unidentified individuals in this country poses grave risks to the safety and sovereignty of the United States. Our highest priority, therefore, must be to secure our borders and all ports of entry and to enforce our immigration laws."
"[The American Family] is the foundation of civil society, and the cornerstone of the family is natural marriage, the union of one man and one woman."
"We reaffirm America’s commitment to Israel’s security and will ensure that Israel maintains a qualitative military edge over any and all adversaries."
"Democrats applaud last year’s decision by the Supreme Court that recognized that LGBT people—like other Americans—have the right to marry the person they love." (this demands a complete gutting of the meaning of the term "marriage")
"We support a progressive vision of religious freedom that respects pluralism and rejects the misuse of religion to discriminate." (don't be fooled by this rhetoric, it basically means that Christian business owners must give up their Christian convictions and conscience if they want to do business in the "pluralistic society" advocated by Democrats).
"We will appoint judges who defend the constitutional principles of liberty and equality for all, and will protect a woman’s right to safe and legal abortion . . . " (this means to interpret the constitution tendentiously and not in accordance with its original intent)
"We will continue to stand up to Republican efforts to defund Planned Parenthood health centers" (you may recall, Planned Parenthood traffics in baby parts and engages in crude and barbaric medical procedures to kill unborn children)
"We will continue to oppose—and seek to overturn—federal and state laws and policies that impede a woman’s access to abortion, including by repealing the Hyde Amendment." (the Hyde amendment bans the direct use of Federal tax dollars for abortion--taxes you and I pay to the Federal Government--if repealed we will be forced to contribute to something that violate our consciences)
Although both platforms have some good ideas in them, this latter platform stands for issues that stand in hostile rebellion against the Bible's teaching on the critical issues of marriage and family.
For more information please see https://www.frcaction.org/2016
If you are a Bible-believing Christian, the choice is very, very clear. Please vote, and please vote wisely!!!
See The Chart Below for a Convenient Summary
(from the Family Research Council)
What is a misnomer? It is "giving the wrong name for a person, thing or place."
A recurring phenomenon among the left wing is the interesting way language is utilized. To left wingers, language appears to be nothing more than a wax nose to be molded and shaped into any form desired. It reminds me of the great Lewis Carroll classic, Through the Looking Glass. Alice and Humpty Dumpty are having a brisk dialogue. She is very confused over Humpty's odd use of common words and says as much. To this Humpty retorts, "When I use a word . . . it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less." Of course, in ordinary discourse and dialogue, no one uses language in this way, otherwise all speech would be unintelligible. But consider the following notable misnomers
The American Civil Liberties Union
At this point in the history of the organization, the application of the term "liberties" is very selective, referring only to those who share their extreme, left-wing ideology, including especially the so-called "liberties" of transgenders to use the restroom of their choice. Never mind the civil liberties of those on the other side of the issue, such as women and girls whose liberties are under attack.
Military Religious Freedom Foundation
This one is a real winner. Talk to the soldiers, sailors, and military chaplains whose religious freedoms have been threatened by this organization, and you will soon realize the inappropriateness of the name. It seems that the phrase "religious freedom" actually means "religious extraction," i.e, yanking all forms of religion, at least the Judeo-Christian form, out of the military altogether.
Human Rights Campaign
Whose human rights? The rights of women and children? No, the rights of gays, lesbians, bisexuals, and transgenders. By "campaigning" for the rights of this comparatively small segment of society, they are recklessly bulldozing over the rights of countless others. Should gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgenders have basic human rights? Of course, but not at the expense of the rights of others. "Your freedom ends where my nose begins," is an old, but still very apropos statement.
When a solid majority of people in the state of North Carolina support legislation regulating the use of bathrooms, members of the so-called “Democratic” party swoop in and impose their minority perspective on an overwhelming majority of citizens. That is not how democracy is supposed to work, and I highly doubt that the original purpose for the founding of the party back in the 1800s was to do the things we observe today.
Freedom from Religion
In the ultimate sense, it is not a matter of being free from religion. Even those who espouse “non-religion” are promulgating a "religion" of their own, if we understand religion in the broader sense of belief in and commitment to transcendent values. Atheism is itself a belief-system or worldview. The 20th Century provides us with plenty of examples of what happens when a nation sets itself free from religion: it results, not in the absence of religion, just a different "religion," i.e., the religion of the state. The government assumes the role of God, which it is very poorly equipped to do.
Pay close attention to the way ordinary language is mishandled today. You will be able quite easily to come up with your own list of misnomers. By being alert, we all can avoid being misled by the clever use and abuse of words and their meanings.
We are witnessing a disturbing shift in our culture in its attitude toward truth. The post-modern Western world is suffering from an acute case of “truth decay.” In fact, more and more American citizens no longer believe in absolute truth, especially the younger generations. Although we should not have to use the adjective absolute to describe truth (because truth by its very nature is absolute), what we are finding is that the notion of truth is being corrupted by its becoming increasingly associated with opinion or belief. And so we will hear someone say, “Such and such may be true for you, but it’s not true for me.” Or, if you utter a true statement to someone and they don’t like it, they will reply, “That’s just your opinion.” A popular mantra of the day is “truth is relative,” or “something is true depending upon the situation.”
But what is truth? Is it like a soft piece of clay we can mold and shape to suit us? Can we create truth out of thin air, much like pulling a rabbit out of a hat? Can a small group of Supreme Court justices simply create reality by judicial fiat? Can a man declare himself to be a woman, or a woman a man, simply by saying so? Is truth something that a culture or people group invents? Does it change? These are the prevailing views today in many, many circles, especially higher education and the so-called liberal elite.
Viewing truth this way will eventually lead to the collapse of a society. No one can really function or live in a world where truth is relative. If truth were really in this constant state of flux, bridges could not be built, skyscrapers erected, or trips to the moon planned and carried out. Can you imagine a situation where a doctor tells her patient, “Lab results prove you have cancer,” and the patient responds like this, “I don’t like the thought of having cancer. Doctor, your statement may be ‘true for you’ but it’s not ‘true for me.’”
Philosophers over the years have come up with two major theories of truth: (1) the correspondence theory, and (2) the coherence theory. In theory #1, truth is what corresponds to reality. In Theory #2, something is true only when it fits in with other truths to form a system of thought (i.e, it coheres or hangs together).. In case number one, a parent tries to arrive at what really happened when her two children are arguing over who broke her favorite plate. In case number two, a detective will try to find inconsistencies in a suspect’s “story” (it takes a great deal more effort to concoct an elaborate lie and keep it together than it is simply to speak the truth).
But in either case, truth is not person-relative. In other words, truth is truth, whether anyone believes it or not, likes it or not, despises it or not. A person might not want to hear the truth, might not want to accept it, and in fact might reject it. That changes nothing. And in the end, truth is so powerful that it will prevail. It cannot be suppressed forever. Humans invent every kind of device to avoid it or skirt it, but ultimately, all of it will be in vain. This is due to the fact that God is the source of truth, and is in fact Truth Personified (John 14:6). On Judgment Day the brilliant searchlight of truth will expose all that is phony. Every lie will dissolve. And so for the believer in Jesus Christ, stand strong in the truth, for it will finally win out.
The use and misuse of language is one of the most common areas where the Evil One is effective. He is a master at it. Since God's design for language is to communicate truth, i.e. that which corresponds to reality, it is no surprise that the "Father of Lies" (John 8:44) would work especially hard to mislead and deceive . The first instance of this was in Genesis, for in chapter 2:16-17 God had issued a very clear command to Adam, "You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die" (ESV here and following). In the very next chapter (3:1), the Serpent calls this clear command into question when he poses to Eve, "Did God actually say, 'You shall not eat of any tree in the garden?'" Now the obvious answer to this question was, "No, God didn't say that, end of discussion."
But the question was framed in such a way as to create confusion in Eve's mind, as seen in her answer, "We may eat fruit of the trees in the garden, but God said, 'You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.'" Taking clear language and muddying it up has been the Serpent's modus operandi since the beginning of time.
Let's just apply his time-tested strategy to today's scene. The far left has undertaken an unbelievably ridiculous campaign to subvert reality through linguistic word games of its own. This became abundantly clear in last year's odd opinion by the Supreme Court majority in the Obergefell v. Hodges case. As we all know, that decision basically discarded the ontology of marriage, i.e., the union of a biological male and a biological female, as has been practiced by all cultures in all time periods, in favor of a loose and vague notion of commitment between two adults.
That idea is now devolving further. We have to go out of our way to say "biological male/biological female," for apparently, some people don't seem to like facing the reality of their own biological sex. They prefer a very fluid notion of gender based upon personal preference, and the mayor of New York City is more than willing to accommodate them! Business owners in NYC are now facing the threat of steep fines for their willful refusal to recognize an employee's self-chosen gender identity. In fact, there are over two dozen different terms available, well beyond "he/him" and "she/her."
Here is something patently obvious: labels do not change reality. I can call my dog a cat all day long, but he still remains a dog! A male is a male is a male; a female is a female is a female. If we do anything, we must call the misguided back to reality and rescue them from the world of linguistic fantasy. If the people in this country continue to permit nonsensical ideas to permeate the culture, it's only a matter of time before mass confusion will ensue.
This saying is among the most commonly misused in everyday culture, which goes something like this, "You claim to be a Christian. Even Jesus commanded you not to judge others. Who are you to judge others for their lifestyles, or to call what someone else is doing 'sin?'"
This is a classic example of Jesus' words being yanked out of context. Let's take a closer look at the passage where this saying is found: “Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye." (Matthew 7:1-5, ESV)
From the larger context we discover that Jesus is condemning hypocritical judgment of the petty variety. The person doing the judging of the other one has the very same problem, only worse. And so the standard the hypocrite uses to judge someone will be the exact same standard applied to him. Jesus is saying that if someone is going to exercise judgment, he needs to take care of the very sin in his own life that he condemns in another. Once that is done, helpful, constructive criticism of the other is encouraged.
The very next verse indicates that some kind of "judging" is required in order to identify the "dogs" and the "pigs" (Matthew 7:6), and further down in the chapter Jesus warns about false prophets who can be identified by their fruits (Matthew 7:15-20). A discerning Christian practices "fruit inspecting" and so the Lord's command "not to judge" certainly does not prohibit this.
This notion that no one can say anything negative about a lifestyle or behavior based upon Jesus' command not to judge is just plain incorrect.